Many travelers who visit Rome in the summer often forget that the beaches of the Tyrrhenian Sea are as close as half an hour away. The region of Lazio has many beautiful beaches up and down its 360 km/224 mi coastline, some of which are ideal for a day trip from Rome while others merit a weekend or longer.
Beaches Near Rome
Did you know you can access Rome’s nearest beach by train? It takes about half an hour to ride the train from Piramide (Metro Line B), past Ostia Antica, to the Ostia Lido stop. Being so close to the city has its drawbacks, of course. Ostia Beach can be loud and crowded.
Santa Marinella, a beach north of Rome, is accessible by train (about 45 minutes to an hour). It, too, can be crowded as its strand is narrow. But I like its tranquil waters and its picturesque jetty, which is fun to swim out to and jump off of.
Another summer favorite for Romans is Fregene, which can also be accessed by public transport but is more easily reached by car. Fregene and nearby Maccarese, its less frequented sister beach, have numerous stabilimenti (seaside bathhouses) that cater to various lifestyles, from families to party-goers.
Elsewhere in the province of Rome are lesser-frequented beaches and extremely busy ports. If you’re taking a cruise that bypasses Rome, then you’ll be disembarking at Civitavecchia. This huge port is not necessarily where you want to plop down a beach towel, but it is here where you can catch a ferry to Sardinia, the Tuscan archipelago, and points beyond. However, within the Civitavecchia municipality, there are a few stretches of sandy beach.
Many other towns and beaches dot the coast of the Province of Rome all the way down to Anzio, a European Blue Flag (i.e., exemplary) beach with ferry connections to the Pontine Islands, and Nettuno, where you can not only catch some rays, but also a little baseball. Of course, Anzio and Nettuno are well-known for being sites of major American offensives during World War II – and, consequently, of American Memorial cemeteries.
Beaches North of Rome: The Maremma Laziale
The area known as the Maremma extends into the northern part of Lazio in the province of Viterbo. The sub-region is called the Maremma Laziale, and it has a couple of beaches worth checking out. The Marina di Montalto near the medieval town of Montalto di Castro is a modern tourist resort with hotels, campgrounds, and plenty of beach chairs to rent for the day. Further south, Tarquinia, which is known for its Archeological Museum of local Etruscan finds, also has a seaside area with similar facilities to Marina di Montalto. Further north, of course, begin the beaches of Tuscany.
Beaches South of Rome: The Riviera d’Ulisse
The coastline along the Province of Latina is better known as the Riviera d’Ulisse or the Riviera of Ulysses.
Ulysses is the Latin for Odysseus, who is said to have landed here during his famous Odyssey. These are the beaches worth going out of the way for if you are staying in Lazio for a while. White sand, dramatic cliffs, and romantic grottoes make up the geography here, from San Felice Circeo to Terracina to Sperlonga.
The area of San Felice Circeo is a hub for windsurfing and kayaking and the Parco Nazionale del Circeo is a favorite haunt for birdwatchers. Meanwhile, visits to Terracina and Sperlonga can be enhanced with visits to ancient ruins. The hilltop ruins of the Temple of Jupiter Anxur can be seen from the beach in Terracina, while Sperlonga’s beach boasts the ruins of a villa built by Emperor Tiberius.
The Pontine Islands
Finally, the small cluster of islands off the coast of Lazio is known collectively as the Isole Pontine. Part of the Province of Latina, most of the Pontine Islands are uninhabited, save for Ponza and Ventotene.
Like the nearby Circeo Park, Ponza and Ventotene are known for their wildlife and nature preserves, which make them a real getaway from the hustle and bustle of Rome (or crowded beaches). The Pontines are accessible by ferry from several coastal towns, primarily the port in Terracina.