From world-class chocolate to gorgeous architecture to amazing history, there are so many fun things to see & do in Turin, Italy
I stumbled upon Turin almost by accident. I snagged a flight deal into Nice and out of Venice and had to plan a trip that somehow connected those two cities. When scrolling around on maps and playing with train routes, I discovered Turin and started reading up on it.
Have you ever found a destination that feels like a well-kept secret, one that you feel lucky to have stumbled upon? That is Turin for me. Surrounded by the Italian Alps and reminiscent of Vienna & Paris, Turin offers something for everyone. Find out why Turin is worth visiting and what makes it Italy’s best-kept secret below!
Please note: this post may contain affiliate links. What that means is, if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may make a commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, please see my Affiliate Disclosure.
Where is Turin?
Turin, or Torino in Italian, is located in Northern Italy not far from Milan. Turin is the capital city of the Piedmont region and was even once the capital city of the entire country of Italy! It is a great location for exploring the nearby French Riviera, Milan, Lake Como, and the Cinque Terre.
Where to Stay in Turin
Turin is a very walkable city, so as long as you stay near the city center, you’ll be able to visit the main sites with ease.
Staying somewhere north of Corso Vittorio Emanuele II – the road with the main train station) – west of the river, and south of the Parco Pietro Colletta will place you perfectly. The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist is really the center of everything:
I stayed at the Hotel Victoria and Iside Spa and it was absolutely perfect. A gorgeous boutique hotel in a great & safe location with, literally, the best complimentary breakfast I have ever had. The staff were really friendly, the room was comfortable, and it was a quick walk to everything I wanted to do in Turin! I would 100% stay there again.
Turin isn’t touristy, so it’s a great place to escape the crowds
Maybe I’m weird, but I find crowds absolutely exhausting. They are inevitable when traveling to popular areas, but I find that I enjoy my trips a little bit more if I visit an off-the-beaten path destination somewhere in the middle of my trip.
If you’re similar, Turin is the perfect destination for you. Turin offers all the appeal of a bigger city – things to do, lovely architecture, amazing food, and a fascinating history – but it hasn’t been overrun with tourists like other nearby cities.
Turin is the perfect gateway to exploring Italy & the French Riviera
Turin is a quick train ride from amazing destinations across Italy & the French Riviera. In just a few hours, you can reach Nice, Monaco, Milan, Lyon, Lake Como, Bologna, Cinque Terre, and Florence. Venice and Rome are just four hours away! You can truly see all the most popular cities in Italy from this beautiful city.
When I visited Turin, I was traveling from Nice > Monaco > Turin > Lake Como > Venice and all these destinations were easily reachable from each other via train. It was an absolutely idyllic trip (and, as mentioned above, Turin was a blissful escape from the hordes of tourists).
Enjoy the beauty of Switzerland, charm of Paris, and opulence of Vienna in Turin
In my opinion, Turin combines the best features of Switzerland, Paris, and Vienna – more reason why Turin is an underrated gem!
With the Italian Alps towering to the north, it reminded me of my time in Zurich, Switzerland (the chocolate culture, below, also helped!).
The apartment buildings with planters overflowing with flowers felt distinctly Parisian. I was also reminded of Paris whenever I visited a cafe and sat at one of the adorable bistro tables outside and enjoyed the buzz on the streets.
The architecture and the grand shopping streets reminded me of Vienna. The large, towering buildings with horse statues also felt distinctly Viennese.
Turin feels like the magic of some of the most beautiful European cities, bundled together. It quickly became one of my favorite destinations.
Taste Turin’s world-famous chocolate
Do you love chocolate? Then Turin is a great destination for you!
The hazlenut & chocolate combination that became famous with Nutella actually originated in Turin! Gianduja, pronounced “john-doo-yuh”, is a combination of hazlenut paste & chocolate tha was introduced sometime in the Napoleonic era. It tastes like Nutella but frankly better, mostly because the ingredients are better & there are no fillers.
If you’re looking for a great place to enjoy gianduja, you must visit Guido Gobino. This is one of the most famous chocolatiers in Turin. I recommend the hot chocolate. It is thick and decadent like the famous hot chocolate in Paris!
Savor the decadent coffee culture in Turin
Cafes are an integral part of the culture in Turin. Gorgeous, historic cafes are sprinkled throughout the city center and are a great place to linger.
A Turin specialty that you absolutely must order is “bicerin”. Prounounced roughly bee-chair-een, this delicacy is layered espresso, milk, and drinking chocolate and is absolutely to die for. You can find it all over the city but Caffé al Bicerin is said to have invented this specialty.
I enjoyed it all throughout Turin, even though I only stayed a few days. It’s delicious!
Into Egyptian history? Visit the Egyptian Museum
This might surpruse you, but the world’s second largest Egyptian museum is located in Turin. It originated in the 1600’s when the Duke of Savoy gathered some Egyptian antiquities and created a collection.
If you love Egyptian history, you cannot miss the museum! It’s open every day of the week but has slightly reduced hours on Mondays.
If you enjoy movies, you cannot miss the National Cinema Museum
The Mole Antonelliana is perhaps the most iconic building in Turin’s skyline, so of course you have to visit it.
Fitted insde the Mole Antonelliana, the National Cinema Museum includes antique film equipment, modern technologies, and dedicated exhibits to various film exhibits. You can even catch a film festival if you’re lucky!
Included with your admission ticket is the opportunity to ride the lift to see the panoramic view at the top of the Mole Antonelliana.
Alternatively, skip the museum and just check out the Mole Antonelliana
If you’re not into museums or short on time, you still should pay to ride the lift to the top of the Mole Antonelliana. You’ll pass through the museum and then be greeted with a stunning 360 degree view of the city of Turin.
Pro tip: buy your ticket ahead of time. I was trying to be flexible and NOT commit to a certain time of day. I paid for that and had to stand in line well over an hour!
View a famous religious icon
Whether you’re Christian or an AP European History nerd, you’ve probably heard of the Shroud of Turin. The Shroud of Turin is famous because it appears to show the face and body of man who suffered crucifiction injuries. Because of this, is believed by many to have been the linen cloth that Jesus was wrapped in following the crucifiction. The authenticity of the Shroud is hotly debated – some scholars believe the linen is too modern to have been around in Jesus’ time. But that’s all the reason to see it!
You can’t see the actual Shroud of Turin – it is a Biblical icon, after all – but you can see a re-creation of it at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist.
Love royalty? Check out the Royal Palace of Turin
I just adore gilded palaces so I had to check out the Royal Palace of Turin. If you’ve been to Versailles or Vienna, you know what I’m talking about!
The Royal Palace – or Palazzo Reale, in Italian – was built in the 15th century for the House of Savoy. You can stroll and admire the gorgeous decorations and even visit the Royal Gardens afterwards. It’s a relatively inexpensive museum ticket and well worth the price!
Shop & people watch in the many squares
One of my favorite things to do in Italy is sip wine in a square and people watch. Turin offers many squares – with wonderful bistros! – that make it possible to do this. Enjoy apertivo hour, sip on a glass of wine (or two!) and savor Italian culture.
Final verdict: is Turin worth visiting?
Turin is absolutely worth visiting. Turin combines the best parts of some of Europe’s most popular cities – gorgeous architecture, so much history, delicious food, world-class coffee & chocolate, all in beautiful surroundings. What makes Turin even better is that it is still a bit of a secret. You won’t be overrun with tourists in this city, so you can really enjoy your time.
If you’re visiting northern Italy, Turin is the perfect place to break up your trip and spend a few days unwinding.