Backpackers arriving in Turin may be surprised to find that Italy’s fourth largest city is largely tourist free. For a city that boasts some of Europe’s finest art museums, you’d expect it to be bursting with travellers. The picturesque Italian city has an old soul, which is vividly captured by its Roman gates, medieval churches and 19th century coffee houses.
Turin is best known for its Fiat car industry and being the home of Juventus FC. Since the 1996 Winter Olympics, the industrial city has been transformed into a major cultural destination. Popular with skiers due to its proximity to the Alps, Italy’s ‘little Paris’ is perfect for budget travellers wanting to explore one of Italy’s less frequented cities.
Go explore the Turin’s royal residences, world-famous Turin Shroud and historic cafes on foot while staying in a budget hostel. With excellent availability all-year round, the ‘Capital of the Alps’ is one of the most affordable cities to visit in Italy.
Turin’s top attractions
Turin is home to the world’s tallest museum, Mole Antonelliana, and this enormous tower is the symbol of the city. Originally built as a synagogue, the iconic building now houses the Museo Nazionale del Cinema (National Cinema Museum). Take the elevator to the top floor and experience breathtaking views of the city.
Culture vultures should also check out Museo Egizia, which houses the most significant collection of Egyptian treasures outside of Cairo. While the Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli is another local favourite and hosts Canaletto and Matisse works in a former Fiat factory.
Anyone interested in Turin’s industrial past and its car industry exploits should check out the Fiat Museum (Museo dell’automobile).
Palazzo Reale meanwhile is the jewel in Turin’s crown. Situated in the heart of the Piazza Castello, visitors will have a fascinating time wandering through the gilt-encrusted State Apartment rooms. It’s a must see attraction for all visitors to the city*.
*The Torino+Piemonte card gives you access to over 120 museums as well as unlimited use of the city’s public transport system. Cards are valid for 48 hours and cost only €28.
The ‘Holy Shroud’ Museum (Museo della Sindone)
Discover more about the legendary ‘Shroud of Turin’ and the story behind the man in the shroud. According to biblical tradition, this shroud was used to envelop the body of Jesus Christ in the Sepulchre. Other historians believe this is a medieval hoax. Either way its fascinating to learn how this cloth came to bear this iconic image.
Shroud tickets are available and can be reserved online here or by calling +39 011 529 5550 from Monday – Friday, 9:00 – 19:00 or Saturday, 9:00 – 14:00, local time.
Chocolate, wine and pasta
Many of Turin’s nineteenth century coffee houses (such as Caffe San Carlo) haven’t changed for over a century. Backpackers wanting an authentic Italian experience should look no further than having a cappuccino in the city’s grand piazza.
Turin has a gorgeous variety of Piemontese delicacies and local favourite, the white truffle, is served with pasta or risotto. Turin is a serious chocolate destination for travellers and is the birthplace of gianduja, a hazelnut and chocolate paste, which is the source of the world famous Nutella!
Because of Turin’s royal past and closeness to France, the Piedmont region captures some of the best of French and Italian culture, combining the cuisines of both countries with aplomb.
Where to stay in Turin
HostelsClub has a wealth of budget accommodation options in Turin for backpackers. For under €20 a night you can stay in the city centre and be in walking distance of Turin’s biggest attractions.
We hope our tips will inspire you to visit Turin on vacation. If you have already been to the city, please share the knowledge and don’t forget to book with us.