Skip the sightseeing bus in Florence
The city centre of Florence is extremely pedestrian friendly and most people simply walk from place to place. The most famous attractions of Florence - Uffizi, Duomo, Galleria dell’Accademia, Piazza della Signoria - are all close together. So you will never need to walk more than 5 minutes at a time if you plan your route sensibly. Even the Florence train station is just 10 minutes walk from the Duomo in the centre of town.
If you want to use buses for mobility reasons, there are minibuses that run throughout the city that will take you to all the major tourist sites.
...but for those who still like a bus tour
Still, for some visitors, sightseeing buses can offer a different perspective and help people to get their bearings. So here is an outline of the pros and cons of booking in for a sightseeing bus in Florence:
Pros of booking a sightseeing bus in Florence
A good overview of Florence
Sightseeing buses can give you a bit more of a historical overview of Florence as they provide audio narration as you go around the main sights.
Florence city orientation
If you don't know what you want to see in Florence, or if you have a tendency to get lost easily, sightseeing tours in Florence can give you a better orientation of the city and help you decide what attractions you want to make time for.
See beyond the Historic centre of Florence
Bus tours like City Sightseeing Florence give different tour options which go beyond the historic city centre, which gives you a chance to see some of the sights that you might otherwise have missed if you were only staying in the centre.
For example the Florence route takes you outside the city to the ancient Etruscan settlement of Fiesole, with fantastic views of Florence from the hills. Routes also covers the Medieval as well as Renaissance parts of Florence, and passes through the fashionable and classy Via Tornabuoni. And you can easily visit Piazzale Michelangelo which is otherwise a long walk away on foot.
Companies like this also sometimes give options for cheaper fees if you do not want to hop on and off and just want to relax and be taken around the loop in 1 or 2 hours.
Cons of booking a sightseeing bus in Florence
If you are wanting to get on and off, sightseeing bus tours of Florence can sometimes be difficult to navigate as the stops through the historic centre can be difficult to find. It is also common for the audio narration to fall behind in the narrow roads of Florence.
Cannot go into town
In sightseeing bus tours in Florence, the buses cannot go into the centre of town, so you could miss some of the sights even if they are pointed out or narrated. This would be a disadvantage especially if you already knew which sights you were wanting to see.
Florence is very walkable
The historic city centre of Florence is notoriously walkable, and most of the well-known attractions are easy to get to without the need for a bus. Even further away attractions in Oltrarno are just a longer walk away, and in Florence the walks are always so scenic!
Details of Florence Sightseeing bus
There are three routes with around 30 stops at convenient locations
Line A (Blue) Cuircuit
- Piazza Stazione
- Santa Crocei
- Teatro Verdi
- Lungarno Pecori Giraldi
- Villa Cora
- Piazza della Calza (Porta Romana)
Line B (Red) circuit
- Piazzale Michelangelo
- Lungarno Serristori Demidoff
- Zecca Vecchia
- Lungarno l’Africo
- Righi (Ostello)
- San Domenico
- San Domenico
- Righi (Ostello)
- Piazzale delle Cascine
- Shelly Cascine
- Vittorio Veneto
- Porta Romana
If you plan to take the Hop On Hop Off bus, you might as well as buy 48 hour ticket as it only costs €5 more than the one day pass. The bus unfortunately go to the three 'central attractions' of Il Duomo, Palazza Vecchio, and Uffizi museum. However, it does go to the oulying areas like Fiesole, The Porta Roma and Pitti Palace.
Sightseeing bus is not required in Florence
Florence is a very compact city that is best seen by walking around. Most of the attractions are at the historic center. There are 3 outlying attractions but each of them can be reached easily by efficient public transport
- Fiesole, often called the terrace of Florence can be reached by bus no. 7
- Piazzale Michelangiolo - bus no. 12 or no. 13 drops you at Piazzale Michelangiolo
- San Miniato al Monte - The same bus (12 or 13) takes you to San Miniato al Monte
Thus there is no need to book into the sightseeing bus even to get an overview of the city. Also there are practical issues with Florence sightseeing bus
- Low Frequency : Patronage of sightseeing bus is not very high, hence you have infrequent service
- There are 2 routes, one goes within the city and the other to outlying areas including Fiesole . Given that Florence is such a small city, the two routes are confusing and interchange is a big bother
- You can buy tickets for 1 day, 2 days or 3 days. If you need to buy, purchase the one day ticket just to get an overview of the city. Anything more is an overkill
Given that Florence is not that big, Florence sightseeing buses are a good choice to have an overview of the city. But only if you’re not there in Summer, Sightseeing Buses are not so packed, so there’s no need to buy the ticket in advance.That way you’ll spare some money, just in case once there you think is not necessary to take a ride on the bus.