This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions I got this summer. Our family can be considered an average Italian family and having 3 kids with no school for 3 months we had to improvise what to do during summer. Italy become an expensive holiday destination, but it hides a lot of gems to discover!
My kids’ grandparents found a solution that allowed our family to stay all summer at the seaside. Today I want to share with you some best keynotes and outtakes from 12 years of experience as well as some useful links. I hope they will help your family to make beautiful memories.
If you are interested in spending your summer family vacation in Italy, my personal advice is to choose the Adriatic Riviera. Italy is full of all kinds of beautiful destinations for any budget and vacation style. Some of them you have seen many times on Instagram and they look like a Paradise on Earth. And they really are- Amalfi, Sicily, Sardegna, cities of Art, and Tuscany… The list can go on and on. But if you have kids (no matter what age – teens or newborns) and you as a parent want to have a chance to rest and to have a real vacation, I advise you to consider the Adriatic Riviera. You will not find more family-centered vacation spot anywhere else in Italy! And that is why for 12 years in a row we chose this destination for our family vacation.
Why the Adriatic Riviera?
Our family has spent all our summer vacations in Riccone (RI) for years. Why? Because this area is perfect for holidays with children and provides the best balance between prices, rental options, activities, and services. Some of the main reasons for our choice are listed below.
Diversity and Variety
Whatever vacation style is your favorite, starting from camping in the tent to a luxury spa retreat, you can find it there! Hotels and villages have all the extras to make family vacay pleasant: A mini club, activities room, kids swimming pools, newborn/children shower rooms, and bathrooms.
Choosing the type of accommodation bear in mind not only the budget but what kind of holiday you want to have. If you want to relax – think first of what your children would enjoy so they will be busy and you will not be.
For years we used our family caravan to spend summers in a camping village in front of the beach close to Misano – Camping Village Romagna. We loved it because of the services, activities, and barefoot “free spirit”. Literary for years during all summer months my kids wore just swimsuits and sun protection cream. Flip-flops instead of shoes and for a special going out shorts and a T-shirt.
Swimming pool, animation, and beach life during the day were just a part of the fun. Another big “ingredient” making our summers special was the people, the new friends from all parts of Italy and from other countries, like Swiss, Holland, and Brasile. I witnessed 3 generations of entire families becoming close friends with each other. Some “summer friends” we visit during the rest of the year too.
Now “Romagna” has only bungalows available (no camper, tents, or caravan spots) and we are keen to explore their family cottages. This will be a new experience for us that we can’t wait to try. The thing all of us love about this place is its great energy, activities, and swimming pools.
Animation team, as in most of the hotels and camping villages, provides entertainment for any age and taste. Morning stretching or yoga classes, water gym, sports torneos, baby disco, and evening shows are just a few of the fun activities they provide. In our camping village, we had evenings with teens talent shows, cinema nights, and circus performances just to name a few.
Beaches (Bagni) are equipped for maximum comfort
The beach area is divided into free zones and paid facilities. Paid beach in Italian we call “Bagno”. Each “bagno” usually has its number and name, and offers any possible and unimaginable comfort and variety of services. From changing rooms, infant corners, showers, and beach toy rentals to the gym, swimming pools, bars, lounges, courts, and of course sunset restaurants and bars. You name it, they have it!
A lot of beaches have animators like the hotels and villages do. Animators do stretching in the morning, sports activities and games during the daytime as well as mini club for littles. If your beach (bagno) has a pool you will also likely find an aqua gym every day, which by the way was my favorite activity at the beach 🙂
As a parent, it feels like a Paradise when you can actually sit down and watch your kiddo on the playground. Or have fun doing animation activities together. Some beach facilities have afternoon snacks (aperitive) and fresh mineral water included in the payment plan. Ask before booking what is included.
Activities For Day And Night
There is so much more than just a beach vacation for those who come to Riccione. You can enjoy the sea, discover the nearby picturesque green mountains, as well as enjoy art and history by visiting little towns and castles near the coast. Some areas organize concerts, music festivals, and Medieval Events – when booking a trip look at the website of the town (comune) you will be staying at or ask at the reception if there is any event in the nearby area. Some of the few places we’ve been to are Gradara, Urbino, San Leo, Rimini, Catolica, and Ravenna.
The nightlife also is fantastic – street artists, artisan markets, events, sunset walks at the beach. You can have dinner in one of the restaurants located at the beach. Besides a spectacular sunset view and delicious food, most of them have playgrounds. Ice cream or after-dinner desserts, Lunapark, and go-cart circuit are just a few things you can do at the end of the day.
Here is a quick list of our family’s most loved memories about staying at Riccione with links:
- visiting ancient castles nearby
- getaways to discover nearby art cities like Urbino – Raphael’s birth city, Ravenna with her Basilica, and the Tomb of the last Roman Emperor.
- Gradara Castle where in July you can see the Medieval Games
- Music events – concerts, live radio shows on the beach, and music festivals in nearby little towns
- visiting the Misano Worl Circuit (my boys’ favorite)
- Sailing school at the beach, Lunapark, and Aquafun park
- Cinema and summer cinema on open-air
- Stars watching in the observatory at Monte Maggiore. I’m not sure they speak English, but the possibility of learning how to “read” the star’s map directly in the sky was fantastic!
- shopping at Viale Ceccarini and via Dante. You can enjoy the summer sales or preview new collections of famous fashion brands.
- Thermal spas and cures center. It was our family life savior: after 3 years of thermal cures (each lasted 2 weeks) my kids stopped to get sick badly with flu and catch cold during winters.
- Boat trips and pedalo, kite surf and water-bikes
But I think that the most special memory was the small Turtles Hospital located just in few minutes walk from our beach. We were going there every day. Every turtle has a name tag and a plate with a little story of hospitalization. My kids were choosing one “patient” for each and were coming every day to visit. “They are so lonely here, no mom and dad, so we will be their friends”, -they were explaining to me. Being able to spend time with these incredible animals and see them recover was a lifetime experience for me too. Here is a little video with English subtitles for you to understand better.
I and my kids once participated in the release of a cured turtle into the sea. My boys and other kids helped volunteers carry the turtle from the hospital into the water. I think they will never forget this day. All of us were crying watching the turtle swim away from the shore back to her “home”.
Whatever diet you do, be sure – you will find a lot of options for eating in and out.
Here are some local meals to try if you will stay in Rimini, Riccone, Misano:
Piadina – it is the specialty of the area and though you will find hundreds of places to eat piadina, there is one place where you will always find a huge line 🙂 Its name is “Cappriccio di Gola“. It’s a pure street food place, but the meals they make are divine.
Other must-tastes: gelato (artisan ice cream), granita, bomboloni, ravioli, and, of course, different seafood dishes and local wines.
Our family’s favorite places for eating out for years were:
Beautiful sea sunsets, prosecco, and delicious Italian cuisine for any taste. The place where you can stay for hours. Kids have entertaining areas and you never lose sight of them. Very friendly service and “on the house” treats we all enjoyed so much!
They have a baby menu, an impressive quantity of baby chairs for the smallest diners, huge variety in the menu. Even a picky eater will always find something to the liking here. The food is good and the prices are fair. And the best part is that they are located in front of the beach so while your kids are knocking out themselves on the beach playground (where you can see them), you can enjoy at your table a fantastic sea sunset and a fresh, quiet evening of relaxation.
We called it “Caravella” bar. They have the best granita we ever tried and it is my and my daughter’s secret favorite late breakfast /brunch spot just for girls :).
The King – an ice cream shop that has amazing ice creams and semifrozen desserts. The best after-dinner spot for treating yourself and kids during hot summer days. Certified Gluten-free which for our family is an important feature. 🙂 Since discovering that my boys need a gluten-free diet, we could not go to some of our favorite places and had to find new eating-out spots.
Easy to get around
You do not need a car to get around. Buses pass by every 20-30 minutes. There are all possible rental options too: scooters, small motos/bikes, and golf carts.
Some hotels and camping villages have bikes or electric scooters available free of charge. All you need is to ask!
Well, it is very difficult to describe here all the nice memories Riccione gifted us, but I hope you get the idea. If you have any questions, please write them in the comments below.