A full guide to where to stay in Bologna, Italy (+ the best hotels in the city centre, near the train station, Fiera di Bologna and with parking).
Centrally located, Bologna is a great base to explore the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. This pretty medieval city boasts a rich history, eye-catching attractions and the best food in Italy. You’ll find not only still intact ancient structures, but also charming piazzas, palaces and the oldest university in Europe!
The city of Bologna is divided into six administrative districts (quartieri). However, if you’re visiting for tourism, the historic city centre is the place where you’ll spend most of your time. This is probably the perfect area for first-timers (unless you’re travelling by car).
Continue reading to find out the best places to stay in Bologna (including where to stay with a car and near the train station).
I visited Bologna as a part of my Italian trip, which also included Florence. This was my first time in the city and I wanted to see the best of it during my short stay. Thus, I needed accommodation close to Piazza Maggiore (where most of the tourist sights are). In addition, I preferred to be within walking distance to the train station, as I would travel by train to Florence.
If you’re visiting Bologna for tourism and want to be close to everything, stay in the area between Piazza Maggiore and the train station. This is the best location for sightseeing, dining out and day trips by train.
Most popular hotel in Bologna
In a hurry? Looking for a nice hotel with a convenient location in the heart of the city?
Then check out the Hotel Metropolitan – it’s one of the most popular hotels in Bologna.
Hotel Metropolitan has the ideal location to discover Bologna. It’s at walking distance to the famous Piazza Maggiore and not far from the Central train Station. In addition, the main shopping street, Via dell’Indipendenza is just around the corner.
Why book – central location, next to a shopping street, rooftop terrace with city views, spacious rooms
Where to stay in Bologna, Italy
- Centro Storico – the best place for sightseeing
- Central train station – for day trips or one night
- Outside the city walls – if travelling by car
- Fiera di Bologna – for business travellers
Centro Storico – best area to stay in Bologna
The best area to stay in Bologna is Centro Storico. This is the historic city centre, where you’ll find all the tourist attractions, including the Fountain of Neptune, Basilica of San Petronio and the medieval towers. Centro Storico is also the best place to stay in Bologna for foodies or first-time visitors.
If you look at a map, you’ll see a yellow hexagon right next to Bologna Centrale (the central train station). The historic city centre is located inside the hexagon.
The heart of the Old Town is Piazza Maggiore and most of the attractions are within a short walk from the piazza. I’d totally recommend you staying here if you’re visiting Bologna for just a few days.
The area is also great for foodies, as here you’ll find the oldest food market in the city, Mercato di Mezzo. The perfect place for a food tour! Wondering where to stop for lunch? Head to Sfoglia Rina and enjoy the best pasta in Bologna.
Why stay in Centro Storico
- stay here if you want to explore easily the city’s cultural and gastronomic highlights
- the best place to stay in Bologna for sightseeing (all tourist sights are within a 10min walk)
- convenient area if you’re travelling by train (the train station is less than a 20min walk)
- easy access to the airport (just take the Aerobus from the train station)
- take a stroll along Via Rizzoli and Via dell’Indipendenza, two of the main shopping streets
- for some cocktails head to Via Pratello (the street is packed with cafes and bars)
Hotels in Centro Storico (Best for couples)
This boutique hotel, located in the heart of the medieval centre, offers excellent value for money. The rooms feature old Italian decor with a modern twist, marble bathrooms and comfy beds. You can even enjoy the beautiful stained glass windows of Basilica of San Petronio right from your balcony!
Why book – next to Fountain of Neptune, quiet location, private garage, excellent breakfast
This stylish hotel is situated in a traffic-free area in the heart of Centro Storico. It’s the perfect place to stay to explore Bologna. Restaurants, tourist attractions, everything is right at your doorstep. The rooms are elegant and quiet, decorated in a classic style.
Why book – next to the Two Towers, perfect location for sightseeing, quiet rooms
Hotels in Centro Storico (Best for families)
Featuring spacious rooms, this modern hotel is the best place to stay in Bologna for families. The location is very central, next to the main shopping street, Via dell’Indipendenza, and close to all tourist sights. In addition, you’ll find a great choice of restaurants close by as well.
Why book – 400m from Piazza Maggiore, next to a shopping street, rooftop terrace with city views, spacious family rooms
Superb location, just off the main city’s square, Piazza Maggiore. The rooms are individually themed and feature excellent facilities, including a kettle, tea and coffee. The excellent buffet breakfast includes gluten-free and organic options as well.
Why book – next to Piazza Maggiore, private parking on site, pillow menu, excellent breakfast
Best luxury hotels in Centro Storico
If you look for a luxury place to stay in Bologna, this is the best option. Set in an 18th-century historic palace, the hotel is excellently positioned for sightseeing and restaurants. Rooms are decorated with unique frescoes and antique furniture. And in bathrooms, you’ll find Trussardi toiletries!
Why book – central location next to the main shopping street, historical cellar on site, outstanding buffet breakfast
Apartments in Centro Storico
Perfectly located, secure apartments in central Bologna, close to the major attractions. The accommodation features a fully equipped kitchen including a dishwasher, a washing machine, as well as an electric teapot and a coffee machine.
Why book – 330m from Piazza Maggiore, air-conditioning, a grocery store right outside the building, easy check-in
Nicely decorated and spacious apartments with a fully equipped kitchen. Ideal location, within walking distance of all of Bologna. Moreover, you’ll find plenty of restaurants and cafes in the area.
Why book – 520m from Piazza Maggiore, next to a shopping street, air-conditioning
Best hotels in Bologna near the train station
The Central Railway station (Bologna Centrale) is located north of Centro Storico. It’s one of the major train stations in Italy, providing direct connections to Rome, Milan, Florence and Venice.
The area around Bologna Centrale is perfect for all visitors who plan to explore Emilia-Romagna by rail. It’s a great base if you’re visiting the city for one night, too. You’ll be less than a 15min walk from Piazza Maggiore and have easy access to trains and the airport.
Why stay near the train station
- the best area to stay in Bologna for day-tripping or one night
- all tourist attractions are at a walking distance
- easy access to the airport (just take the Aerobus from the train station)
If you look for accommodation really close to the train station, look no further! Starhotels Excelsior is situated right opposite the Bologna Centrale. This is the best location to stay for convenient transport links and day trips.
Why book – opposite the train station and airport bus terminal, spacious quiet rooms, 24-hour front desk
Located just steps from the Central train station, this modern hotel is perfect for a short stay. You can easily take day trips to Verona, Modena, Ferrara or even Florence! Moreover, you’ll find plenty of local restaurants around (cheaper than the ones in the central area).
Why book – 200m from the train station, spacious rooms, baggage storage, 24-hour front desk
Where to stay in Bologna with a car
Almost all of the historic centre is a Limited Traffic Zone (LTZ). Additionally, it’s divided into three smaller zones – Zona Sirio, Zona T and Zona Universitaria.
You can access Zona Sirio if you’re staying in a hotel in the area. Keep in mind that in this case, the hotel must communicate your license plate to the city office. Also, be careful not to enter in the Zona T and Zona Universitaria, because they have stronger restrictions and you’ll be fined.
The best place to stay in Bologna if you’re travelling by car is outside the historic city centre. If you look at a map, this means outside the yellow hexagon. In this way, you won’t accidentally enter the LTZ. Plus, you’ll be still within walking distance to the main tourist sites.
Why stay outside Centro Storico
- the best area to stay for exploring the Emilia-Romagna region by car
- easy access if you’re arriving by car
- only 20min walk from Piazza Maggiore
This is the best place to stay in Bologna if you’re travelling by car. Although located outside the LTZ, the hotel is still close to the historic centre (less than a 15min walk). Plus, there is a secure underground parking garage with lots of space.
Why book – 15min walk from the historic centre, air-conditioning, secure underground parking
Suite Hotel Elite is outside the LTZ, just a short walk from the ancient city walls. The location is easily accessible if you’re travelling by car and not far from tourist attractions. In addition, the hotel features free parking places as well as discounts for the nearby car park.
Why book – 20min walk from the historic centre, air-conditioning, spacious rooms, private car parking
Best hotels near Fiera di Bologna
Located northeast of Centro Storico, Fiera is the main business district in Bologna. This is the palace to stay if you’re travelling for business.
Fiera di Bologna (Fair of Bologna) is home to a major trade exhibition centre and several office towers. The area is about 2km from the historic centre but easily reachable by public transport.
If you’re travelling for business, Savhotel is the best place to stay. The hotel features cosy bedrooms in a modern style and a rooftop terrace! The location is perfect for all who need to reach the fair district and the Congress Palace in just 5min.
Why book – 500m from the exhibition centre, 24-hour front desk, private secure parking, rooftop garden
The hotel is conveniently located, just a short walk from the fairgrounds with easy access to the highway.
Why book – 200m from the exhibition centre, free parking, air-conditioning