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Bergamo Day Trip from Milan: One Day Itinerary

Bergamo Citta Alta

Before getting to Milan, I heard nothing but not-so-great-things about the city. Determined to walk away from Milan having liked it, I decided to explore anything and everything worth visiting in its area. I knew I had a saved image of this pretty, walled, hilltop town from Instagram a while back, and I recalled it wasn’t far from Milan. So I scrolled back through all my saved images until I finally found it! It was called Bergamo, and upon further research, I learned that walled hilltop town was actually just a portion of the city. Bergamo, as you may or may not know, is divided into two districts. The older district, called the Città (pronounced chee-tah) Alta, sits on top of a hill. The Città Alta is encircled by Venetian walls (named a UNESCO World Heritage site!), and can be reached by funicular from the newer district below, called the Città Bassa. If all this alone doesn’t warrant a visit, I don’t know what does! So without further ado, let’s get straight into how to visit Bergamo on a day trip from Milan.

View of Bergamo Citta Alta from San Vigilio
Church and bell tower in Bergamo Citta Alta, Italy.
Moped bikes against stone walls in Bergamo, Italy.

This is a super detailed guide on how to visit Bergamo via public transport from Milan. You might want to bookmark or Pin this article for later if you don’t have time to get through it now. It includes a secret-ish unlimited travel pass for the day (that many Milanese locals don’t even know about!), key sights in Bergamo, maps, and prices. I did this day trip myself, so if you still have questions by the end of this guide, definitely drop a comment below, and I’ll get back to you on it!

HOW TO GET TO BERGAMO FROM MILAN

Bergamo Citta Alta as seen from Citta Bassa.

Start the day in Milan, and head to Milano Centrale (pronounced chen-tral-eh) train station. This is the only train station in Milan with direct trains to Bergamo. If you are staying closer to Milano Lambrate or Milano Greco Pirelli, you can reach Bergamo via train with one transfer, but I do not recommend this option for two reasons. Firstly, making a connection always complicates a trip. It’s more work, and if your first train arrives late, you’ll miss your second train and be stuck waiting for the next one in the middle of nowhere. Secondly, and as previously mentioned, I’ll be sharing how to use an all-day unlimited travel pass, so you can simply metro over to Milano Centrale for no additional cost for the day!


Recommended reading: The Perfect Two Week Italy Itinerary (especially for your first time!)


From Milano Centrale you will take a fifty-minute train ride to Bergamo. Direct trains leave Milano Centrale for Bergamo at five minutes past the hour, every hour, but always double-check the train schedule the night before on the Trenitalia website

Unlimited Lombardy Region Transport Ticket

Instead of buying a typical train ticket, I highly recommend you purchase what’s called the “Io Viaggio Ovunque in Lombardia” ticket. This translates to “I Travel Everywhere in Lombardy,” the region with Milan, Bergamo, Lake Iseo, and even Lake Como. This ticket is good for public transport – buses, trains, funiculars – within Lombardy, except the ferries on Lake Como, high-speed trains, ItaloTreno trains, intercity trains, and some other exceptions you can find on the official site. You can buy a pass for 1, 2, 3, or 7 days, good for until midnight of the last day. (So if you buy a one-day pass, it is good until midnight that first day, not 24-hours later.)

Prices for the “Io Viaggio Ovunque in Lombardia” ticket are:

  • 1 day €16.50
  • 2 days €27.00
  • 3 days €32.50
  • 7 days €43.50

The regional train ticket to Bergamo costs €5.50 each way, so €11 round trip. You’ll also need to purchase a round-trip funicular ticket from Bergamo Città Bassa to Città Alta, which will put you close to €16.50. As you’ll see later in the itinerary, I recommend another round funicular trip as well, so before even adding any bus or metro rides, the one-day unlimited pass already makes the most sense. It’s a really good deal, so I’m surprised it seems to be such a secret!!

You can purchase this ticket from a Trenord ticket vending machine in the train station, or from any Milan metro station ticket machine. I’ve linked the official page for this ticket here in case you’d like more info.


Related Reading: The Best Day Trips from Milan – all doable with direct trains.


HOW TO GET TO BERGAMO CITTA ALTA

Bergamo Citta Alta and surrounding area as seen from San Vigilio.

Once you arrive in Bergamo train station, head straight outside and locate the bus stops on your right side. Take the 1 bus heading for Città Alta. (So the screen on the front-top of the bus should say something like, “1 CITTA ALTA.”) This will take you to the base of the hill, from which you’ll take the funicular up to the walled old town. 

Warning: there are a ton of bus stops clustered all right in the same area, heading both directions, so it can be confusing to find the right one. I had to walk all around for quite some time and ask the staff at an entirely unrelated private tour company before locating the correct one. To make sure you don’t have to do the same, I’ve provided the below map with the exact location for you below.

On the bus ride, you’ll start to see the fairytale-like Città Alta. I wasn’t expecting how cool the contrast of the walled old town right up against the modern Città Bassa would look! And although the Città Alta is what I came to see, the bus ride down the Città Bassa was very pretty as well, inspiring me to make sure to walk around it later on.

Once the bus nears the hill, it will make a right turn upwards. This is your signal to request the next stop!! Get off, and walk across to the other side of the street, where the funicular awaits. I’ve provided a map below, just in case.

THINGS TO DO IN BERGAMO CITTA ALTA

Two statue silhouettes over Bergamo.
Bread, oils, and fruit shop in Bergamo Citta Alta.
Empty street with statue in Bergamo Citta Alta.
Cafe covered with flowers in Bergamo Citta Alta, Italy.

Before you know it (roughly 1.5 hours since departing Milan), you’re finally at Bergamo’s Città Alta! I recommend allocating at least three hours for exploring the Città Alta and eating lunch, but there’s definitely no rush. 

Have Lunch

Lasagna Bolognese in Bergamo Citta Alta, Italy.

Many places on the main street offer a lunch meal deal, which is what I had. I paid €10 for bread, my choice between two entrees, a drink (alcoholic or non), and a coffee at the end to wash it all down. There was no cover charge, so service was included!

Bergamo isn’t super touristy. Like….at all! It’s awesome. So take your time enjoying the views, finding peaceful streets, and checking out the few “attractions.”

Torre Civica

Torre Civica in Bergamo Citta Alta.

The largest cluster of “attractions” are in Piazza Vecchia. Here, you will find the Palazzo del Podesta, el Palazzo del Comune, el Palazzo della Ragione, and the Cappella Colleoni. This is also where you’ll find the Torre Civica. For €5, you can climb the tower for what seems to be a lovely panoramic view. I forwent this climb, so I can’t say from personal experience!

Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore

Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo Citta Alta
Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore side view in Bergamo.
Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore interior.
Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore inside in Bergamo.

My favorite building was probably the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, also located in the Piazza Vecchia. I loved the pinkish-orange colors of the exterior. The interior of the basilica truly impressed me as well (and, trust me, I’ve definitely seen no shortage of European churches!). The ceilings looked like a painting turned into 3D. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many sculptures along the top of a building before!

Cattedrale di Sant’Alessandro

Cathedral of Sant'Alessandro statues in Bergamo.
Cathedral of Sant'Alessandro facade in Piazza Vecchia.
Cathedral of Sant'Alessandro interior in Bergamo Citta Alta.

Right near this basilica is the Bergamo Cathedral of Sant’Alessandro. I found the exterior and interior of this church less striking than those of its neighbor across the piazza, but still easy on the eyes, nevertheless.

Both churches were closed the first time I walked by them. But when I doubled-back later on, they were open. The hours were very confusing to read for me in Italian, so I unfortunately cannot share those details confidently. I did not pay to enter either church.

In addition to these “attractions,” I highly recommend just walking around town aimlessly for some time! You’ll find additional pretty views, detailed churches, outdoor restaurants, and more.

Ride a Funicular Up to San Vigilio

Bergamo funicular to San Vigilio.
Castello di San Vigilio view over Bergamo surrounding towns.
Bergamo Citta Alta with airplane flying.

Before heading back down to the Città Bassa, I highly recommend taking a funicular from the Città Alta further up to San Vigilio. The station is a bit behind the official Città Alta area, so I’ve provided a map below.

Exit to the left once you reach the top. From here, you can finally fully appreciate the full picture of the walled Città Alta high above the rest of the area. Leave the station, and explore the area before heading back down. You’ll find Castello di San Vigilio, as well as views of other nearby towns and vineyards.

I would allocate 30-40 minutes for the round-trip funicular ride, snapping pics, and walking around the area. There are a couple restaurants up here as well, so allocate more time if you might fancy food or drink with a view.

Other Things to Do

Psssst: There’s actually more to see in Bergamo! I was jet-lagged on the day I did this day trip, so I woke up at noon in Milan and got to Bergamo in the afternoon. I missed seeing the Porta San Giacomo (to the left when you enter Città Alta from the funicular) and the Rocca (to the right). Just do a quick Google Images search of these two things, and you’ll see why I’m bummed I didn’t get to them!

THINGS TO DO IN BERGAMO CITTA BASSA

Bergamo Citta Bassa Via XX Settembre
Bergamo Citta Bassa clock tower.
Bergamo Citta Bassa water fountain and cafe.
Modern art in Bergamo Citta Bassa.

Once you’re done enjoying the Città Alta and San Vigilio, take the funicular back down to the Città Bassa. From there, take the bus heading for Città Bassa back down to the central area. The bus stop is right in front of the funicular station entrance (see map below). 

I recommend hopping off the bus around the street Piazza Giacomo Matteotti to explore the Città Bassa distract for a bit. With the Città Alta behind you, make a right and walk until this street turns into Via XX Settembre. There are a couple main shopping streets, some contemporary art statues, eateries, and pretty government buildings. 

If you decide to do this, I recommend simply walking back to the train station afterwards, as you are only a few long blocks away now. But if you are short on time or interest to see the Città Bassa, you can certainly just ride the bus from the Città Alta straight to the Bergamo train station.

And before you know it, your Bergamo day trip from Milan has come to an end! Once at the Bergamo train station, use your all-day transport pass and board the next train to Milano Centrale. Direct trains leave every hour, at two past the hour, and will get you back in fifty minutes.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Let me know any questions you have on my guide for how to visit Bergamo on a day trip from Milan. And if you’ve been to visit Bergamo, I’d love to know what you thought!

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How to visit Bergamo, Italy. Easy Milan day trip by train. Detailed travel guide includes maps, one day itinerary, personal tips, and beautiful Italy photography.
How to visit Bergamo, Italy. Easy Milan day trip by train. Detailed travel guide includes maps, one day itinerary, personal tips, and beautiful Italy photography.
How to visit Bergamo, Italy. Easy Milan day trip by train. Detailed travel guide includes maps, one day itinerary, personal tips, and beautiful Italy photography.

18 Comments

  • Abdul Awal chowdhury Masud
    May 11, 2024 at 8:02 PM

    Going to trip to Bergamo today morning. Before starting the bus from milan this blog is a good read for to spend the day worth fully.
    Thanks for your detailed descriptions, hope it will help me so

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      May 11, 2024 at 11:50 PM

      Hi Abdul,

      Thanks for taking the time to let me know this guide was helpful! I hope you enjoy your day trip to Bergamo!

      – Em

      Reply
  • Anonymous
    March 27, 2022 at 10:14 PM

    Thank you for this wonderful link and information. Presently I am in Milan, looking to buy this one day pass to Bergamo for a day trip as your great information. But how can I use the pass for train tickets though, how can I booked my train , please advise.thank you

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      March 28, 2022 at 5:51 AM

      Hello! I’m glad to know this post was helpful to you. 🙂

      It’s been ~2.5 years since I used this pass, but if I remember correctly, I purchased the ticket at a ticket vending machine in a metro station. Then, I rode the metro to Milano Centrale. This of course required that I insert the ticket before entering the metro, so this validated the ticket and started the time. If you are not going to be using the metro as the first use of the ticket, then I believe you will need to validate it before boarding the train, the same way you would validate any normal train ticket (little machines on the platforms, but ask train station staff for help if you need).

      The website states that the ticket must be validated on the first use, and that if you purchase a 7 day ticket without the magnetic strips (I guess there are two kinds of 7 day tickets), you must write your first and last name on the ticket. As far as I know, those are the only rules! I imagine that if a train ticket controller checks you on a train, you show the ticket, they do the math based on the validation time stamp, and that’s it. Just make sure you are using one of the transport types covered by the ticket, which is listed on the website I linked. The types of transport covered by the pass normally aren’t ones you would book in advance.

      Hope that helps!! 🙂

      Reply
      • Patricia Leung
        March 28, 2022 at 6:26 AM

        Thanks for a speedy response, grateful for your info.
        Best regards, Patricia

        Reply
  • Imani
    March 1, 2020 at 1:48 PM

    Bergamo looks so beautiful, love the architecture! I’ll be sure to check it out next time!

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      May 31, 2020 at 3:53 PM

      You’ll love it! 🙂

      Reply
  • […] Bergamo – Check out this Milan-Bergamo day trip guide from That Travelista […]

    Reply
  • Pansy
    January 29, 2020 at 4:51 PM

    wow I wish I knew about Bergamo when I visited Milan! It looks so cool there, esp the architecture!!

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      January 30, 2020 at 6:44 PM

      It’s definitely a bit of a hidden gem! Italy is a repeat destination in my book, so hopefully you’ll be in the area again. 🙂

      Reply
  • diana
    January 29, 2020 at 1:35 PM

    Every single place in Italy is amazing isn’t it? Personally I’ve never been to Bergamo but I really want to! I’ve heard many great things about it and the airport is very convenient. I’ll be using this article as a reference so thank you!

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      January 30, 2020 at 6:42 PM

      Right?! Love Italy. And yes, there is an airport in Bergamo!

      Reply
  • Mapped by Megan
    January 29, 2020 at 11:52 AM

    What a great find! I love non-touristy spots near more mainstream destinations. Thanks for sharing this detailed guide!

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      January 30, 2020 at 6:40 PM

      Non-touristy spots by mainstream spots are my fave too!

      Reply
  • Kylie
    January 29, 2020 at 11:52 AM

    I love how detailed this is! I stumbled onto your blog and now I have new places to visit! Bergamo looks amazing. Thank you for your tips on how to get there! Saved me loads of time trying to figure out if I can squeeze it in my next vacation.

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      January 30, 2020 at 6:40 PM

      Thanks so much! Glad to be of use 🙂

      Reply
  • Chelsey Evans
    January 29, 2020 at 11:51 AM

    Never been here but looks beautiful!

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      January 30, 2020 at 6:38 PM

      It is beautiful! And not crowded at all!

      Reply

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