30 Great Things To Do In Trieste (By An Expert!) 

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Looking for things to do in Trieste?

Trieste, Italy has wonderful things to do from the historical and cultural to nature trails and beach promenades, plus excellent small family owned restaurants with Italian and Austro-Hungarian cui.  It is a relaxing destination with less of the frantic tourist vibe in the more popular places in Italy.

I visited Trieste twice and just loved it. I came back a second time within two weeks because I enjoyed it so much! It is a hidden gem in northern Italy that is often overlooked, and definitely worth visiting.

I saw (and will share with you) the beautiful canal, grand plaza, Miramare castle, churches, historic coffee shops, unique museums, local restaurants and downtown shops.

And I’ve included a few day trips and hand picked local tours and experiences to get a real feel for the city and its culture.

If you are in a hurry and want a short “Best of Trieste” to-do list, here it is…

Quick List of Things to do in Trieste:

View of Trieste and Adriatic Sea from my apartment window
View of Trieste from my apartment window

30 Things To See and Do In Trieste

Trieste is culturally diverse, beautiful and yet not a well-known tourist destination.

There are enough interesting things to see and do in the city for a day or two if you want to add in day trips to the region or nearby Croatia or Slovenia.

👉 Local Tip: If you choose to strike up a conversation with locals while discovering Trieste, you will find most speak some English and that they are friendly and eager to tell you about their specialities and the region.

1. See the Grand Plaza – Piazza Unità d’Italia

Grand Plaza of Trieste at sunset seen from a side street
Grand Plaza of Trieste at sunset seen from a side street

Looking out over the Adriatic Sea, Piazza Unità d’Italia is Europe’s largest sea-facing square and home to some of Trieste’s most important buildings.  I loved this plaza and returned many times.

You can’t miss it – it is right in the center on the waterfront and the main focal point of the historic center.

Here, you can admire grand architectural structures like the municipal building, marvel at the beautiful fountain, and, at night, bask in the square’s romantic luminescent glow. 

2. Walk the Historic Center

Pedestrian steet in center of Trieste
Pedestrian Street in Trieste’s centre at Christmas

Dive into Trieste’s historic centre—think Vienna with an Italian twist!

With grand Habsburg-era buildings and charming churches, you can wander medieval streets filled with cafés and theatres. It’s a delightful Italian-Austrian blend. 

3. Admire the Serbian Orthodox Church

Serbian Orthodox Church, Trieste, Italy

Near the historic centre is the Serbian Orthodox Church. This Byzantine church was established in 1748, but it wasn’t until 1751 that Empress Maria Theresa permitted Orthodox Christian religious practice. 

The church now stands as a symbol of Trieste’s religious diversity, along with the Jewish Synagogue, a Lutheran Church, and a Greek Orthodox Church. 

4. Explore the Cathedral San Guisto

Walk up the hill of San Giusto to see the Cathedral San Guisto. Constructed in 1385, this medieval church is still operational and is the main church of Trieste.

Free to visit and filled with centuries-old art, the Cathedral San Guisto is like an architectural mixtape. It’s got all the classics: Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance.

You will need good walking shoes and be able to walk up a fairly steep hill. Taxis are available in the centre if you prefer to ride.

5. Wander the Castle San Guisto

San guisto castle, Trieste - things to do in Trieste
The castle of San Giusto in Trieste

Since you’ve already made the trek to the top of San Giusto, you’ll be close to the Castle San Guisto. The entrance fee is €5.

See the original statues of “Mikeze and Jakeze,” the two automata that mark the hours on the Town Hall bell tower.

Explore the rooms, including Giuseppe Caprin’s Sala Veneta, a meeting room adorned with a collection of weapons from the twelfth to nineteenth centuries.

Location: 📍 Castle San Guisto

6. Visit the Roman Theatre Ruins

See the Roman theatre in Trieste, Italy
The old Roman Theater in Trieste

Behind Piazza Unità d’Italia at the base of San Giusto hill is the Teatro Romano built in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD.

This Roman Theatre is still active and hosts summer concerts. Excavated in the 1930s, the amphitheatre accommodated 6,000 spectators. The theatre is free to access.

Location: 📍 Roman Theatre of Trieste

7. Admire the Canal Grande

See the Canal Grande in Trieste

Trieste’s Canal Grande is one of the most photographable spots in the city.

I walked by it often and noticed the different atmosphere depending on the time of day, light and wind.

 If you’re visiting Trieste during the holidays, you’ll also find a Christmas market filled with local vendors peddling traditional souvenirs. 

8. Tour the Castle Miramare

Castle Miramar Trieste, Italy

Visiting Catle Miramare is one of the most popular things to do in Triest, and well worth it. Perched on Trieste’s Gulf, the Castle Miramare is a 19th-century masterpiece nearly surrounded by the Adriatic Sea.

This extravagant manor is about 15 minutes from downtown Trieste by car or bus and has opulent interiors, lush gardens, and panoramic sea views. 

Inside Castle Miramare, Trieste
Inside Castle Miramare

You can visit the beautiful grounds for free and get tickets to see the interior of the castle.

It is about 15 minutes north of Triest along the coastal highway. You can take a bus from the centre of town and get a ticket at the bus station.

Or take a small group tour with a private guide and hear the tragic history of Archduke Maximillian and his mad wife, this is the best option for history lovers.

👉 Get Castle Miramare private tour tickets here!

9. Stroll the Barcola Beach Promenade

Things to do in Trieste - stroll Barcola Beach promenade

A wonderful thing to do while visiting Trieste is to stroll down the Barcola Beach Promenade to take in views of the sea and Castle Miramare. While it’s not a sandy beach, the water is cold and deep, perfect for swimming in the summer. 

Trieste is known for its beaches and swimming areas that locals have been using faithfully for more than 100 years.

10. Visit the fascinating Opera Museum – Civico Museo Teatrale “Carlo Schmidl”

Trieste Opera Museum

The Opera Museum vividly portrays Trieste’s rich cultural history by showcasing aspects of a period known as the Vienna of Italy. This was my favourite museum in Trieste.

Dedicated exhibits honour composers, musicians, and performances and you see up close the antique instruments, extravagant costumes, and suits of armour. 

I learned the fun fact that opera performers used to use their everyday clothing as costumes!

Opera costume in Trieste Museum
Opera Costume in Trieste’s Theatre Museum

It is located right on the Grand Canal. For up-to-date info on tickets and hours check the website: Theatre Museum “Carlo Schmidl”.

If you like theatre, opera, music and it’s history, visiting this museum is one of the most interesting things to do in Trieste.

  • Location: Right on the Canal Grande at via Rossini 4

11. Have an Espresso at the Caffè San Marco 

Caffè San Marco goes beyond mere coffee; it serves a slice of the city’s history. It is a bookstore, cafe and bar all in one.

Since 1914, it has welcomed writers, artists, and intellectuals. The atmosphere is reminiscent of old-world Trieste and definitely worth a visit.

If you want to know the ins and outs of ordering coffee in Italy, check out my post, Ordering Coffee in Italy, a Beginner’s Guide to Coffee Etiquette.

12. Visit the Victory Lighthouse – Faro della Vittoria

Trieste Victory Lighthouse is a great thing to see in Trieste
Trieste Lighthouse

Admission is free to the lighthouse and worth it for the interesting architecture and fabulous panoramic views. You climb 230 steps to the top for wonderful views of the sea and and city.

It is easily accessible by bus.

👉 For hours and information check the website. Faro della Vittoria.

13. Dine in a Local’s Home

Experience Trieste like an Italian by dining in a local’s home! Feel the warmth of Italian hospitality and take home a souvenir apron. 

This is one of the most authentic experiences you can have in Trieste.

If you want an immersive and authentic experience, this one and the following two tours are unique Trieste experiences that include culture, cuisine and talking with locals.

You will have a truly local experience with a private 4-course dinner featuring recipes passed down for generations.

👉 Check times and price here: Dine with a Local at Home! 🍷

14. Try Local Street Food – “No Diet Club”

One of the best parts of visiting Italy is trying the local cuisine!

With the aptly named “No Diet Club” tour, you’ll go with a local guide and try multiple dishes. Sample cheeses, fish, salami, pastry, coffee and more.

You’ll learn to eat like a local in Trieste and where the best places are for authentic street food. I highly recommend

👉 Grab your ticket for Unique Local Food in Trieste! 😋

15. Learn the Art of Apertivo – Private Cooking Class

As the day winds down in Trieste, learn the art of aperitivo! In this class, you’ll learn the secrets of crafting this Italian tradition of regional appetizers.

The private cooking workshop includes five elegant nibbles paired with a delicious glass of local wine. 

👉 Get tickets to Learn the Art of Aperitivo! 🍴

16. Taste Authentic Italian Coffee

Trieste is the coffee capital of Italy! Who knew? And it is the Mediteranean’s main coffee harbour.

Visit Caffè degli Specchi (on the Grand Plaza) or Antico Caffè Torinese (Corso Italia 2) for authentic Italian coffee.

Once you’ve had a blend of Hausbrandt Trieste, you’ll understand why the locals in Trieste drink nearly double the amount of coffee as the rest of Italy!

👉 If you want to learn the ins and outs of Italian coffee and how to order, check out my blog: Ordering Coffee In Italy: A Beginner’s Guide To Coffee Etiquette 2024

17. Take a Day Trip to Ljubljana and Lake Bled

Ljubljana, Slovenia near the city center

Taking day trip is an easy thing to do in Trieste since it is near two countries and many interesting areas. The next few entries are some top choices, and you can check my post, Day Trips from Trieste, for more options.

I loved my time in Ljubljana . You can easily take a day trip here from Trieste and see the old town with the iconic triple bridge, beautiful architecture and castle.

Lake Bled, Day Trip from Trieste
Lake Bled

Lake Bled and its island is straight out of a fairy tale and easy to get to from Ljubljana or Trieste. The day tour below is very convenient for seeing both.

👉Book your tickets for a Slovenian Adventure – a Day Trip from Trieste! 😎

18. Explore Slovenian Wonders – Cave and Castle

Predjama Castle - things to do in and near Trieste
Predjama Castle was built in a cave, in Slovenia

Take a half-day tour from Trieste to discover a unique Slovenian cave and Predjama Castle, built right into the rocks.

Postojna Cave is the only place in the world where you can explore a web of caves on an electric train. Next, explore the medieval Predjama Castle, perched defiantly on a 123-meter-high cliff. 

👉 Book your tickets for Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle! 🏰

19. Taste Prosecco Where It Comes From

Discover the roots of Prosecco on a day trip from Trieste. Begin in the Friuli Venezia Giulia village, where the Glera grape brings the legendary wine to life.

Uncover the region’s beauty and head to Štanjel, a medieval Karst village with cultural heritage.

👉 Book Prosecco Tasting in the Karst Region Day Tour! 🍷

For more Day Trips from Trieste, check out my blog post: 16 Great Day Trips from Trieste.

20. See Gorgeous Views on the Rilke Trail

The Rilke Trail is an easy 1.7 km path from Sistiana to Duino just outside Trieste. Dedicated to poet Rainer Maria Rilke, it’s a beautiful place overlooking gorgeous sea vistas. 

You can access the trail at Duino or Sistiana and catch a bus from Trieste or drive. It’s about a 20-minute drive to Sistiana. Park at the Info Point in Sistiana.

Or start at ‘Collegio del Mondo Unito’ in Duino, traverse a grove, and enjoy Adriatic views. Capture Duino Castle and panoramic spots, spotting Trieste, Portopiccolo, and Sistiana.

21. Shop Back in Time at Drogheria Toso

Transport yourself a century back at Drogheria Toso (Toso Store) in Trieste. Unchanged since 1906, the store’s ivory drawers, filled with oxides, clay, talc, and unique wonders remain virtually unchanged for over 100 years. 

From ostrich feather dusters to horsehair brooms, discover exclusive items in this fragrant haven of spices and traditional goods.

Location: 📍 Piazza San Giovanni 6

22. Take the Ferry To Historic Muggia

Take a scenic ferry ride from Trieste to Muggia, the southernmost municipality of Italy bordering Slovenia. A ticket there is €4,65, and a return ticket is €8,65. You can also take a bus, which is €1,25 each way. 

The ferry takes 30 minutes; the bus takes 40 minutes or drive or taxi there in about 15 minutes.

Explore Muggia Castle and Porto San Rocco Marina for incredible views. I also recommend visiting Muggia Vecchia’s Archaeological Park and the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta.

23. Visit Museo del Mare – Maritime Museum

The Galata Museo del Mare in Genoa museum spans five floors and features interactive exhibits, ship models, and even a submarine tour. Dive into marine history with naval evolution simulations and a compelling immigration section. 

For families looking for kid-friendly activities in Trieste, Museo del Mare is a superb choice. Admission is €17 or free for children under six. 

Location: Via di Campo Marzio 3

24. Have a Coffee in the Oldest Cafe in Trieste

Step into the charm of Caffè Tommaseo, Trieste’s oldest café founded in 1825. Once named Tommaseo after Dalmatian linguist Tommaseo, it’s more than coffee—it’s a piece of history.

Sit where literary greats like Stendhal, Italo Svevo, and Claudio Magris once sat. All of whom found inspiration at Caffè Tommaseo’s tables. 

Related Reading: Ordering Coffee In Italy: A Beginner’s Guide To Coffee Etiqutette 2024

25. Tour the James Joyce Museum.

James Joyce statue in Trieste
James Joyce statue in Trieste along Canal Grande

Explore the James Joyce Museum in Trieste. Delve into the life and works of the iconic writer who once made Trieste his home.

While at Canal Grande, snap a pic with his statue on Ponte Rosso.

The best part? The entrance fee is free.

26. Enjoy Austro-Hungarian Desserts at Pasticceria la Bomboniera

La Bomboniera is a patisserie frozen in time since 1836.

You can try authentic Austro-Hungarian desserts, such as Rigo Jansci, Pischinger, and Sacher tortes, along with local treats like putizza cake and presnitz pastry—all baked in the original wood-fired oven.

It’s near the Grand Canal at Via Trenta Ottobre 3.

27. Find Local Traditional Souvenirs at Tipicamente Triestino.

Bring home an authentic Trieste souvenir from Tipicamente Triestino. Founded by passionate guides Emanuela and Donata, the store is a treasure trove of local wonders, from wines and oils to literary cookies featuring Saba, Joyce, and Svevo. 

Find unique gifts like board games, jewellery, and more, capturing the spirit of Trieste’s food and art culture.

Location: Via Luigi Einaudi, 1 – near Canal Grande

28. Relax in the Rose Garden

Repurposed from the property of a psychiatric hospital, San Giovanni Park has been a vibrant public space since 1908. Home to a vast rose garden with nearly 5,000 varieties, it offers enchanting trails and terraced areas.

This is a little far from the historic center, so best to visit if you have a car.

Location: San Giovanni Park

29. Visit Museo Revoltella – Gorgeous historic palace and art

Museo Revoltella in Trieste is an art lover’s paradise housed in a historic 1858 palace. Baron Pasquale Revoltella’s 19th-century collection features modern Italian and European art, furniture, and more.

The museum’s rooftop offers a breathtaking city panorama, making it a must-visit for its artistic treasures and scenic views. Admission is €6,50.

30. Walk the Molo Audace Pier

Molo Audace Pier, Trieste. A great thing to do in Trieste is walk along the pier with the locals
View of the Bora wind on the sea from Molo Audace Pier, Trieste

The Molo Audace pier in Trieste is a 200-meter walkway by Piazza Unità d’Italia. Originally 95 meters, it was extended twice after the San Carlo shipwreck. Post-World War I, it was renamed Molo Audace, honouring a warship.

Locals often walk along the pier, that has splendid views of Trieste’s waterfront and main square.

👉 Local Tip: THE BORA WIND The Bora wind that you see in the photo is magnificent and special to the people of Trieste. I experienced it with awe, not knowing it had a name and history at the time.

The Bora and the seafront on the Grand Square are two special reasons to visit Trieste, in my opinion.

MAP – Best Things to Do in Trieste

Getting Around Trieste

  • Walk: Trieste is easily explorable on foot. The historic center has many pedestrian-only streets and it’s a safe city, even at night. Watch for pickpockets like in any city. 
  • Tourist Bus: There is a Hop-On tourist bus that costs 15 euros.
  • Taxi: Available at the train station and bus station and around the town.
  • Bus: Buses go everywhere in Trieste and the region. The bus station is next to the train station and about a 15-minute walk to the downtown. 
  • Check times and and buy bus tickets here.

Where To Stay In Trieste

📍Budget Option:  B&B I Filoksenia Charming with historic atmosphere. An excellent value with beautiful antiques. My favorite place to stay in Trieste. Near the train station and downtown.

📍Mid-Range Option: Addicted to Paradise B&B.  Beautiful decor and large rooms. The breakfast is excellent. It is near the train station and walking distance to the center.

📍Luxury Option: Savoia Excelsior Palace Trieste. A luxurious hotel once famous in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.   Elegant with sea views and located on the Grand Plaza (Piazza dell’Unita d’Italia).

FAQs about Things to Do in Trieste, Italy

Here are a few questions and answers about Trieste.

Is Trieste Italy worth visiting?

Yes! Trieste is worth a visit if you like culturally rich destinations, sea and mountains and/or beautiful architecture.

What is Trieste best known for?

The Piazza Unita del Italia in Trieste is the largest seafront plaza in Europe. I would say Trieste is equally known for its cross-cultural heritage.

Do they speak English in Trieste?

Most people speak some English.  

Is it easy to walk around Trieste?

Yes. It is easy to walk around in the historic downtown area. 

Final Thoughts – What to do in Trieste

Trieste is wonderful with more things to do than you might think.

Feel the Bora. Watch the water. Walk the streets. Talk to the locals. Try the coffee, wine and cuisine. Consider one of the wonderful day trips from Trieste to Croatia, Slovenia or the surrounding region.

You will be glad you did. 😊

More posts related to visiting Trieste:

16 Great Day Trips from Trieste, Italy – Insider’s Guide

25 BEST Trieste Restaurants (Expert Guide 2024)

Trieste Beach Guide 2024: 7 Best Beaches In & Near Trieste, Italy

Is Trieste Worth Visiting? 13 Best Reasons to Visit Trieste

Ordering Coffee In Italy: A Beginner’s Guide To Coffee Etiqutette 2024