By | 16th January 2018

Do you need a car in Pisa?

Do you need a car in Pisa > Should you rent a car in Pisa Italy > Pisa ( PSA ) Do you need a car in Pisa? Is it worth hiring a car in Pisa? Should you rent a car in Pisa?

Pisa Car hire summary

Overall drive rating

Based on a weighted score across all cost and quality factors. [Full notes - drive rating]


  • Price alone isn't the only factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Pisa but clearly it's an important one. See our "why" section for more figures.
  • Cost factors include - price of car hire (peak and off peak season), car hire extras, fuel, tolls and parking costs.
  • Quality factors include - scenic drives, road quality and upkeep, general safety and congestion levels.
  • A complete index of all 10 factors will be uploaded shortly.

Cheapest rate for one week

Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]



  • This is the very lowest price we could find for a one week car rental period in Pisa during the quiet season.
  • You will almost always end up paying more than this figure, but any extra costs or supplementary charges are usually determined by the renter, so we cannot easily compare like with like.
  • In many cases, rental companies will offer a cheap rental and then expect you to take out expensive insurance waivers. There are always ways to avoid this!

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]



  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "why not" section for more suggestions.
  • For most featured destinations, the peak season will be during the summer, typically July and August for northern hemisphere destinations. However, peak demand might occur at different times, for example in some ski resorts or winter sun destinations etc.

Free parking score

Based on the number of hotels which offer free parking. Total 538 - of which 178 have free parking. [full notes - parking]



  • Free hotel parking is very useful to have when you are hiring a car, and it's always worth checking ahead beforehand.
  • If free hotel parking is not available, you might want to consider renting a car for a single day, rather than for your whole trip.
  • The availability (or lack of) free hotel parking can be a really important factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Pisa, as it can be a significant extra daily cost which you won't usually be paying at home!
  • Parking costs play a very major part in our consideration of whether or not it's worth hiring a car in each destination.
  • By using public transport, walking or hiring a bicycle, you can avoid having to worry about parking charges altogether! See our "why not" section for more suggestions.

Pisa public transport quick facts

Train score

Higher scores go to the systems which don't just take you to the most amazing places, but also to the ones which are easy to use, fast, reliable and frequent. A good train system on its own is usually enough to determine that you don't need to hire a car in many destinations.


  • [full notes trains]
  • Trains include all kinds of urban rail system from trams up to metro and suburban networks.
  • Trains also include mountain railways and cable cars.
  • Generally, places with a good rail network will automatically mean that you don't "need" to hire a car, but you can still might find that on balance you are better off by having one.

Water travel score

This is a general rating for all types of water travel, including scheduled ferries, sea / rivers cruises and excursions in Pisa


  • [full notes - water score]
  • The water score looks at means of transport on water - it does not consider water based activities like surfing or kayaking.

Overall public transport score

This is a more practical rating based on bus and rail travel, and also including ferries and other boat services, where they are part of the public transport network.


  • [full notes - overall transit] buses | trams | metro | local & regional rail | national rail
  • Is public transport in Pisa good value, or is it worth hiring a car just because it is cheaper overall?
  • Even if public transport is cheap and reliable, you might still feel that you should hire a car in Pisa because it will still give you more flexibility to reach out-of-the-way places, especially in rural areas.

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Pisa. It includes factors such as the quality of the street environment, and whether you are likely to feel safe walking or cycling, together with the availability of bicycle hire and the ease of linking walking or cycling routes with public transport.


  • [full notes - active score] walking (city) | hiking | cycling (city /  country).
  • A high active travel score means that you might not need a car in Pisa, because you can see everything you need to see using a combination of your own two feet and the public transport system.

Car rental in - Pisa Need v worth & should!

Whether you have come here asking "do I need a car in Pisa", "is it worth hiring a car in Pisa", or whether or not you "should" hire a car here, these are all slight variations on a similar theme. Here we break each one down according to the criteria we use for each question. This is a weighted score based on the values above. These are explained further in the text which follows - [#why] [#whynot]. Do you need a car in Pisa?

Do you need a car in Pisa?

This is essentially based on whether or not public transport and other "non car" options are good enough to get around and beyond the city. For the lowest "need" score, the destination should have a combination of excellent all-round public transport, great opportunities for walking and cycling, together with poor value car hire or generally poor quality roads. 
  • In destinations where both public transport and car hire options are excellent, the verdict for "do I need a car in  Pisa " will swing towards a strong no, because you can do absolutely fine without one).
Is it worth hiring a car in Pisa?

Is it worth hiring a car in Pisa?

Is car hire good value, especially during the peak season? How does this compare with transit fares? This question mainly looks at issues of cost and practicality.
  • In destinations where both public transport and car hire options are excellent, the verdict for "is it worth hiring a car in  Pisa" will swing towards whichever option offers the lowest overall cost for a group of 2-4 people travelling together.
Should you rent a car in Pisa?

Should you rent a car in Pisa?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
  • The final "carometer" swing is much more opinion based, and it takes into account which options will give you the truly best travel experience (n our humble opinion of course). Where a destination offers an excellent score with or without a car, the swing will go towards whichever option we feel gives the most truly unforgettable experience.
  • Ultimately, it's your choice whether or not you rent a car here. We're trying to give you something that's sufficiently far enough away from a "maybe" to help you make that choice. Ultimately, people only come to us because they are uncertain, but we don't really know what each person's preferences are. Whether we say you should or you shouldn't rent a car in  Pisa, you might also want to look up some of our other cities to see how  Pisa compares with other destinations in  Italy or  Europe.
  • By using public transport, walking or hiring a bicycle, you can avoid having to worry about parking charges altogether! See our "why not" section for more suggestions.

What does everyone else do?

Do most people hire a car in Pisa?

This is based on our observations of (a) car rental facilities and (b) what we think most people will do here. It's not an exact figure, just an estimate of how likely people are to get hold of a rental car here.
  • his is based on the percentage of people "in the market" who we think are likely to hire a car. This includes anyone arriving on holiday here who would usually hire a car on their travels, so it doesn't include people who don't usually drive (or don't drive), people staying with friends etc.


Visitors per year (million)

  • Cities with more visitors are more likely to have more complex airport car rental arrangements, and generally they will also have better public transport, but this is not always the case, especially in North America.


  • [full notes - do as everyone else does?]
  • You may wish to go with the flow, or you might prefer to avoid doing the most popular or obvious option. This will vary according to the range of choice available. This tends to be much higher in destinations which are closer to the middle of the car or no car scale.

Who is travelling?

Your group size and travel budget has a major impact on whether or not getting a rental car is good value compared to using public transport as your main means of getting around. Ultimately, these are all "worth" questions:

Is it worth renting a car in Pisa if I am a solo / budget traveller?

Generally, hiring a car is not good value for solo travellers for multiple reasons, especially as most of the costs of renting apply to the car, not the occupants. With public transport, the reverse is usually true! However, there are always some places where you will need a car, simply because they are almost impossible to reach using public transport.

Is it worth renting a car in Pisa for 2 people travelling together?

A rental car can be good value for couples or for friends travelling together, but since most cars come with at least four seats, it's often still better value to use public transport. However, if you prefer to keep yourselves to yourselves, then you might still want to rent.

Is it worth renting a car in Pisa for families?

Families of groups of 3-4 people travelling together will always get the best value from a rental car. However, you may also be burdened with extra costs for car seat hire, and you well also prefer to use local trains and buses, if they are quicker than getting stuck in heavy traffic.

Where are you staying?

The place you are staying, together with the sort of places you want to see, will have a large impact on whether or not you "need" to rent a car:

Do you need a car in Pisa if we are staying in the city centre / main resort area?

Most large towns or purpose built holiday resorts will have some kind of public transport, whereas parking provision will vary greatly from one place to the next. 

Do you need a car in Pisa if we are staying on the edge of the urban area?

Typically you may be staying in an apartment or hmall house on the edge of a resort or urban area. These places usually have some level of public transport, but not as much as city / resort centres.

Do you need a car in Pisa if we are staying in a rural area?

Rural proprties might include larger villas or apartments, but they can still be within a short walk of a bus stop or local railway station, and the opportunities for hiking and cycling might also be substantial, depending on the destination.

What is your attitude towards driving?

We can give you suggestions based on whatever we consider to be a "typical" visitor to Pisa, but ultimately your decision is also going to be influenced by whether or not you ususally prefer to hire a car in the first place.

Should I hire a car in Pisa if I prefer not to drive?

This is especially the case when there is only one main driver in the group, and it's based on the attitude of the driver rather than their passengers! The main driver may also simply prefer to use public transport, or they may prefer to take scenic train journeys where available.

Should we rent a car in Pisa if we are easy either way?

This is more aimed at the typical visitor who isn't that bothered about how they get around, as long as it is the most convenient / best value option.

Should I rent a car in Pisa if I prefer to drive?

For people who usually prefer the freedom and flexibility of having a hire car. Is it still best to rent a car in Pisa, or are there good reasons not to?

The compact city of Pisa might well be world famous for its dodgy engineering, but any visitor to the region is obviously going to want to see a lot more than this, and there is certainly plenty to see within Pisa itself and nearby, without having to travel particularly far. When it comes to transport, Pisa Galileo Galilei airport is actually the main airport serving not just Pisa, but also Florence, the Tuscany region and many other cities between Milan and Rome.

Do you need a car in Pisa? Introduction

When someone asks "Do you need a car in Pisa?", this often breaks down to two key questions:
  1. Can you actually get around using public transport, or is a car all but essential?
  2. Is it worth hiring a car in Pisa? Is it good value for money, compared with non-car options?
Over the next few sections, we wil look at the pros and cons of driving in Pisa as a tourist, and ultimately weigh these up, so we can answer the key question of Should you rent a car in Pisa?
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

In Pisa car hire is popular but not always needed.

We’re basing this advice on the assumption that you are arriving on a flight into Pisa airport, and that you are considering hiring a car for your stay. In contrast, our Florence car hire guide assumes you are arriving there by train (as there are few flights to Florence Airport) and not considering getting a hire car, so these two guides are very much interchangeable.

Why should you rent a car in Pisa?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip? In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Pisa?
  • Tuscany — the famous rolling hills and vineyards of Tuscany are a natural opportunity for a driving tour, and Pisa is the main gateway for this. However, this kind of road trip is fairly obvious. If you were planning on doing this, there isn’t really much we could add!
  • Flexibility — as with anywhere, a hire car will let you see the places you want to visit at your own space.
  • North and East — don’t forget that there is a lot more to Pisa than just heading south into Tuscany. However, some of these places are much better to reach by train, as explained below.

Why not? Visiting Pisa without a car

What is public transport like in Pisa? What about local conditions for walking or cycling? Can you rely on public transport and maybe a few taxis for most or all of your trip? Are there some times of year when it's easier to get by without a car than others? When should you rent a car in 4?
  • Cinque Terre – the stunningly scenic Cinque Terre National Park area is often overlooked in the rush to get to the big guns in Pisa and Florence, but this really is a completely unique place to visit. I will have to confess that despite running travel websites now for over 10 years, I only found out about the Cinque Terre within the last 3-4 years, and I kicked myself for leaving it off my last Italian trip, which finished in Pisa. Maybe the Cinque Terre are not as famous as they should be because they have only recently been declared a national park, but either way, this collection of five villages which are all built into steep coastal terrain should be as much of a must see as anywhere else in this region.
  • There are many famous villages in the world which are no-go areas for the private car due to their compact historic streets or inaccessible terrain, but there are very few which are so accessible by main-line train. In the case of the Cinque Terre, they are all linked as part of the train route between La Spezia and Genoa, making this one of the great rail journeys of Europe.
  • You can also travel between the villages via a network of (chargeable) hiking trails or by boat. As villages go, it doesn’t get any less car dependent than this!For these reasons alone, I suggest you should include at least two days into your Pisa trip without a car – although by the time you have added a day in Pisa itself, a couple of days in Florence and a tour around Tuscany by bus or coach, and a day just relaxing, a week is easily up.
  • Pisa city — Pisa is home to a number of renaissance landmarks, particularly around the leaning tower itself, and even if the leaning Tower takes all the glory, you can easily include a day on foot within Pisa.
  • Coast and beaches — don’t forget that around Pisa are a number of beach resort areas, and this is where you will find most of the night-time activity. Plenty of buses supplement local train services around this region.
  • Florence — the natural tendency for people arriving on flights to Pisa is to head to Florence and to spend a few days there. Of course, we must advise you in the strongest possible terms to visit the Cinque Terre aswell, but it is easy to spend several days soaking up the art and architecture of Florence without seeing anywhere near all of it. Regular trains to Florence run from Pisa airport, also calling at Pisa Centrale station. See our Florence car hire guide for more on this.
  • Compact connections — when I visited Pisa in 2009, the first train I planned to catch from Florence was cancelled, so I was running a little short on time. I asked a taxi driver how much he would charge to take me to the airport, and he said €50. This was one of the most blatant taxi rip-offs I had ever heard, as I knew the airport was only about a mile from the Central Station, which in turn was only another mile from the Leaning Tower. As it happened, a bus turned up a few minutes later and the journey only took 10 minutes. You can also start your rail journey around north-west Italy at Pisa airport, which is only 2-3 minutes by train from Centrale station. From here, the airport train continues to Florence, whereas other connections are available to Genoa via La Spezia and the Cinque Terre, and to Bologna.


Our slider ratings range from 0 (it isn't even possible to hire a car, e.g. Hong Kong) through to 10 (you really must rent a car here, e.g. Phoenix, Tampa). However, most places are somewhere inbetween these extremes, and this is where it gets more interesting! Further ratings breakdowns, including a much more detailed public transport rating, are currently being added. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.


What is our final score for Pisa on the Carornocar scale?

Remember, this isn't so much a rating of the road network, or a score for what we think of the buses or trains, but it's simply a scale showing the swing between whether or not we think a rental car is a good idea here.


Do you need a car in Pisa? Conclusion: If your main intention is to drive around Tuscany and other scenic regions and you only want to make very brief visits into the city centres, then we would advise getting a hire car as you may well have originally planned to do, but for any other itinerary, it is clear that a hire car is not necessary.

Verdict — no

Would you hire a car in Pisa?

Have you driven in Pisa? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Pisa}? Do you need a car in Pisa? For some or all of the time? Tell us what you think using the comments section below:

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