Where to stay in Tuscany without a car? In this article, we will look at the best areas to stay in Tuscany without a car, how to get around without a car, and the best hotels in Tuscany without a car for all budget visitors.
While having a car can provide more flexibility for exploring the region, it’s possible to enjoy Tuscany without one. Some ways to explore Tuscany without a car are by train, bus, bicycle, walking, guided tour, and private driver.
Tuscany, or Toscana in Italian, is a region in central Italy known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, art, culture, and renowned cuisine. It is one of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations and has a lot to offer visitors.
Tuscany is bordered by the Apennine Mountains to the east and the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west. It has diverse landscapes, including rolling hills, vineyards, olive groves, and beautiful coastline.
Tuscany is home to several iconic cities and towns, including Florence (Firenze), which is often considered the birthplace of the Renaissance and is famous for its art and architecture. Other notable cities include Siena, Pisa (known for the Leaning Tower), Lucca, and Arezzo.
Tuscany has a rich cultural heritage, with a history deeply intertwined with art and culture. Florence, in particular, is renowned for its art museums, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery, which houses Michelangelo’s David.
The region is famous for dishes like pasta with meat sauce (pappardelle al cinghiale), ribollita (a hearty vegetable soup), and Florentine steak (bistecca alla fiorentina).
The region is also known for its wine and olive oil. The Chianti region, in particular, produces some of Italy’s most famous wines. Other notable Tuscan wines include Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, e Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
The Tuscan countryside is known for its breathtaking beauty, with rolling hills, cypress-lined roads, and picturesque villages. The Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a particularly stunning area known for its landscapes.
If you prefer to stay in Tuscany without a car, it’s essential to choose a location that offers good public transportation options and is well-connected to other parts of the region.
Where to stay in Tuscany without a car?
The best areas to stay in Tuscany without a car are Florence, Lucca, Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano, Volterra, Greve in Chianti, Viareggio, Montepulciano, Arezzo, and Cortona.
These towns offer a combination of trains, buses, guided tours, and walkability, making them great locations in Tuscany for car-free travelers.
Each of these towns also offers a unique Tuscan experience, so your choice should depend on your preferences for history, culture, scenery, and access to transportation.
Overviews of best areas to stay in Tuscany without a car
Here is an overview of recommended areas in Tuscany for visitors without a car and why you should stay in each area:
|Best areas in Tuscany without a car||Why should you stay in this area?|
|Florence||Florence is the capital city and transport hub of Tuscany, home to a central station, well-connected by train and bus. Stay in the historic center to be close to major attractions.|
|Lucca||Lucca is a picturesque town surrounded by walls, making it a pleasant place to explore on foot or by bike. It has a train station that connects to other Tuscan cities.|
|Pisa||Pisa is known for its iconic leaning tower and is well-connected by train to Florence and other Tuscan cities. The city center is compact and walkable.|
|Siena||Siena is a historic city with a beautiful medieval center. It’s easily accessible by train, and its compact size makes it ideal for exploring on foot.|
|San Gimignano||While San Gimignano is a small town, it’s well-connected by bus to other Tuscan cities. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its medieval towers.|
|Volterra||Volterra is a charming Tuscan town with bus connections to other cities. Its historical center is compact and enjoyable to explore by foot. It’s known for its Etruscan heritage and historic sites.|
|Greve in Chianti||If you want to experience the Chianti wine region, Greve is a good base. It’s accessible by bus from Florence and offers plenty of wine tours.|
|Viareggio||Viareggio is a coastal town known for its beaches. It has a train station and is easily reachable from cities like Florence and Pisa. It’s a great option if you want to combine beach relaxation with Tuscan exploration.|
|Montepulciano||Montepulciano is a hilltop town in the Val d’Orcia region. While it requires some bus travel, it’s worth it for its stunning views and delicious wine.|
|Arezzo||Arezzo is a historic town with excellent train connections. Its old town is compact and can be explored on foot.|
|Cortona||Cortona is a hillside town that can be reached by train and bus. It’s known for its medieval charm and beautiful views.|
Map of the best areas to stay in Tuscany without a car:
How to get around Tuscany without a car as a tourist?
Getting around Tuscany without a car is certainly possible, as the region has a reasonably well-developed public transportation system, and many towns and cities are connected by buses and trains.
Here are some options for getting around Tuscany without a car:
The Italian railway system, Trenitalia, connects major cities and towns in Tuscany. Florence, Pisa, Siena, Lucca, and Arezzo are well-connected by train.
The train system is efficient and relatively inexpensive. You can check schedules and purchase tickets online or at the train station.
Buses are another option for traveling between towns in Tuscany, especially if there is no direct train route. Bus services are operated by different companies, so it’s a good idea to check schedules and ticket information in advance.
The SITA and Busitalia companies are among the main operators.
Within cities and towns, you can often rely on local buses, trams, and urban transportation systems. Florence, for example, has an extensive network of buses and trams.
Tuscany is a beautiful region for cycling, and many towns have bike rental services. You can explore the countryside and even ride between towns if you’re up for a more active adventure.
In many historic towns and cities, the best way to explore is on foot. Most attractions, shops, and restaurants are within walking distance of each other.
Taxis and Rideshares:
Taxis and rideshare services like Uber are available in some of the larger cities like Florence but they can be more expensive than public transportation.
If you want to visit specific attractions or vineyards in Tuscany, consider booking organized tours that include transportation. These tours often pick you up from a central location and provide guided experiences.
Regional Cards: Some regions in Tuscany offer tourist cards that provide access to public transportation within the area and discounts on attractions. These can be cost-effective if you plan to use public transportation frequently.
While not recommended for everyone, some travelers have successfully hitchhiked in Tuscany. It’s important to exercise caution and follow safety guidelines when hitchhiking.
In some places, like the smaller towns and the countryside, renting a scooter can be a convenient and fun way to get around.
Before you travel, it’s a good idea to check the latest schedules and transportation options for your specific destinations in Tuscany.
Remember that Tuscany is a diverse region with varying levels of public transportation infrastructure, so your options may differ depending on where you plan to visit.
11 Best areas to stay in Tuscany without a car are:
Florence is undoubtedly one of the most popular and accessible cities in Tuscany, making it a great base for exploring the region without a car. It is the capital city, cultural heart, and transport hub of the Tuscany region.
Here are some reasons why Florence is a good choice for travelers without a car:
Excellent transportation links: Florence is well-connected by train and bus to other cities and towns in Tuscany. You can easily take day trips to places like Siena, Pisa, Lucca, and San Gimignano using public transportation.
Walkable city center: Florence’s historic city center is compact and highly walkable, allowing you to explore many of the city’s famous attractions on foot. This makes it easy to visit museums, cathedrals, and historic sites without the need for a car.
Guided tours and excursions: Florence is a hub for guided tours and excursions, offering various options to explore Tuscany’s countryside and vineyards, even if you don’t have a car. Many tour operators provide transportation from Florence to the surrounding areas.
Cultural Hub: Florence is home to world-famous museums and historic sites like the Uffizi Gallery, Accademia Gallery with Michelangelo’s David, Florence Cathedral (Duomo), and Ponte Vecchio. If you’re interested in art, history, and architecture, Florence offers a wealth of attractions.
Accommodation options: Florence offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences, making it easy to find a place to stay that meets your needs.
While Florence is an excellent base for exploring Tuscany without a car, keep in mind that there are some remote areas of Tuscany that may be less accessible by public transportation. If your destinations are not well-connected, you can use guided tours for those areas.
Best places to stay in Florence without a car:
- Luxury ($$$): Helvetia&Bristol Firenze – Starhotels Collezione
- Mid-range ($$): Palazzo Alfieri Residenza D’Epoca – Alfieri Collezione
- Budget ($): Hotel Pendin
You can check more about Florence at: Where to Stay in Florence
Lucca is a good base for travelers who want to explore Tuscany without a car, as it is a charming and historic city with excellent transportation connections and a walkable city center.
Here are some factors to consider:
Transportation: Lucca is well-connected by train and bus to other major cities and towns in Tuscany, such as Florence, Pisa, and Siena, making it a convenient base for day trips.
Walkability: Lucca’s historic city center is entirely enclosed by Renaissance walls and is very pedestrian-friendly. You can explore its narrow streets, visit historic sites, and enjoy the local cuisine on foot or by renting a bicycle.
Cultural Attractions: The city boasts several museums, including the Lucca Cathedral, Palazzo Pfanner, and the Guinigi Tower, where you can climb to the top for panoramic views.
Relaxed Atmosphere: Lucca tends to be less crowded and touristy than some of the larger Tuscan cities like Florence, which can provide a more relaxed and peaceful experience.
Proximity to Other Destinations: While Lucca is a good base, keep in mind that some iconic destinations like the Chianti wine region or the Val d’Orcia are not as easily accessible without a car. You can take a combination of trains and buses or join guided tours to visit these areas.
Best places to stay in Lucca without a car:BEST HOTELS IN LUCCA
Pisa is a popular destination in Tuscany, primarily known for its iconic leaning tower and historic center. It is one of the best areas to stay in Tuscany for car-free travelers who plan to explore primarily within Pisa and make day trips to nearby cities like Florence, Lucca, or Livorno.
Pros of staying in Pisa without a car:
Accessibility: Pisa has good transportation links, including a major international airport, a central train station, and buses that connect to other Tuscan cities and towns like Florence, Lucca, and Cinque Terre..
Cultural attractions: Pisa’s historic center offers beautiful architecture, museums, and the famous Piazza dei Miracoli with the Leaning Tower, Baptistery, and Cathedral.
Restaurants and amenities: Pisa has a range of dining options, shops, and services that cater to tourists, making it convenient for travelers without a car.
Consideration: if you want to explore the picturesque Tuscan countryside, vineyards, and smaller villages, it may be more challenging without a car as public transportation might not reach some remote areas.
Best places to stay in Pisa without a car:
- Luxury ($$$): Hotel Bologna
- Mid-range ($$): Casa per ferie religiosa Figlie di Nazareth
- Budget ($): Secondopiano
Siena is one of the best areas to stay in Tuscany if you don’t have a car. Siena is a beautiful and historic city located in the heart of Tuscany, and it offers several advantages for travelers who rely on public transportation or prefer not to drive:
Accessibility: Siena is well-connected to other major cities in Tuscany, such as Florence, by train and bus, without the need of having a car.
Compact City Center: Siena’s historic city center is relatively small and pedestrian-friendly. Most of the major attractions, shops, restaurants, and accommodations are within walking distance of each other, making it convenient for travelers on foot.
Public Transportation: Siena has a local bus system that can take you to nearby towns and villages such as San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, and Montepulciano using public transportation.
Cultural Attractions: Siena itself is a charming and culturally rich city with a stunning medieval center, a famous cathedral (Duomo di Siena), and the Piazza del Campo, known for the Palio di Siena, a traditional horse race.
While Siena is an excellent base, you may also want to consider combining your stay with visits to other Tuscan destinations accessible by public transportation. Florence, for instance, is just a short train ride away from Siena and offers a wealth of cultural experiences.
Best places to stay in Siena without a car:
- Luxury ($$$): Grand Hotel Continental Siena – Starhotels Collezione
- Mid-range ($$): Il giardino di Pantaneto Residenza D’Epoca
- Budget ($): B&B Il Corso
5. San Gimignano
San Gimignano is a beautiful medieval town in Tuscany, known for its well-preserved towers and historic charm. It is a great place to explore for car-free visitors who enjoy a slower pace and are primarily interested in exploring the town and its immediate surroundings.
Advantages of staying in San Gimignano without a car:
Walkable town: San Gimignano is a compact town, and most of its attractions, shops, and restaurants are within walking distance of each other. If you plan to spend most of your time exploring the town itself, you can do so on foot.
Public transportation: San Gimignano is well-connected by public buses to other major towns and cities in Tuscany, including Siena and Florence. You can use these buses to explore the surrounding areas without needing a car.
Relaxing atmosphere: Staying in San Gimignano can offer a more relaxed and tranquil experience compared to larger cities in Tuscany, making it a good choice for those seeking a peaceful getaway.
Consideration: While there are buses to other towns, public transportation schedules may be less frequent and flexible than if you were staying in a larger city like Florence or Siena. You’ll need to plan your excursions carefully.
Best places to stay in San Gimignano without a car:
- Mid-range ($$): Hotel La Cisterna
- Mid-range ($$): Leon Bianco
- Mid-range ($$): Fabio Apartments San Gimignano
Volterra is a charming and historic town located in the heart of Tuscany, and it is a great place to stay if you don’t have a car and you prioritize a quieter, historic town with walkable amenities.
Pros of staying in Volterra without a car:
Walkable town: Volterra’s historic center is relatively small and easily explored on foot. You can visit many of its attractions, shops, and restaurants within the town itself.
Cultural attractions: Volterra is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including Etruscan and Roman ruins, a medieval fortress, and museums.
Public transportation: Buses connect Volterra to the nearby train stations in Poggibonsi, from where you can catch trains and buses to other towns.
Considerations to keep in mind: limited public transportation and remote location, so it may take longer to reach other popular destinations in the region.
Best places to stay in Volterra without a car:BEST HOTELS IN VOLTERRA
7. Greve in Chianti
Greve in Chianti is a beautiful town located in the heart of the Chianti wine region in Tuscany. It is a great place to stay if you want to experience the charm of the Tuscan countryside, enjoy excellent wine and food, and explore the surrounding area.
Here are some factors to consider:
Accessibility: Greve in Chianti is well-connected by bus to Florence, making it possible to explore the region without a car. But, bus schedules can be limited, so plan carefully.
Local Attractions: Greve itself is a charming town with a picturesque piazza, local markets, wine shops, and excellent restaurants.
Wineries: The Chianti region is famous for its wineries, and many are located in and around Greve. Some offer tours and tastings, so you may want to research the wineries you’re interested in visiting and check their accessibility.
Rural Experience: Staying in Greve allows you to experience the rural side of Tuscany, with its rolling hills, vineyards, and olive groves. If you enjoy leisurely walks and bike rides in the countryside, this can be a wonderful choice.
Best places to stay in Greve without a car:BEST HOTELS IN GREVE
Viareggio is a coastal town in Tuscany, Italy, and it is one of the best places to stay if you don’t have a car, you primarily want to enjoy the beach and explore nearby towns.
Here are the reasons why you should stay in Viareggio without a car:
Accessibility: Viareggio has good train and bus connections to other major cities like Florence, Pisa, and Lucca. This makes it relatively easy to explore the region using public transportation.
Beaches: Viareggio is known for its beautiful sandy beaches along the Tyrrhenian Sea, making it a great choice if you want a beach holiday.
Promenade and amenities: The town has a lovely seaside promenade with shops, restaurants, and entertainment options, offering a pleasant and lively atmosphere.
Carnival: Viareggio hosts one of Italy’s most famous and colorful carnival celebrations, which can be a unique experience if your visit coincides with the event.
Best places to stay in Viareggio without a car:BEST HOTELS IN VIAREGGIO
Montepulciano is a charming hilltop town in Tuscany known for its historic architecture, beautiful views, and excellent wine. It’s a great destination for visitors looking to explore the Tuscan countryside.
Montepulciano is best suited for car-free travelers who are primarily interested in Montepulciano itself, and plan to use guided tours or public transportation for occasional trips to nearby areas.
Here are some factors for a car-free holiday in Montepulciano:
Local Exploration: If you plan to stay primarily within Montepulciano and explore the town itself, it’s quite walkable and enjoyable on foot. You can explore its historic center, taste local wines, and savor Tuscan cuisine in its restaurants.
Sights: Some of the must-visit attractions in Montepulciano include the Piazza Grande (the town’s main square), the Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall), the Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta), and the Tempio di San Biagio, just outside the town.
Tours and Excursions: Montepulciano is renowned for its wine, particularly the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. There are many guided tours and excursions, including wine tours from the area.
Thermal Baths: Nearby, you’ll find the Terme di Montepulciano, thermal baths known for their therapeutic properties. They offer spa treatments and relaxation in a beautiful natural setting.
Arezzo is a beautiful city in Tuscany with a rich history and cultural heritage. It is a great base for exploring Tuscany without a car, especially if you plan to focus on urban and nearby destinations.
Here are why stay in Arezzo without a car:
Walkable City: Arezzo’s historic center is compact and easily walkable, so you can explore the city on foot. Many of its attractions, including the Piazza Grande and the Duomo, are within walking distance of each other.
Public Transportation: Arezzo has good public transportation connections on trains and buses to visit nearby towns and cities like Florence, Siena, Cortona, and Montepulciano.
Cultural Attractions: Arezzo itself has plenty of cultural attractions, including museums, churches, and historic sites. You can spend your days exploring the city’s art and history.
Cortona is a charming hilltop town in Tuscany, known for its picturesque views and historical significance. It is one of the best areas to stay in Tuscany without a car for travelers who are looking for a quaint, picturesque town with good transportation links to nearby areas.
Here are some reasons why stay in Cortona without a car:
Compact town: Cortona is a relatively small town, so it’s easy to explore on foot. Many of its attractions, including the Piazza della Repubblica and the Cortona Cathedral, are within walking distance of each other.
Public transportation: Cortona is well-connected to nearby towns by buses and trains. You can take day trips to places like Arezzo, Montepulciano, or Siena using these services.
Scenic beauty: Cortona offers stunning views of the Tuscan countryside, and you can enjoy leisurely walks in the surrounding hills and vineyards.
Best places to stay in Cortona without a car:
- Luxury ($$$): Monastero Di Cortona Hotel & Spa
- Mid-range ($$): Cortona Suite
- Budget ($): Hotel Italia Cortona
See more: Where to Stay in Tuscany
In conclusion, Florence, Lucca, Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano, Volterra, Greve in Chianti, Viareggio, Montepulciano, Arezzo, and Cortana are the best places to stay in Tuscany without a car for visitors.
In summary, Florence, Lucca, Pisa, and Siena are some of the best areas to stay in Tuscany without a car due to their excellent public transportation options and central locations for day trips.
Other towns like San Gimignano, Montepulciano, Arezzo, and Cortana can also be visited without a car, but you’ll need to rely on buses and train services, which may have less frequent schedules. Greve in Chianti is a bit more challenging to explore without a car, especially if you want to venture into the Chianti wine region.