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  • Writer's pictureGreen Traveller

Train from London to Florence, Italy

Green Traveller's Guide to taking the train from London St Pancras International Railway Station to Florence, Italy

The birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence has a long and rich history: home to such great figures as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Dante – not to forget the powerful Medici family – Florence has been influential in shaping the modern world. Today, it remains one of Italy’s major cities and one of the world’s premier tourist destinations. With a host of celebrated sites, from the glorious dome of the Duomo and the shop-lined Ponte Vecchio bridge, to the world-renowned Uffizi and Pitti galleries, Florence is not short of sights for the visitor. Its elegant streets, squares, and palaces invite you to stroll, or to linger over Tuscan cuisine served up with the region’s celebrated olive oil.

Journey Time: requires overnight stop in either Paris or Turin/Milan

Sample timetable: Depart London 10.22am, arrive Paris Gare du Nord 1.47pm, departs Gare de Lyon at 3.18pm arrives Milan at 10.07pm. Overnight in Milan then take any number of trains to Florence (journey time just less than 2 hours)

Changes: 2

Transfer: Paris Gare du Nord to Paris Gare de Lyon and same station change in Turin or Milan

Frequency of Departures: 28/day

Carbon emissions: 33.8kg (flight would be 257.9kg)*

Car hire at Florence SMN Railway Station: Yes

What's the journey like?

You have to change stations in Paris from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon, which can take about half an hour on the Paris RER line (it's only two stops, though we recommend you leave at least 50 minutes for the entire transfer). How to transfer between train stations across Paris. You can either stay overnight in Paris and take train to Turin or Milan to change to Florence, or take train straight to Turin/Milan, stay overnight in either of these cities and take train next morning to Florence.

Stopover hotels to break the journey in Paris

If you want to break the journey and stay overnight to see a bit more of Paris while you're travelling through, there are lots of lovely places to stay near both Gare du Nord and Gare de Lyon. Here are some examples of hotels that are conveniently near these stations:

Hotels near Gare du Nord

Hotels near Gare de Lyon

Miss your connection in Paris?

Don’t panic. Railteam’s ‘Hop on the Next Available Train’ service means that if you have missed your connection between high speed trains because of a delay on the preceding leg of your journey, you’ll automatically be put on the next available high-speed train. NB Remember to get your ticket stamped by your Train Manager. Whenever you’re connecting, always remember to validate your onward train ticket at the machine on the platform before departing (these are often coloured yellow).

Stopover hotels in Turin or Milan

If you decide to break the journey and stay overnight in Turin or Milan, there are lots of lovely places to stay near both stations. Here are some examples of hotels that are conveniently near these stations:

Hotels near Torino Porta Susa, Italy

Hotels near Milan Porta Garibaldi, Italy

On arrival at Florence station

Benvenuto a Firenza! There's lots of information about sustainable travel in Florence at Sustainable Florence. Most visitors coming by train will arrive directly at Florence’s Santa Maria Novella (SMN) railway station, on the north-western edge of the city centre. However, there are two other stations in the city, Firenze Campo Marte and Firenze Rifredi: it is possible you may have to make a change at Rifredi to arrive at SMN, but this should be covered by your train ticket (for no extra cost) – check with the train operator in case of doubt.

Central Florence is compact, and much of it is barred to through traffic, so walking is a great option for getting around and enjoying what the city has to offer. Alternatively, you could choose to hire a bike – taking advantage of the flat terrain and quiet central streets (outside the centre, there is however traffic to contend with) – the city’s official tourist website offers a list of different cycle hire providers in Florence.

For longer journeys across and around the city, you may need to take advantage of the city’s bus system. ATAF, the bus operator, provides information, maps, timetables and a journey planner in English, including basic tickets, valid for 90 minutes, and various other options are available.

If you’re going to spend several days in Florence, and intend to head to several of the city’s museums and attractions, you might want to consider investing in the Firenze Welcome Card, which provides discounts on many cultural and commercial activities in the city as well as in surrounding towns and villages.

(Tickets provided by Trainline)

Buon Viaggio!

See more routes to Italy and across Europe in our Flight-Free Train/Ferry Journey Planner


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