Attractions outside of Milan
The vibrant city of Milan, the epicentre of design and an international fashion hub, has no shortage of reasons to spend a few days there. Its impressive Duomo cathedral, the luxurious Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and the charming, cobbled streets of the Brera neighbourhood are just some of the attractions that visitors can discover at their own pace. However, it would be a shame to limit yourself exclusively to the city’s old town without first considering everything that the surrounding areas have to offer.
Just a short distance outside the Cerchia dei Navigli (the urban belt that demarcates the city’s old town) you will find the Monumental Cemetery of Milan, which was conceived in the second half of the 19th century as a true open-air museum, where famous national figures such as the poet Manzoni and composer Guiseppe Verdi are laid to rest. It is also easy to visit the beautiful Casa Galimberti, one of the finest examples of Italian Art Nouveau architecture, and the National Museum of Science and Technology, which houses some of Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous sketches. In terms of heritage, we also recommend visiting the Cistercian Chiaravalle Abbey, located ten kilometres southeast of the Milan city centre, as it is a magnificent testimony to the medieval architectural traditions of the Lombardy region.
Sports fans, meanwhile, will enjoy visiting legendary venues such as the San Siro stadium (officially known as the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza) and the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, which hosts the Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Just a stone’s throw from the Alps and the Dolomites, nature lovers can choose from a plethora of trekking and skiing opportunities. They can also opt to relax next to the picturesque lakes that punctuate the foothills of these famous mountains. These include Lake Como, with its luxurious villas and gardens that stretch to the shore; Lake Garda, which inspired writers such as Stendhal and Lord Byron; and Lake Maggiore, home to the spectacular Borromean Islands. Another highly recommended alternative is Lake Iseo, where the famous artist couple Christo and Jeanne-Claude designed a series of floating walkways in 2016. This project allowed those who wished to walk on the water to do so, emulating the passage from the bible.
It’s also worth heading north to Bergamo and strolling around its beautiful upper town, with the snow-capped Alps as a backdrop; or the small town of Brescia with its fascinating Roman remains and two cathedrals —a new one and an old one— located in Piazza Paolo VI.
Lying south of Milan is the city of Pavia, with its famous Covered Bridge and medieval towers which rise imposingly into the sky, as well as the Serravalle Designer Outlet —the most important outlet in the country and the largest in Europe— where you can find bargains from Italian and international fashion houses.
Lake Maggiore, a tour of its towns and islands
Lake Maggiore is one of the most magical places in northern Italy, and provides a fabulous excursion from Milan.
What to see in Pavia, a medieval city bursting with art
Pavia is one of the most eye-catching medieval cities in northern Italy and exploring its streets and discovering its dozens of artistic monuments is an utter delight.
What to see at Lake Como, the pleasure of sailing among beautiful villas
Lake Como, only 50 kilometres from Milan, offers landscapes, charming villages, and exclusive villas. Get to know its most interesting places.