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Visit Bergamo: 10 must-do experiences in the charming Italian city

If you’re looking for a charming getaway in northern Italy, you should visit Bergamo because it is the ideal destination. Recently, we had the opportunity to explore this picturesque and captivating city, which not only offers a wealth of cultural and historical sites but also serves as an excellent base for exploring the Lombardy region.

The last time we visited Milan, we felt the city was too crowded, even outside peak season. Opting to explore cities near the more well-known destinations, such as visit Bergamo, provides not only the opportunity to discover new and less obvious places but also to enjoy a quieter travel experience. It’s a way to escape the crowds and immerse yourself in the authentic charm of each destination.

During our stay, we took advantage of several day trips to Lake Como and Milan, all easily accessible from Bergamo. In this post, we’ll share with you what to do in Bergamo, as well as some valuable tips to make the most of your visit to Bergamo, from must-do activities in the city, and accommodation suggestions to the best day trips from this central point.

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How to get to Bergamo

To reach and visit Bergamo, one option is to fly to the Orio al Serio International Airport (BGY), located approximately 5 kilometres southeast of the city centre. This airport is one of the main gateways to the Lombardy region. From the airport, there are several transportation options to reach the city centre. One option is to use the bus service, such as the Airport Bus Express, which offers a direct connection between the airport and Bergamo train station, with frequent departures throughout the day. Additionally, taxis are also available outside the airport terminal.

For those coming from other Italian cities and intending to visit Bergamo, the city is easily accessible by train. The main railway station in the city, Bergamo Railway Station, is located near the city centre and offers frequent railway connections to destinations throughout Italy. For example, it is possible to reach Bergamo by train from Milan in about an hour, making it an excellent option for a day trip or as part of a longer journey through the region.

Where to stay to visit Bergamo

To make the most of your trip and visit Bergamo, choosing where to stay can make all the difference. We chose to stay in an apartment in the centre of the lower part of the city, which proved to be a very convenient choice. This area may be ideal for you as it is close to many of the city’s main attractions and offers a wide variety of shopping and dining options.

Lower Town (Città Bassa) is one of the ideal places to stay when you visit Bergamo.

In addition, staying in this apartment allowed us to have our breakfast, which helped optimize our budget and gave us the flexibility to start the day at our own pace. Other recommended neighbourhoods to stay in Bergamo include the Upper Town, with its historic streets and stunning panoramic views, and the area around the train station, which offers easy access to other Italian cities and Orio al Serio Airport.

What transport to use to visit Bergamo

When you visit Bergamo, the funicular is indispensable for getting around the city.

When you visit Bergamo, there are several transportation options to get around the city. One of the most popular options is the efficient bus system, which easily takes you to the main tourist spots and commercial areas of the city. Additionally, Bergamo is a compact city, and many of its points of interest are within walking distance, making walking an enjoyable way to explore the city. As the city has several levels, there are also several funiculars that you can use. For those who prefer greater flexibility, it is also possible to rent bicycles in some parts of the city, providing a fun and eco-friendly way to get around.

Finally, if you plan to leave Bergamo by train, you can use the railway services available at the city’s central station. For greater convenience, it is recommended to purchase tickets in advance through the Trenitalia app or website.

10 Must-visit experiences in Bergamo

Take one of the various funiculars to visit Bergamo and enjoy unique views

View of the Porta della Città Alta, an unmissable sight when you visit Bergamo

By taking one of the funiculars in Bergamo, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings. From panoramas of green hills to views of the picturesque streets of Città Alta, this experience allows you to immerse yourself in the natural and architectural beauty of the region.

You’ll experience the local atmosphere, enjoying the views like a resident of Bergamo. You can appreciate the mix of medieval and Renaissance architecture as you move through the city.

Explore the picturesque streets of Città Alta

Streets of Città Alta, unmissable when you visit Bergamo.

The narrow cobbled streets of Città Alta invite you to stroll and discover the charms of this historic city. From bustling squares to small shops and picturesque cafes, every corner offers a discovery.

Immersed in the local culture, you’ll have the opportunity to explore hidden secrets and experience the daily life of Bergamo’s inhabitants. You can taste local delicacies and appreciate the historic architecture as you venture through the streets.

Enjoy the panoramic view of Parco Del Castello Di San Vigilio

Panoramic view of Castello di San Vigilio, a must-visit when in Bergamo

Located atop a hill, this park offers stunning panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. You can admire the natural and architectural beauty of Bergamo while relaxing in this tranquil location.

You’ll enjoy a relaxing and serene experience, appreciating the landscape like a true local. You can gaze upon the city and immerse yourself in the park’s peaceful atmosphere.

Try stracciatella ice cream at the place where It was invented

La Marianna is a traditional gelateria in Bergamo, known for creating stracciatela ice cream. By savouring this creamy and delicious ice cream, you’ll be experiencing a true local delicacy.

You’ll indulge in an authentic Italian delight as you enjoy the stracciatella ice cream, diving into the local flavours and aromas.

Immerse yourself in the aperitivo culture

Aperitivo culture, a must-do activity when visiting Bergamo

In Bergamo, as in all of Italy, the aperitivo is a social tradition that combines drinks and snacks. By participating in this experience, you can enjoy a variety of drinks and snacks in authentic locations while socializing with locals.

You’ll live the Italian lifestyle, enjoying moments of camaraderie and relaxation while savouring local culinary delights. You’ll experience a variety of flavours and learn about local aperitivo customs.

Have a meal in an old prison – Circolino Città Alta

Circolino Città Alta is a cosy restaurant located in an old prison, where you can enjoy an authentic meal and a unique atmosphere. By dining in this historic venue, you’ll delve into the history of Bergamo while savouring traditional Italian dishes.

You’ll have a truly unique gastronomic and cultural experience, enjoying a delicious meal in a historic and authentic setting.

Eat pizza

Pizza, a must when visiting Bergamo

Bergamo offers a variety of options to taste authentic Italian pizza. From generous slices of traditional pizza to local specialities like Neapolitan pizza, you can indulge in the unique flavours of this Italian delicacy.

By savouring pizza in Bergamo, you’ll have an authentic gastronomic experience, exploring the different styles and flavours this city has to offer.

Appreciate the architecture of the city’s basilicas and cathedrals

The basilicas and cathedrals of Bergamo are true architectural masterpieces, reflecting the city’s rich history and culture. From ornate details to the grandeur of the structures, you can admire the beauty and magnificence of these historic buildings.

By exploring these magnificent structures, you’ll be transported into Bergamo’s past, immersing yourself in its rich architectural and cultural heritage.

Participate in an Italian cooking workshop

Take part in an exciting Italian cooking workshop and discover the secrets of authentic local cuisine. Under the guidance of experienced chefs or locals, you’ll have the opportunity to learn how to prepare traditional dishes from the Bergamo region, from fresh pasta to delicious desserts. During the workshop, you’ll be introduced to fresh ingredients and typical culinary techniques of Italian cuisine, providing you with a hands-on and interactive experience.

In the end, you’ll enjoy your culinary creations in a cosy atmosphere, sharing a delicious meal with other participants. These types of activities offer a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Italian culinary culture and create unforgettable memories during your visit to Bergamo. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the opportunity to try this activity due to logistical reasons, but it’s on the list for the next visit.

Discover the hidden treasures in the gardens of Parco dei Colli di Bergamo

Parco dei Colli di Bergamo is a stunning park filled with beautiful gardens and natural landscapes. While strolling through this park, you can discover hidden treasures such as ornate fountains, sculptures, and picturesque trails.

By exploring this charming park, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with nature and uncover the hidden secrets that adorn the gardens and trails of this tranquil space.

These experiences offer a true immersion into the local life of Bergamo, allowing you to explore the gastronomy, architecture, and culture of the region authentically.


Day trips from Bergamo

Exploring the surroundings of Bergamo offers a unique opportunity to discover more of the beauty and diversity of the Lombardy region. With various easily accessible destination options, here are some must-visit day trips you can take from Bergamo.

Lake Como

Lake Como, an excellent excursion when visiting Bergamo
  • Distance: Approximately 60 km
  • Travel Time: About 1 hour by train
  • Best Transportation Option: Train to Varenna, where there is no direct connection and you’ll have to change in Lecco. Then, you can use the ferry to explore the different sights around Lake Como.

Milan

Duomo Cathedral, an excellent excursion to Milan when visiting Bergamo
  • Distance: Approximately 50 km
  • Travel Time: About 1 hour by train
  • Best Transportation Option: Direct train to Milan.

Lake d’Iseo

  • Distance: Approximately 40 km
  • Travel Time: About 1 hour by car
  • Best Transportation Option: Rental car or bus.

Verona

  • Distance: Approximately 150 km
  • Travel Time: About 2 hours by train
  • Best Transportation Option: Direct train to Verona.

Brescia

  • Distance: Approximately 50 km
  • Travel Time: About 1 hour by train
  • Best Transportation Option: Direct train to Brescia.

These day trips from Bergamo offer a variety of experiences, from exploring historic cities to enjoying the natural beauty of Italian lakes. With convenient transportation options, it’s easy to plan a day getaway from this charming Italian city.

Make the most of your trip

When you visit Bergamo, consider enhancing your trip by exploring the various outdoor activities available in the area. Take advantage of these opportunities with Manawa, which has a variety of options that will allow you to make the most of your experience.

Check out these activities we’ve selected for you:

Other activities in Bergamo


Visiting Bergamo offers a charming and enriching experience for those seeking a getaway in northern Italy. This picturesque city is not only rich in culture and history but also serves as an ideal base for exploring the Lombardy region. By opting to visit Bergamo instead of busier destinations like Milan, travellers have the opportunity to discover less obvious places and enjoy a quieter trip, immersing themselves in the authentic charm of each destination.

With a variety of must-do experiences, from exploring the quaint streets of Città Alta to tasting stracciatella gelato at La Marianna gelateria, Bergamo offers a true immersion into local life. Additionally, day trips from Bergamo allow you to further explore the diversity of the region, from Italian lakes to nearby historic cities. With a unique combination of cultural, gastronomic, and natural activities, Bergamo promises a memorable and authentic trip for all travellers.

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