16 FANTASTIC Day Trips From Florence [2019 • Hidden Gems]

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16 FANTASTIC Day Trips From Florence [2019 • Hidden Gems]

The capital of the beautifully romantic Italian region of Tuscany, Florence was a centre of Renaissance art and culture – and the stunning streets of this city definitely reflect that. There are art museums galore and plenty of monuments to marvel at.

But, this being Italy, there are plenty of nearby cities, towns, villages nearby, dotted in the picturesque Tuscan countryside that definitely deserves your time too. Since you’re in the area… why not?

From romantic days out to budget-friendly visits – and even family-friendly options – we’ve put together a guide to the best day trips from Florence to help you further explore this iconic region of Italy.

Get acquainted with what the area around Florence has to offer below…

Additional reading – Where to stay in Florence, 17 best hotels in Florence. and 15 coolest things to do in Florence. 

Quick Answer: Best Day Trips from Florence

#1 – Rome

Day Trips from Florence by Train

Rome-Hop-on-Hop-off-Tour-Return-Train-from-Florence

  • Speedy journey
  • Explore the Italian capital
  • Try some Roman gastronomic specialities

Leave Florence on a high-speed train and zoom to the Italian capital for a fun-filled day packed full of art, culture and history. You’ll arrive at Rome’s Termini station where you can jump straight onto the hop-on, hop-off bus, which makes sightseeing around Rome simple.

Tour around the Eternal City itself with an audio guide, learning about the various historical sights – from the Colosseum to St Peter’s Basilica – getting off to wander around at your leisure.

For lunch on this day trip from Florence by train, find a local eatery and try some Roman cuisine, like the big rectangular Pizza al Taglio. And after that, you’ll get the chance for a bit of shopping, too.

Head back on the train and be back in Florence in time for dinner – and that means more delicious Italian food, of course!

Thinking of exploring more of Italy? Check out the 17 best hotels in Palermo, our top rated things to do in Palermoand where to stay in Palermo.You’ll also need to know where to stay in Milan, the best hotels in Milanthings to do in Milan, day trips from Milan and especially the 17 best museums in Milan.

#2 – Venice

Venice-Journey-by-High-Speed-Train-from-Florence

  • See Venice by boat
  • Take in iconic sights
  • Visit Venetian islands

Another amazing day trip from Florence to another of Italy’s iconic cities, this one takes you all the way to the world-renowned canals of Venice.

Wake up early (in time to grab yourself some breakfast and a coffee, of course) and hop on the train from Santa Maria Novella train station in central Florence and travel directly to Venice.

Collect your ticket for the public Vaporetto – water bus – meaning you get to explore Venice the best way possible: by boat!

Make sure to head along the storied Grand Canal so you can get off at the landmark St Mark’s Square and luxuriate in the romance of it all… Wander around the backstreets off the square or head up the bell tower for amazing views.

Alternatively, make your way via the Vaporetto to the Venetian islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello.

There’s plenty of time to see all the main sights on this day trip from Florence by train – from the Rialto Bridge to the Doge’s Palace – before you head back.

#3 – Cinque Terre

Cinque-Terre-Small-Group-Guided-Tour-from-Florence

  • Charming villages
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Lunch with beautiful views

Make the most of your Italian trip by squeezing in an exciting day trip from Florence by train all the way to the Cinque Terre –a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site pockmarked by the eponymous five charming coastal villages.

The quickest way to get to Cinque Terre is actually by road, however, once you’re in amongst it all there’s a great local train journey to be had.

On arrival, you’ll be dazzled by the turquoise of the Ligurian Sea as it meets the beautiful blue sky, and be amazed by the idyllic villages that hug this rugged slice of shoreline.

Catch the local train and see the charming villages – taking in Riomaggiore, sleepy Manarola as well as Vernazza and the others. Make sure to get off at Monterosso al Mare for a leisurely lunch with beautiful views of the sparkling sea before making your way back to Florence.

#4 – Lucca

Lucca

photo credits:BBC.com

  • Great for art lovers
  • Beautiful Tuscan town
  • Less touristed destination

Hourly trains connect central Florence to the wonderful town of Lucca – this takes just over an hour, making it a relatively quick day trip from Florence by train.

At Lucca you can head back in time in this Renaissance city, arriving inside the old city walls on the Piazza Ricasoli.

This charming Tuscan town boasts many interesting sights, including the Uffizi Gallery, packed full of treasures and masterpieces, with works from Raphael, Titian and Caravaggio on display. There’s also Michelangelo’s David at the Galleria dell’Accademia.

Thankfully, unlike some other Tuscan towns, Lucca isn’t a busy tourist destination; it’s a little bit off the beaten track, meaning fewer crowds and being able to see a little more of the real life that Italy has to offer.

#5 – Bologna

Romantic Day Trips from Florence for Couples

Bologna

photo credits:PlanetWare

  • Food heaven
  • Lively student town
  • Quick to get to

Getting to Bologna from Florence is easy. It’s a 35-minute train ride away, making this an easy day trip from Florence. Not only that, but this city is a fantastic foodie haven, meaning that this would make for a great romantic day from Florence for couples if you and your partner are into epicurean travel.

Spend your day at the lively and creative student populated Bologna trying out what there is on offer in terms of food. It’s also fairly easy to navigate since it’s laid out on a medieval grid system; plus the bus system is pretty comprehensive, too.

Nicknamed La Rossa (the red one), partly for political reasons, partly for the colour of the roofs; but it’s also known as La Grassa (the fat one) because of its hearty cuisine.

Here you can fill yourselves up on meat platters, the delicious Parmigiano Reggiano, tortellini, crescente bolognese (crunchy bread). This city also gives its name to spaghetti bolognese, of course!

#6 – Siena

Sunset-in-Siena-and-Dinner-in-Chianti-Tour-from-Florence

  • Romantic sunset
  • Charming medieval town
  • Tuscan food

There’s nothing more romantic than a sunset dinner, surely? So for one of the best romantic day trips from Florence for couples, this one is sure to get you all starry-eyed.

Leave Florence in the afternoon, be driven through the beautifully rustic Chianti region and arrive in sublime Siena. You’ll get a chance to enjoy the medieval narrow lanes and the grand Piazza del Campo with your partner before leaving the city for an unforgettable sunset across the rolling Tuscan hills and vineyards.

Move on to a wine estate in the countryside for salami, bruschetta and other Tuscan specialities – with of course a few glasses of specially selected Chianti wine to wash it all down with, too.

And then be driven back in the comfort of a private car all the way back to Florence.

#7 – Perugia

Chocolate-Lovers-Full-Day-Experience-in-Perugia

  • Medieval town
  • Explore the charming streets
  • Tour an actual chocolate factory

Chocolate lovers rejoice: this is sure to be a heavenly day out for you and your partner. Even if just one of you is a chocolate fan.

On this romantic day trip from Florence, you get to indulge in a world of chocolate – that’s in Perugia, the capital of Umbria, by the way.

Pass through the dramatic landscape lovingly sculpted by the River Tiber, past aqueducts and ancient ruins, until you reach your destination. Much of the city of Perugia is spread around a valley and features incredible medieval buildings.

You can while away the day taking in the sights – including its Etruscan era walls – and shopping in the small boutiques, but the main event takes place at a real-life chocolate factory of an Italian confectioners founded in 1907. You’ll feel like a kid again as you sample various tasty chocolates on a tour of this chocolatier.

#8 – Certaldo

Certaldo

photo credits:Wikipedia

  • Quick to get to
  • Less tourist crowds
  • Amazing hilltop old town

Less than an hour away from the Tuscan capital, making the journey to Certaldo is a simple day trip from Florence that’s just perfect for couples.

This town is a calm, serene town nestled on the side of a hill – a world away from tourist crowds, making for the ideal romantic day trip from Florence for couples. You’ll have time (and peace and quiet enough) to really enjoy your time here.

Certaldo is made up of two parts: the old town on top of the hill, which can be reached via a panoramic pathway or a funicular from the lower, more modern part of town.

Historical sites abound here. There’s the Via Boccaccio and the Piazza Pretorio, both of which are lined with beautiful buildings. But walking around the old hilltop part of town is like stepping back in time.

Naturally, there are many great places to eat, bursting with local colour and which make for a typical Tuscan experience.

PS Are you thinking of exploring Venice? Check out our top 17 amazing hotels in Venice, 15 coolest things to do in Venice and the 25 coolest museums in Venice x

#9 – Montalcino

Day Trips from Florence with Kids

Montalcino

photo credits:Italian Ways

  • Beautiful Tuscan town
  • Amazing views
  • Well preserved fort

An easy day out if you’ve got a hire car (or alternatively you could take the bus), Montalcino has a lot to offer. Even if you’re travelling with your children, this is still a fun family day trip from Florence.

It’s a great way to experience and explore a quaint Tuscan town, the medieval village of Montalcino sits starkly against the sky on a hill in the Val d’Ocia. The whole of this incredible town is protected by medieval fortified walls, making it look like something right out of a fairytale.

The Montalcino Fortress has remained unchanged since the middle ages and – as the highest point in town – has amazing views over the rooftops and out into the landscape.

You and your children will love wandering around the tiny lanes and adventuring back in time for a fun-filled day trip from Florence for kids.

#10 – San Gimignano

Half-Day-Tour-of-San-Gimignano-From-Florence

photo credits:Visit Tuscany

  • Incredible towers
  • Learn about the medieval history
  • Tasty gelato

San Gimignano is a fantastic mix of history, amazing views and incredible art. You might be thinking, what’s in it for children? But the look of the town itself, with its almost fairytale towers, is bound to capture their imagination.

Discover what’s known as the ‘Medieval Manhattan’ thanks to the 14 towers left standing; these early skyscrapers were built by the town’s wealthy inhabitants as a show of power. You, and your children will be in awe of them.

This town is a popular one, thanks to its preserved architecture, and is a fantastic place for your little ones to learn about the middle ages – and also the best place to eat homemade, locally produced gelato! Who can resist that?

#11 – Bagno Vignoni

Bagno-Vignoni

photo credits:SopranoVillas

  • Splash in the fresh springs
  • Drive through the scenic Val d’Ocia
  • See some archaeological sites

Take a road trip to the wonderful Bagno Vignogni, set in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ocia Valley (or Val d’Ocia). This tiny village has an even smaller population, but it has an immense historical legacy: this is where the Etruscans used to bathe in the local hot springs!

The Romans continued this practice and it has been a tourist destination since the 12th century when Christian pilgrims on their way to Rome used to stop off.

There are many other springs in the area that can be bathed in, making it a lot of fun for you and your family to go and see what all the fuss has been about for all these centuries.

But elsewhere on this fun day trip from Florence with kids, you’ll find many historical sites to spark your imaginations; there’s a medieval millhouse as well as ancient bathing rooms (where you can still see the hot springs boiling).

#12 – Viareggio

Viareggio

photo credits:Italy

  • Beach fun
  • Laid back atmosphere
  • Lunch with sea views

Viareggio is a beach destination on the Tyrrhenian Sea and therefore makes for a perfectly fun family day trip from Florence. It takes an hour and a half on the train and before you know it you’ll be paddling in the sea and soaking up the sun.

There’s actually over ten kilometres of sandy beaches to explore in this coastal town – the best beaches are in the Parco Naturale Regionale Migliarino-San Rossore-Massaciuccoli.

Take a stroll along the long promenade of La Passeggiata where you can enjoy an ice cream (of course), lunch at one of the many cafes, or you could even do a spot of shopping. There’s a lovely laid-back local atmosphere here, which makes for a great vibe for relaxing on the beach and watching your little ones splash around in the sea.

#13 – Prato

Best Cheap Day Trips from Florence

Prato

photo credits:Wikipedia

  • Super quick to get to
  • Cheap train trip
  • Incredible Chinatown

One of the best cheap day trips from Florence you could go on, Prato is a busy city in its own right. But intriguingly it is home to a large Chinese community and features a rare sight in the country: an actual Chinatown.

Travelling to Prato is super affordable on the train and can be reached in less than half an hour. Once you’re here, the budget travel continues when you get to take a break from all the Italian food (however delicious) and chow down on some cheap traditional Chinese food in the Chinatown.

Elsewhere this interesting Tuscan town has a large piazza complete with a cathedral that’s cool to walk around – this features beautiful Renaissance-era frescoes. There’s also a fortress, the Castello dell’Imperatore, to explore.

#14 – Barberino Shopping

Florence-Shuttle-Bus-to-Barberino-Designer-Outlet

  • Great for shopaholics
  • Designer brand paradise
  • Bargain shopping

Get yourself some bargain designer goods on this fantastic cheap day trip from Florence. You’ll be picked up in style on a luxury coach and be whisked all the way to Barberino Designer Outlet Mall.

You’ll get to shop with 70% off designer labels, so anybody interested in top brands and shopping for bargains, in general, will absolutely love to be let loose in this incredible shopping haven.

Shop at over 120 different designer shops, from sports brands like Adidas and Puma, to high-end designers like Michael Kors and Dolce & Gabbana. It’s definitely a fun day out for fashionistas.

Take a breather from all that shopping at one of the many restaurants… Before diving in for round two!

#15 – Fiesole

Fiesole

photo credits:Wikipedia

  • Fantastic views of Florence
  • Explore Roman ruins
  • Super easy to get to

This town is within easy reach of Florence: it takes just half an hour to reach Fiesole on the bus and costs as little as the price of a coffee. So you can see how it’s easily one of the best cheap day trips from Florence.

Funnily enough, though you’re travelling outside of the Tuscan capital, spending the day in the old Roman city of Fiesole, with its hillside location, gives you fantastic views of Florence!

Elsewhere in this town, there’s an archaeological site to explore as well as a Roman theatre with a museum attached so you can learn all about the ancient era when this town sprang up. You can also make the steep trek up the hill to the beautiful cathedral, which can be checked out for free.

Take a seat in the nearby park and stop for a picnic enjoying the views.

#16 – Pisa

Pisa-Low-Cost-Round-Trip

  • Iconic leaning tower
  • Beautiful town to explore
  • Affordable round trip

Famous the world over for its renowned leaning tower, Pisa is not only easy to get to from Florence, but it can also be a very cheap day trip from Florence.

Arrive in the beautiful city on an affordable tour bus and enjoy your day snapping pictures of the iconic leaning tower itself and wandering through the Piazza dei Miracoli.

You can also visit the stunning and stark Romanesque cathedral, dating all the way back to the 11th century. Soak up the buzzing atmosphere of the Piazza dei Cavalieri – the home of the Scuola Normale, a historic university.

The romantic city of Pisa is yours to explore for the day on this cheap day trip from Florence – so you’ll finally be able to tick seeing that famous tower off your bucket list on this affordable day out.

That’s it!

It’s easy to get from one incredible Italian town – namely, Florence – to another. Just on the doorstep of this storied city are other locations… Bologna, Siena, Venice – even Rome. There are so many famous places to see that you’ll feel like you’re on a tour of Italy itself!

But it’s not all big cities. You’ll get to see small towns too, some featuring magical castles to spark your children’s imagination or idyllic pools to swim in.

Like getting around on the railway? There are some great day trips from Florence by train to embark on; plus we’ve got you covered when it comes to the best day trips from Florence on a budget.

Ready yourself for an Italian adventure: this country is your oyster if you stay in this beautiful city!

PS If you’re heading around Europe, our team of travel experts have compiled the ultimate guide to the 131 best things to do in Europe! And, even if you’re keeping your sights on Italy, check out our fantastic guides to where to stay and things to do in Rome, plus the best hotels and the coolest museums in Rome.

If you liked this article, then check out our other AMAZING guides to save you time and money on your trip!

About the Author Nicola Smart

Gin lover. Coffee addict. Nicola has traveled the world for 7 years and is a staff writer for Hotel Jules. Born in London, Nicola first got the taste of travel studying abroad in Barcelona. Since then she's been hooked - traveling the world non-stop. Passionate about green travel and vegan lifestyle, Nicola spends more of her free time staring at maps wondering where she will head to next!

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