Tuscany’s western side follows the coast of the Tyrrhenean sea. In summer, there is a mass migration from inland Tuscany to the beaches. That is why you can only find tourists in Florence during the month of August! There is a wide variety of beaches that cater to different tastes and styles.
How to choose the right beach for you
The first thing to consider is whether you are interested in beach nightlife or not. Northern beaches are the ones where Italian VIPs hang out and the clubbing scene is in full swing all summer long. Though there are many private beaches, the water isn’t as clean and transparent as it is in the South. Southern beaches are closer to nature (near pine forests) and not always private, though they can still be very crowded. They usually cater more to families and offer less entertainment at night.
The best beaches in Europe are awarded the Blue Flag certification. In order to receive this yearly certification, beaches must be clean and the local sea eco system respected. Lifeguards and/or life saving equipment must be available.
In 2018, Tuscany was awarded 19 Blue Flag beaches. Here are some of them (from North to South):
Forte dei Marmi
It is one of the most expensive seaside towns in Tuscany. The beaches are mostly private and well equipped for families. The town is full of high end boutiques and restaurants. Forte dei Marmi is also famous for its night life. If you want to bump into some VIPs, head to the exclusive nightclub Twiga. Forte dei Marmi can be reached by train or bus from Florence in about 1.40 hours. But if you want to feel like a typical Forte dei Marmi VIP, hire a private driver in Florence!
This town is known for its pleasant 3 kilometre promenade on the seafront. But bathers beware, don’t walk down it in your bathing suit. Topless men and bikini clad women could get fined by local police! Make sure to try fish or seafood in one of the many beachfront restaurants. Most of the beaches are private which means visitors must pay for a spot on the beach with parasol and sun loungers. Viareggio is the closest beach destination from Florence, about 1.15 hour by train.
The Pisa area
Marina di Pisa
It is a white pebble beach with transparent water. The beach is free access and easily reachable by bus in 1.30 hour. It is 12 km away from Pisa.
Tirrenia and Calambrone
They offer both free access beaches and private ones. Their long stretches of sandy beaches make them also perfect for families. They offer the possibility to do water sports like surf, windsurf and kite board. Can be reached from Florence by bus in less than 1.30 hour.
The Livorno area
It is a charming little town built on a rocky promontory surrounded by a pine forest. It the perfect place for both culture and sport enthusiasts. The water is transparent and perfect for snorkeling while the surrounding hills and forest are ideal for trekking. Castiglioncello can be reached by train from Florence in 1.30 hour.
Marina di Castagneto Carducci
It has both private and free access beaches. It wide sandy beaches and gradual incline into the sea make it ideal for children. The water is clean and clear. Marina di Castagneto is near the beautiful little village of Bolgheri famous for its wine production. You can reach the Castagneto Carducci-Donoratico stop in 2 hours from Florence.
Buca delle Fate and Cala Violina
Buca delle Fate (literally Hole of the Fairies) and Cala Violina are short beaches with crystal clear water. The beaches are free access and perfect for children. You reach the seaside on foot by following a footpath that cuts through low Mediterranean vegetation. Buca delle Fate and Cala Violina are only accessible by car. That’s a good reason to book a 6 hour car with driver.
In the Argentario area
It is a rocky cove with a small pebble beach with transparent water. It is ideal for snorkelling. It can be reached by bus.
This small island has every type of beach and crystal clear water. It is a nature lover’s paradise.The rich marine life life makes it ideal for snorkelling or diving. The rocky cliffs around the island are smooth and perfect spots for sunbathing. Book a tour of the Giglio island from Florence and immerse yourself in this Tuscan paradise.