Turin is a gem of a city that you shouldn’t miss when you visit Italy.
With gorgeous palaces, wonderful museums, impressive architecture and beautiful urban nature, Turin is a perfect place for a city break or a relaxing holiday.
Turin (in Italian: Torino) is in the north west of Italy, close to the Alps, and you can use it as a great base for trips around the region of Piedmont.
Other cities in Italy, including Milan, Verona and Genoa, are not too far and you can easily include all of them alongside Turin when you plan your route around the north of Italy.
This guide includes some useful information on how to get to Turin, how to get around the city and where to stay. The rest of the guide includes the best highlights and points of interest in Turin.
How to get to Turin – By plane, train or bus
Flying to Turin
You can reach Turin by plane with Lufthansa, Air France, Turkish Airlines and Alitalia. Search SkyScanner to find the cheapest flights.
Caselle Airport is connected to Turin by bus and train. It takes between 45 minutes to an hour to reach the centre on the SADEM bus from the airport.
Trains to Turin
The city’s main train stations are Porta Susa or Porta Nuova. It has two other stations that are a bit farther from the city centre – Lingotto FS and Porta Dora.
You can reach Turin by train from Italy’s major cities like Milan, Venice, Bologna, Rome and Florence. You can also take a train from Paris directly to Turin.
Use Omio to find the best prices. It’s a European search engine for trains and other modes of transport that makes your search fast and easy and has an English language interface.
Getting to Turin by bus
You can travel to Turin by bus from other cities in Italy and France.
Again, Omio makes it simple to search for bus tickets across Europe.
How to get around Turin – Public transport in Turin
It’s easy to get around on foot in Turin. The city is perfectly walkable, and the grid design of the streets makes it very easy to navigate.
Public transport in Turin includes buses, trams and metro.
There are ticket machines at metro stations, and you can also buy them from newsagents, tobacconists, and bars around the city. You cannot, however, buy tickets on the bus or tram, so remember to get them in advance.
You can buy a ticket for 100 minutes, a daily ticket, or 48 / 72 hour passes.
Validate your ticket when you get on the bus or tram before the first stop by placing it on the yellow machine. On the metro, scan the ticket to open the barrier.
You can use Google Maps for transit directions in Turin. The schedules may not always be up to date, but the directions are correct.
An extra tip: Bus and tram stops have numbers on them. Those numbers will appear in your Google Maps directions. Use them to know if you’re in the right place.
Where to stay in Turin
When you visit Turin, plan to stay in the city centre.
This way, the vast majority of the attractions, as well as the train station, will be within walking distance.
Turin has a good selection of hotels, vacation rentals and B&Bs to choose from. Here are some of the best ones:
B&B Via Stampatori is at a perfect central location, housed in a beautiful historical building and offers good value for money.
B&B Palazzo Chiablese is a beautifully decorated bed and breakfast, located in Turin’s historic centre.
Torino 1854 Affittacamere is a centrally located modern guest house, close to Porta Nuova train station.
Hotel Victoria is a stylish hotel close to some of Turin’s main attractions – The Egyptian Museum and the Mole Antonelliana (Cinema Museum).
NH Collection Torino Piazza Carlina is a hotel in the city centre, with en suite rooms, inside an elegant historic building.
The main square in Turin is Piazza Castello (Castle Square).
There is a tourist information office in the square, which I suggest you visit when you arrive to find out what’s going on in the city.
There’s another tourist information office right across the street from Porta Nuova train station,
The square has two of the main sightseeing points of interest in Turin: The Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale) and Palazzo Madama – two palaces now used as magnificent museums.
You will find out a lot more about the square when you take a guided walking tour.
Turin guided walking tour: Your first time in Turin
Turin’s tourism board runs a guided tour of the city every Saturday at 10am, with a professional, knowledgeable guide.
It leaves from the tourist office in Piazza Castello, where you make your reservation for the tour.
I joined the tour a few days after arriving in the city and it gave me a very good and much needed overview of the history, the main points of interest and the most important buildings in Turin.
This is very different from the City Sightseeing bus tour, as buses cannot enter all the small, cobbled streets.
When you reserve your spot on the walking tour, make sure to indicate your language, as the tour is available in English, Italian, Spanish and French. The tour I joined was in both Italian and English.
The tour includes some of Turin’s greatest highlights.
The guide also took us through beautiful medieval streets and showed us the main squares, palaces, churches and historical cafes in the city.
Turin has so much to offer to tourists that it might be a bit overwhelming at first. This tour is invaluable if you want to get to know the city within a couple of hours.
Find out all the details about the guided walking tour here, where you can also make a booking online.
City Sightseeing hop on hop off bus
Turin’s City Sightseeing bus takes you around the city to see some of its points of interest, departing from a very central spot at Piazza Castello.
This is very different from a guided walking tour – the bus can take you across the river and can travel long distances.
It’s a hop on off bus, meaning you can get off at any stop that interests you and explore the area, and then hop on the next bus (Line A comes round once an hour and line B every 90 minutes). You can get a 24 or 48 hour ticket.
Turin’s beautiful architecture and views are best seen from the upper deck. I suggest you sit on the top deck on the right – it’s the best position in order to take photos along the way.
You’ll get a map showing all the points of interest and earphones to plug into the panel next to your seat.
The commentary is available in 8 languages: Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Russian and Chinese. There’s also commentary for kids in English and Italian on Line A.
Line A is one of three different lines to choose from – A, B and C. I recommend you start with Line A, that will take you to some of the highlights.
You’ll pass through Piazza Vittorio Veneto, Villa della Regina, Monte dei Cappuccini, Parco del Valentino, Paizza Carlo Felice and some more sites. It will give you a great introduction to Turin.
You can combine it with Line B, which will take you outside the city centre to more remote points of interest.
I travelled on both lines A and B on the same day. It’s doable, unless you want to get off at each and every stop, in which case you may want to buy a 48 hour ticket.
Line C will take you even further away, all the way to Veneria Palace.
On the map you get, have a look at the discounts to other attractions in the city that you can get with the bus ticket.
Prices vary according to the lines you choose, the time of year and other factors – see the current prices here – Click on “Discover all the rates”.
The Mole Antonelliana
The Mole Antonelliana
The Mole Antonelliana is Turin’s iconic symbol, an interesting building with a dome that dominate Turin’s skyline.
Originally built as a synagogue back in 1848, the building now houses Turin’s National Cinema Museum.
There’s a panoramic lift you can take to go up the Mole and see the city from above at the viewing platform.
Piazza San Carlo
You will definitely pass through this square while walking around in Turin. It’s less than 10 minutes away from the other main square, Piazza Castello.
Nicknamed the “living room of Turin”, Piazza San Carlo is a large square, impressive in its beauty.
Some of Turin’s famous historical cafes are in the arcades on either side of the square..
At one end of the square are two Baroque churches, Chiesa di San Carlo and Santa Christina, that are almost identical but not quite.
Turin’s historical coffee shops
Turin is famous for its coffee and for its old, historical cafes. These are absolutely charming coffee shops with amazing decor!
At the tourist information centre in Piazza Castello, I found a the “Torino Coffee Card”, offering five cups of coffee for €4.50 at five of Turin’s historical cafes: Caffe del Bicerin, Caffe San Carlo, Caffe Elena, The Tea – Torrefazione Moderna and Gelateria Pepino.
I especially liked Caffe San Carlo, it’s gorgeous and you’ll notice quite a few people coming in to take photos. You can even pick up a leaflet while you’re there that will tel you about the history of the cafe.
Turin’s excellent museums
There are many museums to visit in Turin. Here are some of the most important ones:
The National Cinema Museum
One of Turin’s most famous museums, dedicated to the history of cinema and cinema today, with a very impressive exhibition.
The Egyptian Museum
Turin is well known for this museum, that hosts a huge collection of items related to the art and culture of ancient Egypt.
Museum of the Risorgimento
A place to learn about an important part of Italy’s history through a huge array of pictures, documents and other items.
The beautiful palaces of Turin
Turin has a lot of palaces to explore, many of them turned into museums and are open to the public. Here are some of the most famous palaces:
The most famous palace in the city, this is in fact a complex of several exhibition spaces, including the Royal rooms, which are stunning. A must when you visit Turin.
This palace is right at the city centre in Piazza Castello next to the royal Palace. It hosts the Museum of Ancient Art with works from different periods: Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque art.
Inside this extremely impressive building, you can see reconstructed Royal apartments. You have to join a guided tour to see this palace.
TIP! You can get a massive discount on admission to Turin’s palace, museums and many other tourist attractions with the Torino + Piedmonte Card.
The viewing point at Monte dei Cappuccini
If you love seeing the city from above (who doesn’t?) I highly recommend this viewing point. It’s located by the River Po on a hill and has a long, wide terrace overlooking the city.
Turin from above
Climb the hill and get beautiful views of Turin from above. It’s one of the city’s best viewing points.
Go up there on a clear, sunny day to enjoy the splendid scenery.
If you take the City Sightseeing bus, it has a stop close to the hill where you can get off to climb it, and then hop on the bus again later.
Street art in Turin
It took me a bit of time to discover Turin’s street art. There are some great murals around the city, including one by well known Belgian artist ROA:
Head to Parco Dora and you’ll find yourself in a huge open air museum of urban art.
It’s a celebration of street art by both Italian and international artists, with a great range of styles, from large murals to graffiti lettering.
MAU – Museum of Urban Art – is another open air museum not too far from Parco Dora.
You’ll find a map on the wall on Via Rocciamelone, and from there just stroll along that street and the ones nearby and spot the artworks all around – murals, paintings, paste-ups etc.
Notice how the street art blends nicely with the restaurants and houses and even benches.
Galo Art Gallery in the city centre is an exhibition space dedicated to urban art and pop art and is well worth a visit.
Join the Turin Street Art Tour to see the city’s best urban art with a local guide.
Valentino Park and Castle
One of the loveliest green spaces in Turin. It’s a large park right by the River Po, so when you walk along the river (which I highly recommend you do, because it’s just beautiful), you will eventually reach this park.
It’s perfect for a picnic, a leisurely stroll and of course jogging and cycling.
As you walk around the park, you’ll spot the beautiful Fountain of the Twelve Months (Fontana di Dodici Mesi) and its marble statues.
Valentino Castle is inside the park. Historically this was one of the Residences of the Royal Savoy Family; today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site housing the Architecture faculty of the Polytechnic University of Turin.
It’s open for visitors only on the first and third Saturday of every month and requires booking at least 8 days in advance in order to visit.
The Medieval Village
Turin has a beautiful reproduction of a Medieval village in Piedmont, inside Valentino Park. It was created in 1882-84.
The Medieval Village in Turin
When you enter the village, called Borgo Medioevale, you can walk around the little streets and see the houses and the fortress and enjoy the unique atmosphere.
It has some small artisan shops and places to buy souvenirs. There are also guided tours you can take. When I visited, the tours were only available in Italian, but it may be possible to do a tour in English too.
The elegant gallerias of Turin
Turin has some incredibly beautiful gallerias or covered passages housing shops, cafes and cinemas.
These are essentially shopping arcades, but they look so elegant that it’s hard to believe that’s all they are.
Galleria Subalpina is the most gorgeous one. It connects piazza Castello and PiazzaCarlo Alberto, so you will walk through it quite a lot when you hang out in the city centre.
Galleria San Federico is another stunning passage in the centre, and home to Lux Cinema, one of the oldest in the city.
Galleria Umberto I, close to Porta Palatina, is another historical galleria, hosting shops and cafes under its glass ceiling.
Art Nouveau in Turin
Turin was called the capital of Art Nouveau at the beginning of the 20th century, and indeed it has some wonderful examples of Art Nouveau architecture.
The Italian version is called Liberty Style.
You’ll spot these especially in the quarter called Cit Turin. The curvy lines and wonderfully detailed floral motifs can be found along Via Luigi Cibrario and Corso Francia, starring the historical Casa Fenoglio-Lafleur.
Also don’t miss Palazzo della Vittoria, or the House of Dragons!
There is more Liberty Style to be found in the district of San Salvario. To see all the buildings and learn more about the style, take a guided walking tour with a professional guide who’ll show you around.
San Lorenzo Church
Located in Piazza Castello, right next to the Royal Palace, San Lorenzo church looks like a normal house on the outside, but is absolutely gorgeous inside.
It was designed by Guarino Guarini, the architect who’s name you’ll hear a lot when you visit Turin, and it has a dome that is very impressive to see from inside the church.
This church is where you can see a replica of the famous holy shroud of Turin (“La Sindone”). The real shroud is inside the Cattedrale di San Giovanni Battista, but is rarely presented to the public. You can see the replica in a small room inside the church.
Take a bike tour of Turin
Go sightseeing on an electric bike! The Royal Turin E-bike Tour will take you to the city’s landmarks in a small group with a local guide.
This is a time-effective way to see several different parts of the city in one tour.
You ride the e-bike through the historical centre, but also reach Valentino park which is a bit farther away, and cross the river to end the tour with a beautiful panoramic view of the city.
Contemporary art in Turin
Contemporary art is thriving in Turin. It even has a special city pass.
The city hosts the international contemporary art fair – Artissima – every year in November, with nearly 200 galleries from around the world participating.
The night of contemporary art also takes place at the same time, with museums and galleries open for free or for a small fee till late at night.
Turin has some prominent galleries and exhibition spaces dedicated to contemporary art that are worth checking out. Here are some of the main ones:
Castello di Rivoli
This contemporary art museum has a large permanent collection plus temporary exhibitions in a historical building. There is a free shuttle bus to take you there from Piazza Castello every Saturday and Sunday.
A contemporary gallery located in a former power station that hosts temporary exhibitions and art events.
Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
A place that supports Italian and international artists, commissioning new works of art and presenting temporary exhibitions.
This museum is dedicated to both contemporary and modern art, so you can find there twentieth century works as well as contemporary ones.
MEF | Museo Ettore Fico
In an abandoned industrial site, this art space offers three annual exhibitions, plus cultural events and workshops.
Naturally, many of the exhibitions are temporary and you’ll need to do a bit of online research before you visit Turin to see what’s on at the dates of your visit. You can also take a guided your with a local guide: The Best Contemporary Art of the Day is a tour offered in English and Italian and includes private viewings at art galleries.
Turin’s theatre – Teatro Regio
The theatre is right next to Piazza Castello, behind Palazzo Madama.
It is a huge theatre with four stages and is well worth a visit.
You can take a guided tour of the theatre with a guide that will tell you about the history of the building, point out interesting things to notice about its architecture and design (there’s a lot to notice!) and will even take you backstage.
The theatre hall itself is a delight, with red and purple design. If you go there for an opera or a concert, you will obviously see it from the inside, otherwise, the guided tour will take you into the hall.
There are tours in English and Italian and you need to buy the tickets in advance at the box office.
A preserved Roman gate, just a few minutes away form the Royal Palace in Turin, this is an ancient monument that’s worth checking out. It was one of the entrances to the city in the roman period.
Balon Flea Market
Turin’s flea market near Porta Palazzo takes place every Saturday morning and every second Sunday. It’s a cheerful, lively and colourful market, with antiques and collectibles, crafts and live street music.
If you look up into the sky when you walk around Turin, sometimes you’ll see a hot air balloon in the sky.
This is the Turin Eye, it will take you up 150 metres above the city for a marvellous view. Pick a clear, sunny day for the best pictures.
It stays in the same location, so you won’t be floating around Turin, but you will still get to see a lot of the city.
If you want to fly around, check out the Hot Air Balloon Flight over Piedmont and Turin.
The Basilica of Superga
Get a spectacular view of the city and its surroundings, including the Alps on a clear day, from this viewing point up a hill overlooking the city.
The basilica is close to Turin and you can take the historic rack-railway train or go up the hill by car and cable-car.
Italy Guide Books
Lonely Planet also have some great specialised guides to Italy (also available as eBooks):
- Best of Italy travel guide – The most popular places in Italy.
- Italy’s Best Trips – 40 road trips around Italy.
- The Italian Lakes travel guide – The title says it all 😉
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I’d like to thank Turismo Torino for their collaboration. All opinions are my own – I really fell in love with this city!