Bergamo is a city located close to Milan and that's the reason why many people don't see it as interesting enough to pay it a visit.
Most of the tourists in Bergamo arrive here as a day trip from Milan or just a few hours during they layover, before another flight.
Ryanair has a large base at Caravaggio Orio al Serie Airport in Bergamo so lots of flights are coming and going each day, connecting people from all over Europe, which led to a new type of tourism is the city. You'll see many guide with 6 hours in Bergamo or how to spend 12 hours in Bergamo or half day tours in Bergamo, geared especially to those who are here during a flight layover.
Airport Transfer - How to get from Caravaggio Orio al Serio Airport to Bergamo
The best way to get to the city is by using the public bus run by the ATB company.
The bus runs 2 times per hour, every 30 minutes between 6 in the morning until midnight.
Our advice is to buy a 24 hr bus ticket for € 5,00, which can be used for unlimited trips on all public transport in Bergamo (including the funiculars). Considering the price for a single ticket - € 2,30, the day ticket is the best choice and the most economical for traveling to Bergamo.
Bus stops for bus no. 1: Airport - Bergamo:
From the airport you will take bus number 1 which runs between the airport and the following stations in the city:
- Central station (stazione centrale)
- City Center (Centro Citta)
- Citta Alta (the upper city)
Where to buy your bus ticket to Bergamo at the airport
Unlike most Italian cities, in Bergamo you can't buy the ticket directly from the driver, so you have to buy it before boarding the bus and at the airport you have 3 options:
- Autostradale ticket office
- Turismo Bergamo
- Automatic vending machine at the bus stop
Bus trip duration: around 15 minutes, depending on traffic. The airport is close to the city and on your way back it shouldn't take more than 15 minutes from the train station to the airport.
Luggage storage at Bergamo Airport - where to leave your suitcase for the day
There is a Left Luggage service at Bergamo Airport and it's managed by the Autostradale. You have to go out of the Arrivals halls and you will see some signs indicating Left Luggage. There is a small building in the parking lot area not far from the Arrivals terminal where the Left Luggage place is at.
It's not just lockers but instead someone will take you bag and give you a receipt with a number for it.
The schedule is between 08:00 - 24:00.
Prices: € 5.00 per day per bag.
Other Left Luggage services in Bergamo:
Downtown: At the train station, inside the Urban Center building, there is an automatic service for left luggage working 24/7.
The cost is 4 euro/day per large bag and 3 euro/day per small bag,for a small bag is 3 euro.
Bergamo oldtown: Inside the Adalberto tower.
Bergamust - Things to do in Bergamo and what not to miss
If you have just one day to visit Bergamo, our advice is to spend that time by walking through the city and admiring the views and just postpone visiting museums for another time.
Take the funicular to the Citta Alta
If you come by bus from the airport, you can get down at the Funicolare station instead of going all the way to the end and you can use you day pass for a ride up to the Citta Alta with the funicular. This funicular is 128 years old and has an impressive 52% slope, so you will definitely enjoy the ride.
Take a ride on the the S. Vigilio Funicular for the best view in Bergamo
Another option is to go with bus no.1 to the last station and from there you will have to walk just 2-3 minutes to the S.Vigilio Funicular. Take the funicular up to Parco del Castello di San Vigilio where you can wonder in peace admiring the amazing view over the city of Bergamo and its surroundings.
Although we went there in season - early September, there weren't many tourists up on the hill compared to how many there were in the Upper City (Citta Alta) area.
Up on the hill you can also walk through what's left of the S. Vigilio castle and there is no entrance fee, you just take a walk and admire the view.
There are 2 restaurants up there with good food and wine and if you have the time, it's worth a stop at one of them for a meal with the best view in Bergamo.
Afterwards you can take the funicular back down and go on foot towards the Citta Alta to explore that part of town for the rest of the day.
Citta Alta or the Upper Town of Bergamo
The Upper City is where the old part of Bergamo is located, with its historical buildings, towers and churches.
It's really nice to just stroll around the Citta Alta to admire the architecture and maybe to grab something to eat on the go from the many pastry shops that also sell pizza slices (very good but totally different from the pizza in Naples - here the crust is thick and bread like, but all the toppings were really nice). Take a slice and take a seat in one of the many small squares, to eat and to watch the world go by.
- Piazza Vecchia
Piazza Vecchia is the heart and soul of the Citta Alta. You will find many restaurants and cafes where you can drink an Italian espresso and feel like a local.
- Campanone - The Civic Tower
Located in the Piazza Vecchia, it is 52 m tall and you can go up to see the city from above. However, there is a 5 euro fee to the tower, which would be better spent otherwise and for the view you can go up to S. Vigilio where you get an even better view for free.
Citta Bassa or the Lower City in Bergamo
From the Citta Alta you can take the funicular down or you can go down on foot on a nice walk along the Venetian walls and gates.
The building of the walls started in 1591 and they were nominated to become UNESCO World Heritage. It's a pleasant walk to the new part of the city and you have some viewpoints from where you can see around the town and even take short breaks. The entire circuit is around 6km but it's downhill, so not difficult to walk.
What to eat in Bergamo
If there's one thing that we've seen repeating over and over about food in Bergamo it's that you must try the polenta.
There are many ways to serve polenta here, although in other parts of the world it is seen as just a savory dish, often times a side dish to meat or other types of food.
In Bergamo you can even try desserts based on polenta, typical dish for Bergamo - the polenta has a nut filling and sometimes an almond cover or sprinkled crushed almonds on top, so if you want to try something typical to the local cuisine, you just have to give the polenta a try.
Also, not as a recommendation per se but as a tip for the hungry traveller: if you take the bus back to the airport from the train station and you want to eat something quick before (plus cheaper than airport food), then there is a Mc Donald's close to the bus station where you can grab a bite to eat.
Should you visit Bergamo?
If you have the opportunity to see the city between 2 flights definitely.
We would not say it's worth it to fly to Bergamo as an actual destination, although you can use the city as a base to explore more of the Lombardia region in Italy. Anyway, if you see yourself in the Orio al Serio Airport with just a few hours to spare, don't risk a long ride to Milan, spending most of your time in the bus. Instead, take a quick bus ride to Bergamo and visit this old city full of charm and historic buildings and you may be in for a very nice surprise.
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