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tengohambre Jan 3rd, 2009 05:46 PM

Italian beaches? Any recommendations?
We are looking to travel to Italy in August and in search of a nice beach, good food and some sight seeing. Yes, we know it will be packed. We will likely fly into Rome and spend a few days there first. We are 2 adults and 2 pre teens. Where in Italy are the nicest beaches? Sardinia? Sicily? Neither? Maybe Corsica? Anyplace else in the Italian boot?

We would prefer a hotel over an apartment, where hopefully we can take a quad room. Looking for four stars or so. Some place with a pool, near or in town, and near to some nice beaches. We will rent a car. We have been up north previously, to Santa Margarita, but those northern beaches are likely too rocky for what we are looking for. Any specific, or general, recommendations are greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Grinisa Jan 3rd, 2009 06:12 PM

Sardinia does have beautiful beaches but the four star hotels there can be very pricey and may not have quad rooms. You say you don't want rocky beaches like the ones near Santa Margherita. That leaves out the Amalfi Coast as those beaches are small and rocky. Sicily has some sandy beaches near Taormina and you can find four star hotels in that town. I like the beaches in Puglia. In the south, near Otranto, the beaches are wide and sandy. There is a lot of sightseeing and great food. The beaches on the Gargano are also lovely, but smaller and with lots of grottoes to explore. The Tremiti islands off the northern coast of Puglia also have some nice beaches. The beaches along the Adriatic between Venice and Pescara can be wide and sandy. But they are not the most picturesque and can get extremely crowded in August. There also aren't many luxury hotels although there are many,many three star tourist hotels there. The beaches in Calabria around Tropea are nice but sightseeing would involve more driving. My choice would be southern Puglia.

tengohambre Jan 3rd, 2009 06:25 PM

Grinisa, thank you. I will look to Puglia and that area of southern Italy (indeed, we already drink wine from there). Do you think it is possible to catch a train down there from Rome, or it is many hours? Thanks.

Jean Jan 3rd, 2009 06:32 PM

I haven't taken a summer, beach vacation in Italy, but I think Sardinia's beaches are some of the prettiest I've seen anywhere.

Grinisa Jan 3rd, 2009 06:59 PM

According to Trenitalia and Viamichelin, both train and driving will take around 4 1/2 hours. I highly recommend having a car in Pugia to explore so you may as well pick one up on your way out of Rome and drive down there yourself.

tengohambre Jan 3rd, 2009 07:36 PM

There seem to be some very nice country hotels/residences. I found one, near Fasano, that looks very nice. A Masseria. I think Fasano is inland a bit. Is that more or less well located? I think we could take a train then from Rome. Or, maybe just rent the car in Rome and rive south. Reading the TRs though it seems the drive is long and pretty boring, the train might be easier.

I will also look to Sardinia but, one prior year when I checked the hotel rates really were through the roof. Thanks.

Marianna Jan 4th, 2009 02:54 AM

Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but between Rome and Naples is a town called Gaeta and it has a beautiful beach.

ekscrunchy Jan 4th, 2009 04:22 AM

From my own research over the years, Tropea (Calabria) seems to be at the top of the list for Italian beaches..

In Liguria, I've been told that Sestri Levante has long-sandy beaches..

Also look into Gargano peninsula in Puglia.

longboatkey Jan 4th, 2009 05:36 AM

Sardinia, has the best beaches, and the Costa Smeralda, developed by the Aga Kahn, is very nice part of the Island. My favorite is Hotel Patrizza, smaller but very good service and beaches.

longboatkey Jan 4th, 2009 05:39 AM

Meant...Pitrizza....sorry stiff fingers !!!!!

bobthenavigator Jan 4th, 2009 05:49 AM

The best I have found are 2 hours south of Rome at Sperlonga/Gaeta, but all the beaches will be like a zoo that time of year.

wannagetaway Jan 4th, 2009 06:10 AM

Sardinia has beautiful, pristine beaches and the Costa Esmeralda/Orosei area (south of Olbia) is stunning. As you may know, the name comes from the fact that the water is an emerald green color - really awesome. In August, you can catch a quick flight from Rome to Olbia on Meridiana airlines.

tengohambre Jan 4th, 2009 06:39 AM

Mil grazie. This information gives me a lot more to work with.

I looked at the "Pitrizzia" (sp?) hotel in Porto Cervo. It is beautiful. It also seems to be around 1,200+ Euros or so per night, in season. Ahy Chihuaha! I think Sardinia has outstanding beaches (friends have also gone) but I fear that I could look forever to find someplace reasonable, even in the 3 or 4 star category, and still not find one. And, European hotels are so tough with 4 in a room, even if they are kids, that we then need a quad (apparently also hard to find) or two rooms.

The Tropea area, in Calabria, also looks nice, with some good hotel options, I believe. That is the other side of the boot in Italy as compared to Puglia? As to how to get there, on a map I don't see any big town close to Tropea. So, does that mean you have to drive there? Fly to Messina? Take a very slow train to Tropea?

Is there less to see and do in Calabria, as compared to Puglia, if you know? Also, I know Puglia has become much more popular recently, and people rave about the food. Is Calabrian food similar? Does the area also have pretty small towns?

And, might you know a good link to check out Italian train schedules, and prices? Whether we fly or train might depend on price. If there is small difference flying could make sense. Thanks.

ekscrunchy Jan 4th, 2009 07:25 AM

I believe that Lamezia and Reggio Calabria are the nearest airports to Tropea.

Yes, the other side of the boot..the toe and not the heel, which would be Puglia. Not far from Messina, Sicily.

Website for Lamezio Terme airport:

Train schedules:

ekscrunchy Jan 4th, 2009 07:28 AM

About Tropea:

ekscrunchy Jan 4th, 2009 07:34 AM

Just to complicate things for you, here are some pics of the Gargano peninsula in Puglia, courtesy of SteveJames:,202/lang,it/

tengohambre Jan 4th, 2009 08:09 AM

Thank you Skrunchy. The links are very helpful. I will start sending some emails. Unfortunately, it seems staying in town in some of these properties means that you don't have a pool. Yet, for a couple of nights that would be fine.

ekscrunchy Jan 4th, 2009 08:25 AM

Hotel near Vieste, on the Gargano peninsula:

Grinisa Jan 4th, 2009 08:36 AM

I've recommended Hotel Baia delle Zagare many times on this board and I think your family would enjoy it. My husband and I stayed there a few years ago and want to return with our two children. They do allow kids to share a room with you but I'm not sure if they would allow two kids as the rooms are not that large. They may have a quad or family room but you will have to contact the hotel. During high season, you must take part in the meal plan so you will have to have at least lunch or dinner at the hotel. The beach is gorgeous as you can see from the photos and they do have a pool. If you choose Puglia, it would be a good idea to break up your stay. Three nights on the Gargano and the rest in southern Puglia. Lots to see in both areas but do get a car. If you like four star properties, check out the other place we stayed, Il Melograno near Monopoli. It is a beautiful converted Masseria and does have a pool. Easy access to Bari, Brinidis, Lecce, Gallipoli and Alberobello by car. Another luxury masseria is the San Domenico.

Waldo Jan 4th, 2009 08:43 AM

If you're set on going to Sardinia, look up Golfo Aranci, near the Olbia airport. It is a great town, with lots of activities, and great beaches. It's right outside of the Costa Smeralda area, but you will enjoy all the activities from the Costa Smeralda. I had an apartment in Gaeta for many years and I loved it. The apartment was across the street from the glorious beach, in the Serapo district. Rentals there are not TOO expensive, and the town is really a great hoot in the evenings. There is a very lively piazza in the center of town with a ton of activity and a bunch of really great restaurants. It is close to Sperlonga, which is also a glorious place. If you want great beaches, and not too high prices, check out Palinuro, on the west coast, south of Campania. I spent several fantastic summers there, with pretty good prices. I was impressed with the cleanliness of the water in Palinuro, which is also a loively little town.

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