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MOST EPIC THINGS TO DO IN CINQUE TERRE IN 2 DAYS – ITINERARY

Italy, Cinque Terre what to do and see in one day or two days

WHAT TO DO IN 2 DAYS IN CINQUE TERRE

So, are you planning your Cinque Terre itinerary and wondering how to spend 2 days in Cinque Terre? This post hopefully comes to the right time as I am sharing my travel tips for Cinque Terre. Find out about what to do, where to go, and more travel tips for your 2-day trip to Cinque Terre.

Cinque Terre could not be more photogenic – its beautiful towns are just picture-perfect. Truth be told, this pretty locale in Italy looks as beautiful in real life as it does in the pictures. Then keep reading and find out more about this extraordinary, beautiful place.

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Cinque Terre itinerary and travel tips. things to do and see in only one day or two days. Italy

Travel Tips for Your 2 Days in Cinque Terre Trip 

Cinque Terre has surely some of the most beautiful towns in Liguria – the Italian Riviera and well worth a visit.

Here is what I think is worth sharing with you for your 2-day Cinque Terre itinerary.

WHAT OR WHERE IS CINQUE TERRE?

Not one, not two, not three, not four, but five different villages make up Cinque Terre. Okay, if you speak French or Italian, you could have guessed that from the name.

This string of five towns on the Italian Riviera – perched along the Ligurian Coast, in the northwestern part of Italy –  is famous for its colorful seaside houses and a great combination of relaxed Italian village life and outdoor activities swimming and hiking.

Many compare it to the Amalfi Coast in South Italy (which I haven’t visited yet) – and many people say though, Cinque Terre is the better choice if you want to hike.

This area, with its rocky beaches, hiking trails, olive trees, and vineyards, has become extremely popular and is one of Italy´s main tourist destinations.

The Cinque Terre is a National Park and Protected Marine Area recognized in 1997 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, allowing for some beautiful hikes along the coast and inland.

HOW LONG TO STAY IN CINQUE TERRE?

Honestly, as pretty as it is, I think Cinque Terre in 2 days is actually enough to see the main places. Actually, 1,5 days is fine, too. 

Though I am normally the first to say, “embrace the place and stay an extra day,“ half of the second day of this itinerary is actually for another village near Cinque Terre which I will also talk about.

You can, of course, adjust it to your own needs, but the info should help you get a better idea of what is actually doable and – to me – especially worth visiting and doing.Cinque Terre, the best and beautiful places to visit in Corniglia (1 von 1)

HOW TO GET TO CINQUE TERRE?

Cinque Terre is easy to reach from cities like Milan, Florence, Turin, Pisa, and Genoa, all of which have international airports.

From there, you can take a train (Italian public transportation is surprisingly good) to La Spezia, a major port in Liguria, which is located just before the first village of Cinque Terre.

You cannot really drive to or in Cinque Terre (if you see accommodations offering free parking in Cinque Terre, you should know it is quite far from the villages) and need to take a train (or hike).

So, you take the train from La Spezia to Levanto. 

Trains run regularly (2-3 trains an hour), and in less than 10 minutes, you will have reached the first village of Cinque Terre.

Coming from La Spezia, you will reach the most southern village first. You will arrive at them in this order:

  • 1) Riomaggiore 
  • 2) Manarola
  • 3) Corniglia
  • 4) Vernazza 
  • 5) Monterossa 

Prices: A train ticket is about 4€ – regardless of which of the five villages you travel to. However, you cannot get in and out with one ticket. If you want to get out once, you will need a new ticket to continue on your journey.

CINQUE TERRE CARD VS CINQUE TERRE TREKKING CARD

  • You can buy the Cinque Terre (Train) Card that includes unlimited train rides (and bus rides, which is an alternative to the train) and some other perks (like using the toilet at the train stations for free and a hiking pass) and you can also use the hiking trails.  It is about 16€ for one day, 2 days are 29€.
  • Cinque Terre Trekking Card: gives you access to the footpaths only and other services, like using the toilets at the stations for free. You cannot use the trains/buses etc. The 1-day pass costs 7,50€ and the 2-day pass costs 14,50€.

There are discounts for families, kids, etc.

  • Where to buy train tickets: You need to buy your tickets at the station or online. However, I would buy them at the station. Staff will help you with questions. You can either pay by card or cash at the vending machine (different main languages are available, including English, Arabic, and German) or pay cash when buying tickets at the cashier.
  • Validate: ALWAYS validate your ticket, even if you have just bought your ticket with a time period from the cashier or the machine. Put your ticket into the machine (even if the slot is bigger than your ticket, just put it in until you hear it being stamped and see it on the ticket).
  • Getting from La Spezia to Riomaggiore takes just 8 minutes, and to Monterossa, it just takes 20 minutes total. As you can see, the villages are really close to each other. Here is more information on traveling to and within Cinque Terre by train.
  • Where to park if coming by car:  So, if you arrive by car, you will need to park your car in La Spezia. Unless you stay inland in Cinque Terre, you will not be able to use your car. There is some free parking. I parked near the Museo Navale for two nights and then for two nights 500 meters from the train station, and it was fine. However, there is also paid parking. So please double-check if there is a parking machine or any signs that tell you to pay. There are also parking houses, but really, if you can park for free, then do that. Just don’t leave any valuables on display in your car, and your car should be safe. From there, you need to take the train to see the villages

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost for you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

HOW TO GET AROUND CINQUE TERRE

Getting from town to town is very easy, and there are three ways to do it: foot, train, and ferry.

ON FOOT 

When I travel, this is my favorite way to get around (except for boats…I love getting around via boats). 

So, there are four hikes, from one village to the next.

However, three out of the four coastal hiking routes (BLUE  PATH) were closed when I visited. Trails can close without advance notice due to weather conditions or maintenance – but some are also under maintenance and supposed to be closed for longer. Cinque Terre what to do in 1 day, Monterosso (1 von 1)I hiked from Monterosso to Vernazza – the only open trail. It included scenic views of the ocean and a lot of steps – a lot! 

Normally, if two or more trails are open and you want to hike, you will need to buy a Cinque Terre Card. The hiking pass gives you access to the trails for 14.50€. There are checkpoints, so you cannot get around these passes. Ask at the train station and purchase them there (for 29€, you can also use the trains for two days).

The easiest and most popular hiking trail – from Riomaggiore to Manarola- is closed until probably 2024

The trails, which are not along the coast, can be an alternative for those who still want to hike. I was very upset that I could not hike all the way, but I also could not be bothered with the less scenic hikes that were more inland.

Cinque Terre hiking in 1 day Monterosso The duration will vary depending on fitness level, but here is what is said:

IF all trails are open from Riomaggiore to Monterosso, the whole Blue Path hike is about 11km and should take about 5 hours.

  • Monterosso – Vernazza: 2 hours (3.6 km)
  • Vernazza – Corniglia: 1.5 hours (3.4 km)
  • Corniglia – Manarola: 1.25 hours (2.9 km)
  • Manarola – Riomaggiore (“Lover’s lane”) – 30 minutes (1.1 km),  this easy Cinque Terre walk is closed for longer

If needed, you could hike all of the trails in one day, but if you have the time, I would recommend splitting them up so that you have time to explore the towns between trails.

BY TRAIN 

The Cinque Terre train stops in each Cinque Terre town, runs 2-3 times per hour, and is the quickest way to get between towns (4-6 minutes between each one).

If you plan on both hiking AND taking the train, purchase the Cinque Terre Train Card, which is the same as above, except that it also allows for unlimited train travel within Cinque Terre. You can check the timetable here.

BY FERRY

If you visit between the end of March and the beginning of November, another option is to take the ferry, which offers coastal views of the towns! 

Only Corniglia (which is in the middle of all five villages) is not accessible by ferry.

WHERE TO STAY IN CINQUE TERRE?

Vernazza is the best place to stay in Cinque Terre, in my humble opinion. It was my favorite of the five towns. It is mid-sized (smaller than Monterosso, but busier, and livelier than the other three), and somewhat centrally located (second from the north). I wanted to book a place in Vernazza, but I booked my accommodation two days in advance, and all hotels that allowed dogs were fully booked by then (even though it was low season!).

I stayed in Riomaggiore for two nights and was a bit disappointed. Everyone has a different opinion, but it was not my favorite village.

I stayed at this hotel here. The location was okay, it did not come with any great views, but it was easy to reach from the train station, and the room was quite big Italian standards. Coffee, juices, and sweets were free.

If you are on a budget, I actually recommend staying in La Spezia. After two nights in Cinque Terre, I booked a hotel in La Spezia for two nights and used it as a base to get around and see other places in Cinque Terre (like Porto Verene).

Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore best things to do

BEST TIME TO VISIT CINQUE TERRE?

I visited at the end of March. It was great on the one hand and not so great on the other. Let me explain that a bit more.

Italy is one of the most popular places for tourists worldwide. It is always busy, but summertime is really crazy. 

Never visit Italy between July and August. Ideally, do not visit between late June and early September. There will be crowds – crazy crowds, like really crazy crowds. Also, it will be hot, and most people complain about the heat. 

Plus, it is more expensive.

If you can visit Cinque Terre in late March, April, early May, late September, or October. It is hard to predict the weather, but the climate is mild throughout the year. 

March is a little warmer, but it might be too cold to take a dip in the water. Also, keep in mind that March is off-season, and there is a lot of construction work going on in the villages and on the trails.

If the preparations don’t bother you and you are not looking for a beach vacation, then March and April would be my tips. Otherwise, May would probably be okay, though it gets busy by then, too. But really, try to avoid June, July, and August.

MORE TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR CINQUE TERRE ITINERARY

  • Water: You can drink the tap water in Cinque Terre, so make sure to bring your reusable water bottle to refill while you’re there. You will also see a few water fountains here and there with drinkable water (if it isn’t drinkable, it says so).
  • Bring cash: ATMs and many shops and restaurants accept cards, but not all, so have some euros with you. 
  • What to Wear: Bring comfortable shoes. Even if you don’t plan to hike, comfortable shoes are essential. 
  • Also, pack light. Carrying luggage in those hilly villages is a pain in the butt, so make your life easy by traveling light.

WHAT TO DO IN 2 DAYS IN CINQUE TERRE

Okay, Cinque Terre in one day is absolutely doable, and if you have many other places you would like to see, you can do this whirlwind of an itinerary. However, I – normally – recommend staying at a place for at least one night so that you can experience a place without the crowds. Especially in Cinque Terre, this is essential as it will be crowded during the day.

Day 1 in Cinque Terre

So, for this 2-day itinerary, I recommend visiting all five towns and then spending most of day 2 in another – even more – gorgeous place near Cinque Terre.

1. Stop: Monterosso al Mare

Start your itinerary with the largest of the villages – Monterosso.Cinque Terre, Monterosso beach

Cinque Terre itinerary, Monterosso

  • Elevation: 12 m
  • Area: 11.25 km²
  • Population: 1,468 (2017)

It is known as the village with the biggest beach, and many come here to spend some time there. However, if you want to have a beach vacation, then Cinque Terre is not the best choice in Italy.

There is also the 14th-century Loggia del Podesta and the San Giovanni Battista church, and the Torre Aurore. Monterosso itself is not very interesting, so you can head from the train station straight to the trail and do an hour‘s hike (ask in advance if the trail is open).

If you have 48 hours in Cinque Terre and it is warm, you can spend a few hours at the beach (which normally is crowded though – at least in the summer months). It is probably a good way to start your itinerary.

If you do not want to hike at all, start your day in Vernazza and completely skip Monterosso.

2. Stop: Vernazza

Vernazza is the second most northern village and approaching Vernazza from Monterosso after about 1.5-2 hours is priceless.Cinque Terre most beautiful town Varnazza Marina

  • Elevation: 0
  • Area: 12 km²
  • Population: 852 (2017)

This traffic-free village is so picturesque and often named the prettiest village and it was probably also my favorite.

It is snuggled in a cleft between rocky cliffs, and looking at it from above made me fall in love with Vernazza. It is lively, busy (in summertime probably too busy), and, well, colorful –  but well, all of the villages have in common. So, I cannot really pinpoint what intrigued me.

However, the best way to enjoy Vernazza is to view it from above. Even if you don’t hike any trail, take your time to get to one of the viewing points to enjoy the views (I promise, it is worth it!). Cinque Terre 24 hours in VarnazzaYou can stroll the streets (though there are not many) and enjoy the piazza or the Doria Castle.

From there, hop on the train and go to the second or third village: Corniglia.

If you want to hike, you can see if the coastal hiking trail is open. The alternative path is, according to hear-say, less scenic and takes longer, but it is at least another option for the hikers among you (the alternative hike takes about 2.5-3 hours).

3. Stop: Corniglia

Often overlooked and left out, this was another of my favorites. It doesn’t have direct beach access, and you will have to climb more than 300 steps to reach the hilltop village that is located 182 meters above sea level.

Cinque Terre best places to visit in Corniglia

Cinque Terre what is the most beautiful places to visit in Corniglia

  • Elevation: 182 meters above sea level
  • Population: 150

For those of you who really prefer not to climb stairs, you can take a little shuttle bus that starts directly at the train station. I suggest making the extra effort and climbing the stairs. Just make sure to not leave Corniglia out because it felt the most authentic and special due to fewer visitors.

The village center was actually my favorite. Ah, and don’t forget to enjoy the panorama – there are great views everywhere, such as from the church of San Pietro.

Cinque Terre, the best hamlets to visit in Corniglia

Climb down again and hop on the train to get to Manarola.

From there, you can either hike (the coastal hike is about 1.5 hours, the alternative path is about 2.5 hours) or take the train to Manarola.

4. Stop: Manarola

Manarola is another very photogenic village that is the favorite of many people I have asked. The rocky cliffs and “beach“ area make it popular among visitors. And let’s not forget the pretty houses, of course.

Cinque Terre, what to do in 1 day, Manorola (1 von 1)

Cinque Terre, what to see in 1 day, Manorola

  • Elevation: 0
  • Area: 12 km²
  • Population: 852 (2017)

It is a great place to watch the sunset, but the views of the village are also one of a kind. There are easy and well-marked paths to follow up (with cafes at the top), so you can enjoy the views. And I promise you, the views are always worth it, even if you are tired. Cinque Terre, what to see in 24 hours ManorolaI also enjoyed strolling the streets and checking out what laundry the locals are hanging out to dry.

This day will be a busy (if you do some hiking) but still not stressful day. Then it is time to prepare for your second day in Cinque Terre.

Day 2 in Cinque Terre

If you stay in Cinque Terre for 2 days, I suggest visiting four villages on the first day. Take your time and stroll aimlessly in each town. One day two you can visit one more village and then do a half-day trip to another gorgeous, gorgeous town.

1. Stop: Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore is one of the bigger and most photographed villages – the small, narrow, tall houses are very photogenic. This is a good place for your second day in Cinque Terre. You don’t have to do much hiking but can visit a few sights that the town has and enjoy the views.Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore Harbor (1 von 1)

Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore where to go in Cinque Terre (1 von 1)However, as I said in the beginning, I was a bit disappointed. It seemed that every place I wanted to see – every angle from which I had seen Instagram images – was closed due to maintenance. Hopefully, this might be different in the busier season, and you might not be as disappointed as I was.

Sitting at the Marina and enjoying the colorful houses is priceless, though! Cinque Terre most beautiful places to visit in CornigliaThis 2-day Cinque Terre itinerary allows you to enjoy the villages more and take breaks that last more than 20 minutes.

For the rest of the day, you can head out of Cinque Terre – and to one of the prettiest places in all of Liguria… I mean, in all of Italy!

2. Stop: Porto Venere

I recommend not spending 2 days in Cinque Terre itself – and instead, spend some time in this beautiful town as well.

From Riomaggiore, take a trip to Porto Venere – my personal favorite place in the whole area. It will take less than one hour to get there and it is soooo worth it. Cinque Terre, half day trip to Porto VenerePorto Venere is a little port that is less famous, less popular, and not a part of Cinque Terre but believe me, it is as pretty (if not even more so) as its famous neighbors.

Like its neighbors, it is small – you will need no more than 2-4 hours for strolling the village. Add in the travel time, and you will find that it is a perfect way to end your second day in Cinque Terre – even if it isn’t in Cinque Terre.

  • Train and boat tickets are quite cheap. To Porto Venere, a bus return ticket from La Spezia is around 5€. Make sure to buy the tickets at the tobacco shop and not from the bus driver, which will cost more.
  • You can also get there by boat – check out the boat schedule. 

FINAL THOUGHTS ON SPENDING 2 DAYS IN CINQUE TERRE

While I enjoy off-the-beaten-path places and discover places on a slower path sometimes, I can honestly say that I did not feel the urge to stay in Cinque Terre for more than two days.

I initially planned to stay three full days (two nights), but I left early on my third day and spent that day in Porto Venere instead. Cinque Terre is without a doubt pretty, but its activities and attractions are not overwhelming in number. 

So, this 2-day Cinque Terre itinerary will hopefully help you plan your own trip properly with tips for the best things to do and see. It might seem a bit messy at first (as it really depends on where you stay), but after visiting myself,  I am pretty confident that this is a good itinerary and you will have a great time at the Ligurian Coast and enjoy your 2 days in Cinque Terre.

If you want to visit beautiful places near Cinque Terre, get inspired by my post about the best day trips from Cinque Terre.

 

Safe Travels, Arzo

 

How to Explore Florence on a Budget

Florence, Italy, on a budget. Here are the best budget travel tips for Florence

A BUDGET TRIP TO FLORENCE – FREE THINGS TO DO + TIPS

Are you planning a Florence trip but you do not want or cannot spend a fortune in Florence? Do not worry – Florence on a budget is quite easy.

When I visited Florence during my recent Tuscany road trip, I was ready to spend all my hard-earned money from blogging and indulge in the museums, good food, and more. I was not thinking of budgeting in Florence. However, I did end up spending almost nothing and had a blast! Florence with little money is possible!

Why did I not spend a lot of money in Florence? Well, the reason might surprise you: I did end up spending almost nothing because my dog was not allowed in many places. While Italy is extremely dog-friendly, Florence is not dog-friendly. I just could not visit most places. Given the number of tourists, I can somewhat understand. And while I was upset when it happened, it turned out that you can do many free things in Florence that are fun.

Florence skyline from Piazzele Michelangelo

TRAVEL TIPS FOR FLORENCE ON A BUDGET

Before talking about how to explore Florence on a budget, here are some quick travel tips.

Best Time to Visit Florence for a Budget Trip

If I have learned one thing, it is this: Italy is busy and crowded, and tourists cannot get enough of Italy. With an increase in tourists, so increase the prices for accommodations – drastically.

So, if you visit during the shoulder season, you will do yourself a favor – and your budget, too. Come here in spring or fall to avoid the high costs of accommodation.

Where to Stay On a Budget in Florence

  • Of course, staying in the historical center of Florence is fun. However, since Florence is very walkable, you can also stay in Oltrarno, on the other side of the river. It just takes a few minutes to get to the historic center, but it is (much) cheaper.
  • Also, public transportation in the region is excellent. You can also stay in a place like Pistoia, a 30-minute train ride away, but trains run frequently, and tickets are quite cheap. It is not always the best option, but it can be if you pick good accommodations close to the train station.
  • Mid-Range Hotels in Florence: This mid-range hotel is located close to the Boboli Gardens and the Piazzale Michelangelo. Check out the rates for the Park Palace in Florence.
  • Budget Hotels in Florence: The Plus Florence is a hostel near some of the main attractions, and you can book dorms or private rooms. Find out more about the hotel by clicking here.
 

Please Note: Florence charges a local city tax of 2– 5€ per person per night (it depends on the hotel category). The city tax is usually not included in your accommodation rate and needs to be paid extra at the hotel – children up to twelve years do not pay the tax.

How to Get Around Florence on a Shoestring

There are sightseeing buses and regular buses (which are not expensive btw), but you can walk to most places if you are fit.Bike in Florence, how to get around in Florence for free

I did not use any public transportation (let alone taxis). If you enjoy walking, you will not need to spend any money on transportation (pack light, so you can even walk from the train station to your hotel upon arrival). No bikes are needed in Florence!

How to Drink/Eat Cheaply

My guide told me that the restaurants in Oltrarno, on the other side of the river where the Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens are located, are all good and are much cheaper. So, avoid the restaurants in the historic center. Italian food, bruschetta. Where to eat in Florence on a budget

  • If you want a cappuccino or espresso, have it at the counter and don’t order it at the table. Prices increase and can be twice as high if you sit down.
  • Also, many restaurants charge an extra fee – a “coperta,” which can be 1-3€. If you take your pizza to go, you can save that money.
  • Do aperativos: Several restaurants offer this kind of dinner. You buy one drink (which can be around 6-12€) and then have a buffet that comes with it. I did not try them, but my guide really recommended them – particularly at the restaurants in San Lorenzo Square, which have good offers (she mentioned the Kitch Deux as extra good).
  • Also, have your lunch at Via dei Neri Street (which is actually not in the Oltrarno area). You can get delicious sandwiches, the Florentine style, for 5-8€, and they will keep you full for a while. 
  • Picnic: Florence has some amazing squares and gardens. You could spend hours there. Buy your drinks and snacks in the supermarket, so you do not have to buy the more expensive drinks from the restaurants/cafes close by.
  • Free water: I just saw a few water fountains that provide fresh and clean drinking water. So, bring your water bottle and refill it here (I saw two fountains, one on my way to Michelangelo and one in the Rose Garden).

TIP: If you are looking for an itinerary, check out my Florence itinerary.

FREE THINGS TO DO IN FLORENCE

So, as mentioned, there are a lot of cheap or even free things to do in Florence.

Free Walking Tours in Florence

Go on a free walking tour. I have done several walking tours all over the world, and I love them.  

I recommend giving tips if you like the guide and tour. But it is a cheap and good alternative to paid tours. The tour I did took about 2.5 hours, and I gave a 10€ tip. It always depends on how many people join the group and how part of the world I do the trip – if you are on a budget, you can give 5€-10€ per person.

My guide gave some amazing tips, and I learned a lot about Florence – including some budget-friendly activities.

Free Art in Florence

Okay, seeing the original statue of Michelangelo is probably a one-of-a-kind experience. However, if you don’t visit the Accademia Gallery and pay for the entry, you will find several replicas in Florence that you can see… for free!

Florence Michelangelo David Statue

Florence Piazza della Signoria in one of the best places to go

And if you visit the Piazza Della Signoria, you will be impressed by the statues you see displayed all around the piazza. It is amazing what you can see! Since you will not have the explanations for each statue as you might have in museums, make sure to do prior research or keep your phone/info leaflets at the ready.

Statue in Florence_

Leonardo da Vinci Statue in Florence for free to visit

Free Churches in Florence

You can visit several of the stunning churches in Florence for free, and some come without the lines. 

Free churches and attractions in Florence to visit

There is the impressive Duomo at Piazza Del Duomo – you only pay if you want to climb the Duomo for a view (or visit the baptistery and/or the museum).

Florence on a budget tips, Arzo Travels

If you want to visit the Cathedral, Dome, Baptistery, Bell Tower, Crypt, or Museum, you can buy a ticket that costs 18€ and visit all of these attractions for one price. If you want to skip the lines for the – otherwise – free Duomo, you can check out tickets here.

  • The tickets are not “skip-the-lines,” though, and the museum is closed on the first Tuesday of each month.

Free Museums in Florence

On the first Sunday of each month, all state museums are free in Florence. This includes the popular Uffizi Gallery, the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Garden, and the Accademia.

  • Lines are long, so you are better off booking your trip to Florence off-season. 

Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio is a medieval bridge that bursts with life – an attraction that is busy and interesting… and doesn’t cost a cent.

Florence Vecchio Bridge close-up_

Outdoor Markets in Florence

If you have visited other parts of Italy, you know how popular local markets are. Outdoor markets are a part of Italian life and culture, where locals buy fresh fruits, cheese, charming antiques, homemade soap, and practical housewares. Personally, I stay away from markets because they are busy and crowded, but you should experience them at least once.

Check out the markets behind the Basilica of San Lorenzo – and don’t forget to haggle so it will be a budget-friendly activity in Florence.

Medici Villas in Florence

In 2013, twelve Medici villas and two gardens were added as UNESCO World Heritage sites. They are not directly in the city center, but it might be worth it to hop on a bus and visit them.

Piazzale Michelangelo 

One of the best places to visit for (free) in Florence is the Piazzale Michelangelo – it offers Florence’s best views. It is extremely popular for seeing the sunset but great to visit at any time of the day or year.

Florence view from Piazzale Michelangelo is one of the best things to see

Rose Garden in Florence

You probably cannot compare the Boboli Garden to the Rose Garden, but it is a beautiful garden that is free and lies below the Piazzale Michelangelo. So, with many flowers and plants – plus the views – it is a nice and free alternative to visit.Rose Garden in Florence- things you can do in Florence on a budget

Florence Rose Garden with a view

Oblate Library Terrace

For more great views, head to the public library right behind the Duomo. It has a top-floor terrace with a great view. 

San Miniato al Monte and its Cemetery

If you make it to Piazzale Michelangelo, you will see a church in the background, which offers great views, too. Take a few extra steps and visit the San Miniato al Monte and its cemetery. San Miniato al Monte is your chance to see a working monastery, and behind it is a cemetery surrounding the entire church.

PIN ME FOR LATER – FLORENCE ON A BUDGET

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Budget travel tips for Florence, where to go and what to see on the cheap in Florence

FINAL THOUGHTS ON CHEAP ACTIVITIES IN FLORENCE

As you can see, you can spend a few wonderful days in Florence on a budget – so, whether you were looking for free things to do or general budget tips, I hope this post has helped you plan your trip better (for general Italy travel tips click here).

Florence is amazing – I fell head over heels in love with Florence. It is such a stunning city – and the fact that you can discover Florence on a budget and have an amazing time makes this place even more special.

If you are looking for day trips from Florence, check out my guide on Florence’s best tours.

Safe Travels, Arzo

 

HOW TO HAVE AN EPIC NORTHERN ITALY ITINERARY FOR 7-14 DAYS

The perfect 10 day itinerary Northern Italy

PLAN A PERFECT NORTHERN ITALY ITINERARY (7-14 DAYS)

With many stunning destinations in the region alone, it is hard to create a perfect Northern Italy itinerary. However, here are my suggestions for spending a fun 7-14 days in Northern Italy. 

Italy is surely one of the prettiest countries in the world, and after spending more than one month in that region (over several trips), I still want to explore more.

However, most of us are not fortunate enough to spend months exploring each part of this beautiful place. Here is how to see the best of Northern Italy in quite a short amount of time.

Northern Italy itinerary, Arzo Travels

Travel Tips For Your North Italy Itinerary

Okay, let´s start with some important tips before talking about the best places to visit in Northern Italy.

Best Time to Visit Northern Italy

I suggest visiting Northern Italy from September to October, or in the spring. Summer tends to be extremely hot and even more crowded than it is at other times. As you know, Italy is one of the most popular places to visit globally. 

I figured out that the times I enjoyed Northern Italy the most were in September and June. It can be rainy, but overall, the weather is warm, and it is perfect for long strolls and beautiful hikes.

How to Get Around North Italy in 10 Days

I visited Northern Italy several times by car but also got to travel by plane and public transportation. If you don’t come from Germany, France, or Switzerland, I suggest flying into Bergamo and leaving from Venice.

  • By Car / Motorcycle: Streets in Northern Italy are actually good, and driving is not as stressful as it probably is in central or even south of Italy. However, gas prices here are some of the most expensive in Europe. Tolls are also costly in Italy (and while you can avoid them, this means longer travel times and narrower streets more often). Using freeways costs around 0.80 euros or a bit more per 10km. Also, many city centers are car-free (or just residents can drive there), and you have to pay high fines if caught driving there (even if your GPS tells you to). Parking can be tricky as well at popular hotspots, and of course, pricey. Northern Italy is a heaven for motorcyclists – those serpentines (windy mountain streets) attract people from all over the world, so don’t be surprised if you see many in the summertime. Here are my tips for organizing a perfect road trip.
  • By Train: I would suggest taking the train for this 10-day trip. You don’t have that much flexibility, but neither do you have so much responsibility (because Italians drive a bit crazy). Train rides in Italy are actually pretty good and comparably affordable. Depending on the place you stay in the Dolomites, you also get a public transportation card and can use buses for free in a certain area. However, buses don’t run that often – except for cities – but in general, it is still easy and manageable to get around by public transportation in Italy only.

7 Days in Northern Italy – Where to Stay

Many places in Italy are quite expensive, including the places I name here. Though I have added a few hidden gems (that are less expensive), you will pay high prices in Venice or even Lake Garda. However, if you book in advance (or super last-minute) and do some research, you can find some good deals.

Italy’s standard isn’t the highest, but that doesn’t mean a three-star hotel is bad. I just read reviews carefully and haven’t had a bad experience – whether I booked a 5-star or 3-star hotel.

In Italy, every region and even every city charges a different tax on top of the room rate (about 1-3€ a night per person).

Airbnb might be a good alternative if you like to save or stay with locals. If you have never stayed in an Airbnb before, you can use this code to save money.

Languages in Northern Italy

Italian is the official language, though German and Ladin are also official languages in South Tyrol. Basic English is widely spoken in the tourism sector.

Food in Northern Italy

Italy has amazing cuisine. As I eat plant-based, I probably enjoy the southern Italian cuisine more than the food in Northern Italy, but there is no doubt that pasta and pizza are just delicious in Bella Italia. And so is ice cream/gelato. Obviously, there are some tourist traps in popular tourist spots and prices can be totally over the top. I suggest looking for cafes and restaurants on the side streets.

Also, keep in mind that there is a “coperto,“ which is a kind of service charge in Italy. Not all restaurants have it, and it can vary (mostly around 2-3€ a person). When a coperto is charged, leaving a tip isn’t really necessary, but it is appreciated.

What to Pack For Your Northern Italy Itinerary

I do not want to make this Northern Italy itinerary post even longer, so I have a detailed post on what to pack for your Europe trip – check it out here.

Safety Tips for 7-14 Days in Northern Italy

  • Especially in touristy places, pickpockets are common, and you should really watch your belongings. Never leave your valuables unattended, and exercise common sense. Keep all your pockets closed with a zipper.
  • If you travel by car, cover any items that might attract attention.
  • Other than that, I felt quite safe in Italy, and if you keep that in mind, you will as well.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost for you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

BEST THINGS TO DO IN NORTH ITALY IN 7-14 DAYS

Let´s get started with the top attractions to see in 7, 10, or 14 days.

Bergamo – 1-1.5 Days

Depending on your arrival time, I suggest starting your itinerary by spending one full day in Bergamo.

Bergamo is a beautiful city located just one hour from Milan, and it is a real gem. It is less crowded and less expensive than Milan – but much prettier and worth a trip. However, with only 7 days in North Italy, I would probably skip it.

10 days in Northern Italy, best places to visit and best things to do. Itinerary

Bergamo what to do

THINGS TO DO IN BERGAMO

  • Explore the old town (Città Alta) and fall in love with the pretty buildings, cute market square, and lovely and stylish Italian people.
  • Walk the Venetian Walls and enjoy the views from there – a fun and free activity to enjoy in Bergamo.
  • Pay a visit to Cappella Colleoni. The beautiful interior makes this a travel highlight.

This itinerary does not include Milan. While I understand the urge to visit the fashion capital, I can say that I was underwhelmed when I was there. Although I was unimpressed on my first visit, I visited it a second time. You know, give the place a second chance. I still did not like Milan that much. The cathedral and the shopping center, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, in Milan are beautiful. Still, it is not as interesting as many other places in Italy (no offense, dear people from Milano, just my impressions after two visits).

WHERE TO STAY IN BERGAMO

Bergamo does not have the same price tag attached that Milano or Lake Como have, so if possible, book a hotel right in the uphill old town (Città Alta). It might be more expensive than Citta Bassa (Lower Bergamo), but you are right in the most charming district. Also, keep in mind that there is an extra tax that often isn’t shown when booking a hotel.

Lake Garda – 2-2.5 days

When planning your itinerary, I highly suggest planning at least 2.5 days at Lake Garda. However, if you have only 7 days in Northern Italy, I would probably only stay 1-2 days.

Limone best places to visit
Limone sul Garda

I prefer Lake Garda over Lake Como (which I visited twice) because the towns of Lake Garda are prettier, and it is more affordable and fun (click here for my 1-7 day itinerary for Lake Garda).

I really liked Bellagio at Lake Como; however, if I had to choose (which I have in this case), I really recommend Lake Garda even though it is more crowded than its snobbier counterpart, Lake Como. 

Instagram places in Lake Garda
Sirmione at Lake Garda
View from Sirmione Tower
Sirmione at Lake Garda

THINGS TO DO IN LAKE GARDA

  • Explore Limone (one of the cutest villages I have visited in Europe so far) and bring your camera. The harbor, the pretty houses, and the flowers everywhere make this place picturesque and charming.
  • Head from Limone to Malcesine via boat in the afternoon. The boat ride is fun, and you get to see another beautiful town of Lake Garda. 
  • Stroll around Sirmione. This is probably almost a full-day activity. With its pretty old town and the harbor, it is perfect for nice walks.
  • Got curious and want to find out more about the best places at Lake Garda? Then click here.

WHERE TO STAY IN LAKE GARDA

I have written a more detailed post about the best places to stay in and around Lake Garda. In short, Sirmione in the south and Riva del Garda in the north might be some of the best places to stay.

Check out the hotels in Sirmione here:

  • Luxury – For a luxurious experience, stay at the Grand Hotel Terme, which offers great amenities and a full English buffet.
  • Mid-Range – If you are looking for a mid-range option, the Champagne Rooms would be a great choice, with helpful staff and a nice location. They also offer family suites, perfect if you’re traveling with your family.
  • Budget-friendly – Located right by Lake Garda’s shore, the lovely Hotel Porto Azzurro makes a good budget option.

Check out the hotels in Riva del Garda here:

  • Luxury – The Rivacentro is a popular, luxurious apartment hotel with helpful staff, modern rooms, and great amenities.
  • Mid-Range – For a mid-range hotel, you could stay at the Parc Hotel Flora, which offers spa access, views, and breakfast.

Check out hotels in Limone here:

My personal favorite place in Lake Garda was Limone, where I stayed. The place is tiny but yet my favorite place in the region.

  • Luxury Hotel Splendid Palace is a lovely accommodation that offers many amenities and beautiful views from its rooftop pool.
  • Mid-RangeGarni Gianmartin provides a savory buffet and lovely lake views. A favorite among solo travelers.
  • Budget-friendlyHotel Cristina has a nice location and offers lake views, a pool, and friendly staff.

Verona – 1 Day

Verona is an absolutely amazing city that should be on any Northern Italy itinerary. While it is mostly known as the setting for Shakespeare´s “Romeo and Juliette“ it has so much to offer to its visitors. 

Verona Day Trip from Lake Garda

Lamberti Tower view in VeronaTHINGS TO DO IN VERONA

  • Stroll the Piazza Delle Erbe and Piazza Bra. Both piazzas are colorful, fun, and lively. 
  • Admire the Verona Arena. Older than the Colosseum in Rome and located right next to the Piazza Bra, it is a must-see place in Verona.
  • Visit Juliet´s house and balcony and experience some real tourist crowds.
  • Stroll the Adige River and enjoy a less crowded place along the water. And look out for some of the pretty bridges you will find along the way.
  • Tip: To save money while enjoying the activities, get a Verona Card (I wish I had).
  • Click here to read my detailed post on Verona – with the best things to do and important travel information.

WHERE TO STAY IN VERONA

We, unfortunately, did only a day trip,, but if I could turn back the hands of time, I would stay at least one night in Verona. It was much more beautiful than expected, and with 10 days in Northern Italy, you could stay at least the night so you can spend your evening there, too.

  • I highly suggest picking a hotel directly in the city center, and I would choose this hotel for my next Verona trip.

With these places, you have seen some amazing places in Northern Italy already, but here are a few more areas/cities to come (though Turin is not mentioned here, you could add it to your itinerary as well).

Dolomites / Trentino  – 2.5-3 Days

Trentino, with the city of Trento, and the South Tyrol region are breathtaking.

Even after staying there for more than a week, I couldn’t get enough. And while I admit that it is a bit far from Venice (about two hours to the capital city of Trentino, Trento), it is worth it, and you will see a completely different scenery. It looks nothing like the rest of Italy.

The Dolomites, a mountain range and UNESCO World Heritage Site, are located in the northeastern part of Italy and dominate the landscape, but it is more than just stunning mountains.

The most beautiful lakes in Italy are here, cute mountain villages, and of course, the area is great for hiking or any other outdoor activities.

However, getting around here (either via car or public transportation) is often time-consuming as the region is mountainous, so you need to plan some time for visiting each area.

Best view in Trento
Buonconsiglio Castle in Trento

If you enjoy city life more, then Trento can be your first stop. This Italian hidden gem is authentic and real – you get a lot of Italy, which you don’t have to share with many others. Things to Do in Trento:

  • Visit the Piazza del Duomo and the old town. The old town of Trento is probably one of the most authentic Italian towns you can experience. 
  • Explore the Buonconsiglio Castle. This lovely castle, in the city center, offers great views and interesting art.
  • Enjoy views from Sardagna Mountain. Get the funicular and enjoy views of the city of Trento, or just hike up. It is also a great place to watch the sunset.
  • Find a detailed post on the best things to do in Trento here

WHERE TO STAY IN TRENTINO

I guess that almost all hotels and official accommodations can provide the Trentino Guest Card for the guests. With this card, you can do many activities for free. While you could even stay at Riva del Garda, located right at the pretty Lake Garda, and would still receive a guest card, I suggest booking a hotel right in Trento for at least two nights.

THINGS TO DO IN THE DOLOMITES

As mentioned above, the distances in the mountainous regions might not seem like much. Still, it takes time to get around, so you might want to consider booking your next accommodation close to Toblach, which is centrally located to the next few attractions you should add to your lake itinerary.

Lago di Braies in the Dolomites
Puppygak at Lago di Braies

Visiting these four attractions in Northern Italy will take about two days. Of course, you could swap one place for a small mountain village (like Ortisei, which is absolutely lovely),, but these three lakes are probably the prettiest in Italy.

  • Visit Lago di Braies (Lake Prags or Prager Wildsee), which has become extremely popular. Though you might have to share this place with many other tourists, it is worth it because the lake is located in an absolutely amazing piece of scenery (and no hike necessary).
  • Lago di Carezza is my favorite lake, though it might be disappointing when visited in winter or spring, as the water level isn’t high. But the backdrop is one of the best a mountain lake could have (no hike is needed to arrive at this mountain lake).
  • Hike to Lago di Sorapis. There are two trails, and none is very easy, but it is worth the hike. Plan in at least half a day for this beauty.
  • Hike around the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Hiking around the most famous mountains in the region is perhaps the best hike you can take in Northern Italy.

Read my post on the most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites with more detailed information – or check my Dolomites itinerary for more details.

Lake Carezza in South Tyrol
Lago di Carezza

10 days in Northern Italy, best places to visit and best things to do

Hiking in the Dolomites and best Northern Italy itinerary
Hiking in the Dolomites

WHERE TO STAY IN THE DOLOMITES

  • Cristallo Hotel is one of the best luxury hotels in the region. It is part of the Luxury Collection Resort and is located close to the town center of Cortina. Click here to find out about rates for the luxury hotel.
  • Hotel Montana – I changed hotels spontaneously and booked a night in Cortina at this hotel. My arrival was a bit disappointing, but I really liked it once the receptionist and I solved the issues. The breakfast was quite good, and I liked the location (and it is great value for money). Click here to find out the rates for Hotel Montana.
  • Hotel Sorapiss is a well-rated medium-priced hotel near Lake Sorapis (and so a good base). Find out more about prices and availability here.
  • Hotel Lago di Braies – If you want to stay near Lago Braies (also a good choice), then Hotel Lago di Braies is perfect if you like staying next to the lake (with all the perks that come with it, like enjoying the lake early in the morning when no one else is around). Click here to find the best rates for your stay at Hotel Lago di Braies.

Venice – 1-2 Days

Venice is probably the best place to end/start your Northern Italy trip if you arrive and leave via plane, as it has an airport. If you don’t fly out but do a road trip or get around via train, you could do Venice first and then head to the Dolomites (especially if you come here from Germany or Switzerland, etc.).

Venice 2-day Itinerary , best views of Venice, Italy

Venice, located more towards Italy’s northeast, is a main tourist hotspot for a reason – it is absolutely fantastic. It is one of the most unique cities in the world. Then there is the colorful island of Burano.

From Venice to Burano, it takes about 1.5 hours, but it is absolutely worth visiting and you can easily combine it with a trip to Venice.

schiefen Glockenturm der San Martino Kirche

You will probably need one day in Venice and half a day to visit Burano, a small island that you can reach after a 40-minute boat tour from Venice.

THINGS TO DO IN VENICE

  • Stroll around Piazza San Marco – it is one of the best things to do in Northern Italy.
  • Visit St. Mark´s Basilica. Long lines are the norm, but if something is so pretty, everyone wants to see it, right?
  • Enjoy the panorama from San Marco Campanile. Take a lift and enjoy the view from the tower. This is a fantastic way to see Venice from above. 
  • Walk along the Grand Canal. If you want to do a gondola ride or just stroll the beautiful canal, this is a place not to be missed.
  • I have also written a detailed post on Venice – just click here to read more.
  • Go on a half-day trip to Burano. It doesn’t get more colorful than Burano. I suggest adding it to your list even if you do not have much time because it is an extremely colorful place. And when I say colorful, I really mean colorful! Here is more on Burano.
  • Tip: Venice is very crowded most of the year – when visiting Venice, make sure to book activities (like St. Mark´s Basilica) in advance if you want to avoid staying in line for hours. Find the best rates for tours and activities in Italy and Venice here.

WHERE TO STAY IN VENICE

  • Luxury Hotels in Venice: Venice has some great 5* hotels like the Gritti Palace with a lovely view of the Grand Canal. You can check the prices for the Gritti Palace here.
  • Mid-range Hotels in Venice: Travel back in time to the 18th century at Antica Locanda Sturion Residenza d’Epoca: antique furniture, silk wallpaper, and views of Rialto and Grand Canal. Check out the prices for this hotel here. 
  • Budget Hotels in Venice: The family-run Hotel Locanda Ca’ Foscari offers some hotel rooms with ensuite bathrooms, as well as cheaper rooms with shared bathrooms, at a good location close to a Vaporetto ferry stop. Check out prices here.
  • If you plan to travel to Verona by train or need even cheaper accommodation, consider staying in Mestre, the first large city on the mainland. The ao Hotel Venezia Mestre is conveniently located near the train station. Recently built, it provides comfortable rooms as well as dorms, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Check out the prices here.

Liguria – 4 Days

Staying for 14 days in Northern Italy? First of all, this is a great decision, and you surely will not regret it. I would spend the extra four days in the Liguria region. On the western coast, Liguria is home to the famous Cinque Terre villages and more hidden gems on the coast and one of my most favorite cities in Europe – Genoa!

If you want to add Liguria to your itinerary, you can get there from Bergamo. Either head to Genoa directly (easy via train or car) or make La Spezia, near Cinque Terre, your base, and go on day trips.

Genoa – 1 Day: One full day in Genoa is the minimum for this amazing city! The waterfall (which seems no one knows about) is just one place to see, and while I am working on my one-day Genoa itinerary, you have some tips on what to do and see in Genoa here.Best secret places in Italy, Genoa or Genova

Cinque Terre- 1 Day: Then spend one more day in Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre is hyped and it is beautiful. BUT there are even prettier places close to Cinque Terre which I will tell you about. So, one day in Cinque Terre is probably enough before you explore other areas close by. Here are my tips for Cinque Terre in one day or two.Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore Harbor Italy (1 von 1)

Santa Margherita – Portofino – 1 Day: Portofino, a small fishing village on the Ligurian Coast, is very popular amongst visitors worldwide. It is quite small, so strolling the pretty village takes a few hours maximum, so I recommend combining it with a trip to Santa Margherita.Limone best places to visit

Since there is no train station in Portofino, my tip is to get by train (or car) to Santa Margherita (parking is expensive AF – 37,50€ for a full day and parking is limited), so I seriously recommend getting there by train.

From there, take a bus or boat to Portofino, and on your way back, discover the pretty town of Santa Margherita. Both places are beautiful – I like the latter even more, though it is not very famous amongst foreign tourists.

Porto Venere – 1/2 Day: This is probably one of my most favorite villages/places in all of Italy. You can get there easily from La Spezia by bus or boat, and it is quite small – so perfect for the last day before heading to one of the other destinations.

I think it is a must on any Northern Italy itinerary – and if you stay in the area for 7, 10, or 14 days try to fit Porto Venere in. Best hidden gems in Italy, Porto Venere

WHERE TO STAY IN LUGURIA

As mentioned, I would not stay in Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre is great if you do not want to get around much. However, if you want to see all the places in Liguria I mentioned above, La Spezia would be the best choice. La Spezia is a small town just in front of Cinque Terre.

From there, you can easily get around by car or train. I still recommend using public transportation in this area as it is pretty amazing, and there is plenty of free public parking in La Spezia – unlike many other places in Liguria.

LAKE COMO – 1-3 DAYS

Lake Como is easily reachable and since it is surrounded by towering mountains and gorgeous shorelines that are dotted with picturesque villages, its easy to understand why this beautiful lakeside oasis is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe!

However, it took me three trips to Lake Como to fall in love with the region myself. With 2 weeks in Northern Italy, you can add Lake Como to your itinerary – given its proximity to Bergamo, it would be the best to visit after/before Bergamo and Lake Garda.

Northern Italy itinerary

Pigra at Lake Como with Arzo Travels

THINGS TO DO IN LAKE COMO

  • Visit Varenna with one of the most beautiful villas in Lake Como – Villa Monastero 
  • Bellagio is worth a trip – the beautiful town is a must-see 
  • For the best views head to Pigra and enjoy the panorama
  • Villa del Balbianello is another place to add to your Lake Como itinerary
  • Check out my post on the best places to visit around Lake Como for more tips.

CONCLUSION: NORTHERN ITALY ITINERARY 

I hope this post helps you plan your 10-day Northern Italy itinerary (or anything between 7-14 days).

Stunning places like Florence aren’t on the list, but this would have involved too much time on the train/car and I do not consider Florence to be in Northern Italy. I suggest coming to Italy and doing a more central tour and visiting Tuscany and Southern Italy.

Northern Italy is so rich in beautiful places, and you could spend months and years exploring it without getting bored. Since this often is not possible, these are the best places to visit in a short amount of time.

Safe Travels, Arzo

 

7 DAYS IN TUSCANY ITINERARY

Tuscany, the most beautiful places and best towns and villages to visit in one week road trip, Italy

BEST ITINERARY FOR TUSCANY IN 7 DAYS

Are you planning your 7 days in Tuscany itinerary? Then this post is for you. Here you will find out how to create an epic one-week itinerary for Tuscany along with many travel tips for your trip.

Tuscany is the place of rolling hills, beautiful medieval towns, and villages that often sit on top of hills and thus come with great views. The region is known for its vineyards and great wines, and then there are the villas at the end of cypress-lined lanes.

But, of course, it is also known as the Renaissance’s birthplace and was home to geniuses like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. There is so much to do and see. After spending more than one week in Tuscany myself, I finally saw with my own eyes what all the fuss is about!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR TUSCANY ITINERARY

Let´s start with the travel tips before discussing your itinerary.

How to Get Around Tuscany in a Week

Many places in Tuscany are very well-connected! It is easy getting around by public transportation or car. I used public transportation whenever I headed to the main places (like Florence or Pisa) and drove for the rest of the time. Both ways have their perks. Tuscany, driving in Tuscany, typical road

Tuscany Road Trip Tips For 7 Days

I found that driving in Tuscany was fine – most of the time. I cannot deny that I will probably never get used to the way Italians drive, but in general, it was good. 

  • Especially driving through the vineyards in Val d’Orcia was so much fun! The scenery was top-notch!
  • The roads might not always be perfectly paved and modern, but it should not be a big problem for an experienced driver. Also, roads can be extremely narrow, and that is why I seriously advise choosing a small car.
  • In most towns, villages, and cities you are not allowed to drive if you do have not got a special permit. So, even if there are no barriers, you are not allowed to drive. Keep an eye out for a sign – whether you are only allowed to drive there with this special permit.
  • Also, I figured out that I should avoid busy hours. It can be crazy driving in and near main places from 7-9 am and 5-7 pm. It saved me time and stress not driving at these times.
  • Do not let the Italian drivers make you nervous. Do not speed unnecessarily (there are many speed cams around).
  • There are some toll highways in Tuscany, but I only drove them to Tuscany from Liguria. In general, most of the roads here are toll-free. Even some “autostrada” (motorways) are free (they are generally not in great condition).
  • Parking can be really costly and can eat into your budget over time. With some prior research, you might find free parking spots, but most of the time, I had to pay around 1-2.50€ for an hour near the old towns of Lucca and Siena.
  • And do not get me started on Italy’s gas prices – the highest I have ever seen in Europe. One liter of gas costs up to 1.85€. If you find gas for 1.45€, you have found a bargain.
  • Oh, and be prepared for an abundance of roundabouts in Tuscany. If you have not gotten used to them, recheck the rules, as I find the roundabouts in Italy a bit busy and hectic at times.

Public Transportation in Tuscany

I am probably not the first one to openly declare my affection for public transportation in Tuscany. The train rides, in particular, became a nice way of getting around. If I had to choose one way of getting around in Italy, it would be train travel.

  • It is quite affordable and reliable (yes, my trains always ran a few minutes late, but I consider this tolerable).
  • However, getting to smaller towns and villages without a train station is a bit trickier.
  • So, when you have a train station close to your accommodation – great. Then you can do some trips by public transportation. If there is none, then bus transport is fine, too, but when it comes to schedules, it is not always clear.
  • TIP: Always, always validate your ticket. Even if you buy your ticket at the ticket counter for the next train/bus, you need to validate it at one of the little machines at the station for trains and in the bus for bus rides.

Best Time to Visit Tuscany For One Week

  • I visited Tuscany in spring: At the end of March/beginning of April. It was a lovely time to visit. Temperatures were mild (around 16°- 20ºC), but I also experienced a few rainy days. The trees were blossoming, and it was hilly and lush. The places were not crowded (except Florence and Pisa), and I did not have to rub shoulders with other tourists.
  • I visited again in the summer: In July, it was hot and busy. I did not like it much.

Personally, I recommend visiting at the end of April, May, or early June as it gets a bit warmer and the scenery is supposed to be even more colorful and bright.

Or I would pick fall as my travel time – September to October. Overall, the weather is good, the crowds are gone, and the hills and trees are still lush and colorful.

The summer months are great if you like heat and crowds  – July and August would be good months to visit then!

Pin me For Later – Tuscany Itinerary

Before talking about the best places to add to your Tuscany itinerary, here is a pin for your future reference (save it on Pinterest).7-day Tuscany itinerary pin for Pinterest. places to visit and more tips for 7 days in Tuscany, Italy

PLACES TO VISIT IN 7 DAYS IN TUSCANY

Here are the best places to visit in beautiful, beautiful Tuscany. I talk about all places more in detail, but this overview might help you to get a better idea first. You could do a loop – and start and end your trip in Florence.

  • Florence – 2 days
  • Lucca and Pisa – 1 day
  • Volterra and San Gimignano – 1 day
  • Val D´Orcia (incl. Montepulciano) – 1 day
  • Siena – 1 day
  • Arezzo – 0,5 day + return to Florence

Florence – 2 Days

  • If you are in Tuscany for one week, I recommend staying in Florence for 2 days, because there are so many places to visit and things to do. 

Florence is one of the best places in Italy. You seriously have to add it to your Tuscany itinerary. This city is one of my favorites in all of Europe! It wins the heart of its visitors within minutes – it is soooo pretty! Florence Campanile with church

Florence view from Piazzale Michelangelo is one of the best things to see

And even if you are not the typical art fan (believe me, I am not), Florence is different. While Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci still play a crucial role in the city today, there is so much more to do and see. 

You can do a few things for free in Florence, but several fantastic museums and churches need a ticket reservation in advance if you don’t want to spend hours in line. There is no country in the world where skip-the-line tickets make more sense than in Italy from April to October.

Things to Do and See in Florence

  • Uffizi Gallery – find the original statue of David by Michelangelo. Skip-the-line tickets are essential. 
  • Cross the Ponte Vecchio Bridge – this medieval bridge is 312 meters long and houses some small shops. It dates back to the 14th century.
  • Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore – oh, what a lady! This stunning cathedral is a beauty. You surely will be impressed by its sheer size. If you want to visit the inside book your ticket in advance.
  • Piazza Della Signoria – this lively square is fun and busy. You will also find a replica of the David Statue and many more art pieces. 
  • The views from Piazzale Michelangelo are priceless. It takes a 10-15 minute uphill hike (not too steep, though), and from there, you have great views and can enjoy the Florentinian skyline for free (also great for enjoying the sunset).
  • Pitti Palace – once the Medici family’s home, it is now a Renaissance Palace that houses incredible art pieces. Plan in 3-5 hours for this place and buy tickets in advance.
  • The Boboli Garden – located right behind the Pitti Palace, you can stroll this gigantic garden for several hours without getting bored (get a combined ticket for Pitti Palace, Boboli Garden, and more).
  • Here is a more detailed Florence guide for you!

If you make Florence your base for your whole Tuscany trip, then check out the best day trips to take from there.

Where to Stay in Florence

Lucca and Pisa – 1 Day

For this day, we have two towns on your itinerary.

  • From Florence, you can easily get to Lucca and Pisa via train or car.

LUCCA

Lucca is a popular, though not overly crowded, town between Florence and Pisa.

  • It is just a 30-minute drive (or train ride) from Pisa.
  • While it seems like there is much more to see in Lucca than in Pisa, Lucca is very walkable. Despite the number of attractions, you can see all these places in half a day. 

Secret places places in Italy, Lucca in Tuscany

Things to do in Lucca

You can walk the huge Renaissance walls that offer nice views and are a good place to rest. Seriously, I have never seen such big city walls. From there, you can make your way to the historic city center and visit other main attractions.

  • The Duomo di San Martino (entry about 3€, which was nice, but you can skip it if you’re on a budget). You can climb the tower there. The views are not as great as from the other tower. However, if you are in the mood to climb towers and don’t mind paying another 3€, this is a good place to enjoy the views. 
  • Then there is the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro with its many cafes and restaurants.
  • Climb to the top of the Guinigi Tower. It has centuries-old trees at the very top; climbing the 270 steps will cost you about 4€.
  • Visit the St. Michael’s Church (Chiesa di San Michele) with its unique exterior.
  • Visit the Basilica of San Frediano 
  • If you enjoy guided walking tours, check out this affordable Lucca walking tour.

PISA

Pisa is surely mostly known for one attraction, but it is a bit more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It is a charming little town. Initially, I planned to stay one whole day in Pisa, but I figured out that half a day is really enough! There are just so many other stunning places in Tuscany.

Day trip to Pisa, The leaning tower of Pisa

And like Florence, Pisa is busy. At least, it is busy around the Leaning Tower, not so much in other areas.

Day trip to Pisa, stroll the river

Things to Do and See in Pisa

  • Visit the Piazza del Duomo, where you have the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It is a 14th-century tower that is probably the most famous tilted building in the world. Skip-the-lines tickets are a must if you do not want to spend a lot of time in line.
  • But there is also the impressive Pisa Cathedral, the baptistery, and Camposanto Monumentale (a cemetery). The Duomo is free to visit, but you need to get a ticket center ticket (which is well signed).
  • If you want to climb the Leaning Tower or visit the baptistery or the Camposanto, you need to buy tickets. If you don’t buy skip-the-line tickets in advance, you might have to stand in line forever or not even get a ticket at all.
  • Stroll the Arno River (which is such a tranquil place after the busy Piazza del Duomo) and visit the Santa Maria Della Spina – a tiny church with a unique gothic exterior.
  • On your way to the Santa Maria Della Spina, you should visit the Palazzo della Carovana at Knights’ Square. 
  • Check out my Pisa itinerary to find out more.

WHERE TO STAY IN PISA

In case you want to stay overnight, here are some well-rated accommodations:

Volterra and San Gimignano – 1 Day

Here are two stunning villages to visit: Volterra and then San Gimignano. Whether you road trip or not  one day for visiting both places should be fine.

Driving to Volterra and then to San Gimignano was one of the best driving experiences: great views and nice roads. However, these are mountain roads and they are narrow – and it might not be everyone´s cup of tea. 

Volterra

Volterra is a walled mountaintop town southwest of Florence which dates from before the 8th century BC. I visited Volterra on a rainy day, and despite the weather, it still charmed me.  Volterra the most beautiful places and best towns and villages to visit in 5 daysSince it is a hilltop village, it comes with great views – but you also have cute streets, and even cuter doors and houses.

Things to Do and See in Volterra

  • Explore Piazza dei Priori  – The piazza is located in the center of the town. You will also find the Palazzo dei Priori (city hall), the Council Chamber, and the bell tower (both open to the public) there.
  • Stroll Piazza San Giovanni, where you will also find the Cathedral and the Baptistery
  • Walk the Etruscan Gate that is close to the Piazza San Giovanni and built in the 4th century. 
  • Visit the Etruscan Acropolis, which is located within the Archeological Park. 
  • Enjoy the views!

San Gimignano

From Volterra head to San Gimignano – this place is surely not a hidden gem. This small-walled medieval town near Volterra is one of the most popular tourist hotspots in Tuscany. Encircled by 13th-century walls, the town center is a triangular square lined with pretty medieval houses and its skyline is one of a kind.

landscapes of Italy. medieval San Gimignano - Tuscany cutest towns in Italy
@shutterstock

It gets busy, especially in the summer. However, it holds a few great attractions that make it worth a visit. 

Things to Do and See in San Gimignano

  • Climb Torre Grossa – The tower stands at 54 meters and dates back to the 13th century. The admission fee is about 5€, but the view is probably well worth it (I visited on a rainy day, so I skipped it).
  • Check out Porta San Giovanni – The door was finished in the 13th century and is a highlight of the town.
  • Piazza del Duomo – The heart of San Gimignano also houses the cathedral, the Palazzo del Podesta, the Palazzo del Popolo, and more.
  • There are also guided tours that will show you both towns in one day.

Val d’Orcia (incl. Montepulciano) & Wine Tasting – 1 Day

South of Siena and Florence is one of the most beautiful sceneries, and you will see the Tuscan countryside at its best! The Val D’Orcia is famous for its stunning landscapes and its red wines. While I, personally, don’t drink wine, I know it is still a great place for wine tasting.

The views. The drive. The roads. This was a fun day driving and enjoying the panoramas from your window views.

Tuscany Val D`Ora and the green lush hills The lush, green hills and yellow fields in between (and in the summer, you can expect red poppies and fields of sunflowers) make it one of the most beautiful places in Tuscany.

One of my favorite towns was the hilltop village of Montepulciano. Spend a few hours there, and if you have time left (I wish that I had), then visit Montalcino or Pienza as well.

Here are some tours that include wine tasting that I have found online – because some people just come to Tuscany for food and wine.

Siena – 1 Day

Now let´s talk about Siena – a city that sits over three hills. It is a perfectly preserved medieval town and a shrine to Gothic architecture. There is an impressively maintained historic center that’s been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.Siena tower, looking up

Tuscany, Siena cathedralYou can start your day at the central piazza. The huge Piazza del Campo is the heart of the city and where most of its important events have been held ever since.

Twice a year, on July 2 and August 16, a famous horse race takes place here. Then it gets busy – also, animal fans might not want to attend this kind of cruel event. But most of the time, it is a nice and lively square where you can enjoy the Dolce Vita.

Things to do and See in Siena

  • Visit the impressive Duomo di Siena, a Romanesque-Gothic cathedral with mosaics – the exterior looks a bit pinkish. 
  • Climb the 400 steps of the Tower of Mangia, which is located on the Piazza del Campo. It was closed at the time of my visit but is supposed to offer some of the best views in Tuscany.
  • Admire the Palazzo Pubblico, the town hall building in gothic style and located on the Piazza del Campo.
  • Stroll the old town and be ready to find some cute houses around every turn.

If you have less than 5 days in Tuscany, check out this organized tour that allows you to see several towns in Tuscany – including Siena.

Where to Stay in Siena

Arezzo – 0,5 Day

For this day, you can visit a little town east of Florence and then drive back to Florence.

Arezzo

Arezzo is a town in eastern Tuscany and has become one of my favorite towns in Tuscany. 

I was a bit exhausted and forgot what the town was about due to bad research – or better yet, due to a lack of research. I expected another hilltop village and was surprised that it isn’t a typical medieval town in Tuscany.Tuscany, Arezzo view from above, one of the best places to visit in Tuscany

Tuscany, Arezzo market square one of the best places to visit in TuscanyThe town square is indeed uphill, but not all of the town – just some parts.

Also, I was spoiled with great weather, and I fell in love almost immediately. So, if you are 7 days in Tuscany, make visiting this small town a priority.

Things to Do and See in Arezzo 

  • Visit the Piazza Grande – the market square is home to several beautiful buildings, cafes, and restaurants. 
  • Visit the Arezzo Cathedral 
  • Stroll the Fortezza Medicea 
  • Visit the museum of the Fraternity dei Laici (located directly on the Piazza Grande, and for only 3€, you will also get access to the panoramic terrace)
  • Fancy a cooking class in Italy? In Arezzo, you can take a cooking class at a local´s home.

Then it might be time to drive back to Florence. Florence is about 80km away which should take a bit more than one hour (by car or train)

FINAL THOUGHTS ON PLANNING YOUR TUSCANY ITINERARY

Tuscany is surely one of the most beautiful regions in Europe, if not in all of the world. The landscapes and the fantastic cities, villages, and towns make it a perfect place to discover.

I want to be honest though: Sometimes I felt like I had visited a village already as some towns and villages are “similar,” and the scenery did not always dramatically change. However, it was a great experience. Tuscany is amazing! 7 days in Tuscany is a good amount to spend here, but even 10 days in Tuscany will be fun without getting bored.

While I did not do my trip according to this Tuscany itinerary, this is how I would do it now, now that I know better.

However, even if you change the route or some places, this post hopefully has helped you create your perfect one-week Tuscany itinerary.Safe Travels, Arzo

 

Most Epic Day Trips From Florence, Tuscany

Best day trips from Florence, Italy. where to go near Florence and what to see

EPIC FLORENCE DAY TOURS

Are you planning your Florence itinerary and also some day trips from Florence? Then this post is for you – here are some of the most amazing places to visit near Florence.

Florence is one of Italy’s most beautiful cities, so it’s no wonder so many people flock here each year. Florence has something for everyone. Whether you are on a budget or splurging, whether you are an art enthusiast or a novice, whether you are a fan of the outdoors or prefer to stay in, you won’t be disappointed by Florence.

There is so much to see and do in Florence. However, you would then miss out on some of Florence’s amazing nearby towns and cities of Tuscany that are worth a visit. There are so many beautiful places near Florence and taking day trips from Florence is a great way to discover them.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR DAY TRIPS FROM FLORENCE

This post will let you know the best day tours from Florence. You won’t be disappointed with these fun, colorful, and historical villages and cities once you see them!

Pssst, also make sure to check out my Florence itinerary.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

Best day trips from Florence, Arzo Travels

Where to Stay in Florence

If you make Florence your base, find the best accommodation for your trip!

How to Get Around Florence For Day Trips

There are three main ways to do the day trips from Florence.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

  • Italy has a pretty good public transportation system – especially in the Tuscany region. I have only had positive experiences using the trains in Italy.
  • Especially for the Florence day trip, I recommend using trains. The prices are very reasonable, reliable and clean. 

DRIVING

However, driving could be another option.

  • The streets are mostly in good condition, and I have seen worse streets and drivers in Italy.
  • However, parking will be a challenge. Many town centers are car-free, and you might have to park quite far away. Parking prices will add up, and petrol is costly in Italy.
  • Also, if you want to drive the highway, you will have to pay a fortune for tolls. In Tuscany, driving highways will not happen often but if you use them, you will (pay 9€ for 100km on average).

I recommend doing the day tours from Florence via public transportation. You will probably save money using public transportation – and there will be fewer headaches if you do not drive yourself.

GUIDED TOURS

  • Another option for discovering some of the places mentioned below is via guided tours. Especially the popular places can be visited with a guide. However, there are not guided tours for all the places.  

BEST FLORENCE DAY TOURS

Here are the best places to visit near Florence.

Florence Day Trip to Pisa

  • BY CAR: ABOUT 1,5 HOURS ONE WAY
  • BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: ABOUT 1 HOUR ONE WAY

How could it be any different? Pisa is famous for its Leaning Tower, and if you visit Tuscany, you have to visit the tower. It is probably the most famous day tour from Florence.

  • You can get to Pisa from Florence by either train or car, but I don’t recommend going by car.
  • Train tickets are quite cheap, and the trains run frequently. By train, you’ll be in Pisa within the hour. 

Day trip to Pisa, The leaning tower of PisaDay trip to Pisa, stroll the river

Once you arrive, your first stop should be the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It is located in the Piazza del Duomo, and you can actually climb to the top (there are 400 steps) for around 20 euros.

Make sure to buy your tickets in advance and get skip-the-line tickets – it is going to be busy here!

There’s more to do at the Piazza del Duomo. Visit Cattedrale di Pisa, an imposing church in front of the tower, with marble striping, Romanesque, bronzed doors, and carved pulpits. See Camposanto Monumentale – a cemetery, which you will also need tickets.

The Pisa Baptistery is another great place to stop, with panels by the renowned sculptor Pisano.

Then leave the piazza and discover some other sights like this cute church: Santa Maria Della Spina is a little church with a unique exterior on the Arno River.

Stroll the Arno banks, visit the Knight Square, and see the Italian art in the Palazzo Blu Museum, located by the river. 

A day trip from Florence to Pisa is very cliche but fun!

Florence Day Trip to Lucca

  • BY CAR: ABOUT 1 HOUR ONE WAY
  • BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: ABOUT 1,5 HOURS ONE WAY

Lucca is a popular town that is easy to get to from Florence. Despite being situated between Florence and Pisa, it is not overly crowded with tourists. 

There are quite a few attractions for you to enjoy on your day trip to Lucca. First, you should see the huge Renaissance walls and walk atop them. They offer some amazing views. Then, head to the historic city center.Secret places places in Italy, Lucca in Tuscany

Most underrated places in Italy, Lucca in TuscanyHere you’ll find the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro and its cafes and restaurants if you’d like to stop for a bite. After that, check out the Duomo di San Martino for 3 euros – you can climb the tower for another 3 euros if you like. The views are very nice.

If you’re in the mood for climbing, you can also go to the top of the Guinigi Tower. Here you will see centuries-old trees once you climb the steps – the cost is 4 euros. You can also visit the Basilica of San Frediano and St. Martin Cathedral, which has a unique and interesting exterior.

Take your time because, despite the number of attractions in Lucca, they are not that far apart and walkable, so you have time to linger.

Florence Day Trip to Pistoia and Pescia

  • BY CAR: ABOUT 40 MINUTES TO PISTOIA ONE WAY
  • BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: ABOUT 1 HOUR TO PISTOIA ONE WAY

Pistoia and Pescia are two wonderful towns that you can combine for one day trip. They are easy to get to from Florence and slightly off the beaten path. In my opinion, both towns are underrated. Especially beautiful Pistoia, which has an authentic medieval feel to it. 

Tuscany, Pistoa baptiserary_A river bisects Pistoia, so some of its attractions are on one side, like the Piazza Mazzini and City Hall, and some are on the other, like the Cathedral of San Zeno. You will see lots of gorgeous architecture here with none of the crowds of more popular cities.

Make sure you see the Spedale del Ceppo, the Piazza del Sala, the Basilica of Our Lady of Humility, and the church of Sant’Andrea.

Then, stop for lunch and make your way to Pescia nearby.

The second half of your day will be in Pescia, another little town that is long on lovely buildings but short on crowds. You can visit the Gipsoteca Libero Andreotti Museum and the Pescia Cathedral.

Spend the rest of the day strolling through town, walking along the banks of the river, and enjoying a relaxing Tuscan evening. 

Florence Day Trip to Porto Venere

  • BY CAR: ABOUT 2,5 HOURS ONE WAY
  • BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: ABOUT 3,5 HOURS ONE WAY

If you are staying in Florence, you should visit Porto Venere which is close to La Spezia. This beautiful town you can reach by taking a train or boat from La Spezia. It is quite a long way – I am aware of that. But since train travel in Italy is pleasant and Porto Venere is STUNNING, it is still worth it.Best hidden gems in Italy, Porto Venere

View from St. Peter in Porto Venere_Small and pretty, Porto Venere is a little port town overshadowed by its popular neighbors – Cinque Terre’s villages. But it is definitely worth a day trip from Florence to see because it is really quite beautiful.

Because of its size, you can see all of the town’s sights in less than four hours. If you like, you can even take a guided tour. But if you prefer to wander at your own pace, here are some of the highlights that you should see while here.

Visit the medieval Church of Saint Peter and San Lorenzo Church. To get amazing views, go up to the clifftop Castello Doria, a fortress that gives you an overview of the town. Or stroll the streets and promenades, taking in the colorful houses and nice atmosphere.

If you like outdoor activities, make your way to the Porto Venere Regional Natural Park. This protected land has enough beach areas, dive sites, and hiking trails to satisfy any lover of the outdoors. 

Here are more travel tips for Porto Venere.

Florence Day Trip to Siena

  • BY CAR: ABOUT 1 HOUR ONE WAY
  • BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: ABOUT 1,5 HOURS ONE WAY

Here is an easier day trip from Florence: Siena.

Siena is a beautifully maintained, medieval town and an homage to Gothic architecture. Its historical center has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site

Tuscany, Siena cathedral

Siena tower, looking upYou can reach this town that sits upon three hills by taking the train or bus from Florence. Once you arrive, head to the central piazza – the Piazza del Campo – where the town’s most important events take place. It is a fun and lively square, and if you happen to be visiting in the summer, specifically July 2 or August 16, Siena’s twice-annual horse race will be going on.

Besides that, though, there are a few other great sights to take in. Within the piazza is the Tower of Mangia, where you can climb 400 steps to the top. It was closed during my visit, but it supposedly provides some amazing views.

Visit the Duomo di Siena – you’ll notice it by its pinkish exterior. This Gothic cathedral has some gorgeous mosaics.

Stop by the town hall building – the Pubblico Palace – another example of Gothic architecture in the piazza. After that, you can wander through the old town. Adorable houses are lining the streets, and it’s the perfect way to end your day in Siena.

Florence Day Trip to San Gimignano

  • BY CAR: ABOUT 1 HOUR ONE WAY
  • BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: ABOUT 2 HOURS ONE WAY

Traveling from Florence to San Gimignano only takes about an hour, but you will have to transfer to Poggibonsi if you travel by bus or train. If you arrive via car, then no worries, but keep in mind that these are narrow, mountain streets that can be challenging to drive (though if I can do it, you can do it, too!.

So, of course, San Gimignano is very popular so it can be busy at times.

landscapes of Italy. medieval San Gimignano - Tuscany cutest towns in Italy
@shutterstock

But regardless of how you get here, San Gimignano is a great day trip from Florence. It offers stunning views and some fascinating attractions. And everyone knows it. This walled, medieval town is a trendy tourist destination in Tuscany. It can get jam-packed, especially in the summer months.

While you’re here, stop at Porto San Giovanni to see a door created in the 13th century and the town’s pride. If you are looking for a great view, try Torre Grossa. Climbing this 13th-century tower, which is 54 meters high, will give you an amazing look out over your surroundings. Entry is 5 euros. (I actually missed this because it was raining during my visit.) 

The center of San Gimignano is the Piazza del Duomo. Here you will find the Palazzo del Podesta and the Palazzo del Popola, two beautiful cathedrals, and other amazing pieces of architecture.

Wine Tasting Tour

Many people want to go wine tasting in Tuscany. How can we blame them? After all, Tuscany is one of the most famous and prolific wine regions in Europe.

While I do not drink wine and cannot give you first-hand recommendations, there are many day tours that allow you to try some of the local Tuscan wines.

Tuscany wine tasting, Arzo Travels

The beautiful wine region of Chianti is a popular place for scenic tours from Florence. While admiring the Tuscan landscape of rolling hills, vineyards, and cypress trees, you can taste Tuscan wines and local products.

There are many different tours available – I have picked some of the best rated so you can enjoy a great day with great wine!

Florence Day Trip to Arezzo

  • BY CAR: ABOUT 1 HOUR ONE WAY
  • BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: ABOUT 1 HOUR ONE WAY

This town is something different – and unique – from the other medieval towns found in Tuscany. Because of this, it became one of my very favorites. I am talking about Arezzo.

Trains frequently run from Florence to Arezzo, making your day trip an easy one. So, hop on, and you will be here within 30-60 minutes. Tuscany, Arezzo market square one of the best places to visit in Tuscany

Tuscany, Arezzo view from above, one of the best places to visit in TuscanyLike most of Tuscany, the town square is on a hill, though the rest of the town is not. There are a variety of attractions to see, from the historical to the natural to the picturesque. I’m pretty sure that you will fall in love with this town. 

Visit the Arezzo Cathedral and make sure you check out the beautiful, 15th-century fresco there. The Piazza Grande is also a good place to see the interesting buildings and maybe stop for something to eat at one of the many cafes and restaurants. The Fraternity dei Laici, a museum located on the Piazza Grande, is another place you should see. Not just for what’s inside, but because you can have access to the panoramic terrace and its views for only 3 euros.

Florence Day Trip to Rome

  • BY CAR: ABOUT 3 HOURS ONE WAY
  • BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: ABOUT 2 HOURS ONE WAY

How could you miss this city? For your day trip to Rome, I suggest starting early. This is going to be a full day with lots of amazing things to see and do. Normally, I’d suggest 2-3 days for Rome, but with just one, you’ll have to pick and choose what best works for you.Vatican City seen from Rome

Tourists places in Rome in two days

Let’s start with some of the most famous landmarks in Rome. While here, I would suggest seeing the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Roman Hills and Palatine Hills, the Spanish Steps, Castello del Angelo, and Monumento Nazionale a Vittoria Emanuele.

Within Rome lies Vatican City, the smallest country in the world and home to the Pope (it’s effortless to cross borders). There are some breathtaking sights here that absolutely made my Rome trip, so don’t skip this part. 

Some of the best things to see in Vatican City are St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, the Spiral Staircase, and Raphael‘s Rooms. 

With only one day, you won’t fit this all in, but maybe that will give you an incentive to come back to see the rest.

Final Thoughts on the Best Day Trips From Florence

Tuscany is a beautiful region in Italy, and Florence is no exception. However, there are so many interesting and beautiful places nearby. It would be a crime not to explore Italy further with a few day trips from Florence.

These towns and cities are well worth the (short) commute, and I know you won’t be disappointed once you see them. Safe Travels, Arzo

 

Best Day Trips From Cinque Terre, Italy

Italy, the best day trips to take from Cinque Terre, Italy

AMAZING CINQUE TERRE DAY TOURS

So, you are headed to Cinque Terre and want to see a bit more of the stunning surroundings? So, basically, you are wondering about the best day trips from Cinque Terre, Italy? Then this post is for you – here are my favorite day trip ideas from Cinque Terre.

One of Italy’s main tourist destinations is Cinque Terre, located on the Ligurian coast in the northwest part. This means that it is often overrun with tourists, and despite consisting of five distinct villages, it is quite small.

However, it is a good base to stay and discover other nearby gorgeous places that are just as stunning, if not more so. Actually, I recommend staying in La Spezia, which is a small town just before you reach the first village.

You can’t really drive in Cinque Terre in your car. This means that you will have to get from La Spezia to Cinque Terre by train. Of course, you can stay in Cinque Terre, but it is cheaper and more convenient for traveling to the other places mentioned here if you choose La Spezia instead. 

Okay, let´s get started with the best day trips from Cinque Terre, Italy.

Day Trip to Genoa

  • Getting to Genoa from Cinque Terre takes a little more than an hour by train.

Genoa is a significant city, as it is the main port in northern Italy and the Ligurian region’s capital. Personally, I did it as a day trip from La Spezia, and it was one of the highlights of my trip in Liguria.

While not as famous as Rome, Venice, or Florence, Genoa is so rich in attractions and activities that it is one of the best day trips you can take from Cinque Terre.

Best hidden gems in Italy, Genoa

Well known as Christopher Columbus’s birthplace (you can visit his house of birth), there’s more to Genoa than just this. Via Garibaldi, a historic street, holds some impressive baroque buildings, the old harbor, palazzos, Porto Antico,  and many cafes, restaurants, and more beautiful buildings.

The Cathedral of Saint Lorenzo is a stunning church, both inside and out. You will also find my favorite place – Villetta di Nergro – an uphill park with a waterfall! Hardly anyone knows about this gorgeous location that gives you elevated views of the city – for free! You also have great views from Spianata di Castelletto, which is a now-dismantled fort. Best secret places in Italy, Genoa or GenovaOne day is almost too little for this amazing city. But a day trip to Genoa from Cinque Terre is better than missing out on this great city.

Day Tour to Porto Venere

  • You can reach Porto Venere by boat from Cinque Terre or by bus from La Spezia. A round-trip bus ticket only costs about 5 euros. 

Porto Venere is a little village off the Ligurian coast and a great day trip from Cinque Terre. Best hidden gems in Italy, Porto Venere

Best hidden gems in Italy, PortoVenere

This is one of the most beautiful places in the region. It is quite small but still has several attractions – the Castello Doria fortress that sits on a cliff, San Lorenzo Church, the medieval Church of Saint Peter, and the fun promenade with its colorful houses. There is also the Porto Venere Regional Natural Park, a protected piece of land with a beach area, hiking trails, and dive sites. 

Personally, I think 4-6 hours is enough to enjoy Porto Venere. So, you can combine your visit with a walk to La Chiglia, which is about 1-2 km away on foot. Or, if you are feeling energetic, you can also walk to Le Grazie. I saw it on my way in, and it looked exciting and lovely. Sitting right on the coast also has a harbor – you could spend some time here and make it a full day.

Day Trip to Portofino

  • The best way to get here is to take a train from La Spezia to Santa Margherita and then take a boat or bus the rest of the way.

Another great day trip idea is Portofino, a little fishing village along the Italian Riviera. Portofino Harbor approahing by boat, a good day trip from CInque Terre

Colorful promenade in PortofinoPortofino is Instafamous for its amazingly colorful houses. This is a destination for the rich and famous, and it’s not unusual to see yachts lined up in the summer months. 

The village is tiny so you can see quite a lot within a few hours. You can hike up to Castello Brown, a 16th-century fortress with a museum inside and panoramic views of the city and the Ligurian Sea. 

This is not a full-day trip unless it’s summer and you want to swim. I suggest combining this trip with another town, like where you’re staying – La Spezia. Though Portofino is the favorite of many – it was not mine. It can’t compete with many of the other places mentioned. However, if you have a couple of days in the region, visit Portofino for a day.

Trip to Santa Margherita

  • Santa Margherita has a train station, so it’s easy to reach from Cinque Terre and takes about 40 minutes.

Of all the day trips in Italy, this is one of my favorites  – Santa Margherita. It is located near Portofino and is rather underrated. I had not heard of it before, but when I visited, I was pleasantly surprised – it is a beauty!Best hidden gems in Italy, Santa Margeherita

Santa Margherita in Liguria, colorful housesThis town is different from the other places in Cinque Terre – it has lots of shops and a long promenade to walk along.

You should definitely see the Villa Durazzo, which is beautifully maintained and offers lovely views of the sea, and the Santuario di Nostra Signora Della Rosa, a stunning church on the outside, but even more so on the inside – one of the most impressive churches I have ever seen. 

Santa Margherita is a wonderful place to see, and I would definitely recommend adding it to your Cinque Terre or Italy itinerary. You can combine this day trip with a visit to Portofino, taking the boat between the two.

Day Tour to Pisa

  • The city of Pisa is accessible by train and less than an hour away from La Spezia.

Take a day trip to one of the most famous regions in Italy – Tuscany. This beautiful part of central Italy is extremely popular with tourists.Day trip to Pisa, The leaning tower of Pisa

Day trip to Pisa, stroll the river

Mostly known for the Leaning Tower of Pisa, other attractions are less busy – since everyone else is trying to get the perfect picture of themselves leaning against the leaning tower. So, skip the picture and spend your time with all of the wonderful attractions Pisa has to offer.

The Leaning Tower is 65 meters wide and has always been tilted, and this mistake only added to Pisa’s fame. Other attractions include Piazza del Duomo, where the Leaning Tower is located; Cattedrale di Pisa, a marbled, medieval cathedral; and Camposanto Monumentale, a cemetery that features frescoes – and pay attention to one of the unique churches in Italy: Santa Maria Della Spina (see pic above).

Pisa makes a good day trip from La Spezia. 

Day Trip to Lucca

  • Lucca is less than an hour from La Spezia by train.

Another easy day trip from Cinque Terre is to the town of Lucca. Although located in popular Tuscany, it is not overrun with tourists.

Secret places places in Italy, Lucca in Tuscany

Most underrated places in Italy, Lucca in TuscanyThere is a well-preserved city wall that you can walk along and lots of churches and towers to admire. The towers, like Guinigi Tower, offer great views that are not to be missed.  I climbed two of the towers and think the Guinigi Tower offers the best views.

The churches are mostly free to visit, and there are plenty to choose from here.

You could combine it with a trip to Pisa. This might make your day a bit busy, but it is still doable.

Day Trip to Lerici & Tellaro

  • I got there by car, but it’s just as easy to get here by bus or boat from La Spezia, Porto Venere, or Cinque Terre

Lerici is another great option for a day trip from Cinque Terre. This lovely town on the Ligurian coast is as beautiful as Cinque Terre – maybe even more so.

Lerici

Lerici is an absolue gem! It is just 8 kilometres southeast of La Spezia and a must-see.Best hidden gems in Italy, Lerici

Underrated places in Italy, Lerici in Liguria

Lerici piazza in LiguriaMy tip is to walk along the harbor and get lost wandering through the streets – so, wear comfortable shoes. There are many steps to be taken if you want to enjoy the city’s best views from Castello di Lerici.

It is one of the most off-the-beaten-path places in Italy I have visited.

Tellaro

Also, visit Tellaro when you are in Lerici – it is “just around the corner” and quite pretty.Most underrated places in Italy, Tellaro Liguria

Underrated places in Italy, Tellaro LiguriaFrom Lerici, head to Tellaro, which is about 4 km away – you can either walk (though it’s not a flat road) or take a boat or car. Tellaro is one of the prettiest little hamlets in Italy. Although it is quite small, it reminds me of the towns in Cinque Terre.

It is definitely lesser-known and has fewer attractions, but I suggest getting lost in its streets, sitting at the marina, and enjoying the relaxed Italian life on this day trip.

Day Trip to Florence

  • It takes some time to get there – but with the fastest train, it takes less than two hours. 

Florence! This beautiful and gorgeous city deserves more of your time but if the Cinque Terre is your base and you are short on time, visit one of the most impressive European cities.

Day trip to Florence, view from Michaelangelo Piazza

Day trip to Florence, Duomo

Although Florence is not that big (it actually has less than 400,000 inhabitants), there are many attractions. So, a few of the highlights of this city are:

  • Enjoy amazing views from Piazzale Michaelangelo
  • pay a visit to the Porto Vecchio – a medieval stone bridge with many shops on it
  • visit one of the most important art museums in Europe
  • see art at the Uffizi Gallery
  • admire the impressive Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
  • visit the Basicilia of Santa Croce
  • and do not forget to visit the lively and fun Piazza Della Signoria (which also houses the David statue’s replica).

If you are in Florence for a day, it is even more important to book tickets in advance in case you want to visit any place and see it from the inside (like the Cathedral or a museum) because the lines are crazy and with such a short time you in Florence you want to skip those lines. Here is my 1- or 2-day Florence itinerary if you want to find out more about this beautiful city!

PIN ME FOR LATER – DAY TRIPS FROM CINQUE TERRE

Best and easy day trips to take from Cinque Terre, Italy. Where to go and what to see

There are so many amazing places to see on day trips from Cinque Terre.

I hope this list will give you some great ideas of the places to see and things to do while in Italy. Depending on how long you stay, you can see many gorgeous Italian landmarks and towns and get a real feel for the country and its people.

Safe Travels, Arzo

 

Best Things to do in the Dolomites, Italy

Best things to do in the Dolomites, Italy

DOLOMITES ITINERARY – BEST PLACES TO VISIT

Headed to the Dolomites in Italy? I am jealous. The Dolomites are amazing. And even though I envy you, I share some tips with you on the best things to do in the Dolomites. While Northern Italy has many beautiful places to visit, the Dolomites are one of the most interesting.

When I finally visited the Dolomites – mainly because I wanted #ChasingLakes – I was in love. But the Dolomites are not only about the lakes. I mean, look at those mountains… And let’s not forget the pretty towns and cities in the region. So in a few words: The Dolomites are breathtaking.

The Dolomite mountain range in Italy is one of the most beautiful outdoor destinations in Europe. In 2009, they were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

They are located in the northeastern part of Italy, within the provinces Belluno, South Tyrol, and the region of Trentino. Known as the “Pale Mountains,” they are famous for skiing in the winter, and mountain climbing, hiking, BASE jumping, and cycling in the warmer seasons.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.

Dolomites things to do, Arzo Travels

TRAVEL TIPS FOR THE YOUR DOLOMITES ITINERARY

In this post, you will find out about the best things to do in the Dolomites, the best places to visit, and travel tips. You can also use this post as a Dolomites itinerary for up to 7 days.

Where to Stay in the Dolomites

I visited this region twice, once for 5 nights (then going to Lake Garda, Venice, and Verona), and came back afterward and spent another 4 nights there.

My advice is to plan very carefully where you stay. It takes a long time to get from one place to another, whether you drive or use public transportation. Driving 50km can take even 2 hours because the roads are narrow and winding. In high season (July and August) and on weekends, there can even be traffic jams slowing you down.

It can be really time-consuming to travel in this area, so my tip would be to stay at two different locations if you visit for 3 or more nights.

Considering the places in the Dolomites that I visited, I suggest staying first in Cortina d’Ampezzo. It is quite close to places like Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Lago di Braies, Lake Sorapis. For the second part of this trip, I suggest staying in/near Ortisei.

  • Cristallo Hotel is the best luxury hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo. It is part of the Luxury Collections Resort and is located close to the town center of Cortina. Click here to find out about rates for the luxury hotel.
  • Hotel Montana – I changed hotels spontaneously and booked a night in Cortina d’Ampezzo at this hotel. My arrival was a bit disappointing, but I really liked it once the receptionist and I solved the issues. The breakfast was quite good, and I liked the location (and it is great value for money). Click here to find out the rates for Hotel Montana.
  • Hotel Angelo Engel is a beautiful luxury resort in the town center of Ortisei that comes with great wellness options and 2 swimming pools.
  • For a more budget-friendly hotel in Ortisei, check out Hotel Garni Vanadis, close to the town center.
  • Just in case you want to stay somewhere else, here are two more tips for your trip to the Dolomites.
  • Hotel Sorapiss is a well-rated medium-priced hotel near Lake Sorapis (which could be a good base if you stay less than 7 days in the Dolomites and you want to chase a few lakes only). Find out more about prices and availability here.
  • If you want to stay near Lago Braies (also a good choice), then Hotel Lago di Braies is perfect if you like staying next to the lake (with all the perks that come with it, like enjoying the lake early in the morning when no one else is around). Click here to find the best rates for your stay at Hotel Lago di Braies.

How to Get Around the Dolomites

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

  • During the high seasons, public transportation is the best way to get around the Dolomites. You can usually get a hotel card/guest card that you can use to get around on public transportation, and it doesn’t cost extra. Of course, it depends on where you stay exactly and where you want to go. The buses frequently run in the busy months and bring you to most attractions.
  • However, for the Drei Zinnen, you will need a ticket for a shuttle bus that is a bit more expensive. In the shoulder season, buses run less frequently and you will have to plan accordingly. 
  • I used public transportation two or three times, and it worked well. I would have used it more often but driving as a passenger in the mountain cause motion sickness, and so I rather drive myself. 

Best places to visit in the Dolomites

ROAD TRIPPING

  • Keep in mind that in Northern Italy, the streets are better than in many other places in the country, but the mountain roads are very narrow.
  • Drivers go fast and often cut you off. Driving is challenging, though not as much as in southern Italy. I didn’t particularly appreciate driving here as much as in Switzerland, even though it is also very mountainous and the window views are stunning. However, sometimes it just didn’t feel as safe. However, as I get motion sick in buses, I rather drive myself (yes, if I drive myself, I do not get sick). 
  • Also, driving in Italy is expensive. Most streets are free, but you will have to pay a toll at times on the highways. It’s about 9€ per 100 km. You can calculate tolls in advance here.
  • Unfortunately, gas in Italy is some of the most expensive in Europe

So should you road trip the Dolomites or use public transportation? Honestly, none is something I 100% recommend because both have some major disadvantages. However, for me, road tripping in the Dolomites worked better.

Best Time to Visit the Dolomites for 7 Days

The Dolomites can be visited all year round. And while the Dolomites are also a perfect winter destination for ski lovers, this post focuses more on non-winter sports activities.

  • I think the summer months are NOT the best time to visit because it can get “scorching.” I am not someone who enjoys the heat – especially not if I plan outdoor activities like hiking. In July and August, temperatures rise to 30°C (86°F). Also, it is the peak season, and more people visit, which leads to crowded trails and more expensive hotel prices.
  • My tips would be to visit in May, June, September, and early October. I visited in September and totally loved it. It was not crowded, the weather was warm (23/25°C), and the hotel prices dropped. Restaurants/activities are open during these months, and you can do all the top things you might not be able to do in the colder months.
  • I wouldn’t advise visiting any later than mid-October because shops and roads may be closed as it gets closer to winter.

More Travel Tips for the Dolomites

  • In the Dolomites, there are actually three different languages spoken: German, Italian, and Ladin (the local dialect). Many places have two or even three names. Most of the staff at hotels, restaurants, and in the tourism industry speaks some (basic) English, too.
  • Personally, I think the Dolomites offer good value for the money compared to other European countries, like Switzerland and Austria. You get to see a lot for your money, the food isn’t as expensive, and the accommodations are not as pricey as in other parts of central Europe.

THINGS TO DO IN THE DOLOMITES IN 7 DAYS

Okay, let´s get started with the most beautiful places and the best things to do in the Dolomites. As you can see, you can easily exchange the days and activities and aren’t stuck to a certain route. However, if you change hotels and stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo for a few nights first and then change to Ortisei, it is important to plan accordingly.

Day 1 in the Dolomites

For the first day in the Dolomites, you can plan to visit this incredible lake and do some “town sightseeing.”

Lago di Braies

Seeing South Tyrol in one week wouldn’t be complete without spending some time at Lago di Braies. Add this lake to your Dolomites itinerary. Lago di Braies, best mountain lkae in South TyrolLago di Braies (also known as Pragser Wildsee or Lake Braies) is one of the most famous spots in the Dolomites and is considered the most beautiful lake. Situated at 1,496 meters above sea level, it is the largest natural lake in the Dolomites.

  • Hiking around the lake (the shoreline is approximately 3.5 km) only takes about two hours, so you can plan some more time for a picnic meal or rent a boat and spend time on and in the water.
  • The maximum surface water temperature is 14°C. So while you are allowed to swim in Lago di Braies, you might want to pass.

Buses are going, and if you drive yourself, you will find a big parking space (with a fee of about 8€, you can park there for a day). However, I think 3-4 hours at Lago di Braies might be enough.

Dolomites what to do, Arzo Travels

  • It takes about 45 minutes to get to Lago Braies by car (45km) from Cortina d’Ampezzo. There you will explore the town center of Cortina d’Ampezzo.
  • This stunning lake will definitely be a highlight of your trip. Here is my detailed Lago di Braies guide.

Cortina d’Ampezzo

Cortina d’Ampezzo is a great base for your Dolomites trip. It is known as one of Italy’s most famous and fashionable ski resorts, but it is also a good place to visit in the other seasons. After your trip to Lago di Braies, it is time to stroll this town.

Dolomites itinerary, Arzo Travels

When I visited, I stayed overnight in the city center but did not have time to do much sightseeing. But if I had a full day, I would spend it wandering the streets and taking in the pretty buildings and the town’s unique personality.

If you’re interested in some history, you can take a guided tour up to a rebuilt encampment that the Italians held during the First World War. They attempted to overtake Cortina but met with local resistance that held them back for three years.

End day 1 slowly because some hiking is waiting for your second day.

Day 2 in the Dolomites

For the second day in the Dolomites, you can plan to visit this stunning lake – Lago di Sorapis.

Lago di Sorapis

Lake Sorapis is one of the most unique lakes in all of Europe. It reminded me of Canada’s gorgeous lakes. Lago di Sorapis, best things to see in the DolomitesFor Lago di Sorapis, I would suggest planning to spend the whole day. The lake is located in a remote area of the mountains and requires a hike. But it is worth the trouble as it is one of the most beautiful places in the Dolomites. 

  • There are two hiking paths that you can choose from: one easy to moderate and one moderate to difficult. I chose the latter one by accident, and it was very strenuous. So, I would suggest taking the easier one and saving your energy for enjoying the lake. Even if you choose the easier one, it takes a couple of hours to hike to the lake, so it is not as easy as some of you hope.
  • You should bring your own drinks and food, as there are not many places there for you to buy some. Also, the refuges/restrooms might not be open if you do not visit during peak season in summer.

Even with my own negative experiences (I was not prepared for such a difficult hike with a little dog), I consider hiking to Lake Sorapis as one of the best things to do in the Dolomites. Find out more about my hike to Lago Sorapis here.

To get to Lago di Sorapis, plan a 20-minute car drive from Cortina d’Ampezzo (12km), but you can also get there by bus.

Day 3 in the Dolomites

The Drei Zinnen hike is a highlight for many Dolomites visitors. Whether you enjoy hiking or not, visiting this national park is a must.

Drei Zinnen/ Tre Cime di Lavaredo

The Drei Zinnen should be a priority on your Dolomites itinerary – because here, you will see the Dolomites mountains at their best. Drei Zinnen, a.k.a. Tre Cime di Lavaredo will require a full day as it is time-consuming to reach. Northern Italy best places to seeTre Cime di Lavaredo is made up of three mountains that reach almost 3000 meters high. When the Dolomites were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009, these three peaks became THE symbol. The most popular and scenic hike is a 9.5 km loop hike around the peaks and rated “easy/moderate” and is mostly flat.

  • The hike around the mountains will take around 4 hours (without long breaks) but given the time to get there, I also suggest planning a full day for Drei Zinnen. The views are amazing and even though I did not do the full hike (due to bad planning on my side), it was worth my time and money.
  • I didn’t notice any water fountains (unlike many other places in Italy), so make sure you bring your own food and water.

Downside: Why was it worth my money? Well, if you get here in your own car, you have to pay a 30€ entry fee/toll for driving the mountain road, but it is also your parking fee. So, when you travel solo, as I did, it is quite a lot of money for a hike. But well, it was worth it.

  • It is just 20km from Cortina d’Ampezzo, but it takes almost an hour to get there.

Day 4 in the Dolomites

One of the most beautiful surprises was Ortisei – so, I also suggest it to your Dolomites itinerary. I actually suggest moving hotels and stay in/near Ortisei for the last few days because it is closer to the other attractions following now.

Ortisei / Urtijëi/ Sankt Ulrich 

Make sure you stop in Ortisei. Located within Val Gardena, this small village is extremely beautiful and colorful, and I must say, it is one of the most beautiful places in the Dolomites.Northern Italy what to visit, Urtisei I loved Ortisei. It is known for its craftsmanship and wooden sculptures, but also as a great holiday destination. I adored the colorful houses and the peaceful atmosphere. Awww, maybe I was just lucky with the perfect weather, but I seriously enjoyed it!

  • Wherever you are in Ortisei, you have a view of the mountains, and despite being a small town, I advise spending a full day here.
  • Take a hike to St. Jacob’s Church (which probably dates back to the 12th century) and enjoy the great views. You can start your hike from the Parish Church in Ortisei. It will take about 1-2 hours to get to St. Jacob’s Church (3km). You can also take a bus almost all the way up and do a minimum of hiking.

Though not the most famous place, I think it is a must for any Dolomites itinerary.

Day 5 in the Dolomites

If you have more than 5 days in the Dolomites, one of your days could be wonderfully spent in the capital of South Tyrol.

Bolzano

Bolzano is one of the best places to visit in the Dolomites. With tons of cultural, historical, and natural sights, you don’t want to skip this city. Best places to visit in the Dolomites, BolzanoThere are so many interesting things to see here that you will definitely need a full day.

  • You will find the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in the city center, an exhibit for the oldest skeleton ever found, a Neolithic mummy called Ötzi the Iceman.
  • The Mareccio Castle is not very imposing but really beautiful. You should definitely make a stop there.
  • Or you could stroll around the Duomo di Bolzano, a cathedral done in Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles.
  • If you prefer shopping, there is a daily market at the Piazza Delle Erbe. There were many spices, vegetables, and fruits being sold, and it was a lively scene.
  • You can also visit the old town, take a stroll by the river, or take the funiculars up to the mountain peaks for some hiking.
  • You could also book a wine tasting tour and enjoy the Italian way of life!

From Ortisei to Bolzano, it takes about 45 minutes by car (36km).

Day 6 in the Dolomites

Even though I stayed for more than 7 days in the Dolomites and I saw many beautiful places in the Dolomites, I did not manage to visit Seiser Alm. However, I think it is a good place to visit, and I wish I had done so because I do think that visiting Alp Seis is one of the best things to do in the Dolomites.

Seiser Alm / Alpe di Siusi

From what I’ve seen in the pictures, it is surely one of the Dolomites’ best day trips. You’ll want to plan one full day for this destination. best places to visit in Dolomites, Italy, Arzo TravelsThis high-altitude alpine pasture is popular year-round.

  • Skiers love it in the winter, but summer and even spring and autumn are ideal for hiking.
  • Located in the Castelrotto municipality, this picturesque plain is full of history, and you can explore castles, ruins, and churches while here.

Day 7 in the Dolomites

For the last day in the Dolomites, I suggest taking it easy – but easy does not mean breathtaking. Actually, for the last day, I recommend visiting an amazing place in the Dolomites: Lago di Carezza.

Lago di Carezza

End your trip in the Dolomites with a visit to the tiny yet stunning Val d’Ega Valley. Full of charming villages and colorful Lake Carezza, this is one of my top tips for things to do in the Dolomites. Dolomites mountain lakes, Lago di CarezzzaWhile I adore Lake Carezza for its unique beauty, it can be time-consuming to reach. It is a mountain lake, so it takes a while, and there are multiple speed cams, so watch out for them if you drive yourself. You can also get there by bus (check out my detailed guide for more info).

  • Once you get out of your car/bus, you are directly at the lake, and there is not much walking required.
  • The lake looks absolutely beautiful and was my favorite lake in the region.
  • There are many benches and fast food shops if you want to picnic and relax – if you want to hike around the lake, it just takes a few minutes.
  • You can also hike in the Rose Garden. There are numerous hikes available for you to choose from – from moderate hikes to challenging hikes, including Via Ferrate.

Depending on whether you hike in the Rose Garden, this trip to Lake Carezza will probably take about 1-8 hours in total.

P.S.: One of my readers told me she was a bit disappointed because it seemed trees around the lake were cut back, and it does not look as it does in my pictures. My pictures are not photoshopped, so this is how I experienced this beautiful lake area. However, I did some research, and apparently, there was a wild storm that had a negative impact on the trees and surroundings, so keep that in mind.

The lake is surely no hidden gem (unlike Lake Pianozes), but it is just so pretty and a perfect place to end a trip to this unique place.

From Ortisei to Lago di Carezza it takes about 1 hour by car (55km). 

Day Trips From the Dolomites

If you have a day left or decide to skip one of my awesome suggestions, you could do a day trip to one of these gorgeous places (though more driving is required).

CONCLUSION: ITINERARY WITH WHAT TO DO IN THE DOLOMITES

The Dolomites Mountains are a unique and stunning destination in northern Italy, and I hope this post has given you a good idea about the best things to do in the Dolomites.

Driving in the Dolomites wasn’t always fun (these narrow mountain roads are just not my favorite streets), but I enjoyed my Dolomites itinerary and all the beautiful places. I would visit each of the places mentioned here again – and if I could, I would probably stay longer than 7 days in the Dolomites.

You won’t be disappointed when you see the beautiful scenery, interesting culture, and surprising history that make this Italian jewel unique.

PIN ME FOR LATER – DOLOMITES ATTRACTIONS

Save this pin on Pinterest! Things to do in Dolomites, itinerary, Arzo Travels

Safe Travels, Arzo

Best Things to do in Trento and Trentino, Italy

Trento, tourist attractions, best places to visit and best things to do

WHAT TO DO IN TRENTO / TRENTINO

So, for some reason, you have ended up on my site: either you plan your trip to Trento (and Trentino) and are wondering about the best things to do in Trento, or you have come here because you are curious… Trento and Trentino what?!?

Some places are so pretty that you wonder why they are hidden gems. During my travels, this question popped into my mind when I visited the region of Trentino and its capital, Trento. I hadn’t even heard of it before – and that surprised me in many ways.

If you plan your Trento itinerary, this post will help you find out what to do in Trento (and Trentino) and the best places to visit, plus some travel tips.

Trento Visit the Old Town

This post might contain affiliate links. This means, might earn a small commission if you book/buy a tour/product via my link (at no extra costs to you). More about it here.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR 2 DAYS IN TRENTO

When I planned my Italy road trip, I had two nights between two locations – I wanted to get from southern Germany to Bergamo. Somehow, I ended up booking accommodation in Trento, and though I am not sure anymore why I booked it, it was a great decision.

Before talking about the best things to do, here are some travel tips for your itinerary.

Location

Trento and South Tyrol constitute Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, an autonomous region under the constitution in the northern part of Italy.

Trento is somehow located between the beautiful Dolomites and the northern shores of Lake Garda

So, these two places, Lake Garda and the Dolomites in South Tyrol (with sights like the Tre Cime di Lavaredo and Lake Carezza), might dominate the landscape and are extremely popular travel destinations. But do not make the mistake of skipping Trento – especially if you are into less touristy, but still pretty, places.

Arriving in Trento by Plane

There are popular airports in Verona, Milano/Bergamo from which you can get to Trento within one or two hours by train (public transportation is quite good).

Trentino Card

If you stay in Trento at an official accommodation for two nights, you get a Trentino Card.

The Trentino Card is great – it is such a useful card. 

  • You can use public transportation in the area for free.
  • You get free access to many sights (this includes over 60 museums, 20 castles, and more than 40 other attractions).

I hardly spent any money in Trentino, as I used the card and it made my trip even better. So, if you plan to visit the area, consider staying there for at least two nights, so you benefit from this fun card (more on that later). If you stay only one night, you can buy the card for a discounted price.

Where to Stay in Trento

I guess that almost all hotels and official accommodations have the Trentino Guest Card for guests. While you could even stay at Riva del Garda, located right at the pretty Lake Garda, and would still receive a guest card, I suggest booking a hotel right in Trento for at least two nights.

  • 4-Star hotel Hotel Buonconsiglio is a well-rated hotel right in the town center. Find out more by clicking here.
  • The Grand Hotel Trento is another very well-rated 4-star hotel in Trento that offers a guest card to its visitors and is one of the best hotels in town. Get the best rates and find out more by clicking here.
  • The Albermonaco is a 3-star hotel that is more budget-friendly (close to the city center and offers the Guest Card to its guests). Find out more about the hotel here.
  • I stayed at this hotel. It was a good choice with a dog, and the location was charming. However, though it is close to the town center, you will still need a car to get to the town center as public transportation is not good. Also, there is no WiFI – but I was more than happy with my budget hotel.

How to Get Around

  • For most parts of this itinerary, you can just walk. The old town is compact and pretty, so strolling is actually fun.
  • However, there are sights located outside the town center. In this case, I recommend using public transportation, which you can use for free with your Trentino Card. If you don’t rely on your car, hop on buses and trains. It is a good way to get around – at least in the summer months.
  • I drove around for the most part – driving in Northern Italy, and especially in Trentino, isn’t too bad. I admit I am not the biggest fan of driving in Italy. Roads, streets, bridges as well as tunnels are partly even more modern than in Germany, but Italians are quite…reckless drivers if I should be honest.
  • Using the highways is pretty expensive, though and finding free parking spaces in Trento is a bit of a problem.

Prices

  • Trento is way cheaper than many other major Italian cities like Florence or Venice, but there is a lot to do around the area. 
  • Particularly with the Trentino Card, you will not need to spend a lot of money, as many attractions are included.
  • Food and drinks are more affordable (one cappuccino and a croissant costs around 2.50€ in the town center).

Best Time to Visit Trento

I suggest visiting Trento and Trentino in early fall or late spring. No crowds, no heat, and more affordable accommodation prices.

However, while I loved the fact that the weather in September was mild and the crowds had thinned, some Trento activities, like getting up via funicular at Mount Bondone, weren’t available (only in summer and during the winter season for skiing). So keep in mind, that some tourist attractions are only open in the busy season.

Top things to do in Trento, Italy, Arzo Travels

FUN THINGS TO DO IN TRENTO AND TRENTINO

Day 1 in Trento / Trentino

Stroll the Old Town of Trento

The old town of Trento is probably one of the most authentic old towns I have visited in Italy. While I also loved the old towns in other places in Italy, this felt the most like “real“ Italy. The streets and buildings are so extremely colorful, friendly, and stunning that it was pure bliss to stroll the city. Even though it is not very big, you should plan to discover the town center for a few hours.

Trento what to see? Market Sqaure

Market Square in Trento

Where to go in Trento, Italy and what to do.

Thursday is the big market day. I went to the old town on market day, so it definitely did not feel quiet or like a hidden gem. 

It was crowded and busy, and even though I am not a fan of markets and crowds, it was so much fun to watch the people! With its many shops, cafes, and restaurants, the Piazza Duomo will most likely charm you.

  • TIP: Visit the Duomo di Trento (Trento Cathedral) 

Explore Castel del Buonconsiglio

The most famous and most important castle in the region is Buonconsiglio Castle. and visiting is one of the best things to do in Trento. You get there after a 15-minute walk from the town square.

Trentino points of interests

Castles in Trento and Trentino, Italy

Best view in Trento

The first part of the castle was built in the 13th century, originally for the Bishop of Trentino. It is now open to the public – and we all can enjoy the fantastic views.

 Though the view might be one reason to come here, there are actually a few more reasons to visit:

Stroll the gardens, enjoy a drink or snack at the cafe, or look around the inside and admire the fine frescos and paintings.

  • Entry is free with your Trentino Guest Card (and smaller dogs are allowed if carried). Otherwise, the regular fee is around 10€.

Take the Cable Car to Sardagna

Here is another fun thing to do in Trento: enjoy the panorama from Sardagna, which is a village in Trento with less than 1000 residents and an elevation of 571 meters.

Get up via funicular Sardagna mountain in Trento

Viewing platform in Trento, Sardagna mountain

To get up, walk towards the Adige River, get to the cable car station, and hop on the cable car. It takes just two minutes or so to reach the top, and once you are up, head to the viewing platform to take in the view. 

If you enjoy sunsets, this is probably a great place to end the day – do not forget to bring your own drinks!

  • The cable car departs several times an hour and is also included in the Trentino Guest Card (otherwise, a round-trip ticket costs around 5€).

I think that with these three activities, you are already set for the first day in Trentino.

Day 2 in Trentino / Trento

As a disclaimer, I have to add that I did not visit any of the museums because I was traveling with a dog. So I just went to both museums, which are located next to each other, and enjoyed some sunbathing in the meadow but did not enter the buildings.

However, these are two popular places to visit in Trento, and here is why.

Explore MUSE Della Scienze 

While the museum’s name sounds like it might be a very scientific museum, the reviews suggest that the Muse Della Scienze is for people of all ages, but especially for kids it is fun to visit.

MUSE delle Scienze in Trento

  • With your Trentino Guest Card, you don’t even have to pay an entry fee.

Visit Palazzo delle Albere

This pretty, Renaissance-style palace located just next to the MUSE is another top place to visit (without dogs at least). It apparently doesn’t only look pretty from the outside, but also on the inside.

Best museums and villas in Trento

Built in the 15th century, it was severely damaged in the 18th century. But now, after renovations, it is the venue for the Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto (MART).

Head to Mausoleum of Cesare Battisti 

At the top of Doss Trento, a hill that you can either hike or drive up stands the Cesare Battisti Mausoleum. The monument for the Italian hero – who was executed by the Austrians in 1916 –  is apparently visible from every corner of the city.

Mausoleum of Cesare Battisti  and more tourists attractions in Trento, Italy

Though I visited this place, it was a very stressful situation. My thanks to the Trento police officer who helped me out with this (I got stuck with my car), but I did not really enjoy the view or the place.

However, if you have time, you should also check this out and also enjoy the park area and do some shorter hikes here.

  • Day 2 could be spent with the activities I mentioned above, but you could also do a few half-day or full-day trips, as I don’t think that the above-mentioned activities will take a full day.
  • Train rides are included in your Trentino Card, so take advantage of it and explore the beautiful surroundings.

Pay a Visit to Castel Beseno

Another castle to visit – one with probably the best views – is the Castel Beseno, which is near the city of Rovereto as you head toward the south of Trentino.Best places to visit in Trento Castle

Castel Beseno in Trentino

Castel Beseno Trentino attractionsThis stunning castle was the biggest feudal castle in the region. Probably built in the 12th century, this place serves as a museum now and apart from the fact that you can stroll the castle and learn about its history, it actually has great views!

  • Free entry with the Trentino Card; otherwise, the entry fee is about 7€.
  • It is always closed on Mondays and has different (but, generally speaking, generous) hours of operation. In the winter, though, it is only open on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • If you come by car, you can park for free next to the castle.

Since this will not take a full day, it is great for Day 2 combined with extra activities or a trip to Rovereto or visiting another castle in the region.

Enjoy the Views From Monte Bondone

Monte Bondone is a mountain in Trentino, located west of Trento. It has an elevation of 2,180 meters above sea level and is the highest mountain of the Garda Prealps. 

It is popular to visit during the winter season for winter sports lovers, iin summer, you could hike up or get up via funicular.

  • While the funicular ticket is included in the Trentino Guest Card, it doesn’t run in September anymore. So, during shoulder season this activity might not be open.

ALTERNATIVE ACTIVITIES IN TRENTO

Though Trento itself is a beauty, you can also do day trips to areas close by.

Day Trip to Riva del Garda

I spent a week at Lake Garda and did a day trip to the beautiful and colorful Riva del Garda on Lake Garda’s northern shores. If you stay in Trentino for longer than two days, you should add this to your Trentino itinerary as well because (and I had no idea) Riva del Garda is actually part of Trentino.View from the tower in Riva del Garda, Lake Garda

So, not only because you can use your Trentino Card, but also because this popular city is actually fun – and not just for surfers who like the stronger winds, but also for any person who likes anything Italy-related. Colorful buildings, a pretty lake, and Italian food – Riva del Garda has all that and more.

If you are a road trip fan and don’t mind narrow, Italian mountain passes, add Lake Tenno to your itinerary as well and discover a hidden gem of Lake Garda just north of the lake.

Day Trip to the Dolomites

If you are into lakes, head to the Dolomites region. You will find some amazing lakes there.

Lago di Carezza and Lago di Braies 

Okay, this is not really Trentino and takes about two hours to drive to, but it is worth it! Pay a visit to the two easily accessible and stunning lakes that are extremely popular (just because they are breathtaking): Lago di Carezza and Lago di Braies in the Dolomites.

Lake Carezza in South Tyrol

FINAL THOUGHTS ON BEST TRENTO ACTIVITIES

Hopefully, this post has inspired you to visit Trento and the region of Trentino. As you can see, there are beautiful places to see. I would love to visit here again, as it was a great travel destination. I hope you will have the chance to experience the same and enjoy the best things to do in Trento.

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Safe Travels, Arzo

 

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