Why This Tiny Country Is Europe’s Best Kept Secret Destination

Why This Tiny Country Is Europe’s Best Kept Secret Destination


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There are so many places surging in popularity right now in Europe that some travelers may begin looking beyond the household names in search of something new and less crowded.

One of Europe’s best-kept secrets is super convenient for American travelers right now since Italy tops the list of their preferred European getaway destinations.

Scenic view of San Marino and medieval tower

While popular destinations such as Rome, Venice, and the Amalfi Coast surely top the list within Italy’s borders, there is actually a separate country within their borders as well.

A tiny landlocked nation only accessible through Italy rivals its beauty, culture, and food. And even though there is no airport, it’s easier to reach than you’d think.

No, we’re not talking about Vatican City as phenomenal as this city is to visit too. We’re talking about the fifth smallest country in the world – San Marino.

Don’t Sleep On San Marino

Tourists in San Marino

If you look at a map of Italy, your eyes will be drawn to the names we’re all familiar with. But taking a closer look you’ll see the landlocked nation of San Marino looking as if it’s in Italy.

San Marino is recognized by the United Nations as its own self-governed republic, but given its location, many travelers sleep on it rather than sleep in it.

And there are indeed some amazing places to stay, like the 4-star Titan Suites Hotel San Marino with breathtaking views or the Grand Hotel San Marino nestled in beautiful mountains – both under $100 per night.

This country, although small with a total population of just 33,000, is definitely worth a visit on your next trip to Italy.

Panoramic view of San Marino

Rather than squeeze in one more city you already know, why not try something new and avoid the jam-packed streets of Rome and the tourist fees of Venice?

Charming Streets And Storybook Castles

There’s a certain vision we tend to hold in our minds before stepping foot in many European destinations.

We see cobblestone streets, delightful sidewalk cafes, and eye-popping historical architecture.

San Marino checks off these boxes and then some with stunning nature as a mountainous setting, earning a seat at the table with the most relaxing, peaceful European destinations you could imagine.

Fiat on narrow street in San Marino

What’s even better is the country is very reminiscent of Italy. Shocking, right?

The charming streets and aromas will take you right back to whichever Italian city you arrived from and you’ll be asking yourself, “why does nobody know about this place?!”.

Those who have been have discovered this hidden gem have left rave reviews with one of the highlights being the UNESCO-protected Centro Storico di San Marino for shopping and divine eats and drinks.

Furthermore, San Marino is a very old country and actually claims to be the oldest republic in the world.

San Marino’s vast history shows in the best of ways, especially when visiting their storybook castles dating back to the 11th century.

Guaita Castle in San Marino

This tiny nation may seem like a land far, far away, but no need to worry – you won’t find Lord Faarquad barking orders at any of the 3 unmissable towers of Guita, Cesta, and Montale.

It’s Guita that has more notoriety and is the most commonly visited of the bunch. 0

Once you reach the peak atop Monte Titano, you’ll instantly see why it’s considered one of the most majestic castles in all of Europe.

How To Reach San Marino

Travelers will have to drive or purchase a bus or train ticket to cross into San Marino. Italy does require Americans to obtain an International Driving Permit, which many travelers don’t possess.

Rimini train station

That leaves bus and train options. There is no train to San Marino per se, but trains do connect to the nearby Italian coastal city of Rimini.

Reaching Rimini is the first step before reaching San Marino, as this city serves as the only gateway to the country by bus.

One you reach Rimini by bus or train, you can purchase another bus ticket to San Marino for about $13 round-trip or a taxi for about $40.

Once here, ‘country counters’ can snatch a rare San Marino passport stamp at the Official Tourism Office, as there is no proper passport check upon entering.

Rimini-San Marino bus schedule

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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