Milan is Italian’s fashion and design capital with a fabulous central position from which to explore the best parts of Northern Italy. Though an incredible destination, the Milan metropolitan area is the most populous in Italy meaning you may want a few days in a small town where you can relax and appreciate some of the Lombardy region’s magnificent scenery. With epic lakes at the foothills of the Alps and amazing Renaissance architecture, these small towns offer magical day trips and excellent vacation destinations near Milan.
Bellagio is regarded as one of the prettiest towns on stunning Lake Como. Situated halfway around the lake the town features stunning villas with beautiful gardens. These include the Villa Serbeloni and Villa Melzi gardens that are open to the public. The town’s alleys take you up hills onto higher ground so you can get stunning panoramas of the lake, and they are full of shops and restaurants to explore.
This Alpine town has a stunning location next to the Serio River. Made up of stone houses with black slate roofs, the town dates to the Middle Ages and has an idyllic central square. Be sure to check out the Museum of White Weapons and Parchments as well as the architecture and frescos in the town’s churches. In winter the ski slopes are only 10 minutes away by car. Gromo is a 56-mile drive from Milan that takes about 1.5 hours on the E64 heading north.
Sirmione is on the south side of Lake Garda, situated on the Sermio peninsula that juts out into the lake. This makes the town resemble Venice as it appears to float on the lake. The town center is incredibly historic with stunning churches that were built in the 8th century. At the tip of the peninsula, you will find the Grottoes of Catullus, the well-preserved ruins of a Roman villa, also used as a set for the film “Call Me By Your Name”.
Crema has recently gained a lot of attention after being used as the filming location for many scenes in the film “Call Me By Your Name”. The town is picturesque with a cathedral that dates back to 1341 and features many paintings by the Masters of Como. The town is also situated on the Serio River and is close to the amazing Serio Waterfalls, Lake Garda and Lake Como. Crema is easily reachable from Milan, situated just 30 miles east of the city or about a 1-hour drive.
5. Limone sul Garda
Limone is on Lake Garda and a beautiful destination. It is dramatically located on the lakeside underneath steep rocky cliffs that rise sharply from the lake. The lakeside is full of villas, restaurants, and shops and there are opportunities for boating and swimming directly from the town’s harbor. Limone also has a superb network of hiking trails and walks into the incredible surrounding landscape. Limone is just over 100 miles from Milan at the northern point of Lake Garda, the drive is scenic and gives you a stunning overview of the lake as you approach the town.