Travel guide to Trieste, Italy

Piazza Unità d'Italia, Trieste, Italy

Trieste is a unique Italian city. It’s located near the Slovenian border and has Austrian influences as well. We first visited Trieste two years ago and fell in love with its architecture, food, and overall relaxed atmosphere. So this year, we decided to pay it a repeat visit on the way from Vicenza to Ljubljana, Slovenia. Over the two trips, we spent a total of five days in Trieste, and even though we’d love to spend more, we feel like we got to know it pretty well. So without further ado, here is our…

Ultimate Trieste city guide

Piazza Unità d’Italia

The Piazza Unità d’Italia is the heart of Trieste. It’s considered the largest sea-facing city square in Europe, which is kind of a funny distinction. Lined with massive, ornate white buildings on the three non-sea-facing sides, we think it’s definitely one of the most beautiful.
Piazza Unità d'Italia, Trieste, Italy

Piazza Unità d'Italia, Trieste, Italy

Piazza Unità d'Italia, Trieste, Italy

There’s a pier leading out into the sea from the piazza, which is a great place to watch the sunset and take in views of the rest of the city.
Molo Audace in Trieste, Italy

Sunset, Trieste, Italy

Teatro Romano

Right smack in the middle of the city are the ruins of an ancient Roman amphitheater (Teatro Romano). The theater is set just a couple blocks back from the Piazza Unità d’Italia, and at the bottom of San Giusto hill. It’s a really cool, easy must-see in the city.
Roman Theater, Trieste, Italy

Roman Theater, Trieste, Italy

San Giusto Castle and Cathedral

There are more Roman ruins, and more incredible views, to be seen from the top of San Guisto hill. We took public bus 24 up to the top to see San Guisto Castle and San Guisto Cathedral and walked back down (catching a view of the Roman theater in the process). The Roman ruins and the view of the city from the top (even though it was a bit foggy) were the highlights. The armory inside the castle was pretty cool too.
Roman ruins, San Guisto Castle, Trieste, Italy
View of Trieste, San Guisto hill, Italy

Miramare Castle

Just outside the city is Miramare Castle. And it’s absolutely, definitely, 100% something you want to see on a trip to Trieste. You can take the train, but we took the public bus (6 or 36) instead. The castle is surrounded by a forest, which we walked through.
Miramare Castle, Trieste, Italy
The castle itself is gorgeous. We visited in November, and the fall colors contrasted beautifully with the bright white castle.
Miramare Castle, Trieste, Italy

Miramare Castle, Trieste, Italy

The castle is set right on the water, so the grounds are lovely and peaceful.
Miramare Castle, Trieste, Italy

On the walk down to the main road from the castle, you can enjoy some really great views as well.
Miramare Castle, Trieste, Italy

Opicina

Another short trip out of the city is to Opicina. When we visited two years ago, we took tram 2 (which turned into a funicular at its steepest stretch) to the Obelisk stop. Unfortunately, when we visited this year, the tram was closed, and we’re not sure when it will reopen. But there is a bus you can take there instead. Once you get to Opicina, there is a lovely view of the city. And there’s a walk you can take to Prosecco.
Tram from Trieste to Opicina, Italy

Canal Grande

Back in the city center, is a big canal called, fittingly, Canal Grande.
Canal Grande, Trieste, Italy

At the end is the impressive Church of Sant’Antonio Taumaturgo. It stands behind a piazza of the same name, which often hosts food markets. Along the way is also the beautiful Serbian Orthodox Church, the Temple of Holy Trinity and Saint Spyridon. And on the Ponte Rosso, is the famous statue of James Joyce, who spent more than 15 years living and writing in the city.
James Joyce statue, Trieste, Italy

Revoltella Museum

The Revoltella Museum is half 19th century palace, half modern art museum. It’s a really interesting place to visit and there is an extraordinary amount of art present. You could easily spend several hours there.
Revoltella Museum, Trieste, Italy
Revoltella Museum, Trieste, Italy

The museum also has a nice outdoor space with great views where they serve aperitivo.
Revoltella Museum, Trieste, Italy

Walking and wandering

We usually make it super clear in our blog posts – we love just walking and wandering around cities. Trieste is a great place to do that since it offers quite a variety of things to look at. There’s the water, with its gorgeous, relaxing views (especially at sunset).
Sunset, Trieste, Italy

There are hills all around, so just a peek down a side street can offer an interesting perspective.
Trieste, Italy

There are also really big beautiful buildings you may not expect.
Trieste, Italy

The feel of the city is very different from other Italian cities we’ve visited, but that’s what makes it unique and why we love it.

Eats and drinks

When we visited Trieste for the first time two years ago, it was as part of a Northern Italy trip where we visited four other cities, including Bologna. Bologna is known for its food, but our most delicious, memorable meal was at a small restaurant in Trieste.

  • Baracca E Burattini is a homey, laid back restaurant with amazing food. Of course we returned this year and weren’t disappointed. Our favorite dishes on their menu are the fried zucchini flowers served with prosciutto and mozzarella and their homemade pastas. Memorably, two years ago, we had a lasagne with pumpkin.

Baracca E Burattini, Trieste, Italy

Baracca E Burattini, Trieste, Italy

Trieste is also known for its buffets, which have an Eastern European influence. This last visit, we had a great, big, ridiculously cheap meal at one of them.

  • Siora Rosa is in guide books and recommended by most hotels, so it gets busy, but it’s the opposite of touristy. The staff is really friendly and helpful since there are so many different things to order. Our plates were filled with vegetables, heavy delicious pasta, and ham that reminded us of Prague.

Siora Rosa, Trieste, Italy

Given its position, Trieste is also known for its fish. We didn’t go to any of the more famous spots, but did enjoy some seafood dishes.

  • Osteria Marise is a more modern restaurant with a variety of food including homemade pastas and delicious seafood.

There are a gazillion gelato shops throughout Trieste. Our favorites are:

  • Gelateria Marco: behind the Piazza Unità d’Italia, near the Roman Theater.
  • Gelateria Zampolli: close to the main train station, with a ridiculously large selection.

Trieste is in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia wine region of Italy. We think these wines are pretty delicious. While we didn’t have the chance to do any wine tasting outside the city, we didn’t feel like we missed out too much given all that’s on offer in the city’s restaurants.

  • Gran Malabar is the best place in Trieste to try local wines – especially during aperitivo. We did our wine tasting here, along with really yummy slices of meats and cheese, as well as olives. It’s a super local spot, with everyone just hanging out, chatting and enjoying the wine.

Gran Malabar, Trieste, Italy

Gran Malabar, Trieste, Italy

If you want to enjoy a spritz or something else with your aperitivo, you can hit up one of the bigger spots near the Piazza Unità d’Italia or make your way over to the Old Town (Città Vecchia). It’s a cool area to explore with its small winding streets, pretty buildings, and in some places, no cars. There are a ton of bars to just pop into for aperitivo, so walk around and see what appeals to you!
Aperitivo, Trieste, Italy

Our number one, can’t miss spot in Trieste, however, is… a beer bar. We said Trieste was a unique place!

  • Mastro Birraio is one of the best beer bars we’ve been to in the world… and given the amount of time we’ve spent in the Netherlands and Belgium, that’s saying something. The owner, Daniele, is a super friendly guy who loves giving recommendations (for beer and his city!). They have an awesome selection of bottles from all over the world. And only on tap, he features a local brewery, Zanna, which has beers made from Slovenian hops. It made such a big impression on us two years ago we couldn’t wait to return this trip.

Zanna beer, Mastro Birraio, Trieste, Italy

Where to stay in Trieste

When we first visited Trieste, we decided to spend the money to stay at the most centrally located hotel, the Savoia Excelsior Palace, which is right next to the Piazza Unità d’Italia. We had a big cushy room, with its own atrium! The breakfast buffet was massive and absolutely delicious and, as we ate, we were treated to a view of the water through the breakfast room’s floor to ceiling windows. We paid about $130 per night and definitely got more than our money’s worth.

This year, however, we were operating on a slightly different budget. So we opted to stay at the less pricey B&B, Rooms Boutique Carducci. A small, family-run place, it’s a 10-minute walk from the main train station and even closer to the Canal Grande. Our room was small, but clean and airy. We enjoyed the typical European-style breakfast with meat and cheese and fruit and veg, but especially the fresh croissants our proprietors bought every morning. And it was only around $80 per night.

We would recommend either accommodation for a stay in Trieste (and don’t get paid to say that)!

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A meld of Italy and Eastern Europe, Trieste is such a unique, delicious, and lovely city. It’s definitely a place we can see ourselves coming back to over the years.

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Trieste, Italy city guide

48 Replies to “Travel guide to Trieste, Italy”

  1. Lovely post. I usually avoid going to museum on my trips but this sounds like a fun itinerary. thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. What a great guide! I love Italy, but haven’t been tk Trieste yet!

  3. Wow, I’ve never heard of Trieste but now I want to go! Great guide and beautiful photos! I’m saving this so I can hopefully visit one day 🙂

  4. Omnoomnomnom!!! The food looks so good. And it is a great guide, I’d love to visit Trieste. The sunset looks gorgeous!

  5. Oh ho I miss Trieste! Your post took me right back on those beautiful streets, sitting on the Molo Audace eating pizza and drinking wine. In my opinion you managed to create the perfect Trieste guide 🙂

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      Seems like you know the city well so we’re glad we did it justice!

  6. I have a friend who goes to Trieste at least 5-6 times each year: he loves it that much! I’ll definitely have to visit!

  7. Oh, last time I was in the area – a few years ago – I had to choose between Koper and Trieste for a short stop and went with Koper. I really loved it but now, after reading your post, I have a hint of regret that I didn’t do both 🙈

  8. Wow! I love Italy and have been twice from North to South but I had not heard of this city! It looks lovely! I enjoy great food and interesting architecture! And I love Prosecco so it would be cool to visit there!

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      It’s definitely off the main Italy tourist track, but that’s one of the reasons we love it so much!

  9. Stunning pics! I once took the train from Milan to Trieste on my way to Croatia and seeing all this sure makes me regret that I didn’t explore the town before heading off to Croatia. Next time!

  10. I love Italy and definitely want to see more cities. Trieste sounds wonderful. I would love to visit the castle and also the modern art museum. The food looks delicious too! Pinned for future reference.

  11. My boyfriend was born in Trieste but then relocated to Rome. We have been there together only once, but I seriously loved his hometown. He wants to take me back again, and I hope this will happen soon because we had only been there for one full day and didn’t even make it to Miramare. There’s still so much for me to sse there and I would love to see more.

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      Yes definitely go! It’s a relatively small city, but chock full of a lot to see. Jealous you have that connection to the city!

  12. I adore Trieste. It’s one of those places you visit and immediately think, “I could move here.” Unfortunately I missed Miramare Castle when I was there, so I’ve gotta go back — and I didn’t realize there were so many other day trips you could do!

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      That’s how we felt too. We loved almost everywhere we visited in Italy, but definitely felt most at home here. Miramare was beautiful and definitely a reason to return1

  13. Agree you know the city very well! I have wanted to visit Trieste for a long time. Not sure if you are familiar with the Moon Guides. Long time ago, I bought their guide to Italy and they had Trieste as one of their top picks in the city. Since that, I have been intrigued by the city. Everything looks so beautiful. Thanks for sharing your expertise.

  14. Just amazed at what you have captured here. I have never heard of Trieste. It’s funny that it looks as though you had an amazing time in a great town but when I see “trieste” I think of Sad in Spanish. lol I think I will add this to my list of places to visit

  15. The areas along borders seem to have such varied influences, it’s really interesting! And Trieste has such grand architecture and so much to see, do and eat!

  16. Trieste is an area I’ve seen popping up a lot on blogs and social media lately, but one I’ve never visited in all my trips to Italy! Perhaps I should change that =)

  17. Great to read some info on this city – I don’t know much about it at all. Miramare Castle looks stunning. Bookmarking this for when I’m in the area. Also: walking to Prosecco. That sounds like something I definitely have to do.

  18. I’ve never heard of Trieste, until now! Looks like a beautiful place. The picture of the sunset you took is stunning.

  19. travelsandtreatsblog says: Reply

    I’ve never been to this part of Italy, but it looks just as beautiful as the rest of the country! I love Italy so much and would love to explore more of it. I’ll be saving this post!

  20. Wow this great! Ive never been to this part of Italy and now I want to.

  21. Love seaside cities! I haven’t been to Italy yet and it seems there’s so much beauty to explore…thanks for sharing 🙂

  22. How have I never heard of Trieste before? What a beautiful hidden gem! I’d love to explore Miramare Castle and gorge on some of that ravioli. Added to the bucket list!

  23. And our Italy list just keeps on growing! Such gorgeous photos! That castle is so charming!

  24. What a beautiful place to visit. I feel guilty now that I only know the name because of the treaty that was signed there and named for it, I knew nothing about the city itself. It looks like there’s plenty to enjoy, the roman theatre, castle and beautiful sea views, not to mention just walking about enjoying the city itself.

  25. princeandthepear says: Reply

    Those walks down from the main part of the castle make this trip seem absolutely worth it.. totally gorgeous!

  26. The images of Miramare Castle and Opicina look amazing. I recently moved to Italy and this has convinced me I need to go to Trieste.

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      Thank you! Where do you live in Italy? It’s a pretty easy country to get around by train 🙂

      1. I live 40 minutes south of Florence. In Valdarno. It’s very country 🙂

  27. Oh wow it looks so amazing! I’ve been to Italy before but not to Trieste, definitely will have to add this to my bucket list! Amazing pictures!

  28. What a great informative post! I’ve been wanting to visit Trieste for a while now so I’m bookmarking it! 🙂 Loved your photos too! Thanks for sharing!

  29. Great pictures. We love Italy! We find ourselves going back there again and again. I will definitely be adding this city to our list. Thanks for sharing!

  30. Trieste is definitely on my list! It’s such a neat location geographically. Thanks for all this great information! I’m dreaming about the food buffets haha

  31. The castles.. the food… I love it! I haven’t explored Italy yet at all, so it’s fun to read about new and different places.

  32. Wow! Triste is stunning a so rich with history! I visited Venice a few years back and it was incredible. Looks like I’ll need to take another trip to Italy!

  33. During what month did you go? It looks like it is cold and less touristy. Which is what I prefer. 🙂 (The less touristy crowds) Great post. Very informative. Love the food pictures!

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      The first time we visited in November, so the colder looking pictures. It actually wasn’t that cold – there were people sunbathing in bathing suits along the sea! It was really really foggy then. This year, we were there in April. It was sunnier but still chilly. So yeah I guess both times we visited weren’t in the main tourist season. That’s when we prefer our holidays too.

  34. Thanks for the great guide! I’m still yet to go to Italy but it’s nice to hear about the lesser talked about spots too – it looks just as beautiful.

  35. Great entry! Glad you enjoyed our city – check out our guide on BestofTrieste.com – we’re on FB & Twitter too!

  36. Ah, it’s all about the images. Your pictures really make Italy look glorious. I miss the country so much, I’ve last visited in March. Trieste looks epic if you ask me!

  37. What a beautiful little city! I had never heard of Trieste before but it is now on my list for the next time I get to Italy! It is everything I want in a place I visit!

  38. Looks lovely! I feel like all Italian cities have got similar vibes with beautiful colourful houses, narrow streets and of course Italian food. We’ve just recently visited Verona & Venice and I’m very keen to explore the rest of Italy as I am a big fan of Italian culture!

  39. I love Italy but haven’t been to Trieste yet. It looks like a gorgeus city to visit with so many things to do. Thanks for sharing!

  40. That lake looks incredible though! What a great guide. I can’t wait to go back to Italy and will definitely save this for when I go!

  41. There are so many great cities in Italy… can’t believe I haven’t been to Trieste yet. The architecture, cable cars, and food all look so good!

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