Florence is ideally located for taking day trips around the region and with superb transport links you can easily access nearby cities and tourist hotspots, even on a budget. For example, Siena is just a short train ride from Florence while Lucca, Pisa and Bologna are also just a stone’s throw away!
There are, of course, limitations when you’re taking a day trip and so we’ve only selected locations that are within a few hours travel from Florence. This means that you’ll have plenty of time to look around, visit a few key sites of interest as well as have lunch and a coffee before you return to your accommodation in Florence.
5 Amazing Day Trips From Florence.
The following are my favorite day trips from Florence:
Famous for the Leaning Tower, Pisa is a wonderful city that is under 2 hours drive from Florence that is packed full of fascinating things to do on a day trip. From the stunning cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta to the Campo dei Miracoli the city boasts an amazing heritage that’s fascinating to explore.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a must see while you’re visiting the city on a day trip. It was originally built in the early 12th Century to commemorate a famous naval victory over the Saracens and is a prime example of Pisan architecture. You can climb up the tower to get spectacular views of the town to snap a few photos with tickets costing less than 20 Euros per person.
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However, there’s plenty more to see while you’re in Pisa including the beautiful Porta di San Ranieri, the highlight of which is the marble pulpit that was carved in the 13th Century by the local artist Giovanni Pisano. While you’re in Pisa you can also visit the city’s museums, including the National Museum of the Palace and the Sinopie Museum.
When it comes time to have your lunch there’s a great selection of local restaurants to choose from serving regional specialties including roast boar, Pilgrim cakes and some of Italy’s finest garlic breads.
To get to Pisa from Florence it’s just a 1 hour train ride from the Florence Santa Maria Novella station. There are several trains per hour so you won’t have to wait long and once you arrive in Pisa you’ll be right in the center of town, with the Leaning Tower of Pisa being only a 30 minute walk from the Pisa Centrale station. Alternatively you can drive to Pisa in around 1 hour by taking the A11 or catching a bus which takes about 1 hour 30 minutes.
The stunning valley is best known for its picturesque cypress trees, traditional villages and great hiking trails; making the Val d’Orcia an ideal rural day trip from Florence. The largely agricultural region is famous for it’s organic wines, including the well loved Montepulciano, as well as its Pecorino sheep’s cheese and stunning rural vistas.
There’s an endless choice of towns and villages to visit but among the best are Pienza, Monticello and Montalcino. Wherever you decide to visit though you can really experience the natural wonder of Tuscany while hiking, cycling or simply relaxing in a local restaurant.
To get to Val D’Orcia you can drive or take public transport from central Florence which will take you directly to all the most popular towns in the region. If you want to join a guided bus tour of the Val D’Orcia you can relax in the coach while a guide lets you in on all the local secrets and heritage. Alternatively, you can rent a car to travel out to the Val D’Orcia which will give you the most freedom to determine the itinerary for your day trip.
Lucca is one of Italy’s hidden gems and although it’s one of the country’s most beautiful cities it’s often overlooked by tourists. As a result of being off the beaten track Lucca has a truly authentic feel and a charmingly relaxed atmosphere which you can soak up on a day trip from Florence.
While you’re in Lucca you can walk around the city’s walls, visit the Torre Guinigi and the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, a fantastic example of an ancient Roman amphitheater. If you want to get around the city faster than on foot you can hire a bicycle to explore the historical old town or even take an hour long tour in the comfort of a horse drawn carriage! Of course, while you’re in Lucca you can’t miss the San Michele in Foro which is certainly one of Italy’s most impressive churches.
There’s plenty of lovely restaurants to enjoy your lunch while you’re in Lucca which is believed to be the original home of spaghetti! Alternatively, if you want to try another Lucca specialty you can taste the famous Bordantio al Pisana, which is a unique dish that’s made from cornmeal, beans and black cabbage.
The train ride from Florence to Pisa Centrale station is 1 hour 20 minutes with almost 50 trains departing each day that cost under 20 Euros per person. If you have rented your own car then you can drive to Pisa in under 1 hour and 30 minutes while soaking up the incredible Tuscan scenery on route.
The incredible city of Siena is one of Tuscany’s most remarkable cities that is included on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites and makes for one of the best day trips from Florence. The ancient cobble stoned streets of Siena are famous for their unique brick architecture while the fan-shaped central Piazza del Campo and the Gothic town hall should both be on your list of things to see.
Each of the city’s 17 districts are packed full of attractions where you’ll always find family run trattorias in the quant back streets. During your visit to Siena you can’t afford to miss the city’s main cathedral where you can see original masterpieces by Donatello, Bernini and Michelangelo.
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If you time your day trip to Siena for August then you can also experience the unique Palio horse race in which the city’s districts compete to win the prestigious first prize. However, if you visit the city during the Palio horse races then you should expect it to be very crowded with both locals and tourists!
While you’re in Siena you can join an arranged walking tour or you can just follow your feet and experience the wonderful city at your pace.
To get to the center of Siena you can catch a bus from the Florence Autostazione which will take you under 1 hour 30 minutes and costs around 10 Euros per person. Alternatively you can drive to Siena by following the Raccordo Autostradale which will take less than 2 hours and with plenty of parking in Siena it’s a convenient option for visitors to the city.
Most famous for its connections to Saint Francis of Assisi, the monastery is a major pilgrimage site for Christians from all over the world. The huge monastery occupies an imposing position on the top of a ridge and overlooks some of Italy’s most picturesque landscapes, dotted with farms and small rural communities.
The Basilica di San Francesco is a treasure trove of art, sculptures and precious Holy manuscripts. The basilica is actually built over the tomb of Saint Francis and is decorated with masterpieces by some of Italy’s greatest artists including Giotto, Andrea da Bologna and Cimabue. You can also visit the nearby Cathedral of San Rufino which was built between the 12th and 13th Century where you can see some remarkable medieval carvings of saints, mythical creatures and stylized foliage.
You can book a place on a full day guided tour of Assisi and if you prefer you can also include a visit to Cortona, a neighboring Umbrian town which is home to the Convent of Santa Chiara and the Santa Maria degli Angeli.
To get to Assisi you can catch a train from Florence which will take around 2 hours and 30 minutes and costs under 15 Euros. Alternatively, you can drive which will take you just over 2 hours.
Day Trips To The Beach From Florence.
There’s nothing quite like a day trip to the beach and Florence is ideally situated to do this! There are many coastal towns and resorts within easy reach of Florence; either by using public transport or renting a car. One of the best ways to enjoy a day trip to the beach is to visit one of the established beach clubs that provide private lounge areas, restaurants, bars and other leisure facilities.
You will have to pay a small fee to visit a beach club but it’s more than worth the expense. A day at a beach club will generally cost around 25 Euros per person, depending on the facilities that are available on site. The beach club will provide you with chairs, an umbrella, towels, changing facilities and bathrooms but depending on its quality you can access a lot more than that!
The best beach clubs also provide drinks, including coffee, wine, beers and soft drinks as well as snacks and food throughout the day. Many beach clubs also have play areas for children. Beach clubs in Tuscany are usually open to the public during the warmer months, between May and September each year.
The Top Beach Club In Viareggio.
The Bagno Nettuno is an iconic beach club in Viareggio that has superb facilities. With over 3km of sandy beaches and a Restaurant Pizzeria where you can order cocktails, beers, wines, soft drinks as well as freshly made pizzas and ice creams.
The Bagno Nettuno beach club caters to children and has a private pool and a wide range of on-site sporting activities to try.
To reach Viareggio from Florence you can catch a train from central Florence which costs between 10 and 20 Euros. The last train from Viareggio to Florence departs at 10pm so you can enjoy a full day at the beach before coming home. Alternatively, you can drive to Viareggio by taking the A11 toll road which will take you about 1 hour 30 minutes each way.
The Top Beach Club In Forte Dei Marmi.
Forte dei Marmi is one of Tuscany’s most glamorous beach resorts that is set on white sandy beaches beneath the stunning Apuan Alps which rise up behind the sea.
As one of the more exclusive beach clubs in Tuscany, the Augustus Beach Club is the perfect place to visit on a day trip from Florence. With a private beach, tents, sun beds and deck chairs you can even rent your own suite on the sand!
You can also swim in the beach club’s pools, take part in sailing, canoeing, swimming lessons and even windsurfing. For families with children there is also a dedicated children’s pool. Of course, the club also has a well stocked bar and a restaurant that serves local and international favorites.
To get to the Augustus Beach Club in Forte dei Marmi from Florence you can catch a train which takes around 1 hour 40 minutes and costs under 25 Euros per person. Once you arrive at the station in Forte dei Marmi you will need to catch a taxi to the beach club from the station.
Alternatively, you can drive to the beach club, where parking is available, by taking the A11 toll road from Florence with the journey taking about 1 hour 30 minutes. During the busier summer months it’s worth arriving early to ensure that you can quickly find a parking spot at the beach club.
Florence Is Perfectly Located For Tuscan Day Trips.
Of course, there’s plenty to see and do in Florence but while you’re there it’s certainly worth branching out a bit and taking some day trips to other parts of Tuscany!
Tuscany is a hugely diverse region and is home to some of the most interesting cities; many of which can be easily accessed from Florence and make ideal day trips. On top of Tuscany’s famous cities, including Siena, Lucca and Pisa, you can also take a trip to the coast and enjoy a relaxing day at a top beach club.