Read all our suggestions for your one-day trips from Bologna: the best routes, just a few kilometers from the city, to discover the surroundings

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Bologna is the heart of the Emilia Romagna region, and an ordinary vacation would not be enough to explore it deeply and experience all its cultural, artistic and enogastronomic beauties. However, if you would like to get to know about other Emilia Romagna's territories, be aware that there are many interesting itineraries to consider, whether you are a lover of ancient villages or natural beauties, and that they are only a few kilometers from the Two Towers.

For your one-day trips from Bologna that require only a short journey, by car or train, we have selected ten options that can satisfy the type of tourist you identify with.

10 routes for one-day trips from Bologna

Rocchetta Mattei castle for one-day trips from Bologna

Do you love exploring charming medieval villages and wandering within the timeless walls of castles? Or do you prefer to lose yourself within the woods, lulled by the sound of a river?

No matter what your tourist identikit is, Emilia Romagna is certainly the ideal destination for your vacation. The heart of the region, of course, is Bologna, where art, architecture and green spots, even in urban settings, make it a beloved destination for many. 

If you find yourself in this enchanting city, have already explored it in all its arcades and want to dedicate a day to some special places in the surrounding area, you have come to the right article, because here we want to tell you no less than 10 itineraries for fantastic one-day trips from Bologna and allow you to surprise yourself with the artistic and natural wonders under 100 kilometers away

Let's go away for our day out!

Explore Bologna by walking

We have already mentioned this amazing place but we can't forget to mention it among the destinations for your one-day trips from Bologna.

Rocchetta Mattei is located in the town of Grizzana Morandi and will enchant you with its particular overlapping styles architecture, from Baroque to Art Nouveau, passing through Andalusian and Moresque. The castle consists with peculiar shapes and patterns, and was built in 1850 by the visionary Count Cesare Mattei (the inventor of Electromeopathy), on the ruins of an ancient 13th-century fortress.

There are many wonders to explore in this building, from rooms to courtyards and even monumental staircases, which recreate original Escher-worthy optical illusions. We won't reveal anything more and let you enjoy the wonderfulness of the visit.

Grizzana Morandi is just 50 km from Bologna and can be reached by train (stopping at Riola station) or by car.

Monteveglio is an ancient village located in the town of Valsamoggia, on the slopes of the Bolognese hills. It is a very small village, with just 5,000 inhabitants, but really rich in attractions and monuments, and the first of these, the magnificent Porta ad Arco (which in ancient times accompanied the drawbridge) will welcome you at the entrance.

Going on, you will visit the splendid abbey that dates back to the 11th century and was home to Augustinian monks; its construction is due to Matilde di Canossa. Lifting your gaze, you can admire the seventeenth-century bell tower and the fourteenth-century tower, home to a permanent museum on the village history; alongside it is the main attraction, the House of St. Benedict. Here, there was the oratory headquarters but it was also a rest stop for pilgrims before taking to the road again along the nearby Via Francigena. 

Monteveglio is about 26 km from Bologna and can be easily reached by car or by train, to the Bazzano stop, and by bus 656. If, on the other hand, you love cycling, be aware that there is a dedicated 27-km-long cycle path where you can discover wonderful views among the Pignoletto vineyards.

Let's move to the Romagna hinterland to explore Castel del Rio, a very special place for your one-day trips from Bologna. 

With slightly more than 1,000 inhabitants, Castel del Rio is actually very rich in history, as it was an ancient possession of Matilda of Canossa and later became part of Frederick Barbarossa's empire; in the last century it was also a battlefield, as well a town on the Gothic Line, a fact recalled inside the special museum where numerous military objects are collected. 

Characterized by a lush landscape, the village is surrounded by chestnut and pine forests, perfect for trekking and bicycle rides, and is crossed by the Santerno River, in which it is also possible to bathe in many sections.

If you love natural landscapes but appreciate historical references, Castel del Rio is definitely for you; about 50 km from Bologna, it can be reached in about an hour and a quarter by car or by train to Imola and from there by bus 104. 

7. Parco delle Stelle for sky observing in Loiano

Parco delle Stelle in Loiano for your one-day trip from Bologna

Let's move on to another small medieval village 35 km from Bologna, Loiano, which has become a popular destination for astrophiles.

This small town is one of the best spots for sky observation, and that is why the Parco delle Stelle (Stars park) is located here, it is a two-hectare green oasis housing the Astronomical Observatory, equipped with two telescopes, a lecture hall and a planetarium. The latter is reached by walking along a path that reproduces a scale model of the solar system showing the various planet sizes and distances. Moreover, the park frequently becomes a collective observation point because telescopes are set up for visitors to be used on special events.

If you enjoy scanning the night sky then you cannot miss Loiano among your one-day trip destinations from Bologna; it can be reached by car in just under an hour or by bus 906 from the bus station. 

Among the one-day trips from Bologna, you cannot miss a special destination for your relaxing moments. Take a day for yourself in Porretta Terme, a hamlet of the town of Alto Reno Terme located in the heart of the Reno River valley and surrounded by chestnut groves.

In this enchanting setting lies the famous thermal baths, where since the time of the ancient Romans visitors have been taking advantage of the healing properties of its sulfurous waters to relax and resolve mild illnesses. Here you can take a dip in the heated pools, but also enjoy mud baths, massages and many other facial and body treatments. 

If, instead, you prefer an excursion into the countryside, Porretta Terme is a strategic place to explore the hills of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and its natural wonders. 

Porretta Terme is about 60 km from Bologna and can be reached by car or direct train in about an hour and a quarter. 

5. Suviana Lake

The Suviana Lake among the destination for your one-day trips from Bologna

Let's complete our tour of around the province of Bologna with the beautiful green oasis that surrounds Suviana Lake.

Located within the Suviana and Brasimone Lakes Regional Park, at about 400 meters in altitude, it houses a hydroelectric power plant since the 1930s, as well as a beloved destination for the Bologna residents (and others) who wish to cut out a day in touch with nature. Indeed, here it is possible to take walks in the beautiful paths surrounded by chestnut, oak and coniferous trees, perhaps admiring deers in their natural habitat, cycling among the scenic roads, canoeing and windsurfing, or, you can to simply lie down on the grass and enjoy some well-deserved relaxation.

Lake Suviana, 60 km away from Bologna, can be reached by car in about an hour and a half; the train ride is much more complex and inconvenient and therefore we do not recommend it.

Let's move to the province of Modena and get immersed in a fairy-tale atmosphere at the beautiful Montecuccolo Castle in Pavullo del Frignano, a small town halfway to Bologna, nestled in the beautiful Apennine landscape.

Located on a rise in the center of a small fortified village, the castle is a vestige of the power of the Montecuccoli family, which ruled the area from the 12th century onward. The highlight, however, from which a splendid overview can be admired, is the keep, a striking square tower that was restored in the 19th century. Numerous meetings, events and festivals are held in this wonderful setting throughout the year, thanks to the successful activity of the local associations. 

To fully enjoy its atmosphere, delighting in tasty dishes or staying in luxurious rooms, you should know that you can stop at the inn within the walls

Montecucciolo Castle is just one hour away from Bologna by car; again, reaching this site by train is more complex and we would not recommend it. 

For your one-day trips from Bologna, Modena and its beautiful old city center are a choice you could definitely consider, because you can get there in a really short time and more precisely in half an hour by train or about 40 minutes by car.

As you stroll through the heart of the city, you will admire the beautiful Gothic-style cathedral and the famous Ghirlandina, a bell tower that is the unquestioned symbol of the city.

This small and charming town is also famous for its balsamic vinegar, Lambrusco wine and many gastronomic delights, but also for being the birthplace of Enzo Ferrari and Luciano Pavarotti. Learn more about one of the world's most famous tenors in his house-museum, admiring mementos of his life and performances, photographs and stage costumes, as well as furniture and objects that he commissioned to be handcrafted. 

Visit Pavarotti's house

2. Parma, the city of the talking statues

Parma is one of the destinations for your one-day trip from Bologna

Let's continue exploring Emilia for our one-day trips from Bologna and make a stop in Parma. A city of such elegance and vitality that it has earned the nickname "little Paris", it is the capital of the Food Valley thanks to the large number of typical products that originated here.

But it is also the city that gave birth to Giuseppe Verdi and Arturo Toscanini, and they, among others, will accompany you in your discovery of Parma if you follow the path of the well-known talking statues. Born from a project by Parma teenagers, Talking Teens - Le Statue Parlano!, the statues of 16 famous people are placed in as many spots around the city, and if you use the number or QR code on their plaques you will receive a 2-3 minute phone call telling you interesting facts and trivia about the provincial capital. This is a nice and original way that takes advantage of modern-day technology in order to learn more about local history and at the same time get an alternative and entertaining tourist route.

About 100 km away from Bologna, Parma can be reached in an hour by train or car.

How about moving to Romagna? For the last destination of the one-day trips from Bologna, we chose the beautiful Ravenna, the city of mosaics. And it is through these that we want to explore the city. 

Some of Ravenna's most beautiful mosaics can be found inside its most famous monuments, such as the Basilica of San Vitale, the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, the Galla Placidia Mausoleum, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, and the Arian Baptistery; depicted scenes, of course, come from the Old and New Testament and the life of Jesus, represent sacred subjects or the building patrons; in our opinion, you should not miss the wonderful starry vault depicted on the dome of the Galla Placidia Mausoleum, where precious golden stars stand out against a blue background. We won't reveal more so as not to spoil the surprise: It's worth it! 

Ravenna is about 70 km from Bologna and can be reached in about an hour and a quarter by car or train. 

Discover all the beauties of Ravenna

As you may have noticed, just a few kilometers from the Two Towers there are enchanting places that can please every kind of tourist, from the trekking and cycling lover to the regular castle-goer. Moreover, in less than an hour by train or by car, you can explore other provincial capitals and all the wonders they hold.

In short, for your one-day trip from Bologna you will have no problem selecting the right destination that best fits your travel habits or you can take advantage of it to discover something unusual but nevertheless wonderful. 

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