How to spend a day in San Marino

Visiting the mountainous micro state of San Marino has been on my travel bucket list of years. As someone who can’t drive, it had been too difficult to get to when I lived in Italy on public transport.  But years later when I started planning my trip to Emilia-Rogmana, I knew this had to be top of my must-see list. 

From Rimini, travelling to San Marino via public transport is easy. Simply jump on a Bonelli Bus Service, the time table changes throughout the seasons, so I’d advise checking the bus times ahead of schedule. As you can’t book in advance, I would recommend heading to the bus stop early, to ensure that you get a seat (it got very busy when we were there!). Return tickets cost €10, so make sure you have some cash to hand. Once on board, the journey will take about one hour. 

This bus service is used by locals, so many will be hopping on and off while they’re going about their day. Personally, I enjoyed watching the day-to-day to happen. 

The bus stops outside the gates leading into the city of San Marino. Despite being at the base of the city, the views are already breath-taking, so make sure you soak in those sites.

Once you’ve taken your fill of pics, head into the heart of the city. The cobbled stone streets are steep, but undeniably picturesque.

The first attraction you’ll come across in San Marino Liberty Square, which houses the Public Palace. To take a wonder around the Palace, you’ll need to buy an entry ticket. You can get a multi-museum entry ticket for €10.50. 

Tip: Head around the museums when the sun is at its strongest, you’ll be thankful of the break.

Palazzo Pubblico and Piazza della Liberta
Basilica di San Marino

After a quick tour around the public palace, you’ll want to start taking in San Marino’s main tourist attractions: the three towers of Guaita, Cesta and the Montale. 

I would recommend setting the day aside simply for the first two towers. They are the largest two towers (you can’t actually go inside the third tower). You can pay for entry into just the towers, but if you want to visit the other attractions then I think the mule-museum ticket is worth the extra 5 euros. 

The climb up to the towers was quite steep but it’s very doable if you’re wearing the right shoes. Keep plenty of water on you too, there will be market sellers with water for sale nearer the towers, but the price will be extortionate, so it’s always a good idea to carry your own, and don’t forget your suncream! 

Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to climb each tower and soak in the sites at the top of each one, your ticket is only valid for one visit, so make the most of your adventure. 

If you’re only there for a day, I’d recommend leaving in a little bit of time to shop, eat and drink. We had an almighty pranzo after we finished climbing the towers, and picked a bottle of spirit or two as a souvenir.  

Once you’ve had your fill of San Marino, you’ll need to queue for your bus ride home. Make sure you get there early as it’ll be just as busy as the morning rush. We grabbed ourselves a granita and cooled off while we waited, which gave us more time to soak in those views. 

Cost of the day:

  • A return bus ticket: €10
  • Multi-museum ticket: €10.50
  • Food (roughly): €25*
  • Total: €45.50
  • *You can spend as much or as little as you like on food and drinks, so don’t count this as an essential but more of a guide when you’re planning your own trip

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Thanks for reading!

Hope

Disclaimer: I took this trip in 2018, when there were no covid-19 restrictions on travel. 

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