Going to San Marino is like entering the pages of a fairy tale, in every sense. The country has a total area of a little over 61 square kilometers and not a lot of hostels, but an overall population of 32,000 people. It prides itself in being the oldest standing constitutional republic of the world, with the foundations of the city dating back to the 3rd century. The enclaved microstate that borders with Italy on each side is considered one of the world's wealthiest states. Accordingly, what you find here is a well taken care of and almost dreamlike town-sized settlement that is perched on the top of a bigger hill. Towering above the Italian countryside, the country does not seem much different to the rest of Italy, but what still makes it different is that it definitely has a majestic and superior air to it.
The most striking sight of San Marino that you will notice from far away already is the castle-like city walls with beautiful watch towers located on strategical corners of the rocky hilltop. With the walls surrounding the historic centre, the city could be the perfect setting for any of your imagined medieval knight and princess stories. Once you step inside the walls of the old city, you will find something of interest on almost every corner. Although space is limited, San Marinians still manage to make good use of it. There is the Piazza della Libertá, an atmospheric Italian-style town square, where, if you are lucky, you might see the San Marinian military practising. And the Palazzo Pubblico, an impressive palace that houses the local parliament. And the Basilica del Santo Marino, an important church with marvellous pieces of art and the local history museum called Museo di Stato, inside which you can learn about the unique past of this city-state.
The rest of the town centre is covered with great shops where you can do your souvenir shopping tax-free. Moreover, the very best aspect of San Marino is definitely the views it offers from almost every corner of the city. At some places steep and rocky, at others covered in greenery, from some of the watch towers, you will have 360 degrees uninterrupted panorama at your feet.
Hostels in San Marino may be more expensive than those you would find in nearby Italian towns like Rimini. This is mostly because there are not many accommodation facilities in the country yet. There are regular buses back to Rimini, which is only a little bit over 10 kilometers away. So an alternative option is to spend the day discovering San Marino and then head back to one of Rimini's hostels for the night. Although there are some cute and atmospheric cafes and restaurants on the main square, the night life is negligible.
On the other hand though, on a clear night, it can be worth staying for the views, not only above the countryside, but above the coastline that is only at an arm's length from here. Sitting on one of the lower walls near the centre, you can not only marvel at the illuminated scenery, but at the same time observe the unique life of a country where almost everybody knows each other.
Hi, I'm JudyM,
the Hostelz.com local expert for San Marino hostels. Welcome.