Hey there travelers! My name is Marta and in this article I will be sharing my experiences and recommendations for the wonderful city of Bologna. I live near Lisbon and had the chance to travel across Portugal with my parents when I was younger. At 23, I took my first trip with my friends and loved it. We discovered new places, spoke a different language, got lost in the streets and used a paper map to get around. It was a lot of fun!
Since taking this first trip, I haven’t stopped traveling – despite working full time. Whenever I can, I head over to a new country to immerse myself in its culture. This is my biggest passion in life. Recently, I visited Italy but only had enough time to see the cities of Florence and Bologna. I still want to explore more of Italy because it’s a destination that has a lot to offer.
At the beginning of each year, I try to take advantage of the best deals I can find. I had wanted to visit Italy for a long time, and it turned out that the transport to Bologna was at a great price and in a festive season that allowed me to go. I also took the opportunity to visit Florence which has always been at the top of my list. Florence is easily accessible from Bologna.
After seeing Bologna for the first time, I can safely say that it’s a city every traveler should visit at least once. However, I don’t think you need more than three days. Bologna is colorful and characterized by the number of porticos on every street. It’s possible to climb some of the towers and enjoy a panoramic view over the city. Overall, it has a contagious energy.
Favorite Memory from my Trip
The first thing I remember when I think of Bologna is the moment I sat down on a terrace in Piazza Maggiore. When I looked at the street performers, there was a boy singing and another playing the piano. The music was beautiful. When reading their card, I realized the piano boy was Portuguese and I wondered what made him become a street artist in Italy. The answer was obvious – the freedom to do what we love, wherever.
Best Things To Do in Bologna
- Explore Bologna’s secret canals
- Walk down the narrow and colorful streets of Bologna
- See the Fountain of Neptune and take a photo (of course)
- Climb the Torre dell’orologio clock tower and enjoy the view of the city
- Enter the Basilica di San Petronio and be enchanted by its architecture
- Visit the stunning Piazza Maggiore and enjoy a drink in one of the restaurants, while listening to music played by talented street artists.
- Head up the Two Towers (Torre degli Asinelli & Garisenda) and soak up the epic views. Torre degli Asinelli is one of the highest towers in Italy.
Mixed Feelings about the Food
To my astonishment, I didn’t love the food in Bologna. I guess I was unlucky in the restaurants I went to. Through Tripadvisor, I selected places with the “best” rating. I won’t say the specific names but I can certainly say that they were real disappointments. The orders took a long time and in the end they served us two cold pizzas, not to mention the exorbitantly high prices.
However, we discovered a cafe/restaurant that served piadinas and they were amazing. We loved the concept, as it was simple and delicious food. The restaurant is called Magnifico and is located on the main avenue. Portuguese cuisine is top-notch and that is why Portuguese people can get very picky about food. Nonetheless, I’m sure you can find great food in Bologna. It is Italy after all and this country is famous for its foodie scene!
Albergo Centrale Bologna Review
I stayed at the 3-star hotel Albergo Centrale. It has an excellent location in the center of Bologna, just three minutes away from the centerpiece of the city, Piazza Maggiore. Albergo Centrale is definitely a simple hotel but it has all the essentials that you could ask for – a high level of cleanliness, a satisfying breakfast and a comfortable bed. What more do you need?!
Tips for your Visit to Bologna
Bologna has good transport but don’t take an Uber or taxi because you will spend a lot. If you want to go to a restaurant, book in advance. To visit a tourist attraction, for which you need a ticket, you can only buy one in the tourist center located in Piazza Maggiore called Bologna Welcome. It’s at this post that you can buy tickets. For the towers, go up at sunset – at this time the light is more beautiful and the city has incredible colors on display.