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Elegant terracotta coloured buildings arc around peaceful pedestrianised squares, also home to some of Italy’s best trattorias and restaurants. Their famous covered porticos create a romantic effect along the historic grid of the city which dates from the medieval period. Many of the best places to stay in Bologna can be found on this grid, but if you'd rather something a bit more modern, then you’ll find what you're looking for in the edgier parts of town around the world’s oldest university.
Despite its beautifully preserved historic centre and penchant for wonderfully traditional cuisine, Bologna is thought of as a progressive city and if you enjoy political or philosophical debate then this town is for you.
Bologna is a great city for getting around on foot, there are just so many beautiful things to see. You’ll also be sure to see lots of bikes.
As far as your explorations go, start on the Via Rizzoli or the Piazza Maggiore and don’t skip the Fountain of Neptune or the any of the 666 porticoes, which begin at the Porta Saragozza at the end of the Via Saragozza. If you’re looking for a lively cafe or bar head to the 900 year old University Quarter around Via Zamboni.
What Not To Miss
- The Museo della Storia di Bologna is a beautiful palace which uses super modern technology to deliver fascinating information about Bologna’s past.
- The Abbazia di Santo Stefano is an architectural marvel, with its labyrinth of structures connecting four separate churches.
- Bologna’s Gothic Basilica is an amazing masterpiece which, despite being started in 1390, is still unfinished! Despite that, its almost 70metre sundial was instrumental in discovering the anomalies of our calendar and lead to the decision to create the leap year.
- The Teatro Anatomico is a 17th Century medical theatre where people came to watch bodies being dissected. Nowadays, it houses a fascinating science museum.
- And then there are the numerous museums, (including the Ducati Museum), art museums - both modern and traditional - as well as palaces.
Don't forget this is a busy city year round, for both business and leisure travellers. So if you want to secure a room in one of the best places to stay in Bologna, get organised and book ahead.
For a city centre location
- In the pedestrianised part of the city, the Hotel Orologio is a traditional Italian hotel with opulent decor and large windows, There are 33 individually designed rooms, some of them with views of the Piazza Maggiore and the Clock Tower.
- The Hotel Commercianti is a 35 room hotel in the heart of Bologna. Expect plenty of character and original features - including beamed ceilings and a fresco or two, and each room is individually designed and decorated. They serve hearty breakfasts which are included in the price.
- Art Hotel Novecento is situated bang smack in the centre of town, providing contemporary and individually styled rooms. A stylish city spot in a superb location.
- Hotel Corona d'Oro boasts elegant, traditionally Italian decor and classy accommodation. Make use of the free bikes available to explore every inch of Bologna. A top-notch stay.
- Grand Hotel Majestic is set in an 18th century palace in the heart of the city. You'll feel like royalty in their opulent rooms which evoke memories of bygone eras, whilst their lovely restaurant specialises in traditional regional dishes.
- I Portici is a splendid all-round option, boasting modern minimalist accommodation in the centre of town from around £105 per night. Plus, to top it all off, there's a Michelin-starred restaurant!
- Hotel Touring offers stylish yet unfussy accommodation just a stone's throw away from the city's historic centre. Be sure to enjoy a tipple on the rooftop terrace and marvel at the stunning views.
- Hotel Porta San Mamolo boasts elegantly traditional accommodation featuring period wallpaper and exposed beams. With free bikes available and rooms from just over £100, what's not to love?
For An Apartment
- If you think a self-catering option would best suit your needs then browse through the wide variety available with our partner, booking.com.
- July and August are the nicest months weather-wise, with average daily temperatures of around 25°C. Be warned though that this is peak season, so if you fancy paying less for your accommodation and avoiding the crowds then the shoulder seasons, May and September, still promise lovely weather.
- International visitors can fly into Bologna Airport. From here, hop on the Aerobus service (operated by TPER) which runs every 11 minutes and costs €6 to get to the centre of town. Alternatively, a taxi will cost you around €15. Ryanair offer direct flights from Stansted and Edinburgh (lasting just over 2 hours), Easyjet from Gatwick and British Airways from Heathrow.
- For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.
Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Bologna for you?
Best Hotels in Bologna
Hotel Porta San Mamolo 28 rooms from £104Bologna
Located in a quiet location ten minutes outside Bologna's centre. Featuring spacious, elegantly decorated rooms with period wallpaper and exposed beams. Be sure to enjoy the buffet breakfast served each morning before going off exploring. An intimate and traditional city spot.Value chic - A quaint stay with a great price tagLocal markets - Head to the Mercato di Mezza to check out the wonderful array of food at their stalls and experience the lively atmosphereSights nearby - The Church San Domenico, Via Indipendenza and Palazzo Comunale are all situates less than a mile awayFull of characterRecommended by - Michelin Travel
I Portici 89 rooms from £105Bologna
Behind its very grand grey and pink facade, sheltered by the vaults of Bologna's famed arcades, (from which it takes its name) I Portici looks promisingly stylish from the moment you enter its huge, atrium-style lobby. Surprisingly good value for money and very convenient for exploring the city.Restaurant - Michelin starred restaurantSights nearby - Bologna Towers, Piazza Maggiore and historic Quadrilatero diistrict, all nearbyDesigner - Uniquely designed interiors.Recommended by - Small Luxury Hotels
Hotel Corona d'Oro 40 rooms from £131Bologna
This luxurious hotel is situated in Bologna's city centre a short distance away from the sights. It features beautiful, elegantly decorated rooms and suites whilst the communal areas have stunning traditionally Italian decor. Make use of the free bikes to get to know Bologna. A classy city stay.City Style - With its central location in the heart of Bologna you're in an ideal spot from which to explore the cityLocal exploring - The hotel's in a pedestrian-only zone so you can easily wander around and get to know your surroundingsSights nearby - Less than a mile away from the Bologna Towers, Piazza Maggiore and the Basilica of San Petronio-ideal for a spot of sightseeingLocal markets - Visit Mercato di Mezza to indulge in the wonderful food their stalls sell and experience the lively atmosphereRecommended by - CN Traveller
Hotel Commercianti 35 rooms from £161Bologna
A characterful property located in the heart of Bologna. Individually styled rooms are traditional in style with beamed ceilings, chintz fabrics and some feature frescoes. Hearty breakfasts served. An ideal base for city exploring.Local exploring - Located right in the heart of Bologna and bikes are even provided to make city exploration even easier.Local markets - Wander the streets of the Quadrilatero, the medieval market, where you can sample local delicacies.Sights nearby - Located next to the San Petronio Basilica and the Fountain of Neptune.Cooking classes - Learn how to make regional dishes at “Il salotto di Penelope”.
Art Hotel Novecento 25 rooms from £162Bologna
Art Hotel Novecento enjoys a great location right in the centre of Bologna, overlooking a quiet, largely traffic-free square. Individually decorated rooms are styled in a contemporary fashion whilst some include their own private balconies. A conveniently located and hip spot for a city stay.Sights nearby - Be sure to head to Bologna's Towers just a 5 minute walk away and the hotel's also less than a mile from Via IndipendenzaLocal markets - The Mercato di Mezza is a must see with its variety of food stalls and electric atmosphere
Hotel Orologio 33 rooms from £173Bologna
An excellently located property in the pedestrianised area of Bologna. Individually designed rooms, traditional in style, with typical Italian opulence. Heavy draped curtains, warm hues and large sash windows. Bicycles for hire to whizz around the city. An ideal base for exploring the city.Local exploring - Well situated overlooking Bologna's historic centre and walking distance from many of its sights.Sights nearby - The Piazza Maggiore and Clock Tower are just steps from the hotel.Full of characterViews - Great views from hotel
Grand Hotel Majestic 109 rooms from £201Bologna
This velvet-lined 18th century palace is situated right in the heart of Bologna. Rooms and suites are decorated in an opulent, elegant manner and some adorned with unique frescoes. The restaurant serves traditional regional dishes and has an excellent wine list. An upmarket stay.Local exploring - Being only 800 feet from Piazza Maggiore and Bologna's Two Towers there's no excuse to not indulge in a little sightseeing!Romantic Break - Feel like royalty in their palatial rooms and spend the day leisurely wandering around beautiful Bologna togetherCity Style - The hotel enjoys a wonderful location right in the heart of BolognaLocal markets - Be sure to visit the Mercato di Mezza to experience its lively energy and try some of the delicious food being sold