In my recent post about the best day trips from Florence, I recommend Florence as a great and convenient base for your holidays in Tuscany, especially in case you prefer using public transport and are not willing to rent a car.
If you base yourself in Florence, you actually don’t need a car, as you can reach almost all major Tuscan destinations and sights by bus or train; though not all of them!
Tuscany by car
In fact Tuscany is quite a large region of Italy, and many of its beautiful and suggestive places can only be reached by car, unless you take advantage of one of the many organized tours.
The best way to travel Tuscany and explore its scenic picturesque countryside is actually by car! Driving along curving roads amid the colorful Tuscan slopes is a pleasant experience! You can stop here and there to take wonderful pics, admire outstanding panoramas, or simply “get lost” to discover new charming and suggestive places off the beaten path.
Siena as home base for your Holiday in Tuscany
In case you are going to rent a car, I suggest Siena as the ideal base for your holiday in Tuscany! Why Siena and not Florence?
First because driving in Florence can be a nightmare! There’s a lot of traffic, roads can be a chaos! you can’t reach all parts of Florence with your own car due to limited traffic areas and car parks are quite expensive!
Second, if you are looking for a more quiet vacation, Siena should be your base. Florence tends to be overcrowded almost all year long, so after all day seeing the sights in Florence or anywhere else you may want to come back to a more peaceful and silent retreat, a relaxing hotel in the countryside, or maybe right in Siena 🙂
Siena rises on a hill and enjoys a spectacular vista, it is immersed in the countryside, enjoys a wonderful and unique landscape. Its medieval cityscape is unique and so extremely appealing… that’s the Tuscan town to fall in love with 🙂
For a very chic and comfortable stay right in Siena’s historic center, find my personal suggestions on Siena best hotels and accommodations.
Here follows a list of our favorite places to visit in Tuscany having Siena as a base. They are best reached by car but you can well use public transportation, mainly bus, from Siena. Find all bus routes from Siena and click the link “Mappa extraurbano Siena” on the right. And here you can check for bus schedules from Siena.
Great Day Trips from Siena
1. Florence, the town of art par excellence
Florence is full of art and beauty, a continuous discovery of pieces of art and exceptional sights, even if you just walk the streets of its wonderful historic center. If you come not just to Tuscany but to Italy itself, Florence is a must visit. Discover Florence’s Top Attractions here.
2. Chianti countryside and its hill towns
Chianti is the scenic country home to the famed Chianti Classico wine, with verdant hills and forests, perfect vineyards, medieval castles, delightful villages atop hills, and, of course, a lot of wineries. If you are a wine lover, Chianti is the perfect place to be, ideal to have wine tastings and enjoy typical Tuscan dishes.
3. Monteriggioni + San Gimignano, medieval gems of Tuscany
Monteriggioni has a unique layout and has practically remained as it was in the Middle Ages. Made unique by a circle of fortified walls, bastions, and towers all surrounding its tiny center, with characteristic medieval buildings and houses in stone. San Gimignano doesn’t need any presentation, its striking medieval towers are famous all around the world; but San Gimignano is not just towers, there’s much more to discover.
4. Crete Senesi, land of the moon
A real land of the moon in Tuscany, with unique scenic hills running side by side in a picturesque and absolutely unique country; barren slopes and ravines make the landscape sometimes similar to a desert. Lovely hill towns rise here and there dominating the landscape. Here you can taste the precious white truffle. Discover the Crete Senesi here.
3. Montepulciano + Pienza, gems of Tuscany with stunning vistas
Montepulciano is so beautiful and characteristic to take your breath away! as is Pienza, the ideal town of the Renaissance! Just wander their medieval alleys to be enchanted by elegant palaces, lovely churches, and stop at every corner to be filled by stunning spectacular views.
5. Val d’Orcia: Montalcino + Bagno Vignoni
The Val d’Orcia is the land of the most beautiful postcards you see of Tuscany, probably the most extraordinary countryside in Italy, a sea of undulating green hills, cypress lined roads, and some of the most beautiful Tuscan hills towns and villages, not to mention the delicious local products, like wine, cheese, olive oil. Set in the heart of the Val d’Orcia, Bagno Vignoni is unique! Its medieval Renaissance pool is its main square, an amazing sight! Montalcino is not just home to the precious Brunello wine, but also a beautiful hill village with an impressive fortress and an amazing panorama.
With a dominant location on the very top of a hill on the border between Tuscany and Umbria, this striking town of Etruscan origin, is simply magical, with one of the most beautiful and vastest panorama in the region! Cortona’s main square is enchanting.
That’s quite a challenging tour of Tuscany! isn’t it?:-)
Consider that such a travel itinerary requires about 5-7 days, so, in case you have a more limited time to spend for your vacation in Tuscany, or you prefer to spend some more time relaxing or doing some other activity, I suggest you focus on Florence, the Val d’Orcia (Pienza, Montalcino, possibly Bagno Vignoni), and Montepulciano! That’s what you really can’t miss visiting!
Any other day trip to suggest? Enjoy your trip to Tuscany 🙂 Need help in planning your Tuscan Trip? Ask here for a free tailored made itinerary!