Discover the best things to do in Sperlonga and practical travel tips for visiting one of Italy’s prettiest towns
If you are looking for a pretty town with a gorgeous beach near Rome where to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, then you should consider visiting charming Sperlonga.
It is a lovely little place with an unassuming atmosphere, a gorgeous beach and lovely small alleys and a little bit of a gem in an area of Italy often overlooked by visitors.
It is also a place with a great Hollywood pedigree, which is maybe unexpected in a place that is very far in style and atmosphere from more known film-star favorite such as Capri or the Amalfi Coast.
This is my guide to the best things to do in Sperlonga.
Why visiting Sperlonga
Sperlonga is a small town perched on rocky promontory overlooking the Mediterranean, a short train ride out of Rome.
At the base of the promontory, a large beach with soft sand stretches onto crystal clear waters, that lap the land with gentle, shallow waves, while on top of the rocky hill you find a gorgeous whitewashed village with meandering alleys, cute cafes and stunning sea views.
Sperlonga is a lovely day trip from Rome and a great destination for most types of visitors:
The small town is perfect for a romantic getaway and dinners with sea views
The beach is perfect for families with kids
History lovers will love the chance to see the ruins of Tiberius Villa, laying in front of the sea just outside of Sperlonga town center.
The only visitors who may find Sperlonga challenging are those with mobility issues.
Many of the most charming corners of the city have steps or steep alleys so if you are not steady on your feet, this can be a problem.
If this is the case and you are visiting Sperlonga for the day, you can consider parking at the bottom of the promontory and perch yourself in a local cafe, then only have part of the group climb up the steep steps up the ancient town center.
The cafes at the base are super pleasant and make for a good compromise!
Fun fact about Sperlonga: its glamorous past
Another reason to visit Sperlonga is to tap into its glamorous past.
While the name may have not made headlines, Sperlonga was much loved by personalities from the arts world.
Marlene Dietrich, Brigitte Bardot, Arthur Miller, Andy Warhol, the writer Albert Camus were among the most famous international names while Vittorio De Sica and Raf Vallone are famous Italian names who made Sperlonga their creative grounds
The best things to do in Sperlonga
This is my pick of the best things to do in Sperlonga
Take a stroll in Sperlonga old town
The old town of Sperlonga has gorgeous whitewashed houses and small alleys decorated with cascading flowers and offering sweeping views of the sea below
Taking a stroll in the village is a real pleasure and a photographer’s dream.
Make sure you climb all the steps and peek into all the courtyards: they hide the most delightful decorations!
Go to the beach
Sperlonga has one of the beast beaches near Rome, perfect for anyone looking for a relaxing day on the sand.
Here the water is shallow and clean and this makes is perfect especially for families and non swimmers.
If you are idea of the sea is snorkeling and diving this is not the place for you but for sunbathing and sea paddling, Sperlonga is just perfect!
The beach here is mostly occupied by hotels and ‘stabilimenti’ (beach clubs) so if you want to get a nice spot it is advisable to book chairs and umbrellas or pay on the day.
The cost varies and may get steep in high season: the best deals are usually with hotels, which often have private beach access.
Usually free access beach area are available, just walk along the waterfront for an umbrella free area.
Visit Emperor Tiberius’s Palace and the local archaeological museum
Emperor Tiberius is probably better know for having a villa on the island of Capri, but he was also fond of Sperlonga and vestiges of his palace are still visible.
The ruins are just outside the town and access to them include also entry to the local archaeological museum which has impressive sculptures of Polyphemus, Scylla, Odysseus and Ganymedes, something history and sculpture lovers cannot miss.
The villa was only discovered in 1957, during road works in the area.
Road excavations brought to light statues at first, both in what turned out to be the ancient villa and the nearby natural cave, and it is interesting to notice that they are vastly linked to the hero Odysseus and story.
This has to do with the settings of the odyssey, that seem to recall locations in this area and the south of Italy (Circeo, Scylla in Calabria just as an example).
Eat Spelonga’s food specialties
Sperlonga is between Rome and Naples, two major food capitals, and is therefore a fantastic place for food.
Pizza, seafood and fish are all delicious here: start our evening with an aperitivo and then indulge in your favorite foodie treat in one of the many non pretentious, authentic restaurants in this village
Where to stay in Sperlonga: best Sperlonga hotels
Sperlonga is a popular holiday destination and has several campsites and hotels catering for all types of visitors.
My personal favorite place to stay in Sperlonga, hotel Aurora, which is perfectly located on the beach and has nice room, pleasant breakfast and a lovely terrace cafe overlooking the beach.
Visiting Sperlonga with kids: all you need to know
Sperlonga has one of the best beaches in Italy for families with young kids.
Here, the beach is clean, soft, sandy and it stretches for miles and the water is shallow, so it is easy for young kids to enjoy and for parents to supervise.
The water in only few inches deep until pretty far out and this means that even tiny tots can play on the shore without fear of sudden waves or sudden drops.
The only challenge families of very young children may face is the presence of stairs to the upper part of the village.
The steps are not passable by stroller so I highly recommend you bring a carrier so you can take the short stroll up.
A large, paved road does go up into the town so if you have a hotel at the top and a car, you do have access.
However, I do recommend you opt for being at the bottom of the town, close to the beach, if traveling with kids.
How to get to Sperlonga from Rome
Sperlonga is less than 2 hours South of Rome and the easiest way to get there is by private car.
Getting to Sperlonga by car
The easiest way to get to Sperlonga is driving from Rome.
The way there is a busy commuters route and while the town is well indicated, it is not the most pleasant road to drive on.
I always find it too busy and, if driving in the evening, too dark for a pleasant drive so I recommend caution at all times.
once you are in Sperlonga, parking is available both at the bottom and at the top of the promontory, pay and display.
Getting to Sperlonga by train
The better way to get to Sperlonga, despite the need for a train+bus ride is by public transport.
The train bring you from Rome to Fondi-Sperlonga station and there you need to catch the local bus or a taxi to the town.
This is not difficult to do, but does add a little bit of traveling time, especially on days such as national holidays when the local services are less frequent.
The best site to get hold of train tickets is Trenitalia.it: this is the official site of the Italian railways and is the one with the cheapest fares.
Sperlonga is one of the best day trips from Rome you can take in the good season: come between April and September for the best chance of good weather and, in summer, a splash in its blue sea!
I hope you enjoyed this overview of the best things to do in Sperlonga and it inspired you to plan a stay in this pretty little town. Safe travels!