Visiting Pisa: Things to know before you go

With 1 million tourists visiting Pisa each year, be one step ahead of the crowds and come prepared by arming yourself with these essential inside tips.

Modern day Pisa is most well-known for its architectural project gone wrong, but it also has many other noteworthy sites, including impressive churches, magnificent museums and galleries, prestigious European squares, the famous Arno Promenade and much more. Before you go though, take a look through our traveller tips so you know what to expect when visiting Pisa, so you can make the most of your trip.

Let’s get right to it. Some things to bear in mind are…

Accommodation Prices

As a popular tourist destination, finding a place to stay in Pisa can be pricey. Make sure you do your research and find an accommodation that suits you and your budget. Note that prices will go up during the summer months, in high season, and will fluctuate depending how central you are. The further out the city you go, the cheaper it gets. Don’t forget to include transport costs in this as well. There’s no point saving money by being on the outskirts of the city if you have to pay the same price to get into the centre in the first place. Hostel prices start from €25 a night, with private rooms reaching €40 a night in high season. Hotels are the most expensive option, although prices vary depending on the rating of the hotel, seasons and how central they are. A good in-between option for short and long-stays in Pisa is Bed and Breakfasts. Whatever your preference, it goes without saying that research needs to be done, especially if you’re looking for a deal, and make sure you book in advance!

Getting Around

Leading on from the point made above, depending where you’re situated in Pisa, its good to know in advance how you’re going to get around, especially if you have accessibility needs, or you’re travelling with children. As most attractions are in close proximity to each other, you can see many attractions on foot or wheelchair. This is a great way to see the sights and experience the ambiance of the city. The Piazza dei Miracoli alone has four religious buildings within its complex, including the Pisa Cathedral, the Baptistery of St. John, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Campo Santo. To be guided by a Pisa expert sign onto our Two-Hour Pisa Walking Tour to get an in-depth exploration of the city’s historical centre. The other option is to take advantage of the city’s bus services. To take the local buses, buy your tickets before you board from a ticket office or newsstand and stamp it when you get on. Similar to other popular tourist destinations Pisa also operates a hop-on hop-off bus. You can purchase a 24-hour ticket which will give you unlimited access to the buses two routes, and a total of 15 stops. If you need further assistant with the ascent and descent of the bus, this can be provided on requestion from CTT (Compagnia Toscana Transporti), the company which operates Pisa’s local transport system.

Summer is Expensive

The summer months in Italy are from June-September. Not only is the city crowded and hot during summer, it’s also more expensive to travel in. With school breaks falling in these months across Europe, and people keen to experience the city in the warm weather, tourist numbers peak, meaning accommodation and other services bump up their prices. If you’re looking for a more budget friendly experience you might want to consider going in the off season instead, from October – March. The temperature is cooler (especially during November and December!) but the city is still beautiful in the winter sun and prices are a lot cheaper. Or a happy in-between is to visit during the shoulder season from April – May. It’s warm, prices are still lower than high season, and the sites are uncrowded, with a pleasant walking temperature of 18° during the day.

Average Cost of Food

It’s easy to have a delicious but expensive meal in Pisa, especially if you’re going for the tourist hot spots. Most restaurant meals with wine will cost around €25 – €35 per person, potentially more depending on its location and what you order. There are cheaper and tasty options out there however, if you know where to look. Save the posh restaurants for a once-off treat and go for some quick eats instead. There are plenty of cafes that do pizzas, paninis, and light snacks that cost a fraction of the restaurant prices at just €4. Another insider tip if you’re looking to save some cash is to skip out on the restaurant bread and take your food away from the café and find a nice outdoor bench. Many restaurants will serve you bread but forget to mention that its not complimentary, so unless you want it and are willing to pay, send it back with the waiter. Café’s and restaurants also have a “coperto” (sit down fee) charging €1-2 for a seat. Join the other locals and enjoy your coffee standing at the bar.

We hope these insider tips have given you a taste of what to expect from your trip to Pisa and you can go feeling and looking like a local. You’re welcome!

Related article: Is it worth climbing the Pisa Tower?

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