2 Days in Milan: Things to do in Milan in 2 Days

Are you planning a trip to Milan?  You’re in the right place!  When I booked a weekend trip to Milan it had been a while since I’d visited Italy and I couldn’t wait to go.  Although I only had 2 days in Milan, I wanted to make the most of it, so I did plenty of research on what to do in Milan.  From delicious food to historical monuments end everything else in between, here are my recommendations for the best things to do in Milan in 2 days! 

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How Long to Spend in Milan?

I will begin the same way I do all of these two-day itineraries – by saying that 2 days in Milan isn’t enough!  At least it’s better than one day in Milan, but if you can spare an extra day or two then you will have more time to experience all of the best things to do in Milan and still have time to relax and enjoy your time here.  I actually spent 3 nights in Milan, so had 2 full days and an extra few hours to explore the city.

Know Before You Go to Milan

Before travelling to Milan, make sure you book accommodation and popular attractions ASAP as hotels and tickets can sell out.


$$ Room Mate Giulia – central location, just steps away from Il Duomo 

$$ La Residenza Isabella is great value for Milan, and close to transport links

$ Ostello Bello – top-rated hostel in Milan and a short walk from Il Duomo


1. Cathedral and Duomo’s Terraces Entrance Ticket

2. Da Vinci’s Last Supper Guided Tour

3. Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci Museum Entry

Planning Your Milan Itinerary

When you’re tight on time I find it is best to plan as much as you can in advance so you don’t waste time deciding what to do in Milan while you’re already here.  What you choose to do of course will depend on your travel style, what you enjoy doing and how full you want your Milan travel itinerary to be.

I’ve picked out the best things to do in Milan so you can design your own itinerary.  If you’re backpacking Milan or are an independent traveller who prefers to do things on your own then Milan can easily be enjoyed on a budget.  If you prefer to take a tour, here are some of the best Milan tours and attractions you can visit:



The Best Things to do in Milan in 2 Days

Il Duomo: Milan Cathedral

This beautiful cathedral is in the centre of Milan and is top of my list of things to do in Milan.  As it is such a popular place, there are often long queues to get inside, so I’d highly recommend booking your tickets in advance



You can also enjoy a visit inside and on the rooftop, without the crowds of people you’ll get later on in the day.  I highly recommend going up on the roof for some of the best photo spots and views in Milan!  I loved seeing the beautiful architecture up close.

Come here as early as you can in the morning to get some photos of the square in front of the Duomo with as few people as possible – just you and the pigeons. 

If you didn’t buy your Duomo tickets online, you can also buy tickets to go inside Il Duomo from the ticket office at the right-hand side of the cathedral, just follow the signs (or the queues of people if you arrive later!)

On Milan Cathedral Rooftop
On Milan Cathedral Rooftop

The Last Supper & Santa Maria delle Grazie

Despite my research, I didn’t plan my trip to Milan well enough to see The Last Supper.  One of the most famous murals in the world, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece (known in Italian as the Cenacolo Vinciano) is painted on the wall of the Santa Maria delle Grazie church and convent, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Visiting The Last Supper is one of the most popular things to do in Milan, and tickets sell out months in advance as there is a limited number available each day. 

If you manage to buy a ticket on the official website it is just €15 entry fee, but the tickets are hardly ever available and are usually snapped up by tour companies.  Even if you book with a tour company, try to do it as far in advance as possible to guarantee access.

Tour company tickets will be more expensive but they also include the cost of the guide.  Alternatively, if you don’t manage to book in advance, when you arrive in Milan go to the ticket office first thing in the morning when it opens to enquire if any last-minute tickets are available – you never know, you might get lucky!  

Try these tours to see the Last Supper in Milan:


Parco Sempione & Sforzesco Castle

This pleasant park close to the centre of Milan is a nice place to take a break.  The castle is free to walk around, although there is a fee to go into the exhibition spaces. 

I strolled through the castle to reach the park beyond and sat down on a bench for a rest and to people watch.  Walk further through the park to reach the Arco della Pace, similar to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris or Barcelona.  The light here is lovely around sunset.

Sempione Park in Milan - Things to do in Milan in 2 Days
Sempione Park in Milan – Things to do in Milan in 2 Days

2 Days in Milan: Teatro Alla Scala

La Scala Theatre is the home of opera, where many composers wrote and conducted works including Puccini, Verdi and Toscanini.  Premium tickets are over €100, but if you book in advance you can pick up cheap theatre tickets for under €20.  Check the theatre website for the schedule and to book tickets.

You might also be able to pick up last-minute tickets on the day, ask at the ticket office.  It is also possible to book a tour to visit the theatre when there isn’t a production, but for a real Italian experience in Milan, it’s hard to beat an opera at La Scala! 

Inside the stunning Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Inside the stunning Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

(Window) Shopping in Milan

Milan is the capital of fashion in Italy and Europe.  I am not a big fan of shopping (due to budget constraints!) but window shopping in Milan is still worth it even if you’re strapped for cash!  I did buy a cardigan from H&M next to Il Duomo but couldn’t stretch to a visit to Prada or Luis Vuitton inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. 

However, you don’t need to even go inside a shop to appreciate the stunning gallery, which is another beautiful spot in Milan.  Again, if you want some photos without the crowds be prepared to get up early! 

*Top Milan Travel Tip* if you want a coffee then Marchesi 1824 is hidden away up a staircase next to the Prada shop, and is a fabulous place to people watch as you can see down into the Galleria below.  It is also totally Insta-worthy in its own right!

The funky decor in the coffee shop Marchesi 1824
The funky decor in the coffee shop Marchesi 1824

Take a Cooking Class

Where better to learn how to make pasta than in Italy?  I found a fabulous pasta making class in Milan on Airbnb Experiences and thoroughly enjoyed learning how to make delicious pasta and tiramisu with Pietro and his mum Gianna.  Check the details here on Airbnb, or here on GetYourGuide.

Our host Pietro was friendly and knowledgeable, and his mum even joined in to help so it felt like a real family experience.  The food was incredible, we learned how to make two types of incredible Italian pasta, and my favourite dessert of tiramisu, and I have a fab afternoon.

A cooking class is perhaps one of the more unusual things to do in Milan, I guess most people spend their time shopping or sightseeing, but for me, Italian food is such an important part of the culture, and a cooking class is a wonderful way to enjoy fresh, homecooked food – especially if it is in the home of a local cook like Pietro!

Other cooking classes in Milan to check out include:

Incredible homemade Ravioli at my Cooking Class in Milan
Incredible homemade Ravioli at my Cooking Class in Milan

Explore the Neighbourhoods in Milan

Depending on where you are staying and how much free time you have, take some time to explore on foot.  Walk around and have a coffee in a café somewhere, or a glass of wine or beer in the sunshine. 

Check out the street art or historical architecture.  I stayed in Navigli, where the canals in Milan conjure up memories of Venice and offer a fabulous place to have an aperitivo while watching the sunset.  Colonne de San Lorenzo is also a great spot for soaking up the history and taking some great photos. 

The canals of Navigli - Things to do in Milan in 2 Days
The canals of Navigli – Things to do in Milan in 2 Days

Take a Milan Walking Tour

There are several free walking tours of Milan which you can do, or indeed you can pay for a guide to show you around.  I took a free walking tour with Frog Walking Tour as it got really great reviews on Tripadvisor. 

However, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped; we ended up with a very large group of about 30 people, and although we visited a few interesting stops, we spent quite a long time at each stop so I felt like I could have seen a lot more in less time on my own or with a different guide.

If you’re looking for free things to do in Milan I’d recommend just walking around on your own or picking one of the other things from this list to enjoy!

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Milan Photo Tour

As well as the free walking tour, I decided to take a Milan Photo Walk as I was dying to get some photos of me in front of Il Duomo.  I found this Photo Walking Tour on Airbnb Experiences and signed up, although it looks like Emilia is no longer running tours since the pandemic. 

Emilia was a lovely host, and she took me to some of the popular photo spots in Milan, as well as some off-the-beaten-track places and a great spot for coffee.  If you like the idea of having your own photographer to get some great photos of you in the most Instagrammable places in Milan then you can sign up for a tour like this one to get those perfect pics.

Showing off the polaroids from my photo walk

Showing off the polaroids from my photo walk

Enjoy an Aperitivo in Milan

Aperitivo is an institution in Milan.  From about 5 or 6 PM you’ll find lots of bars offering Aperitivo hour, where you order a drink that comes with a selection of tasty Italian snacks, or a buffet where you can help yourself.  Keep an eye open for chalkboards advertising their offerings. 

Terrazza Duomo 21 might not be the best place for an aperitivo in Milan, but it is hard to beat the view of il Duomo as you sit and enjoy your Aperol spritz!

Eat Typical Milanese Food

Of course, it’s Italy, the food in Milan is amazing.  As well as fabulous pasta and pizza, make sure you try some of the local specialities like Osso Bucco (braised veal shank), Risotto alla Milanese (a creamy yellow risotto flavoured with saffron) or Cotoletta (breaded veal cutlet).  You could take a food tour if you have time, or just pick out some fabulous restaurants in Milan. 

Popular Milan food tours include:

Osso Bucco - a Milanese Speciality
Osso Bucco – a Milanese Speciality

Day Trips from Milan

If you’ve had your fill of the city and have some extra time to explore the area there are some fabulous day trips from Milan to Lake Como, Bellagio, St Moritz and the Bernina train for example.  You could take a train to visit some places alone, but in order to maximise the day then a day tour from Milan could work best for you.  Check out these options:



How to Get to Milan

Milan is in the north of Italy and is well connected to the rest of the country by rail and air, as well as road if you are coming by car. 

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Milan Airports

There are two international airports that serve Milan, Milan Malpensa and Milan Bergamo.  Malpensa is closer than Bergamo and is connected to the city by train, and Bergamo is in the city of Bergamo, which is a train and bus journey away.  

If you’re flying within Italy, or changing in Rome, then Milan Linate Airport is actually the closest airport to the centre of Milan so could be the best option for you if you’re coming from outside of Europe.  

I use Skyscanner to find deals on flights to Milan, and you can select the city of Milan instead of the individual airports to make sure you find the best options for you.

Getting to Milan by Train

If you are travelling around Italy, Milan has direct train services to Rome, Venice, Florence and many other cities in Italy, so getting around by train is quick and convenient.  There are several train stations in Milan, so if you have a choice of stations, check which is closest to your accommodation before you book. 

You can book direct on the Trenitalia website or use Omio to find the best routes as you travel around Italy by train, using e-tickets which you can display on your phone in pdf format.  If you get a paper ticket, don’t forget to validate it at the station before you get on the train – there usually are machines on or close to the platforms where you must stamp your ticket. 

Getting Around Milan

Central Milan is certainly walkable, however getting from one side of the city to the other is much easier by metro, which is fast and cheap.  There are also a few tram lines around the city too.  Buy tickets from the metro station or use the ATM transport app.  Single tickets cost €2.20 which covers 3 zones (the most you should need for the centre of Milan) and increase for each additional zone you travel into.

Tram spotting close to Navigli in Milan
Tram spotting close to Navigli in Milan

The Best Place to Stay in Milan

I don’t think there is a bad place to stay in Milan, although it is one of the most expensive cities in Italy, there are a lot of high-quality hotels, hostels and apartments in Milan

I chose an Airbnb in Navigli which is a residential neighbourhood, with plenty of great bars and restaurants a short walk away.  The metro was about 10 minutes’ walk from my apartment, and it was a couple of stops into the centre. 

Some people prefer to stay as close to Il Duomo (Milan Cathedral) as possible, but prices are at a premium there.  Just staying slightly farther out will save you a lot of money, which you can then spend shopping in Milan or on some of the other fabulous things to do here.

Hotels in Milan

While there aren’t many cheap hotels in Milan, there are plenty of choices if you can afford to spend a little more. For a cheaper option, you’ll need to look further out of the centre. 

  • Room Mate Giulia is slap bang in the centre, just steps away from Il Duomo and gets great reviews.  The location is second to none, and the funky décor and friendly staff seal the deal. 
  • Cosy La Residenza Isabella is great value, and close to transport links to whisk you into the centre of Milan or the train station.  It’s around 1.5km from Il Duomo too so not too far if you fancy a walk.


Hostels in Milan

Milan is not cheap, and some hostels could set you back $50 for a dorm bed. 

  • Ostello Bello, for example, is one of the top-rated hostels in Milan and in a great location a short walk from Il Duomo. 
  • Babila Hostel & Bistro is another great option as it is also close to the centre of Milan but a little cheaper. 

If you’re prepared to walk further or use the metro to get into town then you can find cheaper accommodation, but remember to factor in the convenience and cost of taking the metro every day.  You can check all hostels in Milan on Hostelworld here.


Airbnbs in Milan

There are also plenty of options for Airbnb in Milan like this fabulous flat in Navigli where I stayed.  You can also find a wide range of holiday rental apartments in Milan on Booking.com, often with better cancellation terms than Airbnb.


What do you think?  How would you spend your 2 days in Milan?  I’d love to hear your thoughts, please leave your comments below.

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How to Spend 2 Days in Milan The Best 2 Day Milan Itinerary

5 thoughts on “2 Days in Milan: Things to do in Milan in 2 Days

  1. Claire says:

    Hi Rhonda,
    Thanks for your message, I hadn’t included Linate originally as that is mainly for flights within Italy, but if you’re coming from outside of Europe and changing in Rome then you’re right it is the closest option so I’ve updated that section.
    Enjoy your time in Milan!
    Best wishes,

  2. R Hagerty says:

    “Milan Bergamo Airport”? Just… What? Malpensa is not closest to Milan, Linate is. I’m flying into Linate next spring so I know it’s there 🙂
    You’d better update this info!

  3. Ryan K Biddulph says:

    Delightful Claire. My wife loved her time in Milan. Magical place dripping with charm.

  4. Claire says:

    Hi Kimberly, thanks for reading! With 3 weeks, you could see a lot of Italy, not just Milan. Venice, Verona, Lake Garda, Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre for example are also other destinations you could consider. Getting around Italy is easy by train, or hire car if you prefer – just make sure your accommodation has car parking facilities wherever you plan to go.

  5. Kimberly Bennett says:

    Looking to plan a trip with my daughter for graduation next summer. We are thinking a 3 week stay. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

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