It always amazes me that Turin, Italy isn’t more famous. Besides being the first capital of Italy, and besides having a rich royal heritage, and besides being a global culinary hot spot, there are so many spectacular day trips from Turin that you could literally never get bored of spending time in the largest city in the Piemonte region.
I think you could spend a month in Turin and not get bored (read my guide to spending a weekend in Turin here), but for those who are staying in the city a bit longer and are looking for a change of scenery, there really are just countless great day trips from Turin.
Nearby destinations include cities like Alba, Asti and Bra, that are world-famous for their local culinary delights. Of course, if you like ancient ruins and adventure sports, you’ll probably want to head to the Alps west and north of the city, in Susa and Aosta, respectively.
It’s even possible to do a day trip to Milan from Turin, thanks to the high-speed trains that travel this route in less than an hour. Yes, you can wake up in Turin and be looking at Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” before lunch, if you properly plan your day trip from Turin!
Keep reading to see my Top 10 Turin day trip recommendations (plus one bonus that really only requires half a day), and let me know in the comments if you’ve visited any of these Italian travel destinations!
Day Trip to Alba
As I wrote this post I went back and looked at all of my old photos from my own day trip to Alba… and most of them were of food. Alba’s charming historic center is worth on its own, but when you add in the fact that Alba is the birthplace of Nutella and the unofficial home of white truffles, well… you can’t skip this day trip from Turin!
Alba’s compact city center is ideal for a day spent exploring by foot. The heart of the city is Piazza Duomo (shown above) with the 11th-centry Cathedral of San Lorenzo. Alba is known for its many medieval towers, so why not ascend San Lorenzo’s forty-meter tower for views of the historic center?
Nearby, at the Centro Culturale San Giuseppe, you can descend into the basement to see ancient Roman archeological remains. At times, temporary art exhibits are set up among the ruins.
Make sure to leave some time to shop for food and wine. Although the Ferrero factory (where they make Nutella) is closed to the public, shops in Alba sell gianduja, the typical Piemontese chocolate-hazelnut spread that inspired Nutella. You can also sample the region’s sumptuous red wines, including Barbera d’Alba, Dolcetto d’Alba and Nebbiolo d’Alba.
For lunch, check out La Piola (dishing up traditional Piemontese food, including at least one vegetarian pasta dish) and Voglia di Vino (vegetarian items clearly labeled on the menu). If you visit Alba in the autumn, during the annual International White Truffle Fair, you can expect to find restaurants packed on the weekends as travelers from around the world come to sample white truffles on special tasting menus. Reserve restaurants in advance if your visit is during the fair!
Getting to Alba from Turin
There is hourly train service between Turin and Alba. The train from Turin to Alba takes about 70 minutes. Train depart from Torino Lingotto station, which is accessible by metro from the historic center. Tickets start around €6.
By car, the trip also takes about 70 minutes on highway A6.
Day Trip to Asti
The most iconic landmark in Asti is the Torre Troyana, an antique bell tower that was constructed in the late 1200s. This is the only tower in the city that you can still climb, so consider heading here first to get a bird’s eye view of the city.
Asti has a selection of museums that cover art, architecture and history. The most popular museum to visit on a day trip from Turin is Palazzo Mazzetti, a complex that evolved over time from several medieval houses into today’s grand palazzo. The interior is beautiful, and the opulent Baroque rooms feature exhibits on topics including archeology, local art and contemporary art. You can purchase a €10 “complete ticket” here that also gives you access to fifteen other historical sites across the city.
Like Alba, Asti bustles in the autumn with festivals. The Palio d’Asti is a traditional bareback horse race that dates back to the Middle Ages. The Festival Delle Sagre D’Asti is a weekend fair celebrating pastoral, countryside traditions. Finally, the Douja d’Or is an annual wine competition inviting vineyards from across Italy to present their best offerings. If your day trip to Asti takes place during September, be prepared for crowds!
On my day trip to Asti I had lunch at Restaurante Convivio Vini e Cucina, which has unfortunately since closed. A great alternative is Brasserie Pompa Magna, where there’s almost always at least one vegetarian pasta dish on the menu (cheesy gnocchi? yes please!) and more wine than you could sample in your lifetime.
Getting to Asti from Turin
Fast trains link Turin and Asti in only 35 minutes (the trains then continue on to Genoa). Tickets start around €6. These fast trains leave Porta Nuova station once an hour.
By car, it’s less than an hour from Turin to Asti if you take highway E70.
Day Trip to Bra
Every other year, Bra hosts a cheese festival (fittingly called “Cheese”) in which 200,000 people descend upon this town (population 30,000) to celebrate artisan cheese from around the world. If you like cheese, add this festival to your calendar now, and thank me later.
If you visit Bra at any other time, you may find that you’re the only tourist walking around this charming town in the Province of Cuneo. You can start by exploring Bra’s two most famous churches. The Church of Sant’Andrea (visible in the photo above, on the left) has a facade designed by none other than Bernini. Nearby, the Church of Santa Chiara is well-known for its pretty interior dome.
If you need a day trip from Turin that’s perfect for kids, Bra could definitely be a contender! It has a Toy Museum (Museo del Giocattolo) where a guided tour features a short theatre performance. Kids also love Villa La Zizzola (open seasonally), where they can get panoramic views of the city, hear open-air concerts and go inside this small 19th-century villa.
Personally, I visited Bra during Cheese, and the only food I ate was the cheese being sold by vendors at stalls in the street. If you want a real meal, check out the Slow Food-inspired Osteria del Boccondivino. They have vegetarian-friendly starters and pasta dishes, but omnivores will want to choose one of their affordable tasting menus based on traditional Piemontese cuisine.
Getting to Bra from Turin
Trains from Torino Lingotto to Bra take about 45 minutes and cost €5. Departures are at least once an hour.
By car, it takes just under an hour to drive from Turin to Bra on highway E717.
Day Trip to Lake Orta
Most travelers have heard of Lake Como and Lake Garda, but Lake Orta (Lago d’Orta) is still something of a hidden gem… making it the perfect day trip from Turin!
Your home base for the day should be Orta San Giulio, on the east shore of the lake. Try to arrive early so you can walk along the shore of the lake as the fog rises to reveal the picturesque landscape.
If the water looks inviting you can walk over to Orta Beach Club. There, you can rent a beach chair and umbrella for relaxing between dips in the protected waters out front. Similar beach clubs are dotted along the water to the north and south of Orta San Giulio town.
From the dock at Orta San Giulio it’s a ten-minute boat ride to Isola San Giulio. Most of the houses on this little island are now abandoned, but it’s still possible to visit the Benedictine Monastery. Dine at the restaurant on island for a once-in-a-lifetime lunch. They have a vegetarian pasta option, or tasting menus based on “land” and “sea”.
If you’re worried that you’ll end up paying George Clooney prices for a McDonalds-quality lunch, learn more about avoiding tourist trap restaurants in Italy.
Getting to Lake Orta from Turin
This is one of the few day trips from Turin that requires a car. It will take just under two hours to drive from Turin to Orta San Giulio. Driving is recommended, as train service is inconvenient and infrequent.
Day Trip to Ivrea
Ivrea is most famous for its early-spring Carnival, one of the world’s largest food fights. Once a year, townspeople dress up as aranceri (orange throwers). Those on foot represent the common folk, while those in the carts passing by represent a historical tyrant (historians disagree on exactly which one). Approximately 100,000 people arrive in Ivrea each year to watch the “Battle of the Oranges”, which takes place in the days leading up to Lent.
If your visit happens to fall at any other time of year, Ivrea is still a lovely day trip from Turin. The city is especially proud of the recently-renovated Museo Civico Pier Alessandro Garda, which houses collections of Eastern Art, local archeological history and a rotating selection of works from the wealthy Croff family.
It’s also enjoyable to wander around the historic center of Ivrea, where you’ll find some quiet piazzas, churches with bell towers and a fourteenth-century Savoy castle.
There are lots of restaurants where you can have lunch in Ivrea, but there’s only one bakery where you can taste Ivrea’s home-grown delicacy: “Torta 900”. Torta 900 is a cake with chocolate cream sandwiched between two layers of chocolate sponge cake, then sprinkled with icing sugar. To try this trademarked dessert for yourself, head to Pasticceria Balla, near the Giardini Giusiana.
Getting to Ivrea from Turin
Trains from Turin to Ivrea depart from Torino Porta Nuova station, approximately once per hour. Tickets cost about €6 and the trip takes between 60 and 75 minutes.
It takes about 50 minutes to drive to Ivrea from Turin, along highway A5.
Day Trip to Milan
In my opinion, Milan is one of the best day trips from Turin. Most people look at things the other way, thinking Turin is a nice day trip from Milan, but if I had to choose one city to base myself in for an extended stay, I would choose Turin every time.
From the train station in Milan, the #3 metro line runs directly to Piazza del Duomo (shown above). This is where your day trip from Turin should begin. Ascend from the metro station into the expansive piazza and have your mind absolutely blown by the awe-inspiring facade of the Duomo church in front of you. I highly recommend you buy a combined ticket including admission to the interior of the church and to the rooftops above (accessible via elevator, or at a discounted rate via the stairs).
After you’ve visited the Duomo, cross the piazza to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Italy’s most beautiful indoor shopping gallery (it puts the ones in Rome to shame!). If you’re a high roller you can stop for a coffee at one of the historic cafes here, but you’ll want to caffeinate elsewhere if you’re on a budget!
From here, you can either take the metro over to Santa Maria della Grazie to see Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” (it’s essential to book tickets well in advance!) or you can just walk to Castello Sforzesco, a Renaissance-era fortress with several museums and pleasant gardens.
Dining out in central Milan can be quite expensive, so I always like to stop for a quick lunch at Flower Burger. This vegan burger chain has restaurants in several Italian cities, with a convenient location near Milan’s Lanza metro station.
Getting to Milan from Turin
Milan and Turin are linked by high-speed trains. The trip from Torino Porta Nuova to Milano Centrale station can take as little as one hour, though these high-speed tickets come at a cost of €36. If you’re willing to take a slower train, you can take the train from Turin to Milan in two hours for about €12.
It will take about two hours to drive from the city center of Turin to the center of Milan.
Sacra de San Michele
Day Trip to Sacra di San Michele
Completed in the thirteenth century, the Sacra di San Michele abbey is perched atop a hill at the entrance to the Val de Susa. This spectacular religious site was the inspiration for Umberto Eco’s “The Name of the Rose”, and today it is one of the most popular day trips from Turin for amateur hikers.
From either of the two train stations near the Sacra di San Michele, it’s possible to hike up to the abbey in approximately ninety minutes. For very adventurous day trippers, there is also a via ferrata route. If you choose to hike or use via ferrata, make sure you have the correct gear and equipment to make the trek safely.
The abbey is usually open daily, with guided tours on the weekend. However, there are sporadic mid-day, seasonal and holiday closures, so check their website before you plan your day trip. For me, the highlight of my interior visit was seeing the Great Staircase of the Dead (a massive stone staircase that used to have the skeletons of monks lining its walls) and the mysterious Portal of the Zodiac.
For lunch, I recommend the fun Birrificio San Michele in the town of Sant’Ambrogio. This brewery produces award-winning craft beers and has a typical brewpub-style menu (vegetarian options were available in the version I saw online).
Getting to Sacra di San Michele from Turin
You can take the train to either S. Ambrogio or Condove Chiusa S. Michele stations for €4. There are departures hourly from Porta Nuova and the trip takes just over half an hour. From the station, you can hike up or take a taxi.
By car, it takes about 45 minutes to drive from Turin to the parking lot at Sacra di San Michele.
Day Trip to Susa
Susa, in the Val de Susa, is the gateway to the Italian Alps and just a few minutes away from the French border.
In the first century BCE Susa chose to join the Roman Empire, and numerous relics from that era can be found around town. The marble Arch of Augustus (shown above) is more than two thousand years old, and there are also remains of an ancient Roman ampitheatre and aqueduct.
From slightly-more-recent history, Susa has a monolithic stone cathedral dating back to the 1000s and the equally-hulking hilltop Castello della Contessa Adelaide.
Of course, Susa’s location at the base of the Alps makes it a prime destination for hiking and winter sports. The town is surrounded by ski resorts, and the tourist information office in town can give you advice on day hikes at various difficulty levels.
If you work up an appetite, Ristorante della Torre has both an a la carte menu and a Piemontese tasting menu (with wine included!).
Getting to Susa from Turin
The same trains that go to Sacra di San Michele continue on to Susa, which is 40 kilometers down the road. Again, prices are about €5 and departures are usually hourly from Porta Nuova.
By car, the drive from Turin to Susa takes about an hour, depending on traffic.
Day Trip to Aosta
Speaking of ancient Roman ruins, day hikes and ski resorts, have you heard of Aosta?
While Susa is to the west of Turin, Aosta is reached by traveling north. Again, though, it’s at the foot of the Alps and close to the Italian-French border.
The Roman ruins of Aosta are remarkably well-preserved. The historic town walls still stand six meters tall, and six of the tower fortifications along these walls are still in good shape. Around town you can also find a Roman theater, triumphal arches and several ancient Roman stone bridges.
For the best hikes, you’ll have to head outside the town to some of the nearby villages around the Aosta Valley. For example, the La Thuile First Rutor Waterfall trail is a family-friendly four-kilometer loop from the nearby town of La Thuile. It also offers hikers the chance to continue exploring past the first waterfall, on to two more.
At lunch, choose a restaurant (such as Osteria d’Oca or Osteria da Nando) offering fonduta, Italy’s version of fondue. Here, it’s made with Fontina cheese, a regional specialty.
Getting to Aosta from Turin
Trains from Turin to Aosta depart from Porta Nuova station, approximately once per hour. The trip takes about two hours and tickets start at €10.
If you have good luck with the traffic, the drive from Turin to Aosta will take about 90 minutes. In heavy traffic, it may take just over two hours. The best highway is A5 (you’ll pass through Ivrea on the way).
Day Trip to Venaria Reale
This one is barely a day trip from Turin, but I’m putting it on the list for anyone looking for an easy half-day trip from Turin.
Venaria Reale is a suburb of Turin that is located about ten kilometers north of the city center. It is best known for its majestic Savoy Palace, shown above. One of the largest palaces in the world, this huge castle is surrounded by beautifully-manicured gardens and full of opulent furnishings. A UNESCO World Heritage site, visits to the royal palaces (“La Reggia”) must be booked in advance on the official website.
Behind the main palace, the Savoy’s old hunting grounds have been preserved as a regional park. Inside the park there is a second, smaller palace, along with scenic walking and biking trails. You can rent bicycles at several locations near the park entrance (confirm availability online before showing up!).
Inside La Reggia there is a Michelin-starred restaurant called Dolce Stil Novo (“the sweet new style”). Reservations are required for this fine dining restaurant. If you’re on a more casual day trip from Turin, Il Bergamotto is a popular pizzeria with indoor and outdoor seating, right on the main square.
Getting to Venaria Reale from Turin
City bus #11 runs from the center of Turin to Venaria Reale on weekdays. On the weekend, you may have to transfer onto Bus #72; where you do this depends on your departure time. This route is covered by the GTT Daily Ticket, which is €4 and sold at both tobacconists and from vending machines in metro stations.
By car, the drive from Turin to Venaria Reale is only about 20 minutes.
Bonus: Half-Day Trip from Turin to Rivoli
Rivoli Half-Day Trip from Turin
One of my favorite day trips from Turin really only takes half a day, so I’ll just mention it briefly here. Rivoli is a quaint, hillside historic town that, over the years, has become a suburb of Turin. Easily accessible by bus from Porta Nuova, Rivoli has winding cobblestone streets, panoramic views of the mountains and a world-class contemporary art museum. To read more about visiting Rivoli, including how to get there from Turin, read my complete guide to visiting Rivoli from Turin.
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