Do You Need to Spend a Night in Pisa? Best Things to Do and Itinerary for One Day in Pisa

DO YOU NEED TO SPEND A NIGHT IN PISA? BEST THINGS TO DO AND ITINERARY FOR ONE DAY IN PISA

Planning a trip around Tuscany and wondering how to add Pisa to your itinerary? Well, unlike most tourists, you should spend a night in Pisa and I will explain to you why. I will help you with the Pisa itinerary for one day and the best things to do in Pisa.

Pisa is located in the heart of Tuscany in central Italy. It is famous for its iconic Leaning Tower, however, it has much more to offer to its visitors.

All the main attractions of Pisa are concentrated in the city center and it’s filled with history, culture, ancient churches, cute squares, delicious Italian food, and tasteful Tuscanian wine.

This is your ultimate guide to Pisa and we will cover everything that you need to know before visiting Pisa. I will include the Pisa itinerary for one day and the best things to do. Are you still wondering if is it worth spending a night in Pisa? You will find your answer here, so keep on reading.

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Reasons to spend a night in Pisa

Reasons to spend a night in Pisa

Most people visit Pisa for a couple of hours and move on to their next destination in Tuscany. And I get that, we all have a limited amount of holidays and we want to make most of it.

I have done that as well, and yes, you can easily see the main square of Pisa in a couple of hours, but are you going to enjoy it? Honestly, I doubt it. And here are some good reasons to spend a night in Pisa.

Let’s talk about the crowds. Imagine all the tourists coming to Pisa concentrated in one little square. Everyone is trying to take a photo either with a photographer, tripod, or a selfie stick. You need to navigate it just to get a sight of Leaning Tower.

Yes, I know that a lot of popular cities get crowded during the day, but most of these cities have multiple attractions and tourists spread out while in Pisa, everything is happening in The Piazza dei Miracoli where the Leaning Tower is located together with other important sights of Pisa. Then when all the day trippers leave, all the magic happens.

Considering that so many people come to Pisa for a couple of hours, accommodation is very affordable, especially if you compare the prices to the rest of the Italian cities.

If you love the nightlife, then you have another good reason to spend a night in Pisa. It is a city of students, so there are a lot of entertainment options and you certainly won’t get bored.

Overall, there are a lot of fun things to do in Pisa, a couple of hours certainly won’t be enough to cover them all and see the real face of Pisa. I have done a quick day trip and I wasn’t impressed. But after spending a night in Pisa, it has a special place in my heart.

Where to stay in Pisa?

Photo credit: Rinascimento Bed & Breakfast via Booking.com

Now that I have convinced you that you should spend a night in Pisa, you will need to find the best hotels in Pisa. As I mentioned, the city center is very small, but it’s better to stay closer to the main square. Here are some hotel suggestions for Pisa.

Photo credit: Rinascimento Bed & Breakfast via Booking.com
Photo credit: Rinascimento Bed & Breakfast via Booking.com

LUXURY: Rinascimento Bed & Breakfast

The best hotel in Pisa goes to B&B. Sometimes in Italy, you can find real gems and it feels like a cozy hotel. This time it comes with beautiful art and a great location. Owners are the same people that welcome you, so they take great care of every guest.

Click here to see rates & availability and book your stay in this luxury hotel in Pisa.

Photo credit: Cuore di Pisa via Booking.com
Photo credit: Cuore di Pisa via Booking.com

MID-RANGE: Cuore di Pisa

Another B&B in the center of Pisa with very friendly prices. Very simple setting, but has everything that you need for a comfortable stay in Pisa. One of the best-rated places in Pisa.

Click here to see rates & availability and book your stay in this mid-range hotel in Pisa.

Photo credit: NH Pisa via Booking.com
Photo credit: NH Pisa via Booking.com

MID-RANGE: NH Pisa

Another great mid-range hotel in Pisa, however, this time further away from the center, but right outside the train station. Walk to the main square will take you 20 minutes, but the hotel offers a modern setting compared to the previous B&B.

Click here to see rates & availability and book your stay in this mid-range hotel in Pisa.

Photo credit: Hotel Roma via Booking.com
Photo credit: Hotel Roma via Booking.com

AFFORDABLE: Hotel Roma

Incredible budget-friendly accommodation in Pisa. The cheapest room comes with a balcony and a wonderful view of The Piazza dei Miracoli. And you will enjoy a fabulous breakfast the day after. You won’t find a better deal in Pisa!

Click here to see rates & availability and book your stay in this affordable hotel in Pisa.

Where to eat in Pisa?

Where to eat in Pisa?

Food is a very important part of your trip to Italy and Pisa shouldn’t be an exception. Unfortunately, it’s filled with tourist traps that day trippers fall for. So I advise you to be very careful when choosing a restaurant in Pisa and check the reviews from locals. Here are my restaurant recommendations for Pisa.

I Porci Comodi is a famous sandwich shop. And you might think, it’s just a sandwich, right? Well, what you put inside is what matters the most, and Tuscanian cold cuts are one of the best in Italy, so don’t miss this place. Vegetarian options are available as well.

In La Grotta, you will find typical Tuscanian dishes with great seasonal ingredients. It’s perfect for a romantic dinner date in Pisa.

If you are looking for a simple setting with affordable prices, Trattoria da Stelio is your go-to. Authentic experience with home-cooked Italian meals. The menu is small, but it helps them keep low prices with fresh products.

Maybe you are looking for something more sophisticated? La Pergoletta should be your number-one choice. It still offers local dishes combined with the best wines in a modern setting.

Then there is the terrace of Grand Hotel Duomo which offers a wonderful view over Piazza dei Miracoli. I suggest coming here for drinks and enjoying the view. Another alternative is 3.9 Pisa Tower Panoramic Café and it’s great for a quick coffee in the morning.

But if you want to get intimate with Tuscanian cuisine and learn more, I suggest you book a dining experience with a local chef at his home. You can see all the details and book it here. They also offer the same dining experience with an additional market tour and you can book it here.

Best things to do in Pisa

Best things to do in Pisa

Now, let’s discuss some of the best things that you can do in Pisa and what are the main things that you should add to your Pisa itinerary. Pisa has a lot of culture and history, so be prepared for museums and churches. Let’s get to the point!

See the sunset in Piazza dei Miracoli

See the sunset in Piazza dei Miracoli

You already know that one of the best things to do in Pisa is to stay a night and avoid the day trippers. I believe you will arrive at Pisa in time for sunset so you should head straight to the Piazza dei Miracoli to get a glimpse of what is waiting for you for the next 24 hours.

This is the square where you will find the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Baptistery of San Giovanni, Pisa Cathedral, and Camposanto. We will discuss more details of these places in the following chapters but the first evening here is for pure enjoyment only. Come to relax and appreciate the beautiful details in peace.

I’m someone who usually wakes up early for the photos, but I found the square almost empty, so could sleep in the day after as I got all the photos I needed. 

Capture cute photos with the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Capture cute photos with the Leaning Tower of Pisa

You can’t leave Pisa without any photos of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Find the best angle or capture some fun shots, it’s up to you. 

You will notice that the Leaning Tower of Pisa has the longest line to enter. And that makes sense as it is the main attraction of Pisa. However, I don’t suggest climbing up to the top as there is a better place to overview the entire square.

Also, there is nothing to see inside apart from stairs, and the terrace on top is covered with protection. If you are traveling with kids under 8, they won’t be allowed to climb up either.

If you decide to visit Pisa Tower anyway, you will need to pre-book your ticket and choose the exact time. I advise you to arrive early, so you don’t miss your group.

The entrance fee is 20 euros with the Cathedral included or 27 euros for a combined ticket that gives you access to all the sights of the main square. The visit takes about 30 minutes. The climb is on foot and there are 251 steps. You can buy your tickets here.

Climb up to the balcony of the Baptistery of San Giovanni

Climb up to the balcony of the Baptistery of San Giovanni

The Baptistery of San Giovanni is the biggest in Italy, but a lot of tourists miss out and don’t enter inside. It’s more than 50 meters tall and inside you will find a combination of the Romanesque and the gothic style.

Once you go up, you will have a wonderful view over the Cathedral and Tower, much better than the view from the Leaning Tower itself. Unfortunately, it was under construction when I visited, but it should be finished by now as per recent reviews.

The entrance fee is 7 euros with the Cathedral included or 27 euros for a combined ticket that gives you access to all the sights of the main square. A combined ticket to all the sights except The Leaning Tower is 20 euros. You can buy your tickets here.

Visit Pisa Cathedral

Visit Pisa CathedralVisit Pisa Cathedral

Pisa Cathedral probably is my favorite place to visit and it’s completely breathtaking inside. The architect Buscheto combined Eastern architecture, Byzantine features, and Lombard decoration to create a new style, called ‘Pisan Romanesque’.

If you ask me, it is one of the most beautiful churches in Tuscany, so how come so many people miss it?

Visiting won’t take a lot of your time and you can be easily done in less than 30 minutes. The entrance is free as long as you have a ticket to another sight that is located in the square.

Enter Camposanto

Enter Camposanto

Camposanto is a cemetery located in Piazza dei Miracoli and it’s often forgotten by visitors. Inside you will find the cycle of 14th and 15th-century frescoes. The external walls are in plain white marble, with 43 dead arches and two doors.

All these details create a wonderful geometrical sight and during your visit, you will learn a lot of interesting facts about this old cemetery.

The entrance fee is 7 euros with the Cathedral included or 27 euros for a combined ticket that gives you access to all the sights of the main square. A combined ticket to all the sights except The Leaning Tower is 20 euros. You can buy your tickets here.

Relax in the Botanical Garden and Museum

Relax in the Botanical Garden and Museum

Once you have seen all these beautiful buildings and historical sights, it’s time to find your green oasis in the heart of Pisa. Botanical Garden and Museum date back to the 16th century and is home to plants from all over the world.

In summer you will find a lot of beautiful flowers and even some healing plants. There is also a museum where you can learn more about famous botanists and artwork.

Even if you are not passionate about plants, I still advise you to stop by. It’s a lovely place to visit in Pisa for a couple of hours. The entrance fee is 4 euros and it’s open from 8.30 am until 8 pm. Every first Sunday of the month is free, so certainly don’t miss this opportunity if you are around.

Cross Ponte Solferino and find Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina

Cross Ponte Solferino and find Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina

Located on the other side of Arno, you will find Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina. So cross Ponte Solferino to get the best views over the church. The façade in Gothic style, with numerous spires, is divided in the center by a pillar that holds a Madonna and Child between two angels.

Inside you will find temporary art exhibitions and it’s free to enter inside. Also, it won’t take a lot of your time, so certainly don’t miss it. This tiny gothic gem will leave you impressed.

Take a walk among Arno and discover hidden gems of Pisa

Take a walk among Arno and discover hidden gems of Pisa

Since you are near Arno, I suggest you take a nice walk and find some hidden gems on your way. You will see a lot of beautiful architecture in Pisa on your way and you certainly shouldn’t miss Palazzo Blu.

It is located on the south side of Arno, but the best view is from the north side. Nowadays it’s an art museum, so if you are a fan, you can check ongoing exhibitions.

My favorite hidden gem of Pisa is certainly Chiesa Parrocchiale di San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno. Even the most curious tourists miss it, but it’s worth visiting if you ask me. It looks like a little sister of the Pisa Cathedral, but it’s located away from all the crowds, so you can visit it any time.

Find Piazza dei Cavalieri

Find Piazza dei Cavalieri

Then I want you to head to another famous square of Pisa that is concentrated with other important attractions of Pisa. And the name of the square is Piazza dei Cavalieri. Notice the exterior of Palazzo Della Carovana, appreciate the beauty of Palazzo dell’Orologio, and end with Palazzo del Consiglio dei Dodici. 

Then around the corner, you will find Chiesa Nazionale di Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri. You will immediately notice the beauty of the exterior but don’t miss the inside.

Unfortunately, it’s open only on Tuesday and Thursday from 10 am until 12.30 pm, and on Saturday from 5 pm to 7.30 pm, so if you are lucky enough to be around during these hours, certainly visit the inside. It’s extravagant.

Explore less touristic Pisa at Borgo Stretto

Explore less touristic Pisa at Borgo Stretto

Borgo Stretto is a colorful and lively street that leads you from Via Carducci to Arno. On your way, you will find a lot of beautiful palaces like Palazzo Poschi and typical loggias surrounded by bars and local shops. It’s perfect for a quick coffee, gelato break, or aperitivo in the afternoon.

Don’t come here early in the morning. There is some magic once you see the street filled with locals during their daily chores. You will discover a very charming side of Pisa at the Borgo Stretto.

Indulge in the Tuscanian wine

Indulge in the Tuscanian wine

If you are not planning to rent a car, you will have to consider an organized day trip to the countryside of Tuscany. You can’t visit Tuscany and miss their famous vineyards. And Pisa is the best base for this since the accommodation is so affordable.

So if you have some additional time and you are not comfortable with a car rental, I can recommend this Wine experience from Pisa that takes you to Chianti wine tasting for a half-day.

Everything is going to be organized for you and the owner of the winery will be there to welcome you and share some interesting facts about the famous Tuscanian wine and wine-making process.

Also, I think the price is very affordable but click here to check all the details and availability.

One-day itinerary for Pisa

One-day itinerary for Pisa

Below you will find a quick one-day itinerary for Pisa that covers most of the things that we covered in the previous chapter. I put it together for you, so you can cover a lot in a limited amount of time.

Also, you can easily divide this itinerary in case you are arriving in the afternoon and plan to leave after check out on the day after. For all the details of these attractions please refer to the best things to do in Pisa.

You can even use it for a day trip to Pisa, but we already agreed that it won’t be enough, right?

Morning

One-day itinerary for Pisa

I want you to start by visiting the main attractions of Piazza dei Miracoli. Start around 9 am, get your tickets if you still haven’t done that, and head to the Camposanto. After 30 minutes or more, you can visit the Baptistery of San Giovanni. Don’t forget to climb as I suggested!

Once you are done, enter the Pisa Cathedral. You will need a complete visit ticket for this morning and it will cost you 10 euros.

Afternoon

One-day itinerary for Pisa

I suggest you start your afternoon with lunch at one of the suggested restaurants and discover the Piazza dei Cavalieri with all the attractions it has to offer. From there you can follow Borgo Stretto and head to Arno.

Take a walk from Palazzo Blu to Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina and end with Chiesa Parrocchiale di San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno.

Later in the afternoon, you can go for aperitivo or take drinks at the Grand Hotel Duomo. You have some time to rest if you are feeling tired.

Evening

One-day itinerary for Pisa

And for the evening you can visit the Botanical Garden, see the sunset in the Piazza dei Miracoli, and have an unforgettable dining experience in one of the suggested restaurants or book a dining experience with a local chef at his home.

More things to know before visiting Pisa

More things to know before visiting Pisa

We already know that Pisa is located in the heart of Tuscany, it welcomes tourists with affordable prices and has more to offer than just the Leaning Tower. But here are some more travel tips for Pisa that you should know before your trip.

You can reach Pisa by train, Itabus & FlixBus, and plane. Pisa has the main airport in Tuscany, so there are big chances that you will be landing here.

From the airport, you can use the PisaMover shuttle service and it will take you to the train station of Pisa in less than 10 minutes for 5 euros for a single ticket. From there you can walk to your accommodation, grab a taxi or use the public bus.

Overall, Pisa is very walkable and you won’t need to worry about transportation here. And don’t be afraid to get lost – you might find some hidden gems of Pisa.

Pisa gets very busy during the summer, so get ready for more crowds and higher prices. If you have the chance, visit Pisa in late spring or early fall. Winters are not extremely cold, but there is a big chance of rain.

If you want to know more about Pisa, book a guided tour and you will find all the information here.

Resources for your trip to Pisa:

Further reading for Italy

Or read about other popular regions of Italy

Dolomites | Liguria | Lombardy | Piedmont | Puglia | Sicily | Tuscany | Veneto

Other useful tips for visiting Italy

🏠 Need a place to stay? Browse Booking or Agoda
💃 How about fun experiences? GetYourGuide and Viator have it all
🚗 Considering renting a car in Italy? Use Rentalcars
✈️ Looking for the best flight deals? Check WayAway
🔒 Don’t forget about travel insurance from HeyMondo

In conclusion…

DO YOU NEED TO SPEND A NIGHT IN PISA? ONE DAY ITINERARY

This is the end of your ultimate Pisa guide where we covered all the essential information that you should know before visiting Pisa. And I’m sure I have convinced you to spend a night in Pisa to make the most of this beautiful city and enjoy the things beyond the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

I would love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any feedback or additional tips, leave a comment below. Also, check out my Instagram for regular travel videos and travel inspiration. Or explore other destinations on this travel blog.

Pin it for later and make sure you save this travel guide for one day in Pisa!

DO YOU NEED TO SPEND A NIGHT IN PISA? ONE DAY ITINERARY
DO YOU NEED TO SPEND A NIGHT IN PISA? ONE DAY ITINERARY

25 Comments

  1. Such amazing suggestions and a very helpful post, filled with beautiful photos. I definitely would struggle to get such an awesome shot of the Leaning Tower of Pisa! Thank you for your post. 🙂

  2. Lisa Manderino says:

    I would love to stay the night in the Luxury hotels in Pisa! We did a day trip but man now I wish I would have stayed the night!

  3. This is incredibly helpful! There is SO much to see in Italy and it’s all spread out and hard to know how best to navigate it all. Thank you so much for the tips. I’m saving this for when I’m ready to plan my trip!

  4. It’s hard to believe that one day would be enough. It looks like there are plenty of historic, beautiful buildings to explore. I mean, the churches alone….

  5. As always, Lasma, you provide many excellent suggestions. I have been to Pisa once for a quick half-day visit. While I was underwhelmed, I clearly missed the gems of the city. I would now like to go back and spend time in the Baptistery, go to the balcony of the baptistery, try some of your suggested restaurants, and look at the beautiful Palazzos in Piazza dei Cavalieri. Wow! Pisa has so much more to offer than I ever thought.

  6. I have only been to Rome, but Pisa has been on my list. This is such a thorough guide. Definitely saving so I know what to do when I go. Hopefully soon.

  7. gloria li says:

    Stunning photos, makes me want to pack my bags and go to Pisa right now, and who can say no to some good Tuscany wine 🙂

  8. I have yet to visit Pisa, and your post has convinced me to spend the night there. I guess one of the reasons I have not made it a priority was the crowd but spending a little extra time to explore is not a bad idea.

  9. Jenn | By Land and Sea says:

    While a bit touristy, Pisa is a wonderful place to visit! I only spent a day there many years ago, so I wasn’t aware of all these lovely accommodation options. Definitely looks like it is worth spending a night or two!

  10. Pisa looks amazing! I love the different times of day you captured the leaning tower. And that bed and breakfast sounds amazing! We had a trip to Italy planned (canceled during Covid) and we decided to skip Pisa, but now I feel like we should include it when we reschedule!

  11. You’ve definitely convinced me to spend the night there. The no crowds, Chianti wine tasting and amazing food sound perfect!

  12. I couldn´t believe my eyes when I saw your Pisa tower pic lol it is usually so crowded! but then I´ve read that you wake up early for the photos on purpose, so now it makes sense! Anyway your captures are so magical that it´s absolutely wort it!

  13. I spent part of my birthday in Pisa last year and had a wonderful time seeing the Leaning Tower. It was cooler than I expected! It was a fun city to wander around, and I had a lovely pasta lunch to boot. I didn’t have time to wander through the Botanical Garden, but now I wish I had!

  14. I had the option of taking a tour to Pisa when I was in Italy, but I decided not to as I would prefer to go for an overnight so I could see the Leaning Tower without the crowds. It looks like there is so much more to see there too, will definitely be planning that overnight trip there on my next trip to Italy

  15. This post makes me wish I had spent more time in Pisa and explored the city. The Chianti wine tasting experience sounds amazing.

  16. The cathedral was my favorite part of my first visit but I never considered staying longer in Pisa! I’m definitely going to look into this for my next trip! Thanks!

  17. Sounds like a dreamy one-day itinerary to me! I have often excluded Pisa from my Italy trip planning due to the number of tourists who go there for a day. But you’ve convinced me that an overnight stay might be the solution. Getting up at dawn or dusk might be the way to really see how beautiful this city is.

  18. I love this guide – Pisa looks like such an amazing place to visit. I’ve been thinking about going next year, it’s nice to hear how much time you might need to explore

  19. Gorgeous pics! Every photo I took of the Tower came out straight 😂

  20. Fiona Mai says:

    Looking at your photos I really can’t wait to visit Pisa and take cute photos with the Leaning Tower.
    And thanks for your recommendations of hotels to stay in Pisa as well. They all look very nice!

  21. Such gorgeous architecture and great shots, as always! We were in Pisa many years ago on a group tour. I recall not being able to visit the tower, so we walked around and visited a naval museum. And we had some of the BEST foccacia!

  22. I absolutely agree that it’s a shame most people only spend a few hours in Pisa. I stayed there for three days and loved it

  23. We have not yet visited Pisa. So it was great to read about how much time you need to enjoy this city. I do love the idea of staying overnight and enjoying the city when all the day tourists are gone. And finding a great spot for a sunset view is always wonderful. There is certainly more than just the tower of Pisa to keep us engaged for more than a few hours.

  24. Bellissime foto descritte perfettamente con molta professionalità i colori insieme ai paesaggi fanno sognare

  25. Well done Lāsma! Finally a good guide on how to spend a day in Pisa and not only visiting it at the worst time when it’s overpacked with tourists! Every city deserves a little extra attention!

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