Where to Stay in Bologna in 2024 🇮🇹: Best Areas & Places to Stay

Bologna, the lively capital of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, is a city that captivates visitors with its rich history, stunning architecture, and legendary cuisine. As you plan your trip to this enchanting destination, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing the perfect neighborhood and accommodation to suit your needs and preferences.

From the charming streets of the historic center to the vibrant atmosphere of the university district, Bologna offers a diverse array of areas to explore and call home during your stay.

Our Pick of the Best Hotels in Bologna 🔝

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the best areas to stay in Bologna, highlighting the unique character and attractions of each neighborhood. We’ll also showcase a handpicked selection of the finest hotels, guesthouses, and apartments, catering to every budget and travel style.

So, whether you’re dreaming of a luxurious boutique hotel in the heart of the old town or a cozy B&B with a local touch, you’ll find the perfect home base for your Bologna adventure.

Quick Bologna Neighborhood Guide 📋

1. Centro Storico (Historic Center) – Best Place to Stay in Bologna for the First Time 👀

🏰 Medieval сharm:The Centro Storico is the centre of Bologna and the ideal place to stay for first-time visitors who want to be in the middle of the action. This charming medieval area is packed with history, stunning architecture, and the city’s top attractions.

📜 Historic: Some highlights of staying in the Centro Storico include:

  • Piazza Maggiore – Bologna’s main square surrounded by important historic buildings
  • Basilica di San Petronio – Massive gothic church with an unfinished facade
  • Due Torri (Two Towers) – Symbol of the city, the tallest of Bologna’s medieval towers
  • Quadrilatero – Ancient grid of streets with bustling food markets and shops
  • Archiginnasio – Beautiful 16th century palace with an anatomical theater

🚶‍♀️ Pedestrian paradise: The Centro Storico is mostly pedestrianized, making it easy to explore on foot. You’ll be surrounded by porticoes (covered walkways), grand palaces, and lively piazzas.

🍽️ Foodie heaven: It’s also a food lover’s paradise, with some of Bologna’s best restaurants, trattorias, and osterias tucked away down winding alleys.

Centro Storico (Tarihi Merkez)

🏡 Apartment living: For a more independent stay, consider renting an apartment or booking an Airbnb. You’ll have more space to spread out and can save money by cooking a few meals using ingredients from the nearby markets. Look for properties with a balcony or terrace for memorable views over the red-tiled rooftops.

All hotels in Centro Storico →

Best hotels in Bologna Historic Center 🏨

Best hotels in Centro Storico

  • Art Hotel Commercianti – This charming hotel is located right next to the San Petronio Basilica. The rooms are elegantly decorated and the complimentary breakfast is fantastic. I love the historic atmosphere.
  • Grand Hotel Majestic gia' Baglioni – A luxurious 5-star hotel in a restored 18th-century palace. The rooms are spacious and beautifully appointed. The service is top-notch and the location couldn’t be better.
  • Hotel Corona d'Oro – Housed in a historic building, this hotel offers a great position in the city center. The rooms are comfortable and the staff is friendly and helpful.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • Hotel Panorama Bologna Centro – Just a 5-minute walk from Piazza Maggiore, this centrally located hotel offers rooms with free Wi-Fi and LCD TVs. It’s a great value for the location.
  • Hotel Cavour – Set in the heart of Bologna, this hotel features air-conditioned rooms with flat-screen TVs and free WiFi. The location is excellent, near restaurants and shops.
  • Hotel Metropolitan – A short walk from the main square, this hotel offers modern rooms in a great location. The staff is welcoming and the breakfast has a good selection.

Best Hostels

  • Dopa Hostel – This hostel is just a 10-minute walk from the Cathedral. It has a cool, modern vibe with both dorms and private rooms available. The common areas are great for socializing.
  • Il Nosadillo Hostel – Well-situated in the Centro Storico, this hostel offers both dorms and private rooms. It’s clean, safe, and has a friendly atmosphere. A solid budget option.

2. Bologna Centrale Station Area – Convenient & Budget-friendly Part of Bologna 🚆

🚉 Transit hub: The area around Bologna Centrale, the city’s main train station, is a convenient choice for travelers who prioritize easy access to transportation. This neighborhood is particularly suitable for those on a budget, short on time, or planning to take day trips to nearby cities like Modena, Ravenna, or Florence.

🏨 Budget-friendly: Advantages of staying near Bologna Centrale include:

  • Proximity to public transportation – Trains, buses, and taxis are just steps away
  • Budget-friendly accommodations – More affordable hotels and hostels compared to the city center
  • Shopping conveniences – Department stores and shops selling essentials are nearby

🍽️ Traveler amenities: Also, you’ll find plenty of cafes, restaurants, and shops catering to travelers in this area. It’s a short walk to the edge of the Centro Storico, so you’ll still have easy access to Bologna’s main attractions like Piazza Maggiore and the Two Towers.

⚠️ Safety precautions: While the station area is generally safe, it’s always a good idea to exercise caution and keep an eye on your belongings, especially late at night.

✅ Practical choice: Overall, the Bologna Centrale Station Area is a practical choice for travelers who want easy access to transportation and affordable accommodations, without sacrificing comfort or convenience.

All hotels near Bologna Centrale →

Where to stay near Central Station? 🏩

Best hotels near Bologna Centrale

  • Starhotels Excelsior – This 4-star hotel is directly across from the train station. The rooms are modern and comfortable, and the breakfast buffet is excellent. I love the convenient location.
  • UNAHOTELS Bologna Centro – Just steps from the station, this sleek hotel offers well-appointed rooms and great amenities. The staff is friendly and helpful. It’s my go-to when I want to be right in the heart of the action.
  • NH Bologna De La Gare – Another solid choice adjacent to the station. The rooms are spacious and the hotel has a nice restaurant on-site. I appreciate the consistent NH quality.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • Hotel Mercure Bologna Centro – While not the cheapest, this hotel offers good value given its prime location. The rooms are clean and functional. I find it perfect for a short stay.
  • AC Hotel by Marriott Bologna – A bit farther from the station but still walkable, this modern Marriott property offers nicely appointed rooms at reasonable rates. The lobby bar is a great spot to unwind after a day of sightseeing.

Best Hostels

  • Dopa Hostel – Modern hostel just a 10-minute walk from the station. They offer both dorms and private rooms. I like the vibe and it’s great for meeting other travelers. Solid budget option.
  • We_Bologna – This hostel is a bit further from the station (about a 20-minute walk) but it’s one of my favorites in Bologna. Hip, colorful decor and a social atmosphere. Worth the extra steps in my opinion.

3. University District – Best Neighborhood to Stay in Bologna for Nightlife 💃🏻

🎓 Youthful energy: The University District, located in the northeastern part of the city center, is a lively and vibrant area that is popular among students and young travelers. Home to the University of Bologna, Europe’s oldest university, this neighborhood has a youthful energy and plenty of affordable accommodations.

Reasons to Stay in the University District:

  • Budget-friendly hotels, hostels, and apartments
  • Proximity to the university and its historic buildings
  • Lively nightlife with plenty of bars, pubs, and clubs
  • Affordable restaurants, cafes, and gelaterias
  • Easy access to the city center and main attractions

🍕 Student hangouts: The University District is known for its student-friendly atmosphere, with countless bars, cafes, and restaurants catering to a younger crowd. You’ll find plenty of cheap eats, including some of the best pizza and aperitivo spots in the city.

🏛️ Academic attractions: Also, the University District is home to several museums and libraries related to the university, such as the Museo di Palazzo Poggi and the Biblioteca Universitaria di Bologna. The neighborhood also boasts some beautiful parks and gardens, like the Giardini Margherita, perfect for a relaxing stroll or picnic.

All hotels in University District →

Where to stay in University District? 🏨

Best Hotels in University District

  • Everyday Apartament – This modern aparthotel offers stylish and well-equipped apartments in the heart of Bologna’s historic center. It features a fitness center and is just a short walk from major attractions like Piazza Maggiore.
  • Casa Bertagni – A charming boutique hotel set in a beautifully restored 18th-century building. It offers elegant rooms with antique furnishings and is located near the Two Towers and other iconic sites.
  • Residenza delle Arti – A 4-star hotel housed in a renovated 18th-century palazzo, featuring contemporary rooms with original frescoes and exposed wooden beams. It has a garden courtyard and is close to the university district.

Best Cheap/Moderate Hotels

  • Steam House – This budget-friendly hotel offers modern, air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. It has a great location near the train station and major sights like the Basilica of San Petronio.
  • Casa Nostra 14 – A cozy bed and breakfast set in a historic building dating back to the 1400s. Rooms have charming decor and the property is just steps from Piazza Maggiore.
  • Antica Bologna – A reasonably priced hotel in a renovated 18th-century palazzo near the city’s iconic towers. Rooms are simply furnished but comfortable.

4. Fiera di Bologna – Trendiest Neighborhood in Bologna 🌟

🏢 Business hub: Fiera di Bologna, located 4 km east of the city center, is Bologna’s main business district. This lively area hosts numerous festivals, events, and fairs, making it the ideal place to stay for those visiting Bologna on business or attending exhibitions at the BolognaFiere Exhibition Center.

🚉 Well-connected: Despite being slightly further from the city center, Fiera di Bologna boasts excellent public transportation connections. Visitors can easily reach top attractions on foot, with Piazza Maggiore just a 30-minute walk away.

The district is also conveniently located near the Bologna Centrale Station, a major railway hub connecting Bologna to the rest of Italy and Europe via regional, intercity, and high-speed trains.

🚌 Transportation options: From the central station, BolognaFiere can be reached by:

  • Taxi (taxi stands at Piazza Medaglie d’Oro and Kiss&Ride lower floor)
  • City bus (TPER bus numbers 35 and 38)
  • On foot (30-minute walk from the via Carracci exit)

🚗 Easy access:For those arriving by car, BolognaFiere is the first exhibition center with a dedicated motorway exit, allowing direct entry to the fairgrounds.

Fiera di Bologna offers a range of accommodation options, including some of the most exquisite luxury hotels in the city and outstanding apartments.

All hotels in Fiera di Bologna →

Best hotels near Fiera di Bologna 🏩

Best hotels near Fiera di Bologna:

  • UNAHOTELS Bologna Fiera This 4-star hotel is located near the Bologna Exhibition Centre and offers modern rooms with free Wi-Fi. It features a restaurant, bar, and private parking.
  • Hotel Michelino Offering an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, and restaurant, this hotel provides tastefully decorated rooms with free Wi-Fi. It is conveniently located near the BolognaFiere Trade Fair Centre and offers facilities for disabled guests, family rooms, and a bar.
  • The Sydney Hotel This 4-star hotel is situated in a business district, just a short drive from the historic city center and the BolognaFiere Trade Fair Centre. It features an outdoor swimming pool, gym, restaurant, and air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs.

Best cheap/moderate hotels:

  • Michelino 39's House – This hotel offers comfortable accommodations at an affordable price. It is conveniently located near popular attractions and provides essential amenities for a pleasant stay.
  • M2 BO Dossetti 27 – This budget-friendly hotel offers clean and cozy rooms with basic amenities. It is situated in a convenient location, making it easy to explore the city’s main sights.
  • Casa Temporanea SRL – This moderately priced hotel provides comfortable rooms and friendly service. It is well-located for those looking to discover Bologna’s attractions without breaking the bank.

5. Bolognina – Best Area to Stay in Bologna for Local Vibe 🔮

🌍 Vibrant mix: Bolognina is a charming, diverse neighborhood located just north of the city center. Once a working-class area, Bolognina has undergone a renaissance in recent years, becoming a popular spot for locals and travelers seeking a more authentic experience.

🔝 What makes Bolognina special:

  • Multicultural atmosphere with a mix of old and new
  • Excellent restaurants and cafes serving international cuisine
  • Local markets and shops offering a glimpse into daily life
  • Street art and murals adorning buildings throughout the neighborhood

👋 Authentic experience: Staying in Bolognina allows you to experience a side of Bologna that many tourists miss. The neighborhood is known for its diverse population, with residents from all over the world contributing to a vibrant and welcoming community.

🛍️ Local markets: One of the highlights of staying in Bolognina is the opportunity to explore its local markets, such as the Mercato Albani. Here, you’ll find stalls selling fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and other Italian specialties, as well as vendors offering clothing, housewares, and more.

🌳 Parks and art: Bolognina is also home to several parks and green spaces, like the Parco della Zucca, which hosts community events and festivals throughout the year. The neighborhood’s street art scene is another draw, with colorful murals and graffiti adding a unique character to the area.

Where to stay in Bolognina? 🏨

Best hotels in Bolognina:

  • City Hotel Bologna This hotel is conveniently located near the train station and city center. It offers comfortable rooms, a restaurant, bar, and fitness center.
  • Metroloft Bologna Metroloft is a modern hotel with stylish loft-style rooms. It features a shared lounge area, free WiFi, and is situated close to popular attractions.
  • Casa Ardizzoni Located in the Bologna Fiere district, Casa Ardizzoni offers air-conditioned rooms with flat-screen TVs and private bathrooms. It also has a shared lounge and private parking.

Best cheap/moderate hotels:

  • House Passarotti 21 – This charming hotel is housed in a historic building and offers cozy rooms with free WiFi. It’s located in a quiet area but still close to the city center.
  • B&B Corsini – Provides comfortable rooms with private bathrooms and a daily breakfast. It’s situated in a convenient location for exploring Bologna’s attractions.
  • Tecnopolo Fiera Suite – This hotel offers modern suites equipped with kitchenettes and free WiFi. It’s located near the Bologna Fiere exhibition center, making it ideal for business travelers.

6. Porta Saragozza – Where to Stay in Bologna with Family 👪

🏡 Quaint neighborhood: Porta Saragozza is a quiet residential area located just west of the city center. Known for its laid-back atmosphere and stunning architecture, this neighborhood is perfect for travelers seeking a more relaxed stay in Bologna.

📍 Reasons to Choose Porta Saragozza:

  • Peaceful and tranquil atmosphere
  • Beautiful porticoes and historic buildings
  • Boutique hotels and charming B&Bs
  • Proximity to parks and green spaces

🚶‍♀️ Iconic landmark: One of the most iconic landmarks in Porta Saragozza is the Arco del Meloncello, a beautiful portico that extends for nearly 4 kilometers, connecting the neighborhood to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca. This stunning walkway is a popular spot for a leisurely stroll or jog.

🌳 Green spaces: In addition to its architectural beauty, Porta Saragozza is also known for its green spaces. The Giardini Margherita, one of Bologna’s largest parks, is located just south of the neighborhood and offers a peaceful escape from the city bustle. The park features walking paths, playgrounds, and even a small lake.

All hotels near Porta Saragozza →

Best hotels near Porta Saragozza 🏩

Best hotels near Porta Saragozza:

  • Central Suite B&B – This bed and breakfast is centrally located in Bologna, offering easy access to popular attractions. The rooms are well-appointed and include modern amenities for a comfortable stay.
  • Grand Central Room – Situated near points of interest like Piazza Maggiore and Santa Maria della Vita, this guest house offers private parking, free WiFi, family rooms, and non-smoking rooms. It is conveniently located just 9 km from Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport.
  • Frassinago Suites BolognaRooms – These well-equipped apartments come with complimentary coffee capsules and a coffee machine, making them suitable for longer stays. Guests appreciate the cleanliness, comfort, and convenient location not far from the city center.

Best cheap/moderate hotels:

  • I 4 Gatti – This affordable hotel offers a comfortable stay in Bologna, with basic amenities and a convenient location. It is a good choice for budget-conscious travelers who want to explore the city.
  • A Casa Fachin Room & Breakfast – This moderately priced bed and breakfast provides a cozy and welcoming atmosphere for guests. The rooms are clean and comfortable, and the staff is friendly and helpful.

7. Ghetto Ebraico (Jewish Quarter) – Where to Stay in Bologna for History 🕍

🕍 Historic quarter: The Ghetto Ebraico, or Jewish Quarter, is a small but fascinating neighborhood located in the heart of Bologna’s historic center. With its narrow streets, ancient synagogues, and unique atmosphere, this area offers a glimpse into the city’s rich Jewish heritage.

✔ What makes the Jewish Quarter special:

  • Historic significance as one of Europe’s oldest Jewish ghettos
  • Unique architecture, including the 16th-century Palazzo dei Giudei
  • Centrally located near major attractions like Piazza Maggiore
  • Boutique hotels and vacation rentals in historic buildings
  • Kosher restaurants and specialty shops

🚪 Troubled past: The Jewish Quarter was established in 1556 when the city’s Jewish population was forced to live in a gated area. Despite its troubled past, the neighborhood has maintained its distinct identity and continues to be an important center of Jewish life in Bologna.

🏛 Museum highlight: One of the main attractions in the Jewish Quarter is the Jewish Museum, which showcases the history and culture of Bologna’s Jewish community. The museum is housed in the Palazzo dei Giudei, a stunning 16th-century building that once served as a synagogue.

🍲 Culinary Delights: The neighborhood is also known for its excellent food, with several kosher restaurants and bakeries offering traditional Jewish dishes alongside Italian favorites. Be sure to try the tortellini in brodo, a classic Bolognese dish that has its roots in the Jewish Quarter.

Where to stay in Ghetto Ebraico? 🏨

Best hotels in Ghetto Ebraico:

  • Hotel San Donato This hotel is located in the heart of Bologna and offers excellent staff who are always helpful and professional. It provides good WiFi and has facilities like parking, family rooms, 24-hour front desk, terrace and more.
  • Mandria Apartments These apartments have an age restriction with a minimum check-in age of 25. Smoking is not allowed, but pets are allowed on request with potential charges. Parties/events are not permitted.
  • Petronio Residence This residence provides a cleaning service with complete linen change for stays of 5 nights or more, with final cleaning always included. Special requests are subject to availability and may incur additional charges. Invoices for prepaid rates require a request and company details in advance.

Best cheap/moderate hotels:

  • Residenza Le Torri Bologna This residence is one of the cheap/moderate options in Bologna that still provides a comfortable stay. It is well-located for exploring the city’s attractions.
  • MARS41 B&B This bed and breakfast offers affordable accommodations in Bologna. It provides a cozy atmosphere and basic amenities for budget-conscious travelers.

How to Get Around Bologna 🚖

Walking 🦶

Bologna’s historic city center is relatively compact and walkable. Many of the main attractions like Piazza Maggiore, the Two Towers, and the Quadrilatero food markets are within walking distance. The city center is encircled by porticoes, making it pleasant to walk even in inclement weather.

Public Buses 🚍

Bologna has an efficient public bus system operated by TPER. Buses are the main form of public transportation in the city since there is no subway system. A single ticket costs €1.50 and is valid for 75 minutes, allowing transfers. Day passes are also available for €6.

Bike Rental 🚲

Renting a bike is a popular way for tourists to get around Bologna. Several bike rental shops like Bike Rental Bologna and BikeinBO offer rentals by the hour or day. Bike sharing services like RideMovi also allow you to rent bikes through an app.

Taxis 🚖

Taxis are a convenient option, especially for traveling to/from the airport or train station. The main taxi company is CoTaBo which can be booked by phone or hailed at ranks like Piazza Maggiore.

Rental Cars 🚘

While not recommended for the historic center due to traffic restrictions, rental cars can be useful for exploring areas outside Bologna. Major companies have rental locations at the airport and train station.

Airport Shuttle 🛫

The BLQ shuttle bus runs frequently between the airport and the city center, making stops like the train station. A one-way ticket costs €6.

Best Areas & Hotels in Bologna on a Map 🗺

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FAQs about Visiting Bologna ❔

What is the best area to stay in Bologna?

The historic center is definitely the best area to stay in Bologna. Right in the heart of the city, you’ll be surrounding by gorgeous medieval and Renaissance architecture, lively piazzas, fantastic restaurants and cafes. Check out areas around Piazza Maggiore, Via Zamboni near the university, or near the Two Towers.

Where to avoid in Bologna?

You’ll generally feel very safe roaming around Bologna, but like any city, there are a few areas it’s better to avoid, especially late at night. The area around the train station can feel a bit sketchy, especially some of the side streets. Parts of the Bolognina neighborhood northeast of the center also have a reputation for petty crime. But really, you’ll be fine sticking to the well-lit, populated central areas.

How many days do I need in Bologna?

I’d recommend spending at least 3 full days in Bologna to see the highlights. That gives you enough time to wander the wonderful porticoed streets, check out piazzas like Maggiore and Nettuno, visit the Two Towers, explore impressive churches like San Petronio, and museum-hop at places like the Archaeological Museum. But if you’re a real museum buff or want plenty of time for day trips, 4-5 days would be ideal to soak it all in at a relaxed pace.

Is Bologna a safe city?

Absolutely, Bologna is considered very safe, especially the downtown area where you’ll likely be spending most of your time. Violent crime against tourists is extremely rare. As in any city, you’ll want to keep an eye out for pickpockets in crowded areas and on public transportation. But overall, Bologna has a reputation as one of the safest cities in Italy for travelers to walk around day and night.

How expensive to live in Bologna?

Compared to major cities like Rome or Milan, Bologna is relatively affordable for an Italian city of its size. Rent prices are still quite high, but not astronomical like some places. Groceries, utilities, transportation won’t break the bank. Eating out can be pricey if you go to the most upscale restaurants, but there are still plenty of affordable options for pasta, pizza, and aperitivo.