It is always advisable to stay longer when visiting any new place – not only to see all the attractions but to experience the culture and traditions as well. However, since a day is all you can spare for Pisa, it is best to optimize your available time. Here is the perfect one day in Pisa itinerary for first-timers!
One day in Pisa itinerary: Explore Pisa in a day – Trip Preparation
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Pisa is a beautiful city located in Tuscany, and it is home to the world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. In this section, we’ll give you some travel tips on things to do and see in Pisa.
Things to do in Pisa in one day
- Start with coffee and pastries in the morning
- Explore Piazza Vittorio Emanuele
- Stroll along Corso Italia
- Climb up the Leaning tower of Pisa
- Enter and visit the Pisa Baptistery
- Check out the Pisa Cathedral
- Visit the Cemetery Campo Santo
- Visit the Santa Maria della Spina
- Stroll around the River Arno
When pressed for time, you can also book a 2 hour tour of Pisa here
Pisa is also a popular option for a day trip from Florence. Here is a Tuscany highlights tour combining Pisa, Siena, and more
Getting to Pisa
Pisa is located approximately 90 kilometers (56 miles) from Florence, and about 367 kilometers (228 miles) from Rome, the capital city of Italy.
The best way to get to Pisa is by train; the journey from Florence takes about an hour and 20 minutes, and the journey from Rome takes about four hours.
You can also fly into Galileo Galilei Airport (PSA), which is located just outside of Pisa.
Once you’re in the city, getting around is easy; everything is within walking distance of the Leaning Tower.
Getting around Pisa
Pisa is quite a compact city so the best way to explore it is on foot. This not only saves you the hassle of finding a place to park your car, but you get to discover some picturesque pubs and bars along the way.
If you can walk 8 -10 km (5 – 6 miles) you will definitely get by.
And if you need you can hop on a bus as well. Just don’t forget to buy your tickets from a tobacco shop as they are not available on the bus. Plus you need to validate your ticket first.
Where to stay in Pisa overnight
For a smooth and successful trip to Pisa, there are a number of things that need to be considered.
As far as accommodation goes, if you wish to stay overnight, the range is wide and you won’t fall short of options for staying for any budget.
Luxury: The Rif
The gorgeous Rif is located only 5 minute walk away from the iconic Piazza Dei Miracoli. You are at the heart of sightseeing, and the hotel is all comfortable with spacious suites, and luxury amenities like a Jacuzzi, terrace gardens, and more!
You can choose a room with excellent city views. Book your stay here!
Mid range: Hotel Pisa Tower
Hotel Pisa Tower is a modest, mid-budget accommodation option located near the city’s primary attractions. The hotel is housed in a 1900s building and you are offered a nice breakfast buffet.
Other amenities include a garden terrace, late checkout, and a bar. Book your stay here
Budget: Safestay Pisa Hostel
Safestay Pisa Hostel is a budget option for your overnight stay in Pisa. There is a common kitchen, living room area, and clean rooms.
The hostel is only a 5-minute walk away from Pisa Centrale train station. Check out photos and availability here
The perfect Pisa one day itinerary
Though many travelers associate Pisa with its single iconic landmark, there are many other places to see which extend beyond a visit just to the Leaning Tower.
This Pisa itinerary will cover the entire historical centre of the city and other areas south of the Arno river that are not to be missed.
Most visitors arrive at the Galileo Galilei International Airport or at the Pisa Centrale Station.
Anyway, from the airport you can catch the PisaMover which will bring you to Pisa Centrale in a matter of minutes. So let us assume this is the starting point of the trip.
Start with coffee and pastries in the morning (08:00 to 08:30 am)
Start the morning of your Pisa one day itinerary with a hearty breakfast at the famous Tiffany Cafe, a short stroll away from the train station.
They serve a delicious all-inclusive spread for just €2.40 and their a’ la carte menu includes perfectly cooked sandwiches and great pastries.
Explore the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele (08:30 to 09:00 am)
The first thing you will see outside the station on your one day itinerary for Pisa is the administrative centre of the city, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, an amphitheater-shaped structure surrounded by several other historical buildings.
- Opening hours: 24 hours open square
- Tickets: NA
Stroll along Corso Italia (09:00 am to 12:00 pm)
Cross the square and walk towards Corso Italia, a renowned street for shopping in Pisa.
Keep walking till you arrive at Piazza Della Pera in front of Ponte di Mezzo, the site of the annual Battle of the Bridge festival which is held here on the banks of the Arno River.
On the right, before crossing the Arno you will find the streets that run along the river and are important roads for locals and tourists alike.
The area is known as Lungarno Galilei and is lined with many cafes and restaurants that serve as a popular meeting place for all. In fact, the Lungarni in Pisa is its essence.
Cross the river Arno from the Ponte della Fortezza bridge, but pay attention to an octagonal-shaped building, the unique San Sepolcro church, which now serves as a hospital, monastery, and a place of refuge in honor of the Knights Templar.
Piazza dei Cavalieri
On the other side of the Arno is the Lungarno Mediceo thoroughfare, known for the Medici Palace, the Church of San Matteo, and the National Museum.
A few steps down the road you will find the characteristic Borgo Stretto, with its small shops and stores, that always catch the attention of souvenir hunters.
Turn left at the end of the loggia and head towards Piazza dei Cavalieri, a small but busy square that is always crowded with students from the nearby prestigious Scuola Normale di Pisa University.
The piazza dei is also home to the infamous Clock Palace, characterized by its two towers, one of which served as a cell for Count Ugolino and his family where they were left to starve to death during the Middle Ages.
On this square, you will also find the beautiful Palazzo della Carovana and the church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri.
Do not forget to sample the salami and cheese platter at I Porci Comodi. Italy is known for its gelato and you will not find a better place than Gelateria De’ Coltelli for some amazing gelato in different flavors each day.
If you like, you can also sit for a latte, croissant, and sandwiches at Miracles Square, with views of the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Climb up the Leaning tower of Pisa (01:00 to 2:30 pm)
A short stroll through Via Santa Maria will bring you to Piazza dei Miracoli, also known as the Square of Miracles.
This is where you will catch your first glimpse of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and some of the other beautiful buildings around it.
The Tower is a sight to behold and has gone through years of restoration to prevent it from tilting further.
The climb to the top is an experience of a lifetime and considering that there is limited access you should buy your tickets to get to the Tower well in advance.
Originally the tower was just meant to be the bell tower for the nearby Duomo, but a particular twist of fate was that its foundation was found to be unstable and it began to tilt.
The reason it is now a mega attraction and a very busy one at that.
Lines start forming as early as 9:00 am and don’t get any shorter all through the day. Highly recommended to buy skip-the-line tickets, especially since you are going to be in Pisa for just a day.
- Opening hours: 09:00 am to 6:00 pm all days
- Tickets: Combined ticket to Leaning tower of Pisa and Cathedral
Enter and visit the Pisa Baptistery (02:30 to 03:30 pm)
The Baptistery is a circular building that was finished in the 14th century after over 200 years of construction.
The building is a fine example of the transition from the Romanesque style to the Gothic style of architecture.
The round shape of the Baptistery, especially the peculiar double dome has turned it into an acoustic marvel.
Once inside, vocal intonations can be heard at regular intervals to showcase the echo sounds to the visitors.
To hear these sounds, climb to the Upper Gallery and wait for the guard to come out and sing for a minute at half-hour intervals.
- Opening hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm all days
Check out the Pisa Cathedral (03:30 to 04:30 pm)
This medieval Roman Catholic cathedral is an excellent example of Romanesque architecture and the current seat of the Archbishop of Pisa.
The cathedral is free to visit, but you will still need a ticket with a dedicated time slot to enter it.
The Pisa Cathedral, with its marble facade adorned by columns and statues, is one of the principal attractions around the Tower and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary’s Assumption.
Visitors are advised to dress appropriately and remain silent while inside.
- Opening hours:10:00 am to 06:00 pm from Mondays to Saturdays. And from 1:00 to 06:00 pm on Sundays.
- Tickets: Combined ticket to Leaning tower of Pisa and Cathedral
Visit the Cemetery Campo Santo (04:30 to 05:30 pm)
This massive Camposanto cemetery is one of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Tuscany.
Locals believe that the bodies which were buried in this ground began to decompose in just 24 hours.
The 43 blind arcades of this sacred burial ground face the square.
The interiors are an example of early Renaissance art which adorn the walls of the impressive buildings of the Camposanto.
You can also see the ancient Roman sarcophaguses and frescoes of the Master of the Triumph of Death.
You have to pay an admission fee for all the attractions, except the Cathedral which is free to enter. Here are the ticket options:
- Tickets: Single ticket for each attraction, except the Tower, is €7. Single ticket for Leaning Tower €20. Ticket for all attractions €27. Ticket for all the attractions, except the Leaning Tower €10. More information here
- Opening hours: Daily from 09:00 am to 6:00 pm
(All prices quoted are for adults. Check for discounts available before purchasing a full-price ticket)
Visit the Santa Maria Della Spina (05:30 to 06:00 pm)
Despite its small size, the Santa Maria Della Spina – a Gothic church situated on Lungarno Gambacorti on the banks of the river Arno is considered to be one of the most impressive buildings in Pisa.
The church boasts carved designs all over the structure and you will have to spend some extra time marveling at the intricate details of its artwork.
As you step inside you will see the thorn (Della Spina) believed to be a part of the crown worn by Lord Jesus.
- 10:00 am to 01:30 pm and 02:30 to 06:00 pm from Tuesday to Friday. And on the weekends, they are open from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, with a break between 1:30 to 2:30 pm (March to October hours).
- From November to February: they are open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 02:00 pm. And every second Sunday of the month: 10:00 am until 07:00 pm.
- Tickets are around 2 euros
Stroll around the River Arno (07:00 to 08:30 pm)
Now that you have finished exploring all the prime tourist spots of the city, head to the banks of the Arno to enjoy some quality time around the tranquil area.
Arno river flows into Pisa from Florence and offers some amazing views of the iconic sights against a mesmerizing backdrop.
Take a break at any of the charming cafes and restaurants located on the banks of the river.
Time to eat (08:30 to 09:30 pm)
Pisan cuisine focuses on using simple and fresh ingredients, but the cooking style in Pisa is far different than other parts of Tuscany as both oil and wine are widely incorporated in most recipes.
Cafe dell’Assurdo is a particularly popular spot to sample the regional favorite of pesto with pine nuts and torta bischeri, a well-prepared tart.
However, if you want to try a traditional meal head to Anticca Trattoria da Bruno to savor the local pasta and pizzas of Italy.
Pisa One Day Itinerary Sightseeing Map
Alternate tour suggestions: Pisa in a day
Depending on the day of your visit to Pisa and your desire you can include the following in your itinerary:
Explore the Orto Botanico – Botanical Garden and Museum
After a hectic day of sightseeing, it is now time to rest your weary feet and unwind at the peaceful Botanical Gardens by spending some time among nature.
This was the first botanical garden in a university in Europe and was founded in the 16th century by Cosimo I de’Medici.
It is a popular tourist attraction of Pisa and is home to some wonderful outdoor collections like the herb and water gardens, an arboretum, and a school of botany dating back to the 16th century.
Opening hours: Every day from 08:30 am to 5:00 pm
The Jewish cemetery is one of the oldest in Europe and has been serving as a burial ground for the Jews since 1674. The cemetery is situated immediately outside the city walls
A plaque on the walls of the cemetery commemorates the Jews who were deported and killed in the Nazi death camps along with the victims of the infamous Casa Parde Roques massacre.
Opening hours: 10:00 am to 12:30 pm only on Sundays and on Wednesday afternoons from 02:00 to 04:00 pm
Visit an Italian food market
Italians are good at eating but food markets are something they excel in. There is a great one near Piazza delle Vettovaglie where you can stop by for a picnic hamper or just pretend that you are out shopping the Italian way like a local.
Some of the food to try out in Pisa include Tuscan bread soup (ribollita), Florentine steak (bistecca alla fiorentina), and cantucci cookies dipped in vin santo wine.
Day trips from Pisa
While twenty four hours is ample time enough to see the city, if you have the option to stay longer you won’t be disappointed.
Here are a few day trip options from Pisa which will leave you impressed.
Florence (Travel time: 1.50 hours by train)
If you are looking for places to visit in Tuscany, you just cannot ignore the captivating city of Florence.
Here are the must-do attractions,
- Make a beeline for the Piazza del Duomo where several landmarks of the city are located.
- Visit the cathedral, and Baptistery and enjoy a view from the bell tower of the Duomo.
- Head next to Piazza Della Signoria, where you discover Renaissance marvels like the Neptune Fountain and Loggia dei Lanzi.
The highlights of the city are difficult to explore on a day visit from Pisa, still, you can see some major attractions and leave the rest for a return visit.
Lucca (Travel time: 30 minutes by train)
The nearest major destination to Pisa that fits into a perfect day trip is the well-preserved historical city of Lucca.
- The city center inside the imposing walls is a delight to walk in as you make your way to the San Martino Cathedral and the iconic Torre Guinigi with its excellent rooftop garden.
- From the street level as well there is plenty more to see in Lucca, including the extravagant architecture of Piazza dell’ Anfiteatro located on Piazza San Michele.
- Do not forget to walk along the city walls to enjoy another perspective of this medieval gem.
Cinque Terre (Travel time: 1 to 2 hours)
If you want to enjoy the coastal views make your way to Cinque Terre on the Ligurian Sea. This picturesque national park to the southwest of Pisa is home to five lovely villages of Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Riomaggiore, and Monterosso, all known for their dramatic scenery.
You might find it a bit of a challenge to squeeze in all five villages in one day, but even if you hike along the coast you won’t feel as if you have missed a lot.
While each village has its own charms and features, one thing they all have in common is the way they are all conveniently nestled in the rocky coastline of the region.
Siena (Travel time: 1.50 to 2 hours)
Located in the heart of Tuscany, Siena distinguishes itself from other towns in this region with its medieval brick buildings, among which the Gothic Town Hall, Piazza del Campo, and Torre del Mangia are the most impressive.
Enclosed in the ancient city walls, these structures form a picturesque town centre.
Other things to do and see in Siena are:
- Siena Duomo Complex
- Museo dell’Opera
- Walk the city walls
- Watch Palio, the horse race in Siena
- Siena Baptistery of San Giovanni
Pisa Travel Tips
When it comes to planning your trip, there are plenty of resources at your disposal. For starters, we recommend checking out our Italy travel guide.
In order to visit Pisa and check off the Leaning Tower, you have to enter Italy. Italy is a European Union member, and if you need a visa to visit – you need to get a Schengen visa.
Visitors with US and Canadian passports do not require a visa to enter the country and stay for 90 days; however from 2023, an online authorization – ETIAS – is required prior to travel.
Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before your trip! You can get free insurance quotes here from World Nomads.
When to visit Pisa Italy
Now the most important step in planning your trip to Pisa is deciding when you want to go.
If you’re flexible with your dates, we recommend traveling during the shoulder season—April through May or September through October.
During these months, the weather is lovely and there are fewer crowds than during the peak summer tourist season. Plus, hotel rates tend to be lower during the shoulder season.
Visiting Pisa in summer can also get super hot and very busy, so the best time to go is in either spring or autumn when the crowds are few and the temperature is cool.
Safety in Pisa
Compared to other destinations in Italy, Pisa has a low-risk score. When traveling in public transport keep an eye on your possessions all the time and using a rented car always keep it locked and avoid leaving luggage and valuables in it.
The risk of getting robbed is minimal but still, it is better to be vigilant, especially in public places of your belongings.
Having said that, snatching of electronic devices is on the rise in Pisa. Pisa is also prone to mild earthquakes, so do not be afraid if you experience mild tremors now and then.
Budget for Pisa
How much money do you need for your one day in Pisa? For normal visitors, you should plan to keep aside about 100€ for one day on your vacation to Pisa. This cost has been collected from past travelers to help you plan your own budget.
A room in a mid-range hotel for two costs about €96, meals €40, and €9 for use of public transport.
If you are traveling with a family of three or four, the cost can come down further as hotel rooms can be shared and tickets for kids are cheaper.
Is one day in Pisa enough?
Spending a full day in Pisa is more than enough to climb the Leaning Tower and discover all the other sites on the Square of Miracles, as this is where all the usual must-see sights are packed.
In fact, if you are short on time, you can see most attractions in Pisa in even less than a day.
We hope this blog post has given you everything you need to know about planning a trip to Pisa, Italy! Whether you’re interested in climbing the tower or sampling some delicious Tuscan cuisine, Pisa has something for everyone.
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