Low Angle Shot of the Milan Cathedral, Milan, Italy

Ultimate Guide to the Best of One Day Milan Itinerary

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Milan is a vibrant Italian city with so much to see and do. As one of Europe’s fashion and design capitals, Milan offers world-class shopping, dining, culture and architecture. Exploring this fascinating city in only 1 day Milan may sound impossible, but with some strategic planning, you can discover Milan’s highlights and hidden gems in just 24 hours.

one day milan Facade of the Milan Cathedral, Milan, Italy

If you only have time to read the key points, here is a quick overview of what’s covered in this guide:

Ultimate Guide to the Best of One Day Milan Itinerary

  • Use public transportation to maximize your time
  • Visit the magnificent Duomo and take in views from the rooftop
  • See Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” painting
  • Wander through theluxury boutiques of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II arcade
  • Relax in the green spaces of Parco Sempione
  • Discover Milan’s trendy Porta Nuova neighborhood
  • Explore the hip Navigli district with its charming canals
  • Find recommendations on where to eat, where to stay and more

If you want all the details, helpful tips and custom 1 day itinerary for Milan, read on!

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how to get Around Milan

With only 24 hours in Milan, using public transportation is essential to maximize your time. The metro, trams and buses provide an affordable and efficient way to navigate the city.

The metro is the fastest way to reach top attractions like the Duomo, Sforza Castle, Last Supper painting and Navigli district. Trams run frequently and buses access key locations like the train stations and airports.

Invest in a 24-hour transit pass for unlimited travel by metro, tram and bus for around €7. You can purchase passes at metro stations and tobacco shops. This provides the freedom to efficiently explore without worrying about individual tickets.

Milan encompasses multiple neighborhoods catering to different interests. With limited time, research locations and purchase metro passes early so you can hit the ground running.

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Must-do milan one day:  Duomo di Milano 

No first-timer’s tour of Milan is complete without visiting the Duomo di Milano, the city’s most iconic landmark. This ornate, Gothic-style cathedral took nearly 600 years to complete and dazzles with an elaborate facade decorated with statues, spires and stained glass.

While the cathedral interior and basement archaeological area deserve a look, be sure to allot time to ascend to the rooftop terraces. Only here can you fully take in the ambitious scale of the structure while enjoying panoramic views across Milan.

one day milan Aerial View of City Buildings

Be prepared for crowds and long lines during peak seasons. Arrive when it opens at 9am to beat rush hour. Or better yet, purchase skip-the-line tickets online beforehand so you can breeze straight to the head of the queue.

Tip:  With timed entry tickets you can book time slots for your isit. So you can see both the inside and the rooftops. you have to buy tickets early and book a time and you should book first thing in the morning

With early entry to the rooftop terrances (it’s a must see) the views from the top are amazing! you’ll have time to relax at your own pace, snap photos and soak in the scenery before packs of sightseers arrive.

Arched shopping passage located in Milan

Afterward, cross the plaza to wander through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – a dazzling, high-end 19th century shopping arcade. Its soaring domed atrium leads to elegant cafes and luxury boutiques like Prada and Louis Vuitton. Even with limited shopping time, it’s worth experiencing the grandeur of this Milan hotspot.

Insider Tip: The nicest view is on the 7th floor of the shopping center. Also the galleria Vittorio is right next door to the Duomo and you won’t need more than 20 mins to look around/ 

See Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” during milan in a day

Leonardo da Vinci produced some of his most legendary paintings and inventions while residing in Milan during the 15th century. Of all his celebrated works created here, none compare to the emotional intensity and masterful technique of “The Last Supper.”

This powerful mural portrays the final Passover meal between Jesus and his apostles. Its fame leads “The Last Supper” to be one Milan’s most popular attractions with extremely limited ticket availability.

Last Supper

OUR RECOMMENDATION:

skip the line at the last supper

Book these tickets early as they sell out months in advance! 5 star reviews with over 200 reviews.

Book your viewing months in advance online or through a guided tour. If schedules are full, keep checking repeatedly for cancellations. This demand makes it difficult to secure same-day reservations.

Tours provide the advantage of skip-the-line entry and expert commentary unpacking Da Vinci’s stylistic choices. However, you’ll also appreciate simply gazing upon this iconic painting firsthand, regardless of how you obtain access. Just be sure to follow venue rules prohibiting photos, large bags, and revealing bare shoulders or knees.

Even with small groups allowed brief entry every 15 minutes, make “The Last Supper” a top priority for your Milan itinerary. Da Vinci’s emotional, intimate scene of betrayal stopping time is an unforgettable experience conveying beauty and sorrow across centuries.

Relax in Parco Sempione

After fueling up on world-famous art and admiring imposing architecture, embrace Milan’s tranquilly sophisticated side within Parco Sempione. This expansive urban park offers the perfect place to rest or picnic surrounded by statuesque fountains, beds of vibrant flowers and green lawns.

Kids can shake off excess energy at the playground while you sip an espresso at the traditional café. Culture lovers shouldn’t miss the park’s prominent Arc of Peace triumphal arch or 15th century Sforza Castle filled with artistic treasures waiting to be uncovered.

Appreciate that Sempione Park’s lush greenery provides a serene escape from Milan’s bustling streets. Let your mind wander while strolling the walking trails past ponds, bridges and even a public library nestled into the natural setting.

Trendy Porta Nuova Neighborhood : One day in Milan

Milan seamlessly fuses historic elegance with contemporary urban flair, especially evident in the modern Porta Nuova district. This newly developed hub overflows with sleek architecture in audacious shapes clad in gleaming glass and metal. The innovative 45-floor Bosco Verticale even boasts living trees embedded within its eye-catching tiered apartments.

While residential high-rises may not allow interior exploring, their bold exteriors prove perfect for photo ops. The City Life public garden displays colorful avant-garde sculptures by renowned artists.

Or visit Italy’s acclaimed Triennale Museum for cutting-edge building design and frequent thought-provoking exhibitions.

When cravings hit, Porta Nuova entices with chic pavement cafés, wine bars and restaurants catering to business power lunches. For serious retail therapy, hit the shops inside the iconic spiral-domed luxury mall nicknamed The Guggenheim.

Porta Nuova brilliantly balances style and sustainability with green spaces interwoven between buildings, bike paths and pedestrian walkways. Discover what the future of urban living looks like at one of Milan’s most vibrant business and nightlife districts.

Historic Navigli District Canals: One day in Milan

As evening descends during your whirlwind Milan adventure, make time to wander the atmospheric Navigli neighborhood south of Porta Genova station. Known as Milan’s “Little Venice”, Navigli charms visitors along its picturesque canal banks lined with cafés, boutiques, galleries and nightlife venues.

The Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese canals originally facilitated Venice-style transport of marble and other supplies that helped build Milan’s cathedral and monuments. Perfectly preserved canal-side streets still feel laidback, artistic and full of wanderlust.

Join locals sipping Aperol Spritz cocktails or smooth vino at canalside terraces. Entertainment abounds with street performers, antique and flower markets, independent cinemas, jazz clubs and traditional trattorias dishing up regional foods.

Navigli reveals Milan’s casual attitude through couples, families and friends laughing over Italian happy hour until late into the evening. Its vibrant canal culture makes for an idyllic, romantic conclusion to an action-packed one day tour.

Other notable things to see one day Milan itinerary (if time permits):

  • Maria delle grazie
  • braidense national library
  • piazza della scala
  • castello sforzesco 

Where to Eat and Drink: 1 day in milan

Fueling up between sightseeing is a great chance to savor Italian culinary delights. For delicious bites on the go, grab pizza al trancio (by the slice) or panzerotti fried pockets filled with cheese and tomatoes from countless bakeries. Or enjoy bruschetta, cured meats and cheese at an enoteca wine bar.

Aerial View of the Mila Cathedral in Italy

If you want a more leisurely multi-course meal, make reservations at restaurants near key attractions. Duomo-area gems like Peck Italian Bar or Cracco serve refined versions of traditional Lombardy specialties like ossobuco veal shank. For amazing steaks, seafood risotto or pasta, Lume and Sadler are excellent fine dining options.

To experience Milanese nightlife, Navigli overflows with casual pizzerias, trattorias and osterias for refreshing Aperol spritz cocktails and local vino. Or try cocktails and people-watching at chic lounge-style cafés in Porta Nuova.

Wherever you choose to wine and dine, Milan delivers an amazing Italian culinary adventure between ticking off those bucket list sights!

Where to Stay one day Milan

With extensive ground to cover in only 24 hours, staying near major attractions allows sleeping in without stressing about transportation. The area around Stazione Centrale train station puts you close to the metro and top sites like the Duomo, Sforza Castle and galleries.

Shopaholics should consider central locations near the luxury Quadrilatero della Moda high fashion district. For trendier nightlife, hotels near Porta Nuova or Navigli add urban flair.

Milan accommodations range from friendly budget hotels and hostels to dazzling 5-star luxury. Whether you desire polished old-world ambiance or sleek contemporary design, unique historic properties or business-class high-rises, options abound fitting every style and budget.

Narrow your preferences using an online search tool, then book early. Special events like Fashion Week or big football matches send demand surging quickly. Knowing where you’ll stay ahead of time allows concentrate on creating the perfect 1 day Milan adventure.

1 day in milan itinerary: best things to do in milan 

Here is a customizable way to experience Milan’s top sights and lesser-known local favorites based on your personal interests:

Morning:  what to see in milan

Transportation: Metro Lines 1, 2 and 3

  • Duomo di Milano / Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
    • Beat the crowds by arriving at the Piazza del Duomo when the Duomo rooftop terraces open at 9am (remember to dress modestly covering shoulders and knees).
    • Early access allows soaking up views and architecture details before group tours arrive.
    • Spend 1-2 hours here before heading across to the Galleria’s luxury boutiques and ornate nineteenth century architecture.

OR

  • Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”
    • Make seeing this rare, fragile mural a top priority by booking tickets online far in advance. Guided tours provide skip-the-line entry and art insight but often sell out fast.
    • Arrive by 8:30am to pass through security checks before your scheduled viewing time.
    • Spending just 15 minutes beholding Da Vinci’s emotional, exquisitely painted scene of Jesus and apostles at their final Passover meal leaves a lasting impression.
    • Allow 1-2 hours total including transportation.

Optional Add-on: – Browse La Scala Opera House Displays: Even if unable to tour extensively, appreciate the fame of this renowned venue by admiring artifacts in the onsite museum (Via Filodrammatici, 2).

Early Afternoon Milan in one day 

Transportation: Walk or Metro Lines 1, 3

  • Parco Sempione / Sforza Castle
    • Escape crowded streets to chill for 60-90 minutes within Milan’s largest public garden. People-watch strolling past sculptures and fountains, tour the castle’s artistic treasures or grab an espresso at the café near ornate towers dating back to the 1500s.

Lunch Options: – Pizza or Panzerotti To Go: No time for a leisurely lunch? Continue fueling your epic Milan sightseeing at a grab-and-go spot like luxe food emporium Peck Italian Bar (Via Spadari, 9) or Ciao Pizza for quick, delicious pizza al taglio slices (Viale Bligny, 42). – Triennale Design Museum Restaurant: For a sophisticated sit-down lunch, the museum eatery overlooks Parco Sempione with creative Italian cuisine and sleek ambiance (Viale Emilio Alemagna, 6). Reserve online beforehand.

Late Afternoon in One day in milan

Transportation: Metro Lines 2, 5, Green; Trams 12, 14

  • Porta Nuova Neighborhood
    • Milan fuses historic elegance with contemporary architecture, especially evident around this modern business hub and residential area. Spend 60-90 minutes gawking up at the rhomboid mirror-glass Diamond Tower, green leafy Bosco Verticale residence towers or avant-garde arty public spaces.

Optional culture stop: – Hang Out In Navigli Canal District: If skipping Porta Nuova, take Metro 2 towards Porta Genova to wander the hip, youthful Navigli neighborhood. Peruse quirky boutiques, galleries and flea markets for 60-90 minutes before canal-side aperitivo cocktails.

Early Evening what to do milan italy 

Transportation: Metro Lines 2, 12; Trams 2, 14

  • Aperitivo Hour
    • Wherever you spend the late afternoon, join locals during early evening spritz o’clock. Navigli overflows with canal-side bars and eateries perfect for lingering. Or try Porta Nuova for swanky skyscraper lounges and creative craft cocktails. Spend 60-90 minutes on appetizers and drinks while discussing favorite Milan moments.

Dinner Options:

Local Milan Finds: Dine at a Navigli pizzeria, trattoria or osteria like cozy Da Giacomo (Alzaia Naviglio Grande, 32). Expect bustling crowds and wait staff bustling between packed tables serving very authentic regional cuisine.

Refined Upscale Fare: If you prefer polished plated presentations, book ahead at stylish venues like Sadler restaurant near Duomo for creative takes on Milanese meat and seafood dishes (Via Ascanio Sforza, 77). You’ll pay more but service feels extra attentive.

This flexible customizable itinerary allows mixing and matching top Milan attractions, neighborhoods, museums and dining suited to your travel party’s interests. Just be sure to use metro passes to maximize time efficiency shuttling around Italy’s capital of style and sophistication.

With advance planning using these Milan 1 day travel tips, you can confidently conquer all the beauty and surprises La Bella Milano hides around every corner. Enjoy creating wonderful Italian memories discovering why visitors just passing through find themselves eagerly falling head over heels for Milan!

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