Day trips are one of the best ways to take advantage of your time abroad and the ease of travel within Europe, while also taking a break from weekend trips. These are my top 5 day-trips – all easily accessible from Florence via public transportation. You won’t want to miss these incredible cities!
This beautiful Tuscan town is just about an hour and a half from Florence by bus. It is home to the Palio – the famous horse race that takes place twice a year in Piazza del Campo. Make sure to check out the gothic style Duomo, which is almost as beautiful as the Duomo in Florence and definitely climb the Torre de Mangia. Located in Piazza del Campo, this tower looks over the city of Siena and also has one of the most picturesque views in Italy. The view from the top is exactly what you picture when you think of classic Tuscan countryside.
About and hour and a half from Florence by bus or an hour by train, this little Italian city is a tourist favorite. The pictures do not do the tower justice and the cathedral and baptistery, located in the same piazza, are just as stunning as the famous leaning tower. Even if you do not want to look or feel like a tourist, go to Pisa and take the typical touristy pictures in Piazza dei Miracoli. It’s fun and it’s a great day trip any time of the year.
Wine is cheaper than water in Florence for a reason, and the reason is that it is made, from start to finish, less than an hour away from Florence. All that “house wine” that you are drinking in Florence is probably Chianti Classico – the typical wine of Florence and Tuscany. Take a quick trip to any of the many vineyards in the Chianti region to see where the wine is made and sample straight from the vineyard. Don’t forget to purchase some vino to take back to Florence or even send back to the States! The Chianti region is also a great place to try riding a vespa without the intimidating traffic of the city!
Venice is just over two hours from Florence by train and once you arrive you will never want to leave. You can’t think of Italy without picturing the iconic canals and gondolas of Venice. It is such a unique and beautiful city you have to see it at least once. I recommend taking the water taxi (you can get a day pass to use it for the whole day) to Murano – known for its famous glass blowing, Burano – known for its colorful houses and lace, or both! You should also take some time to wander the canals, see St. Mark’s Cathedral and the Rialto Bridge. Bonus points if you take a gondola ride!
- Cinque Terre
The three hour bus ride will be well worth it once you see the five beautiful towns of Cinque Terre. Just west of the town La Spezia are five villages – Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. There is something for everyone in these villages, from stunning views to fresh seafood to hiking to beaches. I recommend exploring the first few towns and then hiking from Vernazza to Monterosso al Mare, where you can relax on the beach and reward yourself with a margarita bucket from Colpi di Timone. This tiny beachside bar is run by several friendly (and adorable) locals! If hiking isn’t for you, you can always take the ferry or train between cities, but reward yourself with that margarita bucket anyway! Bonus points if you are able to make the extra stop at Portovenere! Though this town is not part of the Cinque Terre, it is nearby and just as beautiful!