Milan in summer: best things to do and see

Soak up the Milan sun with these essential summer activities. From walking tours to lakeside day trips, these are the best summer activities.

With its soaring cathedral viewpoints and manicured gardens, Milan is truly special in summer when its streets and public spaces burst with activity. Join city-wide walking tours to learn about icons like Leonardo da Vinci or hop on a bike to navigate the city's bejeweled Old Town in the sunshine. Whatever you pick, you'll always be welcomed by a streetside gelato stall ready to cool you down.

Despite its landlocked status, Milan has plenty of water adventures too. Take a cruise of the scenic Navigli canals with a well-earned cocktail or even learn to surf in the artificial waves of Idroscalo. For day trippers, Milan has no shortage of excursions. Head to the great Italian Lakes for the day among these 10 top summertime activities in and around Milan.

Best outdoor activities in Milan

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1. Tour the bustling Brera district in the summer sunshine

Brera's colorful facades dazzle in the summer with plenty of shaded spots to cool off in too. Take the Brera District & Pinacoteca Guided Experience to explore this treasured region on foot. The tour includes a visit to the Pinacoteca, one of the country's most venerated art museums.

Highlights:

Meander through artisanal storefronts selling summertime wares and fragrant perfumes. Catch classic paintings by Caravaggio and Raphael.

Address and opening hours:

Via Brera, 28, 20121 Milano MI, Italy. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 8:30 AM-7:15 PM. Last entry at 6:00 PM.

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2. Bask in the sunshine on a bike tour of Milan

Feel the summer breeze in your hair as you ride through Milan's new and old towns. With a Highlights and Hidden Gems Guided Bike Tour, you'll discover classic landmarks like the Duomo and the skyscraper scenes of CityLife. The tour concludes at the sleepy, sun-kissed Roman ruins of Teatro Romano.

Highlights:

You'll be accompanied by a knowledgeable guide that balances must-visit tourist spots with lesser-known gems

Address and opening hours:

Ticinese, 20122 Milan, Metropolitan City of Milan, Italy. Tour times and dates vary.

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3. Cruise down the canals of Navigli

The perfect place to cool off in summer, Navigli is a vibrant and modern Milan district that's famous for its historical canal network. Hop aboard the Navigli District Canal Boat Tour with Aperitivo and watch the scenic antics of summer as bars and markets bustle along the canal's edge. You'll enjoy an ice-cold aperitivo with optional sunset bookings.

Highlights:

Sit back and relax in an open-top boat, enjoying the summertime energy with a cool Aperol spritz.

Address and opening hours:

Alzaia Naviglio Grande, 20144 Milano MI, Italy. Tour times and dates vary.

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4. View the summer skyline from atop the Duomo

Enjoy one of the city's finest viewpoints at the top of the storied Duomo. Offering panoramic vistas from the very rooftop itself, you can gaze closer at the Madonnina statue or look out across the summertime bustle of Piazza del Duomo. The Milan Duomo and Rooftop 2-Hour Guided Tour ensures you don't miss out on its must-see treasures.

Highlights:

Enjoy one of the best and most historic viewpoints in the city. Hunt for religious artifacts and iconic statues within the Duomo.

Address and opening hours:

P.za del Duomo, 20122 Milano MI, Italy. Open daily, 9:00 AM-7:00 PM.

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5. Board the panoramic Bernina train for a day trip to the Alps

The Bernina Train and St. Moritz Day Trip is one of the world's most scenic train rides. Watch this magical landscape come to life in the summer on a full roundtrip tour. The tour includes a stop-off at Tirano, one of the Italian Lakes' prettiest towns.

Highlights:

Air-conditioned with panoramic viewing carts, this is the perfect excursion to enjoy stunning scenery in cool comfort.

Address and opening hours:

Piazza della Scala, 5, 20121 Milano MI, Italy. Open Sunday-Friday, from 7:00 AM.

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6. Live like a local at Parco Sempione

Milan's largest central park is awash with activity during the summer months. Perfect for picnics and summer activities, you can sit back with an aperitivo overlooking Arco della Pace. Book a Branca Tower Ticket to head to the top of the park's highest viewpoint.

Highlights:

With pretty landscaped gardens dating from 1888 and a wealth of iconic attractions including Brera Tower, Triennale di Milano, and a 1930s planetarium, this is the perfect summer hangout spot.

Address and opening hours:

Piazza Sempione, 20154 Milano MI, Italy. Open daily, 6:30 AM-9:00 PM

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7. Walk in the life of Leonardo da Vinci

Da Vinci left a huge mark on Milan, from civil projects to the heritage mural, The Last Supper. Step into his world in summer with a Historical Walking Tour and The Last Supper Ticket. It includes entry to his most famous painting and a chance to see the polymath's famed haunts in the city.

Highlights:

Skip the line of The Last Supper and get more time to hear stories, legends, and even conspiracy theories about the iconic artist, inventor, and architect.

Address and opening hours:

Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie, 20123 Milano MI, Italy. Tour times and dates vary.

Best water activities in Milan

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8. Enjoy a day at Milan's very own lake, Idroscalo

The artificial lake of Idroscalo in the eastern reaches of the city is known locally as the "Sea of Milan." One of the best things about Milan in summer is a refreshing dip in the swimming waters of Punta dell'Est or enjoy a wealth of water sports. You can even test your hand surfing amid the artificial waves of Wakeparadise.

Highlights:

The lake thrives with summertime activities, from swimming and boating to fishing and paddling. The area is also ripe with family-friendly attractions, including Europark and Wakeparadise.

Address and opening hours:

Via Circonvallazione, 29, 20054 Segrate MI, Italy. Open daily, 6:30 AM-9:00 PM

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9. Experience the splendor of Lake Como

With its Rhaetian Alps backdrop and gorgeous lakefront towns, nothing is quite like Lake Como in summer. Book the Best of Lake Como Guided Tour with Bellagio to explore this scenic paradise on a day trip. You'll sail the namesake lake and visit the exquisite town of Bellagio.

Highlights:

You'll get time to explore the cobbled stone staircases of Bellagio and bask in the sunshine as you watch boats bobble on the lakefront.

Address and opening hours:

20124 Milan, Metropolitan City of Milan, Italy. Tour times and dates vary.

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10. Discover Europe's largest lake island at Lake Iseo

Punctuated by soaring mountains and a wild natural setting, Lake Iseo is less busy in summer than its more famous neighbors. Book the Lake Iseo Cruise and Bergamo Walking Tour to discover this picturesque region and take a dip in its splendid waters. You'll discover the gem of Monte Isola, Europe's largest lake island dotted with charming fishing villages.

Highlights:

Travel to Iseo by air-conditioned bus and hop on a boat tour to Monte Isola. You'll visit Bergamo, Piazza Vecchia, and Colleoni Chapel, among other heritage highlights.

Address and opening hours:

Piazza IV Novembre, 20124 Milano MI, Italy. Tour times and dates vary.

FAQs

Where can I go swimming or relax by the water in Milan?

As a landlocked city, Milan's best swimming waters are artificial. You'll find plenty of large open-air swimming pools across town, like Bagni Misteriosi and Aquatica Park. For a more natural setting, head to Idroscalo.

Are there any great summer festivals in Milan?

Milan comes to life in summer with a stacked calendar of festivals and events. Look for Milano Pride in June, the Night of Museums late-night openings in July, and the national holiday of Ferragosto in August. There are also the nighttime markets of Festa del Naviglio in June and the summer-long Arianteo events across the city.

What are the must-visit outdoor attractions in Milan?

For outdoor excursions, head to Milan's parks like Parco Sempione and its surrounding sites like Sforzesco Castle. Other highlights include Indro Montanelli Gardens with its museum-flanked gardens and Idroscalo for lake-based fun. Major sites like the Duomo and Royal Palace are also charming in summer.

What are some great day trips to take from Milan in the summer?

The Italian Lakes are an exceptional destination during the warm summer months. You can cool off in the waters of Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, and Lake Iseo, among other tranquil spots.

What are some fun activities with kids in Milan in the summer?

If you're traveling with kids, why not take a bike ride through the city's famed attractions? You can also head to Parco Sempione to run off steam or paddle on the shores of Idroscalo.