Friday, October 23, 2015

5 day trips from Turin

This week our friend Ishita had a special request for us as she's visualizing in detail her next trip to Turin and Piedmont. At the moment she is organizing everything in her mind and on her own, and just like most non European visitors, she will not be driving. So, this post is for her and all those people who dream of visiting Italy, unconventional places and, above all, love sleek architecture, amazing food and top quality wines!
Here below you'll find our tips for 5 day trips you can easily do from Turin by train and/or bus.
In fact, given the geological and geographical conformation of Piedmont and Turin's location, you can really enjoy our many diverse landscapes from the Alps to the lakes, passing through royal residences and medieval towns.

  1. Royal Palace of Venaria and La Mandria Park

If you are in Turin between mid-May and early October, you should definitely include a whole day at the Royal Palace of Venaria aka Turin's Versailles and maybe even a visit to La Mandria park.
You can easily leave in the morning from either Piazza Castello or Piazza Vittorio, right downtown Turin and get on the Venaria express bus.
The bus ticket is 1.70E each way and you can get it in the main tobacco shops near the bus stop; this bus stops at La Mandria park too.
The Royal Palace of Venaria is closed on Mondays, so double check before planning.
Another option to reach Venaria is hopping on the Turismo Torino double decker bus C, do some city sightseeing on your way to both the castle and the park.

relaxing in the royal park in September
The Venaria palace usually hosts at least 3 exhibits plus naturally a huge park with an orchard. Every May there is a Slow Food sponsored event called Orti in Festival - the vegetable garden festival and in the summer months, a royal buffet is organized for the early dinner.
Depending on the time, it's better to come back to Turin on the Venaria express. Check the bus schedule before planning, the trip takes roughly 1h both ways.

2. Romantic Lake Orta - Lago d'Orta and San Giulio Island

San Giulio island at Lake Orta
Piedmont lakes are among the most beautiful and picturesque of Europe and Lago d'Orta with its San Giulio island offers one of the most romantic views!
You can reach it by train, changing in Novara (on the way to Milan) and getting off at Orta (line Orta-Miasino) in about 2h; if you are travelling on a budget, make sure you are taking a treno regionale, the ticket is about 10E each way.
This is such a whimsical place that any season offers of the unique atmospheres and it's the perfect place if you draw, paint, take pictures or simply love lakes!

3. Bardonecchia: the magic of the Alps

Bardonecchia is a winter wonderland and a natural heaven in the summer
The Alps are one of the Piedmont regional symbols so if you leave from the Porta Nuova station, you can reach this renowned mountain destination in only 1h20min with 7E!
Needless to tell you that in the winter you'll be able to ski, snowboard and ice skate, and in the summer you can hike, do mountain biking or just enjoy some fresh air away from the hectic urban life.
Moreover if you are planning to visit France, Bardonecchia is just the right stop over!
Just imagine what a culinary exploration of flavors you can do up there: cheeses, grappas, meats, pasta and their sauces...

4. Alba: the world's white truffle hub

Alba during the truffle bacchanal
Alba is THE foodies and wine lovers' destination par excellence and people into medieval history and art will love it too!
Many Piedmont prime ingredients are from this area and the Nutella headquarters are based here too; Alba counts one the highest concentrations of 5 star restaurants in the world and no matter when you come there will always be something interesting to do and see.
It is a small medieval town at about 90min by train from the Porta Nuova station and you will have to connect in Bra. The ticket is about 6E each way.

Alba is also famous for its flag throwers!
Alba top events are mostly related to the Fall because of the white truffle fair and the harvest however, you can enjoy Barbera, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo and Barbaresco, Barolo, Moscato all year around paired with the locally produced cheeses, meats, pastas and chocolate+hazelnuts desserts!
You can easily walk away your scrumptious lunch strolling around the town to admire the many 14th and 15th century towers, the romanesque, gothic, baroque buildings and churches with their frescoes.
And don't forget about the picturesque ass palio!

5.  Vercelli, the rice capital

Vercelli city center
Taking the train to Milan, after only 40min you can get off in Vercelli and have the chance to visit another town in Piedmont. Smaller and more peaceful than Turin, yet larger than Alba, Vercelli deserves a 1 day visit to see how varied the region is.
Needless to tell you that the whole Vercelli province is actually beautiful, interesting and unique, not only because of the rice paddies but also for the cultural diversity of its mountain villages and its wine productions.
Yet just one day will be enough for European art, architecture and history lovers to love it; foodies will get the chance to try panissa: the traditional risotto made with Barbera wine, lard and salami and wine lovers will be able to savor Gattinara in its original production area.
the train ticket is around 6E each way and there is a train every hour!

Whenever you'll make it here, you'll simply be in awe of Piedmont, its landscapes, atmospheres and royal flavors!


  1. Love love love this post! Thank you for this list, it sure makes my day dreaming take another level.

  2. All the lakes are lovely! Don't forget Lake Maggiore. We took a gondola ride to the top of the mountain there. Very cool.