The Republic of San Marino, Italy, is Europe’s third-smallest state (after Vatican City and Monaco), yet has enough charm and natural beauty to attract over two million visitors each year. Perched 700 meters above sea level atop Mount Titano, the republic is a favorite day-trip destination for those visiting other parts of central Italy. After a steep climb to the historic center, visitors will find a whirl of souvenir stalls selling locally minted coins and stamps, as well as tiny restaurants and shops --  not to mention a fantastic view.

San Marino has a collection of eclectic museums boasting public and private collections of art, history and general oddities. The Wax Museum and Museum of the Emigrant are both great places to go in order to become acquainted with San Marino’s long history. The Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art houses over 750 works of art dating to the early 20thcentury and including drawings, watercolors, photographs and sculpture. In addition to the Reptilarium and Aquarium of San Marino, places like the Museum of Torture Instruments and Museum of Curious Objects house many peculiarities not found anywhere else and give a sense of humor to this tiny Italian republic.

Hundreds of shops, along with two outlet malls and two larger shopping centers, are sprinkled throughout San Marino’s nine municipalities. Designer-name clothing and accessories can be found at the two outlets, Queen Outlet and San Marino Factory Outlet, while the narrow streets of downtown are peppered with countless shops and artisan boutiques.

Products like olive oil, honey and wine are locally produced in the San Marino region, making for the gastronomy of the area rich in flavor. Whether dining at a hotel restaurant or a local sidewalk trattoria, eateries like Restaurant Bolognese, Tre Monti and Il Beccafico will serve up authentic Italian dishes paired with a local sangiovese or moscato wine.

The closest airport to San Marino is Rimini International Airport (RMI), which is about a 30-minute drive from the center of San Marino. There is also no train station in the republic, as the closest one is in Rimini as well. Renting a car is recommended to get to the city. Once inside the walled area at the top of Mount Titano, the area is easily walkable.

San Marino has a Mediterranean climate with continental influences, having warm summers and mild winters. The best time to visit is during the spring and autumn months, when the weather is warm and pleasant, and the natural scenery is in full bloom.