Leaning Tower of Pisa
Italy,  travel

How to Spend One Day in Pisa

You don’t need much time to feel like you’ve really experienced Pisa, one day is enough to see all the highlights. But there is more to this Tuscan town than a bell tower with a serious inherent defect. Matt and I stopped off on our way to Florence. With direct flights into the city, it can be a great place to kick-off an Italian adventure.

If you do decide to do just an overnight stay or day trip to Pisa, you’ll want to make the most of it.  Here’s my advice on how to spend one day in Pisa.

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Pack a Picnic near the Leaning Tower of Pisa

It might be surrounded by tourists looking like they were frozen while performing “thriller”, but the famed Leaning Tower of Pisa (or campanile) is worth a visit.  The 14th-century tower, built on soft foundations, is leaning much more drastically than a photo will do justice. That is after its recent “straightening” in which it was corrected from a 5.5-degree tilt to 3.99.  But rather than elbowing your way through the tour groups, pop over to the nearby L’ostellino Panineria for an amazing sandwich.  Find a spot on the Piazza dei Miracoli and take in the architectural masterpieces, while enjoying a masterpiece of a sandwich. Entertain yourself by watching all the silly tourist poses. After, check out the domed Baptistry and Cathedral.

Cafe we visited on day one in Pisa, L'ostelliono Penineria street food
Great sandwiches!
tourists at leaning tower of Pisa
Yes it’s a bit touristy..
leaning tower Pisa
But still quite a site

Explore Pisa’s Piazzas

Pisa is home to some amazing architecture, but it’s not concentrated in Piazza dei Miracoli.  Take some time to wander around, discovering its many piazzas, including Piazza dei Cavalieri (Knights’ Square), the second largest square in the city, featuring sites such as the Statue of Cosimo I, the Palazzo dell’Orologio, and the Church of the Knights of the Holy and Military Order of St. Stephen.

Girl sits in marble statue in Pisa

Browse the shops on Borgo Stretto

A lovely part of the city, Borgo Stretto is lined with elegant shops, upscale boutiques, a sprawling book shop, plenty of places for gelato, and more. A great place to spend a few hours in the city (and walk off the sandwiches earlier).

Have Dinner on the River Arno

Italian wine and dinner on the River Arno in Pisa Italy
Wine and food on the River Arno in Pisa

We took full advantage of the concept of aperitivo while in Italy. The concept of free snack food while enjoying an Aperol Spritz is something I really wish more places in the world would take part in.  My favourite in Italy was in Pisa, Argini e Margini, tucked right along the River Arno.  Expect a casual and atmospheric experience, and make sure to order one of the seafood platter.

End the evening eating a gelato from La Bottega del Gelato and a walk along the river.

Tips for visiting Pisa

Getting there

Pisa has its own airport, served by major European airports such as London, Barcelona and Paris. Pisa is also easily reachable by train from Florence, Siena and Lucca. Search for train times here.

Tours/attraction tickets

Thinking of climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Want to take a tour to explore the city? Check out these below:

Visiting Italy for the first time? 

Check out my travel tips here.

How to spend one day in Pisa - Pinterest


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