Milan is a great starting point for exploring Northern Italy. While Milan itself has a few great tourist attractions, exploring the area surrounding this bustling city will give you a much greater appreciation for this area of Northern Italy.
Milan is a great starting point for exploring Northern Italy. A beautiful historical destination in itself, Milan provides great connections for some gorgeous day trips. Come along with me as we explore my favorite day trips from Milan Italy.
The old Peter’s Bridge (Ponte Pietra) connects Verona across river Adige
See my photos from Verona
Verona is my favorite day trip from Milan. I love the medieval old town with the Roman arena and the beautiful Ponte Pietra. And of course, I cannot forget that Verona was Romeo and Juliet’s town.
Best Things to See in Verona
Piazza Bra and the Roman amphitheater are the first attractions you will most likely see in Verona if you enter the town through Porta Nova. They are both worthwhile attractions and it’s worth your time to not rush through them.
Castelvecchio is a beautiful medieval castle on your left as you look at the Roman Amphitheater. It’s worth walking over the old bridge and walls and enjoy the beautiful views of the Adige River.
Via Mazzini and Piazza Dele Erbe are usually filled with tourists because Via Mazzini is the main shopping area in Verona and it leads to the beautiful medieval Piazza Dele Erbe.
Walk on Ponte Pietra and enjoy the the beautiful views of the town and surrounding Hills. With the list of tourist attractions and a map in our hands we started exploring Verona on foot. So, come along with me on my walking tour of Verona, Italy.
Walking tour of Verona
Getting to Verona from Milan
The easiest way to get to Verona is to take a local tour from Milan. They take care of transportation and also provide a walking tour.
You can also get to Verona by local train. Taking the train from Milano Centrale train station to Verona Porta Nuova will take about an hour an a half. This short ride will drop you right by the old New Gate (Porta Nuova).
Walking another 20 minutes on Corso Porta Nuova brings you to the very impressive Verona Roman Arena which is in the middle of the beautiful Piazza Bra.
It is completely worth spending the entire day walking through Verona.
2. Sirmione Lake Garda
The entrance to the village of Sirmione through old city walls
See my photos from Sirmione
Sirmione is another favorite day trip from Milan. The amazing location on the southern tip of Lake Garda, coupled with the very visible history make Sirmione an absolute gem worth your efforts to visit.
Best things to See in Sirmione
Piazza Castello and the old town. Old Town Sirmione is the main attraction and it is beautiful. Walk the two narrow streets leading to the end of the peninsula where the Roman ruins are. Make sure you take the few side streets as well as they will lead you to small beaches and piazzas.
Visit Santa Maria Maggiore church. An old small church with impressive murals.
Relax on the small beautiful beaches and even take a swim. There are several public beaches in Sirmione with easy access to Garda Lake.
Visit the San Pietro in Mavino church. Another small country church with simple exterior and old interior art.
Stroll through the Maria Callas park and take a break from the heat.
Visit the ancient ruins of the ritzy Roman Villa and enjoy the view. They are situated at the end of the Sirmione peninsula and they give you amazing views of the surrounding lake and shores.
Sirmione Walking Tour
Getting to Sirmione from Milan
Sirmione is a bit more difficult to reach from Milan since the Sirmione train station is not connected to the train line from Milan. The easiest and fastest way to get to Lake Garda is by a local bus tour.
However, the cheapest way is to take the local train from Milan Central station and get off at Desenzano. This short trip, is under one hour. Once in Desenzano you can pickup Bus number 7B toward Sirmione will will drop you at the castle gates in about 15 minutes. Not too bad.
3. Bellagio Lake Como
Bellagio on Lake Como
Lake Como is a beautiful place and Bellagio is the pearl of the lake! Being very close to Milan, Bellagio should be on your list of places to see while you are in Milan.
Bellagio is so famous that the entire Bellagio resort in Las Vegas has been inspired by this beautiful place.
You cannot get to Bellagio directly by train from Milan, but by a simple combination of train and buses. From the central station in Milan take a train to Como San Giovanni station. From the town of Como ( which you can also visit) take the bus to Bellagio (Lungo Lago Marconi) bus stop. This stop is at the very top of the Bellagio peninsula on Lake Como.
4. Varenna Lake Como
Varenna, Lake Como
Varenna is another iconic lake front community. You can visit the opulent Villa Monastero or simply relax by the lake at Lido di Varenna. You can also take a beautiful walk along the lake front from the large boat dock to the water taxi dock.
Varenna is directly accessible by train from Milano Centrale train station. In just about one hour the train will drop you off very close to the lake shore.
The easiest way to get to Varena from Milan is to take a local tour to Lake Como. Most of these tours include both Bellagio and Varena and sometimes a boat ride from Bellagio to Varena which is very beautiful especially on a sunny day.
You can also get to Varena easily by local train from Milano Central station. Trains are frequent and the ride is very short.
The old port of Genoa (Porto Antico di Genoa) with a beautiful panorama of the colorful buildings spread on the hills in the background.
See my photos from Genoa
Genoa is a large city with its old town spread from the port area to the nearby hills. Walking through the narrow streets of Genoa uphill is a pleasant experience when you get great views of the city from the top of the hill.
Best Things to See in Genoa
Stroll around the old port of Genoa, also called Porto Antico. The old port area of Genoa is a fun place to explore even for children.
Walk uphill on Via San Lorenzo to the Cathedral of San Lorenzo and further to Cristophor Columbus’s birthplace. Walk slowly along Via San Lorenzo as you make your way through the narrow street up the hill.
Make your way uphill to Piazza Ferrari. The beautiful fountain in front of the old palace is a great place to stop and admire the architecture. From here you can also walk on the arched Via XX Settembre which is filled with luxury shops.
Walk on Via Garibaldi and take in all the shops and very ornate buildings. This is the most touristy street in Genova, but for good reason. Take the elevator to Belvedere Casteletto and enjoy the best view of Genova.
Genoa Walking Tour
Plan Your Day Trips from Milan
Booking a local tour from Milan to any of these beautiful destinations will save you lots of time and will ensure you get to see the best attractions in each of these towns.
Find budget hotels in Milan. With thousands of hotels in and around Milan you can find a great place to stay.
Taking a local train ensures you get to visit these places the cheapest way, but not the fastest.