12 Best Things to do in Parma, Italy

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Discover the best things to do in Parma, Italy for the ultimate Italian getaway.

Parma is is a beautiful yet quaint city located in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. It is most famous for its parma ham and parmesan cheese (two of Italy’s most lusted-after exports) which draw people from around the world eager to enjoy the best of the best. Not only this, it is a great place to visit for art, culture, and beautiful architecture. Due to its small size, you can easily explore the city in a day or two, making it ideal for a day trip!

Below are 12 of the best things to do in Parma for the ideal holiday.

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12 Best Things to do in Parma, Italy

Walk Around Palazzo Della Pilotta

Palazzo Della Pilotta
Palazzo Della Pilotta

Palazzo Della Pilotta is a 16th-century building located in the historic center of Parma. The structure is the center point of the city and wandering around is one of the best things to do in Parma. Here you will find the national gallery, Palatine Library, and the Archaeological Museum.

Eat Parma Ham & Parmesan Cheese

Parma Ham & Paramasean Cheese
Parma Ham & Paramasean Cheese

One of the top things to do in Parma is eat the famous Parma Ham and Parmesan Cheese from the source! There are not only plenty of shops where you can pick up fresh ham and cheese to sample and bring home but also an abundance of tours! Going on a food tour to see the production process, learn about the history, and sample the freshest and most authentic parma ham and cheese is something you will not want to miss.

Admire Cattedrale di Parma

Cattedrale di Parma
Cattedrale di Parma

Cattedrale di Parma is a stunning church in Parma with both a magnificent interior and exterior. This Roman Catholic cathedral is decorated with elegant paintings and facades and the best part is it is free to enter!

Sample Lambrusco Wine

Lambrusco Wine

Lambrusco Wine is a sparkling red wine that is popular in Northern Italy. With wine being so popular in Italy, sampling the local specialty is a must. Head to a restaurant and try a glass there or find a local winery nearby and learn about the process.

View The Baptistery of Parma

The Baptistery of Parma
The Baptistery of Parma

The Baptistery of Parma is a religious building in Parma and is considered one of the most notable medieval monuments in Europe. Visiting the Baptistery of Parma is one of the top things to do in Parma as it marks the significant transition from Romanesque to Gothic architecture styles. Going inside the Baptistery requires tickets, which you can find here.

Admire the Streets

Parma Streets
Parma Streets

The architecture in Parma is unexpectedly beautiful. With its colourful buildings, grand churches and significant monuments – it is a feast for the eyes. Simply wandering around the quaint, clean streets is one of the best things to do in Parma.

Go on a Tour

Going on a tour is one of the best ways to see and experience the best of Parma. Below are some of the best tours in Parma!

Stroll Around Parco Ducale

Parco Ducale

Parco Ducale is a 16th-century green space with tree-lined paths, a duck pond, historic sculptures, and the beautiful Palazzo Ducale. It is incredibly well maintained and offers a welcome escape from the bustling streets of Parma into your own little getaway.

See The Shrine of Santa Maria Della Steccata

The Shrine of Santa Maria della Steccata is a Greek-cross design Renaissance church in central Parma, Italy,one of the most important architectural examples of the city.The name derives from the fence or steccato used to corral the numerous devotees who visited a miraculous image of the Virgin and child . The sanctuary was built between 1521 and 1539,the architects were Bernardino Zaccagni and his son.The dome is attributed to Antonio da Sangallo the Younger.The interior was decorated by prominent artists,many of the fresco figures and decorations were painted or planned by a young Parmigianino.

The Shrine of Santa Maria Della Steccata is a renaissance-style church in the middle of Parma. This huge structure is hard to miss and dominates the center of the city. The Baroque building is built in the same structure as a Greek Renaissance church which only adds to its magnetic charm.

Visit the National Gallery

One of the best things to do in Parma for art lovers is head to the National Gallery. Artists featured here include Leonardo da Vinci, Parmigianino, Beato Angelico, Tintoretto and more!

Have a Drink in Piazza Garibaldi

Parma, Italy - July 17, 2017: Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi in the center of Parma, Italy

Piazza Garibaldi is a spacious square in the heart of Parma with restaurants and beautiful surroundings. It is the ideal place to grab a drink and something to eat while people watch and soak in the lively environment.

Rent Bikes to Explore

Parma is an incredibly bike-friendly city, it almost feels like you are in Amsterdam with all the cyclists. Renting bikes for a day to explore as much of the city as possible is a must to experience Parma to the fullest.

Eat Amazing Italian Food

Parma is home to some amazing Italian restaurants just waiting to be enjoyed. Find amazing gelato, pasta, and pizza all around, and set your taste buds on fire! A must-try is lemon pasta, so unique and utterly amazing.

Day Trip to Bologna

While in Parma, consider a day trip to Bologna, a short train ride away. There are so many amazing things to do in Bologna like exploring Piazza Maggiore and indulging in Bolognese cuisine at local trattorias, amongst other things! The city’s medieval charm, historic architecture, and culinary delights make it a delightful extension of your visit to Parma.

Where to Stay in Parma


Travel Insurance

Getting travel insurance before you travel is a MUST. It’s the number one thing you should always pack before travelling that can save you a lot of money, time, and stress. With how crazy travel has gotten recently you need that peace of mind that no matter what happens there is something protecting you from losing out. I always travel with travel insurance and think everyone should.

I always travel with travel insurance and think everyone should. Below is my favorite travel insurer Safety Wings, enter your details to get a free quote! 

With so many fun things to do in Parma, your visit will be nothing short of amazing.

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12 Best Things to do in Parma
12 Best Things to do in Parma