The coastal city of Trieste is a fascinating Italian city located at the junction of Central Europe and the Mediterranean Sea. During its long history, it was a melting pot of Italian, Austrian, Slovenian and Balkan cultures – providing a solid fusion reflected in its architecture, language, cuisine and traditions.

It's within easy reach of the Slovenian coast to spend a whole day in the city, but many come here for a long weekend or even a week. One way or another, there will be no shortage of sights and experiences.

Tip: After a nice day, try the local goulash at the nearby pebble beaches!

Map - Where is Trieste?

Trieste is located near the Slovenian border in the northeastern part of Italy. It is the capital of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. One can find the city at the northernmost point of the Adriatic Sea. The Karst Plateau surrounds it to the north and the Gulf of Trieste to the south. Ljubljana, Venice and Porec are within easy driving distance.

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  • Distance from Venice: 160 km / 2.5 hours
  • Distance from Rome: 700 km / 8 hours
  • Distance from Ljubljana (Slovenia): 100 km / 1.5 hours
  • Distance from the Slovenian coast: 20 km / 30 mins
  • Distance from Porec (Croatia): 90 km / 2 hours
To the north of it is the Karst Plateau, a limestone region characterized by unique geological formations such as sinkholes, caves and underground rivers. The karst landscape is known for its natural beauty. Many people leave the city to explore the area.

City centre

The centre is a lively and charming area, a mixture of historical landmarks, architecture, busy squares and lively streets. The different buildings display a variety of styles. You can find everything from neoclassical and art nouveau to baroque and medieval influences. Palazzo del Municipio (Town Hall), Palazzo Modello, Palazzo Pitteri and Palazzo del Lloyd Triestino are just a few examples worth mentioning.

The boundaries of the city centre can be roughly defined by streets such as Via Carducci, Via San Nicolò, Viale XX Settembre and Via Roma. These streets include the central area where the main square, the Canale Grande, historic buildings, shopping streets and cultural institutions are located. While the centre extends beyond these streets, the aforementioned areas are the busiest and most iconic.

  • Piazza Unità d'Italia: is the focal point of the city centre and one of the largest seafront squares in Europe. Remarkable buildings, cafes and restaurants surround it.
  • Molo Audace: the Audace pier extends into the sea from Piazza Unità d'Italia. If you go there, let's take a nice walk.
  • Canale Grande: the Canale Grande is a picturesque canal running through the centre's heart. It has colourful buildings, cafes and small shops, providing a pleasant background for easy walks.
  • Piazza della Borsa: the square near Piazza Unità d'Italia is home to the Stock Exchange Palace (Palazzo della Borsa Vecchia). The square is characterized by its neoclassical architecture and is a popular gathering place for locals.
  • Castello di San Giusto: The castle at the top of Castle Hill (Colle di San Giusto) is one of the most popular attractions. Here, one can find the Cathedral of Trieste (Cattedrale di San Giusto Martire) and the City Museum.
  • Museo di Storia Naturale: the Natural History Museum presents a wide range of exhibits related to natural history, including fossils, minerals and animal specimens.
  • Teatro Romano di Trieste: an archaeological site that presents the remains of an ancient Roman theatre, giving an insight into the Roman past of the region.
  • Chiesa di San Spiridione: Saint Spyridon is an Orthodox church known for its beautiful Byzantine style that reflects the traditions of Orthodox Christianity. It has a domed structure, intricate decorative elements, and Byzantine-inspired mosaics and frescoes. The exterior facade is decorated with ornate details and beautiful works of art.
  • Scala dei Giganti: "Staircase of the Giants" is a monumental staircase near the waterfront connecting the centre with the coastal area. Its wide stone staircase is decorated with statues of mythological figures and giants such as Neptune, Hercules and Diana.
  • Trieste Synagogue: the beautiful building is one of Europe's largest and most important synagogues, representing the Jewish heritage. Architects Ruggero and Arduino Berlam designed the monument by combining Byzantine and Moorish influences. Inside is a huge central prayer hall decorated with beautiful ornamentation, intricate carvings and vibrant colours.

The centre offers excellent shopping opportunities; many streets are lined with boutiques, fashion stores and local shops. The lively Via Carducci and Via San Nicolò are two popular streets where visitors can discover a variety of shops and boutiques. Traditional coffee houses serve delicious coffee, pastries and local food. It is worth visiting a few and tasting the delicacies.

Things to see

In addition to the attractions above, you can find other sights within the city' walls.

  • Castello di Miramare: The impressive 19th-century Miramare Castle is on the beach. It is surrounded by the beautiful Miramare Park, which also stretches along the coast.
  • Grotta Gigante: to the northwest, you find the "Giant Cave", one of the world's largest tourist caves. You can visit the chambers of the underground world as part of a guided tour.
  • Risiera di San Sabb: Risiera di San Sabba was a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Today it is a memorial and museum dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust.
  • Faro della Vittoria: the city's best-known lighthouse is the 68-meter-high tower made of white Istrian stone. Its shape resembles an obelisk, with a tall central tower from which four lower wings extend. It is decorated with various decorative elements, including reliefs and sculptures.
  • Civico Museo del Mare: the Maritime Museum presents the region's maritime history, including navigation, shipbuilding and exploration exhibits.
  • Castello di Duino: 20 kilometres to the northwest, Duino Castle is an impressive cliff-top fortress overlooking the bay.


Although sandy beaches are not typical in the countryside, plenty of intimate pebbles and rocky shorts exist. Here are some beach options in and around:

  • Barcola: the popular beach area is about 4 kilometres from the centre. It has a long, concrete and gravel beach along the bay.
  • El Pedocin: popular public beach in the neighbourhood of Barcola. There are large gravel sections suitable for sunbathing here. Changing rooms, showers and beach equipment are also available for rent.
  • Topolini: Topolini is another public beach in the neighbourhood of Barcola. It is a small concrete beach surrounded by rocks.
  • Sistiana: a pebbly beach surrounded by rocks and lush vegetation, with parking, bars, clubs and restaurants nearby.
  • Grignano: the small rocky beach is hidden in a calm bay. The area is known for its natural beauty and crystal-clear waters. A quiet alternative to the more crowded beaches in the area.
  • Rossetti: a narrow, rocky, pebbly public beach near the Barcola district, just a short distance from the centre.
  • Sticco: another intimate, rocky beach surrounded by trees.
  • Ausonia: Ausonia is a private beach club in Trieste's Grignano district. It welcomes its guests with a sandy beach, sunbeds, umbrellas, and a bar and restaurant.

Riserva Naturale Regionale della Val Rosandra

The Val Rosandra Nature Reserve is a protected natural area bordering Slovenia. It lies in the Rosandra Valley, a picturesque valley carved by the Rosandra Stream. Characterized by deep gorges, limestone cliffs, lush forests and crystal clear waters, the landscape results from millions of years of geological processes and erosion that have created an immersive and diverse environment.

Several hiking trails meander through the reserve, allowing you to go on excursions and hikes. The routes range from easy walks to more challenging hikes. The Val Rosandra rocks attract both rock climbers and climbers.

Did you know? The 720-kilometre-long Alpe Adria Trail goes through here.

Local food

  • Goulash Triestino: a hearty meat stew influenced by the city's Austrian and Hungarian connections. It typically consists of tender pieces of beef or pork slow-cooked with onions, garlic, paprika and other spices. It is often served with polenta or bread.
  • Brodetto di Pesce: a traditional fish stew made from various local seafood such as mussels, prawns and fish. The stew is cooked with tomatoes, garlic, white wine and herbs.
  • Jota: Jota is a traditional bean and sauerkraut soup with Italian and Slovenian influences. It is made from beans, sauerkraut, potatoes, onions and smoked meat. A hearty dish that is often eaten during the colder months.
  • Sardoni in Saor: a typical local appetizer consisting of marinated sardines. The sardines are first fried and then marinated in a mixture of onions, vinegar, raisins and pine nuts. This dish is known for its unique blend of sweet and sour flavours.
  • Focaccia Triestina: the local version of the classic Italian flatbread. It has a soft, airy texture and is often topped with olive oil, salt, and sometimes onion or rosemary.
  • Sacher Torte: Sacher Torte is a famous Viennese cake with a strong presence in the area due to its historical ties to Austria. It comprises layers of dense chocolate sponge and apricot jam coated with a rich chocolate glaze.

Coffee culture

Trieste has a strong coffee culture, influenced by its historical role as a major port and trade centre. The city is known for its coffee houses, where locals and visitors alike can enjoy a variety of coffees, including the popular espresso and cappuccino.


The history of the region can be traced back to ancient times. First, the Illyrians initially settled it, then came under Roman rule in the 2nd century BC. As a Roman city, it flourished as an important port and trade hub.

  • Byzantine and Middle Ages: After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, it came under Byzantine control in the 6th century AD. After that, it experienced a period of alternating rule by the Lombards and then by the Franks. It became a free municipality in the 14th century and achieved significant economic growth as a maritime power.
  • Habsburg era: in 1382, it became part of the Austrian Empire. It flourished as a major port and trade centre under Habsburg rule, benefiting from its strategic location between Central Europe and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Multi-cultural influence: It has been influenced by various cultures and peoples throughout its history. The city served as a melting pot of Italian, Slovenian, Austrian and Balkan cultures, resulting in a unique blend of traditions, architecture and languages.
  • Developments: In the 19th century, it underwent rapid growth and modernization thanks to its expanding trade relations and the construction of the Vienna-Triest railway. The city's population grew significantly, and its economy flourished as a major seaport.
  • World Wars: The city became a contested area after World War I, leading to political tensions and territorial changes. Officially annexed to Italy in 1954, the city regained stability and began to rebuild. Trieste became the capital of the newly founded Friuli-Venezia Giulia region.

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