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Le Marche with Kids – 9 Best Things to Do (According to a Local)

Updated by Candice on January 14, 2024

Ciao!  It’s Marica, back with more about my home in Italy – Le Marche.

Le Marche is a re-MARCHE-ble (see what I did there?) region to visit, and there are plenty of things that are perfect to do with kids! I don’t have children of my own, but I’m an auntie, and I love exploring the region with my nephew and niece.

You may also want to read our Tips for Visiting Le Marche.

Why Visit Le Marche with Kids

Le Marche is one of Italy’s most beautiful regions and those who visit love it because it still feels ‘undiscovered’ by the crowds who pass it over for popular destinations like Rome, Venice, and the Cinque Terre.

It’s an excellent region to visit with family because of the diversity of activities.  There’s something for everyone – nature (beaches & mountains), history, castles, unique regional cuisine, and who doesn’t love a water park?

You can find a nice place to base yourself in the region and spend your time exploring and interacting with local Italians – not just other travelers. 

The Best Time to Visit Le Marche with Kids

The territory of Le Marche is very diverse, so you can find family-friendly activities in each season – gorgeous kid-friendly beaches in the summer, ancient castles to visit in autumn, engaging museums and Christmas markets during the winter holidays, and stunning mountains and regional parks to hike in when spring arrives.

If I had to suggest a specific time to visit Le Marche, I would say from May to October. The temperature is warm, and there is little to no precipitation so you can enjoy the outdoors with your kids.

The summer is all about going to the beach or exploring the beautiful mountains and regional parks inland.

Good To Know:  The beautiful beaches in Le Marche get incredibly crowded in July and August, so be prepared to be surrounded by people all the time!

For a vacation with fewer crowds, head to Le Marche in September.  Italian schools usually start around the 15th, and adults return to work after the ‘traditional’ August holidays.

How Much Time to Spend in Le Marche with Kids

While a long and relaxing break would be ideal, I realize that’s often not possible.  I’d suggest a stay of at least 5 days, whether you plan a beach-centered vacation, one where you visit medieval towns with your kids, or a holiday dedicated to exploring natural settings. 

9 Best Things to Do in Le Marche with Kids

Explore the Grotte di Frasassi

Inside the Grotte di Frasassi cave complex in Le Marche, Italy.
Inside the Grotte di Frasassi

The Grotte di Frasassi (Frasassi Caves) area is by far one of my favorite places in Le Marche. Located in the province of Ancona, the Frasassi Caves are a system of caves and tunnels dotted with extraordinary stalactites and stalagmites.

Your kids will love venturing into this incredible underground city! The tour of the Grotte di Frasassi is around one hour long. It will lead your family through the ‘Ancona Abyss,’ a large cave that the Duomo of Milan could fit inside!

At the center of the cave, there are the so-called ‘I Giganti’, a group of ancient stalagmites that will surely impress children (and adults).

Helpful Tips: If you are traveling with very small children, use a baby carrier because you can’t enter the caves with a stroller. Also, even if it’s toasty outside, bring a jacket or fleece because the caves are at a constant temperature of 14° Celsius.

Official Site:  Grotte di Frassasi

Swim at One of Le Marche’s Beaches

If you’re visiting in warmer months, don’t miss a trip to a Le Marche beach.  The region’s long coast is dotted with a variety of beaches – sandy or rocky, deep water and shallow.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly beach town, check out:

  • Pesaro
  • Fano
  • Senigallia
  • Numana
  • Porto Recanati
  • Porto San Giorgio
  • San Benedetto del Tronto

Most of the beaches in these towns are equipped with sun loungers and umbrellas (that you can rent), bars and restaurants, and children’s playgrounds. 

Climb the Gradara Castle

View of Gradara and its imposing fortress from a distance.  It's a sunny spring day and you can see fluffy clouds and vibrant green grass in the foreground.
Gradara Castle

Gradara is one of the most memorable towns in Le Marche, and a truly magical place to visit with kids. Its main attraction is its castle (Gradara Castle, or Castello di Gradara), where the tragic love story of Paolo and Francesca took place.

While this story might not be of much interest to children (love, betrayal, murder…), the castle itself will surely be!  Highlights include climbing to the top of the castle and checking out the original furniture and imagining daily life in the fortress. 

Good To Know: You can sign up for a guided tour.

Besides the castle, Gradara is a fantastic town to travel to for the many events organized in different seasons. At Christmas, the whole town (castle included!) turns into a Christmas country, with elves and reindeer everywhere.

In the summer, Gradara hosts many events, such as historical parades and falconry shows organized right between the fortified walls.  A not-to-be-missed event – the Assedio al Castello (Siege of the Castle), which occurs in July of odd-numbered years, is a historical re-enactment of the siege of the castle.  It includes pyrotechnics, historical costumes, and battle scenes. 

YouTube video
Note:  This is from 2018, but post-Covid, the Siege takes place in odd-numbered years.

Check out the Best Italian Castles to Visit with Kids

Official Website: Gradara Castle

Adventure in the Parco Naturale Regionale del Sasso Simone e Simoncello

The Natural Park of Sasso Simone and Simoncello is an extraordinary area in the province of Pesaro Urbino. It’s full of paths designed specifically for families with kids, and you can explore them on foot or mountain bike.

It’s also home to Carpegna Park – Family Adventure Mountain, with 12 different routes where your kids can climb and have fun with pulleys, suspended passages, and Tibetan bridges.

The Parco Naturale Regionale del Sasso Simone has something special for the little ones as well: the Bosco delle Fate, a real enchanted forest inhabited by fairies, elves, and the Little People. Your kids will have the best time spotting all the little creatures hiding in the woods!

Official Website:  Parco Naturale Regionale del Sasso Simone e Simoncello (in Italian)

Explore Ancona’s Tactile Museum and Caves

Colorful entrances to the Grotte del Passetto in Ancona.
Grotte del Passetto

Ancona is the capital city of Le Marche, and there are at least two places you should visit with your kids while in town: the Tactile Museum (Museo Tattile Statale Omero) and the Passetto Caves (Grotte del Passetto).

The Omero Museum is a unique place in Italy and Europe. The museum was established as a way to allow blind people to experience a museum – all of the artworks can be touched and explored with your hands. 

The Museo Tattile Omero is a fantastic spot for children as well since kids navigate the world with their hands.  Don’t miss it if you’re traveling with younger ones!

If you’re in Ancona during the summer months, make your way to the Spiaggia del Passetto (Passetto Beach). The beach is made of stones and rocks and there are free sections and areas that rent umbrellas and lounge chairs (helpful if you’re traveling with kids).

Good To Know:  The water gets deep right away, except in the area by the ascensore (elevator).  Stay near the elevator with your small children.

Spiaggia del Passetto is not just a beach though – it has a unique landmark.  There are caves excavated inside the mountainside, which were built beginning into the mid-1800s for fishermen’s boats. Today, the grotte (caves) have been turned into small, personalized, fully equipped bungalows. The grotte create a large colorful painting right in front of the sea that’s fun for children to explore!

Good To Know:  The grotte walkway isn’t stroller-friendly (bring a baby carrier instead).

Official Website: Museo Tattile Statale Omero

Join the Feste Medievali in Offagna

One of the best things to do in Le Marche with kids is to attend the Feste Medievali in the historical town of Offagna. The week-long event takes place every July and transports Offagna back to the Middle Ages.

Offagna becomes a medieval court with street games, food tastings, historical re-enactments, and medieval dances. Your kids will be delighted by the spectacles of fire performers, jugglers, minstrels, and storytellers.  And don’t miss the dance of flags!

Official Website: Offagna Feste Medievali

Hike the Via delle Cascate Perdute di Sarnano

You’ll find the Lost Waterfalls di Sarnano (Cascate Perdute di Sarnano) in the province of Macerata.  Two of the three waterfalls were rediscovered in 2020 and the hike to reach this fairy-tale-like forest is only 6 km long (but not stroller-friendly).

You’ll pass the Cascata dell’Antico Molino (with ruins of the old mill), the Cascata de lu Vagnatò (with the old basin used for doing laundry), and Cascatelle in the Romanì area.

The route starts in the historic center of Sarnano and stretches into pristine and lush vegetation. Stop to marvel at the three picturesque waterfalls, and let your kids play in the small pools. 

Helpful Tip:  Even though the hike is easy, you’ll still want to wear sneakers.

Good To Know:  If your kids still want to play after the hike, head to the center of Sarnano (one of Italy’s most beautiful villages) and the Parco del Serafino playground. 

Official Website:  Sarnano Tourism

Play at the Senigallia Beach and Get Lost in the Corn Maze

Sunrise at Senigallia beach in Le Marche, Italy.  A few beach loungers and umbrellas sit empty on the beach.
Senigallia Beach

Senigallia is a fantastic place to explore with kids, especially in the summer. The town is famous for its long seaside promenade, perfect for exploring by bike.

You can rent a bicycle or the popular ‘risciò‘ (a special cycling rickshaw that can fit from two to six people) and stop at one of the fully equipped beaches (umbrellas, beach chairs, restaurants, etc).  Senigallia has both a blue flag and a green flag, which means that the waters are clean and the beach clubs are kid-friendly.

Just a few kilometers outside Senigallia, you’ll find a real labyrinth carved into a cornfield, and every kid will love trying to find their way out! Numerous special events are held inside the maze to entertain children and adults, from treasure hunts to wine tastings.

If you like labyrinths, you’ll want to check out the Labirinto delle Masone – a huge bamboo labyrinth near Parma.

Official Website: Marche Tourism – Senigallia

Splash at Eldorado Water Park

Le Marche has several aqua parks, but my favorite one is the Eldorado Water Park, located in Apiro, in the province of Macerata.

Eldorado is the largest water park in the region, and it’s a true paradise for kids. The park has huge pools, a fantastic lagoon, hot tubs (for the adults!), and the longest slide in Europe, the Big Twins!

The Eldorado Water Park also has an area reserved for the little ones, a nap area, a bar, a yogurt shop, and a restaurant.  The park also hosts events throughout the summer, like the Ferrari gatherings, the Hawaiian Festival, and special Children’s Days.

Official Website: Parco Acquatico Eldorado, open only in the summer months

More Things to Do in Le Marche with Kids

Clear turquoise waters at the Spiaggia delle Due Sorelle (Two Sisters Beach) in Le Marche, Italy.  You can see people sunbathing on the beach in the distance.
Visit the Spiaggia delle Due Sorelle on TartaDay
  • Museo del Balì (Colli al Metauro) – interactive science center
  • Fossa dei Mostri (Pioraco) – hiking trail with ‘monsters’ carved into rocks by a local sculptor (Antonio Ciccarelli); not stroller-friendly
  • Giardino delle Farfalle (Cessapalombo) – butterfly garden
  • Festa delle Streghe e dei Folletti (Montalto delle Marche) – ‘festival of the witches and elves’; a late-summer, four-day festival of fairytales; meet characters like Cinderella, Peter Pan, Snow White, etc; concerts, musicals, and shows for kids
  • Museo delle Barbie (Ripatransone) – museum dedicated to Mattel’s blond doll, Barbie
  • Presepe Vivente (Genga) – the world’s largest live nativity scene (presepe vivente); canceled for 2022 Read more about Presepi – Italy’s Nativity Scenes.
  • Parco Frasassi Avventura (Genga) – ropes course and adventure park
  • Roman Cisterns (Fermo) – underground network of ancient Roman cisterns
  • TartaDay (Spiaggia delle Due Sorrelle) – In the summer, with advance reservation, you can take a boat to the beach and watch biologists release turtles into the wild (more info here in Italian)

Eating in Le Marche with Kids

A holiday in Italy means trying local foods. The regional cuisine of Le Marche is rich in flavors and incredibly varied, as the territory spans from mountains to hills to the coast.

Kid-friendly foods in Le Marche include:

  • olive ascolane (green olives stuffed with meat and then fried)
  • crescia (a sort of flatbread that your kid can fill with everything they prefer)
  • crema fritta or cremini (pastry cream flavored with anise and then fried; it’s served as an appetizer)     
  • vincisgrassi (the local lasagna)

Restaurants in the region welcome kids and have highchairs to accommodate the little ones. Many also have outdoor play areas for kids.

Fun Fact:  Le Marche is a popular destination for Italian families in the summer for its nature (beaches and mountains) and excellent value.

Where to Stay in Le Marche with Kids

Finding a place to stay when traveling with kids can be challenging, but Le Marche has plenty of family-friendly accommodations.

If you’re planning on a beach vacation, Senigallia and San Benedetto del Tronto have the best facilities in the seaside promenade.

Many of the region’s medieval towns (like Gradara and Offagna) are immersed in idyllic countryside.  I recommend staying in an agriturismo for an authentic local stay.

Logistics in Le Marche with Kids

Strollers – Most beach towns are stroller-friendly, while medieval towns usually have cobblestones that aren’t easy on strollers. However, local families use strollers, so you can do it too!

A baby carrier would make your life easier, but it’s up to you and how your child prefers to be carried around. 

Baby Supplies – You can find baby supplies at grocery stores and pharmacies in both cities and villages. 

Changing Diapers – As with most of Italy, it’s hit-or-miss when looking for a changing table.  But, as Le Marche is a popular place for family travel, you’ll often find places to change your baby at restaurants, bars, and beach clubs.  Of course, you can always use a portable mat and change your baby on a bench or wherever you find convenient.

Read more about Diapers in Italy

I hope you enjoy your visit to Le Marche!

You may want to check out
Italy with a Baby or Toddler
Italy Packing List for a Baby or Toddler
Italy with Teens
Italy Packing List for Kids

Le Marche with Kids FAQ

Is it easy to go around by public transport or is it better to rent a car?

While the public transport is well-developed along the coast and inside the town centers, I highly recommend renting a car.  You’ll be able to explore more beaches and small inland villages.