If you’re in southeastern Sicily and your children (or you) are craving a day at the beach, Sampieri is your place!
Sampieri’s calm, sandy beaches are perfect for small children, and the small fishing village has all of the services you need as a family (stroller-friendly, places to change diapers, small playground, pharmacy, grocery store, easy parking right next to the beach, and more).
We recently visited with our elementary-age boys and they had a blast playing on the beach, building sand castles, and splashing in the shallow waters. As a parent, I found our visit to be fun and relaxing – the perfect combo!
Good To Know: Sampieri has been awarded the bandiera verde (green flag), a special award given to child-friendly beaches in Italy.
Where is Sampieri?
Sampieri is a small beach town located on the southeastern coast of Sicily, just south of some of the Val di Noto’s UNESCO baroque towns (Scicli, Modica, Ragusa). It’s often overlooked in favor of the larger Marina di Ragusa and popular Donnalucata and Punta Secca, but Sampieri is a convenient family-friendly alternative.
When to Visit Sampieri
Sampieri is lively and buzzing with children and families in the summer months – especially local Sicilian families and in-the-know Italians.
In the chillier winter months, the town is mostly closed up, but a few restaurants and cafes stay open. Locals still visit the beach and stroll along the water on the paved paths or in the sand.
Good To Know: Even in the height of winter, you may still be able to play at the beach with your kids. On our recent January trip, we were in short sleeves and shorts, and we had a blast playing at the beach and in the shallow water.
5 Best Things to Do in Sampieri
Go to the Beach
Sampieri has a sandy beach with shallow, clear water. The beach is also very wide, so even if there are a lot of people at the beach, you’ll always find a place.
In the summer, there are beach clubs set up on the beach with restaurants, bars, toilets, umbrellas, lounge chairs, pedal boats, and more.
If you decide to visit the beach while you’re in Sampieri (you should!), you have a few options:
- Spiaggia di Sampieri – The beach at the eastern edge of town, in front of the playground and parking area. This is the most convenient beach, and one of the most crowded in the summer. Kids can play on the sandy shore and parents can lounge in the san or sit on the wide rocky wall behind the beach. Town’s restaurants and facilities are just steps away.
- Spiaggia della Mannara – As you move further away from the Sampieri town center, the beach becomes more ‘wild’ and less crowded. It’s still sandy with shallow clear water, but the backdrop turns into sandy dunes, wildflowers, and brush. Further back is the small pine forest.
- Spiaggia di Punta Pisciotto – Even further away from Sampieri, the beach is less crowded and makes its way to the rocky cliffs with the ruins of the old factory. There are no services (no toilet, no beach club), but the tranquility makes up for it. If you need something, you can walk along the beach back to the town.
Helpful Tip: Sampieri’s sand is ‘sticky’ and doesn’t brush off skin or clothing well. Make sure you have a towel or two to help get sand off, especially if you’ve got a rental car.
Everyone’s happy with a gelato in hand! Wait in line for your cono (cone) at Hoky Poky on the beachfront promenade. Sit out front with the locals or stroll through town with your icy treat. If you’re looking for a Sicilian specialty, have a granita or a brioche con gelato.
Relax in the Shade of the Pines
Sampieri has a small pine forest (Pineta Sampieri) to the east of town, and it’s a nice place to relax and let kids play on a hot day. You can bring a picnic or snack, or even just go for a stroll during the hottest part of the day.
Good To Know: If you visit during the off-season, the main entrance to the pineta may be closed, but you can still enter from the beach entrances.
Walk to the Ruins of the Old Forno
To the east of Sampieri, you can see the old tile factory that was mysteriously burnt to the ground in the mid-1900s. You can walk amongst the ruins (especially scenic just before sunset), but it’s best for older kids or teens.
Fun Fact: Sampieri and the Fornace Penna are both settings for the famous Italian television series, Inspector Montalbano.
Say Hello to the Fishermen
Walk to the western end of the boardwalk and you’ll run smack into the small fishermen’s pier. The fishermen are often working on their nets. Our kids loved checking out their painted boats.
Which Beach to Visit in Sampieri
The beaches in Sampieri are actually one large beach split into a few sections. If you’re facing the water, the area to the right has the most services and crowds, and the further left you move, the fewer crowds and services you’ll find.
If you’ve got small children, it’s easiest to stay near town (on the right) so you’ll have access to facilities and the playground. You can also roll your stroller right up to the golden sand beach (but don’t leave it unattended). Parking is conveniently located just behind the beach.
If you’re traveling with older kids or teens, you may want to head further away from town toward the dunes and the ruins of the old factory.
How to Get to Sampieri
You’ll need a car to get to Sampieri. I like to visit when we’re in the nearby Val di Noto towns. For example, from Scicli, it’s a quick 15-minute (10-kilometer) drive down the SP40.
Read more about Driving in Sicily.
Things to See & Do With Kids Near Sampieri
- Modica – chocolate tasting
- Ragusa – charming old town of Ragusa Ibla; the area’s best playground; Sicilian cart museum
- Scicli – learn about living in caves
- Castello di Donnafugata – explore the castle
- Vendicari Natural Reserve
- Marzamemi – explore the ancient fishing village. Read more in our Quick Guide to Marzamemi.
Enjoy your visit to Sampieri!