Are you planning a trip to Bologna, but don’t know where to stay? Here you will find all the details on where to stay in Bologna, with detailed information on the best areas for travelers.
Bologna is finally getting the attention in deserves from international travelers. The capital of Emilia Romagna is a fantastic foodie destination, and has an incredible array of places to visit, starting from its many towers (the most famous of which is the Torre degli Asinelli). This lively city has several different neighborhoods where you can stay, and each has an array of good accommodation option suitable for any budget.
Continue reading to discover the where to stay in Bologna.
Make sure to also read my post 26 Best Things To Do In Bologna, Italy.
Where To Stay In Bologna
Centro Storico – Where to stay in Bologna for first timers
The beating heart of Bologna. The Centro Storico (“Historic Center”) is where to stay in Bologna to be close to the top attractions of the city. Here, medieval buildings and Renaissance palazzi line handsome piazzas, and the city’s famous porticoes run along narrow streets.
Staying in this part of town is best for those who only have a short time in the city, as you can get to all of the top cultural and historical sights within the space of a short walk. It’s also a good option for first-time visitors to the city.
Not only will you be well placed for sightseeing, but staying in the Centro Storico means you’ll be able to get a good insight into the culinary credentials of Bologna. Here you’ll find the Quadrilatero and, within this warren of Roman-era streets, lies the Mercato di Mezzo – the two-storied market boasting food galore, from high-end eateries to snack stalls. Needless to say, you won’t go hungry in Centro Storico.
One thing to note is that this part of town can get busy. Not just with tourists, but with locals themselves going about their daily lives. So if you want to enjoy a slower pace of life, this might not be the choice for you. However there are some nice hotels here, some of the best in the city, so you can still get a good night’s sleep away from the crowds.
Here are some of the best hotels in Bologna’s historic center:
Luxury – Grand Hotel Majestic già Baglioni
This opulent accommodation is situated within an 18th-century palace, so you can pretend that you’re part of the nobility of Bologna’s past. Inside the historic walls of this hotel, the variety of different rooms showcase the elegance of its past, from the hotel restaurant and its frescoed ceiling to the marble-floored entranceway hung with a chandelier.
Guest rooms at Grand Hotel Majestic già Baglioni continue the five-star extravagance. There are a selection of suites to choose from, each lavishly adorned with antique furnishings and fit for royalty. Some rooms come with seating areas, fireplaces and balconies with city views. In terms of location, you’ll find this hotel just 250 meters from Piazza Maggiore and close to the city’s famous Two Towers. It’s definitely one of the best places to stay in Bologna.
Mid range – Starhotels Excelsior
This four-star property is located right opposite Bologna Centrale train station, just a moment’s walk from the Centro Storico proper. This is the perfect location if you’ve just arrived by train from the airport and want to spend time exploring the city center. It’s also great for those who want to take trips to nearby towns by train (Florence is a mere 40 minutes away by rail!).
Rooms at Starhotels Excelsior are smart, with polished wood floors, white-washed walls and seating areas; family rooms are also available for those traveling with children. Hotel facilities are modern and include a fitness center, so you can keep up with your workouts, as well as a gourmet restaurant and a hotel bar.
Budget – Albergo Panorama
Ideally situated just a five-minute walk from Piazza Maggiore, Albergo Panorama boasts an excellent location for exploring the city – it’s also surrounded by bars, restaurants and shops, with San Petronio Basilica only 500 meters away, too.
Taking up space in a 19th-century building, the hotel is traditionally decorated with spacious rooms that feel almost like their own apartments. There’s a romantic, rustic old-world vibe to the guest rooms, perfect for somebody who isn’t too fussy about ultra-modern renovations or fancy fittings and fixtures.
It offers good value for money, too, not just because of its central location but also thanks to the affordable breakfast served up in the hotel’s charming breakfast room each morning. Staff here are very friendly and will help you with everything during your stay.
Ghetto Ebraico – Where to stay in Bologna for a quieter area
The Jewish Ghetto of Bologna is a medieval district of the city that’s a warren of winding streets and historic buildings, all just a stone’s throw from Piazza Maggiore. The narrow lanes of the district still follow the same street plans of the Middle Ages, meaning traffic isn’t able to access the area – buildings seem to jostle for space, with alleyways lacing the district, making for an intriguing place to explore on foot.
It’s here, for example, that you’ll find the Instagram-famous Finistrella – a nondescript window looking out onto a section of Bologna’s centuries-old canal system that once ran through the city. One of the city’s most famous landmarks, the 800-year-old Two Towers, are also very close by.
Given its history, the Ghetto Ebraico is awash with characterful buildings. However, as you may tell from its name, there is a slightly gloomy past; it was here that Jewish residents of Bologna were confined for decades following a decree by Pope Paul IV in 1555. Elements of the Jewish heritage of the area can still be found, including a synagogue and information panels scattered around detailing the history of this part of Bologna.
Today, the neighborhood is known for its traditional shops and many places to enjoy an aperitivo. With accommodation in historic buildings, too, it’s an altogether quieter, yet still fun alternative to the heart of the city in Centro Storico.
Here are some of the best hotels in Bologna’s Ghetto Ebraico:
Luxury – Hotel Corona d’Oro
Taking up space inside one of the area’s historic buildings (dating from 1890), the Hotel Corona d’Oro is a high-end place to stay in Bologna. Recently renovated, the traditional style interiors mix modern and classic for an effortless result.
Guest rooms are beautiful and well-maintained, and keep period features intact such as parquet floors, wood beam ceilings and enormous windows. In terms of amenities, there’s an onsite hotel restaurant with elegant, contemporary decor and delectable menu options.
Location-wise, you’ll find Hotel Corona d’Oro situated just 350 meters from Piazza Maggiore, and a 20-minute walk from Bologna Centrale train station, meaning you won’t have to go far for sightseeing or onward travel.
Mid-range – Hotel San Donato
Situated in a historic building with its entrance beneath one of the city’s famous porticoes, Hotel San Donato is ideal for a short stay in Bologna. Here you can expect classically designed rooms, with calm, natural color palettes providing a calm place to get a good night’s sleep. Some rooms even feature beautiful views over this part of town.
One of the best features of this centrally located hotel is its shared terrace. Here you can spend time relaxing, enjoying an evening drink above the city center as you gaze out over its red rooftops. There’s also a bar onsite where you can grab a nightcap after dinner. Days here start with a good value-for-money breakfast before you head out to explore nearby attractions.
Budget – Hotel Centrale
For one of the best budget friendly places to stay in Bologna’s Ghetto Ebraico, look no further than Hotel Centrale. The location is perfect; the surrounding streets are quiet, but you can easily walk to the Centro Storico and the city’s main attractions. Rooms here are simple, but clean, and have everything you need for your stay in the city.
Staying here you’ll also have the option to stay in an apartment, which means you’ll have your own kitchen and seating area as well as a bed for the night. Another bonus for budget travelers is the breakfast that’s included in the room rate. Staff here are also super helpful, and will give you advice and tips on where to eat and what to do in the city.
University District – Where to stay in Bologna to experience the city’s nightlife
Bologna is home to the oldest university in the western world. The University of Bologna was founded in 1088 and continues to attract students from across the globe to study in its hallowed halls.
Because of its thriving student population, the neighborhood around the university is a busy district with – as you can imagine – a lot of students and, as you might also imagine, plenty of bars and clubs. So, those wanting to experience a slice of Bologna’s nightlife this is where to stay in Bologna. It might not be the best spot if you’re staying in the city with your family.
But it’s not all about late-night antics; the area also has its own collection of historical sights and museums right on its doorstep. Quite a few, actually. There’s the National Gallery of Bologna, which features art from the 13th to the 18th century (all arranged chronologically), and the Palazzo Poggi Museum – a science museum set in a 16th-century palace, complete with a centuries-old astronomy tower.
One of the best things about staying in the University District is how close it is to the Centro Storico, yet without the same sort of price tag. Add to this the University District good public transport connections, and it’s great for independent travelers, groups of friends and backpackers.
Below are some of the best hotels in Bologna’s University District:
Luxury – Albergo Rossini 1936
This charming boutique-style property provides a luxurious place to stay in the University District. It’s a family-run 4-star hotel, which has been carefully curated to create an amiable environment, with a modern style combining vintage features throughout.
Guest rooms at Albergo Rossini 1936 boast beamed ceilings, chandeliers and city views, while elsewhere in the property the shared spaces have been adorned with an array of eye-catching 20th-century artwork and antique furniture.
The hotel bar is at the heart of the accommodation. They serve up freshly mixed cocktails which you can sip beside the roaring open fire. It’s cozy and calm, yet central and easy to get anywhere in the center of town.
Mid-range – Borgonuovo Apartments
For those looking for a home away from home during their trip to Bologna, then Borgonuovo Apartments is one of the best places to stay in Bologna. Here visitors can opt for a variety of differently sized rooms to suit their needs, from studios to two-bedroom apartments.
Each unit has been decorated with modern and stylish interiors; each has its own kitchen or kitchenette, seating area and private bathroom. Some even come with their own garden or terrace. It’s a great choice for budget travelers, as you can buy a few things to cook back at the apartment, or if you’re staying longer than just a weekend.
Another plus is the location. You’ll find these apartments close to the Centro Storico, and an easy walk from several top attractions in the city.
Budget – Dopa Hostel
This stylish hostel features a selection of room offerings – including dormitories – and is where to stay in Bologna on a budget. Solo travelers or backpackers can book themselves into the sleek dorms with pod-style beds for added privacy, or opt for a tranquil private double room that feels more like a boutique hotel.
Dopa Hostel is a welcoming place to stay, run by a friendly team of staff. There are plenty of cozy communal spaces that make mingling with other guests easy. And another bonus of staying here is the delicious breakfast that’s included in the price of a night’s stay, as well as a communal kitchen for guests to make use of.
Bolognina – Where to stay in Bologna on a budget
Bolognina – the diminutive form of Bologna, meaning “Little Bologna” – is a traditionally working-class district set on the outskirts of the city center. Specifically, it’s right on the doorstep of Bologna Centrale train station.
Up until a few decades ago, Bolognina was home to light industry, with workshops and small factories dotting the area. In recent years, however, Bolognina has attracted a migrant population; here traditional blue-collar inhabitants and students from a variety of different backgrounds mingle with citizens from across the world.
Even more recently, Bolognina has become something of a hipster hub. Along its red-brick lanes street art and graffiti adorn the sides of buildings, making it a colorful and interesting place to explore on foot.
Today, co-working spaces and cafes can be found in old market buildings. But there are also many markets still active in the district, reflecting its working-class roots, as well as a number of local events that take place throughout the year.
If green spaces are important to you – perhaps you’d like to go running during your trip, or go for a leafy stroll – then Bolognina is a good choice. This district is home to the 8.5 hectare Parco di Villa Angeletti, a landscaped garden dotted with trees and weaving trails, with a canal running through it, too.
Bolognina is good for those who don’t want to stay in the usual tourist district, and would rather see a lesser-known side of a destination. Plus there are a few cool and affordable places to stay here, as well.
Here are some of the best hotels in Bolognina:
Luxury – AC Hotel Bologna by Marriott
This polished property, part of the Marriott hotel chain, offers up a high-end place to stay during your time in Bologna. The interiors here are modern and elegant, with polished rooms and staff that provide a high level of service.
The sleek aesthetics of guest rooms at this hotel provide a welcome environment in which to relax after a busy day of sightseeing; they feature large, comfortable beds, crisp white linens and sparkling bathrooms.
Elsewhere, amenities include a well-equipped fitness center, an on-site restaurant and bar, as well as a buffet breakfast available every day. It’s located close to Bologna Centrale train station, making it good if you’re arriving (or leaving) by train.
Mid-range – HC3 Hotel Bologna
HC3 Hotel is a clean, modern property where you can expect stylish (and spacious) contemporary rooms, complete with fresh white bed linen and sparkling bathrooms. The friendly team of staff can’t do enough to help guests, making for a stress-free, enjoyable trip to Bologna.
Days at this four-star hotel begin with a delicious breakfast, which is included in the price, after which you can explore the area or hop on a bus to the city center (the nearest bus stop is 50 meters from the front door). Amenities include a fitness room, a restaurant and a bar.
Budget – The Social Hub
One of Bolognina’s former industrial buildings turned hipster hangout, The Social Hub is where to stay in Bologna if you want more than just a room for the night. The accommodation has a surprising list of amenities, from a swimming pool to a fitness center, with plenty of social spaces to relax and meet other travelers. These include a restaurant and bar as well as a games room and lounge.
The Social Hub also boasts some nice rooms to choose from. These contemporary guest rooms range from single rooms to suites, which are pretty much like apartments in their own right. From here it’s easy to reach Bologna Centrale train station, with interesting sights like museums nearby, too.
Fiera di Bologna – Where to stay in Bologna for business travelers
Taking its name from the trade fairs that were held here throughout the 20th century – the first of which took place in 1888 – Fiera di Bologna is the city’s business district. Set to the west of Bolognina, the district was based on the designs of Japanese architect Kengo Tanze, who was drafted to design a new town that would be located outside of Bologna.
These were ultimately too expensive when unveiled in 1970. However, the city government used his plans instead for this business district, which started life in 1978, as well as an exhibition center.
Today Fiera di Bologna is an area of skyscrapers and modern buildings – as well as the 1927 Renato Dall’Ara Memorial Stadium. The exhibition center, BolognaFiere, holds regular exhibitions and events across its hundreds of thousands of square meters, from book fairs to car shows.
There’s often something going on here, it’s well connected by public transport, and accommodation here is fairly affordable compared to the city center, with a mix of chain hotels and bed-and-breakfasts.
Ultimately, this is where to stay in Bologna if you’re in town for an exhibition – but also if you’re looking for an affordable stay in the city.
Below are some of the best hotels in Fiera di Bologna:
Luxury – The Sydney Hotel
Another of Fiera di Bologna’s shiny modern properties, the four-star Sydney Hotel is a great place to stay if you’re looking for somewhere you won’t have to lift a finger. From the outdoor pool area surrounded by sun loungers, to the sleek onsite restaurant (which also offers room service), things here feel decidedly high-end and perfectly set up for business travelers.
In terms of its location, from here it’s a 20-minute ride on public transport to the city center (or a 35-minute walk, if you feel like it), however, the Fiera Trade Center is just a two-minute drive away.
Mid range – La Finestra Sulla Fiera
This down-to-earth B&B features a range of comfortable rooms where you can relax and spend a few comfortable nights on your trip to Bologna. Everything here has been decorated with attention to detail, with individually styled rooms that feature houseplants, cool furniture and colorful artwork. They also have their own private bathrooms.
Elsewhere in this property, guests can make the most of relaxing in the lounge or using the shared kitchen to whip up meals for themselves. Another bonus is the daily buffet breakfast, which is included in the price. In terms of location, it’s just 200 meters from the BolognaFiere, so if you’re going to an event this is a great choice. Otherwise, it’s easy to get from here to other parts of the city thanks to good public transport nearby.
Budget – Hotel Michelino Bologna Fiera
Located just 200 meters from the BolognaFiere exhibition center, this modern hotel is one of the most convenient places to stay in Bologna for anyone attending an event. Another convenience is its free parking, which is ideal if you’re on a road trip.
However, from here it’s also easy to reach the city center thanks to public transport (or by hopping in a taxi). Its location just outside the main center of the city means it’s a more affordable hotel than something equivalent in the heart of Bologna.
There are amenities for guests to use here that include a fitness center and bikes, as well. There’s also a breakfast available for guests to enjoy each morning, while the hotel also has its own bar and restaurant that serves up local specialties.
These posts will be useful when planning your trip to Bologna:
- A Perfect One Day In Bologna Itinerary
- Where And How To Rent A Car In Bologna
- 16 Best Day Trips From Bologna
- How To Visit Bologna Towers
- The Ultimate Bologna Food Guide
- How To Get From Rome To Bologna
- How To Get From Bologna To Florence