Excursions from Milan: the best day trips around Milan

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Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Cosmopolitan metropolis, international economic center, full of art, culture and history, Milan it is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Distinguished by the artistic grandeur of its Cathedral (its construction began in 1386 and went on for five hundred years), considered the third Catholic Church in the world and the first symbol of the city; from the Castello Sforzesco: wonderful medieval fortress, from the splendor of the famous Teatro alla Scala, from the luxury of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and from many other beauties, large and small, located around the city, Milan is a versatile and chameleonic city, to be discovered and visited in its entirety at least once in a lifetime. Here's what to see in its surroundings in one day.


  1. Monza
  2. Mantova
  3. How
  4. Bormio thermal baths
  5. Lodi
  6. Cremona
  7. Garda Lake
  8. Varese and the Estensi Gardens
  9. Lecco
  10. Bergamo
  11. Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands
  12. Lugano
  13. User questions and comments

1 - Monza

Picturesque town, located less than an hour away from Milan, Monza is a small Lombard treasure, of great artistic and historical value. Famous for being there home to one of the most important Formula 1 circuits, the city stands out for the beauty of the Royal Villa that rises within its walls: a neoclassical style palace, built by the Habsburgs, which boasts one of the most beautiful gardens in the world, with flowers of every color and scent.
The Duomo is also very interesting in Monza with its Chapel of Queen Teodolinda; the Duomo Museum, which houses works from ancient times late Roman and early Middle Ages; the Palazzo dell'Arengario, which dates back to the th century and hosts art exhibitions and cultural and photographic reviews; and the Ponte dei Leoni, on the Lambro river, where there are the ancient and characteristic "houses with a balcony".

  • Range: 15,6 km
  • Monza is about 15,6 km from Milan and can be reached in about 40 minutes by car and just over fifteen by public transport. We recommend Train from Milano Porta Garibaldi, fares from € 3,00; or alternatively Bus Airpullman Z221, Z321 - Get directions
  • Villa Reale 10: 00-19: 00 (from Tuesday to Sunday), closed on Monday; Monza Cathedral 9: 00-18: 00 (Tuesday to Saturday), 14: 00-18: 00 (Sunday), closed on Monday; Museo del Duomo 9: 00-18: 00, closed on Mondays; Palazzo dell'Arengario 10 am-00pm. On Sunday it remains open until 19:00. Closed on Mondays.
  • Royal Villa € 19: 00; the visit to the Garden is free. Combined tickets can be purchased, which allow a visit to the Museum of the Duomo + Chapel of Queen Teodolinda, starting from € 8,00 full ticket, € 6,00 reduced ticket. However, it is advisable to consult the official website of the Museum to check the various combinations offered. Palazzo dell'Arengario € 9,00 (adults), € 7,00 (children from 13 years), € 5,00 (children from 6 to 13 years), free for children under six.
  • Segway tour of the Monza and Brianza Park

2 - Mantua

Ruled for almost 400 years by the Gonzagas, bathed by the lakes of Mezzo, Superiore and Inferiore, formed by the Mincio river that crosses it and surrounded by morainic hills and woods, Mantua is one of the most beautiful artistic cities in Italy.
His Palazzo Te is marvelous: a monumental building built by Giulio Romano between 1524 and 1534; the Palazzo Ducale, a Renaissance masterpiece also known as the Gonzaga palace; the Piazza delle Erbe, with its centuries-old buildings, the Clock Tower and the Rotonda di San Lorenzo e the magnificent Bibiena scientific theater, dating back to the 700s and inaugurated by Mozart.

  • Range: 146 km
  • it is 146 km from Milan, which can be traveled by car, bus or train in about two hours. We recommend Trenord train RE_11, fares from € 9,00 - Get directions
  • Palazzo Te: 9: 00-18: 30; Palazzo Ducale: 8: 15-19: 15 (Tuesday to Saturday), 8: 15-13: 15 (Sunday), Closed on Monday. Bibiena Scientific Theater: 10: 00-13: 00/15: 00-18: 00
  • Palazzo Te: € 12,00 (full), € 8,00 (reduced); Palazzo Ducale: € 12,00 (full), € 7,50 (reduced). Bibiena Scientific Theater: free admission.
  • Recommended cards, ticke and tours: Mantua: 2,5-hour private walking tour with local guide

3 - Como

A trip on the lake and a visit to the city, which among its magnificent beauties certainly boasts its Cathedral which varies from Gothic to Renaissance style, seat of the bishop and the third largest religious building in the whole of Lombardy; and the Broletto, a building dating back to the Middle Ages, the original seat of the Municipality of the city of Como. Obviously the lake is not to be missed, located at the foot of the Pre-Alps, whose landscape has enchanted various artists for centuries: from Flaubert to Rossini, from Verdi to Bellini, who wrote the "Norma" right on the shores of Lake Como.

  • Range: 43 km
  • it is about 43 km from Milan, which can be covered in about an hour by car and just over half an hour by train. We recommend Swiss Railways train, towards Zurich or Lugano, from Milano Centrale to Como S.Giovanni, fares starting from € 9,00, or Trenitalia, fares starting from € 15,00 - Get directions
  • Consult the timetables and costs on the official websites of the various attractions.
  • Lake Como, Bellagio and Varenna: full day tour from Milan Lake Como: sailing experience

4 - Bormio Thermal Baths

Located at 1.225 meters above sea level, at the top of the Alps, Bormio is very famous for its spas, already in vogue in Roman times. This city is therefore the perfect destination for a trip dedicated to total relaxation and well-being. They are also on site there are free and free baths: the Vasche di Leonardo, where excess water is collected from the old and new baths, all immersed in a wonderful green setting.
The Civic Museum in the city is not to be missed, housed in an ancient patrician residence, where the ancient history of the valley is told through every single object on display.

  • Range: 194 km
  • Bormio is 194 km from Milan, accessible by car or public transport. We recommend Trenord train to Tirano, fares from € 9,00; Bus Busperego, from Tirano to Bormio, fares from € 4,00 - Get directions
  • 9: 00-12: 00/15: 30-19: 00. Closing day: Sunday.
  • € 27,00 (low season); € 34,00 (high season)

5 - Lauds

An unmissable destination just over 32 km away from Milan is certainly Lodi. Founded in 1158 by Federico Barbarossa, the city preserves its history and its beauty in the monuments that identify it and in its historic center: the wonderful Piazza della Vittoria or Piazza Maggiore, overlooked by some of the most beautiful and important buildings: the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin as well as Lodi Cathedral, the oldest building in the city, entirely in Romanesque style. Right next to the Cathedral is the Broletto, seat of the Town Hall, in neoclassical style and dating back to 1284.
Also not to be missed are the gardens of the Carolina Island Park, the Laudense Library, the Visconteo Castle and many other historic buildings and wonderful basilicas, which you can discover walking through the streets of the city.

  • Range: 32,5 km
  • it is about 34 km from Milan, which can be covered in just over 40 km by car or public transport. We recommend Trenord, Trenitalia or Trenitalia Intercity trains from Milano Porta Nova, fares from € 2,00. Alternatively, Bus Line SPA 306, from Duomo M3, fares from € 4,00 - Get directions
  • Consult the official sites of the various attractions for times and costs.

6 - Cremona

An elegant city that will amaze you with its cultural heritage and its beauty. Curious and a visit to the Torrazzo of Cremona is not to be missed, the highest bell tower in Europe, which from the top of its 502 steps offers unforgettable views. The city's cathedral is beautiful, in Romanesque style, also decorated with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements; wrapped in curious mysteries and painted saints that seem to follow the visitors' gaze with their eyes. A visit to the Violin Museum is interesting, as it tells the story of this refined craftsmanship, which began in 1530, with extreme care.
Of course, the historic workshops of Cremona are also essential, small shops that in elegant windows display nougat, mustard and the delicious Pan Cremona: a typical cake, with almonds and chocolate. Among the most famous, the Bottega Sperlari, existing since 1836.

  • Range: 81 km
  • it is 81 km from Milan, which can be reached in just over an hour by car or public transport. We recommend Trenord train from Milano Centrale to Cremona, fares from € 6,00 - Get directions
  • Duomo: 8: 00-12: 00/15: 30-19: 00 (from Monday to Friday), 7: 30-12: 30/15: 30-17: 00 (Saturday and Sunday). Violin Museum: 10: 00-18: 00.
  • Duomo: Free; Violin Museum: € 10,00 (adults), € 7,00 (over 65 and students) Free (children under 6).
  • Cremona: Walking Tour and Violin Museum Cremona: Walking Tour and Violin Museum Cremona 2,5-Hour Private Guided Walking Tour

7 - Lake Garda

The largest lake in Italy, on whose shores some charming towns overlook, such as Sirmione, Desenzano, Peschiera del Garda or Riva del Garda. A speedboat trip is ideal on the waters of the lake and a walk in one of these towns. A visit to the Marmitte dei Giganti in the surrounding area is not to be missed: glacial wells dug into the rock, which offer a truly suggestive scenario. Furthermore, in Sirmione the thermal baths will be truly indispensable.

  • Range: 130 km
  • it is 130 km from Milan, in just over two hours by car (own or rented) - Get directions
  • Lake Garda: small group tour to Sirmione from Verona

8 - Varese and the Estensi Gardens

Renamed "the little Versailles of Milan", Varese is an unmissable destination near Milan. Beautiful for its many Italian gardens, it is famous above all for the Estensi Gardens: a wonderful park, characterized by paths bordered by hornbeams, low-trunk plants, fountains, ponds and breathtaking views, in an artistic game that perfectly mixes the Italian style with the French one. The Estense Palace is wonderful (surrounded by the park), which dates back to 1700 and was the residence of Francesco III d'Este, precisely during his lordship.

  • Range: 51,2 km
  • About 51,2 km from Milan, it can be easily reached by car or by public transport. We recommend Trenord train from Milan Cadorna to Varese Fn, fares from € 5,00 - Get directions
  • Palazzo and Estensi Gardens: 8: 00-18: 00.
  • Free admission to the Gardens. The Palace cannot be visited as it is the municipal seat.

9 - Lecco

The "city of the Betrothed": Lecco. Wonderful city that offers cultural itineraries in the footsteps of Alessandro Manzoni: from the Villa Manzoni to the Caleotto, where the writer spent the years of his childhood, to the Manzoniano Museum, which exhibits original manuscripts and personal works of the same. The "climb" of the Matitone is a must in Lecco: the bell tower of the Basilica of San Nicolò, which from its 96 meters offers a beautiful view of the city and the lakefront, the famous "branch of Lake Como", of which Manzoni speaks in "The Betrothed".
Very interesting and absolutely recommended is a visit to the Belgiojoso Palace, which dates back to the end of the eighteenth century and is now the seat of the Archaeological Museum, which exhibits artifacts found in the fields adjacent to the city, attributed from the Paleolithic onwards.

  • Range: 51,7 km
  • it is 51,7 km from Milan, which can be covered in about an hour by car and just over forty minutes by train. We recommend Trenord train, from Milan Central to Lecco, fares from € 4,00 - Get directions
  • Big pencil: 9: 00-19: 00; Palazzo Belgiojoso: 9: 30-14: 00 (from Tuesday to Friday), 10: 00-18: 00 (Saturday and Sunday)
  • Pencil: free offer; Palazzo Belgiojoso: € 6,00 (full), € 4,00 (reduced).
  • Historical and gastronomic tour of Lecco

10 - Bergamo

Bergamo is one of the most important historical cities in Lombardy. Divided into Upper Bergamo and Lower Bergamo: the first historical heart of the city, the second commercial care, it is a city to visit absolutely. The most suggestive part is certainly the upper part of the city, surrounded by defensive walls dating back to the sixteenth century. The Piazza Vecchia is marvelous, overlooked by some of the most important monuments and among the most beautiful buildings; and in the center of which stands a sumptuous fountain dating back to 1780.
A visit to the Civic Museum of Natural Sciences is interesting: zoology, mineralogy, geology and ethnography; and the princely Castle of Malpaga: court of the leader Bartolomeo Colleoni.

  • Range: 50,1 km
  • it is 50,1 km from Milan, which can be reached in about an hour by car or by public transport. We recommend Trenord train, from Milan Central to Bergamo (fare from € 5,00). By metro with line 1, from Duomo M1 to Sesto 1 Maggio Fs, from there Bus Z301 or 44 to Bergamo bus station (fare from € 2,00) - Get directions
  • Civic Museum 9: 00-13: 00/14: 30-18: 00; Malpaga Castle open only on Sunday, from 15:00 to 18:00.
  • Museum € 3,00 - Castle € 9,00 full price (adults), € 4,00 reduced (children from 6 to 12 years), free (children under 6)
  • Bergamo: Upper Town Tour from Milan Bergamo: Traditional Food Tour

11 - Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands

A breathtaking scenery is what will open to your eyes during a trip on Lake Maggiore. Panorama characterized by valleys full of flowers and exotic plants (which survive thanks to the mild climate), small paths and a lakefront on which villas and wonderful gardens stand out, it is perfect for a walk or one relaxing boat trip, reaching the beautiful Borromean Islands. The main ones are: Isola Madre, Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Bella. It will be necessary to stop in all three and admire the alleys and small boutiques, the characteristic marinas and the beautiful seventeenth-century Palazzo Borromeo, located on Isola Bella: a triumph of Baroque art, characterized by elegant halls, neoclassical stuccoes and Flemish silk tapestries. The caves on the lower floor are beautiful, completely covered in black and white pebbles.

  • Range: 83,2 km
  • it is about 83,2 km from Milan and can be reached in about an hour and a half by car (own or rented) - Get directions
  • Lake: always accessible - Palazzo Borromeo: 9: 00-18: 30.
  • Palazzo Borromeo: € 17,00 (full), € 9,00 (under 15 and students). However, it is advisable to consult the official website for combined rates regarding the various islands or guided tours.
  • Borromean Islands: hop-on hop-off boat tour from Stresa Stresa: private boat tour of Lake Maggiore

12 - Lugano

A trip to nearby Switzerland, towards Lugano. Surrounded by mountains, yes overlooks the lake offering a truly enchanting panorama. Characterized by a historic center crossed by elegant arcades, inside which there are numerous shops, Lugano possesses a monumental beauty, articulated in the beautiful and baroque Palazzo Riva, in the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, built in Romanesque style and renovated in Renaissance style, inside which there is the beautiful Chapel of Santa Maria delle Grazie, built in the 400th century as thanks to the having brought the plague to an end.
Do not miss the church of Santa Maria degli Angioli, the Lugano Art and Culture Museum, in which temporary exhibitions by international artists of the caliber of Munch, Chagall and Modigliani alternate. Interesting the Museum of Primitive Art, which exhibits artifacts from Oceania, Asia and Africa, and the Natural History Museum, which documents the nature of the typical Ticino landscape.

  • Range: 71,5 km
  • it is about 71,5 km from Milan, which can be covered in just over an hour by car or by public transport. We recommend Trenitalia Eurcity, from Milano Centrale towards Zurich, fares from € 18,00, or Swiss Railways, from Milano Centrale towards Bellinzona, fares from € 25,00 - Get directions
  • Cathedral of San Lorenzo Mass times Mon-Fri 7:15 am, Sat 17 pm and Sun 00 am and 10 pm; Lugano Museum of Art and Culture: 00: 20-00: 10. Closed on Mondays; Primitive Art Museum: 00: 18-00: 6; Natural History Museum: 00: 21-00: 9/00: 12-00: 14. Church of Santa Maria degli Angioli: 00: 17-00: 8.
  • Lugano Museum of Art and Culture: € 20,00 (full price), € 14 (reduced). Museum of Primitive Art: full price CHF 00 (approximately € 15), students CHF 13,70 (approximately € 10) children aged 9,15 to 6 CHF 15 (approximately € 5); Natural History Museum: free admission; Church of Santa Maria degli Angioli: free admission.
  • From Milan: trip to Lake Como, Bellagio and Lugano

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