Last updated on November 10th, 2023
Florence can be HOT in the summer, so it’s nice to take a break and head to the beach. Are you ready to cool off and recharge but you’re not sure where to go?
You’ve got plenty of options, depending on what type of beach experience you’re looking for and whether or not you have your own car.
My husband has been going to the beach here his entire life and I’ve been exploring them for the last (almost) 20 years. Now we bring our three kids with us!
In a hurry? Our top picks:
- Families: Marina di Castagneto Carducci, Forte dei Marmi
- By Train: Viareggio, Castigioncello
- Luxury: Forte dei Marmi
- Free: Barrati, Marina di Castagneto Carducci
- Adventure: Cala Violina
Read on to find out about:
- What beaches near Florence are like
- Public vs. private beaches near Florence
- What the Bandiera Blu Is
- The 10 best beaches near Florence
- Helpful Italian beach vocabulary
- Alternatives to going to the beach near Florence
How Far is Florence from the Beach?
Florence is inland. The closest beaches to Florence are to the west, on the Ligurian Sea and Tyrrhenian Sea (Mar Ligure and Mar Tirreno). Both are branches of the Mediterranean Sea.
It will take you just over an hour (100 kilometers) by car to get to the closest beach. You can also reach many beaches near Florence by train. Read more about Train Travel in Italy.
The best beaches near Florence are further south, on the coast of the provinces of Livorno and (especially) Grosseto. Many Florentine families we know head to Grosseto beaches any chance they get – for a day or the entire summer.
What are the Beaches Like Near Florence Italy?
You’ll find a variety of beaches on the Tuscan coast – sandy, pebbly, rocky, free, or paid (public or private). In general, the beaches near Florence are crowded, especially in late July and all of August.
Private vs Public Beaches Near Florence
If you come from somewhere with beautiful, wild, free beaches, you may be wondering why anyone would bother paying for beach access.
Here on the Tuscan coast, if you pay to enter a beach ‘club,’ or bagno, you’ll get access to a variety of amenities, which may include:
- Beach umbrellas, beach towels, and lounge chairs
- Changing cabins (you can also store your belongings inside)
- Restaurants and bars, sometimes on the beach
- Swimming pools
- Kids play areas
And, the beach area (sand or rocks) is well-maintained and kept clean.
The amenities and service come at a price, though. Day rentals can cost anywhere from €15 at a basic beach club to hundreds of Euros at the most exclusive beach clubs.
There are usually public beaches in each town. So, if you head to Viareggio and it seems there are only private bagni, don’t fret. Ask someone to point you in the direction of the free beach – Dov’è la spiaggia libera?
Free beaches can be absolutely gorgeous (especially the more remote ones), but you’ll need to be more prepared. Make sure you bring anything you may want for your time at the beach:
- Beach umbrella
- Beach chairs
- Beach towels
- Food and water
- Kids toys
There may or may not be toilet facilities.
You’ll find beautiful public and private beaches near Florence. The northern section of the Tuscan coast (close to Florence) tends to have more beach clubs than public beaches. As you make your way south, you’ll find more and more wild, public beaches. The drives are longer, but the beaches are worth it!
La Bandiera Blu (The Blue Flag)
You may hear or read about a beach’s ‘blue flag’ status. Italy participates in the FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education) global program of over 60 countries that awards the blue flag (or bandiera blu) to beaches that satisfy criteria under the categories of:
- Environmental education and information (code of conduct on display; water quality measurements displayed; information on the ecosystem on display; etc)
- Water quality (no sewage or industrial waste; satisfies water quality standards; reefs are monitored; etc)
- Environmental management (trash and recycling bins on or near the beach; the beach is clean and kept free of trash; clean toilets are available and waste is disposed of properly; etc)
- Safety and services (lifeguards and/or lifesaving equipment available; drinking water available; first aid equipment available; etc)
Good To Know: Just because a beach doesn’t get a bandiera blu, doesn’t mean it’s not clean! For example, Cala Violina beach in Grosseto is gorgeous and clean, but it doesn’t have the facilities needed to qualify for the award.
Our 10 Favorite Beaches Near Florence Italy
With over 200 kilometers of Tuscan coastline, how do you choose which beach to visit?
Based on our many years visiting the area’s beaches and the input of Florentine friends and family, here are our 10 favorites, listed from north to south:
|Beach (Province)||Why Choose It||Type||Travel Time (by car)*||Best Way to Get There||Free Beach Available|
|Viareggio (Lucca)||closest, family-friendly||sandy, beach clubs||1 hr 15 min||car/train||yes|
|Forte dei Marmi (Lucca)||luxury, family-friendly||sandy, beach clubs||1 hr 20 min||car||yes|
|Marina di Pisa (Pisa)||close to Florence, near nature||sandy,free, beach clubs||1 hr 20 min||car||yes|
|Castiglioncello (Livorno)||easy by train||rocky outcrops, pebbly, sandy, free, beach clubs||1 hr 30 min||train/car||yes|
|Marina di Castagneto Carducci (Livorno)||convenient, family-friendly||sandy, beach clubs, free||1 hr 40||car||yes|
|Baratti (Livorno)||off the tourist trail, family-friendly||Sandy, free, beach clubs||2 hr||car||yes|
|Follonica (Grosseto)||water sports||sandy, free, beach clubs||2 hr 10 min||car/train||yes|
|Cala Violina (Grosseto)||remote, limited numbers||sandy, free||2 hr 20 min||car||yes|
|Castiglione della Pescaia (Grosseto)||Medieval village||sandy, beach clubs, free||2 hr 15 min||car||yes|
|Feniglia (Grosseto)||wild, nature, remote||sandy, beach rentals, free||2 hr 30 min||car||yes|
Map of Best Beaches Near Florence
Just over an hour away from Florence by car, the bustling coastal town of Viareggio is an easy day trip from Florence. It’s not the area’s most gorgeous beach, but it has both private beach clubs (bagni) and public beaches available.
The beaches in the northern part of town are private, and if you’re looking for free beaches (including some in a natural park), head to the southern part of town.
The shallow water and wide sandy beaches make Viareggio ideal for small children. There are plenty of things to do (shopping, restaurants, playground) in town if you need a break from the sand and sun.
Set just off the beach, the Pineta di Ponente is a huge pine forest with cycling paths (and bike rentals) and kids’ games and playgrounds. The shade of the tall pines is perfect on a hot summer day. It’s so large that it never feels crowded, but heads up – in the busy summer months it can be littered with trash and dog poo.
Good To Know: If you’re around in February, you’ll get to experience the town’s famous Carnevale.
Good To Know: Marina di Viareggio (Ponente/Levante) and Torre del Lago Puccini beaches in Viareggio have been awarded the bandiera blu.
Getting to Viareggio from Florence:
By car – just over 1 hr. By train – 1 hr 40 min, the train station is 1 kilometer from the beach.
What to See/Do Near Viareggio:
Forte dei Marmi
The beach in Forte dei Marmi is no different. You have your pick of spacious and well-maintained bagni on the wide, sandy beach.
Many of the town’s bagni have excellent restaurants. Or, head into town for lunch or dinner – you’ll find Michelin-starred restaurants and other high-quality establishments.
Locals and visitors move around Forte dei Marmi by bicycle and on foot, and kids can play freely in the piazzas and pedestrian streets. There’s also a children’s area with games and rides.
Good To Know: As with all beaches, watch for rip tides!
Good To Know: Forte dei Marmi’s Litorale beach has been awarded the bandiera blu.
Getting to Forte dei Marmi from Florence:
By car – about 1 hr 30 min. By train – 1 hr 40 min, the Forte dei Marmi-Seravezza-Querceta train station is around 3 kilometers from the beach.
What to See/Do Near Forte dei Marmi:
- You can see the towering Apuan Alps while sitting at the beach. Take a ride into the Carrara Marble Quarries, where Michelangelo sourced his marble for his masterpieces.
- Check out the art town of Pietrasanta.
- Visit Forte dei Marmi’s neighboring beaches – Marina di Massa to the north and Marina di Pietrasanta to the south.
Marina di Pisa
The beaches in and around Marina di Pisa are sandy and shallow. The beaches in Marina di Pisa are protected from the sea by stone walls, which makes the location an attractive spot for families. It’s also a convenient beach to visit if you want to see Pisa (and its famous Leaning Tower).
If you have a car, you’ll find fewer people and beautiful beaches a little bit further south in Tirrenia and Calambrone. And, for a gorgeous, sandy, wild beach (no facilities), head to Gombo, north of Marina di Pisa. It’s part of the natural reserve of the Parco San Rossore.
Good To Know: Marina di Pisa’s beaches in town are fairly narrow and can get crowded.
Good To Know: Marina di Pisa and Calambrone/Tirrenia beaches have been awarded the bandiera blu.
Getting to Marina di Pisa from Florence:
It’s really easy to get to Marina di Pisa from Florence by car in about 1 hr 10 min. Otherwise, take the train+bus in about 1 hr 30 min.
What to See/Do Near Marina di Pisa:
- Take the obligatory creative photo with the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
- Go for a walk and observe wildlife in Parco San Rossore.
Castiglioncello is a small Italian beach town with rocky outcrops, sandy beaches, and clear water. It was made famous as a setting for Italian films and it’s a popular day trip from Florence by train.
It gets plenty of families but note that sometimes access to the water is by ladder or rocks.
Good To Know: Castiglioncello’s beach has been awarded the bandiera blu.
Getting to Castiglioncello from Florence:
It’s an easy 1 hr 30 min by car, or 1 hr 30 min by train plus a 700-meter walk to the beach.
Marina di Castagneto Carducci
This is where I go when I want an easy day on a free beach (but you can also spend the day at a bagno if you prefer). The beautiful beach is wide and sandy and the water is clear. I love the background of the dunes and the pines and scrub.
Good To Know: Marina di Castagneto Carducci’s beach has been awarded the bandiera blu.
Getting to Marina di Castagneto Carducci from Florence:
It’s about 1 hr 40 minutes away from Florence by car.
What to See/Do Near Marina di Castagneto Carducci:
- Taste Super Tuscan wines in Bolgheri or Castagneto Carducci.
- Take the kids to Cavallino Matto theme park.
- Visit the Acqua Village Cecina water park.
- Go kite surfing.
Good To Know: One of our favorite family beach resorts is nearby – Paradù EcoVillage and Resort. It’s an excellent choice for a relaxing and fun vacation for kids and parents!
Baratti Beach, set on the Gulf of Baratti, is always at the top of the list when we talk about favorite beaches with our friends. It’s not on the radar of most visitors, but it has loyal Italian visitors that return annually.
Its black and silver sparkling sand is memorable, and the backdrop of its pine forest is perfect for escaping some of the summer heat. The water is crystal clear and clean, perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Since the beach is in a gulf, it’s protected from high winds so the water tends to stay calm.
There are a couple of bagni, but most of the beach is a spiaggia libera.
Fun Fact: The Gulf was the site of an important port in Etruscan times.
Getting to Baratti from Florence:
It takes about 2 hr to drive to Baratti from Florence.
Like Baratti, Follonica isn’t well-known to visitors. It has long stretches of sandy beaches that dip into shallow, clear water. There are some nice spots to snorkel, especially at Torre Mozza beach.
Some of the beaches are in town, while others (better ones) are backed by coastal dunes and umbrella pines.
The area attracts water sports lovers, including sailors, scuba divers, kitesurfers, and windsurfers.
Good To Know: Follonica’s beach has been awarded the bandiera blu.
Getting to Follonica from Florence:
It’s about 2 hr 10 min away from Florence by car and 2 hr 20 min by train (plus a 500-meter walk to the beach from the station).
What to See/Do Near Follonica:
- Visit the Acqua Village Follonica water park.
If Leonardo di Caprio was looking for a place in Tuscany to film The Beach 2, he’d choose Cala Violina. It’s isolated, it’s accessible on foot (or bicycle) only, and the number of daily visitors is limited.
The beach is located in the Bandite di Scarlino Nature Reserve, and if you’re up for the adventure of getting there, you won’t be disappointed.
The pristine beach has fine white sand and crystal clear water. It’s the perfect place to relax, swim, or snorkel.
If you decide to visit, make sure you reserve on the beach’s website. The entrance to the beach is limited to 700 visitors per day.
Good to Know: You can also arrive by boat, but the boat can only get within 200 meters of shore.
Fun Fact: Cala Violina gets its name from the sound the sand makes when you walk on it – like the sound of a violin.
Getting to Cala Violina from Florence:
It’s about 2 hr 20 min away from Florence by car, plus you’ll need to walk to the beach from the parking lot.
Castiglione della Pescaia
Castiglione della Pescaia is a romantic spot to stop for couples. The beaches are clean and the water is clear, and the little medieval borgo is a perfect place for a romantic stroll.
The town’s main beaches are steps from the center and dotted with beach clubs. If you’re looking for more nature and space, just head northwest.
The beaches here can get crowded in the high-season summer months.
Good To Know: Le Rocchette and Capezzolo beaches in Castiglione della Pescaia have been awarded the bandiera blu.
Getting to Castiglione della Pescaia from Florence:
It’s about 2 hr 15 min away from Florence by car.
What to See/Do Near Castiglione della Pescaia:
- Visit the medieval town center of Castiglione della Pescaia.
Feniglia beach is a long, gorgeous stretch of powdery sand beach in a nature reserve that connects Monte Argentario to the mainland. It’s an excellent beach to stroll.
The side of the beach closest to Monte Argentario is less crowded and more ‘wild,’ and the side connected to the mainland is a little more crowded and has beach clubs, restaurants, etc.
Feniglia beach is an excellent choice if you’re craving space. There’s plenty of it along the 6-kilometer stretch of beach.
It’s also kid-friendly (on the end connected to the mainland), with calm, clean water that’s shallow for quite a way out.
Getting to Feniglia from Florence:
It’s about 2 hr 30 min away from Florence by car.
What to See/Do Near Feniglia:
- Explore tiny, charming Capalbio
- Fans of Gaudi’s Park Guell should visit the whimsical Giardino dei Tarrochi.
Italian Beach Vocabulary
- spiaggia – beach
- mare – sea
- spiaggia libera – free beach
- bagno – beach club
- prenotare – to reserve
- ombrello – umbrella
- sdrai – beach chairs
- doccia – shower
- cabine – changing cabins
- bici – bicycle
- frutti di mare – seafood
- corrente di ritorno – riptide
- onde – waves
- sabbia – sand
Alternatives to Going to the Beach Near Florence
Go to a Swimming Pool in Florence
If you’re not up to leaving Florence (or you don’t want to get sand in your toes) but you still want to cool off, head to one of the local swimming pools
- Costoli (near Artemio Franchi Stadium), +39 055 623 6027
- Le Pavoniere (Le Cascine Park), +39 392 172 4859
- Nannini (Lungarno), +39 055 626 6007
- hu Firenze Camping in Town, +39 055 469 8300
- Virgin Active (Rovezzano), +39 800 914 555
- KLAB Marignolle (just south of Florence), +39 055 708787
Get a Gelato
One of the easiest ways to ‘cool off’ is to get gelato. Check out our list of the Best Places for Gelato in Florence!
Have Aperitivo on the River
The locations and establishments change frequently, but you’ll always find a few places on the shores of the Arno with sunbathing, sunset aperitivo, music and dancing.
Lately, food trucks have been making appearances, with their Italian and foreign food offerings.
Head to the Mountains
Though not as magical as the Dolomites in northern Italy, the nearby Apennines can be visited on a day trip from Florence. Go for a forest hike, eat blueberries, and soak up the cool mountain air!
Visit one of Italy’s Lakes
Popular Lake Garda is too far for a day trip from Florence, but you can visit Lake Bilancino, Tuscany’s largest man-made lake. It’s an easy 45 min drive from the center and is a nice place to take a break from the city and cool off. Rent a paddle boat, take a dip, or visit the nearby WWF Gabbianello Oasis nature reserve.
Visit a Tuscan Island
Elba Island (Isola d’Elba) is Italy’s 3rd largest island, after Sardegna and Sicily. It boasts gorgeous, clear turquoise waters and beautiful, sandy beaches (Biodola Beach is a favorite). The island is perfect for hiking, relaxing, boating, snorkeling, and other water sports.
Giglio Island (Isola del Giglio) is less known to visitors but is a popular holiday destination for Tuscans. Its pink-granite shorelines, sandy beaches, and stone-slab beaches are the perfect place for a relaxing break from the heat.
I hope this has helped you find a beach near Florence you’d like to visit!
Beaches Near Florence FAQ
The closest beach to Florence is Viareggio, about 100 kilometers away. It’s also easy to reach it, by car or train. There are public (free) and private (paid) beaches.
The quickest beach to get to from Florence by car is Viareggio. It will take you about 1 hr 15 min. You can also take the train there. Another nearby beach by train is Castiglioncello. It will take you about 1 hr 30 min.
Yes, Tuscany does have nice beaches, especially further south near Grosseto.
Yes, Marina di Pisa beaches are a short bus ride from Pisa.
The Cinque Terre has gorgeous beaches, but it’s quite a journey to reach them from Florence if you’re only visiting for the day. It is possible, but you won’t have much time to spend at the beach. If your focus is beach time, head to a nearby beach like Viareggio, Forte dei Marmi, or Cecina. Save the Cinque Terre for at least and overnight stay.
Beaches on the Amalfi Coast are usually rocky (vs. sandy) and are usually set against dramatic rocky cliffs. Beaches near Florence are usually sandy and often have a town or dunes and pine forest behind them. Both Florence (Northern Italy) beaches and Amalfi Coast (Southern Italy) beaches are gorgeous in their own way.
You’ll want to catch the train from the main Florence train station, Santa Maria Novella.
There are golf courses in Punta Ala, Follonica, Marina di Pisa, Marina di Pietrasanta, Forte dei Marmi, and Monte Argentario (between Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole).