Florence is a great base from which to take day trips to other parts of Italy such as Pisa, Chianti, Cinque Terre and even as far as Venice. Here's our updated travel guide for 2019/2020.
Day Tours From Florence
If you're the sort of person who likes to base themselves in one city, and then take day trips to towns, cities, and attractions nearby, then Florence is a good choice.
From here, you can easily explore the Tuscany region of Italy and beyond. Theoretically, it's also possible to take a day trip to Venice, although it would be one LONG day!Anywhere within a 2 hour drive or train journey of Florence is easy game for a day trip though, whether you decide to do it yourself or as part of an organized tour. Some of the best day trips from Florence include:
- Siena – A rival city to Florence, with incredible architecture, medieval buildings and Renaissance era works.
- San Gimignano – An amazing medieval hill town in Tuscany and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Cinque Terre – Explore the Cinque Terre.
- Chianti – Visit the famous wine region for wine tasting.
- Pisa – Famous for its leaning tower, but so much more to see.
Day Trips from Florence
Here's a closer look at the best day trips from Florence, what you can see, and how to get there.
Florence to Siena Day Trip
Siena has long been the arch-rival of Florence, and is the second largest city in Tuscany. It's a great city to walk around, especially with many of the streets being pedestrianized.
Most of the main attractions you'll want to see lead off from or are centered around Piazza del Campo. If you've arrived early though, begin with Piazza del Duomo before the organized day-trippers arrive. You'll enjoy the Piccolomini Library, Museum, Baptistery, and Crypts of the 13th century Cathedral complex a lot more without them! Take a look here for things to do in Siena.
How to get from Florence to Siena
If you want to do this trip to Siena yourself from Florence, the bus is your best mode of transport. It's cheaper than the train, is quicker, and also drops you off in the center where you need to be. If you're leaving early, try to keep your eyes open, as the countryside you pass through is gorgeous.
The cost is around 8 euros, and there's two or three buses from Florence to Siena an hour. When you arrive in Siena, check the timetable of the buses going back so you can plan your return journey.
Pro Tip – If you want to squeeze more out of your day in Siena, the last train to Florence leaves an hour after the last bus.
Florence to San Gimignano Day Trip
With so much going on in Florence and big name attractions such as Pisa taking the spotlight, San Gimignano often flies under the radar as a place to visit when staying in Florence. It's worth the trip out though, and this Town of the Fine Towers is even a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Hundreds of years ago, San Gimignano was a stopping point for pilgrims, and also home to rich aristocratic families. For some, unexplained reason, these families starting competing with each other to show off their wealth by creating giant towers.
Originally, there were over 70 of them, but even today the 14 remaining ones give an idea of how unusual this place must have been in the 14th century. This is a great town to wander around, take photos, enjoy a coffee and an ice-cream, and enjoy stunning views.
How to get from Florence to San Gimignano
The bus is going to be the better option when visiting San Gimignano, although it does involve one change at Poggibonsi. The total journey time should be around 90 minutes, depending on the time between connecting buses.
There are also plenty of organized day trips from Florence to San Gimignano to choose from.
Florence to Cinque Terre Day Trip
The Italian Riviera really is a thing of beauty. Colourful and impressive villages and towns hug the coastline, surrounded by fishing boats on one side and vineyards on the other.
Cinque Terre describes the five most important towns (the clue is in the name!) along the coastline. These are Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. It's hard to believe that these towns were once hidden gems, as today they are among the most visited places in Europe.
How to get from Florence to Cinque Terre
If you want to really explore the beautiful Italian Riviera of Cinque Terre, your best option is to hire a car. The second best, is probably an organized tour from Florence. This way, you'll get to see the main villages and viewpoints in the easiest way possible.
The most interesting way to see the villages though, is perhaps by hiking along the Blue Path Trail.
Florence to Chianti Day Trip
You can't visit Italy without trying the local wine, and there's no better place than the Chianti region. Take a trip from Florence, visit a vineyard or two, discover how wine is made, and more importantly how it tastes!
Greve is 30 kms away from Florence and considered to be the gateway into the Chianti region. It's also a nice little town to walk around, with local artisan products on sale. Panzano, Castellina, Poggibonsi, and San Casciano Val di Pesa are also towns to include when visiting the Chianti region.
How to get from Florence to Chianti
Let's be honest, whilst driving makes logical sense, the only practical way to fully enjoy this experience is on a tour. This way you don't need to worry about how much you've had to drink when driving afterwards. Taking a bus in from Florence is also a very good option.
Want to combine wine tasting and sightseeing with a little exercise? This is a great region to take a bike tour around!
Florence to Pisa Day Trip
There's not many people who haven't heard of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. On a day trip from Florence to Pisa though, you'll have the chance to see more than just the tower.
The town of Pisa also has some interesting architecture, buildings and open spaces to enjoy. Whilst in town, be sure to visit Knights Square, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the Museo delle Sinopie, Borgo Stretto, Ponte di Mezzo, and the Botanical Gardens.
One day in Pisa is about the ideal amount of time to spend to see all the must-see attractions.
How to get from Florence to Pisa
If you're interested in making the trip yourself, then the train is your best bet. Choose the Express train and cut down your traveling so as to allow more time for sightseeing in Pisa.
Tickets are currently 8 Euro one way for the regular fares. Note that the train station is Pisa is a 20 minute walk away from the areas you'll want to see.
Where to stay in Florence
Still not decided where to stay in Florence? Check out these hotels and apartments in Florence on Booking using the map below.
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More Travel Guides To Italy and Europe
If you are planning to visit other parts of Italy and Europe, these travel guides might be a useful read:
- How to see Rome in a Day
- Vatican and Colosseum Tours
- What to see in Athens – Buildings and Landmarks Guide
- Thessaloniki sightseeing guide