Festive fun for all ages: the Christmas markets in San Marino
My family and I absolutely love Christmas markets and this year, with our baby Iris in tow we decided to kick-off the holidays in style with a trip to San Marino.
If you are looking for a place to spend a few days with your children, enjoying a magical Christmas atmosphere, I strongly recommend you to make the same choice and head to San Marino, it’s straight out of a fairytale
I made a video, which you can watch below and which I hope will the convey the amazing atmosphere!
What do you think? Did you like the video?
You know I prefer to be straightforward and only share the information I know I would have found useful if I were planning a trip like this. Here you go!
WHEN DO THE CHRISTMAS MARKETS START IN SAN MARINO?
The markets are officially OPEN from the first weekend of December and will be open every weekend until the one before Christmas. After that the festive atmosphere will continue, every day, until the day of the Epiphany.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE MARKETS OF SAN MARINO?
Before leaving, I too tried to get an idea of the event by reading articles and reviews but nothing prepared me for what I experienced (in a positive way!).
Here is a brief overview of the attractions around the city:
- IL BOSCO DELLE EMOZIONI -> the central square has been transformed into a large, snowy forest with wonderful projections of snow in motion. The voice of Santa Claus echoes through the air, inviting children to choose their own emotions. My 7-month-old Iris was mesmerized by the voice, not understanding where it came from but older children have really experienced the magic of that place.
- DOME DELLE EMOZIONI -> this time it’s Campo Bruno Reffi that turns into a real temple of fun for children. If you’ve already seen my video, you’ve probably got an idea about the beauty of this place. Entirely designed for children and with the sole aim of entertaining them with creative activities and workshops. And, of course, there is also Santa Claus! 🙂
Every afternoon, from 4.30pm to 7pm, there’s a wonderful Northern Lights show! Don’t miss it!
- EMOZIONI SUL GHIACCIO -> even the Cava dei Balestrieri has been transformed into a magical setting of magic and fun with a huge ice rink and the whole rock wall lit up with decorations. A real treat for the eyes!
- “POLAR EXPRESS” TRAIN -> €2 (one way) or €5 (return) take you San Marino’s old town while leaving your car at one of the parking lots. The rides are free for all children if they’re less than 1 meter tall.
- PRESEPE DELLE EMOZIONI -> Christmas couldn’t be Christmas without a nativity scene. The Galleria Montale has also been transformed into a museum on rails, it’s evocative and exciting to to say the least.
- EXPLORE THE BORGO -> there is nothing better to do than discover the Christmas atmosphere in San Marino. Shops open all day long, and there’s live music, shows for adults and children, snow-covered trees and record-breaking garlands.
- THE CHRISTMAS HOTEL -> one of the hotels where I stayed at was the Titan Hotel (I’ll tell you more about it later) and this is the first hotel in San Marino dedicated to Christmas. Both guests and tourists can access different areas designed for children: Santa’s suite, the room dedicated to nativity scenes and there are cooking demonstrations, floral arrangements and Christmas gift ideas.
SAN MARINO AND ACCESSIBLE TOURISM
San Marino put a lot of effort into welcoming anyone who wants to visit San Marino, at any time of the year, without having to worry about whether or not they can reach certain areas in town.
There are plenty of services and facilities that allow people with special needs to enjoy their holiday without barriers and difficulties.
Don’t take this the wrong way, but I believe that we can also include people travelling with prams and strollers for infants (and I’m one of them!).
San Marino is almost entirely uphill, that’s why it’s better to ensure that your baby is safe in a carrier or similar. Apart from that, I didn’t come across any other difficulties:
- All the restaurants we went to had changing tables and high chairs available;
- The Palazzo is fully accessible and equipped with comfortable elevators;
- The cable car that connects Borgo Maggiore with the old town is also accessible.
Tip -> the only problem you might have if you decide to stay in the old town is the numerous stairs. For this reason, I recommend that you choose your hotel carefully.
For any information about accessible tourism in San Marino, go to the website www.sanmarinopertutti.com
FAMILY ACCOMMODATIONS IN SAN MARINO
I stayed at two different places and I’ll talk about them both.
HOTEL TITANO -> an iconic hotel with a restaurant overlooking the central square and the valley. We stayed in the junior suite with 1 bedroom, 2 bathrooms, sofas and relaxation area. The refrigerator allowed me to store all the ingredients for my baby’s meals.
Tip -> For a 2/3-day trip, I usually prepare vegetable broth and a vegetable soup to take with me on the trip. After that, I just have to add broth and vegetables to puree meat and cheese, that’s it.
Not having a kitchen at my disposal, I took everything I needed with me every time we went to a restaurant (more on that later) and all the waiters have been accommodating as to the preparation of baby’s food.
This 4-star hotel, of undoubted quality, with Art Nouveau furniture, also has a refined restaurant called “La Terrazza”.
TRATTORIA AND LOCANDA JOLE -> Yes, from the name you’d think this was just a restaurant but recently, the owner Mara has turned part of the property into a vacation rental. Two rooms, both with private bathrooms, and a shared kitchen. An excellent accommodation for anyone who needs a kitchen while traveling.
We stayed in a room with a double double bed, where one of the two was equipped with baby bed rails and cot bumpers.
Tip for parents -> to get to the apartment, you have to go down a dozen steps but, on the other hand, you are right in the town center, close to every attraction.
San Marino is a vibrant destination all-year-round but during Christmas time there are so many events that we went out almost every night during our stay and had the best of the time.
WHERE TO EAT IN SAN MARINO?
I thought it best to dedicate a separate article to this topic, here it is: Where to eat in San Marino? My favourite places! I can tell you that the food is very similar to that from the Italian region of Romagna and that all restaurants tend to serve homemade dairy products, meats and bread.
Questions? Just drop me a line!