Where the sand is luscious and the sea is clear
The beach at Viareggio is well connected to many areas in Italy. It can be reached by car from the A11 (Firenze-Mare) motorway or the A12 (Genoa-Rosignano) motorway. There are also excellent train links and the main station is less that 2km from the beach. I arrived in Viareggio by train as a day trip whilst staying in Pisa, and I got there with no problems and so quickly! I don't even think the journey took as much as half an hour.
I was happy to get to the beach because I was in much need of some relaxation after walking for miles each day whilst visiting Pisa. Viareggio was purely a destination where I could take it easy for a while. When I arrived, the whole area was covered in a display of multi-coloured umbrellas and deck-chairs flung underneath. This actually takes the edge off what would ordinarily be a breath-taking view of the beach. Unfortunately you are left with the view of the neighbouring umbrellas, so I guess you just have to hope that there is a young hot Italian near by! These umbrellas and chairs are owned by private companies, so sadly they don't go away at the end of the day. The prices are rather high and you are forced to pay to stay under these if you want any chance of surviving the magnificent heat of the day.
Nevertheless, the air by the sea is crisp and sweet-smelling and the sand feels wonderfully silky underneath your toes. I took a dip in the water and it felt cool and refreshing and was very clear, with no signs of icky seaweed or rubbish floating around. There is a 3km long prominade where there are plenty of places to get something to eat and drink - as well as many shops selling deisgner clothing and accessories.
I visited the beach in August which is generally an off-peak time when many Italians take their holidays, and the beach was still rather full. I know that there is a carnival that takes place here in february, so I expect that it can get very busy at this time of year - but I can't imagine that the weather would be perfect enough for the beach. The carnival has been a main draw for locals and tourists alike for over 130 years. It lasts for about three weeks and the streets become filled with floats and parades of masked people. I recommend coming to the beach at Viareggio if you are after a bit of sun, sand and sea, and is definitely worth a day-visit if you are lucky enough to be making a longer stay in nearby Pisa. [more ]