Buongiorno Milano, Ciao Bella! Known for it’s high end fashion, Gothic architecture, and delicious foods, Milan is the global capital for design in all categories. The city is home to the iconic Duomo di Milano and is the biannual host to Milan Fashion Week. Aside from the city’s enticing attractions, Milan sits nestled in the Northeast corner of Italy, making it the ideal origin for Northern Italy day trips. If you grow tired of the city’s fast pace lifestyle, opt for a quick and easy day trip to experience Northern Italy highlights first hand.
About 1 hr 15 min from Milan’s Central Railway station, Verona sits snug between Milan and Venice. I’ve deemed Verona one of my Top 10 Most Romantic Destinations in the world, as you constantly find yourself getting lost in the quiet, cobblestone streets. Vespas sit outside cafes with overgrown flowers and vines crawling up around the balconies. Enjoy an espresso (with amaretto!) before heading over to the balcony where Shakespeare based one of the most iconic love stories of all time: Romeo and Juliet.
From lakes to mountains, Northern Italy has it all. There are a handful of large lakes scattered across Northern Italy and parts of Switzerland with one of the most iconic being Lake Como. With its classic Italian architecture silhouetted against a majestic mountain backdrop, it is no question as to why this is one of the most frequented spots for travelers, honeymooners, and celebrities alike.
Multiple towns run along the Lake, so you will need to be specific as to where you would like to visit as there are different routes you will take to get there. As a start, the most common Lakeside towns to visit are Como, Bellagio, and Varenna.
To visit Como, take the train from Milano Nord Cadorna direct to Como Nord Lago. Bellagio, the pearl of Lake Como, has an additional step but is still very easily accessible. To get to Bellagio, take the train from Milano Centrale Station to Varenna-Esino and from there take the ferry to Bellagio.
This Floating City is 2.5 hours from Milan and even closer to Verona. Be romanced through the canals of this sinking city and indulge in the history and culture of the Venetian masks at the Carnival Festival. Teaming with tourists during peak season, opt to visit Venice around September to November when they desert the city and hotel rates are low. To access Venice, head to the Milano Centrale station and buy a direct ticket to Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia.
Cinque Terra is made up of five adjacent towns all equally stunning in sight and manor. Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Manarola, Corniglia and Riomaggiore are all connected by the Sentiero Azzuro, meaning the “Light Blue Trail”. Whether strolling along the Sentiero Azzuro or taking the ferry from town to town, visiting Cinque Terre is like living in a post card day-to-day.
Although traveling to Cinque Terre by train from Milan is a bit longer than most day trip options (about 3 hours one-way to be exact), the towns cannot be missed if you are taking a trip to Italy. If you only have time for a day trip or long weekend, try visiting one or two towns respectively. With a bit more time, you can visit the towns at your own pace and entertain yourself with snorkeling and kayaking or sipping sciacchetrà while sunbathing.
To satisfy the more historically interested travelers, escape Milan’s modern streets to Bologna, a lively medieval town just an hour outside of the city. To indulge in your own medieval feast, wander the streets of the Quadrilatero, a medieval market where you can find regionally made Italian pastas like tortellini to take home and impress family or friends. Or you can walk off the delicious pasta by sauntering through the Piazza Maggiore at sunset, grabbing a pastry or coffee for dessert at one of the Piazza’s many outdoor cafes.
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