Trieste is located in the northeastern Adriatic corner, capital of Friuli Venezia Gulia Region. It sits between the Adriatic Sea and the karst background bordering Slovenia. It is a melting pot, in the truest sense of the term. Throughout history, the Romans and Venetians, Austrians and Germans as well as British and ex-Yugoslavians have left their marks on the city. This makes it a confluence between cultures.

Names of the palaces and dishes give clues to its multi-national past. Trieste’s rich history and location offer a fascinating mix of Hapsburg grandeur with the Italian way-of-life.

We have compiled a list of the top Trieste attractions, along with some insights from locals, to help you find inspiration for what to do in this city.

Is Trieste Worth Visiting?
Although the city used to be a trading hub for visitors from the Balkans in the late 1960s, it experienced a decline after the fall of Yugoslavia. It has recently been experiencing a revival: its facades have been restored and maintained, its traffic is in order, and its food scene is thriving. Streets are alive with Italian life.

Trieste was the principal port of the Austrian–Hungarian Empire for over five centuries. The Monarchy had a profound impact on Trieste’s urban development and architecture as well as its coffee culture and food. Trieste Italy is like visiting Vienna, Ljubljana and Italy all in one.

The city is compact and has a pedestrianized centre. It can be explored at a leisurely pace, including a cup or coffee and a krapfen here and there.

Top Things to Do in Trieste
You can choose to pursue your passions in art, history, architecture or food. This guide covers the best of Trieste sightseeing and eating.

Trieste’s coffee culture is on display in one of its historic cafes

Trieste is the ideal place for coffee lovers. It’s home to Illy and Hausbrandt, the national coffee brands. Trieste is also known for its Viennese-style coffee houses. These grand coffee houses, some still in existence, have been a central part of Trieste’s social life since the late 18th century.

Caffe San Marco, a charming establishment that dates back to 1914 with its high ceilings adorned with coffee leaf ornaments, is beautiful. The cafe serves delicious coffee and cakes in a relaxed atmosphere. But what’s even more appealing is the fact that it also houses a bookshop.

Piazza Unita’s iconic Caffe degli Specchi was once frequented also by James Joyce. Caffe Tommaseo was also a cafe that introduced Trieste ice cream.

Pasticceria la Bomboniera is a jewelbox filled with Austrian-inspired doughnuts, strudel, and krapfen, as well chocolate pralines and presnitz (a pastry filled with nuts, raisins and cinnamon, a local speciality), and flaky croissants. They also offer heavenly coffee.

Relax in the Atmosphere at Piazza Unita

The main square of Trieste is also a main attraction. It is surrounded by three sides of grand Hapsburg buildings and opens to the Adriatic on the fourth. Piazza Unita can be considered one of Europe’s largest squares by sea.

All of the palaces were renovated at the start of 2000. The square was also paved and lit up, adding to its charm.

This square houses the City Hall with its clock tower, Palazzo del Lloyd Triestino, a beautiful Palazzo della Prefettura decorated in golden mosaics, and the Fountain of the Four Continents. It was built in the 18th century to honor Trieste’s trading port role.

You can sit on the terrace at the Caffe degli Specchi with an aperitivo in your hand and enjoy the view of people watching – Piazza Unita undoubtedly is the social heart of the city.

Take a stroll down the Canal Grande

Trieste’s iconic Canal Grande is a beautiful place to visit. It features picturesque boats and surrounding palaces that reflect in the water. (such as Palazzo Gopchevich with its geometrical designs).

Enjoy the stunning view of Sant’Anton Tramaturgo, a Neoclassical church that dominates the scene at the canal’s end, and the blue domes from the Serbian Orthodox Christian Church of San Spiridone, visible from the Ponte Rosso bridge.

The canal was constructed in 1818 on the site of former salt marshes, so that boats could sail to the city and unload their goods there.

The terraces of some bars offer a place to relax and buy fresh fruits, vegetables, or flowers right in front of Sant’Antonio Church. If you are visiting in December, there’s a Christmas market with stalls set around the canal and surrounding streets.

Climb up to Castello di San Giusto

This triangular fortress was built by the Austrian Empire on the hill above the center in 1468-1636. It was intended to be the seat of its Captain and provide protection for the city. The three corners bastions were constructed in three stages between the 16th- and 17th centuries. This resulted in three different architectural designs for each bastion depending on the defensive techniques used at the time.

The amazing panoramic view of Trieste and the Gulf of Trieste from the walls of Trieste is one of the most impressive sights. The San Giusto Cathedral is located next to the fortress. Its brick exterior conceals amazing mosaics in its apses, which date back to the 12th or 13th centuries. This evokes the earlier mosaics of Ravenna.

Either you can walk up the hill or take the bus No. 24 at any of the stops in the center of the city (at Piazza Della Liberta or Rive – the waterfront or Via Mazzini).

Enjoy a stroll along the city’s waterfront

Trieste’s waterfront (or “rive” in Italian), is flanked with 19th-century warehouses, palaces, and other structures. It’s a great place to take in the views of the gulf and the light signals from Faro della Vittoria in the evening. The sunset at the Molo Audace walkway is worth a visit, which extends 246m into the sea. It is a popular spot for locals.

The grand old fish market was built by Giorgio Polli in 1913. It is located directly at the waterfront. Its large basilical layout and large windows make it an ideal gallery space for contemporary and modern art. Salone degli Incanti hosts regular interesting exhibitions.

Walk to Eataly in Trieste for food shopping. It is a beautiful former warehouse that has been beautifully renovated. The waterfront regeneration project included both the warehouse and the former fishmarket. The smartly packaged and packaged Italian delicacies are accompanied by the background of the rocking marina boats as seen through the large glass walls.

Museo Revoltella presents the Best of Italian 20th Century Art

Museo Revoltella was established in 1872 by Pasquale Revoltella. He left his 19th-century palace, as well as his art collection, to Trieste. It includes art from some of the most important 20th-century Italian artists such as Giorgio de Chirico and Giorgio Morandi.

Baron Revoltella left a substantial revenue to the museum along with his palace and art collection. This allowed the collection to expand – the museum moved to the adjoining Brunner palace in 1907. Its panoramic terrace serves as a bar during the summer months.

Refresh in the Giardino di Villa Revoltella

The park of Villa Revoltella, once belonging to the same Baron Revoltella, is one of the most interesting places in Trieste. It’s not the same place as the museum. It is located on a hill just outside of the city centre and offers beautiful views over the town and the Gulf.

The 50,000sqm of land are home to conifers, evergreen ornamental shrubs and conifers. There is also a collection old roses and large, ancient trees. A Swiss chalet was also built by the baron, as well as stables, service buildings and a cast iron greenhouse. The property was then left to Trieste under the condition that it should remain open to the public.

The National Competition of Parks and Gardens, sponsored by Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, ranked Villa Revoltella as one of the most beautiful parks of Italy. Take the bus number. 25 from Corso Italia, in the middle, direction Cattinara/Ospedale

Go Antique Shopping

Trieste is home to many antique shops, including light fixtures, books and tableware. Delikatessen, Via Felice Venezian, is the city’s most prominent antique store. It sells furniture, vintage suitcases and lamps, as well as postcards. In December, it opens an Aladdin’s cave filled with vintage Christmas baubles.

Via Felice Venezian and Via Cadorna also have vintage shops around the block. The narrow streets of Piazza Unita, Piazza della Borsa, which are home to the Jewish Ghetto, where you can get lost among the rows of beautiful restored furniture and antique books, is another area worth exploring.

Rigatteria di Laura e Claudio Pinto Sas, and Libreria Achille Sas represent the true treasure coves. However, there are many other stores that can be explored to spend an hour or so.

The Roman History of Trieste is available in Teatro Romano

Piazza Unita is located in the middle city. It dates back to the 1st century A.D.

It had been hidden for centuries, and was only discovered in 1938 when a portion of the medieval buildings of the old city were demolished. Restored and partly reconstructed, today this 2000-year-old-theater is still being used for concerts in the summer months!

It is interesting to note that the theatre was built directly by the ocean at the time. Today, it can be seen almost 400m away from Piazza Unita.

Do not leave Trieste without trying the local delicacies at one of Trieste’s Trattorias

It’s worth it to savor the rich culinary history of the city. With Austrian, Slovenian and Italian influences, you can get a Viennese Sacher cake, as well as jota, the Slovenian national dish consisting of sauerkraut, beans and crispy fritto missto (fried fish platter – Trieste is, afterall, a seaside resort).

Trattoria Negodiseppia is the place to go for the finest fish delicacies and some delicious desserts. Trattoria Mara offers a homely atmosphere with traditional Friulian dishes. Order Friulian frika, a hearty dish of cheese and potato hash: cjalsons are thick ravioli filled with herbs and topped with butter and breadcrumbs.

Daytrips starting from Trieste
Trieste is conveniently located between the hills and the sea. It offers day trips that will satisfy any taste. Within half an hour of the city centre, you can explore the karst landscapes in the city’s reserve or escape to a small town by the coast.


Take a ferry from Molo Bersaglieri to reach Muggia, an Italian village on the Istrian peninsula. The Venetians ruled the town for most of its history. Venetian traces can be felt in the town’s architecture as well as the cuisine.

Take a walk down Muggia’s lungomare (the promenade), and take photos of the colorful houses and narrow streets lined with laundry lines that are drying in the sun. Then, sit down for an aperitivo or people-watching on Muggia’s main piazza.

Castello di Miramare

One of Trieste’s most popular tourist attractions is the magnificent Hapsburg castle. It can be found 8km from the city centre on a rock high above the sea.

Archduke Maximilian, Hapsburg, commissioned the castle and surrounding park in the middle of the 19th century. The beautiful promontory was spotted by Archduke Maximilian of Hapsburg while sailing along the coast near Trieste.

The castle is a mix of Gothic and Renaissance styles. It is surrounded by a 22-hectare park that has rare and exotic tree species. This was once an area devoid of vegetation.

For EUR10, you can either walk the castle grounds or park for free. Or, purchase a regular ticket to tour the castle’s extravagant interior. You can still see the original 19th century furnishings in the rooms. The castle’s sea surrounds a Marine Protected Area, which is an area of marine biodiversity that lies next to one of Italy’s largest ports.

Bus number 36 takes you directly to the castle from the center of the city. 36 from Piazza della Liberta (the main train station). Book a day trip from Trieste.

Val Rosandra

The Val Rosandra Reserve, a karst landscape in Italy (called carso in Italian), is dotted by caverns as well as the underground Timavo River. It is covered in spring flowers and ideal for autumn foliage viewing.

The official website offers hiking itineraries that range from 1 to 6/7 hour. You should wear hiking boots and bring plenty of water as the karst landscape does not allow you to take a leisurely stroll in sandals. The Reserve can be reached by bus number. You can reach the Reserve by bus No. 40 or 41 from Piazza della Liberta until the park’s entrance, in Bagnoli.

Trieste offers short holidays that will give you a glimpse into the city that has taken the best bits from every culture and made it its own. For those who are looking to discover this undiscovered area of Italy, Trieste has many things to offer.

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