Cheap Day Trips from Milan (Lake Como, Lake Garda, Bergamo, Verona, and more)
Milan, a metropolis in Italy's northern Lombardy region, is a global capital of fashion and design. Home to the national stock exchange, it's a financial hub also known for its high-end restaurants and shops. The Gothic Duomo di Milano cathedral and the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent, housing Leonardo da Vinci's mural "The Last Supper," testify to centuries of art and culture. Not only is Milan a treasure trove of 20th-century art, but art deco and rationalist architecture abound. Today the city leads the way with the largest post-war re-development in Italy, impressive, sustainable architecture and a futuristic skyline. Milan is Italy's city of the future, a fast-paced metropolis where creativity is big business, looking good is compulsory and after-work drinks are an art form. Though Italian design is world renowned, its roots lie in 1930s Milan and seeing it in a home context offers fresh appreciation. A visit to the Design Museum is a wonderful way to pay homage to the work of Italy's best and brightest. In addition, Milan is home to all the major design showrooms and an endless round of trade fairs. It was also in powerful commercial cities such as Milan that Italy's great cuisine was born, marrying Mediterranean fruits, spices and herbs with cooking methods, pastry techniques and eating styles from France and central Europe. Milan pushes Italy's culinary boundaries, making sushi and dim sum their own, and holding the second highest number of Michelin stars in the country. With so much to see, do, and taste, Milan is a great place to experience in itself, and it also works as a great central base for exploring other nearby areas in Italy with several options for exciting day trips to help you make the most of your time here.
One of the largest bodies of water in Italy, Lake Como's best sights vary with the time of year you visit. On this tour, you'll travel with a guide to discover the highlights of the area around the lake with an itinerary tailored to the season. Food and drinks are at your own expense throughout the day. The Winter Tour runs from November to March. On this tour you'll take a 1-hour morning journey from Milan to Lake Como. Start with time in Como and learn about its key sights around the historic center. From town, take the gondola to the village of Brunate where you can gaze down at the lake, flanked by the Rhaetian Alps. Return to Como by gondola for a Lake Como boat tour. After your return to shore, enjoy some free time to see the sights at your own pace, shop or perhaps sip a coffee. Then, finish your time in Como with a visit to the Basilica of Sant'Abbondio before your return to Milan. On the Summer Tour running from April to October, you'll take a 1-hour coach journey from Milan to start your tour of Como with a look inside the Basilica of Sant'Abbondio. Continue into Como's historic center, and use your free time to get to know the town at your own pace with some sightseeing or shopping. Meet back with your guide for a 2-hour cruise around Lake Como. Return to dry land in time for your trip to the colorful seaside town of Bellagio. Spend some time at your leisure here to explore and perhaps savor lunch. Later, cruise to Cadenabbia, then return to your coach for the journey back to Milan.
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Begin your day trip with pickup in Milan. Meet your guide and hop aboard a comfortable coach, where you'll journey toward Verona, the setting of Shakespeare's famed Romeo and Juliet. Upon arriving, explore the city center on a 2-hour, guided walking tour. See the main squares of Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza Bra, as well as the Roman Arena, the popular amphitheater where concerts and operas are held in the summertime. Then, head to the city's most romantic attraction: the house of Juliet, rumored to be the former abode of the 'real life' Juliet from whom Shakespeare drew his inspiration. Step out on Juliet's balcony before enjoying some free time to purchase lunch and explore the city on your own. Reunite with your guide after roughly an hour and hop back on your bus toward Lake Garda, once a summer resort area for the ancient Romans. Stop at the beautiful lakeside village of Sirmione and soak up more free time to explore the medieval streets and the moated castle of Rocca Scaligera. Hit the water with a 30-minute cruise on Lake Garda if you choose, at your own expense, or wander through a ruined Roman villa and admire archaeological finds. After a full day of exploration, your day trip will conclude at your original departure point in Milan.
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Spend an afternoon in the beautiful old town of Bergamo, one of the 4 Italian cities still completely surrounded by walls. This tour offers round-trip transfer to Bergamo, including a guided tour of the old town. Bergamo's enchanting old town, which is also known as "Citta Alta", is a medieval city surrounded by ramparts and walls. Most of the impressive constructions were erected in the sixteenth century, when Bergamo was under Venetian domination. While the original settlement was built on a hill enclosed by walls, the newer part of the city is stretched out in the surrounding plains. Cable railways will take you from the newer parts of Bergamo to the castle or to the so called upper town on the hill. On the two hour guided walking tour with your local tourist guide, you will hear many historic facts and anecdotes about Bergamo's rich and diverse history. Among other things, the tour will take you to the old square Piazza Vecchia around which the city has been built. You will also have the chance to see many other monuments of great historical value, such as the Cathedral, Palazzo del Comune, Palazzo della Ragione, and the Colleoni Chapel. Bergamo's green surroundings are also extremely interesting to see and you will be able to see some beautiful Italian country-style houses, gardens & woods.
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Head to Cadorna railway station in Milan to meet your guide in the morning. After getting on the train, relax for 90 minutes, enjoying the scenery out the window and learning about the history of the region around Lake Maggiore from your guide. Arrive in Laveno-Mombello, a port town on the lake, and then hop on a boat for a fun ride around the lake. Lake Maggiore, the second-largest lake in Italy, is the border between two regions in Italy: Lombardy and Piedmont, and readers of classic literature may recognize the lake as a setting in Ernest Hemingway's novel, A Farewell to Arms. With your guide pointing out landmarks and points of interest, enjoy the cruise around the large lake. Then pull up to Isola dei Pescatori, the Island of the Fishermen where you can explore at your own leisure, strolling down the narrow streets or sitting down to enjoy a coffee at a cafe. Once you're back on the boat, head to Isola Bella (Beautiful Island), where you'll find the Borromeo Palace, a beautiful Baroque structure from the 17th century. Explore the gardens and study the ornate facade or perhaps wander around town and do some shopping. Back on the boat again, head to the last stop: the lakeside town of Stresa, home to many artists and writers in the 19th century. Even Hemingway spent some time here in the 20th century. After some free time exploring, hop back on the train for an early-evening arrival in Milan.
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