Sperlonga is a stunning beach getaway easily reachable just about 1 hour south of Rome. In fact, it’s close enough for a day trip, but with just enough of a trek to ward off the overwhelming crowds that you’d find at slightly more convenient seaside destinations.
Fewer people means cleaner beaches! For years Sperlonga has earned the prestigious Blue Flag designation, acknowledging its remarkably clean sands and clear waters.
The quaint hillside town of Sperlonga
The shore is divided into north and south by a charming hillside village, where bright white buildings form charming alleyways spotted with small shops, cafes, and restaurants. The scene is reminiscent of Greece’s Santorini. A very small Santorini, anyway, as the whole cluster would take less than a half hour to explore on foot. But the view is gorgeous, and the paths are worth wandering!
Charming white buildings and balconies of Sperlonga
The north beaches are fashionably organized into “stabilimenti”, which are essentially areas where guests can rent umbrellas, chairs, and cabanas for approximately €10 to €15 per day. This fee sometimes includes a waiter service to provide food and drinks from the respective bars and cafes as well as access to bathrooms, showers, and changing rooms.
View of the north beach and “stabilimenti” of Sperlonga
Some “stabilimenti” can also be found on the south beach, but the stretch is much smaller as the beach ends abruptly at an impressive historical site: Tiberius’ Grotto. The grotto is essentially a sea cave which served as a grand dining hall of Emperor Tiberius’ villa in 1st century BC. It’s incredible to think that over 2,000 years ago this cave was heavily decorated with grand sculptures made by Athanadoros, Hagesandros, and Polydoros of Rhodes – the same team responsible for the Vatican’s famous Laocoön. A €5 ticket grants visitors’ access to the grotto as well as the National Archaeological Museum, where the ancient sculptures and artefacts are on display.
View from inside of Tiberius’ Grotto or “sea cave”
I know what you’re thinking – why would I spend my beach day at a museum? Well, it’s located right on the beach, entry is cheap, the collection is small enough to explore within a 20-minute time frame, and the museum itself is air-conditioned! So, you essentially get a nice break from the sun while expanding your knowledge of art and history. It’s a win win.
Enormous sculptures in the National Archaeological Museum
While a drive from Rome to Sperlonga takes roughly 2.5 hours, that is if you manage to miss the traffic, we recommend taking the train. A 1-hour and 10-minute train ride from Roma Termini Station to Fondi -Sperlonga Station costs approximately €6 to €8. From Fondi-Sperlonga Station a bus will take you 15 minutes directly to the beach for 1 euro. Just be sure to check the return schedule and be aware that hours are usually less frequent on Sundays and holidays!
Fondi – Sperlonga Train Station and Bus Stop