10 Jul Two days at the beaches near Rome
Two days at the beaches near Rome
Summers in Rome can be very hot, especially in August with temperatures that can hit 100° F. If you’re not staying in a hotel that offers a refreshing pool, and need a break from the summer heat and the walking, it could be fun to spend a couple of days out of town and head to the beaches near Rome.
Not all of them can be reached using public transportation: the easiest beaches to reach are in Ostia Lido. You can get the train from Piramide Station (B Line) for 1.5 Euro (it’s the same kind of ticket you will use to take th metro and buses, which is valid for 75 minutes). Get off at Lido Centro: it will take about 30 minutes. From there, take the #62, 05 or 15 bus to the Paolo Tuscanelli street, which goes along the beach.
Most of the beaches in Italy are not public, but serviced by private establishments, so you’ll have to rent at least a beach umbrella to claim your spot on the sand. This generally costs between 10 and 25 Euros (2 chairs or sun-beds included), depending on the day of the week or month of the year. This way you don’t have to worry about carrying lunch with you or finding a place in the shadow (you will find a kiosk selling food and drinks).
Remember that even if you are staying in a private beach, there will be no lockers to leave your personal belongings, so it’s better not to bring valuable items and too much cash, especially if you know you will be going in the water.
I have to admit Ostia is not one of my favorite. I prefer to go a little further as waters aren’t exactly super-clean and turquoise but it is fine if you have only half a day.
Another option may be Santa Marinella. You can reach it from several train stations: Roma Termini, Ostiense, Trastevere, or San Pietro. The train’s final destination will read either Pisa or Civitavecchia, with almost 2 trains every hour. Check the Trenitalia website to find out exact times (http://www.trenitalia.com/). The main beach is close to the train station and you will find both public and private beaches (stabilimenti in Italian).
My favorite beaches are about 1.5-2 hours driving from Rome: sandy beaches (but also rocky shores) and blue waters can be found between San Felice Circeo and Sperlonga or Gaeta, which is further south. The best way to enjoy these places is to rent a car and drive south of Rome. Only by car you will be able to explore the many beautiful places between the little town of Sperlonga and Gaeta. Here the landscape is very picturesque and totally worth the trip from Rome. Imagine that even the emperor Tiberius had a villa in Sperlonga! Reaching Sperlonga using public transportation is challenging (you need to take the regional train from Rome’s Termini station to Fondi-Sperlonga, more than an hour away, then the bus from outside the station to the beach) and will not allow you to see the most hidden beaches that can be discovered instead driving along the via Flacca (the coastal road).
If you rent a car, once you have reached Sperlonga keep driving towards Gaeta (south of Sperlonga): you will see many cars parked along the coastal road (be careful as not all the cars are properly “parked” and you can find a parking fine at the end of the day) and, hidden among trees and plant, steep steps to get to the beaches at the bottom of the hill.
In most cases you will find a private beach but if you prefer a public beach you can pay the 2 Euros fee required to use the access to the sea and then head on to a public one (but be sure you know there is one close to the access you are using, as, after 200-300 steps, probably you don’t want to walk too much to reach the public beaches).
Between Sperlonga and Gaeta, one of my favorite is called Beach of the Arenauta (a private parking is located nearby, on the Via Flacca for 10 Euros per car, whole day). Consider that many locals go during weekends, therefore it is best to go during working days to avoid large crowds.
Once there, enjoy the sun, the crystalline waters and don’t miss one of the local specialties: Caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella (mozzarella di bufala)!
In the picture: the Gulf of Gaeta.