The circuit is in the outskirts of Imola, a town in the Emilia Romagna region of north-eastern Italy. Transport in the area is well developed and for F1 fans going to the Grand Prix, getting to the race is easy.
International Travel: Arrival in Italy for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
The city of Bologna is an easy access point to the circuit and a cultural highlight of the region. It’s the perfect base for fans going to the race in Imola and many chose to stay here.
Bologna also boasts one of the closest international airports to Imola at about 40km from the circuit. Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ) is a major airport with many international flights.
Lufthansa, Air France, Emirates and low-cost carriers such as Ryanair and Wizz Air, operate flights to and from the terminal.
Getting from the airport to central Bologna
The airport is just about 6km from central Bologna and can be reached using taxis, buses or the airport monorail.
Public bus is not the fastest or most convenient way to get to central Bologna but at €1.80 it is one of the cheapest. Bus no. 81 and 91 depart from the Birra bus stop (about a 15 minutes walk from the airport) and stop at Bologna Centrale railway station.
A taxi to Bologna Centrale will cost about €15 and should take no more than 20 minutes. Uber is available but is restricted to the company’s executive line – Uber Black. A ride to Bologna Centrale will set you back about €30.
on the Marconi Express (Monorail)
The Marconi Express is a monorail that makes it easy to get to downtown Bologna after you touch down at BLQ. Follow the signs at the arrivals hall to the airport’s monorail station.
You can buy your tickets from machines next to the platform or order them in advance and skip the sometimes long queue. Ticket fares are €9.20 one way or €17 for a return ticket. You can also use the contactless payment terminals at the gates to the platform.
Open from 5.40am to midnight the monorail takes less than 10 minutes to arrive at Bologna Centrale.
At about the same distance from the circuit is the Aeroporto di Forlì “Luigi Ridolfi” (FRL). Ryanair has flights to and from this small airport making it a viable alternative. Accommodation in Forlì is limited though so onward travel to one of the area’s larger hubs may still be necessary.
Further afield, the Emilia Romagna region is also served by airports in Parma (Parma Airport PMF) and Rimini (Federico Fellini International Airport RMI)
There are few flights to these airports though so if you can’t find a suitable flight to Bologna, you’ll probably have more luck broadening your search to include flights to Milan (Malpensa MXP, Linate LIN or Bergamo BGY) or Venice (Marco Polo Airport VCE). From here there are good transport connections that can get you to Bologna in about 2 to 2.5 hours.
Rome is a doable two and a half hours by train but the airport (Leonardo da Vinci International Airport FCO), is an extra 30km to the southwest of the city.
Local Transport: Getting around in Bologna and Emilia Romagna
Bologna is a small enough city that you can get around largely on foot. The endless porticos for which the city is famous provide shade from the scorching sun and keep you dry if it rains. From the train station to the historic centre of the city it’s a distance of around 2km.
There are bikes and e-bikes/scooters if you want to save your legs or get anywhere in a hurry. Ridemovi operates in Bologna (as well as other towns in the region, including Imola) and has Android and iPhone apps for locating and unlocking the nearest vehicle.
For longer distances, there’s no metro in Bologna but there are buses (tickets cost €1.80 per trip, buy on board). Most visitors make do without buses but if you think you will use them a lot it’s possible to buy a Mi Muovo multi-bus ticket. This is a 12-trip ticket that can be used in towns throughout the Emilia Romagna region. The ticket costs €15 and is available from ticket machines.
Taxi & Ride Share
As mentioned, in Italy Uber only operates their more exclusive service – Uber Black. Regular taxis are easy to come by at Bologna Centrale and other busy areas but you can’t usually flag one down on the street. Cotabo is the main taxi company in the city and you can download their app to order a ride or call them on +39 051 372727.
Local Transport: Getting to and from the Imola Circuit
Taking the train to Imola
The rail network in this part of Italy is well-developed so wherever you’re staying in the region, getting to the Grand Prix by train is likely the best, fastest and most cost-effective way.
Imola is on the Bologna to Ancona regional line and is served by regular Trenitalia trains. There are also extra Frecciarossa, Intercity and Eurocity trains scheduled for the event. It’s about 20 minutes from Bologna Centrale, 50 minutes from Ravenna and an hour from Rimini.
You can search train schedules across multiple operators simultaneously to and from just about any station in Europe using Omio (formerly GoEuro) and purchase tickets for the same cost as buying direct from the train lines.
Imola’s train station (there’s only one) is about 20 minutes on foot to the F1 circuit. Exit the station, cross the roundabout and head southwest along Viale Andrea Costa. Later, the old town gives way to a lush tree-lined avenue as the circuit draws near. Keep going until you cross the Santerno River and you’ll spot the familiar paddock buildings.
The walk, through Imola’s charming and historic centre is one of the most pleasant approaches to a Grand Prix there is. On the way back, stop for a Spritz at Piazza Matteotti and soak up the atmosphere.
There is no shuttle bus from the train station to the circuit but If you want to save your legs for when you’re at the track there is a taxi rank to the left of the station exit. You may also find a few e-bikes and scooters nearby scattered nearby.
Tip: There are only two ticket machines in the station in Imola. For the return journey, make sure you have your ticket booked in advance and skip the queue.
Driving to the Imola Circuit
If you plan to rent a car and explore some of the Emilia Romagna region at your leisure you might prefer to drive to Imola. And if you decide to camp near the circuit, bringing the car may be a necessity.
Imola is just off the A14/E45, the highway that connects it to Bologna in the northeast and Ravenna and Rimini to the west. Turn off the A14/E45 at the exit to Castel S.Pietro Terme or Imola. From here follow local signage and be aware of possible traffic diversions.
Parking at the track
Car parks in Imola are spaced around the circuit (view parking map) which helps to avoid some of the bottlenecks experienced at some venues. Getting away after the race though, you should still be prepared for some congestion and delays.
It will be possible to buy parking on the day of the event but to have a guaranteed space in the area of your choice it’s recommended to buy parking online in advance. Parking tickets, available for advanced purchase start at €15 per day for cars, €10 for motorcycles and €22 for camper vans.
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I’m Danny, an incurable Formula 1 fan for over 30 years and founder of The F1 Spectator. My aim is to inform and inspire, arming you with helpful tips and advice for your next F1 trip.