Bologna, the largest city in the northern region of Emilia Romagna in Italy, is famous for being the oldest university town in Europe and the gourmet capital of Italy. Bologna also has an array of cultural choices that will suit any visitor.

However, knowing where to stay in Bologna can be a daunting task, especially during the high season when prices tend to soar.

This is the reason why I have decided to put together this guide on where to stay in Bologna.

After reading it, YOU will be the expert on where to stay in Bologna, and choosing your accommodation for your next holiday will turn into a fun task.

Let’s not wait any longer and begin. Here is my guide on where to stay in Bologna.

Quick Answers – Where To Stay In Bologna

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

FIRST TIME IN BOLOGNA

Centro Storico

The Centro Storico is the historic centre of Bologna. It is small enough to be explored by foot, and some of its streets are pedestrian only anyway.

Places to visit:
  • Get lost in the narrow streets lined with medieval buildings
  • Try some authentic pasta bolognese at Ditta A. F. Tamburini
  • Visit the historic Piazza Maggiore and the Basilica of San Petronio

Where To Stay In Bologna

Best Hostel in Bologna – Dopa Hostel

The Dopa Hostel is located in the University District of Bologna. It offers single beds in mixed dormitory rooms accommodating either 4 or 6 people. The hostel provides a free Wifi connection and regularly organizes events for the guests such as free walking tours of the city and social dinners.

Need to spend some quality time with fellow backpackers? Get your fix by staying at one of these amazing hostels in Bologna!

Best Airbnb in Bologna – Central Contemporary Loft

This wonderful and excellent contemporary aparment is situated in an equally excellent neighbourhood in Centro Storico. As a first time visitor to Bologna, you’ll enjoy being in the middle of a popular street in the heart of the city, without having to compromise good nights sleep. The apartment is quiet, modern, clean and comes with all the basic ammenities to guarantee a pleasant stay.

Best Budget Hotel in Bologna – AC Hotel Bologna by Marriott

The AC Hotel Bologna by Marriott is coated close to the Convention Centre, in the Fiera di Bologna neighbourhood. The modern rooms are fitted with a private bathroom with a bathtub, air conditioning, a flat-screen TV and soundproofing. In the morning, the hotel’s lounge restaurant serves a big buffet breakfast.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Bologna – Hotel Metropolitan Bologna

The Hotel Metropolitan Bologna is located in the Centro Storico and is just a 5-minute walk away from the Piazza Maggiore, the main square of the city. Each room is decorated in a modern style with an Oriental twist and fitted with a private bathroom, air conditioning and a flat-screen TV with cable channels.

Bologna Neighbourhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN BOLOGNA
Centro Storico, Bologna
FIRST TIME IN BOLOGNA

Centro Storico

The Centro Storico is the historic centre of Bologna. It is small enough to be explored by foot, and some of its streets are pedestrian only anyway.

ON A BUDGET
Fiera di Bologna, Bologna
ON A BUDGET

Fiera di Bologna

Fiera di Bologna is the business district of Bologna, notably due to the presence of the convention centre in the area. As a consequence, comfortable, business-style hotels are mostly found in the area, for a much cheaper price than the historic centre due to its further away location.

NIGHTLIFE
University District, Bologna
NIGHTLIFE

University District

Bologna’s University District is located within the city’s medieval walls, right next to the Centro Storico. It is home to Europe’s oldest university. Around here, the university is the biggest attraction.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Ghetto Ebraico, Bologna
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Ghetto Ebraico

The Ghetto used to be the Jewish quarter of Bologna. Built in the 16th century, it boasts a very different architecture and feel than the rest of the medieval city.

FOR FAMILIES
Bolognina Bologna
FOR FAMILIES

Bolognina

Bolognina, meaning little Bologna, is the area located just north of the main train station. Tucked away from the main bustle of the city, it provides an area a bit quieter which is great for kids to get a peaceful night sleep.

Bologna is the main city of the Emiliana Romagna region in northern Italy. It has been recognised as an intellectual centre for centuries, as it is home to the oldest university in Europe. Bologna is also considered to be the food capital of Italy: pasta alla Bolognese, parmesan and balsamic vinegar all originated from Bologna and its region.

In the city, the Centro Storico, or historic centre, is the most beautiful part of the city. It is made of medieval buildings, narrow streets and beautiful squares. In the middle, the Piazza Maggiore is the main square of the city. There, the Basilica of San Petronio remains unfinished, as its original plans would have caused it to surpass St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

Next to the Centro Storico is the University District. This is where the oldest university in Europe is located, having been built in 1088. A lot of restaurants and bars can be found in this area, making it a great place to stay if you love a lively nightlife.

To the north, the Bolognina area boasts a multicultural environment of immigrants, families and students. It is quieter than the historic centre and provides a peaceful environment for families.

Fiera di Bologna, the business district, can be found directly to the east of Bolognina. Due to its location, it offers cheaper accommodation opportunities than the hyper centre of the city and is a good option if you are traveling on a budget.

At this point, you may still feel confused about where to stay in Bologna. Let’s clarify all that by taking a detailed look at the 5 best neighbourhoods to stay in Bologna.

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5 Best Neighbourhoods To Stay In Bologna

Here is a breakdown of the 5 best neighbourhoods to stay in Bologna. There is something for every taste and budget!

#1 Centro Storico – Where to stay in Bologna your first time

The Centro Storico is the historic centre of Bologna. It is small enough to be explored by foot, and some of its streets are pedestrian only anyway.

The heart of the Centro Storico is without a doubt the Piazza Maggiore. This is where the most important buildings in the city, such as the City Hall, the market hall and the main basilica are located. The basilica began to be built in the 14th century but was never finished, as the pope at the time requested to stop the construction to avoid surpassing St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Since then, the building of the basilica has never resumed.

The Via dell’Independenza is the main shopping street in Bologna. Head on there to find some international and local Italian designer brands. The architecture of the buildings is also quite interesting. Take a moment to look at the porticos decorating the houses around.

Centro Storico, Bologna

Things to see and do in Centro Storico

– Get lost in the narrow streets lined with medieval buildings

– Try some authentic pasta bolognese at Ditta A. F. Tamburini

– Visit the historic Piazza Maggiore and the Basilica of San Petronio

Best Hostel in Centro Storico – Il Nosadillo

Il Nosadillo is a small bed and breakfast style hostel in the medieval centre of Bologna. It offers accommodation in single beds in mixed or single-sex dormitory rooms. Breakfast, served every morning in the common areas, is included in the price of a night. A free Wifi connection is also provided.

Best Airbnb in Centro Storico – Central Contemporary Loft

This wonderful and excellent contemporary aparment is situated in an equally excellent neighbourhood in Centro Storico. As a first time visitor to Bologna, you’ll enjoy being in the middle of a popular street in the heart of the city, without having to compromise good nights sleep. The apartment is quiet, modern, clean and comes with all the basic ammenities to guarantee a pleasant stay.

Best Budget Hotel in Centro Storico – Albergo delle Drapperie

The Albergo delle Drapperie is a cosy boutique hotel located in an authentic 19th-century house. It offers comfortable rooms fitted with a private bathroom, air conditioning, soundproofing and a view over the city. Some of the rooms also have a French balcony. In the morning, the hotel staff serves a fresh buffet breakfast.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Centro Storico – Hotel Metropolitan Bologna

The Hotel Metropolitan Bologna is located in the Centro Storico and is just a 5-minute walk away from the Piazza Maggiore, the main square of the city. Each room is decorated in a modern style with an Oriental twist and fitted with a private bathroom, air conditioning and a flat-screen TV with cable channels.

#2 Fiera di Bologna – Where to stay in Bologna on a budget

Fiera di Bologna is the business district of Bologna, notably due to the presence of the convention centre in the area. As a consequence, comfortable, business-style hotels are mostly found in the area, for a much cheaper price than the historic centre due to its further away location.

One of the most interesting things to do in the Fiera di Bologna area if you are not here on business to attend a conference is definitely to visit FICO Italy World, the largest food park in the world. But what is that exactly?

The food park gives a true lesson in Italian gastronomy and cuisine. Factories let you get a glimpse of how the most famous Italian dishes are made. Experience it for yourself in one of the 45 restaurants, street food stalls and trattorias of the park. If you liked anything and want to try it at home, markets and shops allow you to buy the finest Italian ingredients for your next dinner party. You can even bring some food back home as a gift!

Fiera di Bologna, Bologna
source: Claudio Caridi (Shutterstock)

Things to see and do in Fiera di Bologna

– Visit one of the Bologna fairs

– Visit FICO Italy World, the largest food park in the world

– Make your fist pasta at an Italian cooking class

Best Hostel in Fiera di Bologna – Hotel Michelino Bologna Fiera

The Hotel Michelino Bologna Fiera is conveniently located near the main convention centre in Bologna, as well as public transport. The rooms are fitted with air conditioning, a private bathroom, a flat-screen TV and soundproofing. In the morning, the staff serves a good buffet breakfast including hot food.

Best Airbnb in Fiera di Bologna – Cosy Private Room in Large Apartment

Just a 10 minutes walk from the center, this affordable bedroom comes with a double bed, a big wardrobe and a desk. You will share the common areas with Giamp, the host, who is very discreet and friendly. Start your day the right way with a breakfast, included in the price, and walk down to the city centre to explore the popular sightseeing spots.

Best Budget Hotel in Fiera di Bologna – AC Hotel Bologna by Marriott

The AC Hotel Bologna by Marriott is coated close to the Convention Centre, in the Fiera di Bologna neighbourhood. The modern rooms are fitted with a private bathroom with a bathtub, air conditioning, a flat-screen TV and soundproofing. In the morning, the hotel’s lounge restaurant serves a big buffet breakfast.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Fiera di Bologna – Edoardo B&B

Edoardo B&B is a nice bed and breakfast located close to the convention centre in Fiera di Bologna. It offers single rooms with a shared bathroom or the whole apartment. When booking a single room, guests can also enjoy the lounge and the kitchen shared with other guests. The rooms have air conditioning.

#3 University District – Best area in Bologna for nightlife

Bologna’s University District is located within the city’s medieval walls, right next to the Centro Storico. It is home to Europe’s oldest university. Around here, the university is the biggest attraction. Built in 1088, it is still in operation today and welcomes students from all over the world.

Tours of the university are regularly organised, and it is definitely worth the visit. Indeed, the university is not only one of the oldest in Europe, but it is also one of the most beautiful. The libraries are particularly impressive. Within the university grounds, the Palazzo Poggi is now home to a museum of arts and science.

At night, the neighbourhood comes alive with the many bars and restaurants filling up with students and visitors. Via Zamboni is the main street, where most of the fun happens. After some good Italian food and a few drinks with friends, dance the night away in a night club like Kinki Club.

University District, Bologna
source: trabantos (Shutterstock)

Things to see and do in the University District

– Hang out all night in local bars with the students

– Take a tour of the University of Bologna

– Visit the Muzeo di Palazzo Poggi of Science and Arts

Best Hostel in the University District – Dopa Hostel

The Dopa Hostel is located in the University District of Bologna. It offers single beds in mixed dormitory rooms accommodating either 4 or 6 people. The hostel provides a free Wifi connection and regularly organises events for the guests such as free walking tours of the city and social dinners.

Best Airbnb in University District – Bright One Bedroom Apartment with Balcony

This bright, spacious and conveniently located apartment is equipped with modern furnitures. Within walking distance to the central station, it’s situated in one of Bologna’s vibrant areas, with a lot of coffee shops and bars nearby. The kitchen is fully equipped, allowing you to cook just whatever you want.

Best Budget Hotel in the University District – Hotel University

The Hotel University is a classy hotel with friendly service in the University District of Bologna. Each room is fitted with air conditioning, a private bathroom, a flat-screen TV with cable channels and a tea and coffee maker. A buffet breakfast is included in the room rate, and free Wifi access is provided.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in the University District – Casa Bertagni

The Casa Bertagni is one of the visitors’ favourite hotels in Bologna. It offers classically decorated rooms fitted with air conditioning, a private bathroom, a flat-screen TV with international channels and direct access to the common patio. The hotel features a bike rental service and an airport shuttle can be arranged on request.

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#4 Ghetto Ebraico – Coolest place to stay in Bologna

The Ghetto used to be the Jewish quarter of Bologna. Built in the 16th century, it boasts a very different architecture and feel than the rest of the medieval city. Today, it has become one of the most charming places in town, with coloured houses lining up the streets leading to small piazzas. where you can get delicious, traditional Italian coffee. Take some time to get lost in the narrow streets!

Along the Via dell’Inferno, where the synagogue used to be before it was burnt down, visitors will now find an array of small, local artisan shops. Take the opportunity to shop for souvenirs like unique jewellery of paintings.

If you are interested in learning more about the Jewish culture in Bologna and beyond over the centuries, the Museo Ebraico through objects, historic films and stories from inhabitants. Temporary exhibitions and workshops about Jewish culture, language and history are also regularly organised.

Ghetto Ebraico, Bologna
source: Sien (Wikicommons)

Things to see and do in Ghetto Ebraico

– Learn about Jewish culture in Bologna at the Museo Ebraico

– Get some local souvenirs in one of the artisan workshops on Via dell’Inferno

– Sip on an Italian coffee on one of the small piazzas

Best Hostel in Ghetto Ebraico – Dopa Hostel

The Dopa Hostel is the closest hostel to the Ghetto Ebraico, just a few minutes walk away. It offers single beds in mixed dormitory rooms accommodating either 4 or 6 people. The hostel provides a free Wifi connection and regularly organises events for the guests such as free walking tours of the city and social dinners.

Best Airbnb in Ghetto Ebraico – Minimalist Style Two Bedrooms Apartment

Embrace the spirit of Bologna in this stylish two bedrooms apartment. Fully furnished and equipped, you’re guaranteed to have a pleasant stay. Located in the Jewish neighbourhood, you’ll find plenty of restaurants, bars, cafes, shopping opportunities and a great nightlife. It’s a great place from which to explore popular attractions.

Best Budget Hotel in Ghetto Ebraico – Le Stanze del Carro

Le Stanze del Carro is a family run hotel offering traditional hotel rooms and self-catered apartments. Each room is fitted with air conditioning and a private bathroom and boasts a beautiful view over the houses of the Ghetto Ebraico. In the morning, a fresh breakfast can be enjoyed inside or on the terrace.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Ghetto Ebraico – Best Western Hotel San Donato

The Best Western Hotel San Donato offers great value for comfortable rooms in the Ghetto Ebraico. Each room in the hotel features an ensuite bathroom, air conditioning and a flat screen TV with international channels. Family rooms for up to 4 people are available.

#5 Bolognina – Best neighbourhood to stay in Bologna for families

Bolognina, meaning little Bologna, is the area located just north of the main train station. Tucked away from the main bustle of the city, it provides an area a bit quieter which is great for kids to get a peaceful night sleep.

The neighbourhood is multicultural and mixes together immigrants and families, students and artists to reach a really cool eclectic result. This is reflected in the aspect of the neighbourhood itself. For example, head to the Ex Mercato Ortofrutticolo, the old fruit and vegetables market, to see the finest street art in the city.

For more traditional culture, the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus boasts the largest church congregation in town. It was built in the late 19th century and is now run by Salesian fathers. Inside, check out the stained glass windows and the great organ which has 3 keyboards and more than 3,000 pipes.

Bolognina Bologna
source: Luca Lorenzelli (Shutterstock)

Things to see and do in Bolognina

– Visit the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the largest church congregation in town

– Get some fresh produce at the local market

– Check out the street paintings at the Ex Mercato Ortofrutticolo

Best Hostel in Bolognina – Ostello We Bologna

The Ostello We Bologna is conveniently located close to the central train station in Bologna. It offers single beds in mixed, 4 people dormitory rooms as well as private rooms. Each room has an ensuite bathroom, air conditioning and a free Wifi connection. The hotel also has a coffee bar, laundry facilities and a shared kitchen.

Best Airbnb in Bolognina – Modern and Spacious Entire Apartment

This modern and spacious apartment is ideal for a family visiting Bologna. With two bedrooms and a sofa-bed in the living room, it can accommodate up to six guests. Located only a ten minutes walk to the central station and near the historical centre, it’s very conveniently located. The kitchen and bathroom are fully equipped so you can just bring yourself to Bologna.

Best Budget Hotel in Bolognina – Arcoveggio Hotel

The Arcoveggio Hotel offers simple rooms fitted with air conditioning, a private bathroom and a flat-screen TV with cable channels. During the summer, guests can enjoy the sun in the private garden, surrounded by flowers. Local bus stops are located near the hotel for easy access to the city centre.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Bolognina – Savhotel

The Savhotel offers modern rooms featuring air conditioning, a private bathroom and a minibar. In the morning, a buffet breakfast with a large choice of items is served for guests. During the day, free hot and cold drinks are available. The rooftop lounge bar is a great place to relax while having a drink after a long day out.

Final Thoughts On Where To Stay In Bologna…

Bologna, home to the oldest and one of the most beautiful universities in Europe and food capital of Italy surely deserve a few days of your time. You will be charmed by the narrow streets of the Centro Storico, and wowed by the University District and its intellectual liveliness.

The Centro Storico is my favourite area to stay in, as it is close to all the main sights and charming around every corner. There, near the Piazza Maggiore, the Hotel Metropolitan Bologna is my top hotel choice in Bologna.

If you are traveling as a backpacker, I can recommend the Dopa Hostel, which provides nice budget accommodation with a friendly atmosphere in the heart of the University District.

Have I forgotten your favourite spot in Bologna? Let me know in the comments!

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