5 beaches near Bologna: Where to go for sun, sand, and surf
Bologna is situated well inland on the Italian Peninsula, but it’s well placed near the Emilia-Romagna coast and the amazing beach towns the region has to offer. With the beautiful waters of the Adriatic within a few hours’ drive or even a train ride, it’s certainly worth considering a trip to the beach from Bologna. These beach towns are surrounded by pine forests, lagoons, dunes, and gorgeous natural beauty. These historic cities also have all the charm you’d expect of an Italian town. Of course, there will be unbelievable seafood restaurants, bars, and cafes as well.
Planning a weekend trip to one of these seaside resorts involves quite a few things. How you’ll get there, where you’ll stay, and when to visit are all important things to figure out. One thing to consider before heading out of town is finding luggage storage in Bologna to lighten your load for your trip to the beach. But first, you need to decide which beach town to visit.
Here are the best beaches near Bologna:
This popular seaside resort town is located on the Adriatic coast in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and has several beautiful beaches. Some of the most popular beaches in Bellaria-Igea Marina include Bagno Alba, Bagno 43 Paguro Beach, Bagno Milano, and Bagno Giorgio. These beaches are ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports, and they are suitable for both families and couples. The vast majority of these beaches are private, so you’ll have to make arrangements with the resort before traveling out to the coast, but the beautiful waters of the Adriatic are worth every penny.
Distance from Bologna
Bellaria-Igea Marina is located approximately 75 miles southeast of Bologna. The driving time from Bologna to Bellaria-Igea Marina is usually around one hour and 15 minutes, so it’s fairly convenient if you have access to a car. Alternatively, you can take a fast train from Bologna to Bellaria-Igea Marina, which takes approximately an hour and a half.
Aside from the obvious beach pastimes of sunbathing and swimming, this city has plenty to offer travelers. Emilia-Romagna is known for its delicious local cuisine, and Bellaria-Igea Marina is no exception. Be sure to try some of the local seafood dishes, such as spaghetti alle vongole, which is spaghetti with clams, or fritto misto di pesce, which is fried fish in a traditional balsamic vinegar.
The Carpigiani Gelato Museum is located near Bellaria-Igea Marina, and it's a must-visit for gelato lovers and visiting families. You can learn about the history of gelato, see vintage gelato-making equipment, and taste some of the delicious flavors. There are also several cycling routes along the seafront, and it's a great way to explore the area and get some exercise at the same time.
July and August are the busiest and most crowded months, as these are the peak tourist season, and many local Italians go on vacation during this time because school is out. If you prefer a quieter and more relaxed atmosphere, you might want to consider visiting in May or September, when the weather is still pleasant and the crowds have thinned out. Because it’s so close to Bologna, there will still be some crowds.
Bellaria-Igea Marina hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Gelato Festival in May, the Notte Rosa in July, and the Fish Festival in September. For foodies, these are absolutely worth checking out.
Lido di Dante
Lido di Dante is one of the most beautiful seaside resorts in Italy, and it’s just over an hour away from Bologna. The beach at Lido di Dante is long, wide, and sandy and has ideal conditions for swimming, sunbathing, and playing beach games, and it is especially suitable for families. Just off the water, Lido di Dante is known for its pine grove, which is located behind the beach and provides shade and a cool breeze during hot summer days. There are several beach clubs, restaurants, and bars along the beach, some of which are family-friendly, some of which are better suited for groups of twenty-somethings looking to party.
Distance from Bologna
Lido di Dante is located on the Adriatic coast in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, and it is approximately 68 miles east of Bologna. The drive between Bologna and Lido di Dante is about an hour and 15 minutes, making it suitable for a day trip if you want to get back to the city. There are also public transportation options available, such as trains and buses, which take about two to three hours to reach Lido di Dante from Bologna’s city center, so you might want to plan on spending the night.
Lido di Dante’s beautiful beach boasts soft golden sand and clear waters, making it perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying water sports like kite surfing. The nearby Oasis of Punta Alberete is a protected nature reserve that covers an area of more than 3,000 hectares. You can take a guided tour to see the different species of birds and animals that live in the area. It’s the perfect spot for a quick hike, and if it’s hot outside, the post-hike dip in the Adriatic is especially refreshing.
Like all seaside resorts, the most popular time to visit Lido di Dante is during the summer, especially given the number of events held every summer. The Festa della Madonna del Mare is a traditional celebration that takes place in Lido di Dante on the first Sunday in July. The festival includes a procession of boats carrying the statue of the Madonna to the sea, as well as music, dancing, and fireworks. The Sagra del Pesce is a seafood festival that takes place in the nearby town of Cervia in July. The festival features fresh fish dishes, music, and large crowds of locals and tourists.
Marina di Ravenna
Marina di Ravenna is a town located on the Adriatic coast. It’s famous for its many seaside resorts. The town offers a long and wide stretch of sandy beaches with clear blue waters, making it a popular destination for beachgoers. Luxury travelers will enjoy the city’s upscale hotels like the Grand Hotel Mattei resort, which offers a private beach, outdoor swimming pool, restaurant, and spa facilities. Hotel Marinella is also popular for its private beach and garden area.
Distance from Bologna
The fastest way to get to Marina di Ravenna from Bologna is by car or taxi, which takes just over an hour from the area around Bologna Airport. It’s close enough for a weekend getaway or a quick day trip. You can also take a train from Bologna to Ravenna, which takes around an hour and a half, and then take a bus or taxi to Marina di Ravenna, which is located nearby. The entire trip takes just over two hours to reach Marina di Ravenna by train and bus/taxi from Bologna.
The Pineta di Classe is a beautiful pine forest surrounding Marina di Ravenna, offering wonderful hiking opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. During the warmer months, a refreshing dip in the sea is amazing after a trek through the woods. The historic city of Ravenna itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located just a short drive or bus ride from Marina and beaches. The city is famous for its stunning Byzantine mosaics and historic architecture.
For more action on the water, visitors can take boat tours from Marina di Ravenna to explore the nearby lagoons and wetlands. The Adventure Park is an outdoor amusement park located in Marina di Ravenna, offering activities such as zip lining, rope courses, and climbing walls.
July and August are the busiest months in Marina di Ravenna, with many visitors coming to the town for their summer holidays. If you prefer a quieter atmosphere, you may want to consider visiting in June or September when the crowds are fewer and the prices will be lower for accommodations.
Also known as the Romagna Riviera, this popular tourist destination stretches along the Adriatic coast from Cattolica in the south to Ravenna in the north, and it has many beautiful beaches. Some of the most famous beaches in the Riviera Romagnola include Rimini, Riccione, Cesenatico, Cervia, Milano Marittima, and Bellaria-Igea Marina. These seaside resorts have well-maintained beaches with shallow waters that are perfect for swimming
Distance from Bologna
The drive from Bologna Centrale to the Riviera Romagnola can vary depending on your destination within the Riviera, but it usually takes around one hour and 30 minutes to two hours. You can also take a train from Bologna to one of the towns along the Riviera Romagnola, which takes between 90 minutes and two hours.
Mirabilandia is one of the largest amusement parks in Italy, located near Ravenna. It offers a variety of rides, attractions, and shows for all ages. The nearby Federico Fellini Museum details the life and work of this iconic Italian film director and screenwriter, who was born in nearby Rimini. The museum showcases his life and works, including costumes, photos, and set designs.
You can also explore the salt pans of Cervia. This natural park has a unique landscape of salt pools and a port canal. You can take a guided tour to learn about the history and production of salt. The Casa delle Farfalle (or Butterfly House) in Milano Marittima is a tropical greenhouse where you can see hundreds of colorful butterflies flying freely. This is great for families with small children, and like any destination with a sandy beach, summer is the best time to visit Riviera Romagnola.
San Mauro Mare
San Mauro Mare is a small seaside town located on the Adriatic coast, also in the Emilia-Romagna region. It is known for its long sandy beach, crystal clear waters, and relaxed atmosphere. While San Mauro Mare is popular, it’s rarely as rowdy as other destinations, making it perfect for families.
Distance from Bologna
By car, the journey from Bologna to San Mauro Mare takes approximately one hour and 45 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. You can take the A14 highway from Bologna towards Ancona and then take the exit for San Mauro Mare. By train, the journey from Bologna to San Mauro Mare requires a transfer at Rimini or Cesenatico and can take anywhere from two to three hours. Driving is ideal because you’ll have the flexibility to explore the coast.
The waters at San Mauro Mare are calm and shallow, so it's an ideal spot for swimming and snorkeling. You can rent snorkeling gear from local shops and explore the underwater world of the Adriatic Sea.
The promenade in San Mauro Mare is lovely for a stroll, with stunning views of the sea and the town's charming architecture. The people-watching is especially spectacular during the summer. There are also plenty of shops, bars, and restaurants along the way. San Mauro Mare's old town is filled with narrow streets, historic buildings, and small shops selling local products. Take a walk through the streets, stop for a gelato or coffee, and soak in the authentic Italian atmosphere.
There’s a go-kart track in town as well for anyone looking for an adrenaline kick. If that’s not your speed, you can also rent scooters for an iconic Italian Vespa experience. Taking a leisurely ride along the promenade is an amazing way to explore the town on two wheels.
In the summer months, San Mauro Mare becomes livelier with a range of events and activities taking place, including concerts, festivals, and markets.
While your time in Bologna will hardly be a taxing experience where you’ll need a break from the city, getting out to the coast of the Adriatic is a great way to explore some of the most beautiful places in Italy. There are dozens of seaside resorts that are within a few hours of Bologna’s city center, so a quick trek to the coast or a longer weekend trip from Bologna is a great way to break up your trip and get some time on the beach. Plus, if you're just going to the beach for the day, these options will really help you keep your costs down if you're visiting Bologna on a budget.
Just remember you can always count on Bounce’s luggage storage locations to take care of the bags while you’re enjoying the sun, the surf, and the sand.