Up until about three weeks ago, my experience with Italy and its coastline consisted of Naples, Capri, and Venice – not exactly the most budget-friendly destinations in some respects.
As part of my ongoing work with the Emilia Romagna Tourism Board and the BlogVille project, I was back in Italy two weeks ago for World Ducati Week – which coincidentally was being held in part on the Italian seaside.
We were based in the beach town of Rimini and also had the chance to party in the nearby town of Riccione – both excellent options for budget-conscious travellers looking to experience the calm of the Adriatic during the day and the all-night party atmosphere this region is known for.
We were quite lucky to have beachfront accommodations provided by the Emilia Romagna Tourism Board, but with over 1,000 hotels and lodging options to choose from in the city, there are options at every budget level, including those seeking hostels.
During the day the vibe is quite casual and laid back, but as the sun begins to set, it is not uncommon to see everyone dressed for the club, even if they are just grabbing a gelato and coffee at a nearby café.
While there is a historic city center and ancient sights worth checking out, it is immediately evident the draw to Rimini is the beach and nightlife. You can’t walk a block near the beach without someone asking “Disco tonight?” With as many bars, clubs, and restaurants as there are hotels, there is no shortage of nightlife whether you are looking for a quiet local pub or a discothèque.
Food is relatively inexpensive and if you go with the local specialty, the piadina, you can stuff yourself for only several euros a meal. Piadina is a thin flatbread that they fill with a variety of meats and cheeses, or even sweet versions like Nutella. I mistakenly assumed I would tire of eating piadina after a few days, but I’ve been gone nearly two weeks and I find myself craving it again. Thankfully, I’m back in Rimini until July 14th so I can get my fill (and possibly a traditional dish to make piadina at home).
The people are friendly, and while Italian and Russian visitors seem to be most prevalent, we did encounter a number of English speakers throughout the week. From our favorite barista to the guys we hung out with nearly every night that worked at one of the local pubs, I found Rimini to be one of the most welcoming cities in my Italian travels.
Admittedly, I cannot speak much to the history and culture in Riccione as I was only there for one evening but what I experienced can be summed up in three words:
Free Beach Bars
Riccione is quite close to Rimini – about 10-15 minutes by car or you can take the train as well.
We were in Riccione for the party and concert for World Ducati Week, which was one of the most amazing events in itself with all the fans, legendary racers, and the Ducati All-Star Band (who I randomly got to talk to the following day at the Bologna Airport) coming together to celebrate the world’s best motorcycle.
After the event, we headed to one of the most popular spots in Riccione – the all night beach bars. There are four or five bars that charge no cover and they are all packed – literally breathing room only. Being diligent, we checked out each of them until we found one that had our preferred vibe and mix of dance music.
No all-nighter is complete without a good sunrise and my last morning at BlogVille proved to be a winner. We left the clubs in time to drive back to Rimini and catch the sunrise from our beach and it definitely didn’t disappoint.
Getting to Rimini and Riccione
Carriers like Ryan Air fly into Rimini, although flights tend to be more expensive than other airports. I recommend flying elsewhere in Italy (I flew in and out of Bologna) and then take the train to Rimini and on to Riccione. The train from Bologna to Rimini takes anywhere from one hour for the high-speed to just under two hours for the regular train. You can also rent a car, but there can be a lot of traffic during peak times so taking the train and buses may be the best option.
I was a guest in Emilia Romagna at the invite of the tourism board and Ducati Motorcycles but all views and opinions expressed are my own.