Looking for the best things to do in Turin? We’ve been to Turin (or Torino as the locals call it) half a dozen times and it’s become our favourite Italian city. So, whether you’re coming for a day or several weeks, read on to discover what to see in Turin, the Paris of Italy.
- Welcome to Turin Video
- Must-See Sights & Turin Attractions
- Museums & Galleries
- Walking Tours in Turin
- Parks & Outdoor Activities
- Day Trips from Torino
- Things to do in Turin at Night
- Yoga Studios & Mindful Activities
- Torino Foods You Must Try
- Eco-Friendly Hostels & Hotels in Turin
- Should You Get the Torino Piemonte Card?
- How to Get to Turin
You might know Turin, if you know it at all, from the famous Shroud of Turin, a piece of cloth that was said to wrap the crucified body of Jesus. Though science has shown that it’s likely not true, the Shroud has taken on a mysticism of its own and still attracts thousands of worshippers to the city each year.
If religion isn’t your thing, then Torino might only ring a bell in the context of the Winter Olympics. You may have watched your favourite Olympians battling for gold in Turin in 2006.
Or perhaps you know Turin because it’s the birthplace of both Nutella, Italy’s most ubiquitous brand, and Fiat, the world’s most rambunctious car.
Beyond that, Turin remains largely unknown among foreign visitors. When I told friends and family I was spending three months in Torino this year, the most common response was “Where is that again?”.
It’s not hard to see why, in a country that boasts such revered cities as Venice, Rome, Florence, and Milan, another city might struggle to get noticed.
Though it may be less famous, Torino offers a diverse list of attractions for tourists.
For a start, Torino was the seat of the royal Savoy family starting in the 1500s and because of that, it’s practically bursting with royal residences. It’s also where the aperitivo (pre-dinner drinks with snacks) was invented and is the birthplace of brands like Martini Rossi and Cinzano.
Plus, Torino introduced the modern chocolate bar and hot chocolate to the world!
For outdoorsy types, the Alps are only an hour’s drive away and there are exceptional walking trails with outstanding views all around the city.
Besides all of this, Torino has something that none of the more famous Italian cities can boast:
The complete absence of zillions of foreign tourists.
This is what makes Torino our favourite Italian city. In Turin, you can viva l’Italia alongside Italians without fighting for space with a bunch of other foreigners.
So, if you want a taste of the true Italian lifestyle, read on find out what do to in Turin.
Welcome to Turin Video
Watch our short video for a visual tour of Torino!
Must-See Sights & Turin Attractions
Always open, free
Turin was the first capital of Italy and was also the royal seat of the Savoys. The Royal Family are gone but they left behind far more than their fair share of palaces and dramatic squares.
Piazza Castello is the king of them all — and the first place you should go in Torino. This immense square is ringed with magnificent royal buildings, including Palazzo di Reale and Palazzo Madama.
People-watchers will definitely want to linger, observing Italian families stroll the piazza, play in the fountains, and slurp cones of artisanal gelato.
Palazzo Reale / Royal Palace
Open Tue–Sun, 8.30am–6pm
Book ahead to skip the line and take a tour, €45
Free with Torino + Piemonte Card
The Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) is the striking 16th Century structure on the north(ish) side of Piazza Castello. Follow the locals walking through the palace grounds and out back, where you’ll find hidden the wonderful castle gardens (Giardini Reale), which are free to all.
To go inside the palace, buy a ticket which includes:
- Museo di Antichità – don’t miss the magnificent mosaic floors and the almost unbelievable stories behind their discoveries.
- Palazzo Reale – walk through and try to imagine living in these grand but highly uncomfortable quarters.
- The Royal Armoury – Game of Thrones fans will not want to miss seeing this. I could have spent hours admiring the beautifully adorned armour and weapons which seemed to contrast so greatly with their ultimate ugly purpose.
- The Chapel of the Shroud – though the Shroud of Turin is no longer housed here, the chapel is arguably the more impressive sight. The domed ceiling is one of the most incredible pieces of architecture I have ever seen.
Palazzo Madama / Madama Palace
Open Wed–Mon, 10am–6pm, €10
Free with Torino + Piemonte Card
In the mid-1600s, Torino was led by Princess Regent Christine Marie of France — the Madama of Palazzo Madama. Inside the palace, you can see Medieval sculpture and jewelry, Middle Ages and Renaissance art, paintings and furniture from the 17th & 18th century, and some of the finest examples of Italian applied arts. Yes, it’s an eclectic collection!
Our favourite part of the palace was the top of the tower, which gives you 360-degree views of the city below. Seeing Piazza Castello and the Royal Palace from this height was definitely worth the climb.
Mole Antonelliana & The Panoramic Lift
Open Sun, Mon, Wed–Fri, 9am–8pm, open Sat, 9am–11pm, closed Tuesday, €8
€6 with Torino + Piemonte Card
If there’s one structure that symbolizes Turin, it’s the Mole Antonelliana. The tower, built in the late 1800s, was initially conceived as a synagogue. Before it was complete, the city bought it and turned into a monument to national unity.
For a wandering tourist, the Mole soon becomes a useful landmark because the top of the tower can be seen from all over town. If you pause and crane your neck up, up, up, you might see people near the top of the tower, peering back down at you.
Early on your first day in Torino, head inside the Mole and grab your ticket for the Mole Panoramic Lift.
This incredible lift — with entirely glass walls — rises straight up through the wide open centre of the Mole tower. Architecture buffs will be thrilled to see the inside of the structure and thrill seekers will just be thrilled. This thing is high!
It’s also possible to climb a set of stairs in the tower interior to reach the top. Perfect if you want to start your day with a workout.
When you get to the top, you’ll have a 360-degree view of the city with the Alps rising gloriously all around.
Museums & Galleries
Egyptian Museum / Museo Egizio
Open Mon, 9am–2pm, Tue–Sun, 9am–6:30pm, €15, book ahead & skip the line
Free with Torino + Piemonte Card
What’s the world’s second most important Egyptian Museum doing in a city you’ve barely heard of? Well, it turns out that around the turn of the last century, Torino’s best archaeologists were all in Egypt, pulling stuff from tombs of the ancient Egyptian kings and queens.
No matter how you feel about disturbing the afterlife of upper-class Egyptians, the museum unarguably houses an impressive collection. It includes mummified people, cats, dogs, small mammals, and even a few rodents. There are also hundreds of stone statues ranging from finger-sized to towering giants.
In the final salon of the museum, depictions of the most important Egyptian gods glower down at visitors under eerie lighting, perhaps making known exactly how they feel about living their afterlives in a museum in Torino.
Travel tip: If you’re short on time or patience, start in the final gallery, which is the most impressive.
National Cinema Museum / Museo Nazionale del Cinema
Open 9am–8pm every day, except Saturday closes at 11pm, Tuesday closed all day, €11
Free with Torino + Piemonte Card
Inside the famous Mole tower, extremely clever architects have installed one of Turin’s other most famous attractions. The Cinema Museum winds up along walkways that loop the inner perimeter of the tower.
The museum houses everything a cinematic history buff might want to see — from the very beginning of moving pictures (which were really just still pictures animated with shadows and light), to the modern day of 3D and CG magic. There are old cameras and historical films and cinematic sets and classic films and movie posters and… absolutely everything cinema-related.
If you love moving pictures, this is your number one thing to do in Torino.
Museum of the Holy Shroud & Turin Cathedral
Turin cathedral is free, the museum is open daily, 9am–12pm, 3pm–7pm, €8
Free with Torino + Piemonte Card
You would think that such an important relic would have been sealed off under lock and key as soon as it was discovered. But, instead, after it first came to light in the 14th Century in France, the Shroud:
- Went on a medieval European road trip.
- Was almost burned up in a 16th Century fire.
- Was hand-patched by nuns after the fire.
- Had an incredible chapel created for it in Turin.
- Was almost destroyed in 1997 when the Chapel of the Shroud was destroyed in a fire.
Not a bad journey for a piece of soiled herringbone linen with very questionable lineage.
Now, anyone can pop into The Turin Cathedral (Duomo di Torino) and (sort of) see the Shroud, where it lies enclosed in an aerospace engineered display case topped by multilayer safety glass. This case is protected by an outer case (kind of like a sarcophagus), that keeps it from physical harm in the form of fire, building collapse, or other mishaps.
And before you start planning a heist, you should know that the whole thing is monitored by an elaborate computer system.
If you want to learn more about the shroud, Museum of the Holy Shroud does a good job of explaining its origins and the journey it has taken since it was first discovered.
Walking Tours in Turin
Free Walking Tour
10:30 am, around 3 hours, offered in different language on different days, free
Whenever we arrive in a new city, we love to do a free walking tour to get our bearings, learn a little about the city’s history, and get tips on where to eat and what to see.
In Turin, there are a couple of free walks to get you started:
Both will take you to the major sights in Torino and introduce you to the tales of the city. As with any free walking tour, you are expected to tip your guide at the end if you enjoyed it.
Welcome to Turin Tour
Customized guided tour, 2–6 hours, book ahead online
This customized private tour with a Torino local is the perfect way to discover the hidden highlights of Turin. You’ll get tips on the best restaurants, where to go for wine on tap, how to get around, and whatever else interests you.
3-Hour Downtown and Egyptian Museum Tour
Guided tour, 3 hours, book ahead online
If you’re short on time in Turin, this tour will show you the biggest highlights and the best of the Egyptian museum. Your entry ticket to the Egyptian museum is included in this tour.
Parks & Outdoor Activities
Being cradled by the Alps on three sides, and rolling hills of Italian farmland on the fourth, there is no shortage of nature to escape to near Torino. You can also find plenty of green space inside the city if you need an afternoon listening to songbirds and feeling the soft earth under your feet.
Walk Along the Po
When in Torino, an evening walk by the river Po is a great way to end the day. Parco Valentino provides the perfect spot.
Start at Borgo Medievale, a replica of a medieval village built as a 19th century tourist attraction. It’s weird but delightful at the same time. Then wander along the Po, watch rowers practice out on the water, admire the expensive villas on the opposite bank, and stop at one of the many food vendors for a glass of wine or apertivo.
Visit La Mandria Regional Park
If you need more greenery, head to the 3,000-hectare expanse of Parco la Mandria, just north of the city. Here, welcoming pathways wind through countryside and gentle wooded areas. You can rent a bike to really explore the depths of the park.
If you go on a sunny weekend, it’s a cultural experience too, as the park attracts local families and friends. Locals wander the trails or just sit in the sun drinking beer and eating gelato.
Turin Backroad Bike Tour
Half-day, €40, book ahead online
If you prefer to see the world rolling by from a bicycle (as we do!), hop on this bike tour of Torino. You’ll get to see the most famous sites of the city centre. Then, venture further than a walking tour can go, down along the gorgeous River Po and into Parco Valentino.
Visit Monte dei Cappuccini
If you cross the River Po on Ponte de Vittorio Emanuele 1, you’ll see a monastery on a nearby hilltop. This is the Monte dei Cappuccini, where the 1600s Santa Maria del Monte church sits overlooking the city. Walk up the hill for views of the city stretching out below you and the Alps glowing in the distance.
Day Trips from Torino
Don’t miss our full post about day trips from Turin or check out our shortlist below.
Superga Basilica / Basilica di Superga
Summer open 10am–7pm, Royal Apartments & Tombs €5, Dome €3, Basilica closed for renovation
This is really more of a half-day trip, so you’ll have time afterwards to nap, take in more of the city, or just sit in Piazza Vittorio Veneto and watch the world go by.
The Basilica of Superga stands on a hilltop south of the city and can be reached by city tram and the hillside tramway that starts at Sassi station. Alternatively, turn the trip into a hike and walk up via the forested trails that also start at Sassi.
Once there, you can visit the Royal Tombs and Apartments or climb the stairs to the Dome. Go on a clear day so you can see the city and The Alps in all their glory.
Don’t miss our complete guide to day tripping to Superga.
Open year round, free
It’s a shame to come to Torino and not spend some time in the Alps. They’re so close. If you have a day to spare and want to get deep into nature, visit Gran Paradiso National Park. On our last hike there, we felt like we were in the opening scene of The Sound of Music.
The network of paths in the park extends more than 500 km and there are routes to suit all timetables and abilities. You can do cycling tours in summer or go skiing (cross-country and downhill) and snowshoeing in winter.
Don’t miss our complete guide to visiting Gran Paradiso from Turin.
Saint Michael’s Abbey / Sacra di San Michele
July & August, open 9.30 am–7 pm, hours vary at other times of year, €8, book a tour from Torino
Sitting on a steep hilltop just west of Torino, high above the Susa Valley, Sacra di San Michele makes another great day trip.
Start in the charming town of Sant’Ambrogio di Torino and make the pilgrimage up the mountain by foot. A stone-paved hiking path winds up through the trees, and you pass 15 markers representing the stations of the cross on your way. Emerging just below the abbey, you’ll get your first close-up glimpse of the breathtaking structure, the foundations of which were started in the 10th century.
The abbey is part of a sacred route of abbey dedicated to St Michael. The route starts in Jerusalem, passes through Sacra di San Michele in Italy, France’s famous Mont Saint Michel, and ends at Skellig Micheal, a remote island of the coast of Ireland.
For details on visiting Sacra di San Michele, check out our complete guide.
Things to do in Turin at Night
Start your evening off as the locals do, with a pre-dinner cocktail in one of Turin’s apertivo bars. As the birthplace of Martini and Cinzano, Turin knows a thing or two about cocktails. If you’re not sure what to order, go for the classic Aperol Spritz, a light, fruity drink perfect for warm summer evenings.
Jazz it Up
Every Spring, Torino hosts a world-renowned jazz festival, where hundreds of musicians gather to share their music. Year-round, you’ll find nightly live music in Turin’s jazz clubs, like Jazz Club Torino, La Ginestre Jazz Club, Charlie Bird, and Mad Dog Social Club.
Take a Chilling Walking Tour
There’s a long history of dark arts and black magic in Turin. If you want to combine an evening stroll with some ghostly tales, get in on one of Turin’s evening walking tours. We like the looks of the Turin Underground Tour, which takes you down to the city’s underground tunnels and cellar. Or, explore the darker side of Turin’s history on a Magic Turin Tour.
Yoga Studios & Mindful Activities
Yoga has developed more slowly in Italy than in much of Europe, so we never expected to find such a gorgeous studio in Torino. They offer classes all day long in lots of styles, including Hatha, Hot Yoga, Vinyasa, Kundalini, Barre Yoga and more.
Plus, your first class is free!
There is also a steam room, jacuzzi and spa at YogaUnion, so you can go for yoga and make a day of it.
QC Terme Torino
If you want to pamper yourself completely, head to QC Terme, which is housed in an old city palace, surrounded by “secret gardens and fairy-tale settings”. They offer a huge range of amenities, like waterfalls, hydro-jets, steam rooms, salt rooms, and whirlpools.
Take a journey along their Wellness Pathway or book yourself in for a luxurious massage. The perfect way to relax on your trip to Torino.
Torino Foods You Must Try
It’s no exaggeration to say that food is the fulcrum of life in Torino (and everywhere else in Italy, too). We could never list all the foods and drinks that Torino is famous for here so instead, these are the food experiences we love the best.
Torino Food Tour
3 hours, €100, book ahead online
The food in Torino is outstanding and you will be missing out if you don’t try explore the city’s speciality dishes. On this Turin Gastronomy Tour, you’ll taste some of Turin’s speciality foods while getting to learn about the history of the city. Vegetarians and vegan should definitely phone ahead before you book!
Chocolate & Hot Chocolate
You really haven’t had hot chocolate until you’ve had hot chocolate in Turin, where it was possibly invented and definitely popularized. The world’s first “chocolate house”, where they served cups of melted chocolate, opened here in 1768.
The first solid squares of chocolate, like we eat today, were perfected in Turin soon after. And it was during the chocolate shortage in the Napoleonic wars that Nutella (or gianduja in it’s non-brand-name form) was created.
So, we command you, go sit in one of Turin’s historic cafes and drink hot chocolate as it was meant to be, creamy, rich, and thick as syrup.
If you’re interested in testing the finest chocolate from around the world, stop in at Chocolat7, a small speciality chocolate shop we stumbled across one afternoon while wandering the streets. The shelves of the shop are lined with some of the world’s best bean-to-bar chocolate, and you can pick up some samples of Italy’s best chocolate as well.
Turin Chocolate Tour
2 hours, €320, book ahead online
If you really want to get a handle on Turin’s chocolate scene, you just have to spend some time sampling. What better way to do it than on this 2-hour Chocolate Tour? You will taste local chocolate in 4 locations and incarnations, plus you’ll learn the history of chocolate and why it’s so important to the city (and the world). Um, yum!
This combination of coffee, chocolate and thick cream (no, it’s not vegan) is so delicious I don’t understand why it’s not a mainstay in cafes all over the world. Make sure to plan a stop at Caffe al Bicerin one afternoon to sit in the square and sip this incredible concoction. If you don’t drink milk, order the dark syrupy hot chocolate which is an otherworldly experience.
The circular pizza we’ve come to know and love all over the world isn’t the only type of pizza in Italy. In the north, it’s common to see a thick-crusted pizza offered by the slice, from huge rectangular baking sheets. It’s actually more like foccacia bread with toppings. It’s the perfect snack when you’re wandering Torino, and you can find it in countless shops in the city.
Just like everywhere in Italy, people in Torino love gelato (who doesn’t?). You will see long queues at gelateria all over the city.
Our local friends say that the gelato at Caffe Fiorio, opened in 1780, is the best in town — and we have slurped many delicious cones there through the years. Try the famous local flavour gianduja, which is the chocolate and hazelnut paste that became Nutella. In gelato form, the sweet stickiness is tamed into the perfect combination of flavours.
For vegans and the lactose intolerant, most gelateria in Italy have several flavours that are senza latte — usually fruit flavours and one rich chocolate selection. We like the artisan gelateria Mara dei Boschi because they offer a vegan gianduja option. So delicious!
Feast at Eataly
You might well have already heard of Eataly, a now-famous chain of high-end supermarkets that sells Italy’s finest artisanal food, wine, and beer. It all started in Turin in 2007 and has since spread to all the major cities in Italy and many around the world, like Stockholm, Seoul, Tokyo, Moscow, New York and LA.
The original location, in the Lingotto district of Turin, a few kilometres south of the city, is a sprawling maze of pasta, pizza, chocolate, sauces, wine, spirits and beer. If you want to stock up on only-in-Italy foods or on perfect gifts to bring back home, this is the place to do it. There are also about a dozen mini-restaurants inside, so you can literally make a meal of it.
There is another Eataly grocery store in the centre of the city if you don’t want to make the trek out of town.
Eco-Friendly Hostels & Hotels in Turin
Prices are seasonal and subject to change, ratings com from Booking.com
Hostel: Bamboo Eco-Hostel, eco-focussed hostel & hotel, rating 8.4, dorm bed €25, double room w/ shared bathroom €62
Glamping: Yurte Soul Shelter, mindful eco-yurts 20 minutes from Torino, double yurt from €80
B&B: B&B Puntodivista, eco-friendly stylish B&B 20 minutes from Torino, double room with terrace €97
Mid-Range: Eco Art Hotel, solar-powered hotel, rating 8.2, double room €135
Mid-Range: Best Western Luxor, mid-range eco chain hotel, rating 8.5, queen room €145
Should You Get the Torino Piemonte Card?
Like many cities, Torino has a tourist card that allows you free or discounted access to some of the major attractions in the city. Though having one of these cards often leads to an over-packed schedule (because if you have free entrance you might as well use it, right?), it’s also a good way to see a little of everything.
Note that the card does not allow you to skip the ticket line. If you’re in Torino on a busy day, lines can be long, so factor waiting time into your itinerary!
Tourismo Torino gave us two 3-day cards and we were thrilled to spend a few days wandering in and out of attractions that we had never previously visited.
Free Access to Museums & Palaces
If you plan to visit many of Turin’s museums and palaces during the course of three days, then definitely consider the Torino Card. It gives you free access to the major attractions, including the Egyptian Museum, the Royal Palaces and Residences, special exhibits, and a long list of speciality museums (like the Automobile Museum).
See everything included in the Torino + Piemonte card →
Discounted Entrance to Other Torino Sights
The Torino + Piemonte Card also entitles you to reduced entrance on the Mole Panoramic Lift, the Superga rack tramway, plus selected cultural events, outdoor activities, and guided tours in the Piemonte region.
Pass for Tourists Services
If you’re getting the card and will also take the Panoramic Lift and the Superga Tram, it’s best to add the €6 Pass for Tourist services, which gives you free access to these services.
Cost of the Torino + Piemonte Card
As you can see above, Torino’s major attractions cost around €10–15 each, so depending on how many you plan to visit, the Torino Card might save you some money.
Below are the current prices for the card. Click the one you want to book online before you go.
- 1 Day (max 3 free entries) € 27,00
- 2 Days € 36,00
- 2 Days Junior (under 18) € 15,00
- 3 Days € 43,00
- 3 Days Junior (under 18) € 19,00
- 5 Days € 51,00
How to Get to Turin
Getting From Nice to Turin
If you don’t have a car, the fastest and cheapest way to get from Nice to Torino is by Flixbus. It costs €9 and takes 3 hours 45 minutes. Eurolines buses also make the journey but cost far more (around €35-45). The Nice to Turin train is longer at 5 hours 25 minutes, can involve a change, and is more expensive, so why bother?
Getting From Milan to Turin
From Milan, Flixbus takes 2 hours and costs €7. Getting from Milan to Turin by train is your better bet for this route. Trains from Milan to Turin usually take 50 minutes and cost just a few Euros more than the bus — anywhere from €10-25 depending when you book and when you travel.
From Genoa to Torino
From Genoa, Flixbus takes just under 2 hours and costs €12. The train takes anywhere from 2 to 3.5 hours and costs in the range of €10-15 depending on the time and date you travel.
From Chamonix to Torino
The spectacular Chamonix to Torino route is best done by Eurolines bus, which takes you through the 11 km tunnel under Mont Blanc. It takes 2 hours and 15 minutes and costs around €25–35.
Flixbus doesn’t do this route. The train will take you the long way around and cost at least twice as much, making Eurolines by far the best option.
We hope this post helps you discover the best things to do in Turin, Italy, and convinces you to stay for a few extra days! We love this northern Italian city and we will definitely be back.
♥ Happy transformational travels, Jane & Stephen
We’re not going to lie, it takes a LOT of work to create travel guides like this. But it’s easy to help us out! If you book or buy something using one of our personal links in this post, we’ll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you. Of course, we would never recommend anything we didn’t 100% believe in! Huge thanks in advance! –S&J
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