Florence is a stunning city because of beaches, and it’s little wonder its timeless treasures attract tourists all year round. The beaches near Florence are one of the beautiful attractions in the Tuscany region. The city is serenely atmospheric around Christmasand abuzz with festivities over Easter. But beautiful though it may be bathed in light during the summer, in the heat it can get pretty oppressive. As the blazing sun beats down on Florence’s cobbled streets, temperatures can soar to the mid- to high-thirties, driving groups of long-suffering tourists into the nearest designer shops to exploit the air conditioning that’s been generously laid on for them.
The Italians know better than any that their cities weren’t built for summer. That’s why in August there’s a mass exodus to the coast or mountains, culminating on the 15th with the public holiday of ferragosto—a tradition dating back to the first years of the Roman Empire and originating with the emperor Augustus himself. When you think Italian beaches, you probably don’t think about Tuscany. But the region isn’t just rolling hills and lush, ripe vineyards.
If you’re coming to Florence during the spring and summer months, we’ve written this guide just for you. It’s a descriptive list of some of the best beach trips from Florence, handpicked by us at Roman Candle Tours, and chosen on the basis of natural beauty, affordability, and convenience.
List of Beaches Closest to Florence
With the Tyrrhenian’s white surf to the west and the imposing peaks of Massa Carrara to the east, Viareggio has long been a popular destination for those wanting to escape the city for some sea, sun, and swimming. In its heyday this most effectively reachable beach from Florence is one of the trendiest beaches in Italy. During the twentieth century, figures like Puccini whiled away time along its three-kilometre promenade, La Passeggiata, watching the world go by over a coffee or a delectable seafood meal (never the two together mind you).
People still travel from across the country to visit Viareggio’s 10-kilometre stretch of sandy shores. During the day, families play on its beaches, paddle in the shallow surf, and set up camp along any coast-hugging stretch of its natural park. By night, however, it’s Italy’s young and beautiful that throng its streets, indulging in its famous nightlife and creating an exciting buzz around the city’s already vibrant atmosphere.
How to reach From Florence to Viareggio: Reaching Viareggio is easy from Florence. Being situated in the province of Lucca means it’s just an hour’s drive or train ride from Florence’s Santa Maria Novella. The public beach is close to the train station too, making it the perfect hassle-free beach trip from Florence.
A picturesque seaside village of holiday homes and pinewoods, Castiglioncello first came to prominence in the early twentieth century as a fashionable, peaceful bathing resort for the discerning townspeople of Tuscany. Castiglioncello is perfect for snorkelers, divers, and serious swimmers. Unlike most beaches on the flat-shelved Etruscan and Tyrrhenian coast, Castiglioncello’s waters will quickly take you out of your depth. And the tresasures in its waters are there to find. Amongst its highlights are the remains of a port dating from the second century AD, and a labyrinth of shallow rocky reefs falling away into the deep blue.
When the wind’s up Castiglioncello is also a popular surfing spot, especially the area known as “Rocky Point” (so-called because of the striking similarity it bears to the famous surfing spot in Hawaii).
Unless you’re planning to park yourself for the day on the village’s main sandy beach, make sure you pack flip-flops. The headland spanning Castiglioncello’s main promontory is a rocky, almost lunar surface that calls for some nimble climbing and stable footwork. Should you wish to embrace your inner mountain goat, however, the venture is well worth it. Some of Castiglioncello’s best-kept secrets are securely out of sight: aquamarine rock pools deep enough to swim that offer a solitary haven from the hustle and bustle of the main crowded beach.
How to reach From Florence to Castiglioncello: Getting to Castiglioncello from Florence is easy. The hour and forty-minute train journey from Florence (with a quick change at Pisa) will set you back just under €12 each way, and from the station, it’s just a five-minute walk to either the beach or the various bars and restaurants situated in the centre of the village.
Read More: Best Things to do in Florence in One Day
3. Forte Dei Marmi
Forte Dei Marmi is a resort aimed at wealthy Italians. In fact, the beach town was one of the first such resorts in Italy. Launched at the turn of the century, it has become extremely popular with royalty particularly and people privileged enough to flock to villas in the pines. Footballers are known to enjoy the beach town as well.
The number of bathing establishments is enormous, and some Forte Dei Marmi beaches, such as Santa Maria Beach, have been singled out as the best topless beaches in the world. While it’s not mandatory for visitors to beaches to part with their bikini tops or swim trunks, don’t be alarmed if you see others doing so.
This most costly oceanside town in Tuscany offers its rich villa dwellers a Wednesday market that features designer clothing, a variety of leather goods, cashmere and other luxury items. The market is known for offering steep bargains, especially on reproductions of expensive clothing.
How to reach From Florence to Specialty Forte dei Marmi: There is a train station at Forte Dei Marmi, and there are a few direct trains per day from Florence’s main Santa Maria Novella station. Still, others connect in Pisa. The seaside town center is about 3 miles from the train station — you can catch an hourly bus or take a taxi for the short ride. Because of Forte Dei Marmi’s small size, if you are content to stay in town you can get by without a car. Otherwise, if you’re driving, Forte Dei Marmi is located on the A12 autostrada, known as the Autostrada Azzurra, which runs from Rome to Genoa.
Few outside Italy have ever heard of Follonica: somewhat surprising given its far-stretching sandy beach and crystal clear waters (qualities that make it the ideal spot for water sports and guarantee that when the wind’s up it’s awash with windsurfers). Follonica’s main beach is great for kids. Its soft sandy beach slopes into shallow waters, giving them the option to paddle (and for you to do the same). And should, for any reason, your kids get bored of spending time on the beach, there’s a fantastic water park nearby, Acqua Village Follonica, which has attractions to suit all ages. Which is to say that they might not be the first ones wanting to leave!
Lunch options in Follonica are just as you’d expect from an Italian seaside town. From fine seafood dining with a view overlooking the Tyrrhenian, to a more budget-friendly option offering similarly delicious fresh fish a little further back in the town, there’s a wealth of choices to suit every palette.
How to reach From Florence to Follonica: The best way to get to Follonica is to catch a train from Florence’s main station, Santa Maria Novella. The journey takes two and a half hours each way, normally including a change at Pisa, and a single ticket will set you back just over €16 (meaning it’s worth setting off early and staying until late to make the most out of your day at the beach).
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This beautiful beach town in Florence is usually the first village you’ll meet when arriving on Elba Island, as its harbor is most used by ferryboats. This town is also home to a wide range of beautiful beaches worth visiting despite the flow of traffic. The area is also a perfect spot for scuba diving and boasts a lively nightlife. The beaches of Enfola, Rivercina e dei Mangani, Nisporto and Sansone are the best seaside spots in town.
With a lovely Terrazza Mascagni, checkered promenade running to Antignano, Livorno is Tuscany’s most important port town, all along the coast. The old town center, “Vettovaglie ” central market, aquarium and old fortress It’s also worth checking out. Cacciucco is the must-try dish here, it is an Italian fish stew made with garlic, pepper and sage, native to the western coastal towns of Tuscany.
How to reach From Florence to Livorno: We would like to suggest you take the train from Florence S.M.N. to Livorno Centrale, which takes around 1h 20m.
6. San Vincenzo
A few metres from the centre and the port, the beaches of San Vincenzo begin, with some golden sand. There are free beach sections and sections with deck chairs and umbrellas for hire. The surrounding beaches are long in both directions and are among the most beautiful beaches in Florence, Tuscany. There are surf schools, diving schools. The water around San Vincenzo is very clean. Surely the small town is a good choice for a beach holiday. There are many kilometres of good beaches in the region, including sections where there is little activity even in August.
Popular among vacationers with dogs in Tuscany is the dog beach “Dog Beach”, about 1 km south of the center of San Vincenzo. Here dogs can run around freely and also swim in the sea. There is also a fitness area for dogs as well as deck chairs, cafes and restaurants. Dogs are only allowed to run free here, in Italy there is a strict leash obligation.
How to reach From Florence to San Vincenzo: At the very end, several kilometres outside the town, a few hundred metres inland is a large campsite with over 1000 pitches and bungalows. Camping Albatros has a large swimming pool, mini-golf, restaurant, cafe, shops and much more.
Read More: Best Things to do in Florence in Winter
7. Marina di Cecina
Once in the heartlands of Tuscany’s wild west, with malaria infested swamps and livestock-thieving bandits roaming unchecked, the coastal region of Maremma in southwestern Tuscany has evolved to become one of the most desired coastal retreats in Italy. Fewer of its offerings are more popular than Castiglione della Pescaia, a humble fishing town with some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy.
Castiglione della Pescaia has a fully functioning fishing port, which brings in daily catches of fresh fish for the town’s many seafront restaurants. But the continued use of the port takes nothing away from the quality of its water, which is beautifully clear and, in summer, welcomely refreshing.
The best beach in Castiglioncello is la spiaggia di ponente: a lengthy stretch of fine white sandy shoreline with crystal clear waters and no strong currents. It’s easily walkable from the town centre, though the bars and restaurants that line it offers excellent lunch options (their quality and price assured by the fact that their only clientele is Italians who refuse to pay tourist prices). The only setback with Castiglione della Pescaia is that, like all beach destinations in Maremma’s lush and wild countryside, it’s fiendishly difficult to get to.
How to reach From Florence to Castiglione della Pescaia: To get there you’ll have to hire a car or a private driver, just as you’ll have to do to reach the final destination on our list, Monte Argentario (though its reputation as one of the best beach destinations in Italy makes the journey well worthwhile).
8. Marina di Pisa
Halfway between Rome and Pisa on a mountainous peninsula connected to the mainland via two isthmuses, Monte Argentario is the only destination in Central Italy whose waters rival those of Sardinia or Sicily. Argentario takes its name from the ancient moneylenders (argentarii) who financed the Roman Republic during its wars against Carthage. Fast-forward thousand years and, besides the politics, little has changed; the island’s still the favoured retreat of the Roman and Tuscan wealthy, and still linked to the mainland by the same sandy isthmuses. When it comes to beauty, Argentario is simply without peer—certainly in Tuscany and Lazio; arguably in the entire country north of Puglia and Calabria). Pine forests coat most of the island, dotted by the hidden holiday homes of the rich and famous (including a certain Mr. Gucci). Hugging its coastline are hidden rocky beaches, as well as the more famous yachtie retreats of Porto San Stefano and Porto Ercole.
From either village, you can rent a boat to explore some of the more out of reach beaches around Argentario: cala grande(the “big cove”), Cala Piccola (the “small cove”), and the stunning Isola Rossa (“Red Island”). Come to Porto Ercole in late July and you can also experience the Sagra Della Sardella, a food festival serving up sardines and other local seafood.
How to reach From Florence to Monte Argentario: As an unspoilt spot of paradise, you can’t but appreciate Argentario. But such aesthetic appeal comes at a price: the cost of which is accessibility. To get to Argentario you need a car; to get around Argentario you need nerves of steel (especially with the hairpin bends of the stunning Via Panoramica), and to make the most of Argentario and its coastline you ideally need a boat.
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Mentioned above the beaches nearest to Florence. If you plan a tour of Florence next summer then you should visit these cool beaches nearest to Florence. Obviously, with regards to occasions, it’s never one-size-fits-all; everyone needs to have their very own one of a kind encounter and remove their very own exceptional bit of Florence. We’ve as of late distributed various websites to the locale, taking you through our top picks for nourishment and wine sampling in Florence, the greatest day trips from Florence, and how to spend the ideal occasion in Florence with the children.
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