11 Best Beaches near Rome
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With all its historic and artistic attractions, most tourists don't go to Rome for the beaches. But after a few days of sightseeing in the city's stifling summer heat, it's good to know there are handy places nearby to take a refreshing dip in the sea.
Within an hour of the city are several choices, and only a bit farther brings you to some of the prettiest beach towns on the Lazio coast. Because they are within such easy reach of the city, Romans make good use of their beaches in the summer, especially on weekends and in the traditional vacation month of August, so expect to find crowds of others competing for a patch of sand.
Most Italian beaches are not free. Large sections of the sand - and in some cases the entire beach - will be lined with the lounge chairs and cabanas of a stabilimento balneare, or lido, a beach club where you rent a space and access to the restrooms and showers. The cost of these varies considerably, but the shade, facilities, and access to refreshments delivered to your lounger make them preferable to the often ill-kept free areas at the fringes.
While the beaches around Rome may not have the idyllic green waters of Sardinia or Sicily, they are pleasant and lively places to get away from the city for a day. There is quite a variety of choices, so to find your perfect place in the sand, use this list of the best beaches near Rome.
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It may not be the closest beach to Rome, but you can hardly ask for a prettier holiday town, with its whitewashed houses descending along narrow lanes above a pair of crescent beaches. A small promontory lies between the beaches, which drop in long shallow sweeps into a sea so clear and clean that it has earned a Blue Flag designation.
Ponente beach lies directly beneath the town, backed by hotels and restaurants, while Levante beach has a more natural setting below hillsides of low Mediterranean shrubs. Sand and dunes continue north for kilometers, with some smaller cove beaches that can only be reached on foot. Most of Ponente is covered in rented loungers, but Levante has some free public space along with its lido.
Both beaches are ideal for children, with warm shallow water and fine sand, and if you're feeling guilty about leaving the wonders of Rome, you're not the first. Tiberius built an imperial villa here, and you can see some of the ancient sculptures found there in the museum at the Grotto of Tiberius.
Sperlonga is about 90 minutes south of Rome; take the train from Termini station south to Fondi-Sperlonga, and a shuttle bus to the beaches and town.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Sperlonga
2. Santa Marinella
Closer to Rome and less complicated to reach - it's less than an hour by a train that takes you within a five minutes' walk of the beach - Santa Marinella is less picturesque, but has a fine-sand beach protected by a breakwater. The gradual decent into the clear water makes it a favorite for families with small children. There is very little free beach, but you will welcome the shade offered by a lido.
The beach is backed directly by the town, which apart from some good seafood restaurants, seems very little affected by tourism, as most of the beachgoers come from Rome on day trips. Santa Marinella was a popular bathing spot for ancient Romans, too.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Santa Marinella
An hour south of Rome and easy to reach by train, Anzio's long golden-sand beach is protected by a breakwater that keeps the clear turquoise water shallow and placid. This, and the beach's Blue Flag status, makes it a popular choice for families with small children, who can play safely in the gentle waves.
The beach runs the entire length of the town, and the free section is backed by the still-imposing remains of Emperor Nero's seaside Villa Imperiale. He was born in Anzio and came here frequently. For more recent history on your day out of Rome, you can visit the Anzio BeachHead Museum, recalling the decisive 1944 Allied landing here to liberate Rome from the Nazi occupation during World War II.
Anzio's harbor, along with assuring that some of Lazio's finest seafood is served in the town's restaurants, is the starting point for boats to the Pontine Islands. Just down the road, and the next stop on the train from Rome, are the long beaches of Nettuno, also awarded the Blue Flag for their clean water and sands. Both beaches are well supplied with services.
To reach either town's beaches, take the train from Rome's Termini; beaches are about a 10-minute walk from the respective stations.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Anzio
West of Rome and close to Fumicino airport, Fregene is the favored beach for lively young Romans, who begin to gather in the late afternoon and stay into the night at the beachside clubs and restaurants. The tone of the stabilimenti is decidedly chic, and they are frequented by the stylish club set, but in the daytime, the beach is popular with families and tends to be less crowded than nearby Ostia.
Those who don't come for the action and are looking for a quick break from the city will find moderate-to-good water quality and long stretches of sand, a good part of it free to the public. To get to Fregene, take the train from Rome Termini to Maccarese-Fregene station and a local bus to the beach.
The sandy shore continues northward into Maccarese, accessed from the same station, less fashionable and also less crowded than Fregene and nearby Ostia. Outdoor beach restaurants begin to open in April, when the water is still a bit cold for swimming, but the afternoon sun is warm, and the beach clubs have not yet taken over the sand.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Fregene
5. Santa Severa
Only 40 minutes by train from Rome's San Pietro station, the wide sandy beach at Santa Severa has a lot more going for it than sun and sand. A 14th-century castle, its foundations extending right to the water, bookends the long beach, a large portion of which is free to the public.
Those who like a little wave action will find it here (unlike most of the Lazip shoreline), although the waters are calm enough in the summer to make the beach a favorite with families. There are stabilimenti for those who want to rent lounge chairs, and plenty of restaurants to choose from.
Walk around the walled borgo (village) under the castle to browse in artisans' shops and see the exhibits in the castle, whose origins date back at least to the 11th century. Before that, Santa Severa was a Roman settlement along the via Aurelia, and you can still see the huge stones of the Roman foundations.
Under the wooded slopes of Mount Circeo, a beach of soft golden sand continues for 15 kilometers, backed by dunes and the Sabaudi Lagoon. Most of the beach is free - highly unusual along this coast - and because it's a little harder to reach than other Lazio beaches, uncrowded. The water is a clear turquoise blue and the beach pristine, earning it a Blue Flag status.
The Circeo National Park surrounds the beach, which is accessed by a series of boardwalks, so there is little commercial development apart from a few stabilimenti where you can rent loungers and umbrellas. Its size and location in the park keeps the beach more natural than its more developed neighbors.
To get to the beaches from Rome, take a bus from the Laurentina metro stop to Piazza Oberdan in Sabaudia, and a shuttle bus from here to the beaches. The town of Sabaudia may surprise you with its abundance of Rationalist architecture; it was built in less than a year, after Mussolini ordered the coastal marshes drained.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Sabaudia
7. Lido di Ostia
Almost solidly lined by stabilimenti, each marked by its own color of umbrellas, Ostia is not the place to look for a quiet stretch of sand. The free areas are few, and you'd be lucky to find towel space even on a weekday. But its location, a half-hour train ride from Rome, and the classic Italian beach vibe make up for its cost and less than-clear-water (although it is safe for swimming).
This is the place to go if you want to sample traditional beach culture and don't mind paying for it. The scene is lively, boisterous, and more about the social life than swimming. Because the city is only half an hour away, this is the quick getaway choice for Romans, so it's most crowded in the afternoon and into the evening.
Take the train from Rome's Porta San Paolo station to Lido Centro for Ostia's beach, or for quieter surroundings, stay on the train until the last stop and take the 07 MARE bus to Cancelli. Here, you'll find a series of free public beaches with restrooms, and dunes give it a more natural feel than Ostia's rows of tightly guarded beach clubs. The cancelli are numbered, and of them, 8 has a more natural feel, backed by dunes.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Lido di Ostia
Close to the beaches of Gaeta and Sperlonga, Terracina is a smaller town with a charming historic center of narrow lanes and colorful houses. The long sandy beach is backed by a row of palms that separate it from the row of seafood restaurants in the commercial area behind it. One end of the beach is punctuated by the steep rock slopes of Mount Sant'Angelo, topped by the ruined first-century Temple of Jupiter Anxur.
The beach is largely occupied by stabilimenti, but there are free areas. Energetic travelers can climb to the temple for views of the coast and mountains that on clear days include Mt Vesuvius. More Roman remains await in the picturesque town, including a segment of the Roman Appian Way. Ferries to the Pontine Islands leave from Terracina's port.
Gaeta's setting alone would make it one of Lazio's - or Italy's - most beautiful beach towns. Ancient Romans thought so, too, and made it one of their favorite seaside bolt-holes. Since their time a pretty town has grown above the beaches, with a gigantic Aragonese castle from the 6th century, medieval churches, and narrow streets.
There are several beaches to choose from, or Gaeta is close enough to Sperlonga and Terracina that you can divide a holiday easily between the beaches from a base at any of them. Buses to Gaeta run from the train station in nearby Formia, connected directly to Rome's Termini station.
Gaeta's soft golden sands are demarcated almost to the waterline by beach clubs, leaving little free sand, but this is true of most Italian beaches, and the attractive town and tourist attractions make Gaeta a good choice.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Gaeta
10. Castel Porziano
A rare phenomenon in mainland Italy, the beach at Castel Porziano (also spelled Castelporziano) is wild and in a natural state, with no expensive beach clubs or rows of matching umbrellas and loungers. That this wild and undeveloped stretch of fine sand and sea should be so close to Rome is even harder to believe.
Protected by the Roman Littoral State Nature Reserve, a green area of windswept dunes and wild lands behind it, the beach is a bit of a walk - about two kilometers - from the last stop of Bus 061, which leaves from the Cristoforo Colombo stop, also the last, on the Roma-Lido train line.
No stabilimenti means no restaurants and few facilities, although there are rest rooms and usually people there renting umbrellas, and maybe a refreshment stand or two; to be safe, bring shade and something to drink. As difficult as it is to get here, you're still close to the city, so on a hot summer weekend you won't have even this beach to yourself.
The beach at Civitavecchia is not where you go to see Rome's smart set, and on weekends it can be a chaotic scene of children and sun-seekers crowding its sands and busy boardwalk. But few other beaches can offer its two aces: it's free and only a five-minute walk from the train station, on a direct line from Rome.
The beach is sandy, and the water, although not the incandescent blue of many other Lazio beaches, is relatively clear. You can rent an umbrella, and the boardwalk is lined with eating places, pizza and gelato stands, kiddie rides, and kiosks selling the beach accessories you forgot.
It's a different slice of Roman life than you'll find at the trendy beaches like Fregene, but a lively, friendly one.
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More Places to Visit near Rome: Some of Italy's top tourist attractions are easy day trips from Rome. One of these is the ancient city of Pompeii, or you can visit the romantic Island of Capri on a day or overnight trip from Rome.