So you’ve arrived in Milan and only have a day (or a few hours) to fully explore the city before you have to leave. Well, here are 5 things to do in Milan when you’re short on time but still want to make the most of this beautiful Italian city!

If, of course, you have even more time, you should check out these other top things to do in Milan.

Points worth noting in Milan

Milan is an amazing city and is full of so much great culture and history but for first-time travellers, there are definitely a few things worth noting before you visit! (My list of 5 follows shortly after!)

1.) Beware of pickpockets: Thankfully, I was warned in advance of my visit and I had no bad experience with pickpockets but when I was queuing at the train station.

The lady in front of me (obviously a tourist like me) had her bag open to get out her purse or money and immediately I could see at least two different “stragglers” who were loitering around look right into her purse hungrily.

I think the key is to be vigilant and very aware of your surroundings – kids are sometimes roped into pickpocketing so don’t let your guard down.

2.) Try to avoid hanging out in train stations generally: It makes sense to arrive on time to catch your train but there are so many opportunistic petty criminals that hang around in train stations.

So, it’s best to spend as little time as you need to in the train station.

3.) Get your train ticket validated before your journey: It is not enough to just buy the tickets. You will get charged a maximum fare and the police (or transport police) are very strict about this.

If you do get caught out though, you can probably talk your way out of it but its probably best to just save yourself the hassle and pay in advance.

With these small warnings to remember, now we can get on to the main item on the agenda. My list of the top 5 things to see in Milan on a 24-hour trip! 


1.) Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

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This is an iconic building smack in the centre of Milan is home to some of the fanciest stores in the city.

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It’s part and parcel of why Milan is known for fashion and is arguably one of the top things to do in the city – not just because of the Galleria alone but because of the Duomo right next to it.

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2.) Duomo di Milano

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Arguably the most famous thing to do in Milan is to visit the Duomo.

This is one of my favourite gothic buildings (it’s easy to see why) and is apparently the fifth largest cathedral in the world.

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The rooftop boasts stunning views over Milan and is truly a sight to behold. When I visited, it was a tad more underwhelming inside but that intricate facade makes this cathedral truly stand out.

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3.) Sforza Castle

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A short walk from the Galleria and Duomo sits a grand castle, smack in the middle of Milan, that oddly feels like a prison.

The prison feeling, strangely enough, adds to the general mystique of the building and makes it feel slightly haunting to visit at night – which makes it a perfect thing to do in Milan once the sun’s set.

4.) Parco Sempione

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This is a stunning park and a perfect site for a laid-back picnic with lots of gelatos!

Random fact, there’s free WiFi all over the park, too. Oh, and it’s where the Branco Tower is, with views all across Milan. 

5.) Milanese Architecture

This is a bit of a catch-all cheat but the city of Milan stands out, not only for the fashion, delicious food or beautiful parks but its breath-taking architecture.

It’s so easy to get lost in its beauty as you wander from street to street exploring the city; preferably with gelato in hand.

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