The best beaches in Italy for families are found throughout the peninsula, from the pebbly shorelines of Liguria to the opal shallows of Sardinia. This is a country endowed with a wealth of sun, sand, and gentle surf that’s simply ideal for a trip to the beach with the kids.
Best of all, it’s a nation with a strong sense of family. While beaches in Italy, especially those studded with parasols, can seem like exclusively adult destinations unsuitable for children, this is simply not the case. The locals love family beach days. Often what appears to be an Italian beach party is in fact just the extended family taking the afternoon off.
So pack the buckets and spades, bring cash for gelato, and discover the best beach in Italy for families—and your family in particular.
Poetto Beach, Cagliari
Poetto Beach is a five-mile amphitheater of soft sand backed by a palm-shaded promenade, only a short walk from the center of Cagliari. While the designation “urban beach” can sometimes carry negative connotations, perfetto Poetto exists to dispel any such prejudices for good.
Poetto is one of the best beaches in Italy for families and generations of fortunate Cagliaritani have grown up playing on this exquisite seaside.
Your children will join them, wading into the scalloped white sand shallows, peering into the gin-clear sea for crabs or shells as the warm water of the Gulf of Angels washes around their knees.
When you get a chance to rest, either at the paid-for loungers or on your towel, it’s a chance to admire the beautiful Gulf of Quartu and the Sella del Diavolo promontory.
As mealtimes approach, turn your attention to the selection of waterfront restaurants and food trucks nearby. Return for a picnic on the Sardinian beach or wander over to the salt pans for flamingo-spotting.
Isola Bella, Taormina
Isola Bella is one of those beaches where, thanks to the children being absorbed in exploration, you can usually get a chapter or two into your novel.
Of great fascination to the young is the isthmus of sand and pebbles that links the dual-crescent Sicilian beach to the spectacular island from which it derives its name. If you wish to put your reading aside for a few minutes, it’s possible to access the island, now a nature reserve.
Overrun with rare and exotic plants, this craggy, verdant isle was once the home of upper-crust English gardener, Florence Trevelyan. She left the island when she married Taormina’s mayor, and you can see where she continued her gardening with her follies and landscaping in the main park of Taormina.
Take the cable car up to the town to see more of her landscaping, or head straight to the luscious, creamy post-beach cannolis on Corso Umberto.
Fegina Beach, Monterosso al Mare
Fegina Beach is easily the best beach for families in Italy’s Cinque Terre. Not only is it the most spacious coastal spot among the towns of Cinque Terre, but it’s also sandy, a relative rarity on the glamorous Italian Riviera.
Fegina’s promenade also offers excellent family-friendly infrastructure: shacks selling inflatables and neon-colored crab nets, cafés for swift jolts of espresso (Bar Lo Spuntino has good coffee and beach views), and snack joints selling paper cones of fried seafood.
With this being one of the most high-profile spots in the country, let alone the Italian region of Liguria, you’ll find much of Fegina Beach patterned with the shade of beach club parasols.
Buy into their loungers and polo-shirted bar service, or mark out a spot in the free beach areas, ideally with a good view of the rocks that rise from the water, a magnet for climbing kids.
Poseidon Thermal Gardens, Ischia
The island of Ischia is a beloved staycation destination for the Neapolitan populace. This lush island offers some of the best beaches in Italy for families, cute seaside towns awash in pizzerias, and even thermal waters in which to soak your aching muscles.
These elements converge at the Poseidon Thermal Gardens. Set against the backdrop of the glittering Tyrrhenian Sea, this thermal park is a wellness wonderland. It offers a steam grotto, seawater pools, and no fewer than 20 thermal water bathing areas.
It’s well set up for family trips, with the thermal baths offering a variety of temperatures and depths ensuring that you’ll find the perfect fit for your group. You can even book yourself an open-air massage on this Italian beach as the children gambol in the turquoise shallows.
Maiori Beach, Amalfi Coast
This handsome Amalfi Coast town was a muse for director Roberto Rossellini. Its cobbled lanes are a sun-splashed maze of succulents in bright pots, artisan boutiques, and bustling cafés.
As you emerge from the lanes and onto the seaside promenade, you may feel slightly baffled: how does such a large beach fit into the Amalfi’s famously crinkled topography?
Close to 80 years ago, a landslide reshaped Maiori’s seafront. It’s hard to imagine today, looking out on what is now one of the best beaches in Italy for families.
Join the locals either at the free beach areas at either end or beneath the striped parasols of the beach clubs, before eventually decamping to those backstreets for gelato; Geljada has an impressive selection of flavors.
Spiaggia Grande, Positano
Just because you accidentally brought your children with you to one of the most glamorous destinations in all of Italy, doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy yourself. The main beach at the Italian coastal town of Positano is actually very welcoming.
Set up your stall in the central free section and watch your children as they play, quickly acquiring a second skin of silvery shingle on their calves.
Meanwhile, you can people-watch. Within earshot of the Tyrrhenian Sea’s gently lapping surf is a multitude of pine-shaded bars and wisteria-clad restaurants in which to soak up the glamorous vibe.
Minori Beach, Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast is more typically associated with shiny superyachts and unique family vacations than laid-back beach days.
For those in the know, however, these are also easily achievable on this beguiling confluence of land and sea located south of Sorrento.
For success, tilt your bulging-to-bursting family beach bag at Minori. The town’s famous for its laid-back vibe and beckons with its palm-lined promenade and sizable tangerine and peach-colored villas set into the cliffside.
It’s here that Italian families come to let it all hang out and just relax. After you’ve basked on this Amalfi Coast beach, find bowlfuls of scialatielli pasta—the local specialty—at central Giardiniello restaurant for your kids to put away. For dessert, make a beeline for Sal de Riso’s nationally renowned pastry shop on the promenade.
Mondello Beach, Palermo
Challenging Poetto Beach for the crown of the best beach in Italy for families while visiting a city, Mondello is located to the north of Sicily’s capital of Palermo, edging up against the spartan cliffs of the Capo Gallo nature reserve.
The area is its own distinct part of this Sicilian town, with Art Deco edifices lining the beach’s palm-fringed edges. The most notable of these is the famous Antico Stabilimento Balneare, the lemon-yellow building on the pier hovering above the crystalline shallows.
Backed by the mountains of Sicily’s rugged hinterland and with its own sheltered bay, Mondello is, by anyone’s standards, a scenic spot. Its golden sands slope gently into the turquoise waters, and it’s a magnet for Sicilian families in the warmer months.
While there’s plenty of space, if you want a quieter experience time your visit for the shoulder seasons when the weather is still warm (although the water in early April can be a little chilly).
When it’s time to eat, there’s everything beachside from the burgers of Papillon to the modern Sicilian of Alle Terrazze, the latter found within the Antico Stabilimento Balneare.
San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily
Burnishing the northern tip of the Zingalo Nature Reserve with its golden sand, San Vito Lo Capo is one of the most picturesque beach spots in Sicily. With the hulk of Monte Monaco as a striking backdrop, this is one of Sicily’s most popular staycation destinations.
With so much space, the beach, even in high summer in Italy, never feels overcrowded. The sea is warm and shallow, and is part of one of Sicily’s marine protected areas.
With the Zingalo Nature Reserve nearby, there is plenty of opportunity for hikes and forays into a wilderness of pine and cactus, keeping an eye out for darting lizards.
Also, a short drive away are the limestone sea stacks of Tonnara di Scopello. While this isn’t one of the best beaches for families, Scopello is nevertheless a stunning place for a dip and one of Italy’s most picturesque spots.
Marina di Alberese, Maremma National Park
Maremma National Park is a swathe of untouched Tuscan wilderness. Stretched across undulating hills, marshland, and grass-feathered dunes in the region’s southwest, this reserve is a sanctuary for wildlife.
Marina di Alberese is Maremma’s most famous beach, backed by fragrant Mediterranean scrub. It’s an elemental stretch of sand, low on amenities but high on privacy and pulchritude.
An idyllic spot for a family beach day, Maremma is a chance to find a quiet corner for you and your family in beautiful, ever-popular Tuscany. Just don’t forget the picnic.
Finale Ligure, near Genoa
West of the atmospheric Ligurian capital of Genoa, Finale Ligure is one of the Italian Riviera’s most enticing beach towns. Finding sand in the Italian Riviera can be tricky, with many beaches either made up of shingles or smooth pebbles.
However, at Finale Ligure’s Spiaggia di Ponente, a spacious strip of sand, like an airport runway paved in gold, separates the town from the aquamarine depths of the Ligurian Sea.
The sand, of course, provides endless entertainment for the young that pebbles, alas, can never match. In the gentle waves, young swimmers quickly build up their confidence.
While there is a beach kiosk offering all the Italian food groups (pasta, focaccia, ice cream, and granita), don’t miss out on Finale Ligure itself.
The frescoed historic center has been officially recognized as one of Italy’s most beautiful villages. The town supports an impressive number of gelaterias, too. Try Gelateria Carlin located in the gorgeous main piazza.
Lido di Jesolo, near Venice
Found to the north of the canals and intricately decorated palazzi of Venice, Jesolo is a hugely popular seaside resort.
With 10 miles of sandy beach overlooking Blue Flag-designated waters that look out towards Croatia, this is the place to go to see Italian beach tourism at its biggest and brightest.
The beaches themselves are vast and polka-dotted with parasols. An impressive infrastructure of bars, restaurants, and gelaterias sits behind the sand ready to deliver a dose of refreshment while you bask beneath the blissful Italian sun. The Lido sets off occasional fireworks displays to light up the night skies.
Punta Prosciutto, near Brindisi
While it’s possible to imagine that Punta Prosciutto (“Ham Point”) might be named to mock sunburned visitors, it’s actually much more straightforward.
Close to the beach is a point that reminds the locals, in shape, of a leg of prosciutto. It’s one of the most celebrated beaches on the Ionian Sea, and many would argue that it’s the best beach in Italy for families.
Found on the Salento peninsula under an hour’s drive from Brindisi, the beach is backed by gently rolling dunes and fragrant macchia scrub. In the water, the extensive shallows appear as if beneath glass.
Helping to preserve the beach’s beauty and the outstanding water clarity are nature and marine reserves respectively.
The almost mile-long beach offers plenty of space for families. And while beach clubs have set out their stalls on Punta Prosciutto, there remains a vast area of free beach to enjoy. Or just hire a pedalo, gelato in hand, and try to spot royal-blue flying fish darting beneath (or possibly above) the surface.
Discover the best beaches in Italy for families while on a cruise to the Bel Paese and test its bathwater-warm seas and gelato shacks for yourself. Browse our Italy cruises and book a memorable vacation to a destination that manages to be family-friendly and glamorous all at once.