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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.

Key facts

Area:

61.2 sq km (23.6 sq miles).

Population:

31,950 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

541.3 per sq km.

Capital:

San Marino.

Government:

Republic.

Head of state:

Two Capitani Regenti are elected every six months. Alessandro Rossi and Milena Gasperoni since April 2024.

Head of government:

Secretary of State for Foreign and Political Affairs Pasquale Valentini since 2012.

Travel Advice

You will need to travel through Italy to enter San Marino. Read Italy travel advice before you visit San Marino.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide as well as support for British nationals abroad which includes:

  • advice on preparing for travel abroad and reducing risks
  • information for women, LGBT+ and disabled travellers

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in San Marino set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact San Marino’s consulate in the UK.

You will need to travel through Italy to enter San Marino. Read Italy’s travel advice before you visit.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering San Marino.

Passport validity requirements

To travel to San Marino, you must follow the Schengen area passport requirements.

To enter San Marino (and all Schengen countries) your passport must:

  • have a ‘date of issue’ less than 10 years before the date you arrive. Passports issued after 1 October 2018 are now valid for only 10 years, but for passports issued before 1 October 2018, extra months may have been added if you renewed a passport early
  • have an ‘expiry date’ at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

You do not need to pass through border controls to enter San Marino, but you must be in possession of a passport containing a valid entry stamp from a Schengen state.

Visa requirements

You can travel without a visa to the Schengen area (including San Marino) for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. This applies if you travel:

  • as a tourist
  • to visit family or friends
  • to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events
  • for short-term studies or training

If you’re travelling to San Marino and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries in the 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days.

To stay longer (to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons), you must meet the San Marino government’s entry requirements. Check which type of visa or work permit you need with San Marino’s consulate in the UK.

If you stay in San Marino with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.

Registering with the police

You need to go to the Gendarmerie to register and get a permit of stay if you are visiting for more than 30 days or are planning to work. Visit the San Marino website for more information.

Vaccination requirements

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and certificates you need in TravelHealthPro’s San Marino guide.

Customs rules

The rules about goods that can be brought into and taken out of San Marino are the same as for Italy. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.

Terrorism

There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in San Marino

Terrorist attacks in San Marino cannot be ruled out.

There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times.

Crime

Protecting your belongings

Street crime is very rare, but you should take precautions to keep your passport and money safe.

Be drink aware

Drinks served in bars abroad are often stronger than those in the UK. Be careful about accepting drinks from strangers or leaving your drinks unattended.

Laws and cultural differences

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

There is a zero tolerance policy towards the possession and use of illegal drugs. If you are convicted, you will face a prison sentence or a heavy fine.

Transport risks

Road travel

You need a 1968 international driving permit (IDP) and a valid UK driving licence to drive in San Marino. The 1949 IDP is not accepted any more. You cannot buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel.

If you are planning to drive in San Marino, see information on driving abroad and read the RAC guide.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Call 118 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance or medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

For more information read guidance on healthcare when travelling in Europe.

Vaccinations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip check:

Medication

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.

Healthcare facilities in San Marino

FCDO has a list of English speaking doctors in Italy.

Health insurance cards

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) are not valid in San Marino. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in San Marino

Ambulance: 118

Fire: 115

Police: 112 or 113

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you are abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy in Rome, Italy who can provide consular support to British nationals in San Marino.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

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