Best Day Trips from Milan Italy



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One of my favorite trips so far was to Milan Italy. This bustling city in Northern Italy has many
activities to offer travelers of every type.  I was very excited to explore Milan and the surrounding areas. The best day trips from Milan are a few hours drive or a short train ride.  Here are my best recommendations for day trips from Milano.

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TRANSPORTATION: MILAN DAY TRIPS

The easiest way to take day trips from Milan is to take a bus tour or ride the fast trains.  I stayed in Milan the entire 7 days I was in Italy.  It made a great home base for exploring other cities in the area  and  in Switzerland. 

 I did two day trips from Milan on the train. The 3rd, I reserved a tour through Get Your Guide. The process to reserve trains online can be overwhelming.  There are several sites to use and compare prices. 

Just keep in mind: reserving sooner than later is recommended.  Italy is the 5th most visited country in the world.  The trains have reserved seating so if you don't reserve early you may be stuck with a bummer time.  Milan train station is one of the busiest in Europe.  I suggest reserving your seats on Italo Train or Rome to Rio 3 months in advance of departure date.

3 BEST DAY TRIPS FROM MILAN

It's hard to choose which day trip from Milan I loved the best because all three were epic.  I chose them according to travel time and budget.

Lake Como/Bellagio/Lugano Switzerland

Lake Como is about one hour from Milan, so epic in every way! This was an all day tour with Get Your Guide.  I hopped on board a coach bus at the Garibaldi train station in Milan.(two stops from the central station).  The tour lasted 11 hours and never seemed like it.  The guides were so entertaining.  I was in awe of the scenery every second of the trip.

LUGANO

The first place the bus stops is Lugano Swizterland.  This picturesque town on a lake stole my heart! I'm  already scheming a plan to get back.  The time allotted on the tour for Lugano is short.  Lugano is nestled at the base of the Pre-Alps and is a scenic wonder you won't soon forget.

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The tour guides from City Wonders gave us two hours to explore Lugano.  We had enough time to grab a Swiss cuppa jo, shop and bask in the beauty of the lake.  The gorgeous white swans were  there to greet us! I was so excited, I forgot to grab a selfie with these fine creatures.

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After leaving Lugano the bus took us to a small ferry dock down the road, on Lake Como.  The ferry looked like a dwarf in comparison to the WA State Ferries I am used to.  They do hold cars though and have plenty of room for passengers.


BELLAGIO

It's a short ride across the Lake to Bellagio.  I loved this city so much.  It possesses the best of European charm. The view of the lake from the shore is so breathtaking.  We took a hike up one of the hills with the tour guide.  The panoramic view of Como Lake and the Alps from up top was so amazing!

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We had three hours to spend before continuing down the lake by ferry.  Bellagio is great for a day trip because it offers the best of Italy.  Luxury shopping, fine dining, bakery treats, boat rides and the hot Italian sun are waiting for you.

  There is so much to see and eat  It seems almost impossible to decide which places go. Once we disembarked from the boat the guides took us on a short walking tour.  They pointed out all the best places to eat, shop and explore.


It was here on the waterfront that I ate the most delicious meal in Italy.  It was lightly breaded perch fish served on a bed of rice sauteed in butter.  I can still taste it now, so so yum! I suggest trying this dish if you visit. It's available in 2 or 3 of the diners near the waterfront. Can you imagine dining with the Alps hovering in the background? I

 Bellagio offers endless fun. I had a blast exploring for 3 hours and getting lost.  I'm glad I learned key Italian phrases before leaving home.  Those phrases saved the day when  I was lost wondering up in the hills. The highlight of the daytrip: I met two new friends from Australia and Philadelphia.

CINQUE TERRE

One of the best perks of staying near Milano Centrale Station is the quick access to the trains for day trips from Milan.  I recommend staying at Hotel Madisen, it's only a five minute walk.

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The ride to Cinque Terre is about 3.5 hours each way.  I booked my reservations early at 6 am so I could make the most of my day trip from Milan.  The ride is somewhat scenic as the tracks hug the coast on the way to La Spezia.

I was a little disappointed though: the tunnels blocked the views more than I anticipated.  In La Spezia is where you change trains to get to the village of Riomaggiore.  There are a few different options for routes.

Cinque Terre which means five lands, is made of up 5 small coastal villages.  They are located in a region called Liguria on the Ligurian Sea. The seaside views from Cinque Terre are so dreamy.  It's a stunning, picture postcard view!

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You can hike between all five villages or navigate them by train.  Reserving a boat tour is an option as well.  I've heard visitors have hiked all 5 in one day.  I'm not sure I could pull that off! Unfortunately the rain from Seattle followed me to Cinque Terrie.  It poured all day, and I was unable to make the trek to the other villages.

 Luckily I connected with a friend from one of my travel groups and she let me hide out in her airbnb. One restaurant was open for lunch and one food market.  That's it.  Word to the wise.  Don't visit in late fall like I did.  Summer is probably best travel time.

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VENICE

Venice is the place your dreams come true.  When I arrived on the train by the Grand Canal, I  thought I'd been transported to another world.  Seriously, everyone should see Venice once in their lifetime.  The day trip from Milan to Venice is 5 hours round trip.

The city of lagoons offers old world charm, classy luxury and show stopping views.  Must see spots are: St. Mark's Square, The Grand Canal, Rialto bridge and the small island of Lido.  I did research on Venice before going but not enough.  I didn't realize the city had several ports/villages to visit.  I only had time for 3 of the 9.

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 Lido was one of my stops. This island protects the rest of the lagoons in Venice from the ocean.  Lido had a total California vibe. The beach and town reminded me of Coronado Island.  Getting around Venice on the water buses (vaporetto) is a blast, such a fun ride!

 Be careful not to confuse a water bus with a water taxi!  The taxi's are spendy and may clear out your wallet.  The water bus rides should be reserved in advance too.   As you probably already know, Venice is one of the most popular cities in world.

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At the end of  the day, allow lots of time to ride the water bus back to the train station.  It took me 40 minutes from Lido.  Hop on the train, head back to Milan and dream of where you will visit next on an Italy day trip!

Do you have best day trip from Milan that is not on this list? Leave us a comment below and let us know about it!


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2 comments

  1. Great post! I personally think a day trip to Cinque Terre from Milan is a little challenging, but I definitely want to check out Lake Como! I've never heard of Lugano, but it looks stunning too!

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  2. Cinque Terre has been on my list for so long, thanks for the heads up about travelling in the fall though that's definitely my go to travel season right now!

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