10 beautiful day trips from Florence by train and bus

Best day trips from Florence by train and bus | PACK THE SUITCASES

Here are my picks of the best day trips from Florence by train and bus, because I firmly believe in always doing travel – especially in Italy – without a car. In a city as well connected with public transport as Florence, there’s no need to put yourself through the stress of driving in Italy both on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and amid some interesting attitudes towards the Highway Code.

There are so many things do in Florence itself (have a look at my other blogpost on that), from eating/drinking to soaking up history and culture, that you can easily just visit the city and stay there. But Florence is also a perfect base for getting out and about on day trips to see even more in the surrounding areas. Florence is the capital of Tuscany, at the very heart of Italy, which means you can branch out from all angles. Day trips from Florence to the surrounding towns and cities are very doable by regional trains and buses. But the city is also well connected with high-speed trains from its main station, Santa Maria Novella, which means you can go surprisingly far in under two hours.

If you’re planning your Florence trip, I hope this blogpost is useful. Let me know in the comments below which ones you enjoy out of my recommendations for the best day trips from Florence…

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23 things to do in Lucca, Italy: discovering Tuscany’s walled city

Things to do in Lucca, Italy | PACK THE SUITCASES

If you’re planning a trip to this famous walled Tuscan city, here are 23 of the best things to do in Lucca, Italy, which should give you a good flavour of the place. I spent two nights in Lucca as part of a wider Tuscany trip, and this wee selection of sights, eats and activities is more than enough to pack into a short stay.

Lucca is known as the ‘city of a hundred churches’. I’m not sure whether that’s factually accurate, but there are a lot of them. You’ll enjoy visiting if that’s your thing. But if you’re doing a longer Italian trip and the thought of traipsing round yet another church makes your heart sink (we’ve all been there), fear not. There’s plenty of other things to do in Lucca, not least getting your 10,000 steps a day in walking the extensive medieval walls that encircle the city. There’s also a tower with trees growing on top, with stunning views. Oh and a beautiful yellow piazza in a Roman amphitheatre, where you can sit with a glass of wine and watch the world go by. 

If that sounds up your street, read on for more detail on 23 things to do in Lucca that I personally recommend…

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2 days in Florence, Italy: a perfect itinerary

2 days in Florence, Italy | PACK THE SUITCASES

Here’s a quick itinerary for spending 2 days in Florence as a first-time visitor. I’d recommend a longer trip if you want to explore more of the wider Tuscany region, because there’s a wealth of other beautiful places to see like Siena and Lucca. But if you’re focusing just on the city itself, 2 days in Florence is about right to see the main sights and get a feel for the place.

So settle down with a glass of vino (a chianti from Tuscany, preferably) and enjoy picking what you like the look of from this itinerary for getting the most out of 2 days in Florence…

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How to do a Siena day trip from Florence, Italy: a perfect one-day itinerary

Siena day trip from Florence: one day itinerary | PACK THE SUITCASES

If you’re planning a Siena day trip from Florence, here’s how I recommend making the most of your time there. Only one day in Siena isn’t really enough, but in reality if you’re doing a trip around Tuscany, you’re probably going to have to limit your time in some places. There’s a lot to see in this charming medieval city, but if you plan ahead you can cram quite a bit in. 

Hop on a train from Florence bound south for Siena, and an hour and a half later (via lovely views) you’ll be there. Siena is the largest of the hill towns that are scattered among the region here, but it’s got its own distinct charm. As well as being famous for the huge Piazza del Campo, its main square, it’s also home to some stunning Gothic architecture, winding medieval streets, and a ridiculous quantity of delicious food and drink.

If you’re exploring the best of Tuscany, a Siena day trip is not to be missed. This is how I recommend doing it…

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How to do a day trip to beautiful Burano island from Venice, Italy

How to do a day trip from Venice to Burano, Italy | PACK THE SUITCASES

Here’s how to do a gorgeous little day trip from Venice to Burano, Italy – the island that’s home to a famously rainbow-coloured fishing village. Burano island is unmissable if you’re visiting Venice. Seriously. I’ve never seen anywhere like it and I absolutely get why tourists flock to it.

Originally, Burano’s fishing families painted their houses these bright colours so that they could find their way home on their boats after a heavy night out when thick fog descended on the Venetian lagoon. There’s not as much fishing going on these days, although they do still have some. But the bright colours have remained, much to the joy of photographers everywhere. Burano gives Cinque Terre a run for its money on the picturesque and vibrant front, and it’s only little so it makes the perfect morning or afternoon out on the water bus from the centre of Venice. 

Here’s my little guide to how to get to Burano, things to see there, when to visit, what to eat and just generally what to get up to on a Venice to Burano day trip…

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2 days in Venice itinerary and guide to what to see, do and eat

Here’s a quick itinerary for spending 2 days in Venice as a first-time visitor to Italy’s magical lagoon city. To be honest, I’d recommend more than 2 days in Venice if you really want to explore beyond the big sights. But if you’re on a time limit, there’s plenty you can cram into a weekend or short break.

Venice is obviously one of the most popular destinations in the world, on everyone’s bucket list, and it’s easy to be tempted to skip it thinking it’ll be disappointing or overrated. I think this is especially the case if you’re a seasoned traveller and prefer going to more unusual locations. However, Venice is like nowhere else on earth. Yes, it’s busy and popular. But it’s so worth it. I mean, it’s a floating city made up of islands in a lagoon, full of grand history and a unique way of life. What could be more intriguing than that? There are no roads, only canals and footpaths, so you get a lovely break from dodging traffic like on other city trips. And everywhere you look is the original ‘shabby chic’ style of architecture. It’s stunning and photos don’t do it justice. You have to go there.

So settle down with a bellini (when in Venice…) and enjoy picking what you like the look of in this itinerary for spending a beautiful 2 days in Venice…

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