Being a Croatian (country of a thousand islands) I have huge standards when it comes to beaches and clean sea. We have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. You name it and we have it: sandy, rocky, stone (big or small ones), ones that you can only get to by a boat, secluded …. Even more beautiful is our sea. Transparent, crystal clear and most important clean! So I have to say, on first sight, I wasn’t impressed with Rimini which is known for 15 km long and 200m wide sandy beach. We came late at night after a long 6 hour drive from Rijeka and decided to walk the promenade. At one part of the lido the smell of sewage was so bad that we almost vomited, not kidding you. Thank God we were tired and decided to sleep over it and take a look at it the next day.
We stayed at L´ Hotel, elegant 3 star hotel located 20m from the beach. Large rooms with private balconies and wellness corner (heated pool, Turkish bath and Finnish sauna, massage room). They have 2 parking lots (8€ a day) that you can use and also provide bicycles (first three hours are free, then its 10 € per hour). I was surprised by the way they designed the rooms, actually the shower. First time (killing time synonym) I saw a shower outside of the bathroom. They put it in the room and divide it with a glass door.
Breakfast looked more like a dessert table. I counted ten different types of croissants, pancakes, cakes…it looked compelling, but I enjoyed ham and cheese and a good cup of cappuccino.
Rimini beach is long, wide, sandy and commercialized. It´s divided in to establishments called Lido. Each one is numbered and has a name, like #85 La Playa (special discount for the guests of our hotel). They have to maintain the area and they provide (for a fee) some kind of service and facilities (sun loungers, umbrellas, changing cabins…). Depending on how much you want to pay, you can get a simple lounge or you can have Jacuzzi facilities, gym equipment, a snack, un aperitivo… For the price of 18€ we got two loungers, an umbrella, a snack and a drink.
Some parts of the beach are free, with toilets and lifeguards, where you can put your own beach towel.
So I have to say we did enjoy the beach. It felt nice to relax, have a glass of Mojito, while listening to a DJ jamming. Italians know how to have a good time. No “smell” of sewage, thank God.
There are many small restaurants along the beach that are open not only at day time, but also in the evening . We chose to play it safe and decide on a restaurant that everybody recommended and we loooved it! “Carlos” restaurant and pizzeria is a place I would definitely go again. There fish is to die for, we ate there for three nights in a row. That’s how good it is. Open since 1969 they advertise it as “a sea on your plate”. Make a reservation because the place is booked almost every day. Staff is more then friendly, they go over to fulfill your every request. Our waitress, from Argentina (Alijandra) always had a smile and never once during our three visits did she not make us feel like old friends. We had almost every meal on the menu (be careful because the portions are huge) and loved each one. Spaghetti vongole, mixed grilled fish, caprese salad, shrimp cocktail, lobster…..I can still taste their amazing fish soup !
Just 30 min drive from Rimini there is the old principality, San Marino, capital of Republic of San Marino. It´s third smallest state in Europe, after Vatican and Monaco and world oldest republic. It sits on the mountain (Monte Titano) so the view of the surrounding towns and Adriatic coast is really breathtaking.
Finding a parking spot is not easy. They do have a couple of parking lots, but definitely not enough, especially if you decide to go there on a weekend. We used P11 (8€ for whole day-not bad at all) because it´s close to the cable car (Funivia) which you can use to get to the top. Price for a round trip is 4,50 €, per person or you can just (definition just in case) walk.
You can get 4 types of access card to see some major sites of San Marino:
- red card (valid for the visit (idioms dictionary) to only one museum – 4,50€)
- orange (valid for entry to two museums of your choice – 6,50€)
- green (reduced price – for only one museums for groups of more then 25, groups of students, children aged between 6-12 and adults over 65 – 3,50€)
- purple – (pass to visit all State Museums and its valid for 10 days – 10,50€)
Free entry is for children under the age of 6, for people with disabilities and their companions, or you can be lucky like us and come to visit on 7 of July which was IX anniversary of San Marino becoming a part of the Unesco World Heritage List so the entrance was free.
Opening hours are from 8am-8pm summer time and 9am-4:30pm winter time.
You can see most of it in one day. Three Towers are a must. First two you can enter. There is no entrance for the third one. You can only see it from the outside. Lot of Museums to check out, like: State Museum, Museum of the Emigrant, Vampire Museum, Waxworks Museum, Museum of Curiosity, Torture Museum, Museum of National History, Ancient Weapons…
Public Palace is the building where official ceremonies take place and it´s also main institutional and administrative seat of San Marino. Guards of the Rock are the one responsible for guarding the Palace and they have very distinctive red and green uniforms.
Beautiful cobblestone streets and will bring you back to medieval times. Winding roads that go up and down the hill connect all the major sites. My advice is wear flats or comfortable shoes. Some parts are walking paths through the woods like the one between Second and Third Tower. Don’t worry about food and drink because you can find food stands, bars, restaurants on every corner.
Try to get there early in the morning to avoid crowds and to find a parking space. Take your time, admire the view from the top and have a homemade ice cream at “L´Alchimista Gelateria”. Live the Italian Way!