Bologna holidays

Bologna holidays

Deals from £709 per person

Bologna holidays will transport you to one of Northern Italy’s most vibrant, exciting cities. Nestled in the foodie region of Emilia-Romagna, Bologna is the home of Italy's favourite pasta creation – tagliatelle al ragù alla Bolognese – and is often referred to as the country’s culinary centre.   

But Bologna isn’t just renowned for its outstanding cuisine. From its medieval palaces to its bustling markets, this location boasts an endless list of delights. Wander through the central square and witness impressive architecture or visit one of the city’s 50 museums displaying works by historical figures such as Mozart and Michelangelo. However you spend your time, holidays to Bologna promise spectacular views, great culture and exquisite food.  

Historical Locations  

Bologna is steeped in rich history, making it a treasure trove of impressive architecture. One of the city’s famous historical sites is Palazzo d'Accursio, a complex of buildings home to the Bologna city council since 1336. 

This fascinating site features a mix of architectural styles, but much of its current appearance is owed to its 15th and 16th-century makeovers. Inside, you can climb up the weaving staircase and visit the succession of chapels. On the second floor is the palazzo's  Collezioni Comunali d'Arte, showcasing a wonderful collection of 13th- to 19th-century sculptures and paintings.  

Bologna is also home to Università di Bologna, one of the oldest universities of the Western world. The university’s history spans nine centuries, dating back to 1088. It has been the place of study of many illustrious students and professors, including Laura Bassi and Ulisse Aldrovandi. 

Famous Foods 

Bologna is a foodie’s haven. Considered the gastronomic heart of Italy, the city is overflowing with superb restaurants and unique products that make dining here a real treat.  

Bologna is of course famous for its tagliatelle al ragù alla Bolognese – ragù served over tagliatelle pasta. Stroll into just about any pasta osteria (restaurant) in the city and you’ll be able to sample this tasty dish. Some of Bologna’s most-loved eateries include Da Cesari, Il Posto and Ristorante San Pietro, serving authentic Italian fare.   

Holidays in Bologna offer the chance to indulge in some of Italy’s finest cuisine. Another of Bologna’s popular foods is mortadella – emulsified sausage. This is commonly served as an appetiser but is also often presented on a charcuterie board with other meats, bread and cheeses.  

Bologna’s Quadrilatero – a collection of interconnecting lanes – is dotted with tiny stalls where you can try this meat for yourself. The Quadrilatero is an excellent place to shop for some of the city’s best fresh food. Many of the stalls also have small restaurants located at the back – a great spot for some light lunch.  

Architecture and City 

During the Middle Ages, Bologna went through a period of rapid development and prosperity, paving the way for it to become the dynamic and forward-thinking place it is today.  

Bologna’s magnificent towers are just one example of medieval architecture that remains to this day. The city was home to over 100 defensive towers throughout the Middle Ages, giving it the nickname of la turrita, meaning city of many towers. Its most famous are Torre Prendiparte and Torre dell’Arengo, which were used to bring people to the piazza (square) to hear important announcements. Many structures situated around the piazza also date back to the Middle Ages, including Palazzo del Podestà and Palazzo Re Enzo. 

Bologna’s porticoes (a porch that is held up with grand columns) are another important reminder of the city’s medieval past. Their construction began in the 11th and 12th centuries because the city’s university was continuing to expand. The porticoes are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are located throughout the city centre.  

Map of Bologna

12-29 ℃

If you want good sunshine, but without the sweltering summer temperatures, take your holidays to Bologna in late spring or late autumn.

Approximately two hours and 15 minutes

You will fly to Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ), located around 9km from the city centre.

Bologna is best for...

Foodies: Known as the gastronomic heart of Italy, Bologna is a haven for foodies. After all, it’s the home of tagliatelle al ragù alla Bolognese, a much-loved traditional pasta dish. Holidays to Bologna mean opportunities to sample some of Italy’s most delicious cuisine, with outstanding restaurants around every corner.   

Architecture lovers: Bologna boasts many architectural treasures, from Palazzo del Podestà to Torre degli Asinelli. Stroll around the city at your own leisure and learn about Bologna’s history through these incredible buildings.  

Art fans: If you’re an avid art fan, Bologna has lots to offer. Spend time exploring MAMbo – Museo d'Arte Moderna di Bologna, a superb museum showcasing a range of contemporary and experimental art. Or marvel at the works inside Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, where you’ll find a huge collection of Emilian paintings.    

Fast facts for Bologna

Language: Italian is Bologna’s official language. English is also widely spoken.  

Currency: The currency used in Bologna is the Euro (EUR). 

Local time: Bologna is one hour ahead of GMT/UK time.   

Fly to: You will fly to Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ), located around 9km from the city centre.  

Flight time from UK: Around 2 hours 15 minutes.   

Tourist information: Further tourist information can be found at the official website for tourism in Bologna.

Visa / health:Before you travel, check the latest advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.


Getting around Bologna

By foot: Bologna is an entirely walkable city, and many of its top attractions are located only a short distance from one another. In fact, because of its compact size, there is no real need to drive in Bologna and parking is often very tricky.  

By bus: Hopping on a public bus is another great way to explore the city. Bologna’s bus system is efficient and cost-effective, linking different neighbourhoods to the city centre. The bus fares are relatively cheap, with a single-use ticket costing around €1.50. 

By bicycle: Cycling around Bologna is an enjoyable way to travel and is a popular mode of transportation among locals. You can rent a bike at one of the many stations across the city.  

Events in Bologna

Il Cinema Ritrovato (Cinema Rediscovered): This is a festival centred around the history of cinema, during which various films from early cinema to the 1960s are screened. Il Cinema Ritrovato was founded in 1986 and takes place every summer.  

Bologna Festival: Bologna Festival is a classical music event that has taken place in the city for more than 20 years, hosting talented conductors, orchestras and musicians from across the globe. It is popular with tourists and locals alike.   

Feast of St. Petronius: This is a public holiday that occurs annually on the 4th of October to honour Petronius of Bologna, the patron saint of the city. During this event, a religious service takes place and lots of shops and other establishments close for the day.  

Bologna weather

Temperature: Bologna has a warm temperate climate, with cold, damp winters and hot summers. July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 24.5°C, while January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 3°C. 

Best time to visit: The low season in Bologna is from mid-October to February when the weather is cooler, while the high season is typically during the summer months. Planning to do lots of sightseeing in Bologna? In that case, the spring and autumn months are the best time to visit, when the weather is pleasant and not too hot and humid.