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Tucked away in the northeast corner of Italy and bordering nearby Croatia and Slovenia, Trieste is a magical port city with the romance of Venice without sacrificing an off-the-beaten-path vibe. On an Italy cruise, you might overlook Trieste in favor of the big three: Rome, Florence, or Naples, but you’d be missing out. Trieste has gained popularity with vacationers and honeymooners in recent years for its crystal Adriatic beaches and elegant Austrian-Hungarian architecture.
Still, Trieste is a fully Italian port city, complete with delicious local seafood, a charming Old Town, and a stunning open-air piazza facing the sea. On a Trieste cruise, you’ll experience the feeling of being torn between two worlds: the slow, leisurely pace of port city life and the beautiful neoclassical churches and cathedrals that remind you that Trieste isn’t as sleepy as it appears.
Known as “the dam,” La Diga is well-loved by locals as a hub for nightlife and a fun party scene rather than swimming and snorkeling. Lay out and catch some rays along the beach, then enjoy a beachy bar hop. You’ll get a sense for how fun Trieste can be.
Vittoria Lighthouse is one of Trieste’s most iconic landmarks and one of the tallest lighthouses in the modern world. Head to the top of Vittoria Lighthouse for unbeatable views of the Gulf of Trieste. Free, 30-minute guided tours are available.
San Giusto Castle is a beautifully preserved ancient structure dating back to the 14th century. Though the castle protected and guarded over Trieste, it saw very little action over the years. Today, tours and a leisurely walk up the hilltop for views of the entire city make San Giusto a popular attraction for discovering the history and beauty of the region.
The Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia is one of the most distinct Italian piazzas of its kind. Facing the sea, it’s surrounded by shops, restaurants, and romantic cafes. Stop for a coffee, take it easy at the base of the piazza’s famous fountain, and people-watch for a while.
Cattedrale di San Giusto Martire is one of Trieste’s most iconic cathedrals and a must-see during your Trieste cruise stop. This Roman Catholic church offers an incredible panoramic view of the Adriatic and Slovenia in the near distance.
Both the home of a wealthy trader and merchant and a museum, the Museo Revoltella has one of the best private collections of art from the 19th and 20th centuries in Italy today. Art lovers will enjoy walking the halls and admiring the beautiful collections.
If you’re looking for Italian cuisine, you’ll certainly find it in Trieste. All the best Italian staples you know and love are here, like fresh pasta, pizza, and a strong cafe culture. What makes Trieste so unique is the Austrian-Hungarian influence that trickles all the way down into the food and drink of the region, so be sure to branch out and try local delicacies while you’re here. Like most spots along the Adriatic Sea, enjoying a spritz or an aperitivo before your dinner is a cultural tradition. Don’t miss sampling Adriatic seafood, like anchovy-heavy dishes and locally caught shrimp, as well as local bratwursts and sausages that are characteristically Austrian.
Because of its important port status and coastal location, Trieste was invaded regularly by various groups who sought control of the area. However, human activity in Trieste dates back thousands of years before any European influence. Over time, Roman occupation brought heavy Italian influence to the region, and then Trieste became independent in the 12th century. After that, Austrian influence shaped the city we know today, greatly impacting its architecture, culture, and the growth of its commercial port.
The Trieste cruise port is right next to the Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia, so it’s easy to hop off the ship, walk to major sites, and get right to the middle of the action. Italian culture with Eastern European touches make the Trieste cruise port particularly memorable.
On a Trieste cruise, you’ll find most locals get around on foot, by car, or with the well-maintained local bus system. The city center, or centro, is easily walkable if you’re staying close to all the top attractions. Taxis are also regularly available. If you’re looking to explore other cities in Italy, the railway system to and from Trieste offers quick getaways to nearby towns.
There’s plenty of shopping near Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia, whether you’re looking for small boutiques or friendly neighborhood cafes for a quick bite. Part of Trieste’s charm can be found in the open-air markets, where farmers and artisans hawk their finest goods, including produce, fresh fish, and locally made ingredients. Mercato Coperto is an excellent choice for fruits, veggies, and vintage or lightly used clothing.
Italy uses the euro as its official currency. ATMs are widely available in Trieste, and it’s recommended that you carry some euros with you to make small purchases like a cup of espresso or a meal. Many places accept credit cards. A servizio, or service charge, will typically be included in any of your restaurant bills. Leave behind some spare change when ordering a coffee at the bar as the Italians do, and don’t forget to tip your taxi driver as well.