If you’re looking for a beach in Italy, there are plenty of options… even if you’re staying in one of the big three tourist cities. Still, it can be hard to know which of the beaches near Rome, Florence, and Venice are the cleanest and prettiest. And even harder to figure out how to reach them! If you’re jonesing for sun and sand on your Italy trip, here are the best, most convenient beaches to where you’re staying.
Best beaches near Rome
The most convenient beach: Santa Marinella. While it’s packed—like all of these beaches—on weekends, the sand is soft, the water is clear, the resort town has some good seafood restaurants, and there’s a stretch of free beach (i.e. where you don’t have to pay for a cabana, but can lay out your towel for free). Best of all, it’s super-convenient: just 45 minutes on the train and €4.60.
The most beautiful beach: Sperlonga. The whitewashed, picturesque town of Sperlonga perches on a cliff over the sea with the beach stretching below. The beach has also been blue-flagged, unlike Santa Marinella, which means that it has met high standards for environmental cleanliness, water quality, and safety. The downside is that Sperlonga’s tougher to reach than Santa Marinella. If you’re renting a car, it’s a 2-hour drive (longer with weekend traffic). Or you can take the train to the Fondi-Sperlonga station (€6.90; 1hr 10mins) and, from there, grab a taxi (about €20) or a bus (€1), which runs every hour in the summer.
It’s worth noting that travelers often visit the Amalfi Coast (which has a few spectacular, if small beaches) from Rome. Unfortunately it isn’t very close, requiring a roughly 3-hour drive. If you still want to make the trek, read our blog on how to get to the Amalfi Coast.
Best beaches near Florence
The most convenient beach: Viareggio. Although the town itself isn’t particularly picturesque, the beach has everything you could need: water, sand, restrooms, showers, and cafes. And yes, it’s been blue-flagged. The shallow water makes it great for kids, and the beach is really long, so even though it gets extremely crowded, you’ll still be able to find a spot (although renting a cabana here, which you have to do, will cost you). It takes 1.5 hours on the train from Florence, and the train station is located half a mile from the beach.
The most beautiful beach: Castiglioncello. This (blue-flagged) area of the Etruscan coast has both rocky and sandy beaches, perfectly clear water, a water sports center (snorkeling, anyone?), and spectacular scenery, complete with cliffs and coves. The fastest train route takes you there in just under 2 hours (€9.60), but the Castiglioncello train station is right near the beach.
If you are interested in other destinations easily reached from Florence, take a look at our blog on the best day trips from Florence.
Best beaches near Venice
The most convenient beach: Lido. Venice’s Lido beach gets very crowded in the summer—but it’s been blue-flagged, the water is clean, and the sand is soft. And it couldn’t be more convenient. Several vaporetto lines run right from Venice to the Lido, including the #1, 2, 5.1, and 5.2; the cost is €7 for 60 minutes.
The most beautiful nearby beach: Caorle. A colorful fishing village turned resort town, Caorle boasts historic churches, a seafront promenade, great fish restaurants, and, yes, long stretches of sandy, and blue-flagged, beach. There are areas for children to play, gelaterie, cafes, and restaurants, making it an easy place to spend the day. Just remember that Caorle doesn’t have its own railroad station. You can get there either on a 2-hour bus ride from Venice (Check the ATVO website for the schedule), or take the train to the Portogruaro-Caorle station and then grab one of the hourly buses.
For a water-based trip closer to Venice, don’t miss Burano, a unique little Island with an incredible history of artisanship.