The Tuscan coastline runs for about 230 kilometers and is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean. From Marina di Carrara in the north, all the way down to Porto Santo Stefano, Tuscan beaches are known for their tranquil atmosphere and clear waters. With such a long stretch of coastline, there are dozens of beaches to choose from, each with their own unique charm.
That said, there are a few beaches in Tuscany that stand out from the rest. The next time you take a trip to Italy’s western coast, you probably won’t have time to see them all, so you’ll need to know where to go for the best sights and experiences. Thankfully, we have compiled a list of the best beaches in Tuscany for your next vacation. But first, let’s take a look at how we determined which beaches should make it on our list.
What Makes a Great Beach?
Many people have favorite beaches that they return to time and time again, for various reasons. Maybe a beach is associated with a good memory from their childhood, or maybe there is a great seafood restaurant just a few steps from the water. Needless to say, judging beaches can be highly subjective. Nonetheless, there are a few standards and qualities that make beaches standout for every visitor.
When asked, “what makes a good beach?” most people will say something like “cleanliness.” After all, there is nothing worse than a beach littered with trash and debris. It can ruin the experience and turn what should have been a picturesque landscape into an environmental hazard.
Thankfully, the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) is a non-profit organization that makes it easy to find clean, environmentally-friendly beaches all around the world. Beaches that meet the organization’s high standards are allowed to fly a special blue flag. To find a blue flag beach in your country, consult the foundation’s website right here.
Thanks in part to Italy’s dedication to eco-friendly initiatives, there are hundreds of blue flag beaches throughout the country, with at least 40 in Tuscany alone. While there are very specific standards that each of these beaches must meet, there are other general traits that these blue flags represent, including:
- Clean sand – Unfortunately, tourists tend to make a mess, so it is vitally important that beach communities help keep their sand clean.
- Clean water – This is definitely one of the most important qualities of a good beach; if the water isn’t clear and free of debris, it won’t make the cut.
- Natural vegetation – Sandy beaches are great, but sometimes you want to experience all different forms of natural beauty during your beach excursion.
- Natural wildlife – In order for a beach to maintain its natural beauty, it must also maintain the natural balance of its ecosystem, and that includes local wildlife.
- Lifeguards and other safety measures – You won’t want to worry about feeling unsafe on vacation, so having the proper safety measures in place is vital.
Zero pollution, sewage, or other industrial emissions – While this goes along with clean sand and water, it is also important that all facets of the environment (including the air) are fresh and free of industrial waste.
Top 8 Beaches in Tuscany
All of the factors listed above help improve the experience of travellers and beachgoers. However, these are not the only qualities that can turn a good beach vacation into a great one. There are also other qualities that are more subjective and difficult to quantify, such as beautiful views, ease of access, great restaurants, walkability, friendly locals, and notable points of interest. So, we have looked at dozens of blue flag beaches in Tuscany and narrowed them down to the following list of the absolute best beaches in the region:
Forte dei Marmi
We’ll start at the northernmost point and work our way down, beginning with the beautiful beach town of Forte dei Marmi. While it can get pretty crowded during the summer months, the beach at Forte dei Marmi is still one of the best places to take in the sun and enjoy the gentle breeze from the Tyrrhenian Sea. The beach also features a long pier, known as the “Pontile,” that extends far out into the water, offering visitors a beautiful, 360° view of the surrounding waters.
Marina di Pisa
Just a short drive from the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, Marina di Pisa is not as sandy as most of the other beaches on this list, but it is definitely well worth the trip. The beach itself has more pebbles and rocks than sand, but it is still walkable and features crystal clear waters. The beach area is notably narrow, with the town sitting just off the water. The area is perfect for a relaxing day out on the water, as the nearby yacht club is popular with tourists and locals alike.
The rocky shores of Talamone are full of breathtaking views, charming locales, and fascinating history. Buildings that have been standing for hundreds of years dot the small village, which sits on the southern border of the Maremma nature reserve. Additionally, the cliffs of Talamone are a popular spot for kitesurfing, drawing in thousands of adventurous tourists every year.
This cliffside town has amazing views, sandy beaches, and luxurious resorts. While the beach itself is not very long, there is still plenty to do in Castiglioncello. The hilly town features inlets, coves, and tons of natural beauty to explore and appreciate. There are also a few points of interest for history buffs, including a 17th century watch tower.
Most people agree that the waters get clearer as you go farther south, and Follonica proves this point. This resort town is modern, but also features symbols of the ancient past, including ruins of Castello di Valli, which dates back to 884 AD. The beaches are frequented by Italian visitors, thanks in large part to the impeccable sand and crystal clear waters.
We are closing this list out with one of the more secluded beaches on the Tuscan coastline. Close to the Bandite de Scarlino Nature Reserve, Cala Violina is a symphony of color; the bright blue water gently mixes with the white sands, which quickly end with the lush greenery of the nearby woods. Cala Violina is truly a nature-lover’s paradise. Though it is only accessible via a 2-kilometer footpath from the nearest parking area, Cala Violina is a beach experience that you will never forget.
Isola del Giglio
Sail about 30 kilometers off the Tuscan coast and you’ll land on the Isola del Giglio. There may not be a lot of sand, but this island features some of the clearest water you’ll find anywhere. In addition, this isolated island community has its own special charm, completely distinct from the rest of Tuscany. From the picturesque Porto Giglio to the crowded shores of “Le Cannelle,” the Isola del Giglio is one place you will never forget.
Feniglia is a long, narrow strip of land at the southern tip of the Tuscan region. Known for its lush, forested, nature reserve, this area also features long, untouched beaches and warm waters. The beach is especially good for travellers who want to avoid crowds and take in the beauty of nature, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. In any case, whether you want to trek through the beautiful forest, climb the sand dunes, or enjoy the peaceful lagoon, Feniglia is a great spot to enjoy your Tuscany beach vacation.
There you have it, the best beaches in all of Tuscany! Now that you know where to go, are you ready to take a beach vacation along the Tuscany coastline? To learn more about travel expenses, points of interest and accommodations contact SopranoVillas today!