The Italian Adriatic Coast begins in the Southeastern tip of the country in Puglia and stretches right up to Trieste, near the border of Slovenia. The Adriatic coastline is a beautiful national treasure that is home to traditional fishing villages, luxury resort towns, glamorous cities such as Venice as well as miles of pristine sandy beaches.
The area is an extremely popular holiday destination among local Italians and is too often overlooked by tourists and Expats who may not have heard of this part of the country. As a tourist, you can explore the Adriatic coastline by train, car or by joining a guided tour but it’s also a great place for Expats to relocate to. There are lots of interesting attractions to see and the resort towns tend to be a little cheaper than the resorts on the Eastern coast or in the ‘boot heel’ of Italy.
While many people will be familiar with the major cities on the Adriatic Coast, such as Venice and Bari, there’s a whole plethora of smaller, hidden gems that are just waiting to be discovered by the savvy traveler.
Often referred to as ‘Venice’s Little Sister’, Trieste is a lovely town with an unusual mix of Italian, Astro-Hungarian and Slovenian influences that sits at the tip of the Maritime Silk Route. It has a deep water port, a vibrant cafe culture and lots of things for visitors to see and do.
The cuisine of Trieste combines the best of Mediterranean and Central European ingredients and flavors with some of the culinary highlights including Gnocchi with Goulash, Bobici soup, Cragno sausages and the delicious Crostolo fritters.
A wonderful destination for a cultural holiday, you can visit attractions such as the central Unity of Italy Square which is the largest square in Europe, the Cattedrale di San Giusto Martire and the Castello di San Giusto. There are also some fantastic day trip destinations in the surrounding areas. For example, you can join a guided tour that departs from Trieste to see the Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle, in nearby Slovenia, or visit the city of Ljubljana and Lake Bled for an action-packed full-day excursion.
Trieste has a great atmosphere and is the perfect home-from-home for Expats as well as the perfect holiday destination for tourists. It’s easy to get to Trieste from any of Italy’s major Northern travel hubs by train and the views along the way will really take your breath away.
For anyone visiting Trieste, the Forvm Boutique Hotel is stylishly elegant and located in the town’s historic center. Just a 5-minute walk from the Piazza della Borsa and the town’s port, the hotel’s rooms have air conditioning, free WiFi, a flatscreen TV, parquet flooring and a spacious bathroom with a shower. While at the hotel you can drop by the on-site bar, unwind in the lounge or get some tips from the staff about what to see and do in Trieste.
Ideal for a weekend break or a relaxing seaside vacation, Lignano Sabbiadoro, which means ‘Golden Sand’, is a magnificent seaside resort town in Friuli Venezia Giulia. It’s one of the local Italians’ favorite resort towns in the region and is best to visit during the hot summer months. The town is renowned for its delightful Riviera Beach which is family-friendly with a shallow sloping shoreline that is safe for children of all ages to paddle about in.
During the day you can visit the Punta Verde Zoo which has more than 1000 animals and if you’re traveling with a furry friend then you can head down to the Doggy Beach, the first beach in the region that is designed with dog owners in mind. Dogs can run about freely and there are even dog grooming services available! And don’t worry, the beach also has a spa for its human guests as well as beachside restaurants, snack kiosks and a children’s playground.
If you’re visiting Lignano Sabbiadoro the unique Marina Uno Floating Resort is an excellent choice for your accommodation. Here, you can stay in your own 2 cabin boat and enjoy your own private seating area, bathroom facilities and onboard kitchenette. There’s also a sauna, pool and shops as well as other amenities in the marina and the beach is just a stone’s throw away! Ideal for a family vacation or a romantic getaway on the Adriatic Riviera, you’re just 45 km from Trieste Airport and 90 km from Venice.
This gorgeous town in Emilia Romagna is located right in the heart of the Po Delta Natural Park. An idyllic paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, you can really immerse yourself in the coastal environment while enjoying walking, cycling, swimming in the sea and bird watching.
The Po Delta National Park covers more than 50,000 hectares of stunning flora and fauna and was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999. While staying in the town you can visit the Manifattura dei Marinati, a Marinated Fish Factory and museum, and learn about the local traditions and history of eel fishing. You can also visit the Trepponti, a fortified Roman bridge that has become a symbol of the town. Comacchio has a lovely beach and a great selection of restaurants, bars and boutique stores as well as some great hotels and self-catering apartments to stay in.
Overlooking the canal of Comacchio, Al Ponticello provides guests with apartments that have free WiFi, air conditioning, a kitchenette and a dishwasher. Each morning you can enjoy a buffet breakfast that includes homemade cakes and biscuits and in the evening you can sit in the garden and cook yourself dinner on the communal BBQ facilities.
Whether you want a relaxing beachside holiday or prefer to delve into the cultural heritage of this seaside resort in Emilia Romagna, Cesenatico has something for everyone. The town is a great destination for families, couples and solo travelers who want to get off the main tourist trail and enjoy the best of the Adriatic Riviera without breaking the bank.
Some of Cesenatico’s attractions include the Museo della Marineria di Cesenatico, where you can see traditional fishing boats and learn about the town’s ancient seafaring history. You can also visit the nearby Porto Canale and the town’s old harbor to stroll along the waterfront, drop by a cafe for a cup of coffee or walk along the terraces to reach the beach. Cesenatico’s beach is absolutely lovely and is not as crowded as some of the other beaches along the Adriatic Coast.
The town is ideally located for day trips and visiting other Adriatic towns such as Trieste and Ravenna. While you’re staying in the town it’s well worth taking a sailing trip along the coast and if you’re traveling with children, why not visit the exciting Atlantica Water Park? The water park has huge pools, slides, restaurants and much more to make your day one to remember.
If you’re looking for accommodation in Cesenatico then the Hotel Venere ticks all the boxes. Situated just outside the town’s historic center, Hotel Venere has rooms with sea views, an attentive, multi-lingual team of staff and offers guests a complimentary bike hire service.
Rimini is one of the Adriatic Coast’s most popular summer destinations. As the capital of Emilia Romagna, Rimini is blessed with a fascinating cultural heritage that includes Roman ruins, baths and bridges as well as Renaissance monuments and architecture. The town is a major hub of contemporary art and was even the birthplace of the legendary Italian film director Frederico Fellini.
Rimini is the perfect place for a beach holiday and boasts more than 15 km of golden sand. It also has a vibrant nightlife scene with plenty of bars, late-night clubs and cocktail lounges where you can mingle with young professionals, students and tourists. It is worth noting that Rimini can get pretty crowded at the peak of the summer although if you visit on the shoulder seasons it’s much more peaceful on the beaches.
Rimini has lots of theme parks to visit, including the Aviation Theme Park and the Italia in Miniatura where you can see tiny hand-crafted models of many of Italy’s famous landmarks. Rimini has a great culinary history with some of the local favorites including Romagna pasta, rabbit, vongole fettuccine and Pinot Grigio wine. If you’re looking for a bite to eat during the day the town is also famous for its street food.
Among Rimini’s historical landmarks, you can visit the ancient Roman bridge that spans the Marecchia River and the Borgo San Giuliano, the old fisherman’s district of the town. During the evening you can swing by the historic center for a traditional meal in a quiet, family-run restaurant or, if you’d like to let your hair down, you can head down to the Marina Centro, the heart of the city’s buzzing nightlife.
There are some great places to stay but the Parioli Hotel Rimini really stands out and is located in a tranquil part of town that’s just 5 minutes walk from the train station and a few hundred feet from the seashore. With free WiFi in air-conditioned family rooms and apartments, the hotel has a 24-hour front desk, serves a delicious breakfast and has an on-site bar.
Italy’s Adriatic Coast Is The Perfect Beachside Vacation.
While Sardinia and Sicily tend to grab the international headlines as Italy’s top beach resorts, the Adriatic Coast may be one of the nation’s best-kept secrets. In fact, there are even rumors that local Italians deliberately keep the Adriatic Coast a secret so that it doesn’t get overrun with tourists!
Even so, the entire coastline is a beautiful stretch of landscape that offers visitors everything from pristine National Parks to long sandy beaches and vibrant towns with a thriving nightlife scene. So next time you’re planning a trip to Italy, make sure you consider some of the lovely coastal towns on the Adriatic Coast.