The tiny country of San Marino is an independent nation which is entirely surrounded by Italy. Its location is perfect, neatly placed in the mountains near the Adriatic Sea. As Europe’s third smallest nation and the fifth smallest country in the world, it’s quite unique. But why should you visit San Marino?
With a total of 61 square km, San Marino claims to be the oldest surviving sovereign state in the world, also one of the wealthiest in terms of GDP per capita. Due to its size, you can experience the highlights and have time to eat a delicious meal on a single day trip.
You can look forward to a labyrinth of cobble-stoned medieval streets, small cafes, shops and strategically placed outdoor restaurants with epic views. From the piazzas to the guard towers, the stunning panoramas will have you mesmerised. Here are six more reasons why you should visit San Marino.
1. Easy to Reach from Central Italian Cities
You can visit San Marino on a day trip or a weekend away. It’s an easy drive from Italian cities like the very popular seaside city of Rimini (35 mins) Bologna (1.5 hrs) or Florence (2.5 hours). You can rent a cheap car through Skyscanner or take a bus to visit San Marino.
Buses from Rimini to San Marino city centre run frequently throughout the day. The cost is €5 each way per person.
2. The Views
With huge mountain peaks, you’ll often find stunning views. These were some of the best panoramas we’ve seen in all of Europe.
The journey to the top of Monte Titano, standing more than 700 metres above sea level will reward you with incredible views of rolling hills, age-old houses and rooftops and of course, the Adriatic sea.
3. Collect a pretty passport stamp
There is no official border to enter San Marino from Italy, which means you won’t get a stamp in your passport. If you like keeping a record of your travels, you can stop by the tourist information centre and pay 5 euro for the prettiest passport stamp ever.
This may sound like a novelty thing to do, however, San Marino is a fully independent country and United Nations member. They have the right to stamp passports and issue visas at their own discretion, which means having the stamp in your passport shouldn’t cause you any problems at all in the future.
Our Visa for San Marino
4. Piazza della Liberta
This is San Marino’s most popular public square. From here, you can enjoy the views of the countryside, watch the changing of the guard and see the Palazzo Pubblico, San Marino’s town hall and its most iconic building.
Us in San Marino
5. Climb the Towers
There are three towers and lengths of fortress walls that can be climbed and explored. They offer incredible views and the entry ticket to visit just one tower is 3 euro or 5 euro to visit all three.
This is the oldest and the largest of the three towers. Built on Monte Titano in the 11th century, Castello della Guaita is even depicted on the San Marino flag. The tower was briefly used as a prison all those years ago.
You can climb this tower and visit the interesting museum with weapons on display from the medieval times to the present day.
This is the third tower. We decided not to visit this one as we heard the surrounding views from the other two towers were much better.
6. The Food
The 6th reason why you should visit San Marino is because the food is delicious. Being located close to the Adriatic sea, you can expect some fresh seafood from this region. We ate some magnificent seafood carpaccio and fresh seafood pasta dishes at a local restaurant which we highly recommend.
Here are the details if you’d like a meal to remember – Restorante Il Piccolo – Address: Via del Serrone, 15/17, 47890 Città di San Marino, San Marino.
You can also expect flavours from neighbouring regions mixed with local ingredients and fresh herbs. Also look out for rabbit stew, faggioli con le cotiche (bean and bacon soup), and torta tre monti (chocolate and hazelnut layer cake) for dessert.
Fresh ravioli with seabass and zucchini, pesto sauce.
We’d happily return to San Marino to discover a little more of the culture and more of its fantastic food. I’d recommend spending at least one night here and enjoying it in the evening after the crowds have gone home.
In the morning, before the day tours arrive would be a great opportunity to capture the best photos and have the place all to yourself too.
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Where to stay in Rimini
Budget Hotel – Hotel Majorca is a great hotel for the price. Excellent location, only 100m from the beach, free WIFI and a great breakfast.
Mid- Range Hotel – A wonderful choice for your stay in Rimini. Palazzo Galletti Abbiosi has it all. It’s in a fantastic location, only 400 m from the train station. This property offers elegant rooms with free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and satellite TV.
Top-End Hotel – This is a very popular choice for visitors who want to enjoy Rimini in style. Hotel Villa Paola has a heated outdoor pool, free WIFI and is located only 30m from the beaches of Torre Pedrera. Each air-conditioned room features a balcony and is individually decorated in a modern design.
Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 187 countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.