Are you tired of touristic tips? We are! This is why we created the 5 cool things to do in Florence!
You can get the secret local tips for Florence only right here, only with us.
We are Anna&Matt, the Hostelgeeks. We love to share with you always authentic travel tips. And so we share with you as well our non touristy things to do in Florence.
Good to know: You have to buy the ticket to see David Statue beforehand. It is usually sold out 7 days before.
Find our guide to where to eat in Venice here.
We share here secrets to eat out cheaply with recommended restaurants by locals.
Florence is marvelous and so many things to see.
But, as you already know, Florence is a popular tourist destination.
Read: best hostels in Florence – compared
Sharing non-touristy stuff for Florence
Thanks to a local friend (living there since 2009), we discovered the non-touristy part of Florence.
This includes small cafés to chill, local pizza places, and ice cream.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
- Who wants a local pizza? Cheap and super delicious!
- Get a café/ smoothie here and enjoy a different view to Ponte Vecchio
- Vegan gelateria, lounge to chill, and even small events
- An unusual (and unexpected) thing to do in Florence
- Artsy café with great coffee and Panini
Additionally, we will give you some basic introduction to Florence.
This includes public toilets, lots of espressos, and the best way to get around.
Fun Things to do in Florence
If you are bored (or even sick) of touristic guides, then this guide is your solution. Usually, you have to download the travel guide.
However, the secret spots to Florence are publicly available here.
Fan of printed guides? We recommend Rick Steves Guide to Florence.
So, let’s have a look on what’s on it:
1. Best Pizza in Florence
Delicious, cheap, easy-going!
It was surprising to see that you can get this amazing pizza for such a low price – in FLORENCE!
We are talking about „Gusta Pizza“.
100% delicious Italian pizza, made by two fun chefs, clearly enjoying their job. We talked to them.
They make more than 800 Pizza a day – at least!
You can get a Pizza Margarita for only 4,50€ and choose between 7 different Pizzas.
2. Popcafé, Panini and Art Gallery
This café is located right around the corner of our tip #1 in this guide, the pizzeria, and right at the square “Piazza Santo Spirito”.
We love to come here as the coffee is great, the panini are delicious, and the vibes artsy.
There are many magazines, newspapers, artistic things to discover.
You and your eye will be busy here for sure.
Also, there are different exhibitions by local artists, and different events.
This is their facebook page, so you can have a look if some events are taking place.
For us, this is perfect place to slow down from all the hectic in the city.
3. Albero Café + a window to the bridge
The Ponte Vecchio is a beautiful bridge. You may have seen it already hundreds of times.
It is also a touristic hot spot.
BUT, right behind the bridge (coming from the main train station), you can actually find a great place to get a coffee and juice for the local price.
We recommend to get a coffee here or a juice (or even something to eat).
Take the drinks with you and follow the street “Borgo S. Jacopo”.
On the right hand side you will see and entrance with views to the river and the bridge.
A beautiful calm spot to enjoy a lovely view.
4. Unusual thing to do in Florence: Street Art Hunting + Shop
This was really surprising! Florence is loaded with cute, hidden street art.
Keep an eye on the street signs, and the alleys of the city.
You can score some great photos plus enjoy the creativity of the local artist.
And even better: There is a street art shop of the artist Clet Abraham!
You can buy stickers, postcards and more at this little shop, supporting local art.
Check out their facebook if you like street art, you will be impressed.
Address: Via dell’Olmo, 8, 50125 Firenze, Italy
PS.: Here you can find a detailed article with background information about street art in Florence and Italy.
5. Vegan Gelateria, Snacks and Concerts: Vivaldi
This Gelateria is located on the way to/from the Piazza Michelangelo, and a great place to get a rest.
Have a coffee, tasty ice cream, and sit down in the lounge of Vivaldi.
If you are lucky, you will get a seat at one of the couches. And don’t be shy. It is common to join other people on the table.
However, ask first if it’s okay. We never got a no.
Additionally, they organize different concerts and events.
Make sure you check out their facebook for those events.
Basic recommendations for Florence
Florence is gorgeous AND super popular.
You will spot quite a lot of big tourist groups surrounding monuments, blocking streets and so on.
Our recommendation: get up early and head to the city center!
As in every touristic city around the world, the tourism life starts from 9am.
The time before, you will have the freedom to walk around quietly and watch the city awakening.
Make sure you check as well Get Your Guide for activities and tours.
This is our trusted website where we always book our tours.
1. Toilet vs. Espresso
Using a public toilet around Florence costs usually 1€ (sometimes even more).
We recommend to walk into a café and get an espresso (±1€) or Cappuccino (±1,50€) instead.
This way you „pay“ for the toilet plus you have a good coffee.
We love riding a bike around the city. It is faster, you can see more in less time.
Florence is certainly a city where it is worth it to rent a bike! Take this into consideration.
3. Unique Tours
There are a lot of walking tours in Florence. Join them! There is free tours for the budget traveller, and guided tours by Walks Of Italy.
You will hear some fun facts and background stories of the city, absolutely worth it.
You can find many cool tours in Florence with Get Your Guide.
My favorite tour company is Walks of Italy.
They offer unique tours around Florence, Italy and a few destinations around Europe and the US.
What makes them unique?
Well, they host tours with unique access. This can be the exclusive access to the Duomo and its terrace and the Accedemia. Meaning, you and a small group of max 15 people can admire the David Statue – with no crowds around!
This is absolutely amazing!
We joined their tours in Venice, Florence and Athens.
4. Skip The Line Ticket for Michelangelo
It might not be surprising: Michelangelo is the #1 thing to see in Florence.
Make sure you get your timed entrance ticket BEFORE going there.
This way you skip the line and don’t waste your valuable time waiting in a queue.
The Best Guided Tour: The most unique tour still is the VIP After Hours tour. You will enter the Florence Accademia after normal closing hours, and experience an close-encounter with Michelangelo’s David without the usual crowds.
Where to stay in Florence?
We elaborate a useful article with the 3 best hostels in Florence.
For the best hotels in Florence for families and couples, check out the guide on where to stay in Florence.
This article includes following hostels, with all the details, and our top recommendations for each type of traveler.
A great option to stay is actually in Bologna. There you will find the 5 Star Hostel We Bologna Hostel.
Besides staying at a fabulous Hostel awarded as a 5 Star Hostel, you will also get to enjoy an absolute fantastic non-touristic city.
Bologna is certainly one of our favorite hidden gems in Europe.
Stunning food, local prices, great vibes.
Travel to Bologna, thank us later!
You can find our 5 secret travel tips to Bologna here.
More useful information
Still looking for cheap flights? Have a look at www.Kiwi.com, it’s a powerful flight search engine – they even have a so-called “radius search”.
Here is our full review of Kiwi.com.
We enjoy a walking tour as the first thing to do when arriving to a new city. It’s usually the perfect introduction since the guides usually share tips and tricks on the city.
5 years traveling in style and counting. We share our best packing tips in our smart packing list. You can even download the list and print it out.
Find the packing list here.
Hostel Packing List
It is time to see what you should pack in your backpack or suitcase. Make sure you always pick a quality hostel, it totally reduces the things you need to pack. Here is our ultimate hostel packing list. It features 23 items you should really throw in your backpack.The most important things to pack are:
- eye mask
- key chain flashlight
- the right backpack, the Nomatic (our review of Nomatic here) or Lowe Alpine Lightflite 45 Pack
- packing cubes
- generic padlock (fitting all locker types)
- quick-dry travel towel
- universal power adapter
- travel-sized toiletries