A beautiful seaside destination just south of Rome: Sperlonga, Italy
- Great day trip or getaway for a couple of days
- Train/bus transport from Rome (approx 1 hour travel time)
- Train from Rome to FONDI, then take connecting bus from Fondi station to Sperlonga.
A Day Trip to Sperlonga
Most of the Romans have cleared out of the city for the month of August…off to their lake or mountain homes, beach destinations, homes in the states or elsewhere….though, I remain with the few residents and tourists in the hot & humid city of Rome. A friend recommended we escape for the day to Sperlonga.
Take a walk through town with me …..
I had heard of Sperlonga, but that’s about it…just heard of it and hadn’t thought much more than that. I am not much of the beach-goer in the sense of ‘let’s go bake in the sun’. I prefer to go someplace where I can explore and see something more than just sand & water. My friend explained that this is a quaint town and I will most likely be pleasantly surprised. I figured what the hell, I needed a break from the city and what have I got to lose.
Off we go to Termini train station & hop on the train to get to Sperlonga. The train ticket is 6 Euro each way and travel time is an hour and ten minutes (110km south of Roma). For those of you who care to experience this town,
- You need to take the Roma – Napoli (Naples) train.
- The stop you need to get off at is Fondi.
- I would have been looking for the Sperlonga stop and probably wound up in Naples 😉 Luckily, my friend knew the correct name of the train station stop.
- Once off the train, you catch the bus just outside the train station to get to Sperlonga (bus is timed to the arrival of the train) – a whopping one euro. 12km later – Sperlonga!!!
There are two areas to the town – the lower section (to the north) where the bus passes through first. This area is more family/kid oriented beach. If you stay on the bus, it drives up to the top of the old town area … this is where we got off. Simply, just so pretty!!! The white buildings, blooming fuscia bougainvillaea and colored doorways reminded me of Greece. Little restaurants, shops and cafes scattered through the little alleys and walkways of this hilltop town.
After a light lunch we wandered down the white, steep alleyways and headed to the beach to the south (less children :)) Of course, it was a typical Italian beach in the sense that the sand portion is broken up by sections of the umbrella & chair rentals. May seem overcrowded from the photos, but it is actually quite peaceful and set-up well. And trust me… it is hot — you want an umbrella (ombrellone) and don’t care about the expense.
Just some other notes… these ombrelloni are reserved. It is recommended you reserve one well in advance, especially during the month of August. How you reserve it, I honestly have no idea – but we lucked out. The one vendor let us rent out an ombrellone assuming that the other people who had a seasonal reservation weren’t going to show up. We grabbed it! Each little ombrelloni area/segment has their own cafe, bar, restaurant and bathroom – convenient to get a cold drink, ice cream or snack.
The rest of the day was spent lounging under our ombrellone,(which was more like a thatched roof hut) cooling off in the water, reading and just enjoying the atmosphere. It was an interesting blend of the ombrellone cities with a classic hilltop town up above on one side and serene greenish mountains to the other side.
If you know me, you know I don’t like to go in the ocean/sea— but, surprise, surprise – I did here. The water was so clean & clear, cooling – not cold, no waves and you could walk quite a distance in the water and it was still shallow. It was a hot day so I did head into the water, for me, it was perfect!!
While I was relaxing on my chair, I was thinking — ‘what is different about this place?. Why do I like this better that the other beaches I’ve gone to?’ My basic conclusion is – even though you’re surrounded by others in the ombrellone area – it is peaceful. No boom boxes, music blaring or loud conversation. No one is running around your towel playing football or frisbee, flinging sand on you. It is just the sound of peaceful Italian families conversing & laughing – enjoying their family day. Can’t explain it – but, it was soothing.
It was a wonderful break from Roma!!