San Marino travel information, including maps of San Marino, food, drink and where to stay in San Marino plus the best time to travel in San Marino
The Most Serene Republic of San Marino might be it’s official name, but serene it aint. In summer in particular, the medieval heart of the capital city, also called San Marino, is overrun with tourists and hawkers trying to cash in on the country's status as Europe’s third-smallest state and, so they say, the world’s oldest republic. Even the border guards are at it – for €5, they’ll grace your passport with an official stamp.
Tacky souvenirs aside, the pedestrianised streets of the capital, with their picturesque arches and ramparts, are fun to explore and because the city is perched on the slopes of Mount Titano, the views are magnificent. Outside the capital, San Marino’s other towns and villages are less touristy and set against a backdrop of pretty woods, streams and lakes. San Marino has a lot to offer. Just don’t visit in high season.
Escape the crush on the funicular running between San Marino city and its neighbour, Borgo Maggiore. Instead take a 20-minute gentle uphill stroll along the Costa dell’Arnella footpath. This evocative stone pathway linking the two towns is lined with trees, so is shaded in summer.
San Marino has a Mediterranean climate with warm summers moderated by sea breezes. However, in summer the streets are clogged with visitors, especially on the weekends.
In winter, the republic’s high altitude (it is built on the Apennine range) ensures it sees a sprinkling of snow.
Visit on 9 September and you will be treated to a crossbow tournament held to celebrate the anniversary of the republic’s foundation. The Mille Miglia classic car rally from Brescia to Rome usually goes through San Marino in mid-May.
The nearest international airports are in Italy: Rimini (RMI) is 27km away, Bologna (BLQ) is 125km away.
There’s no internal rail system and local bus services are limited. It is worth noting, if you’re staying in a Sammarinese hotel, you are entitled to a discount on local bus fares (though not on the crossborder service to Rimini, Italy). Cars are banned in the historic centre of the capital.
For a small republic San Marino has plenty of accommodation. You’ll find everything from B&Bs to 4* hotels, self-serviced apartments and bungalows to camping sites. Consider also staying in nearby Rimini, which tends to be slightly cheaper.
In San Marino’s restaurants you’ll find the robust fare typical of the Emilia-Romagna region: Parmesan cheese, Parma ham, balsamic vinegar and, of course, spaghetti alla Bolognese. The Sammarinese speciality, Mistra liqueur, is well worth a glug.
As with all places that attract tourists, watch out for pickpockets.