Ancient, beautiful and proud, with a fascinating history, welcome to the third smallest country in Europe, San Marino. Covering an area of only 61 square kilometers and surrounded by Italy, this Republic has its own laws and Government. Originally built as a fortress on top of Mount Titano, San Marino has incredible panoramic views over Italy from the castles and historic buildings. Travelers have plenty to entertain themselves with despite San Marino’s diminutive size (still, larger than Vatican City and Monaco). Markets, art and craft shops, outdoor cafes, museums and art galleries are in abundance in this charming country.
SAN MARINO TOP 5 THINGS TO DO
Rocca Guaita and Torre Cesta
Maybe the most acknowledged of all San Marino’s attractions are the two fortresses, Rocca Guaita and Torre cesta, situated at the highest point of Mount Titano. The two towers are a part of the official flag of San Marino. Visitors can take a tour of both the magnificent towers and bask in the beauty of the medieval era. The older of the two is Rocca Guaita dating back to the 13th century. The top offers wonderful views stretching from the nearby Apennine Mountains to the Dalmatian Coast.
Basilica di San Marino
The Basilica di San Marino was constructed from the remains of a Roman Church that dated back to the 4th century. The Basilica is famous as it has the bones of San Marino’s patron saint, Saint Marinus, stored in an urn. It also features a statue of the Saint on a high altar. The seven alters of the Basilica are beautifully adorned, visitors should take the time to explore the exquisite paintings of the Basilica while here.
Torre del Montale
The third tower on the top of Mount Titano, followed by Rocca Guaita and Torre Cesta, is Torre del Montale. You can reach Torre del Montale by taking a little walk from Rocca Guaita and Torre Cesta. Unfortunately this tower is not open to the public, but despite this you can still photograph the spectacular and picturesque panoramas of San Marino while en route.
The University of the Republic of San Marino is in the town of Montegiardino. It’s believed to be the most beautiful town in San Marino and has a peaceful and ‘bookish’ ambience, common in most small university towns throughout Europe. The town is drenched in history and has some excellent cafes and food joints to keep the students (and tourists) happy.
San Marino Museums
The Museums in San Marino are impressive, and one or two are rather unusual, so if you are an exhibition enthusiast, San Marino’s will keep you entertained for at least a day. Other than the National Museum, there are many other quirky niche museums to explore. For example the Museum of Torture has an array of torture devices on display: a bit gruesome but entertaining.
Read more: Top 10 Things To Do In San Marino
Run with the bulls in Spain, do a husky safari in Finland or take a dip in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon. Enjoy browsing our top 25 Europe Travel Adventures (that we plan on doing!) and be inspired to tick off a few yourself.
SAN MARINO TOP 3 FESTIVALS
Tourists who have a great affection for history must visit San Marino in July to experience this Medieval inspired festival. Locals don medieval costumes and participate in various events to revive the past for a day; the most famous event at this festival is the crossbow competition. Cultural performances, traditional food and wine are some other highlights.
San Marino Day
Every year on September 3 is the celebration of San Marino’s Saints and the anniversary of the Republic. The recitation of “Bando” signifies the start of the celebration. Visitors get a chance to witness a range of activities, including a crossbow competition. The day comes to an end with a firework display and is much loved by locals and tourists.
The most awaited festival on the San Marino calendar, like most European countries. Celebrating Christmas in San Marino is a majestic, fairytale experience with every every single street and shop front decorated. The San Marino Christmas market opens from the 1st of December until the 6th January and here you can buy local festive foods and handicrafts.
SAN MARINO BASICS
Language: The official languages of San Marino are Italian and the Sammarinese dialect. English is also widely spoken as many people who live in San Marino are fluent in English due to the tourism industry.
Visa: San Marino is not a member of the European Union but it does share an open border with Italy; therefore Schengen Visa rules should be followed. Travelers planning to stay for more than ten days in San Marino must attain a travel permit while here. Use these free online visa checker and calculator tools so you know if a visa for San Marino is required, which will depend on the country you are from, and if so, how long it will take to process your visa and the cost.
Electricity: In San Marino the standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. Buy a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each new country you visit.
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The quality and freshness of the food here is mouth-watering, locals are proud of their traditional cuisine and for good reason.
Here are a few of the most delicious, traditional San Marino dishes that you must try;
Piadina or Piada: This is a flat bread made of white flour, olive oil, salt, and water. The bread traditionally gets cooked on a terracotta dish however these days terracotta dishes have been replaced by electric girdles and flat pans. Fill your Piadina like you would a sandwich, in San marino it’ll get stuffed with cream cheese, meats and vegetables.
Passatelli: The most famous pasta served in San Marino is Passatelli. Breadcrumbs, eggs, nutmeg and parmesan cheese are the primary ingredients of this pasta. The locals like to have it with chicken broth. This unique and delectable dish is a must try when in San Marino.
Strozzapreti: This is a dried pasta belonging to the Romagna region of Marche. It’s made out of simple ingredients and then stretched with hand, flattened and then cut into small strips. The pasta is smothered in a creamy sauce like ragu.
Nidi di Rondine: Nidi di Rondine means ‘swallows nest’ and is a stuffed pasta dish. The nests are stuffed with bechamel sauce and topped with cooked ham and fontina cheese. This delectable dish has a looks almost too fantastic to eat but rest assured you will eat it.
Torta Tre Monti: The dish is also called the San Marino cake and is a popular dessert among San Marino natives. Circular wafers consisting of waffles are stuffed with cocoa, cream and hazelnuts. All these are stacked in five layers and finished with chocolate fondant.
Pizza: World famous and a main staple of most peoples diets… Pizza! Loved all around the world, pizza originated in Italy and tomato sauce was incorporated in a Pizza for the first time in Naples. This legendary combination of dough, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil is perhaps every Italian’s first love.
Gelato: Gelato is a world famous dessert today, with Gelato shops all over the world selling Italian “ice-cream”. The best gelato is perhaps the simplest, the gelato that’s not brightly colored and can’t me made into a tall tower resembling the leaning tower of Pisa. Go with simple, traditional flavors when trying Gelato in San Marino.
San Marino is a reasonably affordable place to visit.
Finding excellent accommodation in San Marino is super easy because there’s so many options whatever your budget. Hostels and dormitories make travel to San Marino affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget.
Whether you’re a backpacker, flash-packer or a luxury vacationer, San Marino will not disappoint you. A basic hotel room in San Marino can cost less than 100 euros. If you’re looking for accommodation that includes luxury amenities and comforts then there will be endless options to choose from. Whatever month you choose to visit San Marino, it’s wise to book your accommodation in advance. Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best places to stay have been snapped up already. San Marino is an extremely popular year-round tourist destination.
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in San Marino. However, if you are backpacking in San Marino or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in San Marino very affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies where ever you go.
BEST TIME TO VISIT SAN MARINO
The best time to visit San Marino is in May and June or September and October when the weather is reliably sunny. It is also less crowded at these times than the summer months of July and August which are high season and can be very hot, more expensive and extremely crowded, especially during the afternoons.
SAN MARINO TRAVEL BUDGET
San Marino is generally an affordable destination for travelers on all budgets. The cost of your trip to San Marino really depends on the level of comfort you want. If you are backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating fast food then budget between 50 to 100 euros per day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between 100 to 250 euros per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants then budget at least 250 to 500+ euros per day.
- Budget: €35-€60
- Mid-range: €60-€150
- Splurge: €150-€500+
Meal For One
- Budget: €10.00-€30
- Mid-range: €30-€50
- Splurge: €50-€100+
IS SAN MARINO SAFE FOR FEMALE TRAVELERS?
Safety does not need to be a huge concern for women travelers in San Marino which is considered a generally very safe country to visit. As with any country you visit, always be extra careful when walking alone or at night. Based on many years of travel in Europe I would never leave home without insurance and recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks before your San Marino trip.
SAN MARINO VISA CHECKER
SAN MARINO FLIGHT DEALS
SAN MARINO TOURS & ACTIVITIES
Packing for a trip to San Marino, like most other places in Europe, is a breeze.
You really don’t need as much travel gear as you may think for a trip to San Marino. That said, the gear you do bring on your trip should be the very best option available for you and that doesn’t always mean the most expensive. Jetset Bunnies around the globe are always discovering the latest and the greatest in travel gear for women and this is where we share our awesome finds with you. Browse our top picks of travel accessories, luggage, clothing, cosmetics, shoes and tech. Or hop over to Bunny Bling … YOU SAN MARINO JETSETTER!
If you’re visiting San Marino during the warmer months it will be much easier to travel light. Pack mainly lightweight and breathable clothing but still be prepared for cold mornings and evenings depending on the month you visit. You’ll need to wrap up warm between November and February. So pack a warm sweater, waterproof coat, gloves, scarves and a wooly hat if you’re traveling during winter.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to San Marino include, most importantly, a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Read our related blog post with advice on how to choose the best backpacks for women travelers. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.
Last but not least and perhaps the most fun part of the trip planning journey is packing!
If you’ve found your San Marino trip inspiration, figured out the trip practicalities (like, y’know, how to get there) and got the travel gear it’s time to stuff it all in a bag and go right? Well, no, hold your horses, you see there’s an art to packing which we have (almost, kinda, nearly) perfected.
Hop to our Travel Packing Tips for all of the latest on this topic.