10 Best Things To Do in San Marino

Traveling to this beautiful dwarf country within Italy? Perhaps you want to know the best things to do in San Marino. We’ve got you covered.

Surrounded completely by Italy to the northeast of the Apennine Mountains, San Marino is the fifth smallest nation in the world. It has a population of just over 30,000 people and covers a land area of barely 61 sq. km, just a tad bigger than Manhattan.

San Marino’s official name is the Republic of San Marino. Its formal albeit fancy monicker is the Most Serene Republic of San Marino.

The tiny nation is named after St. Marinus, the Christian stonemason who founded the country in the year 301, making it the oldest republic in the world.

The country’s capital goes by the same name – the City of San Marino. The largest city, Serravalle, is in the north, perched on the edge of the Apennine Mountains. The nearest city outside San Marino is Rimini in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region.

10 Best Things To Do in San Marino

10 Best Things To Do in San Marino

San Marino’s towers, palaces, and fortification walls have remained largely unchanged since the 15th century.

These structures can be traced back to the conflict between the Malatesta and Montefeltro families in the Middle Ages. This resulted in the ramparts of villages and strategic points, which widened the territory seen today. As you explore San Marino, you’ll most likely encounter its well-preserved centuries-old architecture.

How do you make the most of your visit to this tiny country? Here are a few suggestions on the best things to do in San Marino.

1. Climb some of San Marino’s towers

10 Best Things To Do in San Marino
Fortress of Guaita Photo by Max_Ryazanov via Wikimedia Commons

Defense towers abound in San Marino’s Old Town, and scaling them is a must.

Start your climb at the Tower of Guaita, a former military fortress that overlooks the surrounding countryside.

You may also climb the Passo delle Streghe (Passage of the Witches) steps to the Tower Cesta, a former garrison of crossbowmen, for one of the most sought-after views. Located on Mount Titano’s highest point, this tower rises 756 meters above sea level.

2. Visit San Marino’s Museo di Stato (National Museum)

10 Best Things To Do in San Marino
Photo by Stefano Bolognini via Wikimedia Commons

In the historic Palazzo Pergami Belluzzi, this museum exhibits artifacts from the Neolithic Age, as well as later Etruscan and Roman discoveries. There are also ancient Egyptian objects, Byzantine icons, works of art from the 17th century, as well as San Marino coins.

Nearly 5,000 artifacts were donated to the museum over a century beginning in the late 1800s. Many are from the private collection of Italian intellectuals and political figures who wanted to show their admiration for the small republic.

3. Have a dose of quirkiness at the Museo delle Curiosità

10 Best Things To Do in San Marino

The Museo delle Curiosità (Museum of Curiosities) is not about San Marino; instead, it showcases a variety of curiosities and interesting exhibits with multi-lingual descriptions.

The museum offers not only knowledge on objects showcased there but entertainment as well. The three floors of interesting oddities, from strange objects like the world’s longest beard to bizarre inventions like the “nose watch” that creates different-scented smokes by the hour, will sure make your visit worthwhile.

4. Visit San Marino’s Coin and Stamp Museum

10 Best Things To Do in San Marino

A paradise for numismatists and philatelists, the Museo Del Francobollo e Della Moneta Di San Marino in Borgo Maggiore is the country’s newest museum. It features San Marino’s stamps and coins, as well as the original art works from the stamp and coin designer. There are also stamps and coins from Italy and the United Kingdom.

San Marino has adopted the euro currency, but it continues to mint limited editions of gold coins that are accepted as currency within San Marino only.

5. Spend an afternoon in the convent and art gallery

10 Best Things To Do in San Marino
Photo by Diego Delso via Wikimedia Commons

Since its completion in 1401, the San Francesco Convent has been home to a stunning cloister and an impressive gallery.

Several former Franciscan churches have donated their sacred art to the museum. Other items such as paintings on canvas and wooden furnishings are on display to show the long history and influence of the order.

The beautiful 16th-century paintings by Raphael, Guercino, and Gerolamo are among the highlights of the Art Gallery’s collection. Another noteworthy feature is San Francesco’s main gate – the Porta di San Francesco, which is a massive gate built into its walls.

6. Witness the changing of the guards at the Piazza della Libertà

10 Best Things To Do in San Marino
Statue of Liberty at the Piazza della Libertà, San Marino

The changing of the guard takes place a few times a day at the Piazza della Libertà which used to be the seat of the San Marino government. This is where the town hall is located.

7. Enjoy tax-free shopping

The old town of San Marino is full of inviting cafés, street performers, and boutiques selling handbags, clothing, and ceramics, amongst other things.

San Marino, a country with a population of only over 30,000 people, is one of the wealthiest countries in the world per capita. It is also a popular shopping destination for bargain-hunting tourists because many goods are tax-free.

If you’re looking for a bargain on Italian brands, jewelry, or souvenirs, San Marino is the place to be. Factory outlets for electronics and clothing are also available.

8. Cycle the Laila Footpath

Interested in seeing more of San Marino beyond the capital city?

From the town of Domagnano, the Laila Footpath is a three-kilometer route that’s a favorite among bikers. This path follows an old railway line that has been abandoned since 1944. Here you’ll pass through pine forests, olive groves, and even a Roman archaeological site.

9. Ride the San Marino funicular for spectacular views

10 Best Things To Do in San Marino
Photo by Eleassar via Wikimedia Commons

To enjoy spectacular views of San Marino and the Adriatic Sea and for more fun experience, riding a funicular is a must-do when in this tiny but stunning country.

Gliding above Borgo Maggiore and enjoying the views of the town’s rooftops and the beautiful Adriatic coast – this is an acivity both young and old will love.

10. Binge on gelato

10 Best Things To Do in San Marino

There’s no such thing as too much gelato! Not when you’re in Italy and San Marino.

There a number of great gelaterie in San Marino. Here are some of them:

Gelateria Sweet Line San Marino

Address: E., Piazza Enriquez, 14, 47891 Dogana, San Marino

Must-try: pistachio cremino, nutella, and all-fruit flavors

Note: All products are gluten-free except for the berry cheesecake.

Altro Gelato

Address: Via XXV Marzo, 4, 47895 Domagnano, San Marino

Must-try: pistachio cremino, Nutella, and stracciatella milk shake

Cremeria Delizia

Address: Via 28 Luglio 212 Città di San Marino, 47893 San Marino

Must-try: pistachio cremino and mascarpone flavors

La Cremeria del Titano

Address: Piazzetta del Titano, 4, Città di San Marino, 47890 San Marino

Must-try: yogurt and maracuja, white chocolate with pistachio, and dark chocolate flavors

You may also need a handy guide to San Marino in which you will know the three easy ways to reach it from Italy. Check it out! 

San Marino Group Tours

Where To Stay in San Marino