The Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy stretches from the tips of the Alpine mountains all the way to the micro state of San Marino. Rich in its renaissance architecture, each city has its own splendours that deserve to be discovered. Just over two years ago, I spent six says wandering such sites. In that short time, I managed to explore Bologna, Rimini, Ravenna and San Marino. Each of these had been on my bucket list for a very long time, so imagine my excitement when I ticked them off. It was a tiring holiday with lots of ambition and one that could not have been completed if I didn’t have a hub to travel to and from. And for that, I picked Rimini and here’s why…
Easy access to Bologna Airport
I don’t drive. Sorry, I just can’t. I’m hoping to learn later this year but until then my travel is truly dictated by planes, trains, buses and my feet. As such, I’m a clinical planner and constantly ask myself: How will I get there? What time are the buses? Will that leave me enough time for X? Sometimes, this can be quite exhausting but trust me it certainly pays off.
To explore Emilia-Romagna, I knew I’d have to touch down in Bologna Airport. Now, you’d think the obvious choice would be to jump into a taxi and head to Bologna but not for me. I landed quite late in the evening (around 10pm) and had a 90 minute wait for my transfer to Rimini. Lots of airport websites work differently but most of them will have information on ‘getting to and from’ this is where I head to first. If the transport options are erratic, then I will normally curtail my plans. In my experience, Italian airports have always been well-serviced, so this hasn’t been a problem yet. For Rimini, I booked my coach with Shuttle Italy Airport. Their site is recommended on Bologna Airport’s own website. I booked my transfer when I booked my flights (I would always recommend doing this). I think the ticket cost me £15 for the 90 minute bus journey. I arrived at Rimini central train station in the early hours of the morning, only then did I jump into a taxi and go to my hotel.
Affordable and charming accommodation
Now, affordable accommodation may not always be the case. I found the prices accessible because I visited Rimini out of the main tourist season. I opted to go in May instead of the summer months. It might for my British bod that the weather was still warm but the hotel prices were at rock bottom prices. For my budget, I was able to nab a hotel with a swimming pool and a room with a balcony (when I visit Italy I love nothing more than grabbing a pizza and a bottle of wine and taking in those views on a balcony). When planning a trip, tourist seasons are always something to consider. School holidays and the sunny seasons will always shoot prices up but doing your research means you’ll be able to save some coppers!
Good public transport links to the rest of Emilia-Romagna
Rimini’s transport network was the main reason I was drawn to the city if I’m honest. I’ve already discussed why the transfer from Bologna airport to Rimini made sense but there are other reasons too. Firstly, Rimini itself is a highly walkable city. You won’t find yourself hopping one and off buses. Instead, you can use your feet and take in the city’s sites for yourself. Its walkability means you can get to the train station and bus depots without a hitch.
When I went, I knew I wanted to tick Ravenna and San Marino off my Italian bucket list, so that’s what I did.
From Rimini, I booked a train to Ravenna. Depending on your budget, there are a couple of options the slower trains are cheaper while the faster trains are naturally more expensive. I use TrenItalia to book all of my trains. You don’t need to book train tickets in advance on the website. You can just turn up on the day and buy the ticket from the ticket booth (I think I paid around 10 euros for a return trip). Although, it’s worth researching your trains a few days before you intend to travel and turn up early when you book your ticket as Italian trains do sell out.
San Marino is a little tricker to get to via public transport. There aren’t any options (that I could find from Bologna). However, Rimini does provide a bus service. I booked with Bonelli. Here, pre-booking wasn’t an option. To ensure my place on a bus at a reasonable time, I turned up at the bus stop early and queued. I’m really glad I do too, as there wasn’t enough room for everyone on the bus, so a few people had to wait for the next one. The trip costs 10 euros return and takes about an hour. For me, visiting San Marino is a must and I’d recommend hopping on this bus early on during your trip, otherwise you may be disappointed.
Rimini’s Roman ruins and other attractions
Rimini itself has so much to offer and I’ll write a post about it’s own attractions and delights very soon. In a nutshell, Rimini is littered with Roman ruins. They fill the streets and when you walk from one to the next, you’ll find bits of rubble cordoned off. There are larger Roman ruins such as the Augustus Arch and the Tiberius Bridge. If you’re not as into your history as I am, then there’s more to Rimini then its ancestors.
It’s by the sea!
I’m not sure my sub-heading needs further elaboration, but I’ll give it a go! Rimini’s beaches are renowned for their beauty. They stretch for more than 15km and pull in thousands of tourists each year. And, after a busy day taking in the sites, there is nothing more relaxing than a dip in the sea and a drink on the beach.
So there you have it, my reasons why you should consider Rimini as a travel hub for a trip to Emilia-Romagna.
Thanks for reading!