Best of Milan on a Budget 2 Day Itinerary

Revised 5/6/20.

If you’ve read my How to Spend 2 Weeks in Italy then you’re here to read how to spend two days in Milan on a budget, yes? Great! Here I will break down my my perfect 2-day Milan (and Lake Como) itinerary for any traveler, budget or not.  I have done this suggested travel myself as a solo, budget, female traveler so, yes, these two fabulous days in Milan can be done! 

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Booking Resources for Your Milan Itinerary Success!

Milan on a Budget (or Not) Guide

Sforza Castle Milan Italy
Sforza Castle

To help with your Italy travel planning, remember to check out my great travel information on Italy along with my suggested travel resources

Don’t forget to also peruse my Guide to Budget European Accommodations for additional accommodation-planning information.

Let me state here that when I say “budget”, I mean your daily travel expenses should total €100 or less.  Yes, it is very possible to visit Milan on less than €100. Or more!  It’s up to you and your budget. The following travel guide can work for anyone, budget or not. The key factor that can push you out of the “budget” range is the accommodations you choose, not the attractions. Nice, huh?

Ok, now let’s get you to Milan on a budget!

Milan Transportation

From most Italy locations, it is more than likely you will arrive at the Milano Centrale station. If you fly into the Milan Malpensa Airport, you can also take the train from the airport or catch your hotel shuttle or Malpensa Shuttle to your hotel.  From the Milano Centrale station you can take other trains, the metro, or catch a bus for rides within or outside of Milan. 

No rental car within Milan is really needed.  The Milan historical center can really be done on foot, and if you’re staying within my recommended area (see map below), you can also walk or metro to/from the Milan Centrale station.

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Where to Stay in Milan

Milan a larger city than Florence, but the historic center is still walkable and easy to navigate.  For optimum ease of walking and seeing the sights, it is recommended to stay within it and walking distance to the train station, but not too close to the station or Piazza Duca D’Aostafor safety. If not walking distance to the train station, use the Milan Metro – it is very easy to navigate.  I recommend staying within the circle on the map:

Where to stay in Milan Italy map

For budget purposes, my hotel recommendation/value for the money with breakfast and taxes included at €60/night is Sant’Amrbroeus Hotel. It is in a great location with a pleasing breakfast, friendly staff, and includes all of the lovely amenities you could need.

If you want cheaper accommodations, there are other hotels and hostels to choose from starting at around €20/night, depending on what amenities and location you want. Hostelworld has some great, Milan listings.

Conversely, if you want to pay more, take a look at Milan accommodations.  I would still recommend staying in the suggested area noted above.

Many accommodations may not let you check in until 3-4pm, but if available, have them store your luggage until your room is ready so you can get out and enjoy Milan!

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Milan Attraction Musts

Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie Milan Italy
Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie

Milan definitely has some must-see sights.  If you have never been to Milan, the following are attractions that would a shame to miss.  You can easily do 2-3 attractions leisurely in a day.  Some attractions are free! 

The reason why I suggest the following “musts” is that they are not-to-be-missed, amazing attractions; they are big tourist draws and sure to draw long lines, especially April to October and on the weekends; and, reservations may be required or recommended.

"The Last Supper"

The top attraction, in my humble opinion, is da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”. It is absolutely incredible this piece of art made it through the bombings of World War II.  I had to book my ticket online 3 months in advance.  You cannot see this attraction without a reservation, so as soon as you know you are going to Milan, confirm the date you want to see it and book early!  As always, I recommend getting the first available daily tour of the day, which only takes 30 minutes, so you have the rest of the day to leisurely stroll through Milan.

Milan Duomo

After the “The Last Supper”, I recommend your first stop on that leisurely stroll be the Duomo ticket office (to the right of the cathedral) to get your ticket to see the Duomo early the next morning (if you have not already purchased your ticket online). Ensure the ticket allows you to go up on the roof – it has great views of the city!

The entrance lines for the Duomo start early, so I suggest getting there by 8am or so in order to easily cruise into the awe-inspiring cathedral and up on the roof in time to be done by 10am and check out of your hotel on time.  If you’re going to Milan anytime from April to October, wait until you see how long the lines are by 10am!

Advanced Reservations/Ticket Required

Advance Ticket Recommended

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Other Milan Attractions

Milan statue Milan City Center Italy
Milan city center
  • Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
  • Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio
  • Duomo Museum Church
  • Piazza del Duomo
  • Sforza Castle
  • Leonardo da Vinci National Science and Technology Museum
  • Brera Art Gallery
  • Piazza dei Mercanti
  • Walk the Via Dante

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Lake Como Day Trip

Varenna Lake Como Italy landscape from water
Varenna, Lake Como

I can understand if you are enjoying Milan and want to just sleep in and hang out and have a lazy day your second day – that is up to you!  However, if you would like to get out to see some amazing Italian scenery, I highly recommend a day trip to Lake Como. Lake Como is absolutely beautiful, and a day trip should be on the itinerary.  Hopefully you’ll have good weather for this day.

If Lake Como day-trip piques your interest, I suggest you catch a one-way train to Varenna by 10:30am at the latest from Milano Centrale Stazione so you may have the day around the lake. The train will arrive Varenna a little over an hour later, making late morning a perfect time to meander through the town, grab lunch at the local market stands or pop into a terraced restaurant over-looking the lake.

There are walking paths to walk around portions of the lake or you can go into the Hotel Villa Cipressi where, for 3 Euros (€), you can access their botanic gardens and walking paths along the waterfront for amazing views!  You do not need to be a guest of the hotel to do this. If you wish to stay in Varenna for the day, try the hike up to the Castello di Vezio where you can enjoy 14th century frescoes, a drink at the bar and take in the scenic views.  When ready just purchase a train ticket back to Milan.

Town of Varenna Lake Como Italy
Varenna, Lake Como

If you want to see more of the lake, another option after lunch and meandering the Varenna waterfront is to bypass the Castello di Vezio and purchase a Varenna-Bellagio-Lecco ferry ticket for about €10 at the waterfront ferry ticket office in the center of town.  I suggest you leave Varenna by 3pm at the latest for Bellagio so you can have a couple of hours to stroll through Bellagio and grab an early dinner and Aperol spritzes on the waterfront. 

Note, the last ferry to Lecco may leave around 5:50pm so you don’t want to miss it, unless you want to try to find last-minute, expensive lodging in Bellagio. I leave that to you.

The ferry ride from Bellagio to Lecco, on the southern end of the lake, will take about an hour and forty minutes, but it is beautiful and worth spending time relaxing while you cruise along the water.  The train station in Lecco is just a 10-minute walk from the ferry launch, and if you catch the 8pm train you’ll be back in Milan by 8:40pm in time for a late dinner, if you didn’t dine in Bellagio, and see Milan at night lit up in all of its glory.

Milan on a Budget: 2-Day Itinerary

My suggested Milan hotel can be booked for €120 for 2 nights (a fabulous breakfast and taxes included). If you get a better deal or choose a more budget-friendly accommodation, then your average daily costs with all meals could be less than 100! 

That said, here is my suggested 2-day itinerary so you can see how budget-friendly Milan (and Lake Como) can be while enjoying the culture and not sacrificing on comfort or activities.

Note: prices below do not reflect lunch or dinner meals, and attractions prices may have changed slightly since time of writing.

Day 1 Milan = €116

  • “The Last Supper”, Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie
  • Sforza Castle
  • Walk the pedestrianized Via Dante (leads from castle to the duomo)
  • Milan Duomo with rooftop access and Milan Duomo Museum
  • Piazza del Duomo – Milan’s main square
  • Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II Glass-domed shopping arcade
  • Piazza dei Mercanti
  • Hotel (breakfast and taxes included)
People inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II Milan Italy
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Day 2 – Day Trip to Lake Como = €83

  • Milan – purchase Varenna/Milan and Lecco/Milan train tickets
  • Explore Varenna
  • Hotel Villa Cipressi gardens
  • Varenna – purchase Varenna / Bellagio / Lecco ferry ticket
  • Explore Bellagio
  • Hotel (breakfast and taxes included)

Alternatively, if you wish to spend your second day in Milan: 

Day 2 – Milan = €81

Let Me Hear From You

I would love to hear if this was helpful to you. Post me your thoughts or questions in the Comments section below!

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Gwen

Gwen

Gwen is the Founder of CORR Travel and a global traveler and photographer with over 25 years of solo travel experience. She is also the Founder of the www.CORRConcepts.com sustainability blog. Travel is her passion and environmental sustainability and biodiversity protection is her "religion".

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