Day Trip to San Marino from Florence
Have you heard of San Marino before? Up until 6 months ago, I had no idea this country existed. It's a tiny, mountainous microstate landlocked in North-central Italy. It's the world's oldest republic and the 3rd smallest state in Europe. On a quest to visit every country in Europe (almost there!) I made it my goal to visit San Marino while I was staying in nearby-ish Florence.
I opted for just a day trip to San Marino from Florence because there really aren't budget accommodations available in the tiny country. It was really hard to find any info on how to make this day trip possible, so I thought I'd share what I did for those of you interested in maybe doing the same.
There's no direct train or bus from Florence to San Marino so unfortunately you have to take a combination of both:
First, you have to take an early morning train from Florence (Firenze Santa Maria Novella train station) to a place called Rimini. The train cost around €32 each leg (so €64 total-yikes) and took roughly two hours.
Once you arrive at Rimini station, walk outside and across the street for the bus to San Marino. They leave frequently, and you can ask at the information desk for help, but it was really easy to figure out. This bus cost €5 euro one way, €10 return. As always in Europe, cash only to buy bus tickets from the driver.
Around 30 minutes later, you will arrive in San Marino! No visa or passport check required. Grand total traveling time each way is around 3 hours.
So was it worth it? Hell yeah! San Marino was one of the most unique places I'd ever been. I mean, how many other countries can you say you walked around the entire thing in a couple hours? The country is perched on a mountaintop so the views everywhere you look are beathtaking. I treated myself to a nice lunch + gelato and did some sightseeing.
A must-do in San Marino is climbing up to the top of Cesta Tower. There's actually 3 towers in order from smallest to largest: Montale, Guaita, and Cesta. Cesta has the best views in my opinion, but why not check out all 3 in one go. There's signs all over the small town pointing you in the direction of the towers, and you can easily walk there on foot in 15 minutes. Once you finish the short hike, there are incredible views of surrounding Italy filled with green landscapes for as far as the eye can see plus the towers themselves which are old and full of history, like most towers you'll find in Europe. There's also a decent Basilica here, but since you're coming from Italy... you've seen the best of the best as far as churches go.
Oh, San Marino is crazy about guns, too. They're all over the place in all of the souvenir shops. They have a museum dedicated to them. If you're into that sort of thing, it could be an interesting thing to check out. Kinda freaked me out though!
After a couple hours exploring the country, I walked 5 minutes back to the bus station in San Marino and took the bus back to Rimini train station. Then, I took the train from Rimini back to Florence and was in my hostel bed before nightfall!
There you have it! A day trip to San Marino is totally doable with a little planning.