Oh, dear Italy. We love your espresso macchiato, the abundance of pasta and the dolce vita. It’s been too long since our two trips in Italy last year, where we explored Tuscany and Lake Garda, so we decided to spend a sunny weekend in Trieste.
Originally we had plans to travel to Turkey, but in light of certain current events, we decided with a heavy heart to cancel. Those who know us however, will know that once we have committed to travelling, then travel we shall!! The spontaneous choice fell on Trieste, a mere 4.5 hour drive from Vienna to enjoy the Italian flair – perfetto!
Note: In March 2018 we visited Trieste a second time and have added further recommendations to this article.
1. Our Hotel Tip: Hotel Victoria Trieste
We stayed with Hotel Victoria, which we can highly recommend. The hotel is a bit out of the city centre, about a 15 minute walk to the main square, but that didn’t bother us much. Room Tip: We’d suggest asking for the rooms on the top floor if you can! Our room was on the fifth and last floor, and it was really so nice and also super spacious, which is unusual for a city hotel. We even had a mini balcony! Also, we rarely come across such comfortable hotel beds, so we slept very well here.
2. Sights in Trieste
The Canal Grande
Our favourite place for sunset! The Grand Canal is the only canal in Trieste. It is surrounded on both sides by beautiful, historic buildings. In the evening, the sun sets across the horizon in the sea and with a little luck, casts its warm colours along the Grand Canal.
There are plenty of restaurants and bars along the Grand Canal that invites you to linger a little longer. There you can treat yourself to some Aperitivo and enjoy the flair of Trieste.
The main square: Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia
We were told that the main square in the centre of Trieste is one of the most beautiful places in Italy and we definitely second that opinion! During our first visit, however, a huge stage had hidden the panoramic view, but that did not change the fact that the magnificent buildings were still beautiful to behold.
As we were able to experience Trieste a second time, we got to see the Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia in all its glory. Again, we were blown away by the imperial flair. It’s not something you can easily miss, especially if you walk through the city centre, you’ll come across it sooner or later.
The Piazza del Barbacan
A little hidden away is the very charming: Piazza del Barbacan. What’s really fascinating is the old Roman archway (Arco di Riccardo), which is integrated into a house front. At Bar Barbacan, you can enjoy excellent coffee whilst you sit in amidst all the Italians.
The Piazza del Barbacan is something of an insider tip in Trieste and not so easy to find. We marked the location on our map at the end of the article.
Castello di San Giusto
The medieval castle called Castello di San Giusto is one of the landmarks of Trieste. It is located on a hill in the centre and from the main square (Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia), you can reach the Castello di San Giusto in about 20 minutes.
We particularly enjoyed the distant view of Trieste and the sea from up here, although the castle ruins were also exciting. However, a visit to the Castello di San Giusto in our opinion is not an absolute must, but that doesn’t mean the uphill walk wasn’t worth it!
3. Excursion Tips from Trieste
Excursion to the Castello di Miramare
A visit to the famous Castello di Miramare is definitely a must when visiting Trieste. The castle is located on the coast, north of the city. Thanks to the advice of our hotel manager, Lorenzo, we took a boat from Trieste (“Delfino verde”) to get there.
The boats to Castello di Miramare leave directly from the port of Trieste at 8:00, 11:00, 14:30 and 17:30. Note: the boats only run in the summer season. We have marked the location for you, of where the boats depart from, in our travel map at the end of the article.
You can also reach the castle by train. The ride takes about half an hour and costs about 4.25 euros per person – one way. The station you want is called Grignano. For us, the boat trip was definitely the best decision because we had a completely new and unique view of Trieste, the coast and the Miramare Castle.
Excursion to the Sanctuary of Monte Grisa
From the pilgrimage church on the 330m high Monte Grisa you can enjoy a beautiful view of Trieste in good weather. Unfortunately, the view was quite clouded during our visit. The church itself is also interesting to look at with its peculiar concrete architecture, but the highlight here is undoubtedly the panoramic view of Trieste and the sea.
The best way to reach the Sanctuary of Monte Grisa is by car, which takes about 20 minutes from the centre of Trieste. Our tip: Combine the visit with either a visit to Miramare (if by car) or a visit to the viewpoint.
Excursion to Muggia
If you long for a bit of local small town Italian life amongst the rather touristy and bustling city of Trieste, then you should definitely do a trip to Muggia. It takes just 15 minutes by car to reach the small town by the coast. Alternatively you can take a boat from the harbour right in Trieste. Side note: Gelateria Jimmy makes the most delicious ice cream!
4. Eating and Drinking in Trieste
The best ice cream in Trieste
The ice cream from Gelateria Marco is to die for. This little gelato heaven is tucked away in a narrow alley behind the main square. Pistachio and hazelnut is our winning recommendation! Just as you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, this gelateria is neither particularly stylish nor hip in its exterior and interior designs, but their gelatos are pure gold.
The best coffee houses in Trieste
Granted, in Italy, basically every coffee is a good coffee. In the coffee empire of Italy, Trieste is considered its capital. Allegedly, there is nowhere else in Italy that drinks more coffee than in Trieste.
To really celebrate the coffee culture here in Trieste, there is a pretty cool idea called the Coffee Pass. You can buy the pass at the tourist office near Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia (or at Trieste airport and in some hotels) for 5 euros.
With the coffee pass, you can get a coffee of your choice in seven traditional cafes. Coffee for Italians, is typically drunk while standing at the counter. But be warned: the people of Trieste speak their own coffee language: what we know as Espresso Macchiato is called “Capo” in Trieste, and an espresso is to them “Caffè Nero”. Confusing, right?
Pasticceria La Bomboniera
As soon as we set foot in this café, we ranked the Pasticceria La Bomboniera as the most beautiful coffee shop in all of Trieste. Here we suddenly felt like we’d travelled back a few decades. The glass cases are filled with countless cakes and pastries. The Pasticceria La Bomboniera is also included in the coffee pass.
Antico Caffè San Marco
Perhaps the best espresso macchiato was the one from Antico Caffè San Marco. On top of that, the atmosphere of this coffee house is just great. The Antico Caffè San Marco is a bit out of the city centre, but worth the drive, plus it’s one of the cafes included in the coffee pass.
Of course, we also had to pay a visit to the oldest coffee house in Trieste. Caffè Tommaseo is an institution in Trieste, so do not be surprised if you are surrounded by tourist groups. Nevertheless, we really liked the historic flair at Caffè Tommaseo. We enjoyed a breakfast of “Cappuccino e cornetto” – it doesn’t take much to make us happy.
The best pizza in Trieste
We discovered this modern pizzeria during our last visit to Trieste and we were totally blown away. The waiters are incredibly friendly and the pizzas are excellent. You must try the Pizza Norma – it’s heaven! We also enjoyed the Vino Frizzante of the house. Price wise, the Al Civicosei is definitely affordable. The cheaper pizzas cost about 7 to 8 euros.
5. More Trieste Tips from our Dear Readers
We got so many recommendations from you on Facebook again (a million thanks!). Although we could not implement everything due limited time, we certainly don’t wish to withhold these tips from you:
Daniel: Summer Bath Ausonia, Railway Museum, Barcola beach, current exhibition in the old fishery
Agnes: Rilkeweg from Sistiana to Duino, dinner in Duino at Cavalluccio or in Sistiana at Tre Noci
Dajana: Lunch, Dinner or Aperitivo in the 040 Social FOOD.
Also we can recommend you this beautiful blog article with several tips for Trieste – written by Julia.
Disclaimer: Affiliate Links
This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something via the links, we will get a small commission. For you, this does not change the price. Cool thing, right? Many thanks to the Hotel Victoria for the invitation and thanks to the friendly staff – we felt very at home!
Have you ever been to Trieste or would you like to spend a weekend in Trieste? Leave us a comment, we look forward to reading it!