Where to stay in Bologna without a car: 6 Best areas

In this article, we will look at Where to stay in Bologna without a car?, best areas to stay in Bologna without a car (including map), where I stayed in Bologna, and the best hotels in Bologna for all budget visitors.

Bologna is a vibrant and walkable city with a well-developed public transportation system, making it easy to get around without a car. Some ways to navigate Bologna without a car include walking, biking, and using various modes of public transportation such as TPER bus, train, and taxi.

Bologna, like many Italian cities, can have congested traffic and limited parking spaces, especially in the historic center. Finding parking can be challenging and expensive, and some areas may have restricted access for non-residents.

Bologna is served by the Bologna Marconi Airport, located 4 miles from thee historic center. You can take a taxi or Aerobus from the airport to the historic center, a 20 minutes ride away. If you use the bus, you can stop at Via dei Mille, around a 15-minute walk from the Piazza Maggiore.

Bologna has a major train station, Bologna Centrale, which connects the city to other Italian cities including Florence, Venice, Milan, and Rome. You can use the train to take day trips to nearby towns or to explore other parts of Italy. 

Bologna Centrale is centrally located within walking distance from the Centro Storico and the bus station. The Central Bus Station is the terminal of buses from main Italian and European cities.

The historic city center is compact and pedestrian-friendly. Most of the major attractions, restaurants, and shops are within walking distance of each other. If you plan to stay and explore primarily within the city center, you won’t need a car.

Bologna has an extensive bus network operated by TPER, which covers the entire city and its suburbs. You can purchase tickets at bus stops, tobacco shops, or vending machines. Be sure to check the bus schedules and routes to reach your desired destinations.

Bologna is a bike-friendly city with bike lanes and bike-sharing programs like Mobike and TPER Bike. You can rent a bicycle and explore the city at your own pace.

While taxis are available in Bologna, they are generally more expensive than buses. Taxis can be called on the street or booked in advance.

Bologna also has a funicular railway (cable car) that connects the city center to the San Luca Sanctuary on the hill. It’s a unique way to get panoramic views of the city.

Where to stay in Bologna without a car?

The best areas to stay in Bologna without a car are Centro Storico, Bologna Centrale Station, Ghetto Ebraico, University District, Porta Saragozza, and Bolognina.

These areas offer easy access to attractions, restaurants, and shops on foot and bus, making them great locations for car-free travelers in Bologna.

In general, the Centro Storico is the overall best area to stay in Bologna for first-time tourists as it is the heart of the city. Staying here allows you to be within walking distance to many restaurants, shops, and most of the city’s attractions, including Piazza Maggiore, Two Towers (Due Torri), and various museums.

During my trip to Bologna, I stayed at Art Hotel Commercianti in the middle of the historical center, right next to the Fountain of Neptune and San Petronio Basilica. It is quite a popular hotel with Fabulous reviews, free breakfast, and free use of bikes.

I can say The Art Hotel Commercianti is one of the best places to stay in Bologna, not only for car-free travelers, but also for those traveling with a car as it has a convenient private parking.

Below is the Map of the best areas and neighborhoods in Bologna without a car. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the best areas to stay in Bologna without a car
Map of the best areas to stay in Bologna without a car

Let’s get into the details of the best areas to stay in Bologna, especially for travelers without a car. I’ll explain to you how to reach each area, how to get around, as well as the best things to do and some suggestions of the best places to stay in each area for every budget.

6 Best areas to stay in Bologna without a car are:

1. Bologna Centro Storico

Bologna Centro Storico, or the historic center of Bologna, is often considered one of the best areas to stay in the city, especially if you don’t have a car. It is extremely pedestrian-friendly. Many streets are narrow and closed off to cars, making it easy to explore on foot. 

Bologna is famous for its extensive network of covered walkways, or porticoes, which stretch for miles throughout the city. They provide shelter from the elements and make for pleasant strolls through the historic center.

Additionally, the historic center is well-connected to buses. It is easily accessible from the central bus and train station (Bologna Centrale), making it easy to take a day trip to nearby attractions and towns.

The historic center is home to some of Bologna’s most famous cultural and historical sites such as the Piazza Maggiore, Basilica di San Petronio, the Two Towers (Due Torri), and numerous museums. Staying here allows you to easily visit these attractions and immerse yourself in the city’s history and culture.

You can visit the Archaeological Museum of Bologna, located in the Palazzo Galvani, featuring a vast collection of archaeological artifacts from the region, showcasing Bologna’s ancient history.

Take a look at the charming Piazza Santo Stefano, also known as Piazza delle Sette Chiese (Square of the Seven Churches). It is surrounded by historic churches, including the Basilica of Santo Stefano.  

The historic center is home to a wide range of shops, from boutique stores to local markets. You can shop for souvenirs, fashion, food, and more, all within walking distance of your accommodation.

Bologna is known for its culinary delights, and the historic center is a food lover’s paradise. You’ll find traditional trattorias, cozy cafes, and upscale restaurants offering authentic Italian cuisine. Additionally, the area comes alive at night with bars, wine bars, and live music venues.

A fantastic place to explore local cuisine is at the Mercato di Mezzo, a famous food market dating back to the Middle Ages. You can find traditional food shops and eateries selling fresh pasta, cheese, and meats.

Best places to stay in Bologna Centro Storico without a car:


2. Bologna Centrale Station 

Bologna Centrale Station is conveniently located within a 20 minute walk to the heart of the historic center. It is a great area to stay in Bologna without a car, especially for travelers wanting easy access to the train to explore the wider Emilia Romagna region, as well as Florence or Milan.

The station is well-connected to various forms of transportation, including trains, buses, and taxis. The Aerobus stop is also nearby offering a direct link to the airport.

Piazza Medaglie d’Oro square is located near the station and is a hub of activity. It often hosts events and markets, adding to the lively atmosphere of the area.

The area is home to numerous shops, boutiques, department stores, restaurants, cafes, and hotels. The Parco della Montagnola is also located nearby. If you don’t mind the hustle and bustle of the area, this is a great base.

Best places to stay in Bologna Centrale Station without a car:


3. Ghetto Ebraico 

The Ghetto Ebraico, or Jewish Ghetto, is located in the heart of Bologna, near the city center, making it a great neighborhood for car-free holiday in Bologna. It is a relatively small area with narrow streets and historic buildings.

The Ghetto Ebraico is a historic area that was once home to the Jewish community in the city. It is one of the oldest ghettos in Italy and has a rich history dating back to the 16th century.

Bologna’s Jewish Ghetto was founded in 1556 by Pope Paul IV, along with several other ghettos in Italy. The term “ghetto” originally referred to the restricted areas where Jewish people were required to live, but over time, it has come to symbolize places of Jewish heritage and culture.

One of the notable landmarks in the Ghetto Ebraico is the Synagogue of Bologna, also known as the Synagogue of Via de’ Giudei. This synagogue is an important religious and cultural center for the local Jewish community. It is not only a place of worship but also hosts cultural events and exhibitions.

The Ghetto Ebraico is also known for its kosher restaurants and shops, where you can experience Jewish cuisine and purchase traditional Jewish foods and products.

In Bologna, there is also a Jewish Museum (Museo Ebraico di Bologna) that provides insights into the history and culture of the Jewish community in the city.

Best places to stay in Bologna in Ghetto Ebraico without a car:


4. University District

University District, or Citta Universitaria in Italian, is a lively and affordable area to stay in Bologna. It is located in the city center right next to the  Ghetto Ebraico, making it a convenient location for travelers without a car.

University District is  an area of the city that is closely associated with the University of Bologna, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world. The University of Bologna was founded in 1088 and has a rich history of academic excellence.

University District has a vibrant nightlife scene with numerous bars, restaurants packed with students and tourists. It is a short distance from the market streets of Quadrilatero.

Best places to stay in Bologna University District without a car:


5. Porta-Saragozza

Porta-Saragozza is the combination of Porto and Saragozza districts, located just outside the ancient city walls. The area is well-connected to the rest of Bologna, making it a convenient place to stay or visit. You can easily reach the city center and other attractions using the bus.

The area is home to the famous Porta Saragozza, one of the gates in the city’s medieval walls. Originally built in the 13th century, it was reconstructed in the 18th century. It serves as one of the entry points to the historic center of Bologna and is an iconic symbol of the city.

You can also find the famous Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca. This sanctuary is perched on a hill and connected to the city by a long covered arcade called the “Portico di San Luca,” which stretches for over three kilometers. It’s a popular pilgrimage site and offers panoramic views of Bologna.

The Porta Saragozza area is also a residential neighborhood, so it provides a glimpse into local life in Bologna. You can find cafes, restaurants, and shops where locals gather.

Best places to stay in Bologna in Porta Saragozza without a car:


6. Bolognina

Bolognina is the area located to the north of the central railway station, offers a more local vibe and is a bit quieter compared to the bustling city center.

It has great nightlife, numerous restaurants, and attractions such as  the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Museo per la Memoria di Ustica. If you prefer a more authentic and less touristy experience, this neighborhood might appeal to you.

Bolognina has a variety of accommodation options, including hotels, apartments, and guesthouses. Prices may vary, so it’s essential to check current rates and availability.

Best places to stay in Bologna in Bolognina without a car:

In conclusion, Centro Storico, Bologna Centrale Station, Ghetto Ebraico, University District, Porta Saragozza, and Bolognina are the best places to stay in Bologna without a car. Staying within or near the city center will offer you the most convenient access to bus and attractions without the need for a car.

You can continue reading other articles about Italy below:

I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful. If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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