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Terracina beach, Rome
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The 10 best beaches in Rome

The best beaches in and around Rome provide respite from the tourist crowds, and no shortage of beautiful serenity too

Written by
Elizabeth Heath

Rome is, obviously, known for its attractions – the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain, to name a few. But although Italy’s capital is as Metropolitan as they come, don’t be fooled into thinking this is just a city break. If you’ve got your sights set on lying on a wide open beach, we’ve got good news. Rome has it all. 

Most of Rome’s fabulous beaches are just a short day trip from the main city, easily reached by public transport. They’re mostly free, often lined with gelato stands, and family-friendly. Most important of all, you can swim at them, and they’re all very beautiful. From Terracina to Sperlonga, here are the best beaches in Rome. 

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Best beaches in Rome

Lido di Ostia
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1. Lido di Ostia

This beach certainly isn’t the most beautiful of them all, but it is on Rome’s doorstep. We’re talking one direct 30-minute train from Rome’s Port of Ostia, and you’re there. You do have to pay for the many, many stabilimenti which dominate the beach, but hey, it’s an Italian beach, it’ll do the job, and you can be back well in time for your late-afternoon aperitivo. 

Photograph: Shutterstock

2. Fregene

East of Rome (and sometimes spelt Fregenae), Fregene boasts the sexiest beach scene around, attracting stylish young Romans who favour its chic stabilimenti over the more plebeian bars in nearby Ostia. Water quality here ranges from okay to good, depending on the weather. Go later in the day and stay past sundown for Fregene’s hopping party scene: you may end up sipping on Campari and Aperol spritzes with pro soccer players, minor celebrities and the city’s chic crowd.

Photograph: Shutterstock

3. Sperlonga

This beach town ticks all the boxes: a picturesque whitewashed city footed by long stretches of sandy beach flanking a small harbour. Sperlonga is a blue flag (Bandiera Blu) beach: designated for its cleanliness and water quality. 90 minutes from Rome by public transport, it stretches the limits for a day trip. But for clear, shallow waters in a stunning setting – especially at the far southern end near the Grotto of Tiberius – it ticks the boxes.

Santa Severa
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4. Santa Severa

There’s a lot to love about family-friendly Santa Severa, including the seafront 14th-century castle (worthy of a Game of Thrones cameo), the wide free beach, and the fact that it’s a 40-minute train ride from Rome’s San Pietro station. We also adore this quirky trait: north of the castle, the sand is brown; south of the castle, it’s black.

Photograph: Shutterstock

5. Sabaudia

On a long stretch of coastline, the wide soft-sand beaches of Sabaudia fly the Bandiera Blu (blue flag) to attest to their cleanliness and flaunt another major asset: a football fields-worth of free beach, a real rarity in these parts. The beach is backed by dunes and wealthy villas – both of which have limited commercial development and kept the beach more natural than its counterparts and a bit harder to reach.

Photograph: Shutterstock

6. Terracina

The Romans built a temple to Jupiter at Terracina, so it’s probably worth you building a sandcastle or two here. This popular getaway south of Rome offers a busy beachfront lined with stabilimenti, a lovely centro storico (historical centre) and gobsmacking views for those who choose to hike up to the temple ruins. Stick around until sunset, when the fiery orb drops behind Monte Circeo, said to be the home of the goddess Circe, known for turning Odysseus’s sailors into swine.

Photograph: Shutterstock

7. Civitavecchia

Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Though the Roman port city of Civitavecchia is best known as the place to catch a ferry to anywhere else, it actually has a decent sandy beach that offers good swimming, plenty of free sand on which to park a towel and the convenience of a busy lungomare, or boardwalk, lined with pizzerias, gelato stands, street vendors and kiddie rides. The beach is a five-minute walk from the train station.

Santa Marinella
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8. Santa Marinella

Beaches near Rome get a bad rap given the usual crowds and sub-par water quality, but Santa Marinella defies all the naysayers. A 45-minute train ride from Rome drops you three minutes away from a crescent-shaped beach with fine sand and clear waters. It’s lined wall-to-wall with fee-based stabilimenti, so plan to fork out some Euros for a lounger and umbrella or fight for a few square metres of limited free beach (spiaggia libera) space.

Photograph: Shutterstock

9. Anzio

If you want a side of history with your sun and fun, Anzio is the beach for you. Head to the free section at the foot of the ancient Villa Imperiale, once home to notorious Roman emperor Nero and a host of his successors. An artificial breakwater keeps waters shallow, clear and calm. The Anzio Beachhead Museum, dedicated to the decisive 1944 Allied landing here, is a 20-minute walk away.

Castel Porziano
Photograph: Courtesy TripAdvisor/zorbas15

10. Castel Porziano

This wild, undeveloped beach might look more at home on a stretch of New England coastline than just a few miles south of the frenetic scene at Ostia. Walk south from Castelfusano, and you’ll soon reach an area of rugged dunes and the occasional beach bar. This is Rome’s most gay-friendly beach, and the south end is clothing-optional. There aren’t many facilities here, so remember to bring along whatever comforts you require.

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