San Marino is a tiny, landlocked country surrounded by Italy. It is situated on the slopes of Mount Titano with views of the Adriatic and is sandwiched between the Emilia Romagna and Marche regions of Italy. In this guide, we will share the best one day in San Marino to make the most of your visit.
Travelers to San Marino enjoy its well-preserved medieval architecture, stunning mountain views, and vibrant nightlife. Its capital city, also called San Marino, is one of the oldest and smallest in the world.
One day in San Marino Itinerary: Things to do in San Marino in one day
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San Marino’s medieval city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The capital city is also home to a number of historical landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, and the Palace of the Government.
San Marino’s mountainous landscape offers visitors breathtaking views. The country has several hiking and biking trails as well as skiing opportunities.
Plus it is home to many cool and quirky museums that are worth visiting!
Things to do in San Marino in one day: San Marino Itinerary
- Wander the San Marino Old Town
- Soak in San Marino’s epic views by hiking or on a cable car ride
- Visit the San Marino Basilica or the Basilica del Santo Marino
- Admire the Clock Tower and the Statue of Liberty at the Liberty Square
- See San Marino’s Three Towers – Guaita Tower (first tower) Cesta Tower (second tower) Montale (third tower)
- Explore a few museums such as the Museo di Stata, Museum of Curiosities, etc.
- Go shop at duty-free stores
- Enjoy the nightlife
When planning a trip to San Marino, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
First, the country is tiny—just 60 square kilometers—so it’s easy to see everything it has to offer in just a few days.
Second, because it’s located in the heart of Italy, getting it is easy—you can fly into either Bologna or Rimini airports and be in San Marino in under an hour by road.
But we visited San Marino from Florence, Tuscany via Bologna – it adds extra travel time, but is doable.
We have a detailed guide to planning a Florence to San Marino day trip here (it also includes other travel information and practical tips).
Keep in mind that there are no railways or airports in San Marino, and so you have to get there by road only.
You don’t need a vehicle to explore San Marino. You can get to the city by bus or taxi, and then pretty much walk everywhere.
Where to stay in San Marino?
- Grand Hotel San Marino: This is a beautiful 4-star hotel in the heart of San Marino, surrounded by wonderful views of the Montefeltro Valley. You can take advantage of the on-site spa, and bar, and chill for the night in their lovely suites. Check out room photos here
- Hotel Rosa: Located near the most photographed Tower, Hotel Rosa is perfect for those driving to San Marino – as they do provide parking facilities nearby. Plus the suites also show the best view of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and it is within easy walking distance of San Marino Basilica and the National Museum. Book your stay here
- Hotel Titano: One of the perks of staying overnight in San Marino is its compact size. You will be in the centre, and will be welcomed to views all the way from dawn to dusk. Hotel Titano is housed in a mid-19th century building and has a nice terrace restaurant. Click to book your stay here
For visiting attractions, you can get a TuttoSanMarino Card from your hotel for free.
- It allows you to purchase a Museum Pass for € 7.50. The TuttoSanMarino Card Combined Museum Pass allows access to First Tower, Second Tower, St. Francis Museum, State Museum and National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, and the Public Palace when open to the public
- 50% discount on the full fare ticket in the private museums (Waxworks Museum, Museum of Curiosity, Torture Museum, Exhibition of Vampires and Werewolves)
- purchase of the discounted return ticket (€ 3.50 instead of € 4.50) and single ticket (€ 2.00 instead of € 2.80) for the Cableway/funicular
- 10% off in selected restaurants and coffeehouses, shops, and more on the list here enclosed
- 50% discount on the daily fare at the multi-storey car park P9
And finally, because it’s such a small country, there’s no need to worry about planning an extensive itinerary. You can easily cover the prime San Marino attractions in a day, and then just relax and enjoy!
One day in San Marino Itinerary: Things to do in San Marino in one day
Wander the San Marino Old Town
One of the best things to do in San Marino is to wander the streets of its capital city.
Whether you are arriving by car or bus, take the time to stroll San Marino City which is home to a number of historical landmarks, including the oldest building in San Marino – Chiesa di San Francesco, the Statue and Square of Liberty, and the Palace of the Government.
Along the way, stop to soak in the views of the surrounding mountains while wandering through the city’s medieval streets.
Soak in San Marino’s epic views by hiking or a cable car ride – Funivia di San Marino
If you do not wish to walk around, then hop on the San Marino Funivia.
San Marino’s Funivia is a wonderful way to get to the hilltop sites as you travel from the lower Borgo Maggiore to the upper Citta. The aerial cable car is one of those rare gems that combine aesthetics with functionality.
On your trip up Mount Titanos slopes to San Marino’s historic center, you’ll get spectacular views of the Adriatic coast, rooftops, and gorgeous panoramic sights of rolling green hills.
- Address: Contrada del Collegio, 48, 47890 Città di San Marino, San Marino
- Hours: 07:45 am to 08:00 pm
- Price: The one-way fare is 2.80 euros, round-trip fare is 4.50 euros
You can park your car at the station and get on the funicular. Rides start at 07:45 am.
Visit the San Marino Basilica or the Basilica del Santo Marino
Basilica San Marino was built in the early 19th century on top of the foundations of a Romanesque church from the fourth century. This earlier church had been dedicated to St. Marinus, but it was abandoned and left to ruin.
The newer basilica retains some of the old elements from the original structure, including seven altars with statuary and paintings, as well as an urn containing relics of St. Marinus himself.
The interior has three naves supported by sixteen Corinthian columns. Just like the precious church, this place of worship is also dedicated to St. Marino, and his statues stand tall and proud at the centre of the altar.
The exterior of the church is very unique and almost looks like a Parliament building of sorts with its strikingly beautiful eight Corinthian columns.
- Address: Piazza Domus Plebis, San Marino Città
- Price: Free
Admire the Clock Tower and the Palace on the Liberty Public Square – Piazza della Libertà
The Palazzo Pubblico or Public Palace is the town hall of San Marino. It is a government building, located in the historic centre of the City of San Marino at Monte Titano.
The building is one of the iconic sites in the country, and is situated on the main square of San Marino, called the Liberty square or the Piazza della libertà (Piazza della Liberta).
It is home to administrative bodies of the Republic of San Marino, namely the captains Regent, the Great and General councils, the Council of XII, and the Congress of State.
The rising clock tower is hard to miss, and it is a popular spot for travelers to admire the architecture of this site.
The Palazzo Pubblico has undergone several rounds of renovations, and additions over the years. What you see today is the creative work of the famous architect Gae Aulenti. (It was opened in 1996).
In front of the main facade of the Palazzo Pubblico is the Statue of Liberty or Della libertà (Statua della Liberta), and this is an unmissable landmark of San Marino.
Due to the presence of this iconic statue, the square is also rightly called Liberty Square.
The statue is made of white Carrara marble and looks amazing on a high pedestal. It symbolizes freedom.
The Public Palace was built in neo-Gothic style, and the Liberty Statue was created in neoclassical style.
Piazza della Liberta is also popular with visitors because of the change of guard ceremony that takes place frequently throughout the day.
The Guardie di Rocca change guard is performed in a colorful way and the guards are dressed in a beautiful dark green double-breasted jacket with a white braid, red trousers with a green stripe, hats with red pompoms, and white gaiters.
- Address: Piazza della Libertà, 10, 47890 Città di San Marino, San Marino
- Price: Free
See San Marino’s Three Towers – Guaita Tower (first tower) Cesta Tower (second tower) Montale (third tower)
From the Public Palace make your way to the iconic Three Fortresses of San Marino.
They are located on Monte Titano, which is the highest point in San Marino and it offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. You can hike to the top of the mountain or take a cable car.
Once at the top, visitors can explore the three fortresses that sit atop the mountain: Guaita, Cesta, and Montale.
Of all the three towers, two of them are very popular (and most photographed) but the third tower is not open to the public.
Start with the Guaita Tower which is the most ancient of the three towers and also the most well-known. This tower was constructed back in the 11th century and served as a prison until the 20th century.
As with most older buildings, the Guaita Tower has also seen numerous rounds of renovation and has been rebuilt many times.
In the inner courtyard of the Rocca Maggiore, you will find an intact church, dating back to the 13th century – the Church of Saint Barbara.
- Address: Salita Alla Rocca, 61, 47890 Città di San Marino, San Marino
- Hours: 09:30 am to 06:30 pm
- Price: 3 euros per person
From here, walk to the second tower – the Cesta, which is located on the highest summit of Monte Titano – at 750 metres above sea level. This tower was constructed in the 13th century on the remains of an older Roman fort.
Inside the tower, you will find historical exhibits including the Museum of Ancient Weapons.
- Address: De La Fratta San Marino
- Hours: 09:30 am to 06:00 pm
- Price: 3.50 euros per person
The third and last tower is – the Montale. It is the smallest of all the three and is off-limits for public viewing.
To be honest, Montale doesn’t look like its other two brothers – it’s rather plain and a simple tower (from the outside).
The tower dates back to the 14th century. It also had a busy history serving as a protective tower, and later was also used as a prison.
When spending just one day in San Marino, exploring both the first and the second towers is definitely possible – just remember to wear comfortable walking shoes and carry water with you.
Explore a few museums (our top picks)
San Marino has a goodful of good museums that are worth visiting. It is home to the National Museum of San Marino – Museo di Stato, Museum of Torture, Museum of Curiosities, St. Francis Museum, and National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art.
These museums offer visitors a glimpse into the country’s rich history and culture.
The National Museum is one of the most recommended museums in the country. It houses over 4 floors of exhibits from the Neolithic Age, to 17th-century paintings, and beyond.
It is a great spot to learn about the history, and culture of San Marino over the centuries (and at an affordable price).
- Address: Piazzetta del Titano 1, San Marino Città
- Hours: 09:00 am to 05:00 pm
- Price: 4.50 euros per person
Museum of Curiosities is a quirky little museum in San Marino (spread over 3 floors). It showcases things like wooden clogs, a ‘nose watch’, and displays of the world’s tallest recorded man and more.
The museum doesn’t display any historical exhibits related to the country, but it is a nice break to get in and see all the cool stuff they have inside.
- Address: Salita Alla Rocca, 26, 47890 Città di San Marino, San Marino
- Hours: 10:30 am to 06:00 pm
- Price: 7-8 euros per person
Museum of Torture is another spot where you can see over 100 tools that were used for torture and punishments over the centuries.
People suspected of crimes, witchcraft, or conspiracy were punished using them. You can see original exhibits from the 16-17th century.
- Address: Contrada San Francesco 2, 47890 San Marino
- Hours: 10:00 am to 08:00 pm
- Price: 4 euros per person
Go shop at duty-free stores
Before returning back to Italy (or settling in for the night), do stop by some duty-free shops.
If you didn’t know, San Marino is known for its duty-free shopping. You can buy goodies to take back home as they sell everything from clothes and accessories to local food and wine.
I particularly loved silver jewelry (many had iconic luxury house logos), and scarves!
Enjoy the nightlife in San Marino
If you are planning to stay overnight in San Marino, be sure to enjoy its cuisine and nightlife!
San Marino’s capital city is home to a vibrant nightlife scene. You can find a variety of bars and clubs to suit your taste, as well as live music and theatre performances.
Whether you’re looking to dance the night away or simply relax with a drink in hand, you’ll find what you’re looking for in San Marino.
San Marino Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing Map
Additional things to do in San Marino in one day: San Marino itinerary
Here are some of the other cool things to do in San Marino in a day, which you can swap for any of the activities above,
Visit the St. Francis Museum
The St. Francis Museum is dedicated to the life and work of Saint Francis of Assisi. The museum houses a number of artifacts related to the saint, as well as a garden where visitors can reflect on his life.
Soak up the sun at Acquaviva Beach
San Marino may be landlocked, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its own beach! Acquaviva Beach is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike to soak up the sun.
The beach is located just outside of the capital city and features a number of amenities, including a restaurant, bar, and playground.
Hang out at one of the Nature Parks
As San Marino is known for outdoorsy activities there are quite a few national parks and gardens where you can stretch a bit and enjoy nature.
- Forget the Stories Park
- Parco Ausa
- San Marino Nature Park
Travel Tips for San Marino
San Marino is a small, landlocked country in Europe. The nation has a population of just over 30,000 people. Despite its size, San Marino is a popular tourist destination.
Its location, nestled in the Apennine Mountains, provides visitors with stunning views. The country is also home to a number of historical and cultural attractions.
Here are some additional travel tips to help you make the most of your visit:
1. Plan your visit around the country’s festivals. San Marino celebrates a number of annual festivals, including the Medieval Days Festival, Beer Fest, and Adriatic Music Festival. If you’re planning your trip around one of these events, be sure to book your accommodation in advance as hotels fill up quickly.
2. Don’t forget your passport. Although San Marino is located within the European Union, it is not part of the Schengen Area. This means that visitors from non-EU countries and non-visa-exempt countries will have to apply for a Schengen Visa to enter Italy (and then San Marino).
3. Pack comfortable shoes. San Marino is a great place to explore on foot, and there are plenty of walking trails to enjoy. However, the country’s hilly landscape means that comfortable shoes are a must.
4. Be prepared for the weather. San Marino experiences a Mediterranean climate, which means that it can be quite hot in the summer months. If you’re visiting during this time of year, be sure to pack sunscreen and light, airy clothing.
And the winters are very cold, windy, and partly cloudy. Fog and snow are common in the mountains/hilltop.
Is one day enough for San Marino?
It is possible to see all of the country’s highlights in just one day in San Marino. But many visitors also choose to spend more time here in order to fully appreciate all that it has to offer (especially if they want to go on hikes and enjoy the outdoors).
Major attractions like the Three Towers of San Marino and 1-2 museums can be explored on a day trip. The towers are some of the oldest buildings in the country and offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside (without a strenuous hike).
Other popular sights like the Palazzo Pubblico and the Basilica of San Marino, the country’s oldest church can be added to the itinerary as well.
By planning your visit carefully, you can make the most of your time here and see all of the country’s highlights.
Interesting Facts about San Marino
San Marino is the oldest sovereign state in the world. The origins of San Marino can be traced back to 301 AD when Marinus founded an independently ruled monastic community on Monte Titano (mountain).
San Marino is pretty small. It is a landlocked country. It is the third smallest country in Europe after Vatican City and Monaco. It is about 60 square kilometres (or 24 square miles). Despite its small size, San Marino has a lot to offer tourists.
The country is named after its founder, Saint Marinus, who was a stonecutter from the Roman island of Rab (present-day Croatia).
San Marino is the only nation in the world that averages more than one car per person.
San Marino is not a member of the European Union, but it does use the euro as its currency.
San Marino is a popular tourist destination, with visitors from all over the world coming to see its beautiful scenery and historic landmarks.
So there you have it—a few fun facts about San Marino! If you’re planning a trip to this beautiful country, keep these facts in mind and you’re sure to have a great time.
San Marino is small but it packs a punch. Visitors to San Marino can enjoy its rich history and culture, stunning views, and delicious food and wine.
Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or nature, San Marino is definitely worth a visit.