When thinking about Italy, it’s pretty common for major cities like Rome, Venice and Pisa to be mentioned. Pretty as these cities may be and rich in history they are, there are times when travellers want to get off the beaten track in Italy and avoid too many tourist traps.
I’ve already written about the joys of spending a few hours in Lucca – a quaint little Tuscan town steeped in history and charm; but I’d now like to write about the time I ventured south of Pisa and found myself in an Italian town where the locals barely spoke any English…
So, my first guess is that you’ve never heard of this town before, am I right? You wouldn’t be alone with that thought as I too had never heard of it. But I was reliably informed that it was a beautiful little town perfect for a day of relaxing and staring out at the open water.
After spending several days sight-seeing, I wanted my last day to be totally meditative. For me, that would be reading, writing and relaxing by the sea, so Castiglioncello was just what I wanted.
If this sounds like a perfect place for you too, then this is my mini-guide just for you…
How To Get There
Castiglioncello is relatively easy to access by train – I’m a huge fan of Italy’s rail network as you probably already know by now.
With a train ticket costing just €12 from Florence to Castliglioncello and a train ride being only a couple of hours, this is a good place to venture to in the morning and spend all day here.
If you’re on your way to Castiglioncello from major cities, then you are also likely to be able to rent a car and drive there. But as I’m such a big advocate for train travel in Italy, I’d say leave that stress behind and use the train. How else are you going to catch up on your reading?
Insider Tip: The kiosk next to Castiglioncello, which sells train tickets back to Florence and beyond only accepts cash payments. There is an ATM about 5 minutes away from the kiosk, but I thought I’d mention this so that you don’t panic you’re going to miss the last train back … ahem, like I did! Another quick tip is to ensure you know when the last train back to your base is. At the time I went, the last train back to Florence was about 7.30pm so a lot earlier than I would have thought.
Top 5 Ways To Relax Whilst Off The Beaten Path
I’m hoping your main reason to come here is for a bit of ‘you-time’ to put up your feet, unwind and relax; so my guide is centred around how to do just that in this quaint little town.
1. Laze On The Rocks
This is a weird thing to recommend, isn’t it? But this was what I did and I’m so pleased I chose this option. From the rocks, you can see the town from afar, look out at the sea and have plenty of alone time as most people would opt for the beach.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Lazing on some rocks doesn’t sound too comfy does it? But you’d be surprised!
Some of the rocks here have been ground down so much by the sea that it’s quite easy to find a perfect spot.
I managed to find one area in the rocks that was perfectly contoured to my bum, back and legs! Plus, I had already packed my trusty travel parasol, so I was all set!
However, if you really insist on heading to the beach then this is also fine to do too (just as long as you don’t mind a few more people around you)…
2. Chill Out On The Beach
… Which brings me on nicely to this suggestion.
Although I avoided the beach myself so that I would have ample space to be alone, the beach did look lovely from where I was looking.
The sand was bright and golden and I’m pretty sure the water would have been a good temperature to swim in!
Don’t forget your beach picnic – there’s nothing better than having a few drinks and some snacks stowed away in your cooler, whilst your worries drift away from you…
3. Walk By The Sea
Over towards where the rocks are, there’s a wooden promenade that winds its way past them and beyond.
The end of this walkway has a dead-end so you will need to come back the way you came. But this is a truly relaxing walk to take by the sea, whilst you watch the waves crash around you.
4. Go Rockpooling
Where there’s rocks, there’s rockpooling, am I right?
Sadly I was missing a net and kid’s spade when I went, but from my homemade seating area; I saw jelly fish, crabs and fish in little pool formations. If I were to come again, I know to be prepared to go rockpooling.
5. Read, Write & Think To Your Heart’s Content
The great part about this place is just how off the beaten path it is. With less crowds around, there’s plenty of time for you to read, write and think without being disturbed.
So, go on, have some ‘you-time’.
Do you think you would ever wander off the beaten track like this? If you have already, where did you go and what did you do? Write a little note in the comments section below…
Fancy getting off the beaten track in France instead? Check out Natasha’s blog!
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