From Florence to Pisa: 4 Best Ways to Get There
Less than 100 kilometers away from each other, the cities of Florence and Pisa are connected by a number of transportation options, including local and high-speed trains, long-distance buses, and many organized tours. This makes it easy to plan a day tour to the city of Pisa, so you can take a photo with the iconic Leaning Tower before heading back to your hotel in historical Florence.
Pisa might be most famous for its leaning tower, but this small city in the heart of picturesque Tuscany is also the birthplace of Galileo, home to lots of historical and cultural attractions, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Whether you're visiting for a day or a week, we have a list of the best ways to get from Florence to Pisa, so you can plan your trip better.
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1. From Florence to Pisa by Train
There are over 40 trains from Florence to Pisa every day, making this a convenient and easy option for a day trip. Depending on what train you choose, you'll cover the route in 50 to 90 minutes - daily high-speed trains can reach Pisa in just 49 minutes, but local commute trains are much slower and make more stops along the way.
All Regionale and Regionale Veloce trains depart from the Santa Maria Novella Train Station in Florence starting as early as 12:40am.
Since most of the attractions in Pisa don't open until 9 or 10am, it makes more sense to leave later in the morning. However, if you arrive in Pisa by 7am, you'll have time to sit down for breakfast somewhere - and maybe try the famous buccellato cake - and then head over to your attraction of choice to be first in line when it opens.
You don't need reservations in advance for the trains, and you can buy tickets right at the train station before your departure. Just keep in mind that Pisa is a popular destination for international tourists in summer, so it's at least possible that you won't get a seat on the train of your choice if you arrive at the last minute.
Most high-speed trains offer Wi-Fi, a food cart with snacks, air-conditioning, and electrical outlets. This isn't offered on regular trains – the slower trains – so if you need any of these amenities, make sure you ask for a Regionale Veloce ticket.
All trains arrive at the Pisa Centrale train station, located about 1.5 kilometers away from the heart of the city and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. In good weather, you can take a leisurely 20-minute walk through city streets to reach the main square. Otherwise, there are local buses or taxis parked right outside the station to get you to the center even faster.
2. From Florence to Pisa by Day Tour
Why visit only Pisa when you can see much more of Tuscany in one single day? This nine-hour Pisa and Lucca Day Trip from Florence takes you to see some of the famous landmarks in Pisa before heading back to lesser-known but equally interesting Lucca.
Your tour starts at 9am at Piazzale Montelungo in the heart of Firenze, where you'll meet an expert multilingual guide and board an air-conditioned vehicle to start your one-hour ride through beautiful Tuscany. Along the way, your guide will offer a fascinating insight into the area's past, present, and future, as well as the sights waiting for you throughout the day.
Once you get to the central square of Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa, you'll join your guide in a walking tour of the city, stopping by to see the Duomo Cathedral and the many Gothic and Romanesque buildings on your way to the main attraction: the 12th-century Leaning Tower of Pisa. Here, you can choose to climb the tower or just take photos from the outside, as well as the stunning surrounding architecture.
You'll then have some time to explore on your own or do some shopping before meeting back with your guide to start the journey to your next destination: the ancient city of Lucca, famous for its intact 16th-century city walls.
Here, your guide will take you on a walking tour of Lucca, with stops at the circular Piazza Anfiteatro; the Lucca Cathedral; and the Romanesque-Gothic Guinigi Tower, famous for the holm oaks growing on top of it. After the tour, you'll stop by to try buccellato, a ring-shaped traditional local cake filled with sultana raisins and aniseed.
After some free time to explore on your own and take more pictures, you'll meet your guide again to start your trip back to Florence.
This tour also offers a low-cost option that skips the walking tours in Pisa and Lucca. If you choose the low-cost option, you'll have time to explore on your own once you arrive at each town, meeting your guide back at a specific time and place afterward.
3. From Florence to Pisa by Bus
If you're on a budget, the cheapest way to travel between Florence and Pisa is to take a bus. Companies such as FlixBus and Baltour offer several buses a day between the two cities. FlixBus buses depart from Piazzale Montelungo bus station, the city's main bus station, while Baltour operates from the smaller Autostazione Sita. Tickets are 20 percent cheaper if you buy at least one day in advance.
The earliest bus departs from Florence at 1:30am - but keep in mind that the route is only 95 minutes long, and you wouldn't want to arrive in Pisa that early. There's a convenient 9am bus to Pisa and a few afternoon options, with the last bus departing at 5:50pm. The buses back to Florence don't run that frequently. During the low season, it might be just twice a day, so make sure you check the schedule in advance.
Buses are comfortable, with plenty of legroom and reclinable seats. FlixBus buses also offer Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and hot drinks on board. Tickets can be half the price of the train if you buy them at least a week or two in advance; if you wait until the last minute, prices will double or triple.
All buses arrive at the Autostazione Via Pietrasantina bus station in Pisa. From here, you can walk to the city center in about 20 minutes or catch a local bus for a five-minute ride. You'll get off just a couple of blocks away from the tower and the main attractions in Pisa.
4. From Florence to Pisa by Car
Just under 100 kilometers separates the two cities. In normal traffic, that's about one hour and 20 minutes of scenic driving on either the SS67 or the A11/E76 highways. Although the SS67 is actually a shorter route (88 kilometers), both routes take about the same time.
There are plenty of great stops between Florence and Pisa (and you will also have to stop several times to pay tolls as you're driving on the highway) but if you're up for a road trip, the SS67 offers better views.
Scandicci town, with its Michelangelo-designed building; the medieval hilltop town of Montelupo Fiorentino, and San Miniato, with its many medieval buildings are all worth a visit. San Miniato is also famous for its white truffle production, so look for a few yummy things to take with you when you visit.
One word of caution: Pisa is notorious for being not very car-friendly. Its narrow streets are hard to navigate (rent the smallest car you can find in Florence); there aren't many parking spaces; and many streets are designated limited traffic zone (ZTL), so you cannot drive on them.
Ask for a GPS when you rent a car; it'll help you find the fun detours but also navigate Pisa without getting a fine.