If you’re looking for a beach in Italy, you’ve got lots of options… even if you’re staying in Rome, Florence and Venice. Still, it can be hard to know which of the beaches near the big cities 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 best 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 nearby beach: Sperlonga. The whitewashed, picturesque town of Sperlonga perches on a cliff over the sea; the beach stretches below. The beach has also been blue-flagged, unlike Santa Marinella, which means that it’s met high standards for environmental cleanliness, water quality, and safety. But 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.
Best beaches near Florence
The best 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 (€8.20) from Florence, and the train station is located half a mile from the beach.
The most beautiful nearby 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 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.
Best beaches near Venice
The best 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 (the ATVO website has this Venice-Caorle schedule), or take the train to the Portogruaro-Caorle station (1hr, €5.10) and then grab one of the hourly buses.