budget beach days

It’s August in Florence, and if you haven’t noticed, it’s hot. It’s the kind of hot that feels like you may never be cool again. And even though we encourage you stand your city ground as others run for the shores, we understand the necessity of an occasional, good ol’ fashioned beach trip for some Mediterranean breeze. But where to begin? Your options likely don’t include Florentine friends’ beach houses in Forte di Marmi and yacht trips to Elba. Short of getting an invitation to said houses and yachts, how will your conservative budget manage? Read on for a tried-and-tested beach trip for just 30 euro.

Step 1: Train to the Beach ( 9,30)

While beach options in il bel paese are plentiful, for this trip we’re headed to Viareggio, a great budget-friendly beach town (also known for Carnevale). A little over an hour and a half from Florence, a 9:30 train will bring you to town just as the sandy shore is heating up.

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Train to Viareggio by Chris Sampson

Step 2: Pick up lunch on the way to the beach ( 5,00)

When you exit the train station in Viareggio, there is really only one logical direction to head–straight.  Just in case, you’ll find maps just outside of the station directing you to the beach.

Although you may not be hungry just yet, you can save yourself some euros by picking up a cheap meal to go on your way, which will help avoid pricey beach clubs once settled. Grocery stores and sandwich shops line the thoroughfare to the shores.


Cheap eats on the way to the beach

Step 3: Explore (free!)

Ever been asked if you prefer the beach or the mountains? In Viareggio, you don’t have to choose. The Apuan Alps border the sea, a stunning backdrop for the sandy beaches (we pinch pennies, not views!). Walk the shore for a panoramic view before committing to your beach real estate for the day.


Viareggio beach, by Florence in August

Step 4: Buy a beach chair ( 5,00)

Before you get too comfortable, remember that the sand is claimed by a beach club behind you. To take part, you must rent your spot for the day. Simply head to whichever club is directly behind the area of your choice, and for around  5 you’ll receive a lounge chair to plant in the sand. In addition to the chair, paying the fee also allows you access to changing rooms and bathrooms for the day (a perk you’ll find highly valuable, we’re sure).


Getting all too comfortable on the beaches of Viareggio, by Florence in August

Step 5: Swim, Sun, and People Watch (free!)

Do you like people watching? Well, consider people watching at an Italian beach the advanced course. It’s not that you see more people, you just see a lot more of them. If you’re new to european beaching (we hope you’re not shy), standards on swimwear are liberal. For women, tops are optional. For men, speedos trump trunks. While coverage certainly isn’t conservative, nudity is prohibited–so don’t get too carried away!


Beach strolling, by Florence in August

Step 6: Return to Florence ( 9,30)

Sandy, sun-kissed and finally cooled off, the train ride back to Florence is always a welcome one. Remember, trains between Viareggio and Florence are regional, meaning that your ticket home (if purchased prior) can be used on any train back. This allows you the flexibility to call it a day early or stay for sunset. Just keep your timetable in mind.

So long spiaggia. Until next time!


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