San Marino travel guide
About San Marino
The origins of San Marino are based on the charming legend of Saint Marinus, who founded the community and the republic in AD301 after taking refuge on Mount Titano. The independence of San Marino was enshrined after Italian Unification, possibly in gratitude for at one time harbouring Garibaldi, the great leader of the Risorgimento. Apart from the Vatican City, it is the only city-state that is completely surrounded by another country.
In whatever part of this 61 sq km (24 sq mile) territory you go, there seems to be a dazzling panorama at your disposal. But it is standing atop the spectacular Cesta Tower that will give you the best views. From the gorgeous Old Town clinging to the slopes, your gaze reaches across the fertile soils of Emilia Romagna, the soft rolling hills of the Marche, and on to the placid Adriatic sea. The Sammarinese territory is made up of nine ancient citadels, including the capital, San Marino.
What the tiny city state lacks in size, it makes up for in history, museums and priceless architectural monuments. Meanwhile, a wealth of assorted crafts and souvenirs provide a vast, pleasant shopping experience.
The free movement between San Marino and Italy, not to mention the fact that most locals support the Italian national team in football tournaments, might lead you to believe the territory’s independence lies in name only. But the Sammarinese have their own government and a distinct local culture. Everyone speaks Italian, but the San Marino dialect has failed to die out, while unique dishes such as white rabbit stew, black risotto and Cacciatello cake are local treasures.
As well as imbibing the local food, other pleasant diversions include getting a colourful stamp in your passport at the State Post Office, visiting the impressive Three Towers of San Marino and the lavish Parliament Building.
61.2 sq km (23.6 sq miles).
31,950 (UN estimate 2016).
541.3 per sq km.
Two Capitani Regenti are elected every six months. Nicola Selva and Michele Muratori since April 2019.
Secretary of State for Foreign and Political Affairs Pasquale Valentini since 2012.
Last updated: 17 August 2019
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in San Marino, attacks can’t be ruled out.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is not valid in San Marino.
Around 6,000 British nationals visit San Marino every year. Most visits are trouble-free.
The emergency services numbers in San Marino are: 112/113 (emergency service, gendarmerie), 115 (public safety, fire department, local police), 118 (emergency ambulance and medical services).
Consular support is not available from the British government in San Marino. However, the British Embassy in Rome, Italy can provide consular support to British nationals.
Safety and security
Street crime is extremely rare. However, you should take the usual precautions with passports and money.
Drinks served in bars overseas are often stronger than those in the UK. Do not accept drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended.
From 28 March 2019, you will need to have a 1968 International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in San Marino. 1949 IDPs previously issued by the UK will still be valid for use in San Marino until expiry. From 1 February 2019, you can only get IDPs over the counter from 2,500 UK Post Offices. You will not be able to buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel.”
Driving is on the right-hand side of the road. It’s a legal requirement for motorists to carry one red warning triangle to be placed, in the event of an accident or breakdown, behind the vehicle.
You should also carry a certificate of car insurance.
At the time of entering the country, car insurance must be valid for more than three months.
San Marino has similar drink driving laws to Italy. The legal limit is 0.05%, also defined as 0.5 grams of alcohol per litre of blood (50 mg/100 ml of blood).
San Marino has laws requiring small children to be in an approved child safety seat.
It’s illegal to use a mobile phone while driving. You can talk with a completely hands-free unit. Smoking while driving is also prohibited.
The speed limit is 50 km per hour in built up areas,110 km per hour on dual carriageways and 130 km per hour on motorways.
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in San Marino, attacks can’t be ruled out.
You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public areas, including those visited by foreigners.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Local laws and customs
San Marino has strict rules on public drunkenness and applies a zero tolerance policy towards the possession and use of illegal drugs.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
You don’t need a visa to visit San Marino. If you’re staying in San Marino for less than 30 days in an official residency (ie hotel or bed and breakfast) you don’t need a ‘permesso di soggiorno turistico’. However, if you’re staying privately, you’ll need to report your stay to the Ufficio Stranieri (Foreigners’ Office) of the local Gendarmerie within 24 hours of arrival. If you’re staying for work you must apply for a ‘permesso per motivi di lavoro’ (a work permit), which is issued for some categories of workers only.
More information about permits is available on the San Marino website.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry and exit from San Marino.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 118 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Although San Marino is not a member of the European Union the local currency is the Euro.
Travel advice help and support
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCO travel advice
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.