Outdoor and nature activities in Milan

Outdoor activity in Milan
Updated 2023-04-19 20:40

Milan offers unlimited possibilities when it comes to activities and nature escapes. Its geographical location has allowed for a good mix of nature and urbanization, so you'll have no trouble getting out of your office to enjoy the greenery.

Living in a metropolis has its drawbacks, and Milan is no exception. Daily life requires nerves of steel as it is a hectic city. This is why weekend activities and free time in Milan are essential for unwinding. In fact, the Milanese frequently go away for the weekend or take a day out of the city. Living in Milan means you can do everything from hiking in the mountains to visiting the beach: the choice is yours!

Leisure activities during the summer months in Milan

Summer days make city life difficult, especially as the climate in Milan is very hot and humid. Don't panic, because from Milan it is very easy to go to the beach at the weekend (or to the mountains to cool off!), the nearest ones being in Liguria, about two to three hours away by car or train.

Some must-see beaches and seaside spots in Milan:

  • La Boccadasse, near Genoa, is a beach located 150 km from Milan. You can get there by bus from Genoa station or by car.
  • Sestri Levante is about two and a half hours away by train. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Liguria, known for "La Baia del Silenzio", admired by poets such as Goethe and Lord Byron.
  • Portofino is about three and a half hours from Milan (also Santa Margherita Ligure) and offers intimate and beautiful beaches and some of the most beautiful sunsets in Liguria. It is also a chic resort where you will see many yachts moored near the small marina.
  • Varazze and Cogoleto offer not only beautiful beaches but also a cycle path to cycle to Finale Ligure and Sanremo!
  • Recco and Levanto are about three to four hours away by car. These towns are well known for their surf clubs and schools, which (if the waves are good) offer the possibility of taking surf lessons.
  • Further away, but not to be missed, is the Cinque Terre with villages such as Monterosso, Vernazza, or Manarola. Beware, there are no beaches, the villages are steep on the cliff and offer nice paths with a breathtaking panoramic view of the sea, the Sentiero Azzurro.

The surrounding lakes:

  • Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy, spans three regions, namely Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige.
  • Lake Maggiore, is located in the province of Varese and on the border between Italy and Switzerland (Ticino region).
  • Lake Como, is so large that it extends over several towns, including Como, Lecco, Bellano, Bellagio and Colico.

These lakes offer breathtaking scenery you can discover on a boat trip (more info on Navigazione Laghi), where you can admire beautiful historic villas such as Villa Balbianello, or by taking trails such as the Greenway on Lake Como.

Winter activities in Milan  

The Milanese love to ski but don't really enjoy long days of driving. Fortunately, there are some good slopes close to the city, which are generally popular. Among the most popular:

  • Piani di Bobbio, in the province of Lecco, is the closest, with a good number of runs, mainly suitable for beginners and intermediate skiers.
  • Piani di Artavaggio, located only 2 hours away, is particularly suitable for children and families.
  • Domobianca, is located in Piedmont and about 130 km from Milan. It is nice to visit, thanks to its beginner and intermediate slopes.
  • Mottarone, in the province of Verbania, is an easily accessible place with 8 lifts and about 20 km of slopes.
  • Madesimo, just two hours from Milan, is located in the province of Sondrio, in the Valchiavenna. The area has slopes that start at 2,800 meters above sea level, wide and ideal for children, but also with some difficult runs.
  • Livigno is the largest ski area in Valtellina. It is four hours from Milan, and although it is not a very high area, the favorable weather allows skiing until late spring. Livigno has slopes for all levels of skiers.

Leisure activities in Milan in all seasons

Being close to the mountains, Milan is ideal for daily or day hiking.

The following are some of the best hiking tracks:

  • Monte Bollettone (1,317 m), in the province of Como
  • Monte Due Mani (1,666 m), in the province of Lecco
  • Monte Resegone (1,875 m), between Lecco and Bergamo
  • Monte Grona (1,736m), Lecco

For outdoor climbing, consider the following:

  • Falesia di Galbiate, ideal for year-round climbing
  • Rocca di Baiedo, which offers two climbing sites via Folletto and Placca del Brivido
  • Falesia Lariosauro, near Lecco
  • Carate Urio, near Como

For trekking trails further afield, in the Dolomites, head to:

  • Al rifugio Brentei da Madonna di Campiglio
  • Giro del Sassopiatto da Campitello di Fassa
  • Al rifugio Nuvolau da Cortina d'Ampezzo
  • The Alpe di Siusi offers many family-friendly trails.

For cycling enthusiasts:

  • The suspended cycle path on Lake Garda (Ciclovia del Garda)
  • The Mincio cycle path.

Milan has plenty of options for sports within the city itself. You will find many gyms and parks that offer different membership packages, as well as many alternative ideas for those looking for adrenaline:

  • Climbing: Rockspot, Manga Climbing
  • Beach volleyball: OpenBeach, Centro Sportivo Palauno
  • Kitesurfing: Idroscalo
  • Rowing: Canottieri Milano, Aviron San Cristoforo, Canottieri Olona 1894
  • Cycling: Naviglio Pavese, Naviglio Martesana, Naviglio Grande, which leave from Milan and take you out of the city for many kilometers
  • Running: Parco Sempione, Giardini pubblici Indro Montanelli, parco delle Cave

Milan has many sports complexes, such as Cambini Fossati, Iseo, or Procida. All these facilities are managed by the municipality of Milan. A complete list is available on the MilanoSport website: water sports, tennis, volleyball, gym classes, fitness, yoga, etc. Thanks to its sports facilities, Milan offers the possibility of doing sports in your neighborhood without traveling long distances, especially public swimming pools. Also, gyms open to group classes are present in most neighborhoods.

Milan is truly a city where laziness has no say. Everyone can practice their sport or learn something new. Every day sees the arrival of new facilities, new infrastructures, activities and new places to discover.

Useful links :


Navigazione Laghi

Greenway Como

Sentiero Azzurro

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