Are you looking for the best way of getting from Bologna to Florence? You are in the right place. I have traveled between the two cities recently, and here I will be sharing everything you need to know for a hassle free journey.
Florence is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy, with constantly growing numbers of visitors. The city is so centrally located that you won’t have troubles finding your way there from other places in Italy.
For example, Bologna and Florence are very close – just 110 kilometers (68.3 miles) away. It’s the same distance as a relatively easy commute to work for some people.
Driving to Florence from Bologna is certainly very doable. The journey only takes around an hour and a half. However, it’s easier – and in fact better – to take a train from Bologna to Florence.
It’s actually a shorter, more direct route – it takes just under 40 minutes. It’s so close that you could actually walk along the railway tracks in less than 24 hours (but please don’t do that!).
Curious to find out more? The continue reading as I will be sharing all available options to travel to Florence from Bologna.
Traveling from Rome? Then read my post How To Get From Rome To Florence.
How To Get From Bologna To Florence
Take the train from Bologna to Florence
There’s a high-speed train from Bologna to Florence, which makes traveling between the two cities incredibly easy. The convenience of this train route means you don’t need to think about driving at all in these two cities, both of which can get very congested with traffic – and not fun to find parking in, either.
There’s more than one option when it comes to high-speed train travel between these two storied cities. First of all, there are Trenitalia high-spee trains Frecciarossa and Frecciargento.
Then there’s private company Italo, which also offers high-speed train travel. Either one will get you from Bologna to Florence by train in just 38 minutes.
There are also slower trains that run the route – the Treni Regionali and the Intercity trains. These rains make the journey much longer – up to two hours. It saves you a bit of money, but it will cost you much more in terms of time.
Trains depart from Bologna Centrale train station, located in the heart of the city. They arrive at Firenze Santa Maria Novella station in Florence.
How long does the train from Bologna to Florence take?
Officially, the train journey from Bologna Centrale to Firenze Santa Maria Novella train station is 37 minutes on the Freccia and Italo high speed trains. The high-speed trains really are high-speed: they can reach top speeds of 300 kilometers per hour (186 mph)!
The journey in some cases can be a couple of minutes faster; for example, the train from Florence to Bologna can be 34 minutes. Sometimes the journey is 38 or 39 minutes. This is all due to the different train models used, so I would say allow 40 minutes of journey time between Bologna and Florence.
If you were banking on a picturesque train journey through the Italian countryside, however, you may be disappointed. Most of the time the train passes through tunnels, one of which – the Pianoro tunnel – is 10.8 kilometers (6.7 miles) in length!
How much does it cost?
The cost of catching a train from Bologna to Florence starts at around €10. But the price of the ticket can vary depending on the time of day, the class of travel and how far in advance you book.
The cheapest tickets are for the treni regionali, whereas the starting price of a Freccia train is €17,90 one way. Italo train starts at just little under €14 for the cheapest option.
Booking in advance – from between 30 and 7 days before you plan to travel – usually means securing a lower price ticket. If you turn up on the day you’re traveling, it’s likely to be more expensive.
There are also more expensive tickets available, the most costly being first-class tickets (“Executive”). This means you’ll get a larger, more comfortable seat and more room to stretch out, but also free Wi-Fi and access to club lounges. Honestly, for such a short journey I don’t think it is worth it at all!
How often does the train from Bologna to Florence run?
There are plenty of trains every day running from Bologna to Florence. The first high speed train leaves Bologna Centrale for Firenze Santa Maria Novella at 6:27 am and the last one leaves at 9:27 pm. The first Italo train leaves at 6:57 am, and the last one at 9:57 pm.
Hop on a bus to Florence from Bologna
Train travel really is the best way to get to Florence from Bologna, being quicker than any road. The tunnels that the high-speed trains cut through really make the route between the two regional capitals much shorter. However, the cheapest way to get between them is by bus.
Two major bus companies in Italy, FlixBus and Itabus, both run low-cost bus services between Bologna and Florence. They’re reliable, can be booked online in advance, and provide modern coaches with comfortable seats and bus terminals in central locations.
Buses even run throughout the night, making it a non-stop service, and therefore more convenient than the train if you want to get from A to B after arriving on a late flight.
The bus leaves from Bologna Autostazione (central bus station) and arrives in Florence at one of two destinations. Both bus companies connect to Florence Villa Costanza, but FlixBus has an additional option of arriving in Florence Piazzale Montelungo. There even are direct buses from Bologna Airport to Florence.
How long does the bus take?
It takes an hour and 20 minutes on average; depending on which bus you choose, it can be as quick as one hour 11 minutes, or as long as one hour 50 minutes.
How much does it cost?
Tickets cost as little as €4. Booking online in advance is advised to secure the best deals possible; this can be done as far as one month ahead of your planned travel. It’s also good to book online because you can choose various buses and time-slots, so you can work it out not only according to your budget but also what suits your trip.
How often does the bus depart?
There are regular departures throughout the day and night with several companies, including FlixBus and Itabus – you have plenty to pick from, really. The first bus leaves at 12:30 am from Bologna, whereas the last one goes at 11:59 pm.
You can check the schedule and prices of the bus to Bologna from Rome on the Omio app here.
If you need a bus transfer from Bologna Airport to Florence, click here.
Drive to Florence from Bologna
With such a convenient train connection between Bologna and Florence, the only reason you’d want to drive is that you’re a big fan of driving (and you want to see a bit more of the countryside around here), or if you’re already on a road trip.
There are still a lot of tunnels involved on the drive between the two cities, so it’s not that scenic.
However, it can be done. The journey takes between one hour and 20 minutes and two hours and 20 minutes, depending on the exact route you take and the time of day that you travel; traffic can also be an issue, usually if you’re driving during commuting hours.
Check out the prices of car rental in Bologna here.
How much does it cost to drive from Bologna to Florence
When driving, not only do you have to consider the cost of a rental car in Italy, you’ll also have to consider the price of using the toll roads. Between Bologna and Florence, the cost of tolls is around €6.20.
You’ll also have to factor in money spent on fuel when driving – the price of gasoline in Italy has gotten increasingly expensive, especially on the motorway. With car hire costing anywhere from €30 to €80, it’s already much more than the cost of a simple train ticket, and definitely not convenient unless it’s part of a longer road trip.
There’s also parking to consider: in Florence this costs around €3 per hour (in Bologna it’s €2-3 per hour).
Check out the prices of car rental in Bologna here.
You should read my post Where And How To Rent A Car In Bologna.
By private transfer
If you’d rather avoid public transport but don’t like the idea of driving in Italy, you can opt for a private transfer. In this case, a professional driver will pick you up from the airport in Bologna – or from your hotel – and take you all the way to your accommodation in Florence.
This is not the cheapest option, but it makes sense if you are traveling with children, or if you have lots of luggage and don’t want to be bothered having to carry it on and off the train.
As with self-driving, a private transfer from to Florence from Bologna will take around 1.5 hours, depending on the time of day and traffic you encounter – it’s generally more hectic during the weekend. The cost of a transfer starts at €150 per person.
You can book your private transfer to Florence from Bologna here.
Most travelers plan to spend at least three days in Florence (that’s how much I stayed last time I visited), but I have come across some that only go there on a day trip. If you want, you can certainly do it from Bologna.
However, while there are many guided tours that depart regularly from Florence to Bologna, there really isn’t much in terms of guided tours from Bologna to the Tuscan City. All in all, you will be better off traveling there by train and then perhaps join a one day guided tour of Florence if you’d rather have a guide taking you around.
Simply meet your guide in Florence for a tour of the city. One good option is this Florence In A Day With David, Duomo, Uffizi & Walking Tour, which will see you whisked around the highlights of the city with a knowledgeable guide.