San Marino castle
Pin This
Open Media Gallery

San Marino castle

© Creative Commnos / LANZATE

San Marino Travel Guide

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. Francesco Mussoni and Giacomo Simoncini since October 2021.

Head of government

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

Electricity

230 volts AC, 50Hz. Italian-style plugs with three round pins in a row are used.

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.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for San Marino on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Entry and borders

You will need to travel through Italy in order to enter San Marino. See Entry requirements for more information.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Local measures

All visitors must comply with social distancing and sanitisation regulations. You will also be required to wear a face mask on public transport, in all indoor public spaces, and in outdoor spaces where it is not possible to maintain 1 metre social distancing.

Bars and restaurants are open with no restriction on opening hours. Theatres, museums and cinemas remain open, and religious ceremonies, including weddings and funerals are allowed.

Gatherings (Groups over 10 people where social distancing cannot be maintained) in public or private places are strictly forbidden.

You can see more on the latest restrictions on the San Marino Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Healthcare in San Marino

If you believe you have symptoms, call San Marino’s coronavirus emergency number 0549 994001 (from 0800 – 1800) or 0549 888888 (from 1800 – 0800). Do not go directly to a hospital or healthcare facility.

For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health

View Health for further details on healthcare in San Marino.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in San Marino

Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. As further information is available about the national vaccination programme, this page will be updated. Sign up to get email notifications.

A national vaccination programme (only available in Italian) was launched in San Marino on 25 January. A comprehensive set of frequently asked questions gives information on the phases and priority groupings.

Bookings can be made on-line or by calling the Centro Unico di Prenotazione on 0549 994905. You should visit the Institute of Social Security (ISS) for full details.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the UK authority responsible for assessing the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines. It has authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines for temporary supply and use in the UK. Find out more about MHRA approval for these vaccines.

British nationals living overseas should seek medical advice from their local healthcare provider in the country where they reside. Information about vaccines used in other national programmes, including regulatory status, should be available from the local authorities. This list of Stringent Regulatory Authorities recognised by the World Health Organisation may also be a useful source of additional information. Find out more information about the COVID-19 vaccines on the World Health Organization COVID-19 vaccines page.

If you receive your COVID-19 vaccination in San Marino, you can get an EU Digital COVID Certificate from the national authorities. The Certificate proves that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from COVID-19. It will help facilitate your travel within the EU and, in some countries, you can use it to demonstrate your COVID-19 status to businesses and other organisations. For further information visit the European Commission’s EU Digital COVID Certificate page.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

Further information

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

Crime

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.

Road travel

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.

See the RAC and AA guides on driving in San Marino.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in San Marino, attacks can’t be ruled out.

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 more about the global threat from terrorism.

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.

San Marino has strict rules on public drunkenness and applies a zero tolerance policy towards the possession and use of illegal drugs.

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

The authorities in San Marino set and enforce entry rules. For further information 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.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

You will need to travel through Italy in order to enter San Marino.

Entry into San Marino from an Italian red or orange zone is only permitted in cases of necessity, health or work. There are no restrictions on entering San Marino from a designated white or yellow zone.

If your journey started outside of Italy, in the 14 days prior to your arrival in San Marino, you must show evidence of a vaccination certificate or a negative PCR or antigenic test, taken within 48 hours of your arrival in San Marino. Children under the age of 10 do not need to show evidence of a test. Your test certificate must be emailed in advance to laboratorio.analisi@iss.sm.

Demonstrating your COVID-19 status

San Marino will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

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.

Passport validity

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.

The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry and exit from San Marino.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for San Marino on the TravelHealthPro website

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in 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).

Local medical care

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.

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, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (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.

Travel safety

The FCDO 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 FCDO 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 FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice team a request.

Further help

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.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.