Where do we start with this elongated inlet of the Mediterranean? On the eastern coast of Italy, why not? From the “heel of the boot” all the way up to the crowning city of Venice and on to Trieste, the 8,000 km of coastline along the Adriatic are primarily very gentle. The sandy beaches are perfect for small children, sand castles, long walks and shallow wading. Scuba divers will enjoy the protected areas in the Marche region for underwater sightseeing. The coastline harbors a string of resort towns and fishing villages, so you can go for as much or as little action as pleases you.
Relaxing beach time in Italy provides a perfect counterbalance to the history and beauty-saturated visits you can easily make from the coast to places such as Ravenna and its stunning mosaics, or to the beautiful home of the once mighty Venetian empire. If you’ve always wanted to visit the tiny principality of San Marino, it’s easy to include this hilltop jewel in your Adriatic itinerary. You’ll get an entirely different perspective on Adriatic beaches from the heights of Mt. Titano, only ten km (as the crow flies) from the Adriatic coast.
Moving on to Slovenia, prepare to be utterly enchanted. Although the Slovenian seacoast is only 45 km in length, it includes medieval towns and excellent resort facilities offering a variety of things to do from thermal bathing to cultural festivals and sporting events. The town of Piran feels like a movie set, it is so perfectly charming. You’re in a former Venetian city and the architecture tells you so. At the very least, you must make time for a meal at a café along the seawall or a drink in the gracious plaza – where the people watching is excellent, by the way.
Right next door, moving south along the Adriatic coast now, is knockout Croatia. First you’ll encounter the verdant Istrian Peninsula, followed by a more arid and very craggy coastline with roughly a zillion islands offshore. Make your way down the coast to Dubrovnik and take a boat to one of many islands for a secluded beach day…including a lunch of fresh seafood grilled in the open air and eaten casually under a thatched terrace … or sail from one island to another, in search of your ultimate beach. The water here is see-through, transparent and so blue. The beaches are sometimes made of heavenly sand, as on the islands of Susak, Korčula, and Ugljan. Often however the beaches and seafloor are stony, so for comfort wear sturdy, protective beach shoes. If you’re a scuba diver, plan a long vacation. You won’t want to leave.
Lord Byron was completely taken with the Adriatic Coast in Montenegro. "At the moment of the creation of our planet, the most beautiful merging of land and sea occurred at the Montenegrin seaside..." is how he put it. Stunning it is, with 300 kilometers of coastline, including over one hundred beaches. Some are hidden away and are reached only from the sea – what an adventure – while others adjoin delightful coastal towns.