Tuscany is absolutely heart-stopping year-round. And, although it is primarily known for its ravishing cascading hills, mind-blowing countryside, Renaissance towns, and medieval villages with the fortresses and castles standing like watchful guardians over the centuries, it is also home to some of the most hypnotising beaches in Italy.
This actually acts like a bonus for all visitors, giving them two options – one is to travel inland and explore the beauties of this gorgeous region or head to the Tuscan coast and pamper yourself with endless kilometres of glorious sandy shores.
Along the way, expect to be mind-blown by charming marinas, wild beaches, untouched bays, and options for all kinds of travellers, from solo to couples to families to groups of friends. Below are some of the most idyllic Tuscany beaches to help inspire your next Italian escapade or holiday.
Just a really short drive from the magnetic coast of Versilia, Lucca is a bit southern from Massa and Carrara and pampers sunbathers with beaches like:
- Forte dei Marmi- Despite its closest neighbours (Marina di Massa and Marina di Carrara – see below), Forte dei Marmi is actually a bit warmer. The seaside town bearing the same name as the beach dates back to the Roman Times and even features a long pier that connects it with Marina di Massa. If you decide to walk along the cycle path, be prepared for incredibly alluring ocean views. Many centuries ago, Forte dei Marmi used to extract marble from the surrounding mountains and ship it along the entire Tuscan coast. From the 19th century and onward, though, it shifted into a popular tourist option and gradually evolved into a luxury holiday destination.
- Viareggio – Perhaps the most famous of all Tuscany beaches. The picturesque town of Viareggio has always been a beloved getaway for locals, mainly for the stupefying range of sugary shores stretching along the coast. The adorable sea-facing promenade is lined with many tourist establishments. However, things take a different twist here every February with the staging of the famed Viareggio Carnival! Please note that the majority of southwest public beaches at Viareggio are protected as they are part of the Parco Naturale. If you visit this area, you will have plenty of kilometres of raw and wild coastline to explore and admire – just be gentle with the delicate natural environment around you!
Carrara & Massa Region
The Tuscan coast stretches from Carrara and Massa in the north and goes all the way to Grosseto province in the south. Two must-visit marinas in the Massa and Carrara area are:
- Marina di Massa – Often overlooked, the location in the Massa and Carrara region can, indeed, provide the base for excellent summer vacations with the sandy beaches along the Marina di Massa. The water might be a tad colder than the other beaches, but you have a unique opportunity to admire an inviting blend of sugary shores and the imposing Apuan Alps in the background. Framed by charming, historic buildings, Marina di Massa also entices with a long pier which enables you to catch captivating views of the ocean. You can find Marina di Massa in the lap of the Massa medieval town.
- Marina di Carrara – Adorning the front side of Carrara city, this lovely marina is a quite popular getaway in northern Tuscany among locals. Fringed by massive mountains, Marina di Carrara is primarily known for its Roman-time marble quarries and the rich history waiting to narrate stories of the past in every corner and every ancient ruin discovered here. The beachfront, though, is the most spectacular site drawing the attention of most visitors, and is a much-frequented stop for cruise tours in the summer months. Feel free to explore the long stretches of sand around the bustling and busy port!
Besides a Tuscan region’s name, Livorno is also a city name and the name of an entire area that dazzles visitors (and locals) with an eye-catching coastline. On a good day, you may even be able to see all the way to Corsica waving from a distance, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, from the famous Terrazza Mascagni terrace. With clear influences from the Etruscans that reigned the area in ancient times, the city of Livorno is a lively place that even greets you with a spectacular seafront location offering fab sights and amazing beaches, such as:
- Antignano – It is a coastal commune that enables you to get away from the city and pamper yourself with a wealth of pristine shores to choose from. All you have to do is simply follow the coastline heading to Antignano and see which beach your gut instinct tells you to try. Beware as this will definitely be challenging, given the unsurpassable appeal of all the sandy beaches along the coastline starting from Ardenza and heading south of Livorno. Note that most beaches are free. However, you will probably need to rent an umbrella if you want to enjoy the beach. Alternatively, you could sit at one of the charming cafes that dot the place.
- Castiglioncello – Just a bit southern of Livorno awaits Castiglioncello, a town with one of the most sugary and crystalline beaches in Tuscany. While heading to the shore, expect to be awe-inspired by the Tuscan architecture and the location of the city itself as it sits on a rocky headland overlooking the sea. There are lots of admirable elements in this particular area, including historic medieval castles, rock formations, dramatic cliffs, and picture-perfect churches breaking the skyline. Tucked among the peaceful bays and imposing cliffs is Quercetano Bay and its sandy beach.
- San Vincenzo – Driving a little more to the south of Livorno city will take you to San Vincenzo – a small, seaside town with fantastic emerald-green waters and a tranquil atmosphere. You will find the wonderful soft-sand shore fringed with delightful cafes making the most delicious coffee, as well as restaurants serving up a superb selection of Italian foods. And, let’s not forget that San Vincenzo is also where some of the best Italian wines are made. In fact, many of them are award-winning and please the palate with a brilliant burst of tastes, flavours, and aromas. So, how about taking a wine tour at local wineries and combine two excellent must-try Tuscany experiences?
Besides the infamous Leaning Tower and impressive Renaissance architecture, Pisa also offers access to tens of pristine beaches, such as:
- Marina di Pisa – Within an arm’s reach from the city centre lies Marina di Pisa, a peaceful spot where royals and mortals alike dock their yachts and tourists entertain themselves with a delicious cup of coffee, cocktail, or lunch at the charming cafes, bars, and restaurants before of after they refresh themselves with a Marina di Pisa beach experience and a dive into the inviting waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The sandy shore provides several sheltered swimming areas and marvellous views over the glistering sea.
- Calambrone – Calambrone village is also home to a delightful homonymous beach located a few kilometres from Pisa (to the south). It is a tranquil place with lots of pristine beaches, so it’s perfect for those looking for more laid-back and chilled beach endeavours away from bustling, crowded shores. Don’t expect many tourist facilities here, though. This particular Tuscany area is more raw than others, with a divine mix of heavily forested regions and tall sand dunes – as if no man has ever walked here.
The glory of the Tuscany coastline travels some more to the south of the Livorno region and the Grosseto province. If you need to visit just one beach during your Tuscany holidays, we strongly suggest it is one in the Grosseto region due to the warm southern climate that makes the shores even more inviting.
The small town of Castiglioncello della Pescaia is definitely one of the most beautiful places in this region to visit, exuding some medieval mystery with the fortress that dominates the historic houses. Also, the hilltop location overlooking the ocean gives this place another sense of appeal. Searching for quiet and peaceful beaches to soak up some rays while watching local fishermen setting out for or returning from their daily fish-catching adventures? Then, you could consider the following shores along the Etruscan coast:
- Monte Argentario – Although tranquil, the small peninsula of Monte Argentario has found a way to sustain a cosmopolitan flair to it. As it juts out from the mainland, Monte Argentario is, indeed, a sight for sore eyes, especially if you take a step back and admire the alluring turquoise waters and the dramatic spurs of land that surround this gorgeous place. What NOT to expect from visiting Monte Argentario beach? A typical sandy Tuscany shore. Instead, it features a rocky nature and totally spellbinding panoramas.
- Orbetello – The Monte Argentario peninsula hides a small gem and a sandier option than Monte Argentario beach. Orbetello is home to a stretch of fine sand that’s around eight kilometres in length called Gianella Beach. Walk into the fantastic ambience and the lovely climate and make yourself comfortable with any of the many deck chairs and parasols for rent. Another great shore in this area is Feniglia Beach, which is a much wider (yet shorter) shore than Gianella Beach, offering sweeping views dominating pine forests, sand dunes, and the endless blue of the sea.
- Isola del Giglio – This small and totally charming island across the sea from Monte Argentario and Orbetello is distinguished by glam beaches. Isola del Giglio is part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, which means that you get to spoil yourself with utterly heart-stopping landscapes and sightly scenery. Jump on the ferry to make the ride from the mainland, and you will be rewarded with perfectly clear, azure waters characterised by a rich aquatic world, a sugary beach, and a sufficient number of tourist facilities.
This heavenly island has been widely known as the place Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to in the 19th century. Today, though, it is more loved for being part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park and one of the most idyllic locations with winsome beaches, including:
- Marina di Campo – The main town on Elba island is Marina di Campo, which is home to one of the best-known Elba shores, along with many tourist facilities, such as restaurants, resorts, and cafes. Once you get here, you will probably have a hard time believing the beauty your eyes will see. In any case, you will find out why Marina di Campo is such a popular option on Elba island. The wonderful beach frames the scenic town offering stunning coastal views and an endless sandy beach to walk on or play with the crashing waves.
- Cavoli Beach – Just a short walk from Marina di Campo lies Cavoli Beach – another lovely Elba island shore. In the peak summer months, the beach can be quite crowded. Nevertheless, it can compensate you with its fine sand, the lively vibe, the fun-exuding bars, and the many water sports opportunities. The fact that it is located in a sheltered bay makes it ideal for swimming and families with children. If you have the time and like exploring places, we suggest going on a treasure hunt here. There are many caves and grottos lying around out of plain sight, waiting to dazzle you with green and blue mirror-like waters and spectacular shores.
- Sansone Beach – You will find Sansone Beach on the north of Elba island. If you are wondering how it got its name, locals say that there used to be a mythical ancient figure called Samson. Somehow, the beach ended up being named after this character. What is special about this shore is its towering cliffs and the kilometres-long white sand beach. The waters are also absolutely crystalline and reinvigorating. Don’t forget to grab your camera before you head to Sansone Beach. This place is one of the most photogenic out there!
- Laconella Beach – It is not as developed as other Tuscan shores but equally magnificent. Laconella is ready to blow your mind with its pristine white sand and the crystal clear Tyrrhenian Sea waters.
Imagine spending your holidays somewhere on the Tuscany coast and gazing at the sparkling sea under the star-filled sky with a glass of local wine at hand or welcoming the day and the bright Mediterranean sun from the veranda or patio of your luxury Tuscany villas! And, all that, while being surrounded by rugged cliffs, rolling hills, verdant lands, and white sands! Can’t paint a better Tuscany holiday picture, right?