The medieval town of Bologna is located in Northern Italy and is a great place to travel to. It is home to the University of Bologna which was founded back in 1088, making it the oldest university in the world. Today the city is lively and charismatic with a large number of young citizens, and most people who grow up here choose to stay for their entire lives. The city centre inside the ancient city walls is filled with striking historical buildings and porticoes. One of the best things about Bologna is the food, so make sure to stop by as many restaurants as you can during your stay.
When you are visiting Bologna and are trying to find the best hotels to book a room in you will be thinking a lot about your location. There are several neighborhoods for you to choose from and the area that you stay in can have a big impact on your vacation, which is why you should do some research before making the final decision.
Tourist tip: Whether you want to store your luggage, a few backpacks, or some shopping purchases, locate a suitcase storage service in Bologna and make use of it while here. Keep your belongings safe and out of the way as you see the sights!
Where to stay in Ghetto Ebraico
Let's begin the list with what most people say is the coolest part of the city. It was built in the 16th century and is the former Jewish quarter, and this part of town is quite different when you compare it to the medieval area of Bologna. The houses here are colorful and lined along narrow streets, and Ghetto Ebraico is a fun and charming spot to stay in Bologna.
While you are in the area, we recommend you head to the Via dell'Inferno. This is the former location of the synagogue but after it burned down, several small artisan shops moved in. Now it is one of the best places to find trinkets and souvenirs to bring with you back home. Afterward, make your way to one of the coffee shops at the piazzas to try some delicious authentic Italian coffee.
This neighborhood has its own little museum called the Museo Ebraico which can show and tell you a lot more about the city through objects, films, and exhibits if you are interested. This neighborhood is also where the University of Bologna is located in the university district which you should make time to visit.
The best location for sleeping in Ghetto Ebraico is at the Le Stanze Del Carro, which has traditional style and budget friendly accommodation options. Another great choice is the Best Western Hotel San Donato where every room includes a flat-screen TV and air conditioning, plus they have family rooms in case you are traveling with kids.
Where to stay in Centro Storico
Centro Storico is the Old Town of Bologna and the best place to stay for first time visitors. It is a convenient location for tourists to find accommodation since it is close to most of the main attractions. The historic streets are perfect for taking a stroll through, and exploring this part of the city by foot can give you a peek into what life is like in Bologna. If you are looking for a romantic vacation spot then this neighborhood can do well too.
This part of town is home to several important buildings like the City Hall, the Neptune's Fountain at Piazza Maggiore, and the Basilica di San Petronio which is comparable to St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. East of Piazza Maggiore is the Due Torri, medieval defense towers of which nearly a hundred existed years ago, but now there are only 24 left. These two towers are the most iconic of them all and are a symbol of Bologna.
The market hall is also a good place to visit, and if you plan out your schedule you can make your own walking tour to see everything in one day. If you have a sense for fashion then you will want to go to the main shopping street of Via dell'Indipendenza to shop at all of the best Italian designer stores. Bologna Centro Storico also has a great food scene and is a good place to try Italian cuisine in the restaurants.
Some of the best hotels in the historic centre include the Grand Hotel Majestic Gia' Baglioni or the Hotel Corona d'Oro. A nice luxurious boutique hotel is the Aemilia Hotel Bologna which has big rooms, a buffet breakfast, and a bar as well as a jacuzzi on the rooftop. You can also try the Hotel Metropolitan Bologna which is in the mid price range and is close to the main square.
Where to stay in Bolognina
Bolognina, also known as Little Bologna, is located north east from the historic city centre and is a nice combination of fun and relaxation. It is a downscaled version of central Bologna and is where you can experience the best of Bologna all in one spot. It is a good place to stay if you want to experience local life and avoid the busyness of the historical centre since there are not usually as many tourists here. Many visitors claim that it is the best spot for families. This neighborhood is multicultural and everyone is welcome.
This part of town has lots of street art and it can be fun to spend an afternoon walking around the city streets to take it all in. As well, street food trucks and fine dining restaurants are scattered about so you can go on a nice dinner date and try all of the best local foods, or head to the Albani Market for local produce. When the sun goes down you will notice that the area has a lively nightlife and if you are someone who enjoys frequenting bars and clubs then this place is great for you. Since Bolognina is just north of the main train station you can get around the whole city easily.
There is not a wide selection of hotels in this part of the city but there are a few near the central train station. One of the nicest is the AC Hotel Bologna which has comfortable rooms with air conditioning and a fitness center. The Savhotel is a four star hotel that is minimalist with modern rooms but has everything needed to make your stay comfortable. The Hotel II Guercino is within easy walking distance from the train station, has friendly staff, and is located in a quiet area.
Where to stay in Bologna Centrale Station
If you are only in Bologna for a couple of days and are planning to travel around a lot during your stay, then finding a hotel near the Bologna Centrale Station is probably your best bet. It is the fifth largest train station in the entirety of Italy, and on average, about 159,000 people use it every day. It can be used to get between other major Italian cities as well as within Bologna.
If you choose to stay here then you will have the opportunity to do a lot. Why not take a couple of day trips to Rome, Venice, Milan, Florence, or Rimini? There are also nearly 500 bus and metro routes ready to take you to all of the best tourist attractions in the other neighborhoods, so your opportunities are endless.
In general, the area is cheaper than most others and is basically in the center of the city, so many places can be reached by foot too. For example, Piazza Maggiore is only a 20 minute walk away and Bolognina is even closer. As for things to do within this neighborhood itself, you can visit the Museum of Modern Art Bologna or stop by the Porta Galleria.
Nice Bologna hotels in this area include the Mercure Bologna Centro which has a modern style and is conveniently located just across from the train station. For spacious rooms and free breakfast, you can stay at the Starhotels Excelsior or treat yourself to the luxury of the Royal Hotel Carlton which has a spa and pool.
Where to stay in Fiera di Bologna
In the northern part of Bologna is the area of Fiera di Bologna. It is the main business district and there aren't as many tourist attractions here as in other areas, but it does come to life every time that there are festivals and events. If you are visiting the city for a specific celebration then why not stay at Fiera di Bologna so you can be close to all of the action?
Although there are not as many things to do here it is well connected to the rest of the city with public transportation so you can make your way to other neighborhoods if there is something specific that you want to do. Otherwise, this spot has some great eateries and you won't have to search far to find a nice restaurant serving the best Italian dishes. FICO World Italy is the world's largest food park and has over 45 restaurants in the one location. If you are interested in trying different wines then you can participate in a wine tasting or food tour.
Since this place is not as touristy as other Bologna neighborhoods it has the benefit of being less expensive, so it is also a good choice for budget and business travelers. A nice five star hotel is the Unahotels Bologna Fiera, and the Sydney Hotel is a great choice too. Hotel Fattori stands as the best budget hotel in the area and has a bar, free WiFi, and everything else that you might need during your stay.
Where to stay in Porto-Zaragoza
This region in Bologna is known for its artistic style and is also the landmark for the local LGBTQ community. The people here are welcoming and friendly, and it is the place to go if you want to experience local culture and art. Locally, this place is called the Manifattura delle Arti, or Factory of the Arts.
There are some art galleries and museums located in this area that you should make a point to visit if you decide to stay here. The Museum of Modern Art of Bologna is not too far away, and the Cineteca di Bologna headquarters calls this place home too. The University of Bologna's Cinema Lumiere and Department of Philosophy and Communications are also set up here.
If you are visiting during the summertime then you will love this place even more since it is where many festivals and celebrations take place. Most of the events happen in the Cavaticco public gardens. Have fun day or night in Bologna!
Your best accommodations in this area include the Zanhotel Europa which has comfortable and classically decorated rooms. The Nuovo Hotel Del Porto is a nice three star hotel and is a good place to stay if you want to save a bit of money.
Discover Bologna Through its Best Neighborhoods
If you are lucky enough to visit Bologna then you are in for a treat. Whether you choose to stay in the historic city centre or in a neighborhood located a little further away, you are sure to enjoy your stay. Thanks to the public transportation system you will never be too far away from the major attractions and can get anywhere within the city quickly and easily.
If you aren't visiting for long, you can consider staying in one of the best Bologna hotels connected to the airport bus terminal. However, if you have the time and don't mind the extra cost you can book a room in the central district to be closer to all of the big tourist attractions.
Of course, there is somewhere for everyone to stay in Bologna and if you are trying to save money then other areas will be better suited to you. Bologna is the largest city in Italy's northern Emilia-Romagna region so you will have lots to discover, and we bet that you will want to come back after your first visit.