Best Milan Itinerary for 3 days – Top Sights and Itinerary Ideas

April 15, 2024

< back to blog home

Whether you’re just starting to explore Italy or already have your flights booked, Milan deserves a spot on your itinerary!

This captivating city is called the Fashion Capital of Italy for good reason, and offers the perfect blend of history, architecture, food, and (of course) incredible fashion!

But with so much to see, navigating Milan in just three days can feel overwhelming. We got you covered!
We’ve spent days exploring Milan’s iconic landmarks and a day trip to Cinque Terre.

This Milan itinerary for 3 days will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime – from the Duomo di Milano in Piazza del Duomo, to Castello Sforzesco, to the Tour of Da Vinci’s Last Supper and Church of Santa Maria, to the luxurious shopping of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II!

We’ll also be covering the top sights, how to space out the activities for the optimal walking path, when to best visit Milan, how to get to Milan, where to stay, and the best day trips from Milan.

Get ready to wander through charming piazzas, marvel at Renaissance architecture, and soak up the city’s vibrant energy!

Top Sights for Your 3 Days in Milan Itinerary

Duomo di Milano

The TOP thing you must do when visiting Milan is to visit the Duomo di Milano, the symbol of Milan’s architectural scene and one of the most beloved landmarks in Italy’s fashion capital. This magnificent Gothic cathedral, the third largest in the world, has captivated visitors for centuries with its intricate marble façade, soaring spires and terraces, and awe-inspiring stained-glass windows.

Before visiting the Milan Duomo, read our guide on Milan Duomo’s strict dress code, and learn what to wear and what not to wear!

Construction began in 1386 and spanned over six centuries, reflecting the evolution of Gothic architecture. We highly recommend booking a fast track ticket to both the Cathedral and Duomo Terraces rooftop for breathtaking panoramic views of the city, then venture into the terraces of the cathedral to marvel at its intricate carvings and sculptures. You can also opt for a guided tour of Duomo di Milano and here is the best one.

Did you know that the Milan Cathedral is still under construction after 6 centuries? New statues are still being carved out as we speak!

As a couple exploring Milan, one of our most memorable experiences was visiting the awe-inspiring Duomo di Milano. We were absolutely mesmerized by the intricate details of the façade and the stunning roof top terraces!

Piazza Del Duomo (Cathedral Square) City Center

Piazza del Duomo, the bustling square surrounding the Duomo di Milano, serves as the epicenter of Milan’s social and cultural life. Teeming with life, this piazza offers a captivating blend of architectural buildings, lively cafes, and bustling shops.

Spend a couple of hours shopping or admire the grandeur of the Palazzo Reale, the former royal palace, or indulge in a leisurely aperitivo and cappuccinos at one of the many cafes. We loved leisurely strolling and shopping, taking in the lively atmosphere and admiring the impressive architecture!

It’s the ideal place to sip on a cup of Italian espresso while people-watching and soaking up the vibrant energy of Milan!

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Step into the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a stunning 19th-century arcade that epitomizes Milan’s elegance and luxury. This captivating luxury mall and passageway is one of the world’s oldest shopping malls!

You’ll be surprised to see that it’s decorated with ornate glass vaults and intricate ironwork, and houses a collection of upscale boutiques, iconic brands like Dior and Chanel, renowned restaurants, and historic cafes.

The soaring glass dome and ornate architecture provided a stunning backdrop for a romantic stroll. We indulged in some shopping and treated ourselves to coffee at one of the charming cafes in this iconic landmark.

Castello Sforzesco (Sforzesco Castle)

No visit to Milan would be complete without exploring the historic Castello Sforzesco.

Castello Sforzesco, a formidable 15th-century fortress, has witnessed centuries of Milan’s history. Once the residence of the Sforza family, the castle now houses a collection of museums, art galleries, and cultural institutions.

Explore the Pinacoteca di Brera, home to renowned Italian masterpieces, or delve into the Museo del Castello Sforzesco, showcasing artifacts from the castle’s rich past. Wander through the castle’s courtyards and gardens, imagining the grandeur of bygone eras.

This imposing fortress houses museums and art collections, providing insight into Milan’s rich cultural heritage. We were captivated by the grandeur of the castle and had so much fun during our photoshoot exploring its grounds, imagining ourselves as medieval nobility roaming the ancient halls!

The best place to book your ticket to Sforza Castle is here, and it comes with a self-guided digital audio guide where you can explore the museum and art collection at your own pace. For a guided tour, this Sforza Castle and Michelangelo’s Pietà Rondanini Tour is a great 5 star rated tour, perfect for art and history lovers!

Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace)

Located at the western end of Corso Sempione, the Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace) stands as a majestic tribute to peace and victory. Commissioned by Napoleon in 1807, this neoclassical monument features intricate sculptures depicting scenes of conquest and triumph.

Santa Maria delle Grazie (Church of Santa Maria)

Santa Maria delle Grazie, a Dominican convent, houses one of the world’s most celebrated artistic treasures: Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” This awe-inspiring mural, depicting Jesus Christ’s final meal with his apostles, is a testament to da Vinci’s genius. If you love art or if you’re a history buff, you’ll love this Santa Maria delle Grazie tour!

Be sure to reserve tickets in advance to see Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, The Last Supper, at Santa Maria delle Grazie. Witnessing these iconic artworks is a moving experience, and will surely deepen your appreciation for art and history.

Teatro alla Scala

Teatro alla Scala, the world-renowned opera house, is a pinnacle of Milan’s cultural scene. Since its inauguration in 1778, this iconic theater has hosted legendary opera performances, ballet productions, and classical concerts.

If you’re interested in seeing this grandeur theater and learning about its musical geniuses, this is the best guided tour for La Scala Museum and Theater.

Teatro alla Scala is one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world and attending experiencing the enchanting world of opera is definitely a lifetime experience.

Piccolo Teatro in Milan (Little Theatre of Milan)

Another highlight of our romantic weekend in Milan was the Piccolo Teatro di Milano, affectionately known as the “Little Theatre.” Piccolo Teatro di Milano is a renowned institution dedicated to the performing arts, and Italy’s first permanent repertory theater.

This intimate theater, inaugurated in 1947, has hosted a plethora of world class productions, from opera and ballet to contemporary plays and experimental performances.

Parco Sempione (Sempione Park)

Parco Sempione, a romantic city park in the heart of Milan, offers an oasis escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Stroll along tree-lined paths, relax by the tranquil lake, or admire the neoclassical architecture of the nearby majestic Arco della Pace.

We made our way to from the Piazza Del Duomo to Parco Sempione in just a 10 minute walk. This picturesque park offers plenty of spots for couples to enjoy a romantic picnic. We found ourselves lost in conversation as we wandered through the park listening the song birds!

Day #1 – Explore Duomo di Milano and Milan’s City Center

Start your Milan adventure at the iconic Duomo di Milano, a stunning Gothic cathedral that dominates the city skyline. Marvel at the intricate façade adorned with spires and statues, then venture inside to admire the breathtaking stained glass windows and ornate interior.

Before visiting the Milan Duomo, read our guide on Milan Duomo’s dress code, and learn what to wear to meet it’s strict dress code.

Afterward, take a leisurely stroll through Piazza Del Duomo (Cathedral Square), soaking in the lively atmosphere and snapping photos of the grandeur surrounding you.

For a taste of luxury shopping and architectural splendor, head to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, an elegant 19th-century shopping arcade known for its stunning glass dome and high-end boutiques. Take your time exploring the ornate mosaics and intricate details before stopping for a romantic lunch at one of the charming cafes nestled within the arcade.

In the afternoon, wander over to Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace), a majestic neoclassical monument located at the entrance of Parco Sempione. Take a romantic stroll, admire the tranquil lakes and gorgeous views. End your day with a visit to Castello Sforzesco, a magnificent castle housing several museums and art collections, perfect for soaking up Milan’s rich history and culture.

In the evening, enjoy a romantic dinner at one of Milan’s finest restaurants, where you can savor delectable Italian cuisine and cheeses in a cozy, intimate setting.

Video of how the Duomo Milan rooftop terraces look like

Expert Tips for Your First Day in Milan:

  • To avoid long lines at Duomo di Milano, purchase Milan Duomo Fast Track tickets in advance.
  • Don’t miss the chance to visit to the rooftop terraces of the Duomo for panoramic views of the city.
  • Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a great spot for souvenir shopping or indulging in Italian gelato.

Day 2: Discover Milan’s Cultural Gems

Start your second day in Milan with a visit to the historic Piccolo Teatro, Italy’s first permanent repertory theater. Catch a performance or learn about the theater’s illustrious history and its role in shaping Milan’s cultural scene.

Afterward, make your way to Santa Maria delle Grazie tour to marvel at Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, The Last Supper. Be sure to reserve tickets in advance to see Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, The Last Supper, at Santa Maria delle Grazie, as entry is strictly regulated to preserve the art.

Next, immerse yourself in the world of opera at Teatro alla Scala, one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world. Take a guided tour of this gorgeous theater to learn about its grand past and see where legendary opera performances have taken place.

The Piccolo Teatro di Milano, affectionately known as the “Little Theatre” is definitely worth a visit to end the day before some delicious Italian pizza!

Expert Tips for Your Second Day in Milan

  • Advance reservations are essential for both The Last Supper and Teatro alla Scala tours.
  • Consider booking a guided tour to gain deeper insights into the history and significance of these cultural landmarks.
  • End your day with a leisurely stroll through the charming streets of Brera, known for its art galleries, boutiques, and vibrant nightlife.

Day 3: A Day Trip to Cinque Terre from Milan

Stunning photo spots in Cinque Terre for Instagram lovers

Looking for a city to visit after Milan and seeing one of the most beloved buildings in Italy? There are so many great Italian cities to take a day trip from Milan to!

On your final day in Milan, take a day trip out to Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its colorful seaside villages and breathtaking coastal scenery. Catch an early morning train from Milan’s central train station to Monterosso al Mare station, the largest of the five villages.

Once you arrive, spend your day exploring the charming streets, soaking up the sun on the quaint beaches, and capturing memories at the best photo spots in Cinque Terre’s five villages. Don’t miss the opportunity to hike the scenic trails that connect the villages, offering panoramic views of the rugged coastline and terraced vineyards. Check out our Cinque Terre itinerary for more ideas.

Looking for a different day trip from Milan? Consider visiting Venice for one day or the beautiful city of Florence for one day.

If you don’t want to do extra planning and want to have a tour company take care of it all, this Day Trip from Milan to Venice with Guided City Tour and this Day Trip from Milan to Cinque Terre Guided Tour With Cruise are both highly rated with 5 star reviews.

Expert Tips for Your Day Trip from Milan to Cinque Terre:

  • Start your day early to make the most of your time in Cinque Terre and avoid crowds.
  • Pack comfortable walking shoes and plenty of water for hiking between the villages. Our favorite travel shoes for men’s and women’s.
  • Check train schedules in advance and purchase round-trip tickets to ensure a smooth journey back to Milan, or an overnight stay to Cinque Terre.

Where to Stay in Milan

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is best-hotels-milan-895x1024.jpg

We absolutely loved staying at Hotel Indigo Milan for 3 nights, 6 minutes walk from the Duomo di Milano!

Seeing as you’ll be visiting the city for three days, the best place to stay in Milan is the Centro Storico district. This is the city’s center and the ideal area to stay for easy access to the Duomo and top sites.

Book your stay at Hotel Indigo Milan, a luxurious boutique hotel with renaissance charm (and top notch service!), that’s only 6 minutes walk from the Duomo di Milano

Or, if you want something more comforts of a home, the Corte Dei Florio apartment or Sweet Home Downtown Milan are fabulous options for a romantic getaway with a luxurious kitchen and living spaces.

Getting to Milan + Getting around Milan

Heading to Milan from another Italian city? Trains are the easiest and fastest way to travel from city to city across Italy. Deeshen booked ALL our Italy train tickets across 10 cities (including Milan) in less than two hours using the Trenitalia website and app. (I must admit, I was impressed at my husband!)

After arriving in Milan from Venice, we quickly found that our go-to Uber app is not available in every major city in Italy; in fact, there’s only 2 cities that allow Uber Black in Italy (Milan and Rome).

We used Uber Black in Milan to save time and it was very reliable. Check out our 21 Best Italy Travel Apps to download. These apps came in super handy for booking everything from trains, taxis, food, and more.

Ready for Your 3 Days in Milan Trip?

We hope you found this 3 day Milan itinerary helpful with plenty of ideas on how to best spend your time in Milan. Milan’s top sights offer a perfect blend of romance, history, fashion, and culture, making it an ideal destination for every couple and families seeking an unforgettable getaway.

Your unforgettable 3 days in Milan adventure awaits!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *