The Hostel San Marino has a few things going for it: a/c, internet, good beds, uniqueness, stunning location between the sea and one of the most fascinating countries in the world. What is lacking is atmosphere and a true understanding of backpackers. Still I would love to see this place with its friendly staff get more clients than they do at the moment.
Location & Getting There
The Hostel San Marino, self-proclaimed the only hostel in this tiny republic, is located right on the main road between Rimini and San Marino (town). If you don’t have your own car you can jump on the bus (5 euro one way) which goes from Rimini central station to Mount Titano about a dozen times a day. Tell the bus driver that you would like to get off at Tavolucci — the bus doesn’t hit every stop you see indicated on the ticket so you want to make sure the driver doesn’t zoom by your hostel. You’ll see bright letters indicating the hostel on the left side of the road, just a few steps from the bus stop.
To get from the hostel to the top of San Marino you can either wait for said bus or walk about 15 minutes uphill to the funivia or even hike the full roughly 5km.
I like the funivia especially because with the Tuttosanmarino Card it’s only 3.50 euro for the return ticket but saves you a lot of sweat…
The Hostel San Marino is on the top (2nd) floor of a former ceramics factory. The lower floors are home to a fast food restaurant/bar, run by the same people as the hostel.
As the rooms are towards the side of the building road noise is no issue. However, I was told that outside the summer there are concerts in the bar every Friday and Saturday that go on until after midnight. So there might be a threat to your sleep if you don’t want to join in.
Rooms & Facilities
First thing’s first: there is excellent air conditioning in the rooms which is both effective and silent. There is, however, none in the kitchen/common area.
Also a highlight is the WiFi which works throughout and is fairly strong.
The hostel opened in 2009 and some parts show signs of aging, notably the showers and some kitchen facilities. The rooms don’t. The beds are in fine condition with comfortable mattresses. There are plenty of chairs, enough space, but not many outlets and no lockers.
Another reason for concern is the number of toilets and showers. There is only 1 (one!) toilet and 3 showers (in one room without parting walls) for about 50 beds. This could mean trouble should they ever operate at capacity (which they didn’t when I was there at the height of summer).
Note that there is a tourist tax on top of the room fee (I paid 20 euro per night) as well as a fee for linen & towel if you don’t have your own sleeping bag.
Food & Drinks
Breakfast is included but expect no high cuisine. There is coffee from the machine, juice, toast (but no toaster), biscuits, jams and cornflakes. Quite typically Italian.
There is a kitchen (a bit short of proper knives), and a large supermarket next door. If you like neither cooking nor the great food place the funivia runs until 1 a.m. in the summer, until 8 p.m. during the rest of the year.