Pisa is a west coast Italian city about an hour's train ride from Florence and is typically an added destination on your Italy vacation itinerary just for the chance to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. As a result, many tourists spend only hours or a couple of days here and don't fully experience everything the city has to offer. When you spend more time in this charming city, you get to mingle with the locals at the market, see attractions that are more obscure, and venture away from the typical highlights to get a broad understanding of Pisa's history.
For anyone visiting Pisa with kids, a trip to the world-famous Leaning Tower and the surrounding piazza is a must, but what else is there to do in this Tuscan city with kids? The answer is plenty. Pisa offers stunning beaches, amusement parks, historic churches and squares, and so much more to keep everyone entertained.
When you visit Pisa with kids, prepare to explore all over the old city center and even further out to the coast and nearby towns if you have the means. Before you set out on your Pisan adventure, make sure you're not carrying more than you use. Use a convenient Bounce luggage storage located in Pisa to alleviate the burden. Knowing your possessions are safe lets you thoroughly enjoy your Italian family vacation.
Our picks for the best things to do in Pisa with kids
Leaning Tower of Pisa
You simply can't visit Pisa without a trip to the world-famous Leaning Tower. Historical structures don't get any more iconic than this. Unsurprisingly, this attraction is the most popular in Pisa located in the Piazza del Duomo, and is one of the most photographed buildings in the world. The whole area is a UNESCO world heritage site and you can't visit Pisa with kids and not stop here. The kids will get a kick out of the impressive lean on the tower built in 1372. In fact, it was constructed originally as a leaning tower, but the lean has only become more severe over the hundreds of years it has towered over the city.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually a bell tower for the Pisa Cathedral and it's possible to climb it. The 250 plus steps will take about 30 minutes to ascend and the reward is a breathtaking view over the city and Piazza dei Miracoli. Although all families can visit the leaning tower, only children over the age of eight are permitted to climb the stairs to the top and must be accompanied by an adult. So yes, you're all going to get a unique stair workout.
Piazza dei Miracoli
Also known as the Piazza del Duomo, the Piazza dei Miracoli is the area that surrounds the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa Cathedral, Monumental Cemetery, and the Pisa Baptistry. The entire walled area encompasses a 22-acre architectural complex full of historic buildings, European art, and large grassy areas to take a break.
The open space in the Piazza del Duomo can be a refreshing change from other busy tourist attractions in Italy. Although it's certainly busy year-round, if you visit in the summer, the Piazza dei Miracoli lawns offer a place to get away from the crowds with the kids. If you don't plan on entering any of the Piazza del Duomo buildings, then spending time here is one of the best free things to do in Pisa.
National Museum of the Royal Palace
Not all museums are created equal, and the National Museum of the Royal Palace is a great place to introduce your kids to the art world. The museum is relatively small so kids are less likely to get bored and although there are great works of art, the museum also houses a collection of armor and sculptures that might be more interesting to the younger members of the family. It's easy to get to one of Pisa's best museums from the Piazza del Duomo and the Leaning Tower since it's only a ten-minute walk south.
Mercato delle Vettovaglie
The largest and main market in Pisa, the Mercato delle Vettovaglie, is a great place to hang out for a few hours as a family while browsing the market offerings. It's just a five-minute walk from the Royal Palace Museum and if you're planning a picnic at one of the city's parks or piazzas, this is where you can pick up your supplies. You'll find everything from fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, meat, and baked goods here to enjoy a tasty meal.
Souvenirs, housewares, and various crafts are also sold at this vibrant market. Many Pisans shop here daily so it can be a bit chaotic. Just make sure you know where your kids are.
Piazza dei Cavalieri
A lively place for a picnic with the kids in Pisa is at the Piazza dei Cavalieri. It's a strategic place to spend an hour resting and eating while feeling like you're part of this bustling city. Found within ten minutes on foot from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Royal Palace Museum, and the Piazza della Vettovaglie, you can explore all the aforementioned attractions easily from this location. Surrounded by pretty buildings and Pisans going about their day, there's much to take in as you relax. Alternatively, if you prefer to eat at a sit-down restaurant, the square has cafes that will accommodate the whole family.
Self-guided Bike Tour
Endlessly walking around historic European cities can become tedious. For a change of pace, consider adding a self-guided bike tour to your Pisa family vacation. Assuming your kids are of age to ride independently and confidently, a bike is an excellent way to get around. Nothing in the historic center of Pisa is too far on foot, so a bike really allows you to cover a lot of ground. Many families only spend a day or two in Pisa, so this type of tour is an efficient way to spend your limited tourist time.
Your tour begins when you pick up a three-hour bike rental at the Pisa Centrale Train Station. From there, you download a smartphone app that will guide you around the city walls at your own pace. There are a few companies offering this service, so it's easy to find the right one for you.
Parco Don Bosco
Most kids love to run around and play, and when you're traveling they can often be cooped up on planes, trains, or in a rental car. Parco Don Bosco is within a short walking distance of about ten minutes from the Mercato delle Vettovaglie. It's a unique play area set among an ancient aqueduct that spans the length of the park. Parco Don Bosco is the perfect combination of kids' activities and a glimpse of history for the adults. The playground is quite large with a bike path and plenty of trees for shade.
Giardino Scotto Park
Another excellent park in Pisa is the one at Giardino Scotto. It's on the opposite (south) side of the Arno River and was once a fortress called the Citadella Nuova. This park is closer to the train station and away from some of the busier Pisa tourist attractions. Palm trees, arched passageways, and turrets are the perfect backdrop to burn off some energy. The park also boasts a play area with swings and plenty of benches for the adults to take a load off.
If you're on your way out of Pisa via one of the train stations, Giardino Scotto Park is the ideal last stop before packing everything up and hitting the road again.
Marina di Pisa
Marina di Pisa is a picturesque seaside resort that houses the Port of Pisa and various family-friendly activities to enjoy. It's a fantastic thing to do in Pisa with kids who like swimming, beachcombing, and other water-based activities. The area is lined with ice cream shops, souvenir stores, and, of course, pizzerias. The water is shallow and the beaches are a combination of sand and small pebbles right at the mouth of the River Arno. It's easy to spend a day here in the perfect weather without anyone getting bored, and this area is only about seven miles from the center of Pisa, so there's really no excuse not to go.
Bagni Vittorio Emanuele
Another scenic beach to try on Pisa's coast is the Bagni Vittorio Emanuele. About a ten-minute drive south of the Pisa Marina, the beach is part of the Migliarino Regional Park full of trees, walking paths, and much more. The area is a welcome break from the congestion and busyness of the center of Pisa and it's super close to the Pisa airport. Aside from the beaches themselves, the area boasts tons of good food and vibrant bars, and other useful services like beach chairs and umbrellas.
Piccolo Mondo Amusement Park
Your kids will thank you for making the short ten-minute drive north from Pisa to Madonna Dell'Acqua to visit the Piccolo Mondo Amusement Park. The waterpark is full of slides, pools, restaurants, and lounge areas. This is a good place to take the whole family, although younger kids will likely get more out of the offerings here. The park boasts the highest slide in the Tuscany region with go-karts, inflatable games, and a cinema.
Most tourists don't make the trip out here when their time in Pisa is short, but it's one of the best theme parks in the area. It's also ideal for kids who prefer pools to the open ocean, even if it's calm.
Chiesa de Santa Maria della Spina
If your kids happened to enjoy a visit to the Pisa Cathedral, they will also get a kick out of the Santa Maria della Spina Church. Even if you don't go inside the Pisan Gothic-style structure, the outside is a sight. This attraction won't take long as the church is very small, and it's centrally located on the Arno River near Palazzo Blu. The church's facade is extremely ornate and well-preserved, especially considering that its construction began in the 1200s. It's an easy add-on just over the Arno River on the Ponte di Mezzo or the Ponte Solferino, which is especially close to the National Museum of the Royal Palace.
Parco Preistorico Peccioli
Venturing a little further afield from Pisa, the Parco Preistorico Peccioli is an ideal destination for families located in Peccioli. It will take about 45 minutes by car to reach the park from the Leaning Tower and only about 35 minutes from the Pisa Centrale Train Station.
This prehistoric park is perfect for kids who are into dinosaurs. Over 20 lifesize dinosaurs are scattered throughout the park for you to explore. Kids will love playing on the carousels and riding the dinosaur-themed train.
If you'd like to make the trip to Peccioli more worthwhile, the municipal pool there is great for kids. There are slides into a large pool with a generous deck area with seating and umbrellas. It's a fabulous way to beat the intense heat in Italy in the summer.
Parco Avventura II Giardino Sospeso
If you or your kids enjoy an adventure and aren't afraid of heights, head to the Giardino Sospreso amusement park in Riparbella. It's about a 40-minute drive from Pisa airport, but if the scenic route is more your thing, take an hour and drive along the coast through Livorno to see the sights along the way.
At Giardino Sospreso, the family can swing in the treetops on ropes and over net bridges. There are activities for all ages and levels here along with archery and a playground.
What are the best family activities in Pisa?
Family activities in Pisa vary from historic to beach-centric to city parks and markets, but the best activities for your family vacation are the ones that interest both you and your young ones. The Leaning Tower of Pisa and all the buildings in the Piazza del Duomo can't be missed, and the variety of things to do in this one location should please everyone. Parks with historic aqueducts and fortresses as a backdrop let parents explore as well as kids. It's also a good idea to head to the coast for time on pristine Italian beaches for some relaxation and rejuvenation before you continue your European travels.