There are few places in the world as unique as Milan. You might be thinking about spending just a single day in the city center, but you would be cheating yourself out of a special experience by cutting your trip this short. There are so many things that you absolutely must see and do in Milan, and if you shorten your Milan itinerary to just a day, you will not be able to do the city justice. From delicious street food to incredible museums and beautiful garden locations, there are many extraordinary things to keep you entertained in this city.
The first order of business when you head to Milan is to make sure that your bags are not going to slow you down. When you plan your 3 days in Milan, you need to make sure that you have a plan to store your luggage safely. When your bags are taken care of, you can enjoy everything from an art gallery to a free walking tour while you are visiting Milan while retaining your peace of mind.
Once your bags are safe and secure, you will be ready to plan the most memorable 3 days in Milan itinerary of all time!
Milan Itinerary - Day 1
The center of the city will be right on hand when you arrive at Malpensa Airport or Bergamo Airport. When you land in the city in the morning, you will be set up to go enjoy all of the best food and the sights and sounds of the city first thing. You might want to take day one a little easy since you could be jetlagged or just tired from travel. This day one plan will take into account that you might want to rest a little bit before you have a busy day.
If you have started your days in Milan early enough for a cup of coffee and a pastry, you will need to head to Malia. This is a place that serves everything from full breakfasts to pastries and cappuccino. You can sit down to eat at this cute little shop or grab and go so that you can get busy seeing other things in the city center.
Your first stop should be the Unesco world heritage site, Santa Maria Delle Grazie. This Dominican Convent has been around since the 15th century, and it is the home of The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. Santa Maria Delle Grazie is also a great place to see some incredible architecture, from stained glass windows to flying buttresses. Seeing da Vinci's Last Supper is at the top of most people's lists, so you will want to attend to this early in your trip. You can spend about an hour here at Santa Maria, or maybe a little more, and then you might be ready for something else to do.
Before getting your lunch, you will want to make a stop at the Duomo Cathedral. This is one of the most incredible sites in the entire city center area, and the Duomo Cathedral has been in existence since the 1300s. This location offers access to a stunning apse complete with gorgeous and colorful stained glass as well as flying buttresses and incredible art. This location is just as much about art as your visit to see the Last Supper. The outside of this site is all spires, towering heights, and beautiful architecture. The inside of the Duomo Cathedral is moving in entirely different ways that are just as relevant.
When hunger strikes, head to La Locanda del Gatto Rosso for homemade pasta, delightful bread, and delicious desserts and cakes. This is one of the colorful and lively market locations in the city that also offers up access to the amazing Milan street food that is as authentic as the Duomo itself. You will be able to eat your fill here and rest up before you move on to your next plans for the later hours of your days in Milan.
To round out a day filled with art and history, you will want to spend the next hours before dinner and drinks in the Brera District. This part of the city offers you access to fashion, design, and art. You will find a different experience here than what you enjoyed when you visited the Last Supper, but this is not an art gallery. This is a living and moving and shifting avenue full of life and new talent making itself known. This very first night in the city center should be casual so that you can really breathe in the experience that is Milan. This area of the city center is perfect for connecting with Milan in a personal way that you won't soon forget.
When hunger strikes, you will have your choice of eateries, bars, and more in this area. This is a place in the city that is not one of the popular destinations with tourists, so you will have an authentic dinner for your first night in town. Sit down at Vecchia Brera for dinner in a place that feels like a film set from a film noir. You will love the crepes, wine, and aperitifs on the menu here, and the cozy and authentic location will put you at ease.
Milan Itinerary - Day 2
This day should be all about shopping, and you could easily spend more than a few days shopping when you are in Milan. When you are looking for Milan travel tips, shopping will always be near the top of the list. Working in shopping in Milan in 3 days is not simple, but you can keep things to the essentials with a little focus.
Consider having a charming and delicious breakfast at Pavé or another sit-down breakfast spot. Make sure to get a cappuccino and a pastry, or you can elect to have a real sit-down breakfast if you have the time. Your first stop for shopping in the city center is not far from any of these breakfast spots, so you can take some time during your 3 days in Milan to make the most of every meal.
The first shopping mall location that you need to visit is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. This lovely location is a historical shopping center that was named for the first king of Italy. The incredible work of art that is the glass and iron dome at the heart of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II will take your breath away.
Built in the 1800s, this lovely four-story double arcade is quaint, special, and bustling with things to do and see. You can easily wander and take in the sights and sounds here while you enjoy window shopping, or you can buy designer clothes, purses, and much more from the many stores and shops inside the Galleria.
Head to the nearby Bar Grossi for an authentic and delightful lunch that moves at the slow and luxurious pace that Italy is known for. Order off the menu of Italian classics or pick from their vegetarian and vegan options. Enjoy a glass of wine and watch the world go by for a bit. Afternoons are often a time of relaxation and rest in this part of the world, and you should take part in this authentic afternoon experience.
If a leisurely meal is not on your list of things to do on this second day of your trip, you can fill up your afternoon with an educational and informative walking tour. There are many of these tours on offer in the city centre area and they might take you around to see all the amazing architecture in the city or you might enjoy a tour of the most important cultural locations in Milan from government buildings to market squares like the Piazza del Duomo. If you love being busy, taking a break from shopping to enjoy a walking tour can be a great idea.
If you have had your fill of shopping during the day, you can move on to dinner at this point in the evening, but you might want to drop by the Porta Nuova District to close out your night. There are local sellers offering wares here from time to time, as well as shops and lots of things to see. This is one of the centers of nightlife in the city, and you can't spend 3 days in Milan without heading here for at least one night.
Close out your evening with a leisurely meal or a pub dinner in one of the many really delicious upscale eateries or bars in this location before heading back to your hotel. If you have planned your visit to Milan during the Christmas season, you can head to the Christmas Market and spend a few hours here shopping through local handcrafted items and art before you sit down to eat. Christmas in Milan is always special, and you should not neglect the Christmas Market at night if you are in town at the right time.
Milan Itinerary - Day 3
This final day should be devoted to enjoying the good weather if you are in the city in the summer. There are many amazing music festivals to check out from late May to September, and you might want to put one of these events on your list of things to do on the last day you are in Milan.
Consider this day a free day to fill up as you wish. You could choose to wander the city and see where your feet take you, or maybe you want to spend today going on a day trip to a lovely and memorable place like Lake Como. This is probably the best use of your last day in this amazing part of the world, and Lake Como is one of the most popular luxury getaway locations in the world for a good reason. If you are not planning this day to attend a music festival, you will need to book a day trip to Lake Como for sure.
Make sure to plan some time for breakfast near your hotel, or grab some coffee and a pastry to go before heading to the train station or the dock to catch the ferry. Both methods of getting to Como offer you different experiences, so you will have to decide which form of travel tickles your fancy the most.
Once you arrive in Como, you need to wander through the narrow little streets full of brightly-colored buildings and cobblestones. You will love the feel of this historic city, and its charm cannot be overstated. You might want to visit the Melsi Gardens, shop in one of the street markets for some art made by a local, or have lunch at a sidewalk cafe. One of the other things that you should make sure to consider doing, is to rent a water taxi or a boat to drive you around the lake and let you see everything that the town of Como has to offer. This can cost about 150 euros, but it is worth it to see this world-famous lake area.
If you have not made evening plans for this last day of your trip, make sure to look into seeing the opera at the Teatro Alla Scala. You can easily spend the whole day at Lake Como, and you will not have time for this last bit of Milanese culture, but it is a great idea to try and fit in a theatre visit if you have the time while you're in Milan. This theater is not only historical. It is beautiful, lavish, and special. You will think of The Phantom of the Opera when you step inside, and the productions that are put on here are delightful. Make sure to think about a late dinner after the show, or grab a drink at a nearby bar of your choice before heading back to your hotel.
3 Days in Milan is Almost Not Enough
There are so many things to do and see in the city of Milan that 3 days in Milan is almost not enough time to take in everything that this place has to offer. From the Santa Maria Delle Grazie to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II to the Piazza Del Duomo, you can fill your days with culture and history with ease. You will also have access to amazing food, enjoy museums, and you are a stone's throw from the famous Lake Como.
No matter how you choose to plan your Milan in 3 days trip, you will want to be sure that you put your luggage into secure storage before you start enjoying your perfect Milan itinerary. When you visit Milan, you will want to have the peace of mind that your bags are safe before you head out to take in all that Milan in 3 days can mean!