Last updated on May 10, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in the European Alps & North of Italy

Where to stay in Bergamo | 5 Best areas & hotels

I love this city, I was born close to it and have visited it so many times. One thing has to be said, however. It’s a big city and it’s not as easy to understand where to stay in Bergamo because every neighbourhood has its own vibe.

In this guide, I have selected the top 5 areas with all the pros and cons. You will find also a few suggested accommodations that may be just perfect for what you are looking for.

And, yes, I know, this is a city that has become famous since Orio al Serio has evolved in the low-cost airport of Milan, but honestly, Bergamo deserves more than just a few hours or an overnight stay.

But let’s jump into the juicy stuff with a quick summary table that compares the 5 areas (swipe left or right on mobile to see all the columns).

Best 5 areas to stay in Bergamo
Best 5 areas to stay in Bergamo

Where to stay in Bergamo – Key Points

AreaAverage CostBest ForProsConsRestaurantsGood for Families with Kids
Città Alta$$$$Romance, atmosphereScenic views, historic charm, charming vibeLimited hotels, hilly, far from station/airportGood selectionNot ideal, especially with a pram
Città Bassa$$$Convenience, modern amenitiesShopping hub, transit access, dining varietyLess charm, busier streets, city feelWide varietyYes, very convenient
Borgo Santa Caterina$$Nightlife, trendy vibesBuzzing energy, cool dining, artsy boutiquesNoisy nights, not family-friendly, far from the station/airportTrendy, diverseNo
Borgo San Leonardo$$Budget, local flavourAuthentic vibe, affordable prices, walkable streetsBusy traffic, limited parking, few sightsAffordable, authenticYes, well priced
Near Bergamo Airport$Convenience, transit accessNext to the airport, affordable hotelsNo charm, plane noise, far from sightsLimitedPractical, not for walking

If you are planning to rent a car in Italy to visit for example the lakes near Milan or the mountains for skiing, then I suggest checking out my favourite car rental platform, called DiscoverCars. This is an Airbnb of cars where you will find the best value vehicles based also on user ratings.

My 3 best hotels in Bergamo

Saint Augustine Gate in Bergamo - Entrance to the Città Alta from Borgo Santa Caterina
Saint Augustine Gate in Bergamo – Entrance to the Città Alta from Borgo Santa Caterina

Città Alta

  • Best place for romance & atmosphere

Pros

  • incredibly scenic,
  • historic charm,
  • charming vibe

Cons

  • limited hotels,
  • hilly,
  • far from the station and airport

The Città Alta is certainly the most romantic and charming part of Bergamo. Located on the upper side of the city (that’s where the name Alta comes from), the history of this area goes back to the Medieval era.

As soon as you pass through the imposing 16th-century Venetian walls, you may feel like you have jumped into a time machine. One of the most beautiful Historical Centres of Italy

Wandering through the maze of cobblestone lanes between elegant Renaissance buildings and carved churches is the main pass time. I have done it so many times. Back with friends in my 20s or my girlfriend when I used to live not too far from there and the Città Alta was our go-to place for a walk before heading down to Borgo Santa Caterina.

The Old Town is not the place for nightlife but you can still find many lively piazzas for delicious aperitivo hours or just a glass of wine, besides many local cafes making cheap cappuccino for just over a Euro.

And of course, the romantic ambience only intensifies after dark as the warm glow of streetlamps illuminates the quiet, car-free streets.

A drone view of the Historical Centre
A drone view of the Historical Centre

Finding a restaurant, or a local trattoria, is as easy as opening your Google Maps and just deciding on the type of food and the budget. There is plenty of choice with many of them located around Via Colleoni, the main shopping and walking street. Circolino is a great spot for dinner, besides being a great value for money.

I usually suggest just having a walk around, the best way to enjoy Città Alta. Also, try to include in your day a visit to the Convento di San Francesco, an interesting medieval convent to check out that hosts from time to time photography exhibitions.

The biggest issue of staying in the Città Alta is unfortunately the fairly limited accommodation options, with just a handful of hotels and upscale B&Bs. This hilltop location also means lots of steep climbs to reach iconic sights like the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, not great if travelling with kids, especially with a pram.

And you’re fairly remote from the train station and airport down below in the valley. In this respect, it probably doesn’t work for an overnight stay before or after a flight.

Here are 3 great accommodations in the Bergamo Alta

GombitHotel ($$$$): A great boutique hotel in a superb location, with spacious, clean, and comfortable rooms. Tasty breakfast options, efficient service, and a stylish design.

Colleoni 20 ($$$): Well-equipped 1BR apartment with a delightful Italian breakfast.

MyRoom Città Alta ($$): Cozy, well-equipped studio with a beautiful garden view. Convenient parking.

Bergamo Alta - Old City of Bergamo
Bergamo Alta – Old City of Bergamo

Città Bassa

  • Best place for convenience & modern amenities

Pros

  • shopping hub,
  • transit access,
  • dining variety

Cons

  • less charm,
  • busier streets,
  • city feel

Down in the valley from the Città Alta’s historic area, you’ll find the more modern and practical conveniences of Bergamo’s Città Bassa. This “lower town” serves as a lively commercial and transportation hub.

One of the biggest pros of staying in the Bassa is its prime position for shopping. Pedestrian-friendly Via XX Settembre is lined with trendy boutiques, bustling cafes for an afternoon caffeine hit, and big-name stores like H&M. The covered Sentierone promenade makes for an atmospheric browse rain or shine.

But the Bassa isn’t just about shopping. You’ll find a much broader selection of dining that goes beyond just traditional Northern Italian fare. Besides a few chic aperitivo bars you can in fact find a few ethnic restaurants, from sushi to Chinese and more. There is also some space for nightlife with a few bars around but there is a better area for that (more later).

Getting around is a total breeze thanks to the excellent public transportation links from the main train station. Hop on a bus or funicular up to the Città Alta for a historical walk. The airport is just a 10-15 minute drive away as well. Very practical area.

The tradeoffs are that the Bassa feels distinctly more modern and grid-like compared to the Old City’s romance. Busy traffic circles and commercial high-rises mix with historic churches in a somewhat harsh contrast. In a few words, you won’t get the charming vibe of the Historical Centre.

Here are 2 great accommodations in Bergamo Bassa

Petronilla ($$$$): Boutique hotel with arty rooms with modern amenities, free Wi-Fi and a superb breakfast buffet. Facilities include a sauna, hot tub, gym, and private parking.

Bilocale di Bergamo ($): Exceptional value for money. The 1BR apartment is well-equipped and within walking distance of key attractions.

Bergamo Bassa is the modern centre which may be not as old as Citta' Alta but still beautiful
Bergamo Bassa is the modern centre which may be not as old as Città Alta but still beautiful

Borgo Santa Caterina

  • Best place for nightlife, trendy vibes

Pros

  • buzzing energy,
  • cool dining,
  • artsy boutiques

Cons

  • noisy nights,
  • not family-friendly,
  • far from the station/airport

Borgo Santa Caterina is simply the Soho of Bergamo, of course on its own scale. This neighbourhood used to be a working-class area however in the last few years it has been renovated and redesigned and today is the place to be for a more laid-back artistic flair and buzzing nightlife.

For this reason, I usually suggest Borgo Santa Caterina to young travellers looking for a more energetic and cool neighbourhood.

By day, the brick-paved streets of the Borgo make for an atmospheric wander, popping into indie art galleries, vintage shops, and artisanal food stores. Of course, you will find also a few cafes by the street where you can enjoy your Italian cappuccino while watching the life passing by.

Around 6-7 pm, the area becomes more and more fashionable for aperitivo, a glass of wine or a cocktail, before heading to one of the many restaurants in the neighbourhood.

The food scene in Borgo Santa Caterina is much younger than anywhere else. Do not expect the most traditional Italian food, this is an area famous for more innovative modern Italian plates and delicious international fare.

The restaurant style is more bohemian, with lovely backyards hidden from the main street where you can spend a romantic night out tasting some of the best wines in the region. 

With its narrow, pedestrian-friendly streets, stylish boutique hotels, and artsy murals decorating the buildings, the Borgo has an unmistakably cool, youthful atmosphere. The tradeoff is that it can get pretty noisy at night from all the bar-hopping action. Families might find it a bit too rowdy too.

You’re also a bit removed from the nearest train station in the Città Bassa down below, though buses make it reasonably accessible. You are also far from the airport

Here are 2 great accommodations in Borgo Santa Caterina

Accademia Love ($-$$): Cosy 1BR apartment ideal for couples seeking a quiet and convenient base to explore.

A casa di Fabio ($-$$): Charming and immaculate 1BR apartment, between the Città Bassa and Borgo Santa Caterina

Visiting a few bars in the Borgo Santa Caterina
Visiting a few bars in the Borgo Santa Caterina

Borgo San Leonardo

  • Best place for budget & local flavour

Pros

  • authentic vibe,
  • affordable prices,
  • walkable streets

Cons

  • busy traffic,
  • limited parking,
  • few sights

Looking to experience an authentic slice of daily life in Bergamo still on a budget? Then consider booking your accommodation in the lively yet affordable neighbourhood of Borgo San Leonardo.

Despite being just a 15-minute stroll from the Città Bassa’s modern buzz, this working-class enclave maintains a distinctly local, no-frills atmosphere. You won’t find many fellow travellers wandering its narrow streets lined with decades-old family-run shops, markets, and bakeries.

What you will encounter are incredibly friendly residents going about their routines – neighbourhood nonnas decked out in housedresses doing their daily shopping, old men enjoying a game of cards over tiny glasses of wine at their local. The Borgo’s relaxed vibe makes it easy to blend right into the rhythms of everyday life.

Food is definitely a major draw here. The area’s cafes and family-run restaurants offer some of the city’s most delicious and affordable Northern Italian fare. Tuck into hearty plates of Casoncelli pasta or belly-warming Ribollita soup without the markup of trendier districts. Just follow your nose to wherever smells best!

The tradeoff is that the Borgo’s narrow roads can get quite congested, making parking a nightmare. You’re also a bit removed from Bergamo’s major tourist sights, though the Città Bassa is an easy walk. Think of it more as a residential area to experience local flavour, which is great especially if staying for many days.

Here are 2 great accommodations in the area

Casa Biondo ($$-$$$): Exceptionally clean and well-equipped 2BR apartment, with spacious rooms. Convenient supermarket access.

Terrazze Fiorite ($-$$): Spacious and clean 1BR (up to 4 people) with a peaceful ambience.

Bilocale di Bergamo ($): Exceptional value for money. The 1BR apartment is well-equipped and within walking distance of key attractions.

Typical 70s and 80s building of Borgo San Leonardo
Typical 70s and 80s building of Borgo San Leonardo

Near Bergamo Airport

  • Best place for convenience & transit access

Pros

  • easy airport proximity,
  • transportation links,
  • affordable hotels

Cons

  • no charm,
  • plane noise,
  • far from sights

If convenience before an early morning flight or after a late arrival is your top priority, then one of the basic hotels clustered around Bergamo’s Orio al Serio Airport could be your best bet for a night.

The obvious upside to staying in this area is the supreme ease of getting to and from the airport – many accommodations offer airport shuttle services or are just a couple minutes drive away. You’ll easily make it to an early flight without the stress of potential traffic delays.

Of course, this is not exactly the most charming or characterful area of Bergamo to base yourself on. You’ll be surrounded by nondescript residential neighbourhoods, office parks, and basic roadside hotels lacking much local atmosphere or appeal beyond pure practicality.

Plane noise can also be an issue, especially at certain properties. Don’t expect to be wandering quiet lanes and historic piazzas – it’s more a pure transit hub than a picturesque slice of Italy.

Here are 2 great accommodations near the airport

Airport Stop ($): Ideal for a brief stay near the airport, offering a seamless self-check-in process. Impeccably clean rooms with essential amenities.

Apartment Orio ($$): Excellent location, within walking distance of the airport. Spacious 1BR with an efficient self-check-in process.

Flight taking off at the Orio al Serio Airport
Flight taking off at the Orio al Serio Airport
Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

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