Florence Travel Guide: 16 Best Things To Do & See

Florence Travel Guide: 16 Best Things To Do & See

Everything you need to know about Florence in Tuscany, including what to do & our top tips
Alexander & VictoriaHi! We're Alex & Victoria - a digital nomad couple from Copenhagen escaping 9-5 to chase adventures in our beautiful world. Learn more about us here.
The most beautiful city in Italy

Ciao Firenze!

Florence, Tuscany’s capital, is home to some of the world’s most iconic landmarks, yet there is even more to explore if you visit the gorgeous city.

Delicious gelato, lively squares and ancient buildings – what more can you ask for?

The city offers so many incredible things to do and see that you can easily stay in Florence for months.

Walking through the old streets amidst magnificent churches, captivating architecture and renowned art galleries is an experience in itself.

We visited Florence for four days on a road trip through Italy and enjoyed every moment. Yes, we will even dare to say that Florence is the most beautiful city in Italy!

In this travel guide to Florence, we’re sharing all you need to know about the best things to do and see (sights, landmarks, viewpoints…), where to stay, how long to stay, the best places to eat, when to visit, how to get around, our best travel tips and much more.

Our favourites: Where to stay in Florence?


  • Luxury: The Place Firenze – An absolutely exquisite 5-star hotel with the best location in the city.
  • Value for money: Drom Florence Rooms & Apartments – Spacious rooms in cosy Oltrarno with nice green surroundings.
  • Budget: Poggio Baronti B&B – From here, it’s a 20-minute bus ride into Florence. In return, you will get a cheap and comfortable stay.

Search for the cheapest and best hotels in Florence here.

The Cathedral of Florence
We get why Florence is called “La Bella” (the beautiful). The whole city exudes beauty.
Ponte Vecchio in Florence
Florence is also known as the “culla del Rinascimento” (cradle of the Renaissance) and has housed both Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.

Florence map and geography

Beautiful Florence is located in central Italy and is the capital of the region called Tuscany.

With almost 1 million inhabitants in the metro area and ~365,000 inhabitants in the city itself, Florence is also Tuscany’s most populous city.

Florence lies in a valley surrounded by hills and the River Arno (plus a few smaller rivers) run through the city.

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How long to stay in Florence

How many days you should spend in Florence depends entirely on your needs and travel plans.

Many people visit the city on a day trip, e.g. from Rome or Pisa – or they stay for a single night on a drive through Italy. But that is almost a sin in our eyes.

You certainly won’t be bored on a weekend trip to Florence, but consider extending your stay to three, four, or five days for an even richer experience.

We stayed 3 nights in the city and spent 4 full days rushing around to experience as much as possible. We could easily have used a day or two more.

If accommodation wasn’t so expensive in Florence, we could imagine it would be a nice city to live in as a student or digital nomad.

We get into the best places to stay in Florence further down in this travel guide (including advice on where to stay on a budget).

Oltrarno district in Florence
The district of Oltrarno (south of the Arno River) is one of the nicest places in Florence.
Oltarno in Florence in the evening
Here you get further away from the city’s tourism and closer to local life.
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Firenze Card

Firenze Card Official Museum City Pass is a physical card that is valid for 72 hours and gives free access to all of Florence’s 60 (!) museums.

The Firenze Card is the city’s official tourist passport, and with it in hand, you get free entry to, among other things, The Uffizi Gallery, The Accademia Gallery and Brancacci Chapel (the “Sistine Chapel of the early Renaissance”).

Some of Florence’s biggest highlights in other words.

Without paying individual entrance fees for each museum, you might find yourself drawn to explore some of the city’s smaller museums, each offering equally enriching experiences.

At various locations, presenting your card at the entrance allows you to bypass queues entirely – a valuable perk, particularly during the bustling summer months.

If you want to see prices and check out which museum entrances and other benefits are included, you can read more about the Firenze Card here (adlink).

Tip: Children under 18 enter for free with an adult who has a Firenze Card.


The 16 best things to do and see in Florence

Florence is such a beautiful city full of exciting things to do and see for everyone who is just remotely interested in culture, history, art or great food.

And even if you aren’t, pretty much everyone will enjoy strolling around the cosy streets of the historic centre.

Here are what we believe to be the best things to do and see in Florence including attractions, sights, landmarks and viewpoints.

The 16 best things to do and see in Florence:

  1. Centro Storico – The historic centre
  2. Il Duomo – The iconic cathedral of Florence
  3. Palazzo Vecchio – A city hall with a panoramic view
  4. Piazza della Signoria – Beautiful square with a replica of Michelangelo’s David
  5. Ponte Vecchio – Historic bridge with coloured houses
  6. Piazzale Michaelangelo – The best view of Florence
  7. Basilica di San Miniato – Pretty church with a view
  8. Galleria degli Uffizi – Italy’s most popular museum
  9. Galleria dell’Accademia – Say hello to the original David
  10. Palazzo Pitti – Renaissance Palace in the Boboli Gardens
  11. Giardino di Boboli – Florence’s green oasis
  12. Piazza di Santa Maria Novella – Cosy square with a beautiful church
  13. Il Mercato Centrale – The San Lorenzo Market
  14. Basilica of the Holy Cross – The biggest Franciscan church in the world
  15. Eat gelato – Enjoy real Italian ice cream
  16. The best day trips from Florence

Map of the best things to do and see in Florence.

1. Centro Storico – The historic centre

One of the best things to do in Florence is walking around the historic centre (Centro Storico), where you will find some of the most significant and impressive Renaissance architecture in the city.

Walking through Centro Storico feels like stepping back in time.

In addition to the many charming streets, you will find the square Piazza del Duomo with Florence’s famous cathedral, Piazza della Signoria with the city hall Palazzo Vecchio and the replica of Michelangelo’s David statue as well as the almost 400-metre-long shopping street Via del Calzaiuoli.

Florence's historic centre (centro storico) from across the river
The historic centre of Florence, known as Centro Storico, serves as the vibrant heart of the city. The biggest and best-known attractions are located here.
Florence UNESCO
The entire area is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Florence old street
You can easily spend many hours (or days!) exploring all the old streets.
Narrow street in Florence
Florence Cathedral from the street at sunset
Florence’s enormous cathedral can be seen from almost the entire historic centre.

2. Il Duomo – The iconic cathedral of Florence

You’ve probably already seen pictures of the famous Il Duomo (officially Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore); Florence’s iconic cathedral.

It’s truly impressive!

The dome, the tower and all the incredible details make it one of the most beautiful churches we have ever seen (perhaps along with the cathedral in nearby Siena and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome).

The Gothic church, built between 1296 and 1436, is the most stunning from the outside, but we also think it is worth going inside.

It’s free to enter the Duomo, but as it’s one of the most popular things to do in Florence, be prepared for a long line. Or come first thing in the morning (preferably before it opens) to avoid the worst mid-day crowds.

Accessing the cathedral’s roof, museum or bell tower (Campanile di Giotto) requires a small fee.

Tip: Dress respectfully – you may be refused entry if you have bare shoulders and/or show too much leg above the knees.


Florence Cathedral
Wow! Standing in front of the cathedral for the first time was a jaw-dropping experience.
Il duomo's exterior with colours, patterns and sculptures
Every square metre of the church’s exterior is richly decorated with colours, patterns and sculptures.
Cathedral dome by Brunelleschi
The enormous dome of the cathedral, built by Brunelleschi, is a symbol of Florence and the entire Renaissance period.
Florence cathedral dome seen from the inside
For more than 400 years it held the title as the world’s largest dome, and it is still the world’s largest masonry of its kind – surpassed only by more modern steel and concrete domes.
Cathedral in Florence
It is free to go inside Il Duomo.
Giotto's Bell Tower (Campanile di Giotto)
Giotto’s Bell Tower (Campanile di Giotto) is 85 metres high and stands right next to the cathedral. The largest of the seven historic bells weighs more than 5 tons.
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3. Palazzo Vecchio – A city hall with a panoramic view

Located in the picturesque square Piazza della Signoria, you’ll discover Florence’s town hall Palazzo Vecchio (the old palace).

The unique building is from 1540 (but dates all the way back to 1299), and it is particularly known for the Arnolfo Tower (Torre di Arnolfo), which rises high above the city’s rooftops.

Naturally, we ascended the tower to behold the breathtaking panoramic vista of Florence – an unforgettable experience.

As mentioned, you can also climb the cathedral’s tower, but access to the Arnolfo tower is cheaper (we paid 12.5 euro per person in 2022 which is around 13.5 USD) and from here you can actually see the entire cathedral.

Entrance to the Museum of Palazzo Vecchio and the Arnolfo Tower is included in the Firenze Card (adlink).


Palazzo Vecchio
Palazzo Vecchio dominates the central square, Piazza della Signoria.
The courtyard at the entrance to Palazzo Vecchio
Take a moment to pause and admire the courtyard at the entrance of Palazzo Vecchio – it’s truly captivating.
The wealth of detail in the courtyard
The wealth of detail is incredible.
Salone dei Cinquecento
On our way up the tower, we briefly passed Florence’s largest room; Salone dei Cinquecento.
View from the Arnolfo tower
The 360-degree view from the Arnolfo Tower is definitely worth climbing all the stairs.
The view of the entire cathedral from the tower
The view of the entire cathedral is probably the biggest draw.
Alex & Victoria selfie from Palazzo Vecchio tower

4. Piazza della Signoria – Beautiful square with a replica of Michelangelo’s David

The square in front of Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria, is a must-see in Florence.

And you will most likely pass by the square quite naturally.

Situated centrally, it’s just a short stroll from both the Ponte Vecchio Bridge and the Galleria degli Uffizi (two of the most popular attractions in Florence).

Piazza della Signoria is one of the most beautiful squares in Florence – and probably the most famous.

In addition to restaurants, cafes and shops, you will also find a lot of statues, a replica of Michelangelo’s David and the big, fascinating Fountain of Neptune.

Piazza della Signoria from the Arnolfo tower
On the way up the Arnolfo Tower, you get several nice views of the Piazza della Signoria.
David from David and Goliath at Palazzo Vecchio
A replica of Michelangelo’s David (from David and Goliath) standing with a sling in the left hand in front of the Palazzo Vecchio on the square.
Neptune Fountain
The big Neptune Fountain is from the mid-16th century when it was supposed to celebrate the marriage of Francesco I de’ Medici and Joanna of Austria.
Photo by Giuseppe Zocchi
Piazza della Signoria has looked pretty much the same for hundreds of years. This picture was painted by Giuseppe Zocchi at the beginning of the 18th century.

5. Ponte Vecchio – Historic bridge with coloured houses

Spanning the Arno River, the historic stone bridge known as Ponte Vecchio (old bridge) links the Palazzo Vecchio district in the Centro Storico with the Palazzo Pitti and Santo Spirito areas in Oltrarno.

The bridge is one of the most famous things to see in Florence, and of course, you have to see it too.

While the current Ponte Vecchio dates back to 1345, its origins are believed to trace all the way back to Roman times.

Remarkably, it stands as the sole surviving bridge in Florence from World War II, adding to its historical significance.

The bridge is not only stunning to behold from the water and neighbouring bridges like Ponte Santa Trinita and Ponte alle Grazie, but it also offers a unique experience to stroll across, immersing oneself in the charming array of small shops and street entertainment.

Ponte Vecchio
We (and many others!) are glad that Ponte Vecchio survived WWII.
Ponte Vecchio at sunset
Today, the bridge is adorned with numerous jewelers occupying the quaint stalls along its length.
Ponte Vecchio in the evening
Walking across Ponte Vecchio is a truly atmospheric experience, whether it’s during the daylight hours or the enchanting evening. Amidst the shops and captivating views of the Arno River, you’re often serenaded by live music.
The neighbouring bridge Ponte Santa Trinita seen from Ponte Vecchio at sunset
The neighbouring bridge Ponte Santa Trinita from 1569 is the oldest elliptical arch bridge in the world. It was destroyed during World War II but was rebuilt in 1958 with original stones from the Arno River.

6. Piazzale Michaelangelo – The best view of Florence

One of the best things to do in Florence is seeing the breathtaking view of the city from Piazzale Michelangelo (and it won’t cost you a dime).

The viewpoint is on a hill south of the Arno River a little east of Palazzo Pitti.

Ascending the steep stairs requires a bit of effort, but the reward is well worth it. Alternatively, you can take bus 12 or 13.

We timed our visit with the sunset and although we were certainly not alone, it was truly magical.

At the top, you can see several of the city’s iconic landmarks alongside a bronze replica of Michelangelo’s David statue.

Stairs up to Piazzale Michaelangelo
There are a few stairs up to Piazzale Michaelangelo. It takes approximately 20 minutes to walk from Ponte Vecchio.
View from Piazzale Michaelangelo
From the vantage point, you can see the whole city, including the Arno River with all the bridges, the Palazzo Vecchio and the cathedral.
View from Piazzale Michaelangelo towards Ponte Vecchio
Bring a zoom lens to get pictures like this one.
View from Piazzale Michaelangelo towards the cathedral
Watching the sunset from Piazzale Michaelangelo was one of the best (free!) experiences we had in Florence.

7. Basilica di San Miniato – Pretty church with a view

Following your visit to Piazzale Michelangelo, we highly recommend ascending a bit further to reach the small but charming Basilica di San Miniato.

Here, you can enjoy expansive views extending far beyond Florence in multiple directions, with notably fewer crowds compared to the bustling square below.

View of Florence on the way up to Basilica di San Miniato
Another beautiful view of Florence. This photo is taken on our way up to the Basilica di San Miniato.
Victoria at Piazzale Michaelangelo
The road up to the Basilica di San Miniato
Walking from Piazzale Michelangelo to Basilica di San Miniato takes approximately 10 minutes on foot.
The facade of the Basilica di San Miniato
The delightful bfacade of the Basilica di San Miniato.
Basilica di San Miniato
With approximately 1,000 years of history, it is incredible that the church still stands today. Michelangelo is said to have protected it with mattresses during a siege of Florence in the 16th century.
The view from the church
The view from the church is certainly not bad either. It is one of the highest points in the city.
Sunset over Florence
The sunset from up there is one of the most beautiful sunsets we’ve ever seen!

8. Galleria degli Uffizi – Italy’s most popular museum

Italy’s most popular museum, Galleria degli Uffizi, has a really large collection of Renaissance paintings.

Like many of Florence’s other buildings, the museum itself is a masterpiece.

At the Galleria degli Uffizi hangs, among other artworks, one of the world’s most famous Renaissance paintings; The Birth of Venus (in Italian: Nascita di Venere), as well as other great works by Botticelli, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio and many more.

The museum offers a captivating experience, and we highly recommend visiting it.

You can end up waiting for several hours if you just turn up on the day during the high season in summer. Because the Galleria degli Uffizi is so popular, we would advise people to buy tickets in advance or arrive early in the day.

The entrance to the museum is included in Firenze Card (adlink).


Hallway in Galleria degli Uffizi
You don’t need to be an art connoisseur to appreciate the beauty of the Galleria degli Uffizi.
Room in Galleria degli Uffizi
Birth of Venus
Standing in front of one of the world’s most renowned paintings, The Birth of Venus, it’s difficult not to be deeply impressed.
Beautiful room in the museum Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence
Galleria degli Uffizi
Any list of the world’s best and most important art museums includes the Galleria degli Uffizi.
The Uffizi Museum is right between the Palazzo Vecchio and the Arno River
The Uffizi Museum is located between the Palazzo Vecchio and the Arno River.

9. Galleria dell’Accademia – Say hello to the original David

Florence truly is a city of museums, and if you’re even slightly interested in art, you’ve probably heard of Michelangelo’s world-famous statue of David.

The more than 5-metre-high masterpiece from 1504 is found in the Galleria dell’Accademia. Of course, we couldn’t resist paying our respects to it.

We bought our tickets at the door for 12 euro per person (~ 13 USD) as we arrived at a time without a queue. You can see prices on the museum website here or book a fixed time and get priority access here (adlink).

Access to the Galleria dell’Accademia is included in the Firenze Card (adlink).

The sculpture David in the Galleria dell'Accademia
Michelangelo’s David in all his towering glory.
David by Michelangelo
He is more than 5 metres tall and carved from one piece of marble.
Art at the Galleria dell'Accademia
The rest of the museum is also worth seeing. We loved the incredibly colourful paintings.


10. Palazzo Pitti – Renaissance Palace in the Boboli Gardens

The Renaissance Palace Palazzo Pitti was built for the Pitti family in 1457 and we almost skipped it because there is so much to see in Florence.

Nevertheless, we decided to go there in combination with visiting the Boboli Gardens (as detailed below), and we are glad we did. It was truly breathtaking!

The palace houses several museums, including the Palatina gallery, the Galleria d’arte moderna and museums for clothes, porcelain and silver.

Victoria loves historic palaces and the Palazzo Pitti did not disappoint.

The price to enter the palace is 16 euro (~ 17.3 USD), and the ticket can be bought here (adlink).

There are also combi tickets (adlink) where you also get access to the Boboli Gardens, Galleria degli Uffizi and/or other galleries. See below.


Palazzo Pitti facade
Palazzo Pitti is a beautiful palace.
Palatina Gallery in Palazzo Pitti
The Palatine Gallery, housed within Palazzo Pitti, showcases the extraordinary private art collection amassed by the Medici family and their successors, offering a glimpse into their lavish lifestyles.
Rooms in the Palatina Gallery in Palazzo Pitti, Florence
Everywhere you turn, intricate stucco work, art and decorative embellishments adorn the surroundings.

11. Giardino di Boboli – Florence’s green oasis

The Giardino di Boboli is a nice park adjacent to Palazzo Pitti (tickets are required for the individual attractions or you can buy a combi ticket).

The green oasis is perfect for a little break from the busy city, and you can admire the many sculptures and fountains in peace.

Considering how pompous the palace was, we found the Boboli Gardens somewhat underwhelming. Nonetheless, we’d still recommend a walk through the park if you have the time.

Use our adlinks to buy a ticket to the Boboli Gardens here or see the different combi tickets here.

Giardino di Boboli and Palazzo Pitti in Florence
Consider combining a visit to Palazzo Pitti with a stroll in the Boboli Gardens as we did.
Giardino di Boboli fountain
After a tour of the palace, the garden seemed a bit underwhelming. It’s likely a better approach to explore the Boboli Gardens first.
Statue in Giardino di Boboli
The roofs of the southern part of Florence
There are great views of the southern part of Florence from the garden.


12. Piazza di Santa Maria Novella – Cosy square with a beautiful church

Close to Florence’s big cathedral lies Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, home to the stunning (albeit slightly smaller) Santa Maria Novella Church.

The Gothic church from 1357 is known as one of the most spectacular of its kind, and it is clearly the main attraction in the square.

Tip: If you can afford it, we recommend looking into staying at 5-star The Place Firenze (adlink) which is located in Piazza di Santa Maria Novella.

Church of Santa Maria Novella
In the Church of Santa Maria Novella and its accompanying monastery, you’ll find some of Florence’s most significant religious artworks on display.
Piazza di Santa Maria Novella
The square in front of the church.

13. Il Mercato Centrale – The San Lorenzo Market

The San Lorenzo Market (Mercato Centrale) is a large indoor historical food and produce market in the middle of Florence. It’s worth a visit if you need a little break from the many museums.

Here you can find fruit, vegetables, wine, olive oil and other delicacies from the Tuscany region.

On the top floor, a freshly prepared meal can be purchased; we had an amazing Neapolitan pizza marinara for lunch.

Around the building housing the food market, there’s an outdoor market offering a variety of items such as clothing, jewellery, ceramics and souvenirs.

Il Mercato Centrale
There is something for everyone at Il Mercato Centrale.
Neapolitan pizza in Il Mercato Centrale
We had a perfect Neapolitan pizza.
The market outside Il Mercato Centrale
You can buy all kinds of goods at the market outside.

14. Basilica di Santa Croce – The biggest Franciscan church in the world

Basilica of the Holy Cross (as Basilica di Santa Croce is also called) is not as popular as Il Duomo, but the beautiful church is still one of the most beautiful things to see in Florence.

Located on Piazza di Santa Croce only about 800 metres from the cathedral, it is easy to get to.

As the largest Franciscan church in the world, it is especially known for having 16 chapels where, for example, Michelangelo, Dante and Galileo are buried.

Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence
Basilica di Santa Croce is probably the most famous church in Florence (after the cathedral).

15. Eat gelato – Enjoy real Italian ice cream

You simply cannot visit Florence (and Italy in general) without eating the creamy Italian ice cream called gelato.

It tastes better than “regular” ice cream, and we have to admit that we try to eat at least one gelato every day when we are in Italy.

We especially liked Eduardo Gelateria, located right next to Il Duomo. You would think that a location next to the most famous attraction in Florence would mean high prices and low quality, but this is definitely not the case. Their gelato was excellent!

Eduardo Gelateria at the Florence Cathedral
We shared a large gelato with four scoops from Eduardo Gelateria by the Florence Cathedral.

16. The best day trips from Florence

Although Rome is formally the capital of Italy, it’s not difficult to argue that Florence is far more central. The city in fact served as the country’s capital from 1865 to 1870.

Within a relatively short distance of Florence, you can visit a multitude of small and large cities, all of which offer staggering amounts of history, art and, not least, fantastic food.

Here are the most prominent cities to consider for day trips from Florence:

  • Bologna. With a train journey of only approximately 37 minutes, it would be a shame to overlook one of Italy’s other big city gems.
  • Siena. 1 hour and 15 minutes by bus or 1 hour and 30 minutes by train to one of Tuscany’s absolute prettiest cities.
  • Pisa. It’s just under an hour by train to the world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.
  • Lucca. In an hour and a half by train, you can reach the charming medieval city of Lucca known for its intact ancient city wall.
  • San Gimignano. The Town of Fine Towers is small but very atmospheric, and you can get there by train in approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  • Prato and Pistoia. In approximately half an hour you can take the train to either Prato or Pistoia, both of which are a kind of extension of Florence. They are known as beautiful Tuscan towns with far fewer tourists than Florence.


The Leaning Tower of Pisa
Visiting (the Leaning Tower of) Pisa is one of the best day trips from Florence.
Oak trees on top of Torre Guinigi in Lucca
Lucca is not far away either, and can easily be reached by train.
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Map of the best things to do and see in Florence

Here is a map of all the mentioned experiences and sights in Florence.

Where to stay in Florence

Let’s just say it right away: It’s quite expensive to stay in Florence.

Even if you visit Tuscany’s capital outside the tourist season, don’t expect to find particularly cheap accommodation.

Depending on the neighbourhood you choose, there are hotels available at a range of prices that can accommodate most budgets.

Generally, you can spend the night in three different areas in Florence:

  • In the historic centre (Centro Storico).
  • South of the Arno River (Oltrarno).
  • Outside the centre.

The historic centre:

For travellers spending just a few days in Florence, staying in the historic centre (or just on its outskirts) is ideal. Here, you’re within close proximity to all the major attractions and getting around on foot is convenient.

The prices in this area are on average the highest, but in return, you also get bang for your buck when you wake up with a view of Il Duomo.

South of the Arno River:

Staying south of the Arno River in Oltrarno is also a great choice.

You’re still near the city centre and have access to a variety of dining options, but it may be slightly more budget-friendly compared to staying in the heart of the city, as you’re a bit further from the main attractions.

Outside the centre:

If you’re looking to save money, considering hotels located entirely outside the city centre might be a sensible option.

You can typically find more affordable accommodations if you’re willing to take a short train or bus ride into Florence.

Additionally, there are budget-friendly options within walking distance of the Centro Storico, such as around Santa Maria Novella main station. Just be prepared to walk a bit more each day compared to staying directly in the city centre, and note that not all streets in this area are equally charming.

We have written a travel guide to the best hotels and areas in Florence, where you can read more about the neighbourhoods and where we stayed in Florence.

Our favourites: Where to stay in Florence?


  • Luxury: The Place Firenze – An absolutely exquisite 5-star hotel with the city’s best location.
  • Value for money: Drom Florence Rooms & Apartments – Spacious rooms in cosy Oltrarno with nice green surroundings.
  • Budget: Poggio Baronti B&B – From here, it’s a 20-minute bus ride into Florence. In return, you will get a cheap and comfortable stay.

Search for the cheapest and best hotels in Florence here.

Budget hotels in Florence
Finding good accommodation options in Florence can be overwhelming. While there are numerous stunning hotels, the price range tends to be on the higher side.
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The best luxury hotels in Florence:


  • Ultra luxury: The St. Regis Florence – Live like the royals with a view of the Arno River.
  • Luxury: The Place Firenze – An absolutely exquisite 5-star hotel with the city’s best location.
  • Luxury: Villa Cora – Pompous villa from the 19th century with a pool in Oltrarno.
The St. Regis Florence room
When only the best is good enough. Queen Victoria has stayed here. ©The St. Regis Florence (adlink)
The Place Firenze tub with a view
The tub at The Place Firenze must have one of Florence’s best views with the cathedral and the city’s rooftops in the background. ©The Place Firenze (adlink)
Villa Cora
Villa Cora is a gorgeous place to stay in Florence. The building is from the end of the 19th century when Florence was the capital of Italy. ©Villa Cora (adlink)
Villa Cora pool in Florence
Here you can retreat from the city (which is still close by) and enjoy both the garden and not least the pool. ©Villa Cora (adlink)

The best value for money hotels in Florence:

Drom Florence Rooms & Apartments
For a future visit to Florence, we could easily imagine staying in cosy Oltrarno – for example here at Drom Florence. ©Drom Florence Rooms & Apartments (adlink)
Antica Dimora Sant'Anna accommodation in Florence
If you just want a simple place to stay within a short walking distance to the centre of Florence, it is worth considering Antica Dimora Sant’Anna. ©Antica Dimora Sant’Anna (adlink)

The best budget hotels in Florence:


  • Budget: Poggio Baronti B&B – From here, it’s a 20-minute bus ride into Florence. In return, you will get a cheap and comfortable stay.
  • Budget: Dimora Salviati – Save money by living (beautifully!) in Florence’s hills north of the centre.
Poggio Baronti B&B room
The rooms at Poggio Baronti B&B look nice and spacious at a very fair price. ©Poggio Baronti B&B (adlink)
Poggio Baronti garden
If you don’t need to wake up in the middle of Florence, it looks like a great place to stay on a budget. ©Poggio Baronti B&B (adlink)
Dimora Salviati room
From some of the lovely rooms at Dimora Salviati, you can get a glimpse of Florence’s famous cathedral. ©Dimora Salviati (adlink)
Dimora Salviati building in Florence
The building itself is also quite charming. ©Dimora Salviati (adlink)
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Best restaurants and cafés in Florence

La Pépinière Ristorante Biologico

La Pépinière Ristorante Biologico is a charming restaurant where you can have a delicious dinner at very fair prices.

The restaurant is organic and vegan, and here we got some fantastic pizzas with “parmesan” and “ricotta” for dinner.

We can also recommend the “parmesan pieces” with rice syrup for starters.

Neapolitan pizzas from La Pépinière Ristorante
The Neapolitan pizzas from La Pépinière Ristorante were delicious.

Il Vegano Bistrot

The small café Il Vegano Bistrot offers excellent food at remarkably affordable prices, particularly considering it is organic.

Among other things, you can get burgers, risotto, various types of pasta and spaghetti, soup, lasagna and desserts. A perfect place for a little lunch.

We had a tasty piece of lasagna and a panini with aubergine for lunch as well as a “cheesecake” and a creamy tiramisu (which was not so tiramisu-like, but still good).

In addition to everything being vegan, several dishes are gluten-free.

Il Vegano Bistrot
A large piece of lasagna and a round panini filled us up nicely for lunch.

Eduardo Gelateria

Gelato (creamy Italian ice cream) is one of the best things we know!

And when in Italy, indulging in a gelato or two (or three or four…) is an absolute must.

We had heard good things about Eduardo Gelateria, but since it is right next to the touristy cathedral, we have to admit that we had low expectations.

We were pleasantly surprised!

It was the best gelato we had in Florence.

We shared a cone with four scoops with bacio (chocolate/hazelnut), fondente (dark chocolate) and pistachio. We can easily recommend it.

Eduardo Gelateria right next to the cathedral in Florence
We got the best gelato in Florence at Eduardo Gelateria right next to the cathedral.

Perché no!

Another great gelateria is Perché no! (translates to “why not”), located on a cosy little street.

The gelateria has a great selection and we were happy they had vegan options.

We tried hazelnut (always delicious!), chocolate and coconut.

Perché no! gelato
If you want to try gelato from several places, a visit to Perché no! is recommended.

Il Mercato Centrale

In an earlier section of the guide, we wrote about the expansive food market San Lorenzo (Il Mercato Centrale), renowned for its array of fresh produce and gourmet delights on the ground floor, with meal options available for purchase on the upper level.

It’s a great place to eat lunch or grab a quick snack to keep up the energy during an eventful day in Florence.

We got a perfect Neapolitan pizza marinara.

Marinara at Mercato Centrale
We love Neapolitan pizzas and the marinara at Il Mercato Centrale was amazing.

Flower Burger

The vegan chain Flower Burger is worth trying, even if you don’t eat plant-based.

Their sinful burgers are available in several colours, and although they may not be the colours you associate with burgers, don’t be intimidated. Children might even find it fun to choose a brightly coloured burger.

We loved their “cheesy cecio” with chickpea steak and tartare dressing as well as their classic Flower Burger with a bean/seitan steak and BBQ dressing. Their choco-love (lava cake) was also a hit.

The prices are also more than reasonable.

Vegan Flower Burger
Get a colourful (and sinful) lunch at Flower Burger.
Flower Burger in Florence


Nirvana is a cosy establishment exuding a spiritual ambience inspired by Indian and Thai culture, featuring murals and tranquil meditation music.

While the restaurant is a bit drawn back from the historic centre, we had the pleasure of savouring a delicious vegan spaghetti carbonara outdoors.

Their pizza with three (vegan) cheeses and extra eggplant was quite good and crispy, but not necessarily worth a detour.

Although the coffee wasn’t the best, the chocolate-pear cake was a delightful conclusion to our lunch.

Spaghetti carbonara in a vegan version
Victoria got a fabulous spaghetti carbonara in a vegan version.

Universo Vegano

Next to a nice green square, you will find Universo Vegano, which is another vegan restaurant we tried in Florence.

They have a lot of fun desserts on display, but instead, we splurged on pumpkin ravioli and enchiladas (Mexican tortillas with sauce), both of which tasted good.

The atmosphere is quite casual and you are required to order your food at the counter and collect it yourself. While the service wasn’t the friendliest, it could have been just an off day for the staff.

Nonetheless, we thoroughly enjoyed the charming ambience of the square outside where we dined.

Universo Vegano
Enchiladas from Universo Vegano.

SimBIOsi Organic Cafe

The organic café is conveniently located next to the Galleria dell’Accademia, offering a fantastic cup of coffee.

We shared a large cappuccino with oat milk and a V60 with Brazilian coffee. Both quenched the coffee thirst.

Unfortunately, we can’t recommend their açai bowl, which was too runny, and the bread in their avocado toast was quite dry – so better stick to the coffee.

SimBIOsi in Florence
The açai bowl was unfortunately not the best, but the coffee at SimBIOsi was great.

How to get around Florence


Florence is an ideal city for exploring on foot, which is primarily how we navigated during our visit.

You’ll rarely walk more than 30 minutes between major attractions due to the compact layout of the city.

It feels safe walking and there are well-maintained sidewalks. However, it’s important to remain cautious of traffic, as it can be quite busy and occasionally chaotic.

Public transport

If the distance between point A and point B is a bit far to walk, you can conveniently use one of the nearly 100 bus lines or three tram lines available in the city.

Buy tickets at the stops/stations, inside the buses and in some convenience stores – and remember to validate them when you get on.

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Car and parking in Florence

We drove to Florence on a road trip through Italy (where we had just lived in Sardinia for more than 6 months), but unless you also plan to drive through Tuscany, we would not recommend renting a car.

There is a lot of traffic in Florence and few (and expensive) parking spaces.

Furthermore, the entire historic district of the city is designated as a “zona a traffico limitato” (ZTL), meaning it’s a restricted traffic area with specific regulations for driving and parking. However, access is typically permitted for bicycles, electric cars, motorcycles, and scooters.

Surveillance cameras are in place, and hefty fines can be incurred for violating the regulations.

Read more about the ZTL rules here.

ZTL Firenze
If you intend to drive to or around Florence, it is best to familiarise yourself with the city’s ZTLs.

Long-term parking

After unloading our luggage, we drove to a free parking lot next to the Centro commerciale Ponte a Greve and parked there all the time we were in town.

You can also take a look at Parcheggio Autostradale “Drive and Tramway” on the A1 motorway, from which you can easily enter the centre of Florence by public transport.

Several hotels in Florence offer parking (for a relatively high price), or you can check parking lots on Google Maps and see if there are any free, unlimited parking spots near where you will be staying. However, don’t count on that if you live centrally.

Although we did not experience any problems with break-ins, we would still recommend that you do not leave anything of value in the car.

How to get to Florence

Car to Florence

Italy’s primary motorway, the A1, passes directly by Florence, making it easy to access the city by car.

However, we advise against driving into the city centre due to congestion, limited parking and the ZTL we mentioned above.

Public transport to Florence

There are regular train connections to Florence Central Station (Santa Maria Novella) from the rest of Italy.

From the Central Station, you can easily walk to your hotel if it is centrally located, or you can continue by bus or tram.

Flights to Florence

There are two airports you can fly to when visiting Florence:

  • Amerigo Vespucci Airport (FLR), also known as Peretola, is less than 10 kilometres from Florence. From here, you can get into Florence by public transport in approximately 20 minutes.
  • Pisa International Airport (PSA), also known as Galileo Galilei, is located approximately 80 km from Florence, but is sometimes cheaper to fly to than Peretola. The trip by train to Florence takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Search for flights to Florence on Momondo here (adlink).

The Cathedral in Florence at sunset
Florence is well-connected to the rest of Italy and many big European cities.

When to visit Florence

Florence can be visited all year round and tourists flock to the city regardless of the season.

The high season is in July and August when Italians, Europeans and much of the rest of the world enjoy their summer holidays.

July and August are also the hottest months, so if you have the flexibility to plan your trip to Florence outside of this period, we strongly recommend doing so.

June and September are good shoulder months with great weather and fewer crowds, although there are still many tourists.

December, January and February are the coldest months (like many other places in Europe).

It rains the most in October, November and December.

Note: On June 24th every year, the San Giovanni Festival is celebrated and large parts of Florence close (including access to the cathedral).

Average min and max temperatures in Florence, Italy Average precipitation (rain/snow) in Florence, Italy

Our weather experience in Florence

We visited Florence in June and enjoyed the fantastic weather. There were of course quite a few tourists, but nowhere near how many there are in the middle of summer.

September is also a good time to visit Florence.

In September 2022, we visited several other cities in Tuscany close to Florence (among others Lucca, Siena and Pisa), and the temperatures and crowds were at a comfortable level.

Florence in June
We’ve personally visited Tuscany in both June and September, finding these months optimal in terms of favourable weather and fewer tourists compared to July and August.
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Our best tips for visiting Florence

  • Pre-order tickets online so you avoid spending time queuing for ticket sales at various museums and palaces. Alternatively, buy a Firenze Card (adlink) to skip the queues.
  • Arrive early or late in the day at the most popular attractions to avoid the long queues that typically occur in the middle of the day.
  • Many restaurants close for siesta between lunch and dinner, so keep an eye on the opening hours if you want to eat at a particular restaurant or café during the day.
  • Expect an additional charge on the restaurant bill. Most restaurants add a “coperto” per guest, which is a fee per person regardless of your order. It is typically between 1 and 3 euros, which you pay in addition to the price of the food. It’s common to receive a small bread basket with butter or olive oil and balsamic vinegar as a starter.
Restaurants in Florence
Florence is a mecca for food lovers. It is recommended to book a table in advance at the most popular restaurants.
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What to bring to Florence
  • Travel insurance (adlink). Never travel without it!
  • A good camerahere’s a guide to the gear we use.
  • Sunscreen. Especially if you visit Florence in the summer. We recommend an organic, vegan sunscreen without oxybenzone and other harmful chemicals.
  • Sneakers or other types of shoes you can walk in comfortably.
  • A refillable water bottle.
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Water fountain in Florence
Bring a refillable water bottle with you while exploring Florence so you can easily fill it with free water from the city’s fountains.
Art on house in Florence
Florence is jam-packed with art on almost every street and alley.
Sustainable travel tips

To travel as sustainably as possible, we recommend the following:

  • Bring your own drinking water in a refillable bottle.
  • Avoid disposable plastics.
  • Sort your waste correctly and do not throw it on the ground.
Turtles in Florence
We saw many turtles around Florence but never found out exactly what they represent. Maybe you can enlighten us?
Thank you for reading

Thank you for reading our travel guide to Florence. We hope it has been helpful!

What do you think of Florence?

If you’ve already been to Tuscany’s stunning capital, it would be great to hear your best tips and tricks on what to do and see.

Don’t hesitate to ask us anything in the comments below if you haven’t been to Florence yet. We are happy to help.

Sunset over the rooftops of Florence
We hope you will enjoy your time in Florence as much as we did.
Our favourite travel resources:
Our camera gear:

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