Trieste, Italy wasn’t really somewhere I ever expected to go until I found a cheap flight. I only spent two days in this coastal city and quickly came to appreciate its quiet charms. It may not have as much to do as Rome, be as beautiful as Venice, or have the foodie scene of Bologna, but if you are looking to experience a part of Italy without the crowds, it’s a pretty good pick. Looking for things to do in Trieste, Italy? Here are my suggestions.
Things to Do in Trieste
In my opinion, Trieste isn’t typical tourist city with lots of things do. Instead it feels more like a living city that’s fun to explore and discover. That being said there are still a few main sites and attractions that you should add to your list of things to do in Trieste.
Piazza Unità d’Italia
This is the main square in Trieste. It overlooks the sea and is bordered on three sides by gorgeous Viennese style buildings. City Hall faces the sea directly and the buildings along the sides are government buildings and cafes. It’s a nice place to stop for a drink (and maybe some cake) and people watch for a while.
Teatro Romano (Roman Theatre)
Trieste, being in Italy, of course has a lot of history and the best place to see some of that history is at the Teatro Romano which is Trieste’s Roman Theatre. It’s in the heart of the city, not too far from Piazza Unità d’Italia and is in surprisingly good condition. You can still see some of the original walls, columns, and seating. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos as I passed by in the pouring rain (lucky me).
Castello di Miramare
I’m a sucker for a castle and Castello di Miramare, which is perched overlooking the Adriatic Sea, is a good one. It actually reminded me a little bit of the castle in Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
Castello di Miramare is outside the heart of the city, so you’ll need to take a bus to get there (buy your tickets in advance from one of the street kiosks that sell newspapers).
For me, this was the prettiest part of Trieste city. The canal is lined with beautiful buildings including two impressive churches as well as bars, restaurants, and cafes. I visited in November and even then, this area was quite lively in the evenings and had a really fun atmosphere.
The Port and Harbour Area
Trieste is a port town located on the Adriatic Sea so it makes sense that there is a large waterfront area. Part of it is very industrial, but if you go closer to Piazza Venizia then it’s much more scenic with smaller boats and yachts.
There is also a promenade stretching about 300m into the sea across from the Piazza Unità d’Italia called Molo Audace. It’s nice for a walk to take in the views and, if you are brave enough, you can even swim from here during the warmer months.
MAX Leather Store
Italy is known for leather, but authentic leather artisans are becoming harder and harder to find. However, there is a beautiful little leather store called MAX in Trieste. I stumbled across this store when the strap on my purse broke and I was hoping to fix it. Instead, I left with a brand new beautiful leather purse, a belt for my brother, and what I now consider to be my adoptive Italian family.
Max is a family run leather shop run by Massimo, his wife Miriam, and their daughter, Barbara. I bonded quickly with Miriam and Barbara, even coming back to visit before I left and join them for a quick coffee. It is a beautiful shop with fine quality merchandise and incredibly kind owners. If you do pop in, please tell them Hannah from Canada sent you!
Find the MAX website with the address here.
Take a Couple of Day Trips
Compared to other Italian cities, I found Trieste really affordable and still very well connected. For this reason, I would recommend it as a good base for a few days to explore other parts of the country, of even neighbouring Slovenia.
Here are a few day trips from Trieste worth considering including the following:
Day trips to Slovenia are easiest done with a group tour (as linked above) as public transit between the two countries can be tricky. However, if you would rather do your own thing you can take the local Italian train to some of the smaller nearby cities or even go to Venice for the day.
Where to Stay in Trieste
If you are looking for a place to stay in Trieste, I’d suggest staying near the Grand Canal area. It’s in within walking distance from the train station (which you will no doubt use to arrive and leave as it also goes to the airport). It’s also close enough to many restaurants and the places of interest I shared above.
Need a recommendation? I stayed at Nuovo Albergo Centro which was central, clean, and affordable.
Getting Around Trieste
Trieste city is very pedestrian-friendly, but there is public transit should you choose to use it. As I mentioned above, tickets for the bus need to be purchased from one of the kiosks on the street that sell newspapers, and then validated on the bus.
There is also a larger bus station beside the train station for travel around Italy (and neighbouring countries) and, of course, Trieste has an airport.
Final Thoughts on Things to do in Trieste
I didn’t really expect to think much of Trieste, but I actually loved my time there. As you can see, there aren’t exactly a lot of things to do in Trieste, however, it is quiet and relaxing and felt like a good break after the crowds of other cities on my itinerary. So, if you find a cheap flight, or are just looking for a place to slow down and take a break for a couple of day, then head to Trieste.