Not always included in classic Italy itineraries, many travelers don’t spend more than 2 days in Milan. Dubbed Italy’s Wall Street, often the city is a business destination. If you only have limited time, here is a full guide to how to enjoy 48 hours in Milan with suggestions on where to eat and where to stay.
At the end of the article, you will find our suggestions on where to eat close to the landmarks you are visiting and some hotels convenient for both price and location.
Less time available?
Find out what to do in Milan in 1 day only!
Is 2 days in Milan enough?
Two days in Milan is enough to visit all its most famous landmarks such as the Duomo, the Last Supper, and Castello Sforzesco. If you are into shopping, you can either stop in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele near the Duomo or take a short walk to popular shopping streets such as Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga, and Corso Venezia.
Is Milan worth visiting for a weekend?
Milan is a great city break for a weekend. Compact and vibrant, you can have a super exciting weekend in Milan.
Through its several airports, the city is very well connected with other European cities and capitals. You can find direct flights to Milan from cities like London, Edimburgh, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, Madrid, Brussels, and other Italian cities like Rome, Naples, Palermo, Bari, and Cagliari.
There are also several airlines that connect Milan to non-European countries so you have direct flights from Dubai, Doha, Istanbul, Tunis, Marrakech, Cairo, and Tel Aviv. These are obviously more expensive, but if you want to plan a cool weekend that combines trendy shopping, cool aperitifs, and cultural sightseeing, Milan is definitely your destination.
Visit Milan in 2 days – Day 1
Start early with Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper
Famous worldwide, the beautiful mural painting by Leonardo Da Vinci depicting the last meal Christ had with His Apostles is one of the best things to see in Milan in 2 days.
Located in the refectory of the UNESCO-listed Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, The Last Supper can be seen with prior reservation. Once there, you can only stay 15 minutes in the refectory where is the painting. After that, you will be led to the next room to carry on with your tour and let the next group in.
My suggestion is to book a guided tour so that everything will be arranged for you and your guide will tell you about the history behind the painting as well as the Dominican Convent where it is displayed.
Visit the Duomo
A stroll to the Duomo is a must for any first-timer planning their Milan 2-day itinerary. After you snapped the mandatory pictures of the cathedral’s facade, step inside and admire the grand interior.
You can also go up the rooftop and enjoy the city skyline from the beautiful terrace where once locals even used to organize their weekend picnics.
The ticket for the Duomo is 3€, to go up to the terraces 10 if you climb the stairs and 14 if you take the elevator. The fast-track ticket to the terraces with the elevator is 23€.
Go prepared and book your ticket online in advance!
Milan Duomo and Rooftop Ticket
Fast-Track Ticket Milan Duomo and Terrace Guided Tour
Stroll around Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
Right next to the Duomo is the city’s “parlour”. Take a walk in the classic covered gallery, do some window shopping and grab a table at one of the historic coffee shops.
On the floor of the gallery, you will see a mosaic depicting a bull. According to the myth, making a rotation on top with your heel on the bull’s genitals will ensure your going back to Milan. This ritual is so appreciated by visitors that the mosaic is often under renovation.
Built between 1865 and 1877, the iconic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is one of the world’s oldest shopping centers. Its charm and proximity to the Duomo make it a popular stop, so you are very likely to visit the gallery in your two days in Milan for a walk or a drink.
Duck into the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore
After visiting the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, you can make your way towards the Navigli canals either on foot or using tram n. 2, 3, or 4. Before reaching the Navigli, I suggest you stop at the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore.
The oldest church in Milan and one of the oldest in Italy, San Lorenzo Maggiore was built on the site of an early-Christian worship place and was consecrated in the early 5th century. It appears a fascinating mix of architectural styles from the Renaissance to the Baroque, even with Byzantine features.
The area of the Navigli, the canals that run along the Alzaia, Ripa del Naviglio Grande, Via Valenza up to Via Carlo Darwin, are a favorite area both day and night.
I suggest you get there in the afternoon so you can join a cruise along the canals or simply have a walk and enjoy the view, the shops and the bars and restaurants. The Navigli is famous for its nightlife, so you can stop here for an aperitif, dinner, and after-dinner drink.
Along the Navigli, you can also stroll around the stalls of the Mercato Comunale and shop for some local products. Or visit historic places such as churches and bridges.
Visit Milan in 2 Days – Day 2
Explore Pinacoteca di Brera
Start early at Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan’s main art gallery. It showcases important masterpieces such as The Dead Christ and Three Mourners by Andrea Mantegna, The Marriage of the Virgin by Raphael, Supper at Emmaus by Caravaggio, The Virgin with Child, Angels and Saints by Piero della Francesca, and The Finding of the Body of Saint Mark by Tintoretto.
You can devote as little as an hour and then carry on with the other sights planned for the second day of your itinerary.
- Address: Via Brera 28.
- Opening hours: Every day 8.30 am-7.15 pm. Closed on Monday, January 1st, and December 25th.
- Admission: 15€.
Pay a visit to the Sforza Castle
The historic residence of the powerful Sforza dynasty, Castello Sforzesco is an interesting and central landmark to include in your Milan 2-day itinerary. Inside, it hosts museums and exhibitions, so you can visit the castle outside and inside.
Built in the 15th century by the order of Francesco Sforza, today it is one of Milan’s symbols. As soon as you arrive, enjoy the majesty of the exterior architecture made with imposing gates, towers and a large courtyard.
Don’t leave before paying a visit also inside the castle. The same ticket will buy an entrance to the different museums such as the Archaeological Museum which includes one of the most important Egyptian museums in Italy, after the one in Turin.
You can also view the paintings of artists such as Canaletto, Mantegna and Correggio in the Pinacoteca, or a collection of sculptures, objects and masterpieces from the Middle Ages and Renaissance in the Museum of Ancient Art.
Take a stroll in Parco Sempione
Who doesn’t feel like taking a break and enjoying some greenery? Parco Sempione is a favorite city park easy to reach by metro (line 1-Red and 2-Green), tram and several buses. But if you are coming from Sforza Castle, you are already in the park.
What can you do in Sempione Park? Plenty. You can go walking, jogging, biking, or even playing basketball and volleyball on the dedicated courts. If you decided to visit Milan in 2 days with your family, the kids will love their playground with castles and swings. The park includes also an area for dogs, perfect for those traveling to Milan with their pet.
But that’s not all. Every day there are volunteer guides that organize tours to discover the species of plants living in the park, in summer there are plenty of concerts, the evening you can enjoy an aperitif in one of the bars scattered around the park.
Along with the Sforza Castle, inside Parco Sempione, you can also visit the other historic monuments such as the Branca Tower, the Civic Arena, Palazzo della Triennale, Arco della Pace, and the large Aquarium.
Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo Da Vinci
Once you are done with the Sforza Castle and the park, visiting Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia is a nice way to complete your Last Supper visit the day before. An all-round genius, if you are into science, exploring Leonardo Da Vinci’s discoveries is always worth it.
This museum is a celebration of science and technology. If you are a fan, don’t miss it.
- Address: Via San Vittore 21.
- Opening hours: in winter every day 9.30 am-5 pm (Saturday and Sunday until 6.30 pm), in summer every day 10 am-6 pm (Saturday and Sunday until 7 pm). Closed on Monday, December 24th and 25th, and January 1st.
- Admission: 10€.
Milan is famous for being Italy’s fashion city, so if you are into the new trends, take a stroll to the famous shopping streets and get ready to fork out good cash.
What is the main shopping street in Milan? There are many, obviously. Head to San Babila square: from there, the most famous Milan shopping streets branch off. Enjoy the shops lined up along Via Montenapoleone, the most popular and luxurious, Via della Spiga, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Via Sant’Andrea and Corso Buenos Aires among others.
What is Milan famous for shopping? The first thing that comes to mind is certainly fashion, so clothes, shoes and accessories of all sorts. In Milan, you will find the most luxurious and expensive brands, especially on the main shopping streets. But if you don’t want to break the bank, you will also see smaller shops off the main roads selling beautiful and probably more unique pieces.
What else should you buy in Milan? If you are looking for a touristy gift, around the popular landmarks, you will find the typical souvenirs such as magnets, keyrings, etc. If you are visiting Milan around Christmas time, Panettone is the typical cake. Should you decide to buy one, prefer bakeries to mass distribution stores.
Spend an evening at the Scala Opera House
Visit the famous Opera House La Scala where legends like Pavarotti and Maria Callas performed and where operas by Verdi, Puccini and Rossini among others were played.
You can visit the interesting museum of the opera house to see objects and documents of the artists and orchestra directors that at some point worked there.
Obviously, if you feel like spoiling yourself with an exclusive evening of beauty, music and art, you can book your seat at one of the concerts and operas. Check out the official website for the calendar.
Where to eat on your two-day Milan trip
Nerino Dieci Trattoria (Via Nerino 10) is a favorite among locals and a 10-minute walk away from Piazza Duomo, so very handy. They serve local cuisine, which makes it a good choice if it’s your first trip.
Also close to the Duomo, some 15 minutes walking, is Pizza AM (Corso di Porta Romana 83), inexpensive and one of the best pizza in Milan.
For a quick and delicious sandwich on the go, give All’Antico Vinaio (Via Lupetta 12) a try. It’s located between the Duomo and the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore so easy to reach by walking and a handy alternative for a fast-food-style lunch.
If you want to treat yourself to some fine Italian and northern Italian cuisine, head to Nabucco (Via Fiori Chiari 10) and VUN Andrea Aprea (Via Silvio Pellico 3), facing Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.
Between the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore and the Navigli is Milan’s venue of the famous Roman restaurant Felice a Testaccio (Via del Torchio 4). Serving great Roman dishes, this is a fantastic option for dinner if you are hungry and don’t have time to get to the Navigli, where you can go later for an after-dinner drink.
Where to stay in Milan on a 2-day trip
We very much enjoyed our stay at Hotel delle Nazioni, not far from Milan’s Stazione Centrale. It was central, well-served by public transport, very clean, and inclusive of all the facilities we needed. All for a reasonable price. Click here to see rates and availability and to book.
- High-end. For a 5-star stay, check out names like Château Monfort – Relais & Châteaux close to the exclusive shopping streets and Park Hyatt Milano right in front of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.
- Mid-range. If you are looking for great accommodation check out Palazzo Cornalia near the main train station, Hotel Pierre Milano, and Antica Locanda dei Mercanti not far from the city center.
- Budget. An easy option for smart and budget hotels in Milan is Starhotels Ritz and Aparthotel Meneghino.
- Cheap. For cheap accommodation in Milan, you might need to get a bit far from the city center. Some options include Ostello Bello Grande hostel, Camere delle Rose near the Navigli, and B&B Giolì in the Porta Vittoria area.
- Apartment. If you prefer to book an apartment, some good options close to the city center are AHD Rooms and Casa 50.
Get around Milan
Since you are staying only 2 days in Milan, all the major landmarks are pretty much easy to reach on foot. More so if you book a hotel in the city center.
If you are staying out of the historic center or you don’t want to walk much, you can opt for the local public transport service, ATM. Milan has a pretty widespread and well-organized network of buses, metro, and trams. You can download their app and purchase and show the tickets from your smartphone.
For Milan city center, you can buy tickets covering the areas M1, M2, and M3. The single ticket for these zones costs 2€ and is valid for 90 minutes, the daily ticket is 7€, the 3-day ticket 12€, and the carnet with 10 single tickets 18€.
- Tip: Buy a Milan Pass City Card to enjoy discounted admissions and a 48-hour public transport ticket.
Is Milan a walkable city?
One of the best things about Milan that makes it a great destination for a short 2-day trip is that it’s very walkable. In only one day, I visited the Duomo, walk around the neighborhood, wandered around the Sforza Castle, saw The Last Supper, and enjoy an aperitif and a lovely dinner at the Navigli.
If you have two days and want to add more sites, you can always rely on public transport because it’s very efficient and will certainly help optimize your limited time.
READ MORE: How to plan a trip to Italy
Great tours and walks in Milan
Since you have so little time, you can consider taking some tours to see more places.
- Milan: Duomo and The Last Supper Skip-the-Line Guided Tour. This 3-hour tour will take you to Milan’s Duomo, to Santa Maria delle Grazie church to see Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, and to Castello Sforzesco.
- Fast-Track Milan Cathedral and Terraces Guided Tour. This small group tour lasts an hour and a half and includes a skip-the-line entrance to the Duomo and also access to the terraces and the archaeological area.
- Historical Walking Tour and The Last Supper Ticket. With this 3-hour tour, you will visit most of Milan’s historical landmarks including the Duomo, Da Vinci’s Last Supper, the Sforza Castle, La Scala opera theater, and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.
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