14 Charming Things to Do in Rimini, Italy: A Travel Guide
Rimini is a city that exceeded all my expectations. For many people, Rimini is primarily known as a beach and party destination, much like Cinque Terre is known to be crowded and busy or Milan is know as one of the “uglier” cities in Italy. As I found both of this untrue for Cinque Terre and Milan, I discovered the same of Rimini. When I arrived and found a nice city with a charming old city center, I was quite surprised. Rimini is great to visit for a day. Here all my best tips for beautiful things to do in Rimini, from the sights to restaurants and more!
How to Get to Rimini
Rimini is a seaside resort on the Adriatic Sea in the province of Emilia-Romagna in eastern Italy. The city has around 150,000 inhabitants.
Although Rimini has its own airport, there are no direct flights from the Netherlands. So it’s best to fly to Bologna and take the train (or the rental car ) from there. It takes less than an hour by train, and it takes about an hour and a half by car.
Rimini is also close to San Marino (more than half an hour by car), so that is great area to combine it with!
Parking in Rimini:
There are many parking options in Rimini. The easiest way is to park just outside the center. The parking spaces below are all around the old center.
- Rimini parking Settebello: Via Rome 86, 47921 Rimini
- Parcheggio Tiberio: Viale Tiberio, 47921 Rimini
- Parcheggio Multipiano Italo Flori: Via Renato Fracassi, 47922 Rimini
For more information about parking in Rimini, check this website.
Why Visit Rimini
As you are used to from me, I always go into a brief history of the destination in my travel guides. This gives you more context about the destination and the sights in the city. And so also Rimini!
Rimini is very old, and was founded by the Romans: in 268 BC. The city was then called Ariminum. Around the city were three important roads that connected the city with northern and central Italy. Because of this position, the city became more and more influential, and Rimini was also able to trade between the port and the hinterland.
In the early Middle Ages the city came into the hands of the Malatesta family. The family ruled in the city from 1295 to 1503, until the city finally came into the hands of the Popes. The most important sights from the city were either built by the Romans or by the Malatesta family.
Since the first beach pavilions were built in 1845, Rimini has been a popular tourist destination. The chic Grand Hotel was the first beach hotel to be opened at the beginning of the 20th century. During the Second World War, Rimini was considerably damaged by bombing. During the reconstruction of the city, much attention was paid to the development of tourism.
14 Things to Do in Rimini & Nearby
1. Visit the Old Center
The biggest surprise of my visit to Rimini was the fact that the city really has a very nice old center. Here you will find almost all important sights that demonstrate an age-long history. From a Roman bridge to the cinema where Federico Fellini saw his first films: Rimini is bursting with history.
When I walked through the center I also saw a lot of nice shops. I think you can really do good shopping here. It is good for my wallet that I didn’t have time for that. The old center is quite small; you can walk from one side to the other in about 10 or 15 minutes. So you have seen all the highlights this way.
2. Cross the Ponte di Tiberio
The marble bridge Ponte di Tiberio is one of the oldest sights in the city. The monumental structure dates from 20 AD, which makes the bridge 2000 years old (!). It was the only bridge over the Marecchia River that was not destroyed by the retreating armies of the Germans.
3. Watch a Movie at the Cinema Fulgor
Maybe a surprising tip to see a movie theater on this list, but I would definitely recommend watching a movie at the Cinema Fulgor. The room is beautiful, and completely decorated in vintage style. In this cinema, the famous director Federico Fellini, who was from Rimini, saw his very first films. (In fact, you can do a whole Fellini themed tour of Rimini here)
The cinema didn’t look that glamorous at all. This has only been true since 2018, and the design was inspired by Fellini’s creative films.
4. See Castel Sismondo
You can see from Castel Sismondo that it mainly had a defense function, because it is not very extravagant. The castle was built by the lord of Rimini, Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta in 1437. Originally there was a large moat around the castle.
The construction took 15 years, after which Malatesta lived here until his death. Fun fact: there are no windows on the town side of the castle because the man was afraid that he might even be attacked from his own town. He was not very popular.
5. Visit the Tempio Malatestiano
This unfinished church is the most important in Rimini. Just like the castle above, this church is named after the man who ordered the (re) construction: Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta.
You can tell that Tempio Malatestiano is unfinished at the top of the facade, as you can see that behind the white marble facade, there is an original 13th century church. The plan was that on top of this church a dome like that of the Pantheon in Rome would come.
The church was never finished because Malatesta was excommunicated from Rimini, and his fortune diminished so that he could no longer afford the costs. After his death in 1468, construction officially came to a halt. Both Sigismondo Pandolfo and his wife Isotta are buried in the church.
6. Cross Under the Arco d’Augusto
The Arch of Augustus is an arch that was built by Emperor Augustus in 27 BC, and was meant to mark the end of the Via Flaminia. This was an important road that connected the cities of Romagna and Rome. The city gate is particularly large for that time, and it is suspected that it was because there was no threat at that time, and therefore there was no need for a gate that could close.
The battlements on top of the gate date from the 10th century. The gate remained part of the city walls, until the Mussolini regime tore down the city wall, and the gate remained standing as a monument.
7. Visit the Piazza Tre Martiri
The Piazza Tre Martiri has always been the center of the city. Here you used to find the Foro Romano, a market place in Roman times. Julius Caesar is said to have given an important speech on this square. Even now there is a market on the weekend.
You can also find excavations from Roman times, and you can see how the Roman street was exactly in the same place here at that time. So you literally walk on a street where people have been walking for 2,000 years, how special?!
The tower on the square is the Torre dell’Orologio, which dates from later times: from 1547. Until 1945, the square was called Piazza Giulio Cesare. The square was then named after the three men of the Italian resistance who were executed on this square on 16 August 1944.
8. Visit the Piazza Cavour
The other important square of Rimini (which, by the way, is much nicer) is Piazza Cavour. During the Middle Ages, this square grew into the commercial heart of the city. On one side of the square you will find Palazzo Grampi (1562), the Roman-Gothic Palazzo dell’Arengo (1204) and the Palazzo del Podesta (1330).
At the head of the square you will find Teatro Galli (see below). And on the other sides of the square you will find the old fish market (1747), and a large number of restaurants and cafes. You will also find monuments for Pope Paul V on this square, and a 16th-century fountain, which until 1912 was the only source of drinking water in the city.
Although the square is very beautiful during the day, it is even more romantic in the evenings.
9. Do a Tour or See a Show at Teatro Galli
The beautiful Teatro Galli dates from 1857, when it was opened by composer Giuseppe Verdi. Rimini has never been a city with a very great opera tradition. However, the theater nevertheless played an important role in the city. Unfortunately, the theater was destroyed during bombing during the Second World War.
It took no less than 75 years for the theater to open again: in 2018. The building now looks like it once looked like in its heyday. You can only visit the theater itself with a tour (or with a show!), But you can of course simply view the café and the foyer.
10. Visit the Borgo San Giuliano
If you cross the Ponte di Tiberio from the center you will arrive in Borgo San Giuliano, a neighborhood that used to be a lovely fishing village. In the 11th century, this was a fishing village that lay outside the city walls of Rimini, where life was poor. In the 20th century, however, the district was incorporated into the growing city.
You really want to browse through this, it is so romantic. Think: narrow colorful streets with cobblestones and squares with street art inspired by the work of Federico Fellini, who was born in this neighborhood. Tip: Go to Via Marecchia and walk into the neighborhood.
11. Relax on Rimini Beach
Of course you can’t go to Rimini and skip the beach. It is not for nothing that it is the most famous seaside resort in Italy. Although I am not a big fan of sunbathing, I went there for a nice walk. Rimini has almost 15 kilometers of beach. On the promenade you will also find a lot of restaurants and beach clubs.
12. Go Sailing in Rimini
Rimini also has a marina, from where you can take a boat trip. We made a trip with a sailboat and were even allowed to sail it, haha. Afterwards we sat down with our feet in the water with a glass of prosecco, while we looked out over the coastline. Delicious!
13. Cycle in Rimini
Also one of the nice things to do in Rimini: cycling. I thought that there were quite a lot of cycle paths, and that the city was easy to discover by bicycle. Especially since the center is not that big. But the walk to the beach can take quite a long time (20 minutes), so there is nothing better than renting a bike and cycling to it.
14. Go to Nearby San Marino
Okay, so San Marino is not in Rimini, but it’s super close. You can even see it from the city, because it is on top of a mountain. In half an hour you are there.
San Marino is one of the smallest countries in the world and, moreover, the oldest republic in the world. It has a beautiful location on top of a mountain, and I would definitely recommend you to visit the capital, with its beautiful winding streets and towers.
Where to Eat in Rimini
You can eat good fish in Rimini, given its location on the sea. And where better than in the former fishing village? La Marianna is a popular seafood restaurant where locals come when they have something to celebrate.
This beautiful five-star hotel is not only my accommodation tips, but also my lunch tip. We had a fantastic lunch with pasta and all kinds of small snacks while we sat on the sun-drenched terrace of the Grand Hotel. A highlight of my trip!
Private dinner on a catamaran with Chef Mirko de Lirio
Another absolute highlight was that evening on a catamaran when a private chef cooked a four-course dinner for us, while we were watching the starry sky on the deck with prosecco. Magic. You can book through Chef Mirko .
Where to Stay in Rimini
During my city trip in Rimini I slept in this design hotel in the heart of the city. My room was so spacious that I even had a fitness machine and a private jacuzzi! The breakfast was also really delicious. Check here for rates & availability
If you want classic luxury, then of course you can only stay in one place: the Grand Hotel. Enjoy the lovely swimming pool, or stroll across the boulevard and settle down on the beach. This is the best choice for luxury travelers. Check here for rates & availability
What are your best tips for what to do in Rimini?
General Travel Tips
- For accommodation, I always check Airbnb or Booking.com for the best prices.
- If your insurance at home doesn’t cover travel, you may want to look into SafetyWing for an affordable option.
- I always recommend checking Get Your Guide for the best tours in Europe and Tiqets for specific attraction deals.
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Disclosure: I was in Rimini on a press trip.