A Travel Price Comparison for Italy Lucca vs. Bologna for Food, Old Town, Attractions, and Nightlife

Should you visit Lucca or Bologna?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Lucca and Bologna can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Lucca

Lucca is a historic, charming, and quaint city. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include nightlife, food, and shopping.

Bologna

Bologna is a beautiful, fun, and historical city. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Lucca and Bologna: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Public transit not as usable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Impressive beauty


Is there more to do in Lucca or Bologna?

Both Bologna and Lucca have plenty of things to do for visitors. Both offer a variety of sights, activities, and attractions for tourists. Lucca is very popular for its museums and historical sights, while Bologna attracts visitors for its food, nightlife, and shopping. Lucca is more touristy than Bologna and is known for its ancient city walls and its many historic buildings. Bologna is famous for its Terracota buildings, large international student population, and being the birthplace of Bolognaise pasta.

How is Lucca different from Bologna?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Bologna and Lucca. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Lucca or Bologna?

Lucca
Bologna

Lucca is a well-known place for its sights and museums. Also, Bologna is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its museums and history.

Many visitors head to Lucca specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. There are many interesting historic sights and buildings around this charming town. You can climb to the top of the Guinigi Tower or visit the Roman Amphitheater. Many visitors enjoy walking or biking around the city walls as well. Also make sure you visit the cathedral.

Bologna is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. It has many historical and religious landmarks, active squares, and impressive museums including the Basilica of St. Petronius, St. Stephen Basilica, the Leaning Towers, and the Portico of the Madonna di San Luca.


Is the Food Better in Lucca or Bologna? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Lucca
Bologna

Bologna is an unbeatable place for its restaurant scene. Also, Lucca is still popular, but not quite as popular for its local flavors and cuisine.

Many restaurants in Bologna have been singled out for their culinary prowess. Foodies will appreciate the city's well earned culinary reputation. Some people even consider Bologna to be a food capital in Italy. There are cooking classes and food tours around town, as well as many great restaurants that serve up local dishes. Visitors should try Tagliatelle with Ragu (now famously known around the world as Bolognaise), Tortellini in broth, and Mortadella (salami).

The food selection at local restaurants is excellent in Lucca. There are many great Tuscan restaurants inside the city walls. Perhaps the most popular local dish is tordelli Lucchesi. Its a meat filled pasta that has a beef ragu sauce. There are also other Tuscan recipes that include steak, boar, or rabbit.

Is Lucca or Bologna Better for Nightlife?

Lucca
Bologna

Bologna is well known for its evening party scene. Also, Lucca is still popular, but not quite as popular for nightlife.

Bologna is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. The young population that is filled with international students means that the city has a fun and active nightlife scene. Some of the city's best neighborhoods for nightlife include Centro Storico, where the tourists hang out, the University District, which is perfect for students in their 20s, and Via dell'Indipendenza, which is popular for an upscale evening out.

If you're looking for night time activities Lucca has a few options to choose from. The nightlife scene is most lively during the spring and summer months when tourists crowd into the city. For the highest concentration of bars, clubs, and lounges, head to Piazza Amfiteatro, Piazza San Michele and Via Fillungo.

Is Lucca or Bologna Better for its Old Town?

Lucca
Bologna

Lucca is a world-class destination for its historic old town charm. Also, Bologna is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its historic old town.

The historic old town of Lucca is revered around the world. The historic city is surrounded by city walls, which you can walk around. Within the walls there are cobblestone streets and a charming atmosphere.

Many visitors go to Bologna to see the historical old town. The old town is filled with Terracota buildings, which give the city its nickname, La Rossa (The Red).


Is the Shopping Better in Lucca or Bologna?

Lucca
Bologna

Bologna is well known for its shopping areas. Also, Lucca is still popular, but not quite as popular for shopping.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Bologna. The city hosts regular open-air markets where you can pick up local produce or local items. It is among the best shopping destinations in the region. For some of the city's best shopping, head to Piazza Maggiore, Mercato di Mezzo, Mercato delle Erbe, or Via Rizzoli.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Lucca. The city is filled with a mix of tourist shops and more authentic local vendors. If you look hard, you can still find some interesting local items that make for a more unique and personal shopping experience.

Is Lucca or Bologna Better for Families?

Lucca
Bologna

Both Lucca and Bologna are nice to visit with kids.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Lucca. You can pass through town in a day or two, or stay longer and use it as a base for exploring Tuscany. There are playgrounds for the kids as well as some fun activities like cycling the city walls and climbing towers.

Bologna offers lots of family activities. There are kid-friendly museums such as Museo Geologico Cappellini and the interactive history museum of Museo della Storia di Bologna. There's even a museum solely dedicated to gelato - Gelato at Carpigiani Museum. If your kids need a bit of time in nature, check out Dulcamara farm or the Botanic Garden. On the weekend you many be able to catch a show at Margherita's Puppet Theatre.

Is Lucca or Bologna Better for Couples?

Lucca
Bologna

Lucca is a well-known place for couples. Also, Bologna is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for romance.

Lucca is a very popular place to visit for couples. It's a beautiful city with good restaurants and access to nice countryside. Couples who want to explore Tuscany can use this town as a base to take in much of the region.

Bologna is a nice destination for couples. With beautiful museums, interesting architecture. and lively squares, this is a great city for a couple's holiday. It's filled with romance, but it has less tourist crowds than some of Italy's more popular cities.


Is Lucca or Bologna Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Lucca
Bologna

Bologna is well known for backpackers. Also, Lucca is still popular, but not quite as popular for backpackers and budget travelers.

Bologna is a very popular city for backpackers and budget travelers. It's not a popular as some of the other cities in Italy and Europe, but it still has a number of hostels and a good backpacker scene.

Plenty of backpackers visit Lucca. While there aren't many traditional hostels around town, guesthouses are usually affordable.

Is Lucca or Bologna Better for Students?

Lucca
Bologna

Bologna is an unbeatable place for students. However, Lucca is not popular with students.

Bologna is a very popular city for students. It's a top study abroad destination in Italy and is home to a few great universities including the well ranked University of Bologna. There are many great activities for students and a variety of fun places to explore.

Lucca is not popular with students.

Is Lucca or Bologna Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Lucca
Bologna

Bologna is a city with good options for its public transit. However, Lucca is not particularly known for times when you don't have a car.

You'll find some public transit in Bologna, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There is an efficient and reliable bus system.

Public transit is quite limited in Lucca. There's no public transit within the city so if you can't walk somewhere, you'll want to take a taxi. In general, walking is the best option though.


Is Lucca or Bologna a more walkable city?

Lucca
Bologna

Lucca and Bologna both are superb when exploring on foot.

Lucca is a very walkable destination. Much of the city can be explored on foot.

Bologna is very walkable. Most sights are always within a 30 minute walk, and the city itself is very walkable.

For even more information, also check out Is Lucca Worth Visiting? and Is Bologna Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Bologna or Lucca?

How long in Lucca or Bologna?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Lucca and Bologna. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Bologna than in Lucca. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Lucca, and 1-3 days is enough time in Bologna.

Families should spend more time in Lucca than Bologna. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Lucca, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Lucca than Bologna. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Lucca that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Bologna than Lucca if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Bologna.


  • How many days in Lucca or Bologna? Ideal Length of Stay
    Lucca 1-2 
    Bologna 1-3

One day in Lucca or Bologna?

In Lucca, you'll find nightlife and food. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. This city offers something for everyone. This would be the perfect place to spend one day, as it has just the right amount of activities.

In Bologna, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this fun destination offers. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. Lots of people come for the food. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Because of this, one day is usually enough time for a trip here.

A weekend in Lucca or Bologna?

In Lucca, you'll find food and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Visiting the old town is also a must. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Lucca has to offer.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Bologna. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.


Five days in Lucca or Bologna?

Lucca is a great place to explore. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

Bologna is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the destination of Bologna. Lots of people come for the food. Visiting the old town is also a must. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

A week in Lucca or Bologna?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Lucca. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Lucca. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

You'll find food and shopping around the historical destination of Bologna. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Lots of people come for the food. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Italy, The Best Historical Tours in Italy, The Best 10-Day Tours in Italy, and The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Italy.


Which place is cheaper, Bologna or Lucca?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Lucca is €106, while the average daily cost in Bologna is €159. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Lucca and Bologna in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lucca 61
    Bologna 87
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lucca 122
    Bologna 174
Compare Hotels in Lucca and Bologna

Looking for a hotel in Lucca or Bologna? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Lucca


Hotels in Bologna


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Lucca Hotel Prices and Bologna Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Lucca 4.29
    Bologna 21

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lucca

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Lucca:

  • Tasting in a Tuscan Vineyard with transfer from Lucca: $87
  • Private Transfer from Lido di Camaiore to Pisa (PSA) Airport: $127
  • Private Transfer from Forte dei Marmi to Pisa (PSA) Airport: $185

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Bologna

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Bologna:

  • Arrival Private Transfer Bologna Airport BLQ to Modena or Verona by Business Car: $133
  • Arrival Private Transfer Bologna Airport BLQ to Modena or Verona by Business Van: $164
  • Arrival Private Transfers: Bologna Airport BLQ to Bologna City in Luxury Van: $138
  • Balsamic Vinegar Experience with Private Transfer: $165
  • Bologna Airport (BLQ) to Bologna - Arrival Private Transfer: $47
  • Bologna Airport (BLQ) to Bologna - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $92
  • Bologna Airport (BLQ) to Florence - Arrival Private Transfer: $87
  • Bologna Airport (BLQ) to Florence - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $174
  • Bologna Airport (BLQ) to Ravenna city or Cruise Port - Arrival Private Transfer: $115
  • Bologna Airport (BLQ) to Venice - Arrival Private Transfer: $118
  • Bologna Airport (BLQ) to Venice - Arrival Private Transfer: $101
  • Bologna Airport (BLQ) to Venice - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $203

Is it cheaper to fly into Lucca or Bologna?

Prices for flights to both Bologna and Lucca change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Lucca 41
    Bologna 39

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Lucca

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Lucca.

  • Flavors of Lucca Food Tour with Local Guide: $76
  • Every Day Cooking Class in Lucca Italy: $84
  • Dining Experience at a local's Home in Pistoia with Show Cooking: $94
  • Dining Experience at a local's Home in San Miniato with Show Cooking: $94
  • Dining Experience at a local's Home in Gaiole in Chianti with Show Cooking: $94
  • Lucca Food Tour - Do Eat Better Experience : $100
  • Typical Dining & Cooking Demo at Local's Home in Lucca: $121
  • Traditional-Traditional Cooking Class cuisine course: $124
  • 4 Hours Private Activity - Truffle Hunting with Dinner in San Miniato: $143
  • Pasta Cooking Class with a Local Chef: $150
  • Private Cooking Class at a Cesarina's Home in Pistoia: $160
  • Private Cooking Class at a Cesarina's Home in Gaiole in Chianti: $160

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Bologna

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Bologna.

  • Virtual Cooking Class: Ravioli variations with classic tomato sauce: $36
  • Food Tour with Tagliatelle, Mortadella, and Wine: $64
  • PIZZA COOKING EXPERIENCE at Restaurant Irnerio10: $65
  • Bologna Private Food Tour Eating around the Centre: $66
  • Bologna Traditional Home Cooking Class with Lunch or Dinner: $74
  • Exclusive Cooking Class - Pasta Tagliatelle Ragu & Spritz: $75
  • Exclusive Bologna Cooking Class - Pasta Tagliatelle Ragu & Spritz: $76
  • Traditional Bolognese Cooking Class with a Meal: $81
  • Traditional Recipes Cooking Class with Local Wines: $83
  • Hands on Home Cooking Class: $85
  • Walking Food Tour with a Local Guide: $85
  • Tastes and Traditions Food Tour with Market Visit: $85

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Lucca 5.68
    Bologna 38

Tours and Activities in Lucca

Here are a few actual costs in Lucca for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Walking tour of Lucca and its walls: $11
  • Guided City by Night Walking Tour: $16
  • BASIC join a 'must see' walking tour!: $16
  • 2-Hour City Center Walking Tour: $16
  • Renaissance City Walls Walking Tour: $16
  • Discover Lucca’s Secrets on a Guided Walking Tour: $17
  • Night Walking Tour in Lucca : $17
  • join a walking tour small group! Duomo included: $19
  • Self-Guided Tour by Bike: $19
  • Self-Guided Tour by Bike with MAP: $20
  • Your Lucca Walking Tour: $20
  • walking tour on the stories & legends of the city!: $24

Typical Entertainment Prices in Bologna

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Bologna are as follows:


  • Food Tour (for 2)
    31
  • Wine Tasting Tour (for 2)
    115
  • Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour (for 2)
    67
  • National Gallery Museum Bologna (for 2)
    12
  • Archaeology Museum of Bologna (for 2)
    12

Tours and Activities in Bologna

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Bologna are as follows:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.24
  • From Italy eSIM Tourist Roaming Data Plan: $4.86
  • Self-Guided Historical Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Old Town Murder Mystery Quest Experience: $6.47
  • City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $6.47
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $6.48
  • Self-Guided Highlights Scavenger Hunt and Tour: $6.48
  • Murder Mystery in Quest Experience: $6.59
  • Bologna Walking Tour with Audio and Written Guide: $6.60
  • Bologna Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $6.60
  • Bologna Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $6.60
  • Bologna Old Town: Hidden Gems Quest Experience: $7.01

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Lucca 13
    Bologna 28

Sample the Local Flavors in Lucca

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Lucca:

  • Wine Tasting Experience - Tenuta Adamo Winery: $17
  • Guided Winery Tour with Wine Tasting: $22
  • Honest Wines- Wine tasting at Cantina Biagiotti: $36
  • Private wine tasting in Lucca - 5 wines and a taste of local products: $66
  • Tuscany Wine Tours in a family winery Podere Pellicciano: $77
  • Aperitivo Evening Food and Wine Tour: $81
  • Private wine tasting in Versilia - 5 wines and a taste of local products: $83
  • Chianti Half-Day Wine Tour in the Tuscan Hills Small Group from Lucca: $98
  • Guided E-Bike and Wine Tour: $118
  • Guided E-Bike Tour with Wine Tasting from Lucca: $120
  • Bike Ride & WIne Tasting: $132
  • Tuscan Wine Tour by shuttle from Pisa: $150

Sample the Local Flavors in Bologna

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Bologna:

  • Modena area: Lambrusco Wine Tasting Experience: $39
  • From Wine Tasting and Vineyard Tour with the winemaker: $54
  • Montevecchio Isolani wine tasting experience: $55
  • Bologna Food & Wine tour with a local Chef: $69
  • Wine Tasting Tour in One of the Oldest Inns: $70
  • Bologna Wine Tasting in One of the Oldest Inns: $72
  • Private Wine Tour and Tasting with an Expert Guide and Sommelier: $74
  • Taste the real Bologna Food and Wine tour: $108
  • Wine Tasting Experience with a Local Guide: $119
  • Food and Wine Tasting Tour in Bologna with a local guide : $139
  • Bologna private wine tour : $166
  • Italian Wine Tasting on the Panoramic Terrace in Bologna: $166


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Lucca and Bologna, we can see that Bologna is more expensive. And not only is Lucca much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Lucca would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Lucca and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Bologna would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Bologna than you might in Lucca.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Lucca Expensive? and Is Bologna Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Lucca or Bologna?

Bologna has a larger population, and is about 5 times larger than the population of Lucca. When comparing the sizes of Lucca and Bologna, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.