Milan is an excellent home base for several beautiful day trip destinations in and around the Lombardy region, as I mentioned in my “A Week in Milan” post. If I haven’t yet managed to convince you that Milan is worth a visit, perhaps these day trip possibilities will make you reconsider! I have to admit, we had intended to do a few more trips (including Lake Maggiore & Lugano, Switzerland) but, unfortunately, I came down with a bit of a cold and didn’t really have the energy to do as many as we had initially planned. Nevertheless, we still managed to make the most of our day trips and thoroughly enjoyed each one! Without further ado, here are 5 wonderful day trip options that are only a short train ride away from Milan’s city centre.
This medieval city is only a 1 hour train ride from Milan’s Porta Garibaldi and Milano Centrale (central station) stations. Trains depart every hour and take you straight into Bergamo’s Città Bassa. Once you arrive, you can take a bus to the funicular and ride it all the way to Città Alta, which offers a spectacular view of the city below. When you are ready leave, take a nice stroll back down to the funicular and hop on a bus heading back to the station. Although there isn’t too much to do in Bergamo, it’s a beautiful place to explore and a really great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city!
2. LAKE COMO
Almost anyone visiting Milan plans a day trip to Lake Como and with good reason. It is absolutely breathtaking… if you know where to go! If you simply take a train to Como, I don’t believe you will get the full “Lake Como experience”. Varenna and Bellagio are the two small towns you will want to spend most of your time in. You can take a train hourly from Milano Centrale to Varenna (approx. 1h & 40 min) and, from there, a ferry to Bellagio. Both of these towns are, in my opinion, magical and offer stunning views of the lake and snow capped mountains in the distance. If you are in need of a little R&R, this is where you need to be!
3. LAKE GARDA
You can make your way to Lake Garda, more specifically the little town of Sirmione, by taking a train to Desenzano del Garda followed by a short ferry ride to Sirmione. Trains depart from Milano Centrale and take approx. 1.5 hours to reach Desenzano. From there, a 15 min ferry ride will take you straight to Sirmione, where you can enjoy stunning views of Lake Garda from the top of Scaliger castle, from the Grottoes of Catullus, or simply by taking a stroll along the water. Another excellent place for some rest and relaxation!
Besides being a tourist hot spots for obvious reasons (supposed hometown of Romeo and Juliet!), Verona really is a charming city and well worth a visit. You can hop on a train from Milano Centrale and within approx. 2 hours you will arrive in Verona. Once you arrive, you can take a bus from the station straight into Piazza Brà where you can begin exploring.
Although we did manage to see most of the main attractions in Verona, we did make the mistake of combining two day trips into one (Sirmione & Verona) and, were unfortunately, unable to see everything we had planned to. In order to avoid running out of time (…and steam!) by the end of the day, I would recommend visiting each place on a separate day. That being said, I still really enjoyed my time in Verona and would highly suggest you make the trip if you love old cities and charming piazzas!
5. SESTRI LEVANTE
By the end of your trip, you’ll probably be tired of constantly being on the go and most likely on the look out for a great place to kick your feet up and relax by the ocean! If a beach is on your radar and you’ve already been to Cinque Terre, Baia del Silenzio in Sestri Levante is a excellent spot to completely free your mind and soak up the sun. It is a 2.5 hour train ride from Milano Centrale, which is quite long, but if you leave early enough you can really maximize the time you spend there.
I hope this has given you a little inspiration for planning your day trips. As I mentioned earlier, I would have also loved to visit Lake Maggiore and Lugano in Switzerland, so I would recommend looking into those destinations as well. I’d love to know if you’ve ever been to any of these beautiful places and if you have any other recommendations!
PS: I will be going into further detail about each of these destinations in future posts so if any of these places interest you, be sure to stay tuned!