A How-to Guide: An Inexpensive Weekend in San Marino

Want to know how to have an inexpensive weekend away in San Marino?  Just show up!

After taking a train through Bologna to Rimini, we learned from our budget-oriented ways of taking the bus and took the first available taxi to our hotel, Hotel Joli, in San Marino.  Located just outside the city walls, but still at the top of the mountain, we are 200 metres from the gates to the old town.

We picked Hotel Joli based off of TripAdvisor reviews and it is as we expected — an affordable (45 euro per night) option that is clean, has breakfast included, and a view for days.  It was noted under room tips on TripAdvisor to ask for room 304, so we did, and the view is phenomenal (pictured above).  The staff is ridiculously accommodating, and the Wi-Fi is speedy and reliable, which is important with a baby who likes to chill out in the hotel room for a couple of hours a day.  (Side note, Italian Netflix has lots of different options than Canadian Netflix = party!)

We had a quick walk of the maze that is San Marino yesterday, and a delicious lunch — homemade pasta, pizza, prosecco and a beer for 17 euros.  Whhhhat?  Refill please.  The waitress talked to Baby during our entire meal which he loved until he didn’t (it’s a bit of a switch between happy and squirmy) so we settled up the bill and kept moving, finding a shaded grassy patch where he could lay down to kick and laugh.

Today we timed our morning walk through Baby’s nap and had delicious coffees from Domus Coffee Shop at the top of the hill (fortress?).  We’re laying low in the hotel room until evening when we’ll wander the cobblestone streets again, this time all lit up.  My mum says it’s beautiful and also kind of spooky!  It seems to be low season here and we haven’t seen many other tourists so I’m looking forward to this evening.  We’re rationing our baby carrier use to assure good times are had, and to respect Baby’s need to not be carted around all day.

So, who would like San Marino?  It’s an eclectic mix of extremely high-end shops, knick-knack shops filled with fake “Hard Rock San Marino” (there isn’t one) t-shirts and limoncello, and restaurants.  It would make a great cruise stop, as one full day is all you need.  That being said, it’s still worth visiting, for the bragging rights of having visited the oldest republic in the world.  Plus, you’ll get your steps in: I counted having climbed just over 450 stairs prior to lunch!

Tomorrow we set off for Slovenia which I’m so excited about.  Looking forward to sharing pictures of it!  In the meantime, here are some photos of San Marino.


first train2

Baby’s first train ride.


Ya, but European trains are always so crowded.  Ha. There was only one other person in our train car.

view from above

Don’t look, Grampa Steve!  View from the top.


Can you spot the Adriatic Sea in the back ground?