Tour Italy Now shares our picks for Italy’s best beaches.
May 1st is the official kick-off of the beach season. Italy is almost completely surrounded by water. With almost 5,000 miles of coastline and more than 400 Islands, there are so many wonderful beaches it is hard to choose. The best news is that you are close to a day at the beach from pretty much any place in Italy.
Here are some of our favorite places along Italy’s many beautiful coastlines.
It is very easy to hop on a train and spend the day at the beach and be back in Rome in time for dinner. Two good spots are Ostia and Santa Marinella.
Ostia is less than an hour from the center of Rome and you can take the metro from Piramide station for less than €2. There are miles of beach clubs and stretches of free beach to chose from once you get there.
Santa Marinella is about an hour away on a regional train. In about an hour you can escape the city and traffic and have your feet in the sand, sipping a café zero (the Italian frappaccino) in the charming little curve of beach in Santa Marinella. Trains leave from San Pietro station every 30 minutes (or so) on the Civitavecchia or Pisa line, track 5, Or from Termini usually track 25 or 28. Buy a BIRG ticket (zone 3 €8) ticket that covers your roundtrip journey.
Tuscany is not just cypress trees and countryside villas and renaissance art treasure. It also has over 100 miles of coast and an archipelago of beautiful islands.
Chose from swanky Forti di Marmi with it’s designer shops and large villas or Viareggio with it’s Liberty style architecture and classic cafes or head to the wilder Maremma coast for long stretches of empty sand.
On the island of Elba you can drive windy roads through national parkland that goes from dense wild forest to Mediterranean scrub and discover crystal clear water and sandy beaches in the shadow of enormous granite boulders that were long ago used to build monuments in Rome.
Need a break from a hot, crowded Venice? The Lido de Venezia is located between the Adriatic and the lagoon and is a tranquil respite. From St Mark’s Square, find the1, 52, LN, or 2 Vaporetto. In less than 30 minutes you can be under an umbrella and relaxing at the San Nicolò’s beach club. Lounging in the sun not your thing? Rent a bike and explore the Ca’Roman nature reserve. How about a round of golf at the Golf club Venezia? Stash a copy of Thomas Mann’s book, Death in Venice in your beach bag and have a drink at the Hotel des Bains for a literary experience.
The famous winding road and colorful towns that seem to be just barely clinging to the steep cliffs are some of Italy’s greatest treasures. The entire Amalfi Coast is a UNESCO protected heritage site.
You have your pick of types places here. You can chose the laid back beach scene in Positano or take a ferry over to glamorous and chic Capri and not be missed is the island of Ischia filled with thermal spas and ancient castles. One thing to note is the beaches of the Amalfi coast are small pebbles and not sand. There are row upon row of comfortable beach loungers and colorful umbrellas to relax under. The beach resorts in Capri have slabs of concrete built into the rocks to make a deck and are strewn with loungers and mattresses out over the crystalline sea. One of the best ways to explore the Amalfi coast is by boat, where you can find your own private cove to swim and escape the crowds.
Known as the the Gulf of Poets, where Byron, Shelley and DH Lawrence once swam and were inspired, the Italian Riveria, in the region of Liguria, is a colorful must see.
The Cinque Terre villages are particularly spectacular, with 11 miles of multicolored buildings clinging to steep cliffs between the Levanto and La Spezia. Hike or stroll between the picturesque towns stopping for rustic seafood meals or a break on small slices of sand.
If nightlife is your thing, Rimini, on the opposite side of the country, is the place for you. White white sanding beached backed with beach loungers and nightclub this stretch of the Adriatic never sleeps.
There are over 400 islands in Italy. Two of the largest are popular destinations for the beach lover.
You can reach the fabled emerald coastline of Sardinia in less than an hours flight from Rome. Peaceful sandy beaches, village festivals and bronze age settlements make this one of the most unique beach destinations in Italy. A car is the best way to explore boulder strewn coves and wild inland hiking spots filled with fragrant shrubs and wild grasses.
Head to the southern Island of Sicily for it’s bright colors, Greek ruins, pastries and Volcanos.
One of Sicily’s most famous historical attractions is the Valley of the Temples, just outside Agrigento. This archaeological park consists of eight temples and various other remains built between about 510 BC and 430 BC:
Not far from this spectacular archeological site are the dramatic Turkish Steps. Almost two miles of smooth white granite natural steps leading down to the sea. The name comes from a time when the region was under attack from pirates and invaders from Saracens, Arabs, or Berbers known generically as “Turks.”
For some natural nighttime fireworks you will want to visit the Aeolian islands and see the still active Stromboli volcano from a sunset boat cruise.
Do you have a favorite beach in Italy? We would love to hear about it.