Where to stay in Tuscany without a car: 8 Best areas and hotels

Wondering where to stay in Tuscany without a car? In this post, I will share with you what I believe are the best areas to stay in Tuscany without a car and the best hotels to stay in each town in the region.

Tuscany is a region in central Italy known for its picturesque rolling hills, vineyards, olive groves, and charming medieval towns such as Florence, Pisa, Siena, Lucca, San Gimignano, and Arezzo.

Tuscany is often considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, with Florence being the epicenter of this cultural and artistic movement where you can find the famous Florence Cathedral, Uffizi Gallery, and Ponte Vecchio.

Pisa is famous for its iconic Leaning Tower, while Siena is known for its medieval architecture and the annual Palio horse race. Lucca is surrounded by well-preserved Renaissance-era walls, and San Gimignano features its distinctive medieval towers.

The Tuscan countryside such as Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known for its scenic landscapes and charming hilltop towns like Montalcino and Pienza. Additionally, the Chianti wine region is renowned for its vineyards and wine production.

Tuscan cuisine is highly regarded and is characterized by simple yet flavorful dishes. The region is known for its olive oil, fresh vegetables, meats, cheeses, and renowned wines like Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino. 

Can I go to Tuscany without a car?

Yes, it is possible to visit Tuscany without a car. The region has a well-developed transportation network that includes trains, buses, and taxis, making it relatively easy to explore Tuscany using public transportation.

Tuscany has an extensive rail network that connects major cities and towns. Florence, as the regional capital, is a major transportation hub with excellent train connections to Pisa, Siena, Lucca, and Arezzo.

The region has a network of buses that operate both within cities and between towns. The bus service is often the best way to reach smaller towns that are not easily accessible by train. 

Taxis are available in most cities and towns in Tuscany. You can either hail a taxi on the street or find them at designated taxi stands.  

Another option for exploring without a car is to join guided tours or day trips. Many tour operators offer organized tours that cover popular destinations within Tuscany. These tours typically include transportation.

It’s worth noting that while public transportation can take you to most major cities and towns in Tuscany, it may be more challenging to reach some rural areas or remote countryside locations without a car. 

But, with proper planning and research, you can still have a fulfilling and enjoyable experience in Tuscany using public transportation.

Where to stay in Tuscany without a car?

The best areas to stay in Tuscany without a car are Florence, Lucca, Pisa, and Siena because they are the region’s most accessible and well-connected towns. They all have walkable city centers and excellent connection to trains and buses, making it a great base to explore the region.

In addition to the major towns in the region, you can consider staying in San Gimignano hilltop town, Volterra, Greve in the heart of the Chianti wine, and Viareggio beach town.

One of my favorite places in Tuscany is Florence. During my trip to Florence, I stayed in the historic center at the Hotel Cerretani Firenze – MGallery Collection.  It was a great 4-star mid-range hotel in the heart of the city, easy access to attractions and the train station for day trips to other towns in the region. My room was lovely and spacious.

Overview of the best towns to stay in Tuscany without a car

Here are some overviews of my recommendations:

Florencethe capital of Tuscany and a major transportation hub. It has a well-connected train and bus network, making it easy to explore the city and take day trips to other destinations. Florence itself is rich in art, history, and culture, with numerous attractions like the Uffizi Gallery, Duomo, and Ponte Vecchio.
Luccaa charming walled city with a compact historic center. It is easily walkable, and you can explore its well-preserved Renaissance architecture, picturesque squares, and gardens. Lucca has good train connections and relaxed atmosphere.
Pisais known for its iconic Leaning Tower and Piazza dei Miracoli. The city itself is relatively small, it is well-connected by train and bus to nearby destinations like Lucca or Florence.
Sienaa beautiful medieval city with a well-preserved historic center. The city is quite hilly, it is compact and easily navigable by foot. Siena has good bus connections, allowing you to explore the city and venture out to nearby towns and villages.
San GimignanoKnown for its distinctive skyline of medieval towers, San Gimignano is a small hilltop town that can be easily reached by bus from Siena. The town is compact, and you can explore its narrow streets, historic buildings, and views on foot.
Volterraa charming hilltop town with an Etruscan heritage. While it is accessible by bus from Florence, Siena, and Pisa, the frequency of bus services may be limited. But, once you’re in Volterra, you can explore its sites and enjoy the panoramic views.
Greve in ChiantiLocated in the heart of the Chianti wine region, Greve in Chianti offers a picturesque setting with vineyards and olive groves. It is reachable by bus from Florence and has a compact town center where you can enjoy the countryside.
ViareggioSituated on the coast, Viareggio is known for its beaches and lively promenade. Viareggio has train connections, making it accessible for day trips to nearby towns like Lucca or Pisa

Map of areas and towns in Tuscany:

map of Best areas to stay in Tuscany without a car
map of Best areas to stay in Tuscany without a car

8 Best areas to stay in Tuscany without a car:

1. Florence

Florence is an excellent choice for staying in Tuscany without a car. It is a major city with excellent public transportation connections, making it easy to explore both Florence itself and the surrounding areas.

In Florence, you’ll find a wealth of cultural attractions, including renowned museums, historic landmarks, and beautiful architecture. The city’s compact size also makes it highly walkable, allowing you to navigate most of the popular sights on foot.

Some of the most famous attractions in the city are Florence’s Duomo, Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio, Accademia Gallery (home to Michelangelo’s famous sculpture David), and San Lorenzo food market.

Additionally, Florence is the region’s transportation hub, home to Santa Maria Novella train station, located within easy walking distance from the historic center of Florence. 

Florence’s main train station has connections from the Tuscany region and major cities in Italy like Rome, Bologna, Venice, and Milan. The city also has its own airport, making it easy to reach by air.

You can also easily take day trips to Tuscany’s towns such as Siena, Pisa, Lucca, Arezzo, and San Gimignano by bus or train, and return to Florence in the evening.

You can use public transport to visit the smaller towns in Chianti region or northern Mugello, but it is recommended to take guided tours to make your travel easier as there are no trains to go through Chianti and bus schedules may not always fit your timetable.

While having a car can provide more flexibility to explore remote areas or smaller towns at your own pace, Florence’s central location, excellent public transportation, cultural richness, and range of activities make it an ideal choice for travelers who prefer not to drive.

Best places to stay in Florence without a car:


2. Lucca

Lucca is a good base to explore the northern part of the Tuscany region. It is a charming and picturesque walled city, located on the train lines connecting Florence to Viareggio and Pisa. 

Lucca is easily reachable by car and public transport by train and bus. The Lucca train station is located in Piazza Ricasoli, within a few minutes walk from the city center.

From Luca, you’ll easily take a day trip by train to Pisa, Florence, Viareggio, as well as Pistoia, Montecatini Terme, and Garfagnana.

In addition to the train station, the town has a bus station situated in Piazzale Verdi, inside the city walls. The bus has services to Florence, Pisa and Viareggio. 

Furthermore, Lucca’s historic center is relatively small, flat, and easily explored on foot and bicycle. The city is known for its intact Renaissance-era walls, which provide a pleasant promenade encircling the town. Within the walls, you can stroll through narrow cobblestone streets, visit historical sites, and enjoy the local atmosphere.

Popular attractions in Lucca are the Lucca Cathedra, The Town Walls, Roman Amphitheater, Guinigi Tower (known for its rooftop garden), and San Michele in Foro.

Overall, Lucca offers a delightful and convenient experience for travelers without a car. Its compact size, bicycle-friendly environment, and excellent transportation connections make it an ideal destination for a car-free stay in Tuscany.

Best places to stay in Lucca without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hotel Alla Corte degli Angeli, 4-star hotel located within the ancient walls of Lucca, a 10-minute walk from the cathedral.  
  • Mid-range ($$): La Bohème, great accommodation, located within a short walk from Lucca’s historic city walls, near Piazza San Michele, easy access to Lucca railway and bus stations. 
  • Budget ($): Hotel Diana, located in the heart of Lucca’s historic center, right around the corner from the Duomo di San Martino Cathedral, close to Lucca train station.

3. Pisa

Pisa is a city famous for the iconic Leaning Tower and the Square of Miracles (Piazza dei Miracoli), which includes the Pisa Cathedral, the Monumental Cemetery, and the Baptistery.

Pisa’s city center is compact and can be explored on foot. Most of the main attractions, including the Leaning Tower, are within walking distance of each other. You can easily spend a day or two exploring the city center and visiting the famous sights.

Pisa has good transportation connections, including a major international airport and a well-connected train station. Pisa is reachable by train from Florence, Livorno, Siena and Lucca, as well as other major Italian cities such as Rome, Cinque Terre, and Genoa. 

Pisa has two train stations, including the Pisa Central Station and the San Rossore Station (closer to the Leaning Tower). Walking from the train station to the Leaning Tower is around 20 minutes.

Pisa is home to one of Italy’s oldest and most prestigious universities, which gives the city a youthful and vibrant atmosphere. The presence of the university adds some liveliness and cultural events to the city.

Best places to stay in Pisa without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hotel Bologna, 4-star hotel, in the historic center of Pisa, 5 minutes’ walk from the train station, and 12 minute walk from Campo dei Miracoli and the famous Leaning Tower.
  • Mid-range ($$): Casa per ferie religiosa Figlie di Nazareth, a sustainable bed and breakfast, located within easy walk from the train station.
  • Budget ($): Secondopiano, great accommodation, located close to the central station, and around 20 minute walk from Piazza dei Miracoli.

4. Siena

Siena is one of the best places to stay in Tuscany without a car to explore the southern parts of the region. It is renowned for its medieval architecture, rich history, and vibrant cultural heritage. 

Siena is easily reachable by public transportation as it is home to a train station, with connections to Florence, Pisa, Buonconvento, Bologna, Perugia, and Rome. 

The train station is located in a valley, outside the city walls, about a 20 minutes walk uphill to the historic center. You can take a local bus or taxi if you have luggages.

You can consider taking the regional bus if you come from Florence because the bus trip is slightly shorter, and the bus station is located in Piazza Gramsci/Viale Tozzi, inside the city walls of Siena, making it easier to walk to the city center without taking a taxi.

Buses can take you to Montalcino, Colle di Val d’Elsa, San Gimignano, Pienza and Montepulciano, as well as  Castellina in Chianti and its ancient medieval fortification.

Siena’s historic center is relatively small and easily walkable. The city is known for its medieval architecture, including the famous Piazza del Campo, where the Palio di Siena horse race takes place. 

Most of the main attractions, such as the Siena Cathedral (Duomo di Siena) and the Palazzo Pubblico, are located within the city walls, making it convenient to explore on foot.

Best places to stay in Siena without a car:


See more: Where to Stay in Siena

5. San Gimignano

San Gimignano is a small and enchanting hilltop town, and a great base to experience  the Tuscan countryside. Known as the Town of Fine Towers, it is famous for its well-preserved medieval architecture and its iconic skyline of medieval towers. 

San Gimignano is located 60 km southeast of Florence and can be easily reached by car, as well as public transportation such as train, bus, or with an organized tour.

The nearest train station to San Gimignano is in Poggibonsi, you can take to Poggibonsi from either Florence or Siena. To reach San Gimignano, you can take a local bus no 130 from Poggibonsi train station. The journey is around 20 to 15 minutes.

The bus stops at the Porta San Giovanni, the main city gate of San Gimignano. It is around a 300m walk to Piazza Cisterna in the city center. San Gimignano can be easily done as a day trip, but it is worth staying a night to explore the peaceful atmosphere.

San Gimignano is a relatively small town, and its historic center is compact and easily walkable. Most of the main attractions, such as the iconic medieval towers and the Piazza della Cisterna, are concentrated in a small area, making it convenient to explore on foot.

Best places to stay in San Gimignano without a car:

  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel La Cisterna, 3-star hotel, located in the heart of San Gimignano.
  • Mid-range ($$): Leon Bianco, 3-star hotel, located in Piazza della Cisterna, one of San area’s main squares.
  • Mid-range ($$): Fabio Apartments San Gimignano, self-catering apartments  located at the heart of medieval San Gimignano, within a short distance from a bus stop with service to Poggibonsi. 

6. Volterra

Volterra is a captivating town, located a little south of San Gimignano and west of Siena. It is known for its Etruscan origins and preserved medieval character. 

The town is home to numerous archaeological sites, including Etruscan tombs, the Roman Theater, and the Guarnacci Etruscan Museum. Exploring these historical sites provides a unique glimpse into ancient civilizations.

Volterra has narrow streets, ancient walls, and well-preserved buildings. The town features a central square, Piazza dei Priori, adorned with impressive medieval palaces and the town hall. Strolling through the streets of Volterra offers a sense of stepping back in time.

Volterra is accessible by public transportation. The nearby train stations are in Poggibonsi and Cecina, so you can take the train to Poggibonsi, then Compagnia Pisana Trasporti (CPT) buses from Poggibonsi and Cecina  train stations to Volterra with Poggibonsi.

Best places to stay in Volterra without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hotel La Locanda, 4-star hotel, located in the historic center, within a short walk from The Roman Theatre and Porta Fiorentina Gate. 
  • Mid-range ($$): Albergo Etruria, 3 star hotel, located close to the Piazza dei Priori and Roman theater, as well as the bus stop with service to Florence, Pisa, Siena and the seaside.
  • Budget ($): Hotel Volterra In, great 3-star accommodation, centrally located in Volterra.

7. Greve in Chianti

Greve in Chianti, also known as Gateway to Chianti, is one of the largest towns in Chianti. It is known for its strangely shaped piazza and numerous beautiful castles.

Greve in Chianti is one of the best bases if you want to stay in the Chianti wine region without a car as there are bus services from Florence to Greve and some buses from Greve to nearby towns such as Castellina, Panzano, and Radda.

The main square of Greve in Chianti, Piazza Matteotti, is a lively hub with a triangular shape and a central statue of Giovanni da Verrazzano, the famous explorer. The square is lined with shops, wine bars, and restaurants, providing a pleasant atmosphere for relaxation and sampling local products.

Greve in Chianti offers excellent opportunities for wine tasting and experiencing the world-famous Chianti Classico wines. There are several wineries and wine shops in and around the town where you can indulge in tastings and learn about the winemaking process.

While having a car in the Chianti region allows for more flexibility, Greve in Chianti is also accessible by buses from Florence and Siena.

Best places to stay in Greve without a car:

  • Budget ($): Antico Pastificio, located just behind the main square with its restaurants and shops. It has a children’s playground and a sun terrace overlooking the Tuscan hills.
  • Budget ($): Albergo Casa Al Sole, 3-star hotel, in the center of Greve in Chianti on the famous wine road.
  • Budget ($): B&B Grano e Lavanda, located in the main square of Greve in Chianti, a short distance from a bus stop to Florence and Siena.

8. Viareggio

Viareggio is a popular coastal town in Tuscany, Italy, known for its beautiful beaches, lively atmosphere, and annual Carnival celebrations.

Viareggio is easily accessible by train, making it convenient to reach from other parts of Tuscany. The train station is centrally located, allowing for easy exploration of Lucca, Pisa, and Florence.

Viareggio is renowned for its long, sandy beaches along the Tyrrhenian Sea. The town’s waterfront promenade, known as La Passeggiata, is lined with shops, restaurants, and bars, offering a vibrant and lively atmosphere. The beaches provide opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, and various water sports.

While Viareggio may not offer the same historical and cultural attractions as other Tuscan towns, it provides a beach-focused experience with a lively and vibrant atmosphere. It is the best base for those seeking a beach holiday with access to entertainment, shopping, and dining options.

Best places to stay in Viareggio without a car:

  • Mid-range ($$): Palace Hotel, 4-star hotel, on Viareggio’s seafront, 15-minute walk from Viareggio Train Station, with connections to other towns in the Tuscany region.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel President, a 10-minute walk from Viareggio Station, offering easy access to Lucca, Florence, and other Tuscan towns. Also close to Viareggio’s harbor and a bus station.
  • Budget ($): Hotel London, 3-star hotel, conveniently located close to the railway and bus stations, and the picturesque harbor. 

See more:

In conclusion, Florence, Lucca, Pisa, and Siena stand out as the best places to stay in Tuscany without a car. With their walkability and excellent public transportation, these cities provide convenient access to explore the region’s beauty and rich cultural heritage.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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