Unique Things to do in Florence

Florence is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. This city has a village atmosphere that can’t stop bringing visitors back repeatedly due to its old-world charm.

However, you might be bored of going to the same few tried and tested museums or destinations. You might not yet know that there are many unique things to do in Florence, including a lot of non touristy things to do in Florence that will show you another side of this fantastic destination. 

Here are some Florence hidden gems to add to your itinerary next time you travel to Italy!

See also: Cheap but Chic: Budget Hotels in Florence

Finding hidden gems in Florence streets
Finding hidden gems in Florence streets

Unique things to do in Florence

Selfie Museum

The Selfie Museum is an international sensation that features incredible installations created by many artists designed to be used as a backdrop for Instagram photos and selfies!

Selfie Museums started as far back as 2015, with one of the first museums located in the Philippines. Now, Florence is the home to the first Selfie Museum in Italy

You should know that it’s not an actual museum but more of an interactive experience designed for entertainment. Each person is encouraged to immerse themselves in their surroundings. 

You can expect corridors of colourful backdrops, optical illusions, and more. Don’t forget to wear an #instagrammable outfit. 

A ticket gets you 1.5 hours of access to over 50 installations created by international artists. It’s also open every day from 10:00 – 19:00pm. 

Individuals can expect to pay €13, with student discounts and bundled options available for families. Booking is essential, so don’t miss out on one of the most unique things to do in Florence – book your ticket here.

All’Antico Vinaio Food Tour

All’Antico Vinaio is a renowned sandwich store in Italy, known for its ‘schiacciata’, sandwiches made on focaccia-style bread. It first opened in 1989 and has since opened branches in Rome, Milan and even across the pond in New York.

If you are looking for non touristy things to do in Florence but still want to enjoy great food and drink, you would love the All’Antico Vinaio – Skip The Line food tour. 

You can expect just under three hours of unique eats, featuring 7 different stops and 4 kinds of wine. You’ll start with traditional Italian espresso and pastries, enjoy a fantastic sandwich at All’Antico Vinaio, drink Chianti wine and enjoy a sweet surprise at the end. 

Florence food markets in Italy
Florence food markets – depositphotos.com

Museo Salvatore Ferragamo

This is one of the best non touristy things to do in Florence for any fashionistas who happen to be in Florence instead of Milan.

The Museo Salvatore Ferragamo is one of the most unique things to do in Florence off the beaten path! It’s a fashion museum entirely dedicated to the life and work of world-renowned fashion designer Salvatore Ferragamo and his company. He is known for his prolific shoe design and production. The museum features over 10,000 models of shoes created and owned by Salvatore Ferragamo. 

The museum is open every day from 11:00 until 19:30, and admission costs €16.50. You can also expect seasonal exhibitions at the Salvatore Ferragamo museum if you’re lucky!

Villa Bardini

Often, the Bardini Gardens in Florence are missed by travellers. It wouldn’t be wrong to feel like you’re discovering a new place while visiting the beautiful premises of Villa Bardini.

Villa Bardini features a 17th-century villa with many acres of gardens. This area offers some of the best views of Florence and regularly hosts art exhibitions and other significant events.

You don’t want to rush your visit to these lush gardens! There is no better place to lie under the trees and simply relax. It might not be the most fitting for the title of non touristy things to do in Florence, but it’s worth a visit anyway. 

Bardini Gardens in Florence
View from the Italian-style Bardini gardens in Florence, Italy – depositphotos.com

Acquario di Livorno (Livorno Aquarium)

You may not think of an ‘aquarium’ when you think of ‘Florence’. That’s because it’s not in the city centre of Florence – it’s actually in Livorno, about 1.5 hours away by car. 

However, the Acquario di Livorno (Livorno Aquarium) is one of the most unique things to do in the broader Florence area.

Inside, you’ll find a Mediterranean-style aquarium that features unique international exhibits. You’ll discover blacktip sharks, jellyfish, manta rays and sea turtles.

This is a fantastic opportunity for families with children looking for Florence hidden gems to enjoy. Other visitors enjoyed the tremendous sights, helpful staff and relative quietness of the aquarium compared to other tourist destinations in Florence.

Admission is around €16.00, with more significant price discounts if purchasing online. It would be a great destination to make a day trip adventure with other non touristy things to do in Florence and its greater area!

Tettuccio Thermal Spa

Located between Florence and Versilia in Montecatini, Tettuccio Thermal Spa offers four different thermal pools in Europe’s oldest spa town. These baths contain mineral salts and other precious elements, set in a beautifully landscaped garden to create the most dreamy spa day ever. 

If you are looking for the ultimate in relaxation, this is the perfect thing for you – and one of the most unique things to do in Florence.

There is a beautiful fresco in the cafe here, a historical writing room (sala di scrittura) and a few shops to browse.  

You’ll also find unusual healing treatments here, such as drinking the thermal water. There are also more traditional spa treatments, such as massages, facial treatments and thermal baths. 

Summary 

There are many unique things to do in Florence that will take you off the beaten track to find a bit of quiet during your visit – you just need to know where to look!

If you like fashion and art, you will love the Selfie Museum or Salvatore Ferragamo museum, two of Florence hidden gems that aren’t always busy.

If you are after a family outing, take a trip to the Livorno Aquarium just outside Florence for a lovely day out. Solo travellers may enjoy the Tettuccio Thermal Spa or Villa Bardini for the ultimate holiday bliss. 

No matter what you’re looking for, we’re sure you’ll find non touristy things to do in Florence during your next trip to Italy!


Walking Holidays Across Spain

 

At the heart of walking holidays in Spain lies the Camino de Santiago – Pilgrimage of Compostela – known as the Way of St James in English. This is a network of pilgrim paths dating back to the 9th century, when the remains of the apostle Saint James the Great were discovered, in which different towns and villages across Europe all lead back to Santiago, Spain.

Although Camino de Santiago Frances begins in France, these routes all end in Spain. For this reason, Spain has become a very popular walking holiday destination, in which holidaymakers and hikers from around the world dive into a segmented route within one of the pilgrim paths.

This type of holiday has it all: physical activity, culture and history, and is a chance to explore different places. Whilst you may have driven from one town to the next in Spain, it’s not quite the same experience as walking, in which you have lots of time to take in your surroundings and see every inch of soil between two connected villages or towns.

 

Popular Routes

Within Camino de Santiago, there are many routes with varying levels of difficulty. Sarria to Santiago is a popular one as it’s graded 2 out of 5, yet covers 111km, crossing various significant Spanish towns such as Sarria, Puertomarin, Palas de Rey, and Arzu.

This particular route takes 7 days to complete, in which there are many great hotels along the way. Of course, because most of the day is spent walking, which is free, and the hotels include half board or breakfast (up to you), these walking trips have very few unexpected costs.

Another popular route to Santiago is from St Jean Pied de Port. if you’re thinking that doesn’t sound very Spanish then you’re right, because this route begins in southern France and ends in, you guessed it, Santiago. The ‘French Way’ is one of the most culturally rich walks in the world. St Jean Pied de Port in the French Basque region is a 12th-century town. Soon, you head to Pamplona, which is world-famous for its bull-running, before you eventually pass through northern Spain. This walk is extremely diverse, allowing you to see both the differences and similarities in Spanish-French architecture, culture, and terrain.

 

Socialising and Culture

Of course, meeting other pilgrims along the way is also a key part of these routes – this is the benefit of sticking to the historical trails. Other like-minded folks will undoubtedly be crossing the same paths that are experiencing the same challenges.

Because these are historical routes, the towns they cross are culturally significant too. Almost any route you choose will have a plethora of cathedrals, architecture, and authentic cuisine. Rustic villages and forests are plentiful in northern Spain too.

 

What Time of Year is Best?

Southern France and northern Spain are both fairly mild climates all year round, with average summer temperatures of 25 degrees celsius (80F) and average winter temperatures of 12 degrees celsius (54 F). For this reason, no time of year is too challenging to make these walks, although between June and September is recommended if you want as little rain as possible.

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Why You Should Consider a Vacation to Jamaica

Jamaica waterfall

It’s not a surprise that I often think back to my recent trip to Jamaica.

Whether it’s the flashes of white sand and perfect water, the local food, the wanders through downtown Montego Bay, the day trips into the jungle-covered interior and, of course, the infectious vibe of the people, the trip was beyond memorable.

I had been to Jamaica many times when I worked on board cruise ships as a Tour Manager, way back in the early 2000s. But this time was different. Instead of visiting for a mere few hours at a time, on this occasion, it was a full 10 days on the island. Naturally, this gifted me the opportunity to do more, meet more people, eat more food and simply visit far more places.

A vacation to Jamaica should be high up, very high up, on any traveler’s list, especially if that traveler is fond of tropical destinations, a combination of relaxation and culturally-focused excursions, endless natural wonders and, to be honest, feeling happy from the moment you arrive. From that first smile and all the positive energy you’ll soak up from your first few conversations, by the time you reach your accommodation you will already know that you’ve made the right choice for your trip.

And the good news is that traveling to Jamaica right now is quite easy, with a simple set of Covid guidelines to follow:

vacation to Jamaica

As for my personal recommendations of places to visit:

  • Beaches (Negril Seven Mile Beach is gorgeous!)
  • Dunn’s River Falls
  • Bob Marley Museum
  • Wandering around downtown Montego Bay
  • Appleton Rum Tour
  • Food tasting (find out where the locals eat and try jerk chicken, codfish and meat patties)
  • Hire a driver for a day trip through the interior (stop in villages along the way and meet great people!)

Jamaica is also a short flight from much of the US, making it an even more ideal destination for that well-deserved island vacation.

I’ll be back again myself, for sure. And it will absolutely be for another 10 day stay (at least!) as I still have plenty more of this welcoming, laid-back island to explore!

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