Best places to visit on the Italian Adriatic Coast

Italian Adriatic Coast goes from Friuli Venezia Giulia to Puglia and it hosts many cities of art, seaside resorts, and popular holiday resorts. Adriatic Coast resorts are also cheaper than the ones located on the other side of the “Boot” or on the Islands, so that they may be really crowded during summer (ex: Salento area or Gargano, but also some small villages in Emilia Romagna).

Adriatic Coast also gives you the chance to discover some of the most beautiful cities of art in Italy, like Venice or Bari, and modern and vibrant cities like Rimini or Pescara, which are very much appreciated by young people.

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Adriatic Coast, Italy: Best resorts and towns to visit

1. Trieste – for history lovers

Trieste is located in Friuli Venezia Giulia and it’s close to the Slovenian border. For this reason, its atmosphere is half Mediterranean and half Central European.

When: September

How long: 1 weekend

Must see:

  • Miramare Castle: a beautiful castle overlooking the sea and offering amazing views
  • Unità d’Italia Square: it is the largest square in Europe that directly overlooks the sea.
  • Risiera di San Sabba Museum: it was the jail where Italian soldiers were imprisoned during the Nazi period. It was also the only concentration camp in Italy.

Tips:

  • Train is the fastest and easiest way to get to Trieste, which is very well connected to the main Northern Italy cities.
  • Get the FVG Card, that is a customized prepaid card allowing you to freely enter many facilities in the whole Region.

Recommended Hotels to Stay:

Residenza Degli Artisti

This stylish modern hotel with its clean lines and the white color palette is located on a pedestrianized street close to restaurants, bars, and a concert venue with the Old Town within walking distance. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Forvm Boutique Hotel

With the right attention to detail throughout, this charmingly intimate boutique hotel will feel like a home away from home as soon as you step inside. It’s located in the heart of the city, just a 5-minute walk from the port. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

2. Grado – for a spring day trip

the harbor of Grado, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy

Grado is a small lagoon town in Friuli Venezia Giulia and it’s a nice and picturesque place where to spend a day off.

When: Spring

How long: a day

Must see:

  • Sant’Eufemia Cathedral: an interesting early-Christian church located in the historic area of the town.
  • Barbana Island: it is just in front of the town, in the middle of the lagoon, and it is populated by a community of Franciscan Friars.
  • Waterfront: walk along the so-called “dam”, like locals call this street by the sea.

Tips:

  • For your summer vacation, don’t choose Grado, because the sea is not one of the best in Friuli.
  • If you’ve never been to Venice, the historic area of Grado can be a good replacement, since it’s really similar.

Recommended Hotels to Stay:

Hotel Serena

This family-run hotel in a quiet location just 10 minutes walk from the town ensures guests receive a personal service. An idyllic view of the canal can be enjoyed from some balconies with sea view from the roof terrace. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Grand Hotel Astoria

Let your jaw drop when you see the sunset views from this amazing hotel located in the historic center close to the beach. Regal in style, you’ll feel like you’re sure to feel like you’ve stepped back in time in a good way! – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

3. Lignano Sabbiadoro – for a weekend gateway

Lignano Sabbiadoro

Lignano Sabbiadoro (literally “golden sand”) is a seaside resort in Friuli Venezia Giulia. It’s one of the most popular holiday destinations in the whole Region.

When: Summer

How long: a weekend

Must see:

  • Punta Verde Zoo: it hosts more than 1000 animals in environments similar to their natural habitats.
  • Riviera Beach: the beach for families
  • Doggy Beach: this beach allows dogs to enter and have a bath and it also offers sunbeds and services just for them too.

Tips:

  • If you are young and you are searching for fun and entertainment choose a hotel and a beach in the Sabbiadoro area, while if you have young kids choose Riviera or Pineta instead.
  • Beware of jellyfishes, which are widespread throughout the whole Northern Adriatic Sea.

Recommended Hotels to Stay:

Hotel Alex

This modern eco-friendly hotel close to the town and beach provides guests with bicycles to rent and electric car charging points. A 5-minute drive to the golf course, this hotel is also close to public transport. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Marina Uno Floating Resort

Enjoy a unique vacation in your very own self-catering floating boathouse with sundeck and marvel at the views of the lagoon. A pool, sauna, shops, and other facilities are available at the marina with the beach close by too. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

4. Venice – visit this city in Autumn to enjoy its misty atmosphere

Venice

Venice is the capital of the Veneto Region and it is one of the most visited and beloved cities in Italy.

When: Autumn

How long: 5 days

Must see:

  • Canal Grande: one of the symbols of the city with its 4 bridges (Rialto, Scalzi, Accademia, and Costituzione).
  • Palazzo Ducale: a beautiful gothic building that was once the residence of the Doge, that is the chief of the Venetian Republic
  • San Marco Cathedral: another symbol of the city, which is famous worldwide.

Tips:

  • Always keep a map at hand because it’s really easy to get lost in the Venetian calli.
  • Buy your tickets online in advance to skip the long lines.

Recommended Hotels to Stay:

Hotel Mignon

Just 500 yards from the Rialto Bridge, this intimate hotel with helpful staff, elegantly decorated Baroque-style rooms, and free breakfast makes a great base for exploring the backstreets of Venice. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Ca’ Del Campo

This beautiful sophisticated hotel is housed inside a restored palace just 250metres from St Mark’s Square and has a canal flowing right outside its doors for that quintessential Venetian experience. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

5. Comacchio– for wild landscape lovers

Comacchio

Comacchio is a small town located in Emilia Romagna, in the middle of the Po Delta Natural Park.

When: September

How long: a day

Must see:

  • Po Delta Natural Park: with its 54.000 hectares, it hosts many species of local flora and fauna and offers amazing natural landscapes. It’s been part of UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1999.
  • Trepponti: the fortified bridge which is the symbol of Comacchio
  • Manifattura dei Marinati (Marinated Fish Factory): the local traditional activity is the eel fishing and here you can learn all the details.

Tips:

  • Comacchio is a perfect day trip during your stay in Ravenna
  • If you have another couple of hours, visit also the Pomposa Abbey in the neighborhood.

Recommended Hotels to Stay:

Al Ponticello

A great location within easy reach of all the attractions and helpful owners ready to recommend places to eat and things to see and do, even offering their own ‘off the tourist trail’ excursions. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Porta del Carmine

Enjoy a home away from home in one of these bright and comfy self-contained apartments centrally located with bicycles to rent so you can easily reach the beach and surrounding valley. An authentic Italian breakfast is also available and garden. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

6. Cesenatico– for a family holiday

Cesenatico

Cesenatico is one of the main seaside resorts in Emilia Romagna, together with Rimini.

When: Summer

How long: 1 week

Must see:

  • Porto Canale: a canal going through the historic city center. Its banks offer a nice walk.
  • Shore n. 88: one of the most popular beach clubs with plenty of services and facilities
  • Maritime Museum: it also has an interesting floating section, inside 11 vintage boats.

Tips:

  • Don’t miss a sailing trip along the coast
  • If you have kids, take them to Atlantica water park

Recommended Hotels to Stay:

Hotel Favorita

Serving up a great breakfast until 11 am so that you can relax for longer in your spacious room soaking up the sea view, this hotel has staff who go the extra mile and is only a 3-minute walk from the beach. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Hotel Venere

This seafront hotel which is just moments away from the main square has spacious, comfortable, and quiet sea view rooms, helpful staff, and provides guests with complimentary bike use. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

7. Rimini – for a typical Italian summer vacation (only if you love large crowds!)

Rimini - Adriatic Coast resort
Rimini

Rimini is the ultimate summer vacation resort in the North of Italy, but it’s really crowded and chaotic, so it’s not for everybody.

When: Summer

How long: 1 week

Must see:

  • Tiberio Bridge: a historic Roman bridge crossing the Marecchia River.
  • Borgo San Giuliano: it was the former fishermen’s district and it has kept its lively and genuine atmosphere along with its narrow streets and colorful houses.
  • Marina Centro: to enjoy the local nightlife.

Tips:

  • To enjoy the real Rimini atmosphere come here in summer because in winter there are fewer people, several facilities are closed and the weather is usually grey and humid.
  • Taste local “piadina”, that is the typical flatbread filled with cheese, cold cuts of vegetables.

Recommended Hotels to Stay:

Hotel Polo

A stylish hotel ideally located on the strip with ease of access to both the beach and the town. Rooms have bright modern décor, a spacious balcony, and a hot tub which is a great addition. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Suite Hotel Parioli

Close to the beach yet still within walking distance of the train station, this hotel is in a quiet area and provides guests with spacious, apartment-style rooms with everything you need for a comfortable stay. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

8. Pescara – for modern cities lovers

Pescara - Adriatic Coast city
Pescara

Pescara is a vibrant city on the coast of the Abruzzo Region. It offers beaches, restaurants, shops, and entertainment for all tastes.

When: Spring

How long: a weekend

Must see:

  • The Sea Bridge: a futuristic cycle-pedestrian bridge
  • The house of Gabriele D’Annunzio: the place where the famous Italian poet was born is now an interesting house-museum
  • Waterfront: the perfect place for walking or biking

Tips:

  • If you love shopping, head to Corso Umberto I
  • To enjoy the local nightlife, go to Corso Manthoné

Recommended Hotels to Stay:

Victoria Hotel

This hotel has quirky contemporary décor and is within walking distance of both the bus and train stations as well as the beach. Staff are so friendly that they’ll give you a history lesson when you check-in and go above and beyond to help you. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

G Hotel Pescara

This immaculate hotel is ideally located, within walking distance of the train station and downtown Pescara. Rooms are modern with comfy beds and amazing showers and there’s a great selection at breakfast. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

9. Termoli– the starting point to discover Molise coast

Termoli Adriatic Coast place to visit
Termoli

Termoli is one of the most beautiful cities in Molise and it is also its most popular seaside resort.

When: Summer

How long: 1 weekend

Must see:

  • Medieval Village: this historic district lays on top of a promontory overlooking the sea
  • Panfilo Beach: the most popular beach in town
  • Cathedral: this beautiful church was built in the XIIth century and its architecture reminds of the ancient churches in Puglia

Tips:

  • You can easily reach Tremiti Islands from Termoli port
  • Search for the narrowest alley of Italy called Rejecelle and 41cm wide

Recommended Hotels to Stay:

Hotel Mistral

This welcoming seafront hotel is within walking distance of the Old Town and railway station with free bike use to get further afield. Rooms have a superb sea view, are clean, spacious, and comfortable. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Hotel Meridiano

Recently renovated, this seafront hotel which is a 5-minute walk from the shops and restaurants has comfortable rooms with very spacious balconies from which to enjoy that gorgeous sea view. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

10. Trani – a little known city of art

Trani Adriatic seaside resort
Trani

This small town in Puglia is rich in historic heritage and it’s still away from mass tourism.

When: Spring

How long: a weekend

Must see:

  • San Nicola Pellegrino Cathedral: one of the best examples of Romanic architecture in Puglia.
  • Historic district: to learn more about the Swabian kingdom and its heritage
  • Port: to enjoy a pleasant walk watching the boats

Tips:

  • Summer is not good for sightseeing because of the hot weather
  • If you are planning a classical seaside vacation, don’t choose Trani, because it only has small beaches and not many facilities

Recommended Hotels to Stay:

Palazzo Filisio

This sophisticated hotel has bright and airy modern rooms with wonderful views across the marina. Ideally located next to the Cathedral, in the Old Town, the staff at this hotel are extremely accommodating. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Dimora Corteinfiore

Located in the city center, rooms are elegant and newly designed to ensure a comfortable stay with everything you need including a coffee machine and minibar. The friendly staff is on hand to help and there’s an onsite restaurant too. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

11. Bari – one of the most important cities of art in the whole Southern Italy

Bari Adriatic Coast town
Bari

Bari is a really popular destination among people looking for a seaside resort but also a place full of art and historic heritage.

When: Summer

How long: 5 days

Must see:

  • Old Town: the most picturesque spots in Bari are to be found here
  • San Nicola Cathedral: this cathedral hosts the relics of San Nicola and it is a place of worship both for Catholics and Orthodox
  • Waterfront: the favorite walk of both locals and tourists

Tips:

  • Visit Bari by bike, especially its Old Town
  • Bari is the place where most of the Adriatic Cruises start so that you can choose a cruise taking you to Albania, Croatia, and Montenegro to continue your trip

Recommended Hotels to Stay:

Hotel Cristal

A 15-minute walk to the city center and within easy reach of the train station, this good value for money hotel has spacious contemporary styled rooms with a balcony. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Hotel Boston

Located in a safe and quiet part of the modern side of town yet still within walking distance of the historic sights, you’ll find public transport stops just 50 yards from the front door. Contemporary rooms with spacious balconies ensure a comfortable stay. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

12. Polignano a Mare – to discover local folklore

A medieval village that is renowned both as a seaside resort but also for its ancient traditions like the Living Nativity Scene or the San Giuseppe Fires.

When: Summer

How long: 1 weekend

Must see:

  • Old Town: it is a nice walk for the day and the right place to enjoy the local nightlife
  • Lama Monachile Beach: a small but beautiful beach with green water and a special rocky scenery
  • Fear Cove: here you can find two little bays with a nice rocky beach and a small marina

Tips:

  • Don’t miss the statue of Domenico Modugno on the waterfront
  • Taste the local “Special Coffee” made with coffee, cream, lemon, sugar, and Amaretto liqueur

Recommended Hotels to Stay:

Tuo Hotel

This modern hotel is a 15-minute walk from the Lido with staff happy to book you a taxi if you prefer. Make use of the communal lounge and garden before retreating to your spacious room with garden or sea view. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Musae Relais & Spa

Ideally located, this hotel has rooms that are elegantly decorated and feel comfortably homely yet also refreshingly modern. Spa services, free bike rental, helpful staff, and a fabulous breakfast round off this property. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

13. Monopoli – seaside resort offering cultural and artistic attractions

Monopoli

When: June or September

How long: 1 week

Must see:

  • Porta Vecchia are: a pedestrian area loved by young people
  • Maria Santissima della Madia Cathedral: a beautiful and richly decorated baroque church
  • Colonia Beach: the most popular beach in Monopoli, located just outside the town.

Tips:

  • Don’t forget to spend a couple of hours to Lama degli Ulivi Botanic Garden
  • If you spend 1 week in Monopoli, you’ll have plenty of time to explore its surroundings too, so head to Castellana Cave, to explore an unusual underground natural scenery.

Recommended Hotels to Stay:

Torre Cintola Natural Sea Emotions

Soak up the magical surroundings of this seafront hotel as you relax by one of the two pools. 4 onsite restaurants, a kids club, and various entertainment make this an ideal hotel for a family holiday. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Palazzo Indelli

Surrounded by small family-run restaurants, this small whitewashed hotel in the heart of the Old Town has been beautifully refurbished. The beach is just a 5-minute walk away with the harbor closer. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

14. Lecce – the perfect destination for young people

Lecce

Lecce is the main city of Salento area and it’s a wonderful city of art, with many baroque buildings and churches, but also a dynamic and vibrant place suitable for young people.

When: September

How long: a weekend

Must see:

  • Old Town: the first thing to do in town is having a walk through this area to see all the most important attractions at once
  • Faggiano Museum: an interesting archaeological museum that was born by accident, on the occasion of some renovation works of a private house
  • Piazza del Duomo: come here at night to enjoy the evocative blue lighting.

Tips:

  • If you want to also enjoy the coast nearby, choose Torre dell’Orso, one of the villages where locals go during the weekend.
  • To easily reach the coastal villages, the city of Lecce has set-up a network of buses connecting the most important resorts.

Recommended Hotels to Stay:

Hotel Delle Palme

Just a 10-minute walk from the Old Town, this recently renovated hotel has a sophisticated style with gorgeous grounds and a nice pool area. Enjoy the view out across the rooftops from your spacious room. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Eos Hotel – Vestas Hotels & Resorts

In a quiet area, within walking distance of the Old Town, this hotel is good value for money with all the necessary amenities that make for a comfortable stay. An underground car park makes this a good choice for those who will be driving. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

15. Otranto – to take amazing pictures

Otranto by Adriatic Sea, Puglia
Otranto by Adriatic Sea, Puglia

If your main interest is the beauty of the location, choose Otranto, with its “exotic” look.

When: September

How long: 1 weekend

Must see:

  • Turkish Bay: the most popular beach of the Otranto area
  • Bauxite Cave: a former cave of bauxite that gave origin to a surreal landscape made of red land and a green lake.
  • Old Town: save some time to get lost in its narrow alleys and take some pictures to its white buildings

Tips:

  • Rent a bike and take a tour of the natural areas along the coast
  • Don’t go there in July and August, because there are too many tourists and the village becomes too chaotic.

Recommended Hotels to Stay:

Vittoria Hotel Resort & Spa

Within walking distance of the Old Town and the waterfront, this hotel has large modern rooms with a large balcony. An outdoor pool, gym, and wellness center, bar, and lounge coupled with helpful staff ensure a great stay. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Hotel San Giuseppe Dimora Storica

This beautifully restored 16th-century farmhouse is located in quiet surroundings a short walk from the seafront and Old Town with shops and cafes less than a minute away. Hotel rooms are modern and airy with high ceilings. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

For a trip of the entire Adriatic coast, from the North to the South of the Country, save at least 2 weeks and visit the most important locations in terms of heritage and natural sceneries. The best moment to do so is in September, to enjoy sunny and warm weather in a peaceful environment. Moreover, from the North to the South, the “beach season” goes from late May to late September (early September North of Rimini).

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