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Like much of Italy, Bologna is blessed with a mix of posh, rather expensive hotels, more affordable pensiones, and eclectic hostels for the throngs of students visiting the area. Bologna is a university city – although the crowds are certainly larger during the vacation summer months, similar to the rest of Europe, the city is generally vibrant and busy all year round. So plan ahead and book a room before you arrive.
Although accommodations are generally more affordable than those in the more famous tourist cities, like Florence, Rome or Venice, Bologna has its fair share of overpriced resorts in the middle of the city. They're a luxurious option for those wishing to experience the city in style.
For the rest of us, there are cheaper options within walking distance of the city's most popular sights. Fortunately, Bologna is a very walkable city – it has a bus system that is fairly easy to navigate, but you won't find yourself needing it unless you plan on hitting a museum on the outskirts of town or are connecting to the Aerobus, which returns to the Bologna airport (BLQ). In turn, many accommodation choices are within easy walking distance of the train station, Piazza Maggiore, and other points of interest.
For students and shoestring travelers, hostels run for as few as 15 Euros for a dorm bed, with private double, triple and quad rooms running anywhere from the 20 to 70 Euro mark, depending on the size of your party and desire for your own bathroom. Families and others weary of hostel life can expect to pay anywhere from 50 to 120 Euros per night at smaller pensiones and hotels (triples might run as much as 100 Euros or more, but the price is right on a per person basis). You can often expect to share a bathroom with your neighbors depending on the hotel, but there are plenty of clean, spacious rooms in these welcome alternatives to hostels, for those feeling more generous with their Euros. Double rooms at the most central, decadent hotels generally start around 90 Euros per night.