This Summer I spent ten days on the Adriatic coast of Italy in Pesaro in the region of Marche near Urbino. I flew to Bologna from Heathrow on British Airways and then took a train (about two hours) to Pesaro.
The town is sandwiched between the hills of the Northern Appenines and the Adriatic sea and although small, is very quaint with lots to do from exploring the old town, eating at the most fantastic restaurants, visiting beautiful historic Urbino with its tightly packed apartments and pitched cobblestone streets, or cycling along the Pesaro waterfront to some of the quieter beaches either end of the town.
Pesaro can be expensive but you don’t have to break the bank to have a good or even luxurious time. I mixed my holiday with expensive and cheap options for flights, hotel and where I ate out just to keep the costs down. I spoilt myself with one expensive flight, a few nights in a five star hotel and eating out a couple of times at the more expensive restaurants coupled with eating at a great street food cafe called LeBon Street Food. If you scroll down for the trip overview below you’ll see €€ which means more expensive and € – not so bad.
Pesaro (pronounced Pisa-roh) is a popular traditional seaside resort that Italians have been visiting for hundreds of year. During the weekends it feels as though half of Italy has arrived with crowds wandering the markets, everyone eating gelato as though it’s going out of fashion and walking dogs of all shapes and sizes – it seems that you’re nobody in Pesaro unless you have a big hairy sweaty dog.
And don’t be put off by the harsh concrete facades of the tourist hotels or the miles and miles of beds and umbrellas that cover the beaches – while the waterfront might not be so beautiful during the day, Pesaro comes into its own at night when the street lamps and restaurants turn it into a twinkling romantic oasis.
I stayed my first few nights at the Hotel Ambassador which at € 181 for three nights was perfectly charming and reasonable with fantastic breakfasts (I loved their little sugar sachets of honey with one word written on the front – BEE), excellent hosts and clean rooms. They even gave me a brand new bike to ride around town. If you get a seaside room, make sure you ask for earplugs as it can be a bit noisy outside on the road at night although you’ll soon get used to it. Also check out the gelato next door – it’s the best.
I decided to spoil myself and move to Hotel Excelsior for the last bit of my stay. The hotel is located down the other end of the beach and at €782 for five nights was quite a hike up from the Ambassador – but totally worth it. I was on the seventh floor of this five star hotel with incredible views of the old town, church bell and mountains in the distance.
My sunlit double room was divine with polished floors, white walls, a huge bed with crisp white linen, surround sound system (yes I blasted it!) large, tiled bathroom and the biggest verandah I think I’ve ever seen. I could have sent up camp on the verandah and still had room to swing a cat.
The buffet breakfasts were so generous – from cooked meals like eggs and little pancakes to fresh fruit, cereal, bread and cakes of every assortment – I was in danger of spending my days in the restaurant! Can’t rate this hotel high enough and if you don’t want to pay the exorbitant €50 a day to hire the umbrella and bed, move next door to the Bagni 28 Alfredo where you’ll get a cheaper deal.
Filipe (pictured) and his brother Frederico also run the bar at Bagni 28 with their mother and do a mean Puttanesca pasta.
Everyone in Italy seems to hire a beach umbrella and sunbed – we even saw a gorgeous lady in her 70s decked out in pearls, swimsuit, sailor hat and heels with a Chanel handbag doing her sewing on one. Our mouths also fell open when another lady bought a sunbed just for her Afghan hounds.
You can also get Thai massages on the beach and they are some of the best in the world that I’ve encountered. Tip your massage therapist generously – they deserve it after pounding tourists’ flesh all day in the hot sun.
Finally, if you do stay at the Hotel Excelsior, check out the spa and at make sure you have a swim in the pool which overlooks the sea. And you MUST try the showers – they have jet streams in the middle which spurt out flavoured mist including mint, potpourri and ginger … I kid you not…
Scroll down for more pictures ….
How to get there
- British Airways flies into Bologna and you can get a bus to the train station where trains go regularly to Pesaro. The trains are about two hours depending on whether you get a fast one or not – €€
- Ryanair also operates flights to and from Ancona airport (except you have to drag yourself to Stansted which is about half an hour by taxi from Pesaro – €
Where to stay
- Hotel Ambassador is charming and excellent price (€171 for three nights). Great breakfasts too and very central – €
- Hotel Excelsior is a five star hotel down the other end of the promenade. It’s expensive but absolutely luxurious. They sometimes do specials where they’ll upgrade you to a room with a seaview if you book a spa treatment.- €€
Where to eat
You’re spoilt for choice in Pesaro but my favourites were:
- LeBon Street food on Viale Trieste who do the best hamburgers, arancini balls, insalatas (salads) in a box – I’m actually salivating just thinking about that place. It’s cafe style and you eat literally on the street. There are lots of cool young Italians with tattoos running the place – €
- L’Angolo Di Mario – a seafood restaurant with roof terrace located right on the waterfront not from the Pomodoro ball – a big sphere designed by Arnaldo Comodoro. If you get lost, always look for the ball and you’ll be able to direct yourself from there. The waiters at L’Angolo are so efficient I was worried they might snap in half from all the bowing to customers! – €€