The third smallest state in Europe
Visiting San Marino now a reality; one of the smallest country in Europe within the Italian Peninsula, and absolutely surrounded by this. This is again a two for the price of one trip, meaning travelling to a city not been before but also completing another country of the list. This is getting more complicated lately to get into new countries if doing merely over the weekends, I know that’s crazy, but it is getting easier with the numerous new flight routes and airlines flying all over Europe hence returning to any country. No matter if already been before it does have a bright side, this is the hundreds other cities and places to go within each. I am not the type of person who travels just to tick off the list and say hey! I’ve been there. No, quite the opposite, I like to explore as much as possible, return to where I like the most and visit other places and cities constantly in my desire for being everywhere in the world in my lifetime.
Unlucky for us, the day was very cloudy and while back in Rimini from where we came was a good visibility, it was not the case here in the City of San Marino. The capital is located at the top of Mount Titano, and the clouds were so low that we had continuous thick fog for the whole day. What could have been great pictures with great views even as far as the Adriatic Sea, were only of a few meters ahead of us, with silhouettes of buildings and walls. Nevertheless, it was only after we returned back from the trip and checked the pictures when I started to appreciate these and actually liked them more than I thought. It is definitely another style of view, as beautiful as if it would have been a clear day. Still that’s not an excuse, I have to return for sure.
The capital city is so small with so many levels up and down that the only way to visit is by walking. Just be prepared that you will need to go up and down hills and stairs constantly. Some nice and comfortable footwear would be really appreciated if I may suggest.
There is absolutely no need to stay here overnight. First because after few hours you will have seen everything; secondly and most important, the prices. Hotels are by far much more expensive than in nearby Rimini, and the choice is different; here are mostly upper-class orientated, luxurious boutique style.
With regards to food, prices are very reasonable though, but you will need to look around. some restaurants are overpriced, others are really good. Pizza and pasta is always an excellent choice. However the best deal is the traditional “apericena”, which are the happy hour places where you order a cocktail and get a free food buffet with it. Or course we are not talking in just ordering a coke or the likes and get all the goodies with it, no, we are talking in a price range between 10 to 14 Euros the common, with a nice cocktail. The only down-side in all of this are the hours, the apericena is generally starting from around 17.00pm onwards, making it great for dinner time not for lunch.
Trying to find San Marino Euro coins? Well, they sell them in every souvenir shop, but they are very expensive. In a more feasible way, you can get a set with coins of different years which misses the 2 Euro and the 20 cents coins. Speaking to the shop assistant, they might be kind to you and give you the 2 Euro for the value of 2 Euros. Ask if they could please find one for you. As for the 20 cents unfortunately if you want to complete the collection you will need to buy it online. With a set found this way you will save lots of money, but of course, if you are a truly coin collector, disregard any of this, surely you will buy a shiny new set.
For more information about the city’s history, check Wikipedia and Wikitravel. San Marino’s currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in City of San Marino
- The Three Towers Located on three peaks of Mount Titano, you will get incredible views of the city and beyond, even the Adriatic Sea.
-Guaita Tower The oldest of the three, from the 11th Century.
-Cesta Tower From the 13th century, on the highest of Monte Titano’s summits.
-Montale Tower The smallest, from the 14th Century.
- Mount Titano Cable Car Connecting Borgo Maggiore down below and the City of San Marino right above the mountain.
- Basilica di San Marino Located by the northeastern part of the city, dating from 1836. It was designed in Neoclassical style, with a porch of eight Corinthian columns, similar to the Portico Dii Consentes in the Roman Forum of Rome.
- Church of Saint Peter Located on the right hand side of the Basilica di San Marino, adjacent each other. Originally built in 600AD, the current structure is from 1689.
- Piazza del Titano Is the main and most representative square of the city.
- Palazzo Pubblico The seat of the Republic’s main institutional and administrative bodies.
- Piazza Garibaldi Another of the major thoroughfares, at different levels since the street takes a turn as it heads up the hill.
- Monastery of Santa Clara Of recent construction, dating merely from 1969.
- Panoramic view from Murata One of the sections of the former castle, located at an advantage higher point.
San Marino can be accessed by 3 nearby airports in Italian soil. Ancona and Bologna both at almost the same distance of around 130 km away, and Rimini just 16 km away. The drive through from any of the airports is straightforward, with also public buses linking all these cities in between. There is no need for renting a car if you don’t drive and want to get here. Transports are great, efficient and very affordable.
The way to access the city centre if you are on public transportation is via the cable car, the base station is Borgo Maggiore. Once in the old city, there is no public transportation due to the steep hills everywhere and tiny streets. Almost every street is pedestrian, and distances very small.
A tiny country, yet one of the richest small nations. This is generally the place where modest is hard to find, so expect a nice selection of up-scale properties, luxurious mostly 5* small boutique hotels. Prices are in general very high, but cannot give you any first hand experience as the base was at Rimini. It worked great not only in terms of accommodation, but also in the much bigger choice of restaurants and bars to go out a night other than being kind of trapped in small San Marino City.
The usual, having a look at some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, LateRooms or Ebookers is the best way to start. Then, if your budget is still not met, there is a good selection of properties through airb&b and the likes of course.