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Things to do in San Marino on a day trip from Bologna

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Okay, let’s face it: San Marino is not exactly a popular destination for travellers. It is far less discovered than the major Italian hotspots that you can find nearby. It also probably isn’t on your list because it is small and harder to get to – but it should be! This mountainous country is proud of its rich historic heritage, culture and centuries-old architecture. Come and see for yourself: this small city-state has numerous sites (for you) to explore. Not sure where to start? Here is our list of the best things to do in San Marino.

things to do in San Marino

Blink your eyes, and you will miss this tiny country. That is if you are one of those lucky people who know where it is.


Is San Marino worth visiting?

San Marino is worth visiting because it is one of the gems of southern Europe. This mountainous microstate on the slopes of Monte Titano has a beautiful walled old town and breathtaking views. Today visiting San Marino is one of the best day trips from Rimini and Bologna.


Why is San Marino famous?

San Marino is world-famous for many things – UNESCO status, medieval architecture and three castles. It is the world’s oldest surviving republic, and tourism dominates the economy. Its stamps and coins are valuable for collectors due to their limited production. It also has friendly locals and delicious food.

San Marino day trip

This tiny state is often overshadowed by its well-known neighbouring country, Italy. But its gorgeous capital makes it well worth a visit.


San Marino facts

  • The official name of this country is the Most Serene Republic of San Marino.
  • it’s the oldest surviving republic in the world, founded on 3 September 301.
  • it’s the fifth smallest country in the world. It is Europe’s third smallest state after the Vatican and Monaco. This tiny state has a total area of 61 km² (24 mi²) and is only a little bigger than Manhattan.
  • it’s one of the least visited countries in Europe.
  • You probably do not know, but it’s only one of three countries in the world entirely surrounded by another country.
  • Around 33 700 locals call this country their home. They are not Italians but call themselves Sammarinese.
  • Even though this country is not part of the European Union, it uses the Euro as its currency.
  • This country has never lost an invasion over centuries. It remained neutral during both world wars.
  • Local stamps and coins are very valuable for collectors because hardly any of their coins make it to other countries. The coins are hard to find even in the country itself.


How to get to San Marino

The easiest way to here is by car. Alternatively, you can use public transport, but there is no direct connection from Bologna.

If you want to visit San Marino from Bologna, you need first travel to Rimini. Direct trains take approximately one hour. After that, catch the bus from Rimini to San Marino. It departs from Hotel Napoleon, which is only about 3 minute’s walk away from Rimini train station.

how to get to san marino

Do not forget to buy a bus ticket from the local Tabaccheria, which you can find just next to Burger King near Rimini train station.


Best things to do in San Marino

There are many attractions – from exploring castles to enjoying the cosy restaurants and cafes. We have chosen 15 places that would be fun to visit, at least ones in a lifetime.


1. Liberty Square 

things to do in San Marino - Liberty Square

One of the first places most tourists head to is Liberty Square, and there is a reason for that. Liberty Square, or the Piazza della Liberta as the locals call it, is the main square in the city. This large square was once the epicentre of political life. Today it is a popular meeting place for both locals and tourists alike. It is also a popular place for concerts and fairs.

You are quite right to think that Liberty Square overlooks some of the most important buildings in the city. You can find here the town hall and the official government building. In the centre is a marble statue of the Liberty of San Marino. Beautiful stone houses are home to restaurants, cafes and luxury guesthouses.

Finding Liberty Square is one of the best things because this large square offers beautiful views of the mountains of the republic. Moreover, if you visit this country in summer, you can watch the changing of the guards at this square. This ceremony happens several times a day between June and mid-September.


2. Palazzo Pubblico 

places to visit in San Marino - Palazzo Pubblico

Many tourists turn back once they explore Liberty Square, but it is worth staying a little longer. At one end of the square is Palazzo Pubblicoone of the finest buildings. This beautiful building with three gothic arches is the seat of the highest institutions in the country. This neo-Gothic town hall has a similar design to the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence but is much smaller. Palazzo Pubblico, with a clock tower on the left side of the palace, dates back to the 19th century.

things to do in San Marino - Palazzo Pubblico

Finding Palazzo Pubblico is one of the best things to do in San Marino because you can visit it when the council is not working. Once inside, see the coats of arms and the letter from Abraham Lincoln to San Marino honouring the country. Also, find the Republic’s Coat of Arms from the 17th century, which was once on the façade of the previous building.

the Apparition of Saint Marino, Palazzo Pubblico..

The highlight of the palace is undoubtedly the Council Hall, which you can find on the top floor. It houses a large wall painting the Apparition of Saint Marino to his people.



Entry fee to the Palazzo Pubblico is a part of the museum pass ticket. There are a few tickets you can choose from:

  • a ticket valid for admission to two museums of your choice for Є6, as of May 2024
  • a combined museum pass ticket for Є10 allows you to visit seven museums. You can choose First Tower, Second Tower, Public Palace (if open), State Museum, San Francis Art Gallery, National Gallery and Museum of Stamps and Coins.
  • If you spend a night in this country, you can get TUTTOSANMARINO CARD that offers benefits and discounts. The multi-museum ticket to seven museums will cost you only Є8.


3. Get a San Marino Passport stamp

things to do in San Marino - Get a tourist stamp on your passport

Get a passport stamp from Europe’s microstate.


If you prefer something unique, consider getting a souvenir passport stamp. You should know that there is no passport control when visiting this country. Hence, you will need to go to the tourist office. You can find it in Piazza Garibaldi.

Getting a tourist stamp on your passport is one of the unique things to do in San Marino because you will get an actual stamp on your passport. After that, they will add an inky stamp over the top. Moreover, they will also tell you a fascinating story about a stamp for the Most Serene Republic of San Marino. However, you should know there is a small fee of 5 euros (as of May 2024) for that.


4. Basilica of Saint Marinus

San Marino Basilica

We would also recommend that you check out San Marino Basilica because it is the main religious building in the country. This Catholic Church dates back to the beginning of the 19th century. It stands on the foundation of the previous Romanesque church on Piazza Domus Plebis.


things to do in San Marino - Basilica of Saint Marinus

The neoclassical Basilica of Saint Marinus has a long nave and side aisles with seven impressive altars. It has valuable statues and paintings, and the statue of Saint Marinus. One of the reasons why the locals and the tourists come here is that San Marino Basilica contains the urn with the Saint’s relics. Yes, that is right, the Basilica of Saint Marinus has the relics of the founder of the community of San Marino. He is also the patron saint of the country.

Because of that, visiting the Basilica of Saint Marinus is one of the best things to do in San Marino. You can see the urn with the bones of Saint Marinus on the high altar.



You can see a picture of the Basilica of Saint Marinus on the ten-cent Sammarinese euro coins.


5. Cava dei Balestrieri

things to do in San Marino - Cava dei Balestrieri

It is also worth checking the Cava dei Balestrieri, which you can find a stone’s throw from the cable car, near the city walls. The locals created this large hole in the last 20 years of the 19th century. They extracted the stone they needed for the restoration of the nearby Palazzo Pubblico. They also planned to build a new building here, but it never happened because of the Second World War and the bombings. Today you can see here the War Memorial.

Today finding Cava dei Balestrieri is one of the quirky things to do in San Marino because the locals use this space for traditional festivities and crossbow competitions. Every year the Cava hosts a festival and tournament on the occasion of the anniversary of the Holy Marino. This event occurs annually on September 3rd. You can see the teams in historical costumes and ancient weapons here.


Things to do in San Marino for the best views

If you find yourself here, explore the three towers. Not only fortresses are famous attractions in the country, but also national symbols. You can see these three towers on the country’s flag and coat of arms.

places to visit in San Marino

Climb up and explore the three fortification towers. All three castles are important to the locals because they represent the defence of freedom and liberty.


San Marino fortresses on Mount Titano are, together with the old town below, a part of UNESCO World Heritage. Because of that, visiting the three towers is one of the best things to do in San Marino.


6. Guaita tower

things to do in San Marino - Guaita Tower

Guaita Tower, surrounded by not one, but two circles of city walls.


As you already know, this small state had to protect its independence from foreign invaders in the past. That is why the locals built defensive walls with watchtowers and three fortresses on the peaks of Mount Titano. One of them is the Guaita Tower.

Exploring the Rocca Guaita Tower is one of the best things to do in San Marino because it is the most iconic of the three fortresses in the country. The Guaita Tower is also the largest and the most visited tower on the Monte Titano. Make sure you do not miss it, as it is one of the best attractions.

Guaita Tower and it circle walls


About the First Tower

You probably do not know, but the locals call Rocca Guaita Prima Torre, or the first tower in English. You are right to think that the Guaita Tower is the oldest of the three towers. The locals built it in the 11th century without a foundation. They extended and modified it in later periods. Its present look comes from the second half of the 15th century.

things to do in San Marino - visit the UNESCO-listed Guaita Tower

The Rocca Guaita tower is the most famous of the three towers – you can find it in most pictures of this country.


It had the function of a watchtower rather than a castle at the beginning. Some rooms of the Guaita fortress served during its long life as a prison (until 1975). Do not miss a series of graffiti from the 19th century. The Roca Chapel, dedicated to Saint Barbara, is to the left of the entrance. Today the Guaita Tower also houses a museum.

Guaita Tower museum


The Guaita Tower also offers some of the best views of this micro state. It has breathtaking views from the top of the tower, and you can also walk along the ramparts.


what to do in San Marino

The view of the Cesta Tower from the Guaita Tower. If you want to see these views, use a metal ladder at the top of the first tower.



Find the Guaita Tower outside the historic city centre on Via Salita alla Rocca. You should know the opening times to the First Tower vary during the season. It is possible to see the First Tower from 8 am – 8 pm during the high season (mid-June to mid-September). Otherwise, the First Tower is open from 9 am until 5 pm (the last entry is 4.30 pm).

The entry fee to the First Tower is 4.50 euros. Alternatively, get a two museum pass for 6 euros or a combined museum pass for 10 euros. If you spend a night in this country, your TuttoSanMarino Card combined museum pass costs only 8 euros.

You will find numerous tourist kiosks with souvenirs, food and drinks.


7. Witches Pass

things to do in San Marino - the Passo delle Streghe

It is easy to see why many visitors put the Passo delle Streghe high on their bucket lists. This mountain path is a beautiful spot on top of Mount Titano. This pass carved in stone, connects the three towers and offers breathtaking views. Because of that, walking the Passo delle Streghe is one of the best things to do in San Marino.

things to do in San Marino - Witches Pass

The Passo delle Streghe offers gorgeous views and perfect photo opportunities.


Did you know The Passo delle Streghe means the Witches Pass in English? The legend has it that this winding path with stone steps is where the hanging of the witches took place. Others say the witches gathered here during the nights to practice their magic rituals during the Middle Ages.


8. Cesta Tower

places to visit in San Marino - Falesia second tower

The Second Tower, constructed on the remains of an older Roman fort. The Second Tower used to host a guardian. In the case of a threat, crossbowmen would be here. It also housed a prison cell.


You cannot take a trip here without seeing the Cesta Tower. The Cesta Tower, or the Second Tower or Fratta, as the locals call it, is another defensive fortress in the country. The locals built it in the 13the century on the highest peak of Mount Titano, 756 metres above sea level. Later, they restored it numerous times during the following centuries.

We also recommend you visit the Second Tower because it offers beautiful views of the First Tower. The Cesta Tower also houses a Museum of Ancient Weapons, dating to different periods (between the Middle Ages and modern times). The museum has about 700 weapons of various types, such as swords, knives and guns. Because of that, visiting the Cesta Tower is one of the best places to visit if you love beautiful views and weapons.


You can find the Cesta Tower in the middle of the panoramic route, which connects three castles. Unfortunately, at the moment, it is not possible to visit the Second Tower and its museum because of reconstruction. However, you can walk around and see beautiful views of the other two towers.


9. Montale Tower

Montale Tower

We also recommend you walk to the Montale Tower. Even though you cannot visit this tower inside, it is well worth a visit. The Montale Tower, or the Third Tower as the locals call it, is the smallest and the newest of them all. The locals built it in the 14th century on the lowest peak of Monte Titano.

This tower, similar to the other two towers, played a strategic role in the defence of the republic. In fact, it had a better position than the First and the Second Towers and was perfect for observation. The locals constructed the Montale Tower as a protection against the increasing power of the Malatesta family. They also used it as a prison – the only entrance to the tower is about seven metres from the ground level.



If you are short on time, you can skip this tower because it takes about 10 minutes to walk there through the woods.


10. San Marino funicular

things to do in San Marino - San Marino funicular

Are you not scared of heights and not nervous even when you get close to the edge of the cliff? Then, ride the funicular from the lower Borgo Maggiore to the upper station in the historical centre. Riding a funicular is one of the best things to do in San Marino for the best views. It is a scenic experience and allows you to reach the country’s highest point in about two minutes. From the funicular, you can see rolling green hills, the rooftops of Borgo Maggiore and the city on the rock.


The funicular leaves both stations in 15-minute intervals, beginning at 7.50 am. If you visit during the low season, the last cable car ride is at 7 pm. Hence, do not miss the last ride if you park your car near the lower station.

The funicular ride costs €3 one way or €5 return. There are discounts for groups and if you have a TuttoSanMarino card (€2.50/ €4 return).


Things to do in San Marino for museum lovers

Museum lovers looking for things to do have a few options. There are 12 museums and art galleries to choose from – showcasing history, art, and even coins. Visiting museums and galleries is also a perfect idea if the weather is not great.


11. State Museum 

things to do in San Marino - visit the State Museum

If you want to soak up the country’s rich past, visiting the State Museum. Why, you may ask? The State Museum collects archaeological finds and artistic works related to the history of this republic. It houses an impressive collection of almost five thousand pieces. Many were purchases and donations from all over the world by admirers of the republic.


The State Museum of San Marino

State Museum houses archaeological remains from the Neolithic period to the Middle Ages. It has early examples of their currency, Byzantine coins, 17th-century paintings, and even artefacts from ancient Egypt.



You can find the State Museum in the Palazzo Pergami Belluzzi on the small Piazza del Titano. Opening times of the museum are 9 am – 5 pm (from 2nd January – 7th June and 14th September – 31st December). You can visit the State Museum from 8 am – 8 pm from 8th June until 13th September 2024.


12. Stamps and Coins Museum

stamps and coins museum:

If you are interested in stamps and coins, exploring the Stamps and Coins Museum is one of the best things to do in San Marino. The Stamps and Coins Museum displays the historical materials used by San Marino Post from the 19th century. You can see beautiful postal stamps with sketches by the artist, medals celebrating the state, and the lira issued from 1972 to 2001. The museum also houses the rare first San Marino coins from the 19th and 20th centuries. It also has regular commemorative series and gold coins (sought after by collectors). There are also pieces related to Garibaldi, to whom the country owes its existence.

things to do in San Marino - Stamps and Coins Museum

Beautiful exhibition of coins, medals, and stamps offers a fascinating view of the country’s history.


When visiting the Stamps and Coins Museum, do not miss little moon rock samples and a flag of the republic that was on board Apollo 11. US President Richard Nixon donated them to this country in 1969 after the first moon landing. Since this moment, this country has proudly celebrated that small step for a man and a giant leap for mankind on coins, stamps and medals.

Stamp and Coins Museum - little moon rock samples and a flag of the republic that was on board Apollo 11.

San Marino on the Moon



You can find the Stamps and Coins Museum on Piazza Garibaldi. It is in the same building where is also a tourist information office. There is also a sales office where you can buy newly issued coins and stamps. The opening times of the Stamps and Coins Museum are from 9.30 am to 6.30 pm.


13. Saint Francis art gallery

things to do in San Marino - Saint Francis art gallery

If exploring museums and art galleries is your thing, then the Saint Francis art gallery should be on your bucket list. The Church of Saint Francis is one of the best places to visit because it is the oldest church in the country. But there are more reasons why you should explore this old church.

places to visit in San Marino - The Church of Saint Francis

The locals built the Church of Saint Francis in the 14th century and completely renovated the interior in the late 18th century.


The former convent adjoining the Saint Francis Church is worth visiting because it has a beautiful cloister. It also houses the Pinacoteca Museum with various artworks from this church and other Franciscan churches from the country.

The Saint Francis art gallery has an important collection of frescoes and paintings dating back to the 15th and 18th centuries. It has works of the leading Bolognese painter Guercino. The Saint Francis art gallery also houses a valuable collection of sacred furnishings which the monks used to wear in the past.



This small church with a convent is near Porta di San Francesco gate. The opening times of the Saint Francis art gallery vary during the year. The Saint Francis art gallery is usually open from 9 am until 5 pm (longer during the summer – 8 pm). The entrance fee to the Saint Francis art gallery is a part of the combined museum pass ticket. You can visit the Church of Saint Francis for free.


14. Torture Museum

The Museum of Torture -  see the methods of torture and execution.

Though you may not find it on the cover of a tourism magazine, the Museum of Torture is also one of the best places to visit. Popping into the Torture Museum is one of the best things to do in San Marino if you would like to see the methods of torture and execution.

Yes, you are right – you can find various instruments of torture, such as a stretch bench, servant sandals, a cage or a device tearing the breast when you visit this museum. You can see about 100 original objects of torture and a detailed explanation of how the locals used these instruments.


You can find the Torture Museum on Contrada San Francesco n°2. The opening times of the Torture Museum are Monday – Sunday, from 10 am until 7 pm. The entry fee to the Torture Museum costs € 8, but you will get a 50% discount with your TuttoSanMarino card.


15. Museum of Curiosities

If the weather is not great or you have spare time, you can visit another museum. The Museum of Curiosities is a small museum with three floors of oddities and inventions. This quirky museum houses about 100 objects which have achieved word records, such as the world’s longest fingernails and a 1700s German mousetrap. You can even see a trap for fleas or displays about the world’s tallest man and shortest woman.


You can find the Museum of Curiosities on Via Salita della Rocca 26. The entry fee to the Museum of Curiosities costs 8 euros, but you will get a 50% discount with your TuttoSanMarino Card. The opening times in the summer are 9.30 am – 9 pm and 10.30 – 6 pm in the winter.


Now you know what are the top attractions in San Marino!

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San Marino things to do



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Last updated: 06/05/2024

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