pisa best ice cream

Back to travelling = happy Mark

Cheap flights can’t be ignored, unfortunately not back to the old penny flight days but cheap in away for a few days with no checked-in luggage cheap.

Having a flight before 12 on a Sunday meant an overnight in Ayr, thanks public transport! Eglinton Guest House was our abode for the night.  Handy for both the beach and the centre of Ayr.

Eglinton guest house ayr

Eglinton guest house ayr

A basic room with an ensuite and a good view.  We were leaving before official breakfast time and received sandwiches. fruit. crisps and fruit juice.  ❤️

Seat roulette meant that we had a quiet flight and in 2 1/2 hours we were at Pisa airport. With no checked-in luggage (keeping it budget on this trip) we were out quickly soon after the joys of post-Brexit passport control.

How to get to Pisa Centrale Railway Station from Pisa Airport

First thing, how to get out of the airport and onto the train to Viareggio.   Don’t buy your ticket from here.  They charge a commission!  Instead, if you are taking the PisaMover shuttle, get your ticket at the station.  Or get a bus into Pisa from the bus station (outside and to the right of the airport) alternatively, its a 20 min walk into Pisa.

pisa airport ticket

We took the PisaMover shuttle, as it was direct into Pisa Centrale Railway Station and an easy platform change to our train to Viareggio.

pisa mover pisa airport


pisa mover shuttle timetable

pisamover pisa ticket

The PisaMover shuttle took about 5 mins to get from the airport to Pisa Centrale Station.   If you are continuing your journey by train, remember to validate your ticket before getting onto the train.

pisa railway station validation machine

In around 30 minutes we were stepping off the train and into the first car horn sounds of Italy.

A quick check-in, and admiration of the view from our balcony.  Just what we were needing. Our hotel, Hotel Sogno, was located about halfway from the railway station and the promenade just beside the Pineta de Pontente wooded area.

view from viareggio hotel

A quick refresh and it was time to explore nearby our hotel and get a couple of “too good to go” bags for dinner.




Beautiful villas and terraced housing, with bursts of blossoming trees.  For now an early night of relaxing on the balcony with our bargain food.

hotel sogno viareggio view

Dinner and breakfast sorted 🙂

too good to go viareggio

Day two

The weather promised much sun today, so we slathered on our sun cream and made our way down to the harbour to see the cat statue.

viareggio boats

cat statue viareggio


viareggio beach

and a pit stop at one of the street food stalls for some fried anchovies.

viareggio street food

anchovies viareggio

The architecture along Viale Reggina Margherita is stunning, here are some photos below.

and don’t forget the bagni – what is a bagno? A bagno is usually a small family-owned business that offers parasols along with sun loungers. There is usually a lifeguard on duty, toilets, changing rooms, showers and food on offer.

bagno viareggio

bagno viareggio

If you don’t want to pay for a sunlounger, then there is a small public beach down near the harbour.

viareggio public beach

All that walking and sun works up an appetite, so we stopped off at Pizzaria La Rusticanella.  Here they sell pizza with various toppings by the slice, and hot and cold drinks as well.

mussels pizza viareggio

Fed and watered with a refreshing bottle of lemon bierra moretti, it was time to move on.  There was still more of the promenade to see.  Shops, statues and architecture.  This guy, is the official mascot of the Viareggio Carnival.


viareggio carnival guy burlamacco

It was still hot, so what could we do but stop off at an ice cream shop.  This one is called Vincent, I think Mark needed that ice cream!

mark ice cream viareggio

We needed a rest, so off to the Pineta de Ponente for some shade and to see if Gato Nero was open, it wasn’t so we sadly went to the shop for some water and off to the hotel for some rest.  After a rest, we spent the evening sitting at La Boutique del Cocomero for its extensive beer fridge and crisp selection.


After such an array of beverages, our hunger pangs kicked in and we visited Partenope pizzeria, mainly due to the fact that we love Partenope cafe in Glasgow!   Our order was a classic combo from Naples – sausage and chips – wurstel and p.atate fritti

partenope viareggio pizza

Day Three

We had planned to venture out of Viareggio to the Cinque Terra, but the weather gods decided otherwise and so after admiring the thunderstorm we went back to bed.

viareggio thunder

After the best long lie in a while, hunger pangs meant that we had to go out in search of food.   A few photos of the Villa Argentina (An art nouveau villa housing exhibitions ) then onto Storica Pasticceria Pucinelli for some brunch.

villa argentina viareggio

breakfast viareggio

It was hot, wet and humid.  So some wandering around the old town before relaxing with a beer and pizza.



tennents super lager

Obligatory Tennent’s Super Lager purchase.  Strangely popular in Italy with a much different image than at home. A couple of pizzas from Perdicappo and we were happy.

viareggio pizza

viareggio pizza

Day Four – Pisa

Time to leave Viareggio, but first brunch at Nilo’s

nilos viareggio

nilos viareggio

and off to the train station for the train to Pisa.  Buying a ticket was easy through the machines as instructions are also in English.  14 miles for €3.70 each.

viareggio pisa train ticket

The weather didn’t know what it was doing, storm clouds but also burning hot sun.



We decided that our main objective was to bag the tower and just wander around.  So off we headed along the main shopping area towards the river, with a quick pit stop to take a photo of the Keith Haring mural.

keith haring mural pisa



pisa river

pisa river us


and then came the threatened storm, as you can see Mark was loving it.

mark pisa rain

So our thoughts of a romantic walk around Pisa to see the leaning tower of Pisa took a bit of a hit, and we were instead wrapped in our rain coats getting soaked.

leaning tower of pisa

leaning tower of pisa

leaning tower of pisa

By now we were soaked, flagging and had enough of tourists, then Mark remembered that he had marked on a cafe to visit.

pisa palazzo augustini

Caffè dell’Ussero is a cafe that was founded in 1775.  We really should have had some coffee, but with the temperature and humidity some chinotto and spuma bionda was required.  Chinotto is an acquired taste, a bit like an alcohol free campari.  It is bitter but so refreshing, I love it. Spuma is another traditional drink, more floral and caramel in taste.

pisa palazzo augustini

Handily next door is Gelateria De’Coltelli which is a multi-award winning gelateria.  It was raining and still the gelateria had regular visitors, it really is that worth a visit.  We picked Macadamia with smoked salt and lime and ginger flavours.  Wow.  We really were speechless.  Creamy, nutty, zingy and so full of ginger, to the point of almost pain!

pisa best ice cream

Even with the best ice cream in Pisa, or the world!, we were still tired, damp and had an early flight the next day.  So off to the local shops to buy some focaccia, gorgonzola and mascarpone cheese slice and chill out before our journey homeward.

Tuscany, you were delicious!

pisa rain





I am Emma and with my husband Mark write Foodie Explorers, which is a food and travel website.

I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers and British Guild of Travel Writers.

We have a wide range of judging experience covering products, hotels and have judged, for example, for Great Taste Awards and Scottish Baker of the Year.

Along the way Mark gained WSET Level 2 in Wine and I have WSET Level 2 in Spirits as well as picking up an award with The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards.    

Usually I can be found sleeping beside a cat.

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