2 days in Milan: the perfect Itinerary (first time visit)


How to spend 2 days in Milan: The best itinerary + Where to stay

You’re planning to spend 2 days in Milan and you’re looking for the best itinerary?

You’re at the right place!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared for you the perfect itinerary to visit Milan in 2 days.

I will start this guide with my best tips to avoid the long waiting lines (often more than 2 hours!) in front of the most visited tourist sites such as Milan Cathedral and Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper painting.

Then, I will give you my optimized 2-day itinerary to make the most of your stay in the Milan.

In addition to the best places to visit and activities for each stage of your itinerary, I will also give you all my best tips and accommodation suggestions depending on your budget.

So, what are the best things to do in Milan in 2 days? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

My best Tips to save time at Milan’s must-see attractions

It’s impossible to consider a 2-day visit to Milan without seeing the famous Duomo (the cathedral), the city’s must-visit site.

But you might be surprised by the length of the queue that stretches several tens of meters, every day and at any time of the year.

Just like with the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona or the Colosseum in Rome, which are considered as iconic monuments, you often have to wait for hours before being able to enter!

However, it doesn’t have to be this way, as there are several very simple ways to save time during your 2-day trip to Milan.

Let me share with you the 3 best solutions:

1. The Milan Pass

For your 2-day itinerary in Milan, the first solution I recommend is to buy the Milan Pass.

These City Passes, now offered by all major tourist cities, allow you to skip the lines at certain very famous sites. Very practical to use, they also have the advantage of saving you money!

You can reserve your Milan Pass in advance online, and you will receive a confirmation email to print or a reservation voucher on your smartphone. This will allow you to collect your Milan Pass at the Milan tourism office. 

It is located on Via Cusani, opposite the entrance to the Sforza Castle (Cairoli Castello metro stop).

The Milan Pass is valid for 48 hours from its first use (in transport or for a visit).

This Pass is definitely the most comprehensive for visiting Milan in 2 days!

Here’s an overview of what’s included in the Milan Pass:

  • Skip-the-line ticket for Milan’s Cathedral (Duomo) which also includes access to the terraces
  • One free entrance to the Scala Museum and Theatre
  • Free access, to other main tourist sites: the Brera Art Gallery or the Museum of Science and Technology…
  • A book of discounts for bars, restaurants, and certain guided tours during your weekend in Milan.
  • A city map

Feel free to click the green button below for all the details of the activities included.

When purchasing your Milan Pass, you will also get:

  • A ticket for the hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus (City Sightseeing) which allows you to get on and off as you please to see the main attractions
  • A ticket for unlimited use of public transport (metro, tram, and bus) during your entire 48-hour stay in Milan.

A great option if you can’t walk far or if you have young children. By the way, please note that the Milan Pass is free for children under 4 years old. Discounted rate for those between 4 and 11 years old.

To buy your Milan city pass now, just click on the button below:

2. The Milan Digital Pass or Milan City Card

The second option for queue-free sightseeing during your 2-day itinerary in Milan is to get the Milan Digital Pass. 

The principle is the same as for the Milan Pass, with the Milan Digital Pass offering free access and reduced prices for certain tourist attractions.

You will receive the Milan Digital Pass directly by email or through the app. No need to go and collect it once you have arrived in Milan.

The Milan Digital Pass includes:

  • A skip-the-line ticket for Milan’s must-see attraction: the Duomo (+ access to the museum and roof)
  • Priority entrance to Leonardo da Vinci’s Museum of Science and Technology
  • Access to the Ambrosian Gallery
  • An audio guide 
  • A 10% discount on another activity in Milan.

To buy your Milan Digital Pass, you just have to click on the button below:

3. Skip-the-Line Tickets for Milan Tourist Attractions

We’ve reached the last solution to gain fast access to the most visited sites: buy a skip-the-line ticket for each monument or museum, depending on your 2-day Milan visit itinerary.

If you don’t think you’ll get your money’s worth with the Milan Pass or the Milan Digital Pass, this remains a good choice. Especially considering the varied selection of activities available for a weekend in Milan.

I’ve listed only a small selection below but you’ll find them throughout this article.

To book them, it’s once again super simple, you just need to click on the links for each site:

Visiting Milan in 2 Days: The Essentials

One Last Tip for a Perfect 5-Day Stay in Milan

If you already know your travel dates (or as soon as you will have them!), you should really book your accommodation.

As Milan is one of the most touristic cities in the world, the hotels offering the best value for money are often fully booked months in advance.

As a seasoned traveler, I can assure you that it’s always by planning as far in advance as possible that I’ve found the best hotels or apartments deals.

You agree that it would be a shame to somewhat ruin your stay in Milan by ending up in a not-so-great hotel that costed you a fortune, right? 😅

So your best bet is to take 5 minutes now to have a look at traveler’s favorite hotels in Milan.

And if you like one of the hotels you find, book it!

It’s fast, it’s easy and most accommodation offer free cancellation. That’s the best way to protect yourself from the inconvenience of finding nothing but mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.

To check the best hotels deals in Milan, simply click on the green button below:

After securing your dream stay, it’s time to continue reading this guide!

Visiting Milan in 2 Days: The Best Itinerary

Let’s now start your 2-day itinerary in Milan!

For each day, I will give you all the details you need to plan your visits + a map that will allow you to visualize the itinerary a bit better.

I’m assuming you will be staying in Milan for 2 full days and that you will be using the Milan Pass, the Milan Digital Pass or skip-the-line tickets. It’s the best way to save time and money during your stay!

If you still have questions after reading this guide (or need help organizing your holiday), don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments section located at the very end of this article.

I will be glad to help you plan your trip 😄.

So, what are the best places to visit in Milan in 2 days?

Day 1 of Your Milan Itinerary – The Historic Center

2 Days in Milan Itinerary Day 1
2 Days in Milan Itinerary Day 1

Visits for Day 1:

A. Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano)
B. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
C. La Scala Theatre
D. Sforza Castle
E. Sempione Park
F. Chinatown

A. Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano)

To start off your 2-day journey in Milan, let’s head to the iconic Milan Cathedral. It’s the most emblematic monument in the city and a must-see during your weekend in Milan.

This remarkable cathedral, also known as Milan Cathedral, happens to be the third largest cathedral in the world.

Constructed in the 14th century, it proudly sits at the city center on Piazza del Duomo, which is an excellent starting point for the rest of your tour. The cathedral attracts millions of visitors each year.

As you can imagine, the influx of visitors often results in long queues at the cathedral’s entrance. Don’t hesitate to reserve the Milan Pass, the Milan Digital Pass, or a skip-the-line ticket to avoid the inconvenience.

By booking a guided tour (in English), you can also gain direct entry without waiting in line:

Before entering, take a moment to admire the exterior architecture of this grand cathedral adorned with 2000 marble statues and exactly 136 spires reaching towards the heavens. The numerous spires give it a unique look, hence its nickname “marble hedgehog.”

Inside, you will find:

  • The five naves
  • Sarcophagi and tombs of several archbishops
  • A crucifix made by Leonardo da Vinci himself
  • The cathedral’s terrace offering a stunning view of the city (entrance included).

Voyage Tips - Advice

The cathedral is located right in the historic center, so you can easily reach it on foot or take the metro to the Duomo stop.

For more practical information about the cathedral, check out our article: Tickets for Milan Cathedral.

Milan Cathedral
Milan Cathedral, a must-see during your weekend in Milan!

B. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

The next stop on your 2-day itinerary in Milan is just a few steps away from the Duomo, on the same square.

Upon leaving the cathedral, turn right, and you will find the entrance to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It’s easily recognizable by its arcades and the remarkable glass dome.

This luxury shopping arcade features several high-end boutiques and restaurants, all in a bright and chic atmosphere. Even without splurging, it’s an interesting place to visit that truly represents Milan’s spirit as the fashion capital.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a neo-classical gallery with Baroque inspirations, known as one of the most beautiful in Europe. The central dome is flanked by four corridors topped with a glass roof that brings light inside in a captivating manner.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

C. La Scala

Let’s continue our day by heading towards La Scala, just a mere 5-minute walk from the gallery.

Proceed through the gallery’s north corridor, cross the Piazza della Scala (take a moment to look at the statue of Leonardo da Vinci in the center), then carry on straight for a few meters.

La Scala is another must-see destination in Milan as it houses the Milan Opera House, one of the most prestigious theatres in Italy.

Inside La Scala, famous works like Verdi’s “Otello” were premiered, and the soprano Maria Callas has also performed here.

Outside, the building may seem quite ordinary, but inside, it’s truly magnificent.

You can take a guided tour and also visit the museum to the left of the building, which showcases a rich collection of musical instruments, opera costumes, and historical documents.

Book your tickets directly by clicking here:

Alternatively, access is included with the MilanPass.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you also want to enjoy an opera or a ballet at La Scala during your weekend in Milan, you can book your tickets here.

La Scala, Milan Opera house
La Scala, Milan Opera house

D. Sforza Castle

To start the afternoon well, I suggest now visiting the Sforza Castle (Castello Sforzesco). It’s located about 1 km from La Scala and you can easily get there on foot.

From Piazza della Scala, take Via Giuseppe Verdi, then turn left onto Via dell’Orso. Continue along Via Cusani and you will arrive at a large round-about (Largo Cairoli).

Go around it to the right, and you will find yourself on Piazza Castella. Cross this square, pass the fountain, and you will arrive in front of the castle’s entrance.

Sforza Castle dates back to the 14th century and once served as a rampart against attacks from Venice, Milan’s enemy at the time. A few centuries later, Leonardo da Vinci set up his workshops within the castle walls.

Today, the building houses several museums:

  • The Museum of Ancient Art
  • The Museum of Prehistory
  • The Museum of Decorative Arts
  • The Egyptian Museum
  • The Art Gallery (Pinacoteca)
  • The Museum of Musical Instruments
  • The Furniture Museum.

The castle’s inner courtyard is open to the public and regularly hosts cultural events.

The castle is open every day from 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and the museums are open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

To book your ticket for the castle + audio guide, click the button below:

The fountain, in front of Sforza Castle south entrance
The fountain, in front of Sforza Castle south entrance

E. Sempione Park

After visiting the castle, I suggest you take a breath of fresh air in Sempione Park. It’s the city’s main green space and the largest park in Milan.

It’s located just behind Sforza Castle, less than 500 meters away.

A walk in this park will allow you to recharge while making sure you see:

  • La Triennale to the Southwest: a small museum of Italian arts and architecture
  • Arena Civica to the Northeast
  • Arco della Pace to the Northwest, Milan’s triumphal arch.

If you’re visiting Milan with your children, you can also take them to the aquarium, which is also located in Sempione Park.

Arco della Pace, north of Parco Sempione
Arco della Pace, north of Sempione Park

F. Milan’s Chinatown

This first day in Milan is coming to an end, and I suggest a stroll through the city’s very small Chinatown.

It’s located to the north of Arco della Pace, about a 10-12 minute walk away.

You can leisurely explore the shops selling Asian products and then return to the center for a meal in a good Italian restaurant.

Spend the night in Milan. You will find a selection of the best hotels at the end of this article.

Second Day in Milan: What to Do and See?

2 Days in Milan Itinerary Day 2
2 Days in Milan Itinerary Day 2

Visits for Day 2:

A. Monumental Cemetery
B. Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology
C. Saint Ambrose Basilica
D. Navigli District

A. Monumental Cemetery

Let’s start the second day of your weekend in Milan.

Start early in the morning with a visit to the Monumental Cemetery. It’s an unusual place, sort of an open-air museum of gravestones, located right behind Chinatown.

Nothing morbid, I assure you; on the contrary, it’s a pleasant place for a lovely stroll. You will discover numerous tombs and vaults, each more original and artistic than the last.

You can especially see the graves of famous Italian personalities, whose final resting places will surely surprise you: tombs shaped like pyramids, towers, and even… a marble canopy. Quite the experience!

The cemetery is open every day, except Monday. Expect to spend about 1 to 1.5 hours visiting.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Make sure to get a map of the cemetery, available at the entrance. It will be handy to not miss any of the most incredible structures.

It’s very easy to reach the cemetery by bus or metro in about twenty minutes from Piazza del Duomo. The “Monumental” metro stop is right in front of the cemetery’s entrance.

Monumental Cemetery Milan
Monumental Cemetery

B. The Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology

Spending 2 days in Milan, of course, means visiting the must-see Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology.

You can reach it by metro in 20 minutes from Monumental Cemetery by first stopping at Garibaldi station and then taking line 2 to S. Ambrogio. If you prefer to walk, pass by the Arco della Pace and it will take you about 40 minutes.

The museum is huge and exhibits a multitude of models straight from the mind of the famed Italian genius, Leonardo da Vinci.

The exhibits span multiple levels with sections on aviation, rail and naval transport, automobiles, space, and communications.

The museum is so rich that you should plan half a day for your visit to see everything. Allow at least 3 hours for a good overview.

The museum is child-friendly.

Admission to the museum is included in the Milan Pass, Milan Digital Pass or you can also purchase a skip-the-line ticket by clicking here.

Interior of a steam locomotive at the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum
Interior of a steam locomotive at the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum

C. The Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio

To continue your 2-day stay in Milan, head to the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio.

It’s just 3 minutes on foot from the museum.

The Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio is an historic monument nestled in a quiet and pleasant little neighborhood. Named after the city’s patron saint, this basilica is one of the oldest religious buildings in Milan.

Dating back to 379 AD, it’s considered a strong symbol of Lombard Romanesque art. You will immediately notice its unique architecture with its two asymmetrical brick towers.

Inside, you will find very beautiful pieces of goldsmiths’ work and the sarcophagus of Stilicho. You can also view the crypt containing the relics of several Italian saints, including Ambrose.

Also take note of the architecture of the nave and the ceiling of this unique church.

Voyage Tips - Advice

As an option after Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio, you can reach the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan in just 10 minutes.

There you will find one of Leonardo da Vinci’s most beautiful painting masterpieces: “The Last Supper.”

Note that visits are by reservation only, for specific days and times. It’s up to you to see if it fits into your schedule. Tickets are on sale by clicking here.

A visit with a certified guide who can provide you with all the necessary explanations and technical details about this magnificent painting is also possible.

Just click the button below to book it:


Right next to the church, you can also stop by Leonardo’s Vineyard. Tickets are available here!

Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio Milan
The Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio

D. The Navigli District

Your 48-hour itinerary in Milan is coming to an end and I suggest spending this last evening in the Navigli district.

It’s the trendy area of the city, the heart of Milan’s nightlife. Very picturesque, it’s known as the “district of canals” because it’s crisscrossed by a network of canals, lending it a lot of charm.

From Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio, you can reach the Navigli district in 15 minutes by metro: take line 2 from S. Ambrogio and get off at P. Genova.

Once there, take the time to stroll along the canal and watch the sunset while enjoying the lively atmosphere of the streets.

Treat yourself to a drink and dinner on a terrace and then hit the bars, pubs, and nightclubs that pop up all over.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Vicolo Lavandai on Alzaia Naviglio Grande is, in my opinion, one of the prettiest spots in the district—don’t miss it!

To discover the Navigli, I also recommend that you book a mini cruise on the canals with an aperitif included. All the information you need is by clicking here:

Navigli district in Milan
Navigli district in Milan

Where to Stay in Milan

Now that you have all my tips on how to visit Milan in 2 days, it’s time to move on to another crucial step in planning your weekend in Milan: booking your accommodation.

To help you out, I’ve prepared a short selection of the best hotels to stay in Milan:

  • Ostello Bello Grande: A youth hostel located not far from Milan Central Station. Dormitory bed starting at €60, breakfast included. Strong points: the welcoming atmosphere, the ambiance, and cleanliness.
  • Hotel Da Vinci: Located away from the city center but only a 10-minute walk from a metro station. Large, modern, and bright double rooms starting at €90 a night, breakfast included. Strong points: peaceful location, spacious rooms, free parking, and a rich buffet breakfast. This is our top pick for its excellent value for money!
  • 43 Station Hotel: Just steps away from Milan Central Station. Modern and spacious rooms starting at €130 a night, with breakfast available for €9. Strong points: brand new and well-equipped hotel, generous breakfast, ideal location.
  • Hotel Folen: Also located near the station. Spacious rooms with comfortable bedding starting from €190, breakfast included. Strong points: location, friendly staff, full breakfast.
  • Rosa Grand Milano – Starhotels Collezione: Situated a 2-minute walk from the Duomo. Modern and cozy rooms, some with views of Milan Cathedral, starting at €300, breakfast included. Strong points: prime location in the heart of Milan, wellness center, friendly staff. The perfect choice for a luxury stay in Milan!
  • Suite Milano Duomo: A 5-star hotel located 5 minutes from Milan Cathedral. Spacious and design rooms starting at €325 a night. Strong points: location, reception, staff. It’s our recommendation for a romantic stay in Milan.
Voyage Tips - Advice

If you haven’t found the hotel that suits your desires in this selection, or if it’s already fully booked for the period you’re visiting, I recommend reading my other article with a wider selection of hotels, categorized by neighborhood and budget.

You can find it here: The Best Hotels to Stay in Milan.

Royal Palace of Milan
The Royal Palace of Milan

Visiting Milan in 2 Days with Family

If you’re wondering whether visiting Milan with children is possible, rest assured that spending 2 days in Milan with the family is definitely doable.

Even though the city is very focused on fashion, art, and culture, there are also plenty of family-friendly activities that will appeal to all ages.

Besides, Milan is easily walkable as attractions are close to each other and the sightseeing circuit is very smooth, even by public transport.

If you’re spending your weekend in Milan with your children, here are the visits to prioritize:

  • The Leonardo da Vinci Museum is a must-visit when in Milan with family. Designed with children in mind, it’s very interactive and provides a half-day of interesting and enriching experiences based around the inventions of the famous Da Vinci.
  • The Sforza Castle: Castles always fascinate children, and this one is no exception! It houses several child-friendly museums, including the enigmatic Egyptian museum. You can discover unusual musical instruments, mummies, and sarcophagi as a family, and also explore the castle’s mysterious underground tunnels.
  • The Milan Cathedral: an impressive edifice that’s as much a marvel for adults as it is for children.

Other ideas for family weekend visits in Milan include:

  • The Natural History Museum: if it’s raining (or if you’re passionate about science and nature), this museum is an interesting option for a pleasant and educational time with your children. It’s dedicated to species evolution, fossils, fauna, and flora. Located east of the city, it’s just a 4-minute metro ride from the Piazza del Duomo, and is open Tuesday through Sunday.
  • A visit for football fans: the legendary San Siro Stadium. This stadium regularly hosts the prestigious teams of AC Milan and Inter Milan. It’s also Italy’s largest stadium and is open for tours by reservation. Tickets are available for purchase here.
  • Idroscalo Park: an ideal leisure complex for family fun in sunny weather. From paddle boating and swimming to rock climbing, there are plenty of activities available. However, expect to spend at least half a day, or even a full day, as the park is approximately an hour away from the center of Milan by public transport.
  • Leolandia (tickets available here!), an amusement park located 40 minutes from Milan. Extremely clean, well-maintained with numerous rides and shows. An excellent choice for a family day out around Milan!
  • Acquatica Park, a beautiful water park with pools, slides, and a wading pool, located at the outskirts of Milan.
  • Acquaworld, another water park, with both indoor and outdoor areas, about 20 km from Milan.

More Things to Do and See in Milan in 2 Days

Don’t hesitate to check out my other article dedicated to Milan.

You’ll be able to plan your visit itinerary for 2 days in Milan or find other ideas for things to do.

Simply click on the following link to read it: What to Do in Milan? The Ultimate Guide!

Map of Your 2-Day Itinerary in Milan

To help you visualize your itineraries over these 2 days in Milan, I’ve created a map listing the places to visit day by day. You can display the map legend by clicking on the upper left button with a small arrow. This will allow you to see the routes for each day.

Planning a Weekend Getaway to Milan: Flight Prices

Since flight prices to Milan can vary a lot, it’s a good idea to compare them as early as possible. To do this, you can use our flight comparison tool, in partnership with Skyscanner. It’s the best way to ensure you get the best fare.

Do you need help organizing your 2-day itinerary in Milan? Feel free to ask me your questions in the comments.

Book your trip now and save money!

Italy travel Guides

You’re traveling in Italy? These articles will help you!

Discover all my articles about Italy: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Italy are listed there.

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Best places to visit in Milan in 2 days
Best places to visit in Milan in 2 days

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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