10 Tips for Traveling to Turin, Italy

Turin, Italy sunset view

Turin, Italy has all the makings of a great European destination. An impressive role in Italy’s history, a picturesque location near the Alps, and a lovely river running through it. Yet somehow, this large city in northwest Italy is not a typical stop for tourists to the country. This all piqued my interest in Turin, so I had to visit during my time exploring northern Italy. Today, I’m sharing my tips for your own visit to the first capital of the united Italy and the current capital of the Piedmont region. Enjoy!

Turin Italy skyline with Mole Antonelliana during sunset
Turin city Porticos
Gnocci in Turin restaurant

Brush Up on Some Italian

Before landing in Turin, or Torino, as the Italians call it, you’ll definitely want to have some basic Italian in your arsenal. Unlike other large cities such as Rome, Florence, or Venice, Turin is not touristy. At all. There isn’t a single proper hostel in the city (not counting the one in someone’s attic), and I didn’t feel I saw any other tourist my entire time there. I probably did, but they didn’t stick out.

Turino Italia during sunset

That all being said, you’ll want to brush up on your Italian skills. You’ll likely be fine at museums and popular places to eat, but try to learn the basic greetings, questions, and menu items in Italian to make life easier. I love Duolingo’s free mobile app version for this.  I’ll usually start a language a couple weeks before arriving to a new destination.

Restaurants Aren’t Open All Day

When I arrived in Turin in the middle of a bright, sunny day, it felt like a ghost town. Every business’s shutters were shut. It looked like the whole city was shut down! (It didn’t help that every shutter was graffitied.) But after a day in Turin, I started realizing all the restaurants and cafes were on a certain time schedule. Around 12:00 – 1:30pm for lunch, and around 7:00pm – 10:00 or later for dinner. Once I realized this, I reacted accordingly. I stopped by a grocery store for breakfast foods and snacks, and I made sure to eat a large lunch.

Caffe Al Bicerin building in Turin

Pro tip: This time schedule is actually quite common in non-touristy Italian cities (like Genoa and Bologna). It’s only the touristy destinations that open most of the day, like in the US.

Have a Bicerin

Love coffee? Love hot chocolate, too? Then Turin is the place for you. It’s the birthplace of bicerin, a traditional hot drink of espresso, chocolate, and milk layered in a glass. You can’t leave Turin without trying this drink! Two popular spots to enjoy it are Caffe Al Bicerin and Cafe Torino. I went to Caffe Al Bicerin and can report back that the ambiance inside is so cozy.

Caffe Al Bicerin in Turin

Head to Monte dei Capuccini for Sunset

Did you really visit Turin if you didn’t see that view? The one in all the photographs and brochures? Jokes aside, the iconic view over Turin from Monte dei Capuccini is really gorgeous and absolutely worth the short uphill trek from the city center. This is the closest thing to a touristy spot in Turin, but you should have no problem getting an unobstructed view. You can see all the way to the Alps, which had bits of snow when I went in early September! I recommend going during sunset, but anytime of day is worth it.

Monte dei Capuccini view over Turin Italy

See the Mole Antonelliana

The Mole Antonelliana is the landmark of Turin. It was originally meant to be a synagogue, but ended up as a monument. Inside the Mole Antonelliana is the National Museum of Cinema, as well as an elevator to the top of the building for panoramic views over Turin. You can purchase tickets for €8, plus €1.50 if bought in advance on the official site

Mole Antonelliana in Turin Italy

Expect Turin to Look a Little Grunge

Especially when businesses have their graffiti-covered shutters closed between lunch and dinner, Turin can look a little grungy. It’s an industrial city, and it shows in some areas. It’s nothing to be concerned about, but just a heads up in case you’re used to Italian destinations like Florence, for example. Simply take the same precautions you would anywhere else, like not flashing valuables unnecessarily and trying not to walk alone after dark.

Italian street performers in Turin

Strut Down Via Roma

Parts of Turin look a little grunge, but other parts carry on Turin’s elegant past. You can definitely feel Turin’s impressive history while strolling between huge columns on Via Roma, a posh shopping street running between Piazza Castello and Piazza Carlo Felice. This area is also the historical center of Turin, so definitely don’t miss it.

Piazza San Carlo behind Via Roma in Turin

Hang out in Piazza San Carlo

The Piazza San Carlo is halfway down the Via Roma. It’s home to two historical cafes, the San Carlo and Caffè Torino, as well as two churches, the Chiesa San Carlo and  theChiesa Santa Cristina. This beautiful and large square stood out to me during my time in Turin, so I definitely recommend spending some time walking through here.

Piazza San Carlo en Torino Italia

Grab Dinner in Piazza Vittorio Veneto

The Piazza Vittorio Veneto is a large, bustling square lined with several cafes and restaurants along its edge. It boasts a lovely view of the Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio over the Po River, making it the perfect spot to wind down after a day of exploring Turin. It’s also very close to that viewpoint I mentioned earlier, so depending what time sunset is, you might want to time these together.

Piazza Vittorio Veneto and Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio in Turin, Italy

Wear Bug Repellent at Parco del Valentino

Walking along Po River and checking out the Fontana di Dodici Mesi, Arco del Valentino, and Borgo Medievale de Torino in Turin’s Parco del Valentino is a great way to get away from the strong city vibes. But make sure to wear bug repellant! Even if you’re wearing all long sleeves like I was, those pesky bugs might find their way onto your ankles and wrists. You’ve officially been warned!

Fontana di Dodici Mesi in Turin Italy

In Summary

Overall, I get why Turin is no Rome or Florence. But it’s a pretty cool spot if you’re curious to see “the real” Italy – one where locals, and not tourists, prevail.

What Do You Think?

Do you have any questions on my time in Turin, Italy? Have you ever been to Turin? What did you think? I know I barely scratched the surface in my two days there, so I’d love some Turin travel tips for my return. Let me know in the comments below!

Save These Tips on Pinterest to Return to Later

Debating Turin Italy travel but not sure what to do in Turin Italy? These are my Turin Italy Travel Tips you should know before visiting this Northern Italy destination. Includes things to do in Turin like the Mole Antonelliana, Turin photography and Turin pictures, and Turin food and drink. Italie Torino Italia Italien Reise Enjoy!


  • Anonymous
    January 14, 2021 at 7:29 PM

    Wow it sounds like such an amazing destination! And authentically Italian for anyone looking more into that.

    • That Travelista
      January 15, 2021 at 1:51 PM

      Yes, it was nice to explore a place without crowds!

  • Guided by Destiny
    January 14, 2021 at 5:31 AM

    I miss Italy so much! I hadn’t looked much into Turin, but my goal for the coming years is to visit places that are less heard of. I love that you said you didn’t feel like you saw any tourists and you feel like you got a real taste of Italy. I will definitely be adding it to my list!

    • That Travelista
      January 15, 2021 at 1:50 PM

      Aw, yay! Glad to hear that, and I hope you enjoy it when you visit!

  • Miss Rover
    January 13, 2021 at 3:09 PM

    I love the idea of going somewhere not as crowded and getting maybe a better sense of the culture. Thank you for sharing! I have yet to go to Italy, but i’ll definitely be saving this for when I do.

    • That Travelista
      January 15, 2021 at 1:50 PM

      Yes, I really do feel that you get a more complete sense of a culture by getting a bit off the beaten path!

  • Karen
    January 13, 2021 at 1:43 PM

    A wonderful guide to a less visited city. Just the kind of place I love in Italy. I would love to try a bircerin.

    • That Travelista
      January 15, 2021 at 1:49 PM

      Thanks, Karen! 🙂

  • Sarah Camp | In Search of Sarah
    January 13, 2021 at 10:32 AM

    Oh how I miss Italy!! I’ve always wanted to get to Turin after our first trip to Italy in 2017. Saving this for when we can visit. I miss my Italian coffees!

    • That Travelista
      January 15, 2021 at 1:48 PM

      I miss Italy so much, too!! It’s one of the first places I will head post-pandemic.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.