Milan is somewhere that often gets overlooked when people plan a trip to Italy, it’s often described as boring and expensive and with so much else to see across the country it’s a shame it often goes unvisited. But with cheap flights available on budget airlines from the UK to Milan we chose it as our first stop on our 4 month backpacking leg around Europe and our first port of call in Italy. What we found was a glorious, sophisticated, historic and beautiful city that was the perfect start to our adventure. We recommend spending two days in Milan to see the highlights of this stylish city, a Milan city break makes a perfect weekend trip or an ideal place to begin a tour around Italy. Here we’ve put together our 2 days in Milan itinerary so you can plan your adventure around the Northern Capital of Italy and you won’t turn up wondering what to do in Milan for 2 days if those super cheap airfares tempt you into a last minute weekend in Milan!
What To Do In Milan For 2 Days:
The Perfect Weekend In Milan
How many days in Milan? Well there is enough to do for most people over a couple of days with a great mixture of culture, history, great food and stunning architecture. The city is a great starting point for exploring Italy further as it has great transport connections to the rest of the country as well as neighbouring countries too. If you want to stay longer there are also some great day trips possible from Milan too including Como and Cinque Terre.
It can be a relatively expensive place for accommodation but many of the attractions are free or reasonably priced and food outside of the main square is also good quality and not too expensive. Transport around the city is cheap and really well laid out too.
Getting To & From Milan:
Milan has 3 international airports so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting to and from Milan by air! With 3 airports you can literally fly to and from anywhere from Milan. This makes a weekend in Milan really easy to organise.
Each airport also offers different options with some being used more as a budget hub. Flights cover almost all of Europe, many domestic destinations, much of Asia as well as flights to the US. There are also a number of flights to South American and African destinations too, so everywhere is covered!
There are also flights to major hubs such as Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok and Istanbul meaning connecting to Australia and New Zealand is also easy.
Malpensa is the cities main and largest airport and it is likely if you are travelling long haul you will arrive here but it is also a hub for budget airlines easyjet and Wizzair. Malpensa covers destinations all over the world as well as hubs for connections to Australia and New Zealand. It is the second busiest airport in Italy!
Linate is the closest airport to the city but also has fewer flights than the other two. It is a hub for the national airline, Alitalia. This airport only operates domestic and EU international flights.
Also known as Orio al Serio Airport it is located outside of Milan in the neighbouring city of Bergamo. The airport mostly serves domestic and European destinations as well as some in Northern Africa and the Middle East. It is mostly known as being a hub for budget carrier Ryanair where it serves a large number of European destinations for very competitive prices. Most people on a cheap Milan city break will arrive here!
Getting From The Airports To Milan City
Airport transport is easy from all 3 airports though Linate is slightly harder but it makes a weekend in Milan very easy to plan.
Malpensa Airport – Has a regular shuttle bus to the city centre as well as having a train station that will take you directly to Milan via an express service. Both take around an hour. See more info here.
Linate Airport – Doesn’t have a train station but being the closest to the city centre it is easy to reach on local or Air Bus services all of which are frequent and reasonably priced. You can also get a bus to the Milan Central train station too from here. See more info here.
Bergamo Airport – The airport isn’t connected to the train line but a local bus into Bergamo City can connect you to it’s train station in 10-15 mins where you can take a train into Milan. The easiest way to get to Milan from Bergamo is on the Terravision bus or Orio Shuttle which takes around an hour. Most on a Milan city break will arrive here. See more info here.
Milano Centrale is the main station for Milan and is a grand and beautiful building which offers a great way to travel around the country. In fact, travelling by train if you are continuing on from Milan is the ideal way to get around.
The station covers a vast number of destinations both domestically and internationally too and is quite the hub. Over 320,000 passengers pass through the station each day and up to 500 trains which amounts to around 120 million annual passengers! So you could easily do a Milan city break from another domestic or neighbouring country.
Italy has different classes of train travel from high speed intercity trains which are more expensive to slower regional services that are cheaper but often you might have to change a few times. Be sure to check out the different options if you are on a budget as we managed to save almost 100 Euros between us using regional trains to Venice rather than the fast trains!
High Speed and regional domestic services cover a large area of the country including Venice, Turin, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Naples, Salerno, Bari, Verona, Brindisi, Lecce and many more.
International destinations include; Innsbruck, Munich, Geneva, Zurich, Bern, Lucerne, Basel, Lugano, Vienna, Marseille, Paris, Nice and Monte Carlo amongst others. Some of these are overnight trains so not necessarily ideal for a Milan city break.
By Bus/ Coach
Coach travel to Milan and beyond is a great budget way to see this region too. There are a total of 255 destinations available to reach from Milan via bus so the possibilities are endless! Coach travel in Western Europe and Italy is generally comfortable and on board amenities too.
Most buses leave from the Lampugnano bus station, but check this before as there are other pick up points too.
Buses from Milan cover pretty much every domestic destination most travellers would want to reach with only a few needing connections via Rome. Bus travel can be long winded and tiring so we recommend breaking the trip up if you plan on going all the way south, plus, there are lots of great places to see on the way. Bus travel is ideal for slowly making your way around the country.
Bus travel from Milan isn’t just domestic either, there are lots of international routes covering many more countries than train travel but of course these can be very long trips that you might want to break up. So bus travel might not be entirely ideal if you’re wanting a weekend in Milan.
For example, you can travel all the way from Milan to Katowice in Poland via Berlin, but it will take you 26 hrs! Or even to Bucharest via Grenoble, that’s 45 hrs!! A more appealing next destination (a route we took) would be from Milan to Ljubljana which takes around 7 hrs.
Flixbus is one of our favourite companies to use around Europe.
Getting Around Milan:
Milan is quite a bit city and can be quite overwhelming at first. Each district has its own characteristics and charms and features. Luckily the public transport in Milan is excellent and pretty much every corner of the city is covered by either the underground, trams or buses which makes planning a Milan 2 day itinerary a lot easier.
You can buy tickets for public transport from the machines inside the stations as well as from the tabaccherias which will have a large “T” sign, you can pay in cash or some allow contactless payments which is really convenient for your Milan city break
You can buy tickets for single trips which are valid for 90 mins or you can buy passes for one or two days which will cover the whole urban network. For your two days in Milan we recommend one of the passes so you can make the most of your time here and have the freedom to just jump on and off transport.
You can also get a hop on hop off bus tour too which are often popular as they concentrate on the more tourist centred areas and include commentary and information too, this might also be a good option for your 2 days in Milan itinerary.
Where To Stay For Two days in Milan:
Having a limited amount of time we think it’s best to stay in a central location close to most of the attractions as well as being convenient for public transport. This way you can maximise your time as well as enjoying the city at night without too much of your Milan city break spent on transport. When you’re planning what to do in Milan for 2 days take note of the area you stay in and what transport is close by.
Best Hotels: Ostello Bello
Ostello Bello is one of the best hostels in Milan and here you will be getting anything other than a bog standard hostel experience. Throw out all your misconceptions because this place is honestly one of the best places we’ve ever stayed. A fun, funky and bohemian vibe it offers breakfast, kitchens, terraces with hammocks and is walking distance to the main train station. It also offers both private rooms and dorms too at great rates so ideal for a weekend in Milan.
Best Affordable Hotel: J24 Hotel Milano
This stylish and modern hotel is right near an underground station and offers a sophisticated place to base yourself whilst in Milan. It offers continental breakfast, a bar and flat screen tvs in each room too and has a chic industrial style. It’s the ideal place to base yourself for a weekend in Milan.
Best Apartment Option: Gegix’s House
Offering a variety of apartment accommodation that can house up to 6 people it is ideal for those wanting ultimate privacy or travelling as a group or family. With air conditioning, a balcony and incredible city views it’s a perfect base from which to explore Milan. It also comes with all the amenities that make staying in an apartment so appealing such as a full kitchen and washing machine facilities. Your stay also includes an Italian breakfast, perfect for a Milan city break.
Find More Options Here:
Best Things To Do For Two Days In Milan: The Perfect Milan 2 Day Itinerary
The Duomo, Rooftop and Piazza
The stunning centre of the city and the incredible Cathedral that took 600 years to build are not to be missed on your Milan city break! You will surely be awestruck when you see the level of detail and artistry in this incredible Duomo that can trace its existence back to 1386! It’s also one of the biggest churches in the world so it’s definitely one of the best things to do in Milan.
When you’re considering what to do in Milan for 2 days, this area will be your first port of call for sure!
The surrounding Piazza is awash with visitors from every corner of the globe, some coming to take the opportunity to pray in this sacred building and others just to marvel at its wonderful details. To visit the rooftop is to take in the most amazing view of the city and to get up close to the amazing statues of this unforgettable Italian icon! If you only spend 24 hrs in Milan then the Duomo is a must visit but on our Milan 2 day itinerary it’s our first port of call!
Here you have several choices for different budgets:
Wonder around the wonderful piazza and sit in awe: FREE!
Visit the inside of the church: 2 Euros
Head on to the rooftops via the stairs: 8 Euros (You can pay more for the lift)
A tip would be to visit the rooftop first and then exit into the cathedral as it skips the long lines outside!
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
One of the world’s oldest shopping malls, this 4 storey arcade might be free to swan around but the people buying from here are most definitely not short on cash! It’s no wonder it is one of the top tourist attractions in Milan being such an impressive and prestigious place to visit and should be high up on your 2 days in Milan itinerary.
Named after Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of the kingdom of Italy, it was constructed between 1865 and 1877. The stunning walkway now houses the likes of Prada, Louis Vuitton and Versace alongside some of the cities best restaurants and even more haute couture! An icon in its own right and an important piece of Milanese culture, standing under the dome centerpiece is breathtaking…even if you can’t afford a single thing in there!! When you’re planning what to do in Milan for 2 days this is likely to be your second stop as it’s so close to the cathedral.
Santa Maria presso San Satiro / St Mary’s Church
Another and often overlooked cathedral just around the corner from the Duomo, this renaissance structure dates back to its completion in 1482 and is easy to fit into your two days in Milan.
If the Duomo is heaving with tourists you can guarantee this church will be a serine corner of the city to take a break and reflect in stunning surroundings. The adjoining bell tower might look slightly out of place, that is because it is the original Romanesque, pre 1480’s construction. Seeing some of these more off the beaten track sights, especially so close to the main cathedral, is a great addition to your Milan 2 days itinerary.
Stroll Around The Lush Parco Sempione
A wonderfully large and green urban park in the centre of Milan, it contains the Arch of peace and is next to the Sforza Castle. This rolling park was established back in 1888 as a place for the Milanese to relax and take a break from the busy city. That is exactly what we did, on a warm spring day the park was just lovely, with grass to sunbathe on and a pond full of turtles to gaze at. If you’re trying to do Milan in 2 days then this is a great opportunity to slow down! You can also head up the Branca Tower for great views over the city which is a fun addition to your Milan 2 day itinerary and offers a different perspective to the duomo views.
We took the time to wander around the 386,000 m² grounds at a leisurely pace which was a lovely way to recharge the batteries. Being the largest park in Milan it really is a great way to experience nature so close to the city and is ideal any time of year. From the summer sun, spring bloomage, autumn colours or sometimes snowy winter days it’s an ideal place to visit during your 2 days in Milan.
Wander The Medieval Sforza Castle
What to do in Milan for 2 days? Want more history and culture, the city is teeming with it!
This amazingly preserved 15th century fortification stands proud close to the Parco Sempione entrance. The impressive structure was built by Francesco Sforza, the Duke of Milan and now houses many of the cities museums and art collections. If you want to see some of the highlights of Milan in 2 days then make a beeline here.
Most of the complex and grounds are free to visit and stroll around, making it ideal if you are on a budget during your 2 days in Milan. The different sections contain large moats, courtyards, impressive floral displays and preserved frescos. Although much of the complex has succumbed to the years, what remains is still a large and impressive fortification that is well worth taking some time over even if you only have two days in Milan.
Explore The Trendy Brera District
The Brera district of Milan is a quartiere of the city that is unlike main of the other neighbourhoods. Here the narrow cobbled streets retain a traditional feel where the rest of the city has wider or somewhat more modern layouts and architecture. We found it a fun addition to our Milan 2 day itinerary as it takes you away from some of the more crowded areas of the city to somewhere with a more local vibe.
Here there is a really hip and trendy vibe with many galleries, small independent shops, cafes lining the alleyways and a youthful and creative vibe. When we visited the Milan Design festival was also in full flow and the streets were alive with colour, noise and excitement which was definitely a highlight of our 2 days in Milan.
Attempt To See The Last Supper!
Milan is home to the famous Last Supper painting by Da Vinci and visiting it would have been an incredible experience for an art graduate, however, it didn’t happen! One thing to know about visiting is that due to the fragility of the painting there are very strict measures in place with regards the number of people who can visit and for how long. So bear this in mind when planning your Milan 2 day itinerary.
This means you must buy your tickets at least 3 months in advance as soon as they become available! You can do this here on the official Last Supper ticket website. When many people plan what to do in Milan for 2 days this is usually high on the list but many are on a last minute weekend in Milan and don’t realise about booking ahead.
The only other option is to take a tour which includes fast-track last supper tickets which will be able to grant last-minute tickets. However these can be quite expensive so it depends on your priorities for your two days in Milan. A good compromise would be to take a more general city tour which includes a visit so you get a bit more for your money. A couple of examples are the Last supper & Duomo Tour or the Best of Milan & Skip The Line Tour, these are both great ways to see the best of Milan in 2 days.
Hang Out At The Navigli Canals
The Navigli district is a fun place to hang out, especially in the evening. Being home to many of Milan’s best cocktail bars and restaurants it’s a buzzing place to be during a weekend in Milan as it has some of the city’s best nightlife spots. It’s also a great place to catch the sunset as it reflects off the water. For those wanting a trendy, sophisticated but fun Milan city break this is the perfect area.
Though it’s becoming more popular with tourists it is still very much a local hang out too so a cool addition to your 2 days in Milan itinerary.
The area itself is fun to explore with the unique canal system here being reminiscent of those in Venice. The canals here date back to the Middle Ages and harks back to a time when the city’s main transportation methods used water rather than roads. You can also take boat tours around the extensive canal system to get a different perspective on the city which is definitely something you should try to fit into your 2 days in Milan.
What To Do In Milan For 2 Days?
Save Time And Take Some Tours For Your Two days In
Being short on time it can be hard to feel like you get enough done with just a weekend in Milan. There are a few tours we recommend if you feel you would get more out of your 2 days in Milan itinerary here:
This three hours guided bike ride gives you a great overview of the city and you’ll see many of the main sights, it’s especially nice in the summer and spring months and is a great way to see Milan in 2 days.
The classic hop on hop off bus is also a great idea for covering the main attractions as well as gaining extra information and transport too, so great for your Milan 2 days itinerary.
The Best of Milan & Skip The Line Last Supper Tour is also one of the most highly rated tours and is ideal for a Milan 2 day itinerary. It combines a complete tour of the city with entrance to the Last Supper too which usually has to be booked 3 months in advance but this gives you last minute access.
Day Out At Lake Como
Ok, so 2 days in Milan isn’t much time but most of the highlights could be squeezed into one day if you fancy taking a trip out of the city on your other day or you want to head somewhere else after Milan. Our suggestion would be to head up to the incredible Lake Como for the ideal complement to any Milan city break.
With trains running all day, only taking an hour and costing in the region of 6 Euros. There is no reason NOT to come up here to Como and hang out with the rich and famous on its mesmerizing shores. Once in the picture perfect village of Varenna you can take a short ferry over to the fairytale town of Bellagio. Explore the cobbled streets and sit by the lakeside as the azure water gently laps up against its shores. If you have 3 days in the area it’s a perfect complement to a 2 day Milan itinerary.
There are so many things to do in Milan, but don’t forget that surrounding the city there are plenty more amazing budget adventures to be had that you can do after your Two days in Milan.
Have You Ever Planned A 2 days In Milan Itinerary?
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