So I recently booked a surprise weekend break for my husband (for his 30th!) to Florence. We were travelling toddler free, from Manchester to Pisa, for two nights. To find out how to get a good deal in school holidays, head to my blog School Holiday Travel City Break in Florence at Easter.
It took a very long time searching the internet to find out how to get from Pisa Airport to Florence and even then the advice I found wasn’t totally clear. We had to suss it out when we got there. Hopefully, this blog will be clear and helpful to any other fellow weekend breakers, especially for people like me who haven’t been to Italy before!
So when you arrive in Pisa and head through passport control, collect your baggage and then head towards the exit.
Before you leave the airport (straight ahead) turn left inside the airport, following the signs for the Pisa Mover.
Continue to follow these signs, out of the airport towards a large green staircase (enclosed staircase in like a green perforated metal, you can’t miss it). You can climb the stairs or get the lift up to the shuttle platform.
When you get up there, you can buy your single or return tickets either with cash or on your card. It was €2.70 for a single per adult. The machines are really easy to use, you can select the language first. There is also an attendant near by to help if you need any.
When you have got your ticket, head to the entrance, scan your ticket and the clear doors (barrier/gate) will let you through. Again, the attendant helps everyone here, top tip, suitcase first through the barriers!
Then simply wait for the next shuttle to arrive, get on it and stay on it. It takes you straight to Pisa Centrale train station (2nd stop).
When you arrive at the station, you will head down stairs and then to the left to exit from the main entrance. There are other side doors on the way which you can exit from if you wish.
When you arrive in Pisa, either spend some time exploring (see Pisa blog post) or continue on to Florence.
To buy train tickets for Florence, head to the main Pisa Station entrance. Find the Red machines situated all around the entrance or you can buy directly from the ticket office. I would highly recommend using the machine, it’s much easier unless you can speak Italian!
Again, as with the shuttle, select the language and follow the instructions, picking the destination, Firenze SMN (Santa Maria Novella), the time and the date.
One thing to note, Florence is called Firenze!
You will notice that some trains take longer than others, the quickest being about 49 minutes and the longest upto 2 hours! Unless you love trains, you don’t want the 2 hour slow trains, they are so busy and you may have to stand!
Select the number of tickets you want and pay as before. Wait for the tickets to be printed, the machines are slow! Top tip, when booking a time slot, give yourself plenty of time to find and get to your platform, at least 10 minutes! Sometimes they are harder to reach, especially when busy!
Next, look for the platform you need, this information will be on the big screens overhead. Bare in mind that the destinations displayed are the end destination, like in England, it might not say Firenze SMN if that is just a stop on the way. However, it will list (just to the right hand side) all the stops.
The best way that we found is to look for the time of your chosen train journey. This information is NOT displayed on your ticket so remember it when you buy your ticket. Find the train time, double check it stops in Firenze SMN and look for the platform number. Then simply head to that platform, all clearly signposted.
IMPORTANT! You must validate your ticket before you get on the train or you will get a fine.
To do this, find a machine, as below, they are small and mounted on the wall.
They can be found as you leave the main station entrance to head to the platform or on the actual platform. There are loads and easy to find! Just pop your ticket in as shown, wait for the green light and then you are ready to get on the train.
Just wait on the platform, again, like England, there are clear signs and information boards to tell you which train is arriving. Then jump on the train. Top tip, try and get on first if you want a seat, they fill up very fast even though they are big double decker trains! The trains were immaculate and looked brand new, very well kept and looked after. It was a really relaxing and comfortable way to travel and a great way to see the beautiful Italian countryside.
Stay on train until you arrive at Firenze SMN (the 2nd Firenze stop). Get off and head to the exit. Florence train station is big and the surrounding area is lovely unlike most train stations.
The station is located in the centre of Florence so you can then walk to wherever it is you are going. You can also get taxis, trams and buses from directly outside the station.
First on the agenda has to be good food and a large wine in the sun!
To find out how to get back to Pisa Airport with ease or what to do while in Florence. See my other blog posts!