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The city-state of San Marino manages to squeeze all the rustic charms of the Italian countryside into its 24 square miles of territory. This small republic offers a lot of interesting sites, with the drive up Mount Titano to see the grand architectural wonders, that are the Three Towers of San Marino, a highlight.
San Marino was founded in and around Mount Titano. Thus, the roads are hilly and narrow. Only small cars can drive along some of the roads. Drivers are required to carry a warning triangle and a reflective jacket in case of breakdown.
Driving licences: a valid UK driving licence is required.
Which side does San Marino drive on: the right.
Motorways: 43mph (70kph)
Built-up areas: 19mph (30kph) and 31mph (50kph)
Alcohol limits: 0.05 per cent compared with the UK limit of 0.08 per cent. Authorities strictly enforce this limit; violation could result in a fine or even criminal charges.
Driving age: 18 years.
Seatbelts: compulsory for passengers both in the front and back seats. Children under 150cm should be seated in an approved child seat.
Mobile phones and GPS: taking a call on a mobile phone while driving is strictly forbidden. However, drivers can use a hands-free unit. GPS can be used in San Marino.
Cost of fuel in San Marino: only slightly cheaper than in Italy but more expensive than in the UK.
Car hire and fuel payment: paying for car rental and fuel via credit card is possible, but the credit card holder will need to advise their card provider before travel.
Insurance: must be valid for three months upon entry and is included with car rental services. Excess insurance should be considered.
Traffic and parking: there are over a dozen parking areas within range of the historic centre, some of which are free or covered. Traffic isn’t a problem in the centre as only a few roads are open to small vehicles.
San Marino does not have a railway station and is not connected to the European rail network. The nearest railway station is in the Italian resort town of Rimini, located along Italy's east coast. Travellers can travel to Rimini by rail using Trenitalia, from where other transport runs to San Marino. Within San Marino, there is a tramway connecting Borgo Maggiore, a major settlement in the city-state, to San Marino town on top of Mount Titano.
Taxis are available in San Marino and the nearby major destination of Rimini. They are useful for transfers to San Marino from Rimini Airport (fare around £30), for navigating the tourist areas and for night-time rides back to your hotel from venues on the Riviera. Rates are mostly fixed for pre-determined routes.
Buses run to and from Rimini, whose centre is only about 16 miles from San Marino, with stops at 20 stations. The terminus stops are at Rimini Railway Station and San Marino Coach Station. Services are frequent and used by both tourists and locals, with a single fare around £7. There are also local buses within San Marino itself, with discounts available for those staying in hotels in the city-state when making bus trips within the territory.
Italy’s Rimini Airport is the nearest international air gateway to San Marino, which itself has no airports. Alternatively, travellers can enter through Bologna Airport, which has both full-service and low-cost connections with London. Rimini Airport, while the closest airport to San Marino, does not offer direct flights to the UK.
Visitors to San Marino will be delighted to learn that the small territory is packed with a lot of things to see and do. Its historic and architectural landmarks are, in fact, listed by UNESCO World Heritage.
The first landmark on any tourist itinerary must be the Three Towers of San Marino, the best-known landmark in the republic and figuring prominently in the national flag. The towers are located on the peaks of the country's most prominent mountain, Mount Titano.
The Basilica di San Marino is also a worthy stop as this Catholic church contains a reliquary of the nation's founder, Marinus.
Around Mount Titano are picturesque, little villages which are worth exploring. There are a number of noteworthy sites in some of these villages. Pennaross has an imposing fort, Serravalle has the grand Malatesta Castle and Valdragone has a church and convent which are worth seeing.
The great outdoors of this small city-state is another option for a daytrip. Visitors can explore pine forests and rivers or even go mountain biking across San Marino's hilly terrain.
The climate of this small republic is Mediterranean with some continental influences. It has warm summers (July to August), with temperatures averaging 21°C and experiencing brief showers on some days. Winter is cool, with moderate snow fall. April to June and September to October are good times to visit.