San Marino


The third smallest country in Europe after Monaco and Vatican City, San Marino contributed to my enchantment with European microstates, as I found the little country delightful. With an area of just 61.2 sqkm, San Marino is very proud of its heritage as the world's oldest republic, founded in 301 AD. And there's lots to see and do.

The country's capital, also called San Marino, has a population of less than 5,000 and is a beautifully-preserved medieval city which one never tires of exploring. As an added bonus, San Marino City is located on a 739 metre cliff (Mount Titano) providing spectacular views of the surrouding valleys and hills.

The main attractions are the three towers of Guaita (built in the XIth century), Cesta (XIIIth century) and Montale (XIVth century) easily accessible by foot and providing excellent photo opportunities. I also enjoyed the State and Curiosity Museums, both located within the city walls. Finally, don't miss the city center and the changing of the guard at the Palazzo Publico

There are some beautiful trails in the surrounding forests, including the gorgeous Costa dell'Arnella trail leading down the cliff to the town of Borgo Maggiore (you can get back up to San Marino City by cable car).

To all of the above add a relaxed atmosphere and excellent quality Italian food for a very rewarding city break (or country break, in this particular case). A daytrip by bus from nearby Rimini is basically enough to explore San Marino, but an overnight stay will reward you with streets almost free of tourists in the evening and morning (not that there was any overcrowding during daytime in September when I visited).

Read a detailed account of my trip to San Marino here (a part of my series on Europe's Microstates)

Additional info:
- country entry on Wikipedia
- country profile on Wikivoyage

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San Marino

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