Best Places To Stay in Florence – Tips and Advice
To help you make the most of your trip to Italy, we’ve put together a list of tips and advice for you to consider while planning where to stay in Florence. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
- Visit the top three sights to see in Florence. If you plan to do much sightseeing in Florence, make sure to add the most visited three attractions to the top of your list: Florence Cathedral, Giotto’s Campanile, and Palazzo Vecchio.
- Be aware that places of business may be closed on Mondays. If you’re not familiar with Tuscany, it may come as a surprise to you that many regular businesses may be closed for half or all of the day. This is absolutely normal in the region and should be accounted for while planning your trip.
- Visit one of the city’s many rooftop terraces for a good view. Florence is a genuinely charming city no matter the angle you view it from. That said, one of the best views available is via one of the city’s many rooftop terraces. So, plan for brunch or a drink with a spectacular view!
- Buy combo tickets to tourist attractions prior to your trip. Several attractions in the area may have the option to purchase combo tickets via the internet before arriving. If you do your research, and with a little luck, this piece of advice could save you dozens of euros or more.
- Buy breakfast from a local pub or cafe. A great way to save yourself a more euros, depending on how many days your trip is, you can skip paying the hotel for an overpriced breakfast and get it for half the price at a local cafe or pub (just watch the locals and follow them to find a great breakfast spot in the morning).
- Book your lodging in advance. Don’t wait until the last minute to book your lodging arrangements. Many hotels and hostels take reservations months in advance, allowing you to lock in the price, and others even have no money down reservations available. So, never book at the last moment unless you absolutely have no other choice. It could save you hundreds of euros.
In medieval times, Florence was a hot spot for European trade and finances. Back then, Florence was one of the most influential, and wealthy, cities around. In fact, some academics believing that Florence may have been the birthplace of the Renaissance, having been called “the Athens of the Middle Ages.”
Visiting Florence is on the to-do list of millions of travelers around the world. Florence, the capital city of Tuscany (a central region of Italy), is home to over 383,000 citizens. Recently, the city has begun to receive as much as nearly 5 million tourists each year. And, with hundreds of hotels and hostels to choose from in the area, finding where to stay in Florence can be a real challenge.
At any rate, for History and Art lovers, few European cities have so much to see. And for everyone else, between the city’s culture, attractions, shops, and exhibition center, there are conferences, social forums, concerts and other significant and exciting events throughout the year to enjoy.
The 5 Best Areas To Stay In Florence
Florence is a lovely Italian city with lots of amazing sights to see and exciting things to do. That said, when it comes to lodging, there are five areas of Florence that offer the most unique and authentic Italian vacation possible.
1. Duomo – Where to Stay in Florence for First-time Visitors
The center of Florence, both geographically and historically, is home to the neighborhood of Duomo. It is by far the most famous district in the city. Major attractions in the area include the Duomo, museums, and Giotto’s Campanile, to name just a few.
For first time visitors to Florence, Duomo is an extremely popular choice for lodging regardless of whether you’re flying solo or rolling with a family. Pizza and ice cream shops, cobbled streets, cafes, and charming locals… what’s not to like, right? Exactly!
All in all, Duomo is a fun, and safe, well-known neighborhood that has more than almost to those who’ve never visited Florence before.
Things to do and see in Duomo:
- Visit the Duomo (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore)
- Drink hot chocolate or cappuccino at a coffee shop
- Have a few drinks at a microbrewery
- Visit the mesmerizing Chiesa e Museo di Orsanmichele
- Climb the dome and view the city from the top
- Taste true homemade Italian pizza
- Visit one of several Art or History museums in the area
The Academy Hostel is one of the most highly recommended by visitors to Florence recently. The building is located within feet of local landmarks, shops, bars, and other attractions.
Charming and cozy, Academy Hostel is one of the best hostels in Florence. It is centrally located in the Duomo neighborhood and is close to landmarks, restaurants, bars and beyond! This home away from home has a relaxing environment, modern décor, and, best of all, no bunk beds!
2. San Marco – Best Area to Stay In Florence on a Budget
Another neighborhood in Florence that’s near the city center, but somewhat more relaxed is the San Marco district. Classic art, more cool attractions, museums, and local shops fill the diverse neighborhood.
And, besides having nearly just as much to see as in the Duomo district, San Marco is also home to many of Florence’s main budget accommodations. So, or students, family on a tight budget, or backpackers, this neighborhood is where you will save the most money.
Things to do and see in San Marco:
- Visit the world-famous Michelangelo’s David sculpture
- Drink authentic Italian aperitivo at a local pub
- View the biggest collection of sacred art in Florence
- Bask in the beauty of the architectural details of the neighborhood
- Have a slice of some of the best Pizza in the world at a local cafe
- Browse the versatile Tuscan Art collection at the Museo degli Innocenti
For those looking for a basecamp slightly away from the city center, but within walking distance of most that Florence has to offer, the Loggia Fiorentina is an excellent lodging selection. The rooms come with all modern accommodations and lies within walking distance to many of the best bars and museums in the city.
3. San Spirito & San Frediano – Where to Stay In Florence for Nightlife
Two neighborhoods located on opposite sides of the river that runs through Florence, San Spirito and San Frediano make one awesome district for partying and nightlife. Vibrant and artsy, the dual neighborhood is one of the most lively in the city. After dark, the area gets even more wild and fun.
Not the best place to stay in Florence if traveling with family, but if solo or as a couple looking to blow off some steam, few areas in Florence have as much excitement to offer. Sunset cocktails, rooftop terrace parties, dancing, singing, and mingling with other tourists and locals is all part of the appeal of San Spirito and San Frediano.
All that said, there are quite a few interesting attractions, museums, and architectural beauties to behold in San Spirito and San Frediano as well, for the history and art buffs.
Things to do and see in San Spirito & San Frediano:
- Have a bite to eat at one of the districts many bistros
- Sip on a drink at one of the most popular pubs in town
- Attend a live music event at a nightclub
- Stroll through the district or having a pub crawl
- Visit one or more of the many tourist attractions in the area
- Get to know locals through all of the above
- Try some authentic Italian cuisine at one of the local restaurants
When it comes to lodging in San Spirito and San Frediano, few hotels come with a better rating than the Relais II Cestello. Charming, and right where all the action is at, this hotel puts you within a few steps of museums, clubs, shops, pubs and more.
4. Santa Croce – Coolest Place to Stay in Florence
One of the best-kept secrets when it comes to where to stay in Florence is a little neighborhood called Santa Croce. It is hands down one of the coolest places to stay in Florence according to recent travelers’ reviews. Much like San Marco, Santa Croce is close enough to Duomo and the city center to be more than convenient, yet far less hectic.
If culture is what you’re looking for in your trip to Florence, you will do hard to find a better district to stay in than Santa Croce, besides the city center of course. The neighborhood is absolutely authentic. All of the best sights to see including museums and events are all within walking distance.
There are also more than a few bars, restaurants, cafes, and clubs to choose from as well. And aside from option number three on this list, there are probably more young people hanging around in this district than anywhere else in the city.
Things to do and see in Santa Croce:
- Visit the Basilica di Santa Croce
- Enjoy some of the finest Italian dining in the city
- Visit Pazzi Chapel and other significant historical sites
- Have drinks and view the city from a rooftop terrace
- Enjoy lower prices than other districts
- Mingle with the locals and young crowd of tourists
A classic and comfy hotel with lots of charm and all modern amenities worth checking out in the Santa Croce area is the Hotel Privilege. Smack dab in the center of the district is surrounded with cafes, bars, clubs, and other attractions.
5. Santa Maria Novella – Where to Stay in Florence with Kids
Last but not least, for those who will be visiting Florence with family, including children, Santa Maria Novella is perhaps the best area to stay. Due to being home to the main train station in the city, it is one of the first areas travelers encounter when visiting Florence for the first time and one of the most well-connected areas. It is a great base camp for further exploring the area, as well as getting right to sightseeing the moment you arrive.
The district is full of energy, people coming and going, shopping, dining, and sightseeing. The neighborhood is home to elaborate city squares, exquisite architecture, and dozens of other historical and cultural attractions. The district is also home to Parco Delle Cascine, one of the most expansive parks in Florence. If you have children or pets, this is a huge benefit of staying in Santa Maria Novella.
Things to See and Do in Santa Maria Novella:
- Visit the Piazza di Santa Maria Novella
- Have some of the best Italian food in the world
- Visit the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella
- Take a tore of the most popular attraction
- Drink fine wine and enjoy the view of the city
- Check out one or more of the many museums and attractions
- Take advantage of the kid-friendly atmosphere
- Visit the park with your children and pets
10 minutes or so from the main train station lies the New Hostel Florence, a great lodging option for those interested in a more authentic stay than a hotel can provide. At any rate, the hostel is modern and surrounded by various businesses, restaurants, and shops. It also sits at a very well connected part of the city making it really easy to get around.
The 3 Best Hotels in Florence
Now that you’ve had a peek at some of the best choices for where to stay in Florence, let’s have a look at some of the best lodging options in Florence.
Here are three of the best hotels to consider booking for your trip:
1. Solo Experience Hotel – Smack In the Center of Florence
Within a tenth of a kilometer of most major attractions, and just slightly 5.2 km from the Florence Airport, the Solo Experience Hotel is great for solo and couples of adventurers. The building housing the hotel originates from the 17th-century and lends a ton of atmosphere and charm to the place. The rooms are completely renovated and included everything from air conditioning to WiFi and satellite.
Just meters from the hotel lies the historical city center of Florence and with it the Medicean Chapels, Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, and other significant attractions. The city’s main train station is less than 10 minutes walk, making the location even more convenient and easy to get around. Art, food, and architecture are pretty much surrounding this hotel. Just about everything that you can think of is right at hand.
Tel: +39 055 212598 • View on Map
2. Bretagna Heritage – Alfieri Collezione – Located along the Beautiful Arno River
A historic building along the Arno River houses one of the best hotels in Florence for those who wish to enjoy views of the river and immerse themselves in authentic Italian culture. Just five minutes from the Bretagna Heritage – Alferie Collezione lies the Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio, and other significant sights to see and things to do.
Some of the best rooftop terraces in the city are located in the area surrounding the hotel. The hotel itself is more than charming and comfortable rooms, parquet floors, classic decor, and a welcoming atmosphere. Rooms all include private marble bathrooms and some rooms are available with astounding views of the river below. The hotel is great for couples especially due to its exotic location and romantic atmosphere.
Tel: +39 055 289618 • View on Map
3. Hotel Della Signoria – In the Heart of Florence
Just a few quick steps away from the Ponte Vecchio bridge, Piazza Della Signoria, and other significant features of Florence, Hotel Della Signoria is nestled directly in the heart of the city. Pitti Palace and Florence Cathedral are barely a five-minute walk from the hotel. And, not only is the location superb but the facility is also renovated inside and offers classically tasteful rooms and amenities such as free WiFi and TV.
Technically a 3-star hotel, the Hotel Della Signoria is so much more. Rooms come with private bathrooms, mini bars, international channels, air-conditioning and more. Breakfast is also included in your stay and is served on a rooftop terrace with an excellent view of the city below. The hotel is surrounded by several other premium dining options as well.
Tel: +39 055 214530 • View on Map
The 3 Best Hostels in Florence
Hostels often create a more memorable stay than hotels do (whether good or bad). However, if you prefer hostels to hotels then we have a few hidden treasures we’d like to share with you in regards to the best hostels in Florence!
Here are the three best hostels to book for your trip to Florence:
1. Hostel 7 Santi Florence – 10 Minutes From the Center of Town
For those who enjoy being up front and center, but with half of the crowd, the Hostel 7 Santi Florence is a great lodging selection. Within a short walk from the very center of town, the nearly 200 year old building that houses the hostel is situated within steps of a main bus station so traveling to and from during your stay is easy. The staff is friendly and international. However, one drawback is that children under 12 may not be allowed to stay here.
The rooms are very much modern despite the ancient building and include free WiFi, storage, and other modern amenities. And, aside from being conveniently located for exploring the city further, there are numerous attractions directly outside the hostel door. You can catch a bus and be to the Duomo and other historical and art attractions within minutes. There’s also a train that you can catch nearby that takes you sightseeing through Tuscany.
Tel: +39 055 504 8452 • View on Map
2. Emerald Palace – In Front of Chapel of Medici
Another great lodging option, located in an equally amazing old building as the Hostel 7 Santi Florence, is none other than the Emerald Palace. Hands down one of the most popular hostels in Florence, the Emerald Palace sees thousands of visitors each year. It is located on the second story of a building facing the Chapel of Medici (talk about a room with a view). Museums, shops, and restaurants can be seen from the hostel steps, as can the local train station.
Rooms are comfortable and clean and come with every you’d except to find in a quality hostel. Furthermore, the facility includes a common area with a sophisticated atmosphere which is lovely for meeting others. Travelers love the Emerald Palace due to its proximity to clubs, pubs, restaurants, bars, museums, and more. One thing to note about the Emerald Palace policy is that those over the age of 50 years old are restricted from lodging here. That said, children of all ages are good to go!
Tel: +39 055 493 9819 • View on Map
3. Riverbank’s Hostel Florence– In the Historic Center of Florence
Situated in the city center, perched along the banks of the Arno River, lies another excellent hostel you’ll want to be considering if you haven’t booked a room for your trip to Florence. The hostel’s location is superb, the atmosphere is unique and authentically Italian, and even more, most of the city’s main attractions lie just minutes away from the hostel. The Uffizi Gallery, Piazza Santa Croce, and Ponte Vecchio, for example, are less than a five-minute walk from the property.
The Riverbank’s rooms are practically brand-new, as they’ve recently been renovated, and they include options for air conditioning, TV, mini bars, and more modern amenities like you’d find at a standard hotel.
The atmosphere is quiet and cozy, and the street is low traffic for such close proximity to the city center, so rest and relaxation is easy to achieve. The staff are outgoing and knowledgeable, and the facility is a great place to make new friends with travelers and locals alike. Oh, and breakfast is included from a local restaurant as well!
Tel: +39 348 977 1630 • View on Map
Best Places To Stay in Florence
As far as the best places to stay in Florence go, or anywhere destination really, the best lodging options for you will vary depending on your wishes for the trip. That said, we think that are several places to stay in Florence, for solos, couples, and families, that stand out from the scores of hotels and hostels available.
If you’re flying solo in Italy, Hostel 7 Santi Florence, located just 10 minutes from the city center is one of the best options due to its great location and proximity to all that’s going on in Florence.
For families traveling to Florence who prefer the security of a hotel room, the Hotel Della Signoria comes highly recommended and is situated in a central location regarding all of the major attractions and local businesses in the heart of Florence.
Couples on honeymoon or romantic getaway would do well to consider booking a stay at the Bretagna Heritage – Alfieri Collezione. With such a romantic location and atmosphere, beautiful rooms, breathtaking views, and charm, you can’t go wrong picking this lodging option for you and your sweetheart.