If you're like me, you'll be leaving slightly heavier from all the Italian food you've been stuffing yourself with and wishing you'd picked up that big chunk of parmiggiano cheese or mortadella ham to take home. No fear, you can still do it at the airport!
Here's our quick guide to your eating and shopping options as well as all about departures...
If you're getting to the airport with an Italy car hire, see our post on returning your car hire to Bologna Airport. We'll take you through how to get to the airport, where to park it and reaching the departures area.
Other options for getting to the airport include the Aerobus which goes from the main train station in Bologna - Bologna Centrale and a few other stops in the city to the airport. Or you could always take a taxi. A one-way fare on the Aerobus is €6 and can be paid on the bus.
Before you get to the airport, check if you need the east terminal
Check in at the east terminal
If you've already read our guide to returning your car hire to Bologna Airport, you'll already know about this bit so go right on ahead and continue on the next bit. Most of all the action at the airport is at the main terminal. However, if you are flying with Ryanair and either (or both!) need to check in luggage or do not have an EU passport so need your visa checked, you will need to go to the east terminal first. The Aerobus stops at both terminals, stopping at the east terminal first where you'll need to get off. It stops a couple of minutes walk away from the east terminal right by the P3 car park. You can just ask your taxi driver to take you to the east terminal if you're going by taxi.
Just follow the Follow Me sign to the east terminal.
Get on board!
Once you're done, just head outside for the yellow BLQ Express train that will take you to the main terminal.
More on what Italy does best - Food
Cheese, ham and other goodies
You should find yourself on the departures level of the airport, which is on the first floor. Before we go through the shops and eating options here, it's worth noting that if you do want to stock up on some of the region's spectacular food, head downstairs to the Vecchia Malga Deli (they have branches in the city centre and is a great place to grab some lunch!) which is in the arrivals hall on the ground floor level. See arriving into Bologna Airport for exactly where… You are able to buy it in shops in the departures area but I found the prices cheaper in the Deli downstairs - it's also just a beautiful shopping experience!
Airport shopping in addition to your one piece of hand luggage?
Can you carry it on?
Also at the Vecchia, you might notice this sign posted at it… Presumably aimed at Ryanair customers who only have hand luggage. In Madrid, we saw a similar poster - unfortunately, Ryanair are unlikely to heed your calls for you to be allowed to bring airport shopping on board in addition to your one piece of hand luggage. And if you've had experience of buying flights on their website, you'll note how many times you have to check the box to comply with all their terms and conditions including the one piece of hand luggage. So I think it's a hard one to argue! Of course, you can do as they suggest in Madrid and put a complaint in...
In the departures area pre-security
Where to eat
Food hall entrance
There is a food hall upstairs on the second floor - find the stair case and lift to go up on the right hand side of the pre-security area). In addition to an Autogrill Café, there is a Spizzico where pizza's the thing to get and Ciao which serves regional dishes of the area. Apparently, it has some great views of the airport too. Sadly, the food hall was closed when I arrived at about 8.30am so I couldn't check it out.
Bollicine Wine Bar
The only option for food pre-security in departures is Bollicine. With a great selection of wines as well as food from the region, it's a good place to go for a tipple. If you also love gelato, they have a great ice cream selection too.
Once you go through security, food options are reduced to sandwiches and pastries so if you want to fill up on something heartier, do it before going through!
Fast cars and bikes
If you're a fan, you can get memorabilia from either the Ferrari or Ducati shops. The Ducati store is next door to the pharmacy by the Biglietteri towards the left hand side of this area and you'll find the Ferrari shop just opposite the pharmacy.
Fashion and accessories
Next to Bollicine, there is Piquadro, where you can find luxury Italian leather goods from belts to bags. Also, towards the stairs to the food hall, there is Fashion Gate for women's fashion and accessories.
Newspapers and cigarettes
For international and national papers, cigarettes and snacks, head to Titoli just on the other side of the Fashion Gate. Or if you just want to head on through to departures, find security opposite Titoli.
Post-security and whilst you wait to board…
Standing room only
There is a Segafredo Café at each end of the departures hall. You can get cold or hot drinks as well as choose from a selection of pastries and sandwiches here. There's no seating area here so you can take your espresso standing up at the bar like the Italians do or take it with you to one of the nearby seating areas.
Travel Value and Duty Free
There is a large Travel Value & Duty Free store where you can stock up on the usual duty free goods towards your right after going through security.
Italians do bags well… check them out at Mandarina Duck or Furla. A branch of Furla pretty much faces the security area and you'll find Mandarina Duck to your right before you get to the Travel Value & Duty Free store.
Mens & women's fashion as well as some lingerie
Conte of Florence
Pick up stylish clothes for men and women - especially if you like that 'I have a sail boat look' at Conte of Florence just past the duty free shop. For men or the men in your life, there is an Ingram shirt shop and for women or the women in your life, lingerie at La Perla. Find both of these towards your left after going through security.
Because everyone loves chocolate
Don't they? There are some beautiful looking chocolates at Cioccolateria Venchia opposite the Segafredo Café near passport control.
Through passport control for non-Shengen flights
More coffee and snacks
If you need to go through passport control because you're flying to a non-Shengen destination, you'll find it walking towards your left after you go through security. There is also another café through there if you'd rather have a drink/food closer to your boarding gate. Or if you want to kill time not sitting down, there is another duty free store here too.
Where are you going next?
If you're planning your next trip, don't forget to visit CarJet - we've got low-cost car hire worldwide! Until next time, happy travels!