PWk: Prod, Tlk: GS2, Datacash: Live
The glittering Adriatic Riviera has been Italy’s go-to seaside destination since the 1960s and 1970s. Stretched out along the coast of Emilia-Romagna, it’s a favourite among beach lovers and attracts Italians as well as European sun-seekers to its sandy shores.
Its best-known resort is Rimini, a big and bold seaside town with nine miles of beaches and a famous entertainment scene. While it has a reputation for vibrant nightlife, there’s another side to Rimini. Its old town is chock-full of Renaissance charm, with plenty of pretty piazzas and clutch of Roman remains well worth seeing – look out for the 1st-century Tiberius Bridge, built during the reign of Augustus.
Smaller Riccione sits a little further along the coast, offering a mix of cosmopolitan shopping and dining and lots of crowd-pleasing family entertainment. The beaches here are brilliant, with silky golden sands and laid-back bagni (beach clubs) where you can set up for the day. Kids will love the watersports and waterparks, and the Emilia-Romagna countryside is brilliant for cycling when you’re ready for a break from the beach.
Italian holidaymakers zone in on the north-easterly Adriatic Riviera each summer. The big-hitting beach towns sit side-by side – and they all come in different flavours.
Rimini matches a Roman-Renaissance town centre with a lively beach. So you can wander the 15th-century Malatestiano Temple, browse the market at Castel Sismondo, and take the kids to the sand-side fairground.
Riccione goes for a family-friendly theme. Waterparks, mini-golf and an aquarium sidle up to the sands here. After something different? Gabbice Mare’s high-energy beach knocks shoulders with the wildflower hills and craggy coves of Monte San Bartolo National Park.
Direct flights to Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ) are available from London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Stansted, Edinburgh, Bristol and Manchester and take approximately 2 hours 15 minutes.
Direct flights to Ancona Airport (AOI) are available from London Stansted and take approximately 2 hours 25 minutes.
There’s no doubt about it – the Adriatic Riviera is a summer destination. The weather in July and August is hot and sunny (an average 27 degrees), although this means the beaches and the bars are full to the brim. If you don’t mind a few degrees cooler, it’s worth waiting until September, when the beach clubs all but empty out.
The Adriatic Riviera’s coastal location means there’s plenty of good seafood to be had here, with lots of little trattorie that offer an informal, authentic dining experience. Since it’s situated in Emilia-Romagna, foodies will be spoilt for choice. The region is known as Italy’s gastronomic cornerstone, with world-famous specialties like Bolognese, Parma ham and Parmesan cheese on the menu.
The town of Rimini is one of the oldest in the region. It was founded by the Romans, and thanks to a strategic location became the gateway to northern Italy. It was passed from ruler to ruler throughout the Middle Ages, and was eventually launched as a beach resort in the 19th century. The Riviera’s other beach towns, like Riccione, followed suit in the early 20th century, and its reputation for tourism began in earnest in the 1960s.