The Italian Beach Club, an Experience of Italian Culture and Lifestyle

The Italian beach club has its unique presence. The neatly laid out parasols, deckchairs, sun loungers, modern board walkways, well-maintained changing rooms, showering places, and toilets, are their common facilities on the Italian beaches. The majority part of the Italian beach belongs to the private beach clubs. Such beach clubs dominate the seaside scene in Italy. Based on their services and costs, the Italian beach clubs have various styles, from budget level to the luxury level. But, it’s easy to find one that suits your style.

Italian beach club, Atrani beach
The beach scene on Atrani beach, Amalfi Coast, Italy

The Italian beach club is a culture and lifestyle

Perhaps, the beach space in Italy is often at a premium. The deckchairs and parasols are lined-up perfectly on the beach. It is the typical scene that the beach arrangement is amazingly in a linear precision. This type of arrangement allows the beach club owners to maximum utilize the beach area. The sunbathers pay according to where they want to sit. The first row will usually cost more. Rates vary from day, week, or seasonal passes.

Many beach clubs have restaurants or dining facilities as well. A few steps from the water, the sunbathers can have a relaxed lunch. The food is not expensive, but the tastes are authentic. Once, we went to one beach club simply because the menu in its restaurant was more attractive.

A typical Italian family might rent a flat for a couple of weeks in a popular seaside resort. During the period, husbands may join the family group only at weekends, remaining at work during the week.

In the morning, everyone heads to the beach, lying in rows on their sunbeds. Italians at the beach will break for a couple of hours for lunch. They will either opt for lunch at a local seaside restaurant or head back home to cook a big family meal. In the afternoon they come back to the beach again. And so on for weeks. Some beach clubs (most middle-level ones) are often empty during the day. But, they are probably rented out for the long term already.

Typical Italian beach style in Monterosso al Mare, Cinque terre
Typical Italian beach style in Monterosso al Mare, Cinque terre

What are the benefit of using the beach clubs?

First of all, some of the beach clubs at the budget level are still affordable. To rent a deckchair only costs a couple of Euros. Then a beach club offers certain comfort and convenience for the sunbathers. When we made our trip to Tuscany, due to the baggage limitation we didn’t bring any beach equipment. But we were able to spend time on the beach by renting those things from the beach clubs. Lastly, compared to the mass holiday-makers on the public beach, the private-owned beach is much less crowded even during the peak holiday seasons. Therefore, the beach atmosphere is more relaxed and friendly.

During our Tuscany trip, we coincidentally experienced the services from three beach clubs on the Ligurian coast, from budget level, middle level, to luxury level. Therefore, we had the chance to touch the part of the Italian culture.

Nikki beach club — a luxury Italian beach club

Nikki Beach Club on the Ligurian coast happens to be the very luxury one. As my family only wanted to swim in the sea for two hours before our afternoon program, I went into the club to wait for them. Without renting any chairs or sunbeds, I was able to sit on the bar chairs. The bar would open from 12:00. It was around 10:00, the bar only sold the soft drinks.

I settled myself in a comfortable bar chair next to the pool and looked around. The ocean view was particularly blocked by those luxurious pavilions on the Italian beach Versilia. The club has a one-of-a-kind swimming pool fashioned entirely from Carrara marble. Around the pool are the plush sunbeds and an octagon-shaped bar. It offers private changing and showering facilities as well as a sunset terrace for guests. Feeling curious about the club, I started a conversation with a guy who was busy setting up the music facilities.

Then, I got to know the very famous Nikki Beach Club. The day rate for a plush sun bed including a bottle of champagne is 500 Euro. It offers not only the beach setting but also Italian cuisine and creative cocktails. Besides, it offers various private and public events related to lifestyle as well. Located on the white sands of Marina di Pietrasanta, this is a pure luxury beach club with full of Italian temperament and a nice venue for spending a romantic day as well.

I felt somewhat uncomfortable without ordering anything while using luxury facilities. I was ready to order a soft drink. But no one came to take my order. In the meantime, several tourists rented beds on the terrace.

Sun Bed from Nikki Beach Club
Sun Bed from Nikki Beach Club
Private area within Nikki beach club house
Private area within Nikki beach club house
Plush sen beds from Nikki club, whilte wooden boards on Italian beach
Plush sen beds from Nikki club, whilte wooden boards on Italian beach

Bagno Eva  — a comfortable Italian beach club

On the other day during our 9-day trip to Tuscany in summer, we walked into this nice looking beach club which had an attractive lunch menu. By looking at the setting, we knew that it would not cost us 500 Euros. In fact, it cost 50 Euros a day for a whole beach setting.  However, we planned to stay on the beach for a few hours before visiting Pietrasanta in the afternoon. Then, the friendly owner just charged us 35 Euros instead.

Compared to the Nikki club it has fewer elements. But, toilets, changing rooms and shower places are available and they all looked very tidy and well-maintained. If you want to have a private changing room, a small fee would be added on top of the day rate.

Each square-shaped pavilion is equipped with two chairs, two stylish low-ground beach chairs, a square plastic table, a massage bed, and a deckchair. The pavilion is around 4 square meters. Even the sunshine moves throughout the day, we could still stay in the shade by rearranging the chairs.

All pavilions have the same size. They are lined up from the beach club’s main entrance all the way to the beach front. To avoid one’s feet being burned by the hot sand, swimmers can walk on white wooden boards. The distance between the two pavilions is always the same and spacious. Such an arrangement ensures the privacy and silence.

Since its restaurant offers simple but very delicious food at reasonable prices, we had our lunch there. The pasta with fresh baby clams and the Parma ham sandwich are all below 10 Euro but in large portions. The service was very quick, and the staff was very friendly.

This type of club is actually very practical and comfortable. It suits for family travelers and has a very good value for the price.  Nearly half of the pavilions were occupied when we left after lunch.

Palma Ham and Salad Sandwich
Palma Ham and Salad Sandwich
Beach settings from Bagno Eva
Beach settings from Bagno Eva
Deck chairs and Deck chairs and massage bed from Eva beach club
Deck chairs and massage bed from Eva beach club

Cheap Italian beach club

During our 4-day trip to Liguria, we experienced a simple and cheap beach club. I couldn’t recall its name. But I remembered it was at the beach in Portovenere. We visited the UNESCO town Portovenere and had a break on the beach in the late afternoon. One of the beach clubs rent out chairs and small parasols at very low prices. The distance between any two settings is very narrow, and the parasols are so small that they could barely block the sunshine.

The day rate for renting a chair is 5 Euro, and a parasol is 8 Euro. The price of  renting a sunbed is 10 Euro per day. The half-day price is also available. There is also a shower place. We had to pay a small fee to get a hot shower. But it is free to take a cold shower.

Compared to the Eva beach club, this beach club is a budget one. It is suitable for a single person or a couple. Nevertheless, all the facilities were nearly sold out on that day.

Beach settings from a simple beach club on beach from Portovenere
Beach settings from a simple beach club near Portovenere

My tips

All clubs close around 8:00 pm because most people would get themselves ready for the dinner scene in nearby places.  There are a few free public beaches which were very busy. Obviously, the majority of people opt for budget offers.  But for travelers who only want to spend a day or two on a beach during the entire trip, the mi-level Italian beach clubs can offer comfort at all levels.

Some hotels along the Italian beaches might already include the access to some beach clubs.  Seaside hotels often have a private beach, sometimes across a road from the hotel. Others may have arrangements with local private beaches. It is worth to mention, that even as a hotel guest you might still be expected to pay extra for the beach facilities. When you book a hotel for beach purpose make sure to check this in advance. Below is the list of hotels along the Italian coast:

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