14 DAYS TALY ITINERARY DAY 14-15 | MILAN & LAKE COMO
Milan is one of the trendiest cities in Italy. It is the city of fashion and the economic capital of Italy. Both traits are clearly visible when you’re walking around the city. Modern and trendy skyscrapers scattered here and there, surrounded by beautiful historical buildings throughout the city center.
Many of Milan’s most exciting sights and attractions are not readily apparent, so you’ll need to dig deeper to discover the gems that make the city unique.
Luckily, Milan is surprisingly walkable and, at times, feels more like a compact town than a major European metropolis.
And once you start chipping away at its foreboding exterior, you’ll find untold treasures below the surface: priceless works of art, beautiful eccentric buildings, world-class restaurants, and oases of calm. Explore the best things to do in Milan and remember: appearances aren’t everything.
DISCOVER LAKE COMO:
The itinerary for your Italy Road trip started in the glorious city of Rome, and it couldn’t end less gloriously in the fantastic Lake Como setting.
Relax in the shade of a tree in front of the lake, admire its beautiful views … and, who knows? You might even spot George Clooney (owner of one of the most beautiful villas in Lake Como), his buddy Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, or any other A-list celebrity, but there’s so much more to this destination than its famed visitors.
The glacial Lake Como is a mere 1.5-hour drive north of Milan and only 30 minutes or so from the border of Switzerland. The biggest draw to Lake Como is its natural beauty – especially the scenic mountainous region that always leaves me in awe.
Hop on the ferries that cross the lake; it’s a perfect way to explore the beautiful little towns surrounding it like Menaggio, Bellagio, and Varenna, to mention but a few of my favorites.
THINGS TO DO IN MILAN IN ONE DAY:
In Milan, as previously stated, it is super easy to get around by walking a bit or via their efficient public services (the underground system is excellent). This way you can do quite a lot in one day.
The most famous things to do in Milan are:
- The famous Duomo di Milano: The symbol of the city.
- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (on the left of the Duomo)
- Sforza Castle for a bit of history
- Parco Sempione to end your day in total relaxation!
THINGS TO DO IN LAKE COMO IN ONE DAY:
Honestly? If it was for me (personal taste!) I would spend just half a day in Milan and aim straight to Lake Como, but the itinerary is yours, so maybe you are a fashion addict and want to spend a whole afternoon shopping in Milan 🙂 Either way, Lake Como would deserve at least 2 days of exploring.
So, what to do and see in Lake Como?
- Visit Varenna, a lovely village with great views of the lake.
- Take the ferry! You’ll discover the hidden spots as well as the more popular sights.
- Visit Villa del Balbianello
- Discover Castello di Vezio for awesome views
Best Things to do and see in Milan:
Il Duomo Di Milano: Do I really need to tell you why you should visit it? There is so much information online, and the pictures speak for themselves. It goes without saying that this should be your first stop in Milan, no question about it. And it’s as beautiful as in the pictures. My only tip: go there early in the morning; you will make the most of the experience!
Castello Sforzesco: Nearby the Parco Sempione, the Castello Sforzesco (Sforza Castel) is a mandatory stop on your visit to Milan; apart from its famous towers, it hosts several museums from the Ancient Arts to the Pinacoteca and the Egyptian museum, just to name a few. If you love history, this is a great place to visit.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II: Just on the left side of the Duomo di Milano, its architecture (especially the roof) will leave you in awe. You’ll find many shops, from luxury ones to nice cafes where to sip an espresso and relax, bookstores, restaurants, and more. Since it’s in Piazza Duomo, you can easily make it your second stop in Milan.
Best Things to do and see in Lake Como:
Villa Del Balbianello: Located on the left wing of the Lake, near the village of Lenno, it is a must-see. Beautiful views of the Lake and the Villa with its terrace garden are genuinely out of this world! One of the best spots to admire Lake Como’s mighty beauty. It’s undoubtedly one of the most touristy and popular Villas to visit.
Villa Carlotta: Just a few kilometers away from Villa Del Balbianello (heading north of Lenno), it’s a true gem with its botanical gardens, museums, the staircase, and the stunning entrance to the Lake. Not to be missed! (I will write an article just for the villas to visit around Lake Como as they are jaw-dropping!)
Take the ferry: One of the best ways to enjoy Lake Como is by Ferry. There are both public and private ferries. The public one is relatively cheap, but obviously, it doesn’t let you hop off to explore what you want. You can either find the private companies online looking for “private ferry lake Como” or, as I suggest below, I’d recommend the Tour from Milan without the hassle of driving there and back.
MORE THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN MILAN
I Navigli Di Milano: A system of canals running in the heart of Milan, surrounded by lovely cocktail bars, are the perfect location to spend your dinner and after-dinner time, not to be missed for an excellent aperitif. Great for a romantic walk at sunset as well. It’s easy to reach by public transport, which is always a bonus!
Parco Sempione: Located in the heart of Milan, Parco Sempione is a lovely park where you can relax, chill and visit the Sforza Castel and the Arch of peace, two of the most famous landmark in Milan.
Via Montenapoleone: If you are in Milan and love fashion, via Montenapoleone is the place you want to be! Filled with luxury shops, whatever brand you are looking for, you will find it there! Splurge as much as you want and enjoy!
MORE THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN LAKE COMO
Trekking/hiking Lake Como: If you have some time or, during your Italy Road trip planning, you decide to skip a place or two, this is one of the best and more rewarding activities to do, with breathtaking views over the lake. The most famous walks/hikes are the Greenway Del Lago and Spina Verde (suitable for everyone, they will take you to the top spots like Villa del Balbianello). For more advanced trekking and hiking, organizing with private companies is better.
Castello di Vezio: Located in the middle of Lake Como, with an overview of Varenna village, it is a lovely spot for jaw-dropping sights of the lake and its history. It was built over a thousand years ago. Don’t forget to climb its famous tower to enjoy even more incredible panoramic views!
WHERE TO STAY IN MILAN AND LAKE COMO :
HOTEL BELLAGIO (LAKE COMO)
In the city center, accessed directly from Bellagio’s main square by 38 cobblestone steps, Hotel Bellagio is within walking distance of the town’s shops, cafés, and restaurants. Parking is available, free cancellation, and incredible views of the Lake. Check out this Hotel! If you prefer to take a day tour to Lake Como and base yourself in Milan, check out the NH PORTA NUOVA hotel, which is convenient and well located.
BEST TOURS IN LAKE COMO :
Given the proximity of Lake Como to Milan, you can opt for booking one of the grand tours from the Lombardy Capital instead of spending money (and time) using your car. Many people choose this option, and they can enjoy a full day in Lake Como without stress and see all the top sights stated above.
Usually, when talking about the tours, my advice is to decide which option is more suitable for you (car or tour) but in this case, the day trips from Milan are genuinely the best option, also money-wise. Highly recommended!