Pisa is an Italian city that barely needs an introduction. Home of one of the most famous buildings in the world, the iconic Leaning Tower, Pisa is a place that regularly appears at the very top of people’s travel destination bucket lists.
It’s a fact that Pisa has more to offer than its Leaning Tower or even its spectacular cathedral and baptistery. This beautiful medieval city is a charming place to explore, and like just about every Italian city, it is packed with historical interest, cultural treasures, and excellent food. However, Pisa is quite small, especially compared to cities like Florence and Rome. And while there is more than enough to do here to keep you occupied for a couple of days, if you stay longer than that, you may find yourself looking for other interesting areas to explore.
Fortunately, Pisa is surrounded by some great natural areas. This region of Italy is blessed with some incredible scenery, from mountains to seashores, and thanks to the country’s well-developed train network, Pisa’s Central Station, Pisa Centrale, can provide the perfect gateway to explore them.
Leave your bags behind at a Pisa Centrale luggage storage facility and bring only what you need, whether it’s hiking boots, a swimsuit, or both, to some of these incredible landscapes close to the city. Along the way, you’ll get to explore part of what makes this area of northern Italy so special.
San Rossore and Massaciuccoli Park
One of the most easily reached parks from Pisa Centrale, this area provides a welcome respite from the busy atmosphere of the city. But despite its proximity to the urban environment, this park contains a variety of beautiful landscapes to explore that will make you feel like you’ve gone much further from Pisa than you really have.
This protected area preserves the coastal environment outside Pisa and Livorno and contains forests, river estuaries, beaches, and charming Italian towns. There are endless hiking trails to explore here, or you could charter a boat and head along the coastline to uncover secret coves and beautiful Mediterranean scenery.
One-third of the park’s surface area is covered with forest, so this is also a great place to come if you want to enjoy a woodland trail and beat the summer heat. Or you could visit San Rossore itself, an area that was once the home of the Italian president and now forms the largest pine forest in Europe.
Easy to reach by train, car, or on a private tour, this sprawling park provides a taste of the Italian countryside in the shadow of one of its most iconic cities.
Marina di Pisa
Pisa isn’t quite a coastal city, but the seaside is never far away. Just on the other side of the regional Park, you’ll find Marina di Pisa, which functions as the city’s harbor and one of its most beloved beaches.
Don’t expect to have the beach yourself, especially during the busy summer season. This is where local people come to escape the heat of the city as well as tourists looking for a glimpse of the Mediterranean while they explore Pisa. Still, the lively atmosphere can be part of the charm here.
As is usually the case with Italian beaches, you can take your pick from a free beach open to anyone or a selection of beach clubs that will rent you a lounge chair and umbrella and provide you with drinks and even an on-site restaurant. That means you can tailor your beach day to your budget and how you want to spend your time. The beach here faces west, so it’s especially beautiful at sunset when you can watch the sun set into the Mediterranean waters while enjoying a cocktail. There are few more beautiful natural experiences to have in Pisa than that.
The Tuscany region of Italy is known throughout the world for its beautiful rolling landscape, and with a little planning, you can explore it for yourself from the city of Pisa. The Pisan Hills divide Pisa from Lucca and provide an incredible landscape for exploration, whether you want to go on a wine-tasting tour, visit ancient castles, or just hike a forest trail far away from civilization.
Wine lovers should definitely take the time to check out the Colline Pisane wine trail, which winds its way through these ancient hills and visits several vineyards and estates where you can try incredible vintages and learn more about the winemaking process – not to mention all the delicious food you’ll be provided with.
You can also visit almost forgotten towns like Crespina, with its contemporary art gallery and owl breeding center, or Lorenzano, a sleepy village offering marvelous views of the countryside. Almost anywhere you go in this region, you’ll encounter new scenic splendors, so it makes a great day trip or long weekend trip from Pisa into the countryside.
This last entry on our list is more or less the opposite of a hidden gem. Even if you’ve never heard of these five villages, you’ve probably seen them without knowing them on postcards, pictures, travel guides, and screensavers.
These beautiful fishing villages, with their colorful houses and rugged coastal views, are one of the most popular attractions in the area, and they are easy to reach by train from Pisa Centrale. The beautiful coastline has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its astounding beauty, and there is a coastal trail you can hike along the cliffs between the villages that will treat you to incredible views of the Ligurian coast. You’ll need to plan ahead if you want to visit during the busy summer season, as the small villages quickly fill up with international tourists. Still, if you want to admire some of the best scenery in all of Europe, it’s worth it to make the journey here.
Pisa’s scenic natural landscapes
As you can see from this list, Pisa has some incredible natural environments to explore. Once you’ve seen the beautiful architecture and history of the city, why not immerse yourself in a more natural experience? With your bags safely stored, you’ll be ready to enjoy all the scenic beauty this part of Tuscany can give you.