Milan is a great base for visiting the beautiful lakes and neighboring regions in Italy and Switzerland. Hop on a short train ride to enjoy amazing day trips at one of these cities that are reachable in under 2 hours:

Verona, Italy

Travel time from Milan: 1hr 30min                    

The medieval city of Verona is best known for being the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In fact, you can visit Juliet’s house and climb up the stairs to reach her famous balcony overlooking a small courtyard. I must warn you, it’s usually so overcrowded with tourists and not as impressive as you would imagine. Legend has it that if you rub Juliet’s breast, you will have tremendous luck in your love life, so I just had to try it myself!

My favorite part of visiting Verona was getting lost in the little streets and eating the best Italian food I have ever had in my life. I stumbled across a small restaurant called  “Enoteca Cangrande” and I still dream of their pasta everyday.

Don’t leave Verona without watching one of their world-famous operas in the 1st century arena. The opera is in fully in Italian, but even if you don’t understand a word the experience is well worth it.

Juliet's Courtyard Verona

Juliet’s Courtyard Verona

Verona Arena

Verona Arena

Verona Italy


Genoa, Italy

Travel time from Milan: 1hr 40min

The port city of Genoa is famous for its baroque architecture and cozy alleyways. You can spend your day in one of the many cute cafes, go for a boat ride or visit one of Europe’s biggest aquariums. You must try some of their seafood dishes and of course Pesto sauce which originated from Genoa.

Genoa Italy


Genoa Italy

Genoa Port

Related article: Bergamo Travel Guide

Lugano, Switzerland

Travel time from Milan: 1hr 10min

Cross the border into Switzerland to visit one of the prettiest towns in the area. Lugano is a small city with colorful buildings and a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. The best part is that you can see all of it by foot. After you exit the train station, walk downhill towards the lake and enjoy a drink at the cozy cafes. If you pass any of the chocolate shops, you can’t but go inside. With hundreds of flavors to choose from, you will end up getting your sugar fix for quite some time, but don’t worry you will burn all the calories on your way back up to the train station. If the weather permits, rent one of the small paddle boats on the lake to catch the best views of the city.

Lugano Switzerland


Lugano Switzerland


Lugano Switzerland


Hotel recommendations in Milan

Budget hotels: Ramada Plaza HotelAC Hotel Milano, a Marriott Lifestyle Hotel

Mid-Range hotels: Crowne Plaza Milan CityLaGare Hotel Milano Centrale – MGallery by Sofitel

Luxury hotels: Armani Hotel Milano, Mandarin Oriental Milan, Bulgari Hotel Milano

Lake Como, Italy

Travel time from Milan: 1hr 10min

Lake Como is a spectacular lake popular for its fresh air, mountains, luxurious properties and great weather. Bellagio is the most famous village (with good reason), best known for its world-class hotels and restaurants. The best way to see some of the impressive properties is by taking a boat ride around the lake. Some of the celebrities that own houses in Como include George Clooney and Richard Branson.

Lake Como Italy

Lake Como

Bologna, Italy

Travel time from Milan: 1hr

The historical city of Bologna is a must-visit for food lovers. It’s named “Italy’s gastronomical capital” and is famous for producing some of the most delicious pasta and sausages in the world. Wandering along the medieval streets of the city, you will come across museums, art galleries and cafes.

Bologna Italy


Parma, Italy

Travel time from Milan: 1hr 10min

Imagine the perfect combination of art, music and gastronomy… that’s what you will find in Parma. If you think the word Parma sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’ve heard of Parma ham or Parmesan cheese, which both originated from this beautiful city. You can do a pit stop in Parma on your way to Bologna.

Parma Italy


Turin, Italy

Travel time from Milan: 50min

Turin is an elegant city with charming wide streets, but quite often overshadowed by its neighboring well-known cities. Two things that stand out in Turin are sports cars and chocolate. Head for a stroll around Piazza Castello and you will get to see most of the famous sites.

Turin Italy