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How to Plan the Perfect Florence to Pisa Day Trip (2024)

Pisa cathedral, or Pisa Duomo, florence to pisa day trip

Are you planning on visiting both Florence and Pisa? We recommend doing a Florence to Pisa day trip. 

Pisa is a small city just to the west of Florence, closer to the coast. Of course the highlight of the city is the famous and ever-so-photogenic Leaning Tower of Pisa. But there are also other attractions and more to see in Pisa.

We have been to Pisa on 4 separate day trips from Florence. While it is actually possible to see the main highlights in as little as half a day, we recommend aiming to spend a full day in Pisa. A full day will allow you to explore more of the city at large. 

Whichever you choose to go for, this Florence to Pisa day trip guide will walk you through everything you need to know to plan the perfect trip.

How to get to Pisa from Florence

Trenitalia train at Italy train station

The best way to get from Florence to Pisa for a day trip is by train. The train journey is about an hour long and they leave constantly throughout the day.

The train departs Firenze Santa Maria Novella station — which is located very centrally in Florence. When you arrive in Pisa you will get off the train at Pisa Centrale station, located just to the south of the city.

You can buy train tickets in the station or online at Trenitalia.com.

While driving is an option, we advise pretty strongly against it. The trip takes about 90 minutes — so right out the gate it is less convenient than the train. You’ll also have the headache of finding parking on both ends of your trip.

And since you don’t need a car in either Florence or Pisa, this is just going to take time and add complications to your day.

Getting from Pisa train station to the Leaning Tower of Pisa

  • Walk: The Leaning Tower of Pisa is 1.7km (1 mile) away from the Pisa train station. The walk should take around 25 minutes and brings you across the river and through Pisa.
  • Taxi: Alternatively, you can grab a taxi — the drive is around 10-15 minutes and should cost about €10.
  • Bus: There is also the option to take a bus. The bus trip is around 15 minutes but you will have to walk a little ways from the nearest bus stop to the tower.

Luggage Drop at the Pisa Train Station

If you have luggage with you that you don’t want to lug around all day (and we definitely don’t advise doing that!), you can check it in at the luggage storage in Pisa train station. This is a good option if Pisa is just a quick stop over and you’ll be continuing on without spending the night.

The luggage room is directly inside the train station. It is manned and all you have to do is pay and drop your bags off.

Pisa Cathedral Complex Ticket Options

Square of Miracles, Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa Italy

Before we get to your day trip itinerary, I first want to explain the ticket options for the Pisa Cathedral Complex. There are a few to choose from and it can be tough deciding the best option.

Complete Visit + Tower: Buy this ticket if you want to visit everything. It includes access to the Tower of Pisa, Cathedral, Baptistery, Campo Santo cemetery, and all of the museums. Ticket price is €27.

Complete Visit: This ticket combo gives you access to everything except the tower. If you prefer to simply enjoy the view of the tower and do not want to climb to the top, then this is a great option. Ticket price is €10.

Tower: If you only want to climb up the tower and don’t care to see the other sites, then purchase this ticket. Cathedral access is also included in this ticket. Ticket price is €20.

Purchase tickets well in advance if you want to climb up the Leaning Tower. You must reserve a time slot and these sell out quickly during peak season (May to September).

Our recommendation: We suggest booking the Complete Visit + Tower combo, so you can visit all of the sites. Reserve your tickets online at the official website.

What to do on a Day trip from Florence to Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisa

THe Leaning Tower of Pisa and Pisa Cathedral, is pisa worth visiting on a day trip

The obvious place to start your day is also the highlight of Pisa — the Pisa Cathedral Complex. This is where the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa is located.

It also includes the Pisa Baptistry, Duomo, Campo Santo cemetery, Opera Del Duomo Museum, and Sinopie Museum. The complex is located in the Piazza dei Miracoli, also known as Piazza del duomo.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is of course an unmissable attraction in Pisa. The most important thing to note for your visit to the tower is that if you want to climb the tower you must book your ticket in advance. Tickets go on sale 90 days in advance. 

If you show up on the day of without a ticket, it is likely you will be disappointed and will not be able to climb the tower. When you purchase your time slot, make sure to arrive in plenty of time.

There are 251 steps up and amazing views at the top. It is definitely recommended not only to see the tower from the outside, but also to climb it. 

Pisa Cathedral

The Pisa Duomo, or Pisa Cathedral

The Pisa Cathedral, or Duomo, is part of the same complex as the Leaning Tower. This entire complex is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The cathedral is a grand space both inside and out. It was built in the 11th century in the Romanesque style and is considered a Medieval Roman Catholic Cathedral.

It was actually the first building of the complex to be completed. The nave is flanked by black and white marble arches and there are amazing art pieces hanging on the walls.

A visit to the cathedral is included in your ticket. There are no designated times to visit so you can show up whenever you are through with your tower visit. 

Make sure to stop by the Opera del Duomo Museum to learn more about the history and significance of the cathedral.

Want to learn more about the history of Pisa? Book this 1.5 to 2-hour Guided Tour of the Pisa Cathedral, Baptistery, and Piazza dei Miracoli.

Pisa Baptistery

Pisa Baptistery

Though not nearly as noticeable, the Pisa baptistery actually also has a slight lean to it. The building is made from white marble and is the largest such baptistery in Italy.

It was built in the 11th century in the Romanesque and Gothic styles. The exterior is intricately decorated with busts of prophets and apostles. You can also find imagery of the Last Supper and the life of Jesus. 

You can actually climb up to the second floor of the baptistery, and from there you’ll get some of the best views of the Pisa Cathedral. 

Campo Santo Monumentale

Campo Samto Monumentale is an old cemetery. It is claimed that the soil here is holy, as it was purportedly brought here in the 12th century from Golgotha, the site outside of Jerusalem where it is believed by Christianity that Jesus was crucified. 

In the cemetery many prominent Pisans from the Middle Ages are buried. You can walk through the building where the inner walls are decorated with a number of frescoes and monuments. 

Grab lunch at a local restaurant

Once you’re done at the cathedral complex, it’s a good idea to get some lunch. Head towards the river for the most restaurant options. One of the most classic Pisan dishes to try is baccalà, or codfish.

A few other local dishes you might want to try are Cecina, which is a salty chickpea pie, or Bordatino alla Pisana which is a white beans and cornmeal dish similar to polenta. 

Here are a few Pisa restaurants we recommend:

Visit the Botanical Garden

Formed in the 16th century for teaching purposes, the Pisa Botanical Gardens are a lush, verdant space, and was the first university botanical garden. As well as the open air gardens, you can visit the Herbarium, several greenhouses, and The Botanical Museum. 

If you happen to be in Pisa on the first Sunday of the month you can visit the Botanical Gardens for free as a part of what are called Green Sundays.

Wander along the Arno River

View of Arno River in Pisa, ITaly

The Arno river runs through Pisa, and the banks of the river are a great place to go for a walk. Especially if you visit Pisa in summer, this can be a nice place to get a quick break from the city heat and enjoy an aperitivo at one of the river cafes.

During your walk, make sure to stop in for a visit at the Church of Santa Maria Della Spina. The church is on the west bank of the river, on the same side as the train station, the opposite from the Leaning Tower.

This is a small Gothic style church. It has a number of statues on the exterior and the interior is fairly simple, but the setting alongside the river is picture perfect.

Visit the Palazzo Blu

Another highlight along the river is the Palazzo Blu, or the blue palace. The bright, 11th century building is now used as a museum.

While there are some pieces on permanent display here from the 14th through the 20th centuries, as well as some archeological discoveries, there is a larger amount of space that is dedicated to temporary exhibits.

It is a good idea to check what will be on show while you are in town. There have been some great names such as Warhol and Picasso on display here over the years. 

Check out the Keith Haring mural

Keith Haring completed his Pisa mural in 1989 just before his death in 1990. The name of the mural is Tuttomondo or “All World”.

The colorful mural can be seen on the southern wall of the Church of Sant’Antonio Abate. This is actually the only piece by Haring which was always meant to be permanent. 

There are 30 figures painted on the wall, they all come together in a sort of puzzle-like design. The entire piece is a commentary on humanity, on peace, and on evil.

Florence to Pisa Half-Day Trip Itinerary

Leaning tower in pisa, italy

If you only plan on visiting Pisa for a half day, it’s definitely still worth the visit. While you might need to cut out some of the secondary attractions, you still have time to see the highlights in a half day.

Here is our recommended Pisa half-day itinerary:

  • Arrive in Pisa by 9:00am
  • Walk to the Pisa Cathedral Complex
  • Visit the Leaning Tower, Baptistery, Cathedral, Campo Santo, and museums
  • Walk back to the to the train station
  • Depart between 1:00pm-2:00pm

Florence to Pisa Full-Day Trip Itinerary

Street in Pisa italy
Charming street in Pisa, Italy

While a half-day is doable, it’s even better if you have a full day for your trip to Pisa. This means that you can incorporate more of the things to do in Pisa in your itinerary.

Here is what we recommend for a full-day trip from Florence to Pisa. 

  • Arrive in Pisa by 9:00am
  • Walk to the Pisa Cathedral Complex
  • Visit the Leaning Tower, Baptistery, Cathedral, Campo Santo, and museums
  • Get lunch at a local restaurant
  • Walk along the Arno River & see Church of Santa Maria Della Spina
  • Visit the Palazzo Blue
  • See the Keith Haring Mural
  • See the Botanical Garden
  • Wander through the city and walk along Borgo Stretto
  • Depart from Pisa around 6:00-7:00pm

When is the best time for a Florence to Pisa day trip

Duomo in PIsa

The best time for a day trip to Pisa is during the spring and fall, ideally avoiding the peak season. March, April, May, October, and November are all good months to visit Pisa without the busy summer crowds. Plus the weather is pleasant during this time.

Of course, if you are visiting during the summer, expect long lines and crowds. Make sure to book your tickets a few months in advance, as they do sell out during this time.

Pisa Tour Options

Prefer to visit Pisa with on a guided tour? We’re sharing a few great options below.

  • Florence to Pisa Day Tour | This 6-hour day trip includes a guide and tickets to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Cathedral. If you don’t want to plan the day trip yourself, this is a good option.
  • Florence to Pisa, Siena, and San Gimignano Day Tour | This full-day guided tour takes you to Pisa, Siena, and the Tuscan town of San Gimignano from Florence. This is a good option if you are short on time and want to see multiple cities in a day.

Tips for your Florence to Pisa day trip

Arno River in Pisa, Italy

To make sure your trip runs smoothly, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are our six top tips for your day trip to Pisa. 

  • Reserve your time slot for the Leaning Tower: You definitely need to make sure you purchase your tickets for the Leaning Tower of Pisa in advance. Tickets go on sale 90 days before, so as soon as you have your itinerary locked in you should buy your tickets. When you purchase them you will also choose a time slot for your visit. These are in 30 minute blocks and you cannot miss it or you won’t be permitted entry. 
  • Plan for extra time to explore some other sites around Pisa: While the highlight of the city is clearly the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you should allow yourself extra time to do more than just the one thing. As you can see from this itinerary there is a good bit else to see in the city, so make sure to allocate time for all of it. 
  • Wear comfortable shoes: Don’t be tempted to go for Italian high fashion — at least not when it comes to footwear. From climbing the tower to walking along the river banks, there will be a lot of ground to cover and your day can very quickly become very unpleasant if you’re not properly prepared with your footwear. 
  • Dress modestly: It’s important to dress modestly to make sure you won’t be denied entry anywhere. When you go into churches and cathedrals not only in Pisa but throughout Italy you need to be fairly covered up. Both men and women should cover their shoulders, knees, and midriff. That means no tank tops, shorts, short skirts or dresses, or crop tops. 
  • Plan to walk a lot: This is why you need comfortable shoes! The best way to see Pisa is to wander around. So make sure you are ready to walk a lot.

Pisa Day Trip FAQ

Is it worth going to Pisa From Florence?

Yes, the train journey to Pisa from Florence is short and straightforward so there is no reason not to do a day trip from Florence to Pisa. And of course, as you can see here, there is a lot to do in Pisa beyond the highlight that is the famous Leaning Tower.

What is the easiest way to get from Florence to Pisa?

The easiest way to get to Pisa from Florence is by train. The train journey is very convenient and easy and only takes an hour.

Is a day trip to Pisa enough?

Yes, a day in Pisa is plenty of time to see the highlights of the city. If you have your ticket for the Leaning Tower of Pisa booked then you can spend some time around the rest of the cathedral complex before exploring the city at large. This can all be done comfortably on a good day in Pisa. 

Is 2 hours in Pisa enough?

No, two hours in Pisa would not be enough time. At the very least you should allow yourself 4 hours — this would be enough time to visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Cathedral Complex without rushing.

More Information for your Trip to Italy


ITALY TRAVEL PLANNING GUIDE


Italy Travel Insurance – Should you get travel insurance for Italy? YES! We always get travel insurance before all of our trips for peace of mind. Check out Safety Wing to find the best plan for you.

Italy Rental Cars – Is it safe to rent a car in Italy? Yes! We’ve rented a car in Italy too many times to count, and it’s definitely the most convenient way to get around the countryside. We rented our car through Discover Cars (our go-to rental agency), which helps you find the best rates no matter where you are traveling.

Italy Phone Plans – If your phone plan does not offer free coverage in Italy, then we suggest getting an eSIM. We used Airalo during our trip to Italy, and we had fantastic coverage the entire time. It’s easy to download and you can even top up via the app if needed.

Italy Hotels – Wondering where to book your accommodations for Italy? We’ve been reserving all of our hotels through Booking for years. Their messaging tool makes it easy to communicate with the hotels, and there are endless options to choose from.

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