San Marino Travel Guide
It may be one of the tiniest states in all of Europe, but San Marino’s staying power makes it the oldest republic in the world and the darling of the Formula One racing tour, even if it is held in Imola in neighboring Italy. When you’re this small, name recognition is everything, and it appears to work—on some days during the summer, this little state receives as many tourists as it has inhabitants. Although largely indistinguishable from its big brother Italy, San Marino does have its own administration, proud history and thus a unique feel made all the more endearing by the friendliness of the locals.
‘If it is wet, drink it’ would no doubt make a fitting slogan for little San Marino, whose sparse population likes nothing better than offering visitors a warm welcome and a cold drink. Beer and wine are especially popular, along with a lemon-based spirit. For the few visitors that do stay overnight, prices are higher than in Italy, which is just a few kilometers down the road. Food-wise, San Marino is typically Italian, serving pastas, pizza and the type of fare synonymous with the southern Mediterranean.
When to Go
San Marino has decidedly Italian weather.
Hot, sunny and generally pleasant summers and fine spring weather are the norm, with showers concentrated in the autumn and winter. Between November and February, the temperature drops considerably and is generally cool but not cold.
Getting There & Away
It may be part of the developed world, but San Marino’s transport infrastructure would leave you thinking otherwise. Roads are scarce; cars even more so. There are no direct air links to the country and similarly no train network, meaning that all traffic is via Italy, with the nearest major airports being Rimini, Ancona and Bologna. Most visitors get here on the number 72 bus from nearby Rimini, a regular service at very little cost.
Health & Safety
Given its stature and geographical location, San Marino is unsurprisingly free of turmoil, which thus makes it one of the safest countries in Europe, if not the world. Having escaped invasion for so long, it would take an enormous stroke of bad luck for things to go array nowadays. Crime is low, but given the huge numbers of tourists that come in the summer, it is always wise to keep an eye on your camera and wallet.
Three days in San Marino
One day in Borgo Maggiore
One day in Domagagno
One day in Serravalle
San Marino Town: the capital is by far the most interesting place for tourists, perched on a hill encircled by an old city wall and dominated by three iconic towers.
Borgo Maggiore: when you’ve seen the capital, catch the scenic cable railway to this nearby town in the hills, it’s a wonderfully touristy outing!
Domagagno: a town surrounding the highest point in San Marino, Mount Titano, with great views of the nearby Adriatic coastline. In fact you can see the entire principality from here.
Serravalle: the largest town in San Marino borders the Apennines Mountains and has about 10,000 inhabitants.
Sightseeing: with great views, its picturesque hilly landscape and quaint old city walls and towers, San Marino Town is quite rightly a haven for tourists.
Shopping: this tax-free city-state is a good place to buy consumer goods at lower prices than in neighboring Italy. Get your credit cards ready, they’re waiting for you.
Walking: the lack of cars and indeed most forms of transport mean you’ll be forced to travel under your own steam, which is ideal given the fantastic scenery.