When in Milan: Must-Make Day Trips from the Expo
The Milan Expo may be Europe’s ultimate 2015 attraction, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t places worth exploring outside of Italy’s fashion capital. Thanks to the EU’s fast, clean, and vast train network, there’s no lack of options for a quick day trip—and the revamped Rail Europe website makes it all incredibly easy to book.
Distance from Milan: 49 minutes
See: Best known as the home of Italy’s royals, the gorgeous La Venaria gardens and palace are Turin’s version of Versailles.
Do: Italian magnate Gianni Agnelli founded Fiat here, and cars have been incredibly important to the city’s growth. At the Museo dell’Automobile, you’ll find beautiful antique Ferraris, Bugattis, and more.
Eat: Chocolate—the city is the birthplace of gianduja, and we therefore have it to thank for Nutella.
Distance from Milan: 1 hour and 20 minutes
See: Casa di Giulietta, which dates back to the 13th century, has long been considered the original location of Romeo and Juliet’s fated romance. Yes, there’s a balcony, and yes, thousands of hopeless romantics traipse there annually.
Do: Shopping is surprisingly great in Verona. The big-name brands line Via Mazzini, or there’s an open-air flea market every Sunday where locals go for the best deals.
Eat: You can pick up baci di Giulietta (or Juliet’s Kisses)—chocolate sandwich cookies—in just about every bakery.
Distance from Milan: 2 hours and 15 minutes
See: The Venice Biennale, of course. The most highly anticipated pavilion is Australia’s, a modern new build along the waterfront.
Do: The best new views are just outside Venice on Isola della Rose, a tiny island on the lagoon that now houses the JW Marriott. Swing by for the spa, which opens this month, or the rooftop lounge with views of St. Mark’s Square.
Eat: Cicchetti—small bar snacks like bruschetta, cheeses, and meatballs—make for a cheap and filling lunch.
Distance from Milan: 2 hours and 57 minutes
See: The Trevi Fountain remains partially covered under scaffolding, but Fendi’s $3 million renovation should be complete in the fall.
Do: Walk around Rome’s former red-light district, Monti—now a neighborhood with some of the city’s best fashion boutiques.
Eat: Cacio e pepe, the simple dish pecorino and pepper pasta dish that was invented in Rome.
Distance from Milan: 3 hours and 15 minutes
See: The city center is small and incredibly pedestrian-friendly. It’s impossible to miss the Cathedrale de Lausanne, which is perched on a hill and the oldest church in Switzerland.
Do: Locals often hang out at the lakefront neighborhood of Ouchy, where you can swim in an open-air pool or visit the Olympic Museum.
Eat: Splurge on a meal the Beau-Rivage Palace, where superstar chef Anne-Sophie Pic puts a Swiss spin on French classics.
Distance from Milan: 3 hours and 41 minutes
See: Climb to the top of the Grossmunster, one of the Zurich’s most beautiful churches. The view at the top is unbeatable.
Do: A steamboat trip through Lake Zurich lasts anywhere from 90 minutes to four hours and is a great way to see the city.
Eat: One of the 10 different types of fondue at Café du Midi.
Distance from Milan: 3 hours and 50 minutes
See: The European headquarters of the United Nations, which offers multiple tours a day in both English and French.
Do: While the day away in the Parc des Bastions, a park in the middle of the city, and look out for the very popular giant chess sets.
Eat: Raclette, the popular Swiss dish where a huge wheel of cheese is scraped over a plate of pickles, meat, and bread.