Lucca is easily reachable both by car and public transport, thanks to its position on the main highways and railroad lines that connect Florence to Pisa and Viareggio.
Actually - as it happens for all big cities - if you go to Lucca for the day by train or bus you won’t have the unfortunate hassle of trying to find parking; moreover, bus and train stations are close to the heart of the city, so you’ll find that you are immediately surrounded by the majesty of Renaissance walls of Lucca.
The old center of the city is closed off to traffic - and many of the areas that do allow for cars are exclusively reserved to residents. So once you ett there, you need to park outside the walls - there are a few parking areas inside the walls but be sure to read the signs and look for indications that it is parking open to everyone.
Lucca is located on the highway A11 Firenze - Mare, that road which connects Florence with Pisa and the Versilia Coast. If you’re coming from either the North or South, you need to take A11 and exit at Lucca Est or Ovest.
If you’re coming from the coast, on the highway A12 Genova - Roma, you will first connect at Viareggio then proceed to Lucca Ovest and use a faster road called Bretella (there is a toll to be paid on A11 and a12).
If you’re coming from the Pisa or Florence airports and have a rented car, follow indications to A11 in both cases.
Both Lucca highway exits are located about 1 km from the city center.
Train is the simplest and easiest way to get to Lucca. You have to follow train schedules but they run fairly regular. Once you arrive you can choose to tour the city by foot or bike (continue on reading the article, there’s a separate heading below on renting a bike in Lucca).
The Lucca train station is located in Piazza Ricasoli, in front of Porta San Pietro, which is easily reached with less than a five minute walk (Lucca old city center is completely surrounded by its Renaissance walls, so what we usually referred to as Porte are the doorways in the walls through which you may access the heart of the city).
Lucca is situated on the train lines that connect Florence with Viareggio and Florence (or Pistoia) with Pisa, so there are many daily trains leaving to and from Lucca.
Pisa is about a 15-20 minute ride from Lucca, while Florence an hour and 20 minute train ride and Viareggio about a 20 minute ride.
Other popular Tuscan destinations are located on the same train line: Pistoia (45 minutes train distance more or less) and Montecatini Terme, less than half an hour.
From Lucca there are also daily trains leaving to Garfagnana.
From the Pisa airport, there’s a train heading to Pisa Centrale station; once got there, you need to change trains for Lucca (or you can look for a train to Florence / Viareggio which stops in Lucca). From Florence airport, instead, you need to reach the train station in Florence center (Santa Maria Novella) and then take a train or bus (bus station closeby) heading to Lucca, there are buses leaving every 30 minutes from the airport to the train station in the city center of Florence or you can take a taxi (approximately 25€).
For more detailed information on schedules and coasts, take a look at trenitalia web site (click on the English Flag on your right on the top).
The bus station is located in Piazzale Verdi, inside the city walls. Among the Tuscan cities that are connected to Lucca by bus, there is Florence, Pisa and Viareggio. The bus company is named VaiBus. Rides are going to take you a bit more than trains, so it may be easier to get to town by train. Download here the pdf full bus schedule file.
Renting a bike in Lucca
If you come both by train or bus, you may decide to either walk or rent a bike. The city is small and flat so it is easy to navigate. However, if you are short on time a bike may be a plus. Lucca is very famous for being a bike-friendly place: there are many bike-reserved areas all over the city and there’s no local who lives in Lucca who doesn't have a bike! A bike is also an excellent way to explore the walls that entirely surround the city, you may want to walk it up the rampart but once up there it is a beautiful uninterrupted ride around the entire city giving you many opportunitites to take photos from different vantage points.
Consequently, you’ll find plenty of rental bikes or tandem bikes shops both outside and inside the city walls, especially at many of the access to the ramparts, that offer cheap hourly and daily prices. Inside Porta Santa Maria (to the North of Lucca), in the square bearing the same name, there are two famous and historical rental bike shops. You’ll find other close to Porta San Pietro and walking from Porta Elisa towards the center (after the old Porta San Gervasio).