Flying into Pisa Airport, then traveling from Pisa to Florence, is one of Europe’s best travel hacks. That might sound bizarre – after all, the chances are that you’ll be staying in Florence, not Pisa. How on earth can flying to a different city entirely, 83 kilometres away, be a travel hack? Read on, my incredulous one – all will be explained!
By the way, if you suffer from airport anxiety, take a look at my tips on how to reduce it!
Pisa Airport vs Florence Airport
Tuscany has two main airports: Pisa’s Galileo Galilei Airport, and Florence’s Amerigo Vespucci Airport. Whilst they may have being named after local worthies in common, they differ in one major factor: the price.
Let’s take an example of a direct return flight from London to Florence, on a random date in May. The cheapest ticket available will cost you £361. Now, let’s switch that to London to Pisa, with the same flight criteria on the same date, and it’ll cost you a rather more reasonable £101. Not much of a choice, is it?
That’s not to say that Pisa will always be significantly cheaper – it’s always worth checking both to see what the specific situation is on your travel dates – but it definitely seems to be the trend! So as you can see, you can massively benefit from traveling from Pisa to Florence, instead of going directly to Florence’s airport.
So, how do you get from Pisa Airport to Florence city center? Good news: it couldn’t be simpler!
How Do I Get From Pisa Airport to Florence by Car or Bus?
You’ve got a number of options, here. Yay, we like options!
If you’re looking to hire your own car for getting from Pisa to Florence – perfect for getting out of the city and seeing those rolling Tuscan hills, as well as enjoying nearby towns such as San Gimignano and Siena – then Pisa Airport has plenty of options for you.
There’s a whole terminal filled with car rental companies, located 500 meters away from the airport. It’s a five minute walk, or you can hop on a shuttle bus if you don’t fancy dragging your bags all that way – pick it up from outside the Passenger Arrivals area. Be sure to book your car in advance, especially in the summer: this is a seriously popular part of Italy, and you’ll make life considerably easier for yourself and the rental company by sorting out availability in advance!
If you can’t find your rental company, or if you have any other problems, here’s some useful numbers for you:
Auto Europa – +39 050 506883
Avis – +39 199 100 133
Europcar – +39 050 41081
Hertz – +39 050 43220
Liberty Rentals – +39 050 48088
Locauto / Enterprise – +39 050 24347
Maggiore – +39 050 42574
Sixt – +39 02 94757979
Firefly – +39 338 4511294
Goldcar – +39 050 2200061
Winrent – +39 050 28 101
Interrent – +39 337 1242010
Also, if you’re feeling a little anxious about driving in another land, check out this guide to driving in Italy made easy!
You can pick up a taxi from outside Arrivals, but they won’t come cheap – you can expect to pay about €150 for a transfer to Florence. Check CoTaPi for details.
The bus is an excellent and inexpensive way to get from Pisa to Florence! You’ll see adverts for the bus service as soon as you arrive at Pisa Airport, especially around the baggage reclaim area – just follow the signs, and you’ll soon be in the right place.
Have a look at Airport Bus Express or Caronna Tour – both companies charge around €14.00, and pick you up from outside Arrivals. There’s probably not a simpler way of getting from Pisa to Florence, and you can enjoy the views of Tuscany, or just the free WiFi should you prefer to give your friends travel-envy by endlessly posting on Facebook (totally not guilty…). The journey will take about an hour and 10 minutes, depending on traffic, and drop you off at Florence’s Santa Maria Novella station.
How Do I Get From Pisa Airport to Florence by Train?
In my humble opinion, the best way to get from Pisa to Florence is by train. You’ve got a perfect combination of fast, regular, and cheaply-priced services that’ll take you right to Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence, right in the heart of the city. Don’t be put off if you’ve seen that you can’t get a direct train from Pisa Airport, or if you’re worrying about having to change trains at Pisa Centrale – it really couldn’t be simpler!
And I’m going to talk you through it step-by-step, because I’m quite nice like that!
1. How to buy a train ticket at Pisa Airport
Don’t worry about getting horribly lost in Pisa Airport, wandering endlessly attempting to find the ticket office – Pisa Airport is conveniently, and adorably, tiny. It’s physically impossible to get lost, even for me!
When you’ve nabbed your bags from the baggage reclaim area, follow the marked signs to Arrivals. As soon as you emerge into the area, you’ll see overhead signs directing you towards the PisaMover (to the left), or to the ticket office (to the right).
Now, you do have a little bit of a choice to make here. You can go to the left and use an automated machine to buy a ticket for the PisaMover (don’t stress about this step; the machine is really easy to use! You’ll have your ticket within a couple of taps), and then buy your train ticket to Florence from the ticket office at Pisa Centrale station when you get there.
Your other option is to go to the right, and buy a train ticket to Florence (which includes the PisaMover ticket, saving you having to stop at the automatic machine) from the airport’s ticket office. You can’t miss it: look for the large sign with “BIGLIETTERIA” above the kiosk. This was the option that I took, basically because I didn’t want to deal with having to queue in line at Pisa Centrale station, and because I like an easy life. It’ll cost you about €11.30. But be warned – the airport charges you a commission of €2 per ticket if you buy if from their ticket office.
Whether you’ve bought your ticket from the airport ticket office or not, you’ll now want to head down the long corridor, past the shops – if you go past the leather shop named after Machiavelli, then you’re headed in the right direction – towards the well-signposted PisaMover.
2. How to catch the PisaMover
Firstly, you’ll come to a set of automatic doors at the end of the terminal – pass through these and keep walking through the lovely fresh Pisan air, towards the visible metal staircase. Either take the stairs up, or hop in the elevators just to the right if you’ve got heavy bags.
You’re now in the PisaMover’s terminal. Hurrah! That was easy, right?
If you didn’t buy a ticket to Florence in the airport, this is where you’ll need to use the automatic machines – you’ll see them just in front of you, to the side of the ticket barrier. Pop €2.70 into the machine, and it’ll spit out a small slip: this is your ticket for the PisaMover. Whether you have a train ticket or a PisaMover ticket, scan it at the ticket barrier (there’ll be a friendly member of staff if you’re having issues), and make your way on to the platform.
The PisaMover is a monorail, and a very efficient one! It departs every 5-8 minutes, so don’t worry if you just miss one, like I did. It’ll take just 7 minutes to cover the kilometer between the airport and Pisa Centrale station, and operates every day from 4.30am to 1.30am.
One important thing to note – do NOT jump off at the first stop. This is San Giusto Aurelia station, and is essentially just airport car parking. You’ll want the second stop, which is Pisa Centrale station.
3. Pisa Centrale station to Florence by train
The last stage in your journey from Pisa to Florence is Pisa Centrale Station. It’s not mega-busy or hectic, and there’s regular services from Pisa to Florence, arriving at Santa Maria Novella station.
If you didn’t get a ticket to Florence from the airport, then the first thing you’ll need to do is pop along to the ticket office and buy one, because you won’t get far without it! But whichever ticket you hold, you MUST get it validated before you travel.
You can do this by inserting your ticket into one of the little machines you’ll see mounted to a wall on the platforms – there’s one right by the exit from the PisaMover. They tend to be blue in color, and a slightly egg-like shape. This will stamp your ticket – if you don’t complete this, the train guards in their lovely smart uniforms will be quite within their rights to charge you €60 each for traveling without a valid ticket. And that would be quite a sucky start to your trip to Florence, right?
But once you’ve validated your ticket, you’re free to hop on a train! They’re often double deckers (which is quite exciting for those of us who are from the UK, where double decker trains are akin to a mythical creature), and run very regularly. There’s a monitor mounted on the wall just after you leave the PisaMover: use this to check for the next departure to Florence, or “Firenze S.m.n” as it’ll probably be listed. You’ll likely find that it departs from Platform 3, but definitely check to be sure.
4. Arrive at Santa Maria Novella station
And that’s it!
Once you’re on the train with a valid ticket, then your job is done – you can sit back and relax. The trains are modern and comfortable, and Florence will most likely be the last stop, so you don’t have to worry about missing your station. Keep hold of your ticket, as the guards will come by and check it, and watch the world go by!
I really hope that this has been a useful guide on how to get from Pisa to Florence – if you’ve got any questions, pop them in the comments below, and I’ll answer them for you!
I’d be super-appreciative if you could give this article a share using the buttons below (you could be helping someone who’ll be traveling to Florence, avoiding them having the sad fate of wandering around Pisa Airport for eternity…), or pin it to Pinterest. Pinning it is an especially good idea if you’re planning on doing the journey yourself, giving you a ready-made bookmark for when you need it!