Viareggio, Tuscany, Italy

To read more about my Italy Trip see blog posts A Day in Talamone, A Wedding In Siena, A Weekend In Siena, Brunello Wine Tasting in Montalcino

Our final stop on our tour of Tuscany was the beachside town of Viareggio, just outside of Pisa. We chose Viareggio as we had a ridiculously early flight the next morning back to London from Pisa and wanted to be a short drive away from the airport.  We also wanted to get some more beach time in after spending the last few days exploring Siena.

The drive from Siena was about an hour and a half and we left early to make the most of our day on the beach.  We arrived about 11 and lucked out with our hotel!  We had originally booked a different hotel but were told that due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’ the hotel could no longer put us up, so other accommodation had been found for us.  We were given a night in the Grand Hotel Royal for the same price which was a definite upgrade.  The hotel was one of those from a bye-gone era but was still beautifully decorated and very grand, as per its name.

We pulled up, unloaded and checked in and decided to have a wander around town, chill on the beach and find somewhere to have lunch.

Beaches in Italy seem to work in a different way from most other beaches in Europe I’ve found.  Each beach bar is responsible for a certain area of the beach and they put out sunbeds, deckchairs and umbrellas.  You have to pay to use them but you get all the facilities (toilets, showers, lifeguard) included.  Our hotel had an affiliation with one of the bars for half price beds but we decided to go for a walk instead of sitting down as it was a lovely day, but not quite hot enough to sunbathe.

If you don’t want to pay for a bed, there are a few public areas on the beach where you can lie on the sand on your towel but these are few and far between – most people tend to pay for the sunbeds (bit of a rip-off I think to make it almost mandatory to pay to sit on the beach!)

A Day in Viareggio, Tuscany, Italy by Emma Eats & Explores
View of our hotel from the beach!

We walked the length of the town on the wide promenade, looking at all the shops, restaurants and bars and we ended up in the port at the far end for lunch.  We found a nice restaurant to have some food in, a pepperoni pizza for Dan and…surprise surprise, Parma ham and melon for me – I just can’t get enough of the stuff.

After lunch we wandered back along the beach.  I think the season had probably finished as there weren’t many people around and most of the private beaches were empty, or with only a handful of sunbeds taken.  But I can imagine how full this place must get in the summer – there were at least 50 private beaches, each with at least 300+ sunbeds, all tightly packed together, so I guess this is a holiday hotspot in July and August!

Wandering along the beach I found this poor little guy washed up but just had to take a photo because it was such a stunning colour!A Day in Viareggio, Tuscany, Italy by Emma Eats & ExploresAs the sun set we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our last drinks and dinner in Italy 🙁 .

A Day in Viareggio, Tuscany, Italy by Emma Eats & Explores
Moody skies!

The bar at the hotel looked like it something out of an old James Bond film so we decided to give it a go and have Aperitivo in the hotel garden.  The hotel bar had a pretty extensive cocktail menu.  I went for a Negroni Spritz and Dan went for a very manly drink…

I think it was something like an Old Fashioned but not served in the usual way…

They brought us a lovely plate of aperitivo to have with our second drink (A Campari Spritz for me and an Elderflower Gin Fizz for Dan), everything from ham to cheese to pizza to fruit and we tucked in and sat back enjoying the evening.  A Day in Viareggio, Tuscany, Italy by Emma Eats & ExploresWe soon realised as other people came down for their pre-dinner drink that we were the youngest people in the hotel by about 40 years!  Viareggio in September is obviously a hotspot for the retirement community – later, we even found a bridge room in the hotel, and the music that the bar played was from the 1940s!  It felt like we’d stepped back in time and was really refreshing to have a different experience.

After our second drink we decided to hit up Trip Advisor to see what they had to say about local restaurants in the area.  We settled on a restaurant called Antica Locanda da Luca as it looked authentic (in one of the back streets away from the tourist hotspots on the promenade), cute (all open brickwork and vaulted ceilings) and had great reviews for the food.

We arrived and were shown to our table.  We both ordered the steak, mine with aubergine and Dan’s with chips and I have to say it was one of the best meals we’d had all weekend.  A perfectly cooked steak (charred on the outside, rare in the middle, just how I like it) with some melanzane parmigiana on the side and fresh grilled vegetables.A Day in Viareggio, Tuscany, Italy by Emma Eats & ExploresWe ordered a lovely Brunello to wash it all down with and sat chatting, not wanting to head back to the hotel as it would mean the holiday was over. A Day in Viareggio, Tuscany, Italy by Emma Eats & Explores Eventually we turned in fairly early to bed to make sure we got some rest before the super early flight the next morning back to reality!

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A Day in Viareggio, Tuscany, Italy by Emma Eats & Exlplores
To read more about my Italy Trip see blog posts A Day in TalamoneA Wedding In SienaA Weekend In SienaBrunello Wine Tasting in Montalcino

36 Comments Add yours

  1. Tiana says:

    It looks absolutely gorgeous! Definitely being added to my bucket list.

    1. It was a really fun place but prob best to go in July/August to see it at its best!

  2. Dora says:

    Great! I always uses Trip Advisor for getting recommendations for places to eat. And people are alwsys right. Italy is beautiful so as viarregio

  3. The food and drinks look good! I’d love to visit Italy one day. For the food, the architecture and the atmosphere. By the way, poor jellyfish :'(

    1. I know, so sad – he was so beautiful ?

      1. I’m sure he’s in a better place now 🙂

  4. yogawinetravel says:

    So lucky with the “upgrade”! Totally agree with you that sunbeds are a bit of a rip off, but fairly unavoidable if you don’t have your own beach towel (we ended up buying one and use it throughout Europe!). Will definitely have to add Viareggio to the list of places to visit the next time we go to Italy – thanks for sharing!

    1. I think it’s just a different way of doing things in Italy – never had the same problems in Spain or France – but maybe i’m just not going to the posh beaches there ! 🙂

  5. familyinfarawayplaces says:

    Oh I think I would have been in heaven! I just love fancy, old hotels 😀 Looks like a great stay

  6. lablondevita says:

    I also can’t get enough of parma and melon, oh and Aperol Spritz 😉

    1. You obviously have the same taste as me!!

      1. lablondevita says:

        I’m totally crazy about italian food and you can definately see that on my blog 🙂

        1. I’ll pop over and take a look! ?

  7. This looks such a lovely little place to visit and that’s cool you got a hotel upgrade! The food and drink looks delicious, especially that steak! Would love to visit Italy especially for the food 🙂

  8. nyrdagur says:

    Looks like you guys had a great time. Italy is the land of my ancestor and I can’t wait to go there and explore places like this, and taste their good food.

  9. aha, I have always loved Rome and Florence in Italy, but never been to tuscany. Thanks for sharing this blog, for sure in my list now for next year.

    1. Tuscany is my favourite area! You should visit next year definitely!!

  10. La Dee says:

    The ‘oldie’ within me would definitely want to go during the time you went! I prefer the calm sometimes….. Total introvert here! Thank you for your wonderful pictures and insight! I enjoyed reading it 🙂

    1. It was Lovely to have the place to ourselves!!

  11. Luca says:

    I’m really glad you liked my city, it’s so hard to find someone writing about it due to the fact that with Pisa and Lucca so close, the focus is elsewhere!
    And thanks to you I saw for the first time the interiors of Hotel Royal ahahah

    1. So is it completely different in July and August? Is it full of people everywhere? ?

      1. Luca says:

        You’re right! Usually when season starts in June, only locals go to the beach, except on weekends. July and August are the most crowded months, absolutely. A lot of people, especially from Tuscany, have a second home in Viareggio so they just move for weeks or months, and with the end of August they leave, for our joy ahahah

        1. Seems like we lucked out visiting in September then! ?

          1. Luca says:

            Definitely! 😀

  12. thesanetravel says:

    It looks like a great place to explore. Food seems to be delicious. Upgrade sounds good. I didn’t know about the way of using beaches in Italy. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Never been to Italy before… The food and drinks look amazing and really tasty. That hotel upgrade sounds ideal! Looks like I may have to push Italy up my list a bit 😛

    1. It’s one of my favourite countries and definitely my favourite cuisine!! ?

  14. Vyjay Rao says:

    What a lovely place. I would love to explore Tuscany and the offbeat places. Till now have not gone beyond Rome, Venice and Florence. I hope to explore these lovely places some day.

  15. We are absolutely obsessed with traveling and Italy is on our list!!! We love traveling so much that 5 months ago we decided to sell almost everything we owned to live a minimalist lifestyle as a full time traveling RV family and its been amazing ! Ty for sharing your adventures <3

  16. Julz says:

    ah I miss Italy – we were there on holidays this summer – Yum a Brunello di Montalcino – is just one of my favourite wines 😀 and Aperol Spritz just taste so much better in Italy

  17. Oh man does that food look great! And the beach is beautiful too 😀

  18. This looks like such a great trip! Beautiful!

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