If you are planning a trip to Italy with your kids, then you should visit the stunning city of Lucca. Lucca with kids offers a unique holiday experience, combining culture and rich history with fun activities, special events and fabulous food. Our family has visited many times, so here is our guide to Lucca.
Lucca is a beautiful walled city in Northern Tuscany and offers the perfect family holiday in Italy, Europe. This breathtaking city dates to ancient Roman times, with Renaissance churches and immense city walls.
Lucca with kids is a great experience, with many things to see and do for toddlers through to teenagers. The city is 30 minutes north of Pisa and one hour west of Florence, so an ideal base to explore Italy with the kids.
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How to Get to Lucca
Flying to Lucca: The nearest airport to Lucca is Pisa Airport and from there you can hire a car or take the train. We took a taxi from the airport to Pisa Centrale which cost around €7 and took about 5 minutes.
Pisa Airport has plenty of car hire options, and the drive takes about 30 minutes. Bear in mind the historic centre of Lucca is mostly pedestrianised, but parking is available at the city gates.
Train to Lucca: Trenitalia runs a direct train from Pisa to Lucca hourly. You can relax on the 30-minute journey, and the kids will enjoy seeing the beautiful Tuscan scenery.
When is the best time to visit Lucca?
Visiting Lucca, Italy, at any time of the year is a fantastic experience, with the weather in Spring and Summer being ideal. There is less chance of rain during these months, and the weather is warmer, so the kids can enjoy more of the outdoor activities Lucca has to offer.
Lucca in May
This would be a great month to visit Lucca with kids as the weather is great for outdoor activities. Exploring the city for a day would be a fun activity in May. You can bike around the city walls and wander through Lucca on foot to discover the many sights.
Lucca in July
We visited Lucca in July, and the weather was perfect; the temperatures were higher but still comfortable. Puccini was born in Lucca, and music is at its heart! The Summer Festival is held in July and features many popular international artists performing in the piazzas.
Where to Stay in Lucca with Children
There are many options for cheaper accommodation, 4* hotels and splashing out on a luxury experience in Lucca with kids. We opted to stay just outside the city and were able to walk, bike or take a taxi into the historic centre.
Budget: Lucca Villa Elisa & Gentucca
Lucca in Villa Elisa & Gentucca is rated highly in terms of comfort, cleanliness and facilities. The property is located on a quiet residential street and is extremely close to the city walls. You can walk via Porta Elisa and be in the historical centre in 5 minutes.
Mid-Range: Best Western Grand Hotel Guinigi
The Best Western Grand Hotel Guinigi is located just outside the ancient city walls, about 2km from central Lucca. The property offers beautiful family rooms, with cots available on request. Guests can also rent bikes at the hotel, so you can bike into the city directly.
Splashing Out: Hotel Albergo Villa Marta
This idyllic 19th-century hunting lodge is only 5km away from Lucca, based at the foot of the Mount Pisani hills. The Villa Marta is very family-friendly and ideal for kids as they have an outdoor summer pool, Renaissance gardens and on-site restaurant. Children’s cots are available upon request.
Best Things to do in Lucca with Kids
There are so many fun things to do in Lucca with kids in one day. The city has a lot to offer, from physical activities such as biking, walking and climbing towers, to having fun in busy piazzas and visiting museums.
The city constantly surprises you as you turn every corner as there are so many things to see and do in Lucca.
#1 City Walls
Enjoying a bike ride around the ancient city walls of Lucca is a must-do family activity, and you can hire bikes easily. The circuit is 4.9km and is an extremely wide path that is perfectly safe for kids. Take the ramps to go down into the city to enjoy the small parks and picnic areas.
Why not get orientated with Lucca with this 2-hour walking tour which includes the city walls. Click here for prices and availability. Kids will also love this carriage tour through the centre of Lucca.
#2 Torre Guinigi
Our kids loved climbing the impressive tower and then finding the hanging garden, large oak trees, and outstanding view of the city at the top made this a memorable activity. The wealthy Guinigi family built the 45m tower in the 14th century. There are 20 flights of stairs, so it is only suitable for children aged seven and over.
#3 Piazza Anfiteatro
The city square is built on an ancient Roman amphitheatre and is a great place to have drinks, pizza or gelato, and the kids can have a run-around. The architecture is beautiful, and you can wander through the streets adjacent to the piazza.
#4 Ortobotanico Di Lucca
We spotted the botanical gardens while we were biking around the city walls—the gardens house 200 species, including plants and flowers, impressive trees and a beautiful lily pond. The kids really enjoyed following the narrow paths and searching for wildlife, including butterflies, fish and turtles.
#5 Via Fillungo
This is the main shopping street in Lucca, and we really enjoyed going in the evening as the atmosphere was lively and the shops are open until 9 pm. There is a real mix of shops, quaint cafes, interesting buildings, and the walk takes you from Piazza San Michele up to the beautiful Anfiteatro.
#6 Lucca Duomo (Cathedral)
The cathedral was built in the 11th century and is stunning in terms of the architecture outside and the artwork inside. There is also a church tower which you can climb and admire the view of Lucca and the Tuscan countryside.
You can also buy tickets to see the archaeological excavation of Roman ruins under the cathedral.
#7 Piazza Napoleone
The largest square in Lucca, Italy, with many restaurants, Palazzo Ducale (palace), open markets and the kids can enjoy a ride on the carousel. In the evening, the piazza is very lively, and street artists perform, while during the winter, there is an ice-skating rink.
#8 Leonardo da Vinci Museum
The museum houses a collection of Leonardo da Vinci’s machines, including flying machines, hydraulics and a contraption to enable walking on water. Some of the exhibits are interactive, so this is great fun for the kids, and they also had a 360-degree mirrored room which was a big hit.
#9 Acquedotto del Nottolini
A real hidden gem would be a trip to this impressive aqueduct. In the warmer months, this would be a great morning activity, as you can walk from behind the train station along a path that goes right next to the aqueduct. The walk was very peaceful, and plenty of open space for the kids.
#10 Comics Festival
Lucca Comics & Games is a convention held annually at the end of October and the largest comics festival in Europe. The event is held across the city, with many exhibitions, shows, games and people in amazing costumes. The kids will have a great time, and it does get crowded at certain times, so probably best to avoid busier periods.
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Where to Eat in Lucca with Children
Pizza, pasta and gelato rate high in terms of my children’s favourite foods and when you taste them in Italy, it goes up another level! Most cafes and restaurants in Lucca are extremely child friendly, as a big part of family life is going out for dinner.
Pizzeria de Felice
Pizzeria de Felice is an amazing pizza restaurant where we all enjoyed the Margherita pizza and calzone. This is more of a lunch or late evening option rather than a formal restaurant, but fresh, tasty and reasonably priced.
In Pasta Cibo e Convivio
In Pasta Cibo e Convivio sells outstanding homemade pasta and offers vegetarian food with seasonal recipes. There is a great atmosphere with locals and families, and the kids can choose their own pasta type and watch the chef prepare the dish.
La Linea is a family-run restaurant that serves mouthwatering steaks, tasty pizza and fabulous tiramisu. We took the option of sitting outside to eat, and the street was not too busy, so was very relaxing.
La Bottega del Gelato
La Bottega del Gelato is one of the best gelaterias we found in Lucca, and we enjoyed the homemade milk chocolate, strawberry and salted pistachio flavours.
How to Spend 2 Days in Lucca with Kids
Wondering what to do in Lucca for a day with kids? This beautiful Tuscan city offers many different options for the family. Here is a guide to the top two days we spent as a family in Lucca and some additional ideas for the rest of the holiday.
Day 1: 24 Hours in Lucca Itinerary
Morning: Hire some bikes and cycle around Lucca’s city walls. You can take a break on the many benches around the 4.9km circuit, and the kids can enjoy the various play areas and surrounding countryside.
Take a look at this 2-hour self-guided tour of Lucca by bike.
Afternoon: Head to the area of Piazza Anfitheatre for some lunch and then explore Via Fillungo and Piazza San Michele where there is interesting architecture, shops and a lively atmosphere into the early evening.
Why not try this 2-hour private ‘Medieval Lucca for kids’ tour.
Day 2: 48 Hours in Lucca Itinerary
Morning: Climb the infamous Torre Guinigi, where you can experience the spectacular view and have a rest in the hanging gardens at the top, browse the souvenir shops nearby and then enjoy some well-earned pizza.
Afternoon: The Botanical Gardens are an oasis within the city and the kids will enjoy exploring the winding paths and discovering different flowers, plants and wildlife. Concerts are also held under the trees in the months of July and August. Enjoy a gelato at La Bottega del Gelato after you leave the gardens.
3 Days in Lucca with Kids
Walk to the Lucca Duomo and the other magnificent churches located across the city, including the Basilica of San Frediano and San Michele in Foro. The cathedral has a church tower to climb and a Roman archaeological excavation site underneath the building.
In the afternoon, visit the Piazza Napoleone, where you can enjoy the many restaurants, Palazzo Ducale (palace), carousel, open markets and street performers into the evening.
4 Days in Lucca with Kids
Visit the Acquedotto del Nottolini in Lucca during the morning, the kids will enjoy the walk through the countryside, and the aqueduct is an impressive and interesting structure.
Head back to the historical centre of Lucca for lunch and visit the Leonardo da Vinci museum to see the wild and wonderful flying machines and 360-degree mirror room.
Day Trips from Lucca for Families
There are many options in terms of day trips from Lucca, Italy by train. You can take a trip to see another city such as Pisa or Florence, visit the beach at Viareggio or explore the mountains and spa towns surrounding Lucca.
Taking a trip to Florence from Lucca is worth it (it only takes one hour on the train), and there are so many breathtaking sights and attractions to see.
The architecture, shops, food, atmosphere and hidden gems never stop, and even the train journey is a treat.
Viareggio is a seaside town known for its Art Deco architecture and beautiful beach and is only 30 minutes via train from Lucca. We had a great time at the beach, various play areas and enjoyed some amazing seafood near the harbour.
A historic spa town about half an hour by train from the city of Lucca. Its tree-lined streets and park are pleasant places to walk, lots of great shops and several thermal centres. You can take the funicular railway to Montecatini Alto for a real experience (a spectacular medieval village).
How to Get Around Lucca
You can travel around Lucca on foot, by bicycle and using taxis. Taxis are inexpensive and can drop you off at the city walls, as most of the historic city does not permit cars.
The historic city of Lucca is compact, making it easy to walk everywhere. A travel-friendly lightweight pushchair is probably a good option if you are travelling with a toddler or baby. There are lots of parks and water fountains dotted around the city so the kids can have a play and splash to break up the sightseeing.
Plan Your Trip to Lucca
Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.