Over the last couple of years I traveled a few times with Srprs.me to an unknown destination. In case you have never heard of this travel agency: with Srprs.me you can book a trip without knowing your destination. It depends on what kind of trip you book, both otherwise you can end up sort of anywhere around the world. Pretty awesome I would say.
So the first time I flew with them, I ended up with a friend of mine in the lovely city of Turin in Italy. The little bit difficult but also exciting part of a surprise trip is that you can’t really prepare the trip. So what to do in Turin was the first question that popped up in our heads. Without a plan and knowing the city we wandered around the beautiful historic and artistic city centre. Turin turned out to be an amazing city and surprisingly fun.
How to get to Turin
You can find Turin (Torino) in the northwest part of Italy, surrounded by the mighty Alps. Therefore it’s not only a great destination for a city trip, but also as a winter destination for skiing and snowboarding. When the weather is clear you can actually see the mountains in the background. It definitely gives a stunning skyline from the higher points in the city.
Turin itself is pretty much known for history, culture, art, football and amazing food. There are so many lovely cafes and restaurants around the city, streets full of majestic buildings, impressive art and parks to stroll around. I would say it’s the perfect destination for a weekend getaway. We enjoyed ourselves perfectly there.
Just outside the city there is an airport, so Turin is really easy to reach by plane. You can book your cheap plane tickets to Turin here. From the airport you can take the bus that will get you to the city centre in just 45 minutes. This bus departs two till four times an hour, depending on what time you arrive.
What to do in Turin
Drink a coffee in Caffè Torino
The first cafe we walked in turned out to be one of the most beautiful ones in Turin. You immediately get distracted by all the yummy cakes, rolls and chocolates in Caffè Torino at the Piazza San Carlo. Not to mention the incredible interior of the cafe: a lot of velvet, wood and golden details. This historical cafe opened his doors back in 1903 and is well-known by his rich history of glorious times. Drink an espresso macchiato at the bar with a small glass of soda (most Italians don’t drink their coffee while sitting, but they stand at the bar, unless they have a date with someone).
Address: Piazza San Carlo 204
Opening hours: daily from 08.00 till 00.00
Stroll around Via Po and Via Roma
The two most important shopping streets in Turin are Via Po and Via Roma and they are definitely worth a visit. Here you can find designer brands like Hermès next to cheaper ones like H&M. Both streets are really classy and it’s amazing to stroll around during the evening. The streets will be beautifully illuminated. You can find dozens of stone pillars with art and decorations built into it. If you like fashion, culture and art, you should definitely put Via Po and Via Roma on your what to do in Turin list.
Enjoy the view from Monte dei Capuccini
We visited Turin in November and well, that’s not the best time of the year to pay a visit. So the whole weekend the city was covered in clouds and rain. Despite that fact we walked up the hill of Monte dei Capuccini for a view of Turin and the area around it. Well, we didn’t see the area, but at least we saw a bit of the city. One of the things you can see is the Mole Antonelliana (the tower on the Italian two cent coin). When the weather is good you can actually see the Alps in the background!
Take the old tramway from Sassi to Superga
Fancy another great viewpoint of the city? Go to Superga. You can find this hill along the river Po and reach it by taking the tram (Tranvia Sassi Superga) from Sassi. It’s a journey in a historical tram and a pretty amazing ride at the same time. The journey will just take about ten minutes, but you will go up a very steep hill.
In the meantime you can enjoy a breathtaking view – if it’s not that foggy as it was when we visited Superga. We especially enjoyed an almost spooky area. On top of the Superga you can find the Basilica di Superga. It was so extremely foggy when we were there, that we couldn’t even see the basilica. We had to walk into a tourist shop to see it on a postcard! It looked pretty amazing on the postcard I have to say.
Address: Piazza Gustavo Modena 6
Tram schedule: daily between 10.00 and 18.00
Price: € 6,- for a return ticket
Eat like a local
Cliche but true: when I think of Italian food, I straight away think about pasta and pizza. But the residents of Turin do have a food habit that I really love. At the end of the day they come together in one of the many cafes around town. Here they drink a glass of wine or Aperol Spritz. Meanwhile they serve you a buffet with a lot of Italian snacks and food. Unlimited Italian snacks and food. The price? Think about € 12,- including one drink… The first night we enjoyed a buffet like this one in Caffè Università at Via Po. I would seriously go back to Turin just for the food.
Address Caffè Università: Via Po 2-6
Extra tip: the chocolate festival CioccolaTO
We were just so lucky when we visited Turin. Right at the moment we were there, the chocolate festival CioccolaTO was being held as well. A lot is about chocolate in Turin anyway, so this festival is a yearly event in November. What you can do on this festival with free entry? Eating chocolate. A lot of chocolate. We seriously had some chocolate kebab and chocolate baileys. You can also join different workshops and other activities, but you have to speak Italian for that though… But walking around between the tents and see piles of chocolate everywhere is already an experience (and delicious, obviously).
Sleeping in Turin
There are of course many places to sleep in Turin, but I can recommend you to stay in Hotel Urbani. Hotel Urbani is in the middle of the centre, just two minutes away from a bus stop where the airport bus stops. It also has a breakfast buffet. You can check the current prices of Hotel Urbani here.
Do you prefer another hotel in Turin? Here you can find other recommended accommodations for Turin.