I was in Riccione in the last two weeks of August. I mentioned in my previous post that I had been there many times in the past and that I was very familiar with the town and the wider area. In many years in which I have been going there, I have inevitably done a lot of things. I have been to many different restaurants, bars and coffee shops. I usually go there in summer, to spend days on the beach.
Riccione is primarily a summer destination, although I have been there in other seasons too. In winter, Riccione is a completely different place, a small sleepy town. During hot summer months, it is transformed into a bustling resort full of life, excitement and entertainment.
Over many years in which I have been going there, I have made some good friends. I am always very happy to see them and we keep in touch, more or less, on a regular basis. That’s very easy with the modern technology, although being together is a completely different thing. However, only one of my Italian friends speaks English. The only way for me to communicate with my other friends there is in Italian. I speak good Italian, which I studied at the university in Belgrade. Also, as I have spent a lot of time in Italy, I have had an excellent opportunity to learn the language simply by talking to people and by fully immersing myself in the Italian culture.
This also gives one more dimension to my stay in Italy. I never feel like an excluded foreigner who doesn’t understand what’s going on around him. On the contrary, I take part in every conversation and I am conscious of various dynamics and subtleties of interactions in which I take part. That is priceless!
1. THE BEACH AND THE SEAFRONT
I like it best when I am in Riccione in summer, because I can spend days on a very beautiful sandy beach. The beach in Riccione is very big and it stretches for many kilometres, along the whole length of the town. That long beach is divided in many smaller sections. Some sections belong to various hotels and are for exclusive use by their guests. Some sections are open for all, but you need to pay in order to use them. Finally, there are sections that are completely free and everyone can use them.
The beach to which I always go is the biggest free beach. It is at the border between Riccione and Rimini’s neighbourhood Rivazzurra.
This beach is in front of the abandoned Colonia Santo Volto, on Viale Principe di Piemonte. Colonia Santo Volto was established in 1934, as a medical centre for children with scrofula, a disease very similar to tuberculosis. The decline of the colony started in the 1980′. The economic situation in Italy substantially improved at that time and it became a shame to send a child to such an institution. It was considered a sign of poverty. The building is now completely abandoned and it mysteriously overlooks the beach.
The beach is 300m long and 150m wide. It is never too busy, even during the busiest times on weekends or in the peak season. I never feel claustrophobic and inundated with people there, an aspect that I particularly like.
It is also possible to walk a long way along the beach. You can either go towards Rimini or in opposite direction, towards Cattolica. There are many people jogging in the evening hours, when the sun is no longer too strong. When it is sufficiently windy, there is a lot of wind surfing which creates a very attractive picture.
To easily find this beach, look for the seafood restaurant Sol y Mar, the beach is right in front of that restaurant.
One more feature of Riccione, closely related to the beach, is its prominent seafront (lungomare). The seafront has been completely renovated in recent years and it looks stunning. It runs along the whole length of the town. I often cycled along the seafront when I was going to the beach. It is a very pleasant experience, safe and away from the traffic. But, I still had to navigate people, although it was not really that bad. There were whole stretches of the path without anyone in sight, so I cruised smoothly on my bicycle.
In many years in which I have been enjoying Riccione, I visited many different places. However, in this post I will mention only those places that I visited this particular time. They are my most recent experience and most relevant for this post. As I was staying in a friend’s house, I did not go out for dinner every night. Some evenings we had dinner at home, usually when we stayed late on the beach and no one was willing to rush to go out. In Italy, you have to make sure that you are in a restaurant by 10pm at the latest, because kitchens close shortly afterwards. Italy is not like Spain where people go out for dinner after 10pm.
Restaurants that I visited this time and that I would like to mention are:
– Ristorante Trampolines – on Lungomare della Republica. This restaurant belongs to the Trampolines Hotel and it is a veritable institution. It is open all year round and both the locals and the tourists go there. It is an excellent restaurant and you will for sure eat well.
One interesting observation about restaurants in Riccione, especially in busy touristic areas, is that despite the fact that they may appear as touristic restaurants, you are guaranteed to eat well. The main category of tourists in Riccione are Italians and they are very peculiar about their food. They are generally accustomed to a very high standard and for any restaurant to exist, it simply has to be good.
This may be different in other popular touristic places in Italy, especially in establishment that predominantly cater for foreign tourists. In Riccione, in places where the Italians go, standards are maintained at a high level. Thus, if you happen to be in Riccione and you are hungry, you can go to any restaurant in Viale Ceccarini or in Viale Dante without any problem. I had a very delicious pizza in Trampolines.
– Ristorante Santa Lucia – in Viale Piacenza 8, is a family run restaurant that won the Trip Advisor’s Excellence Award in 2015. This restaurant is famous for its meat dishes. The restaurant goes to great lengths to procure the best quality organic meat.
In my opinion, pizza is the best in this restaurant. I have been there many times in the past and I always go there at least once when I am in Riccione.
– Agriturismo I Crinali – is not in Riccione, it is in the hills of Rimini, in Viale Santa Cristina 73. This is one of those unmissable places, but you have to know about it. The restaurant caters for the local Italian customer base and it is fabulous. It takes approximately 10-15 minutes from Rimini and slightly longer from Riccione to get there by car.
I was there once in the past and I did not want to miss the opportunity to go there again. Food is excellent and very reasonably priced. You can see the prices in a menu in a photo below. If you are in the area and would like to experience a slightly more refined side of the Italian cuisine, I suggest that you visit this place. There are other similar restaurants in that area, but I have been just to this one.
3. COFFEE SHOPS AND BARS
Another thing that you would want to do is to go for coffee or aperitivo.
– My favourite coffee place is Caffe Centrale, in Corso Fratelli Cervi, in Riccione Paese. This is a place where the locals pop in for a quick coffee or cappuccino. It is a very pleasant bar and prices are very reasonable, for example cappuccino is € 1.20 and espresso € 1.
Aperitivo is a typical Italian tradition, a pre-dinner drink that so well reflects the Italian art of living. It habitually happens in the late afternoon or in the early evening, between 5pm and 7pm. Usually, it is a very light alcoholic drink, served with some salty snacks. I had aperitivo in two different places:
– Pepper Riccione – is a bar in Viale Lazio 12, in Riccione Paese. It is an excellent place, frequented by the locals, as it is some distance away from the main touristic area.
It is a very stylish place and they play very good lounge music.
– Caffe Pascucci – in Viale Parini 6, is actually right at the corner with Viale Dante. It is a very good place and in excellent location, overlooking the port.
4. ICE-CREAM SHOPS
Then, there is gelato (the ice-cream), a must-do ritual for all Italians. The ice-cream in Italy is the best that you can eat anywhere in the world. It is replicated in other countries, but for some reason the Italians make the best ice-cream. There are many ice-cream shops in Riccione and they are all pretty good, but some of them are exceptionally good.
– Gelateria King – on Piazza Unità in Riccione Paese is an institution. Their ice-cream is excellent.
– Gelateria Pellicano – in Viale Ceccarini 158, is in the part of the street that is open for traffic. This place mainly serves the locals and their ice-cream is also excellent.
– Gelateria Panna & Cioccolato – in Via Lungorio 1, probably offers the best ice-cream in Riccione. It is a very popular place and there is always a long queue of people, especially in the evening, right after dinner time.
They also have a big selection of home-made cakes. It is a fabulous place!
5. ENJOYING RICCIONE IN DISCOTHEQUES
Finally, one more thing that I would like to mention is that Riccione is home to super clubs. There are 4 clubs in Riccione and they are: Peter Pan, Prince, Cocoricò and Pascià (this one is a disco-restaurant). There is one more famous club Villa delle Rose, but this one is in Misano Adriatico. These clubs are the main reason why Riccione attracts thousands of young Italians in search of entertainment. I have been to some of them in the past, but not this time. This year Peter Pan was the most popular.
They are in the hills of Riccione. You can easily find them if you are in the area and if you want to visit one of them.
In summer, Riccione is a place full of fun and life. There is so much to do, there are excellent places where you can go to eat or to have a drink. You will never be short of entertainment. But for me, the best of all are the beautiful beach and warm Adriatic Sea.