Trieste: city of the sea

Guide to the city's best beaches

Let's go to the beach!
 "…the sea in Trieste is a side of the room, you get up in the morning and know where it is, you are where you are and you know that it's there. This is to say that the sea is perceived differently here than in other large coastal cities, such as Naples, Palermo and Genoa, where the sea is less close, less accessible. Once outside those cities, you find splendid seaside locations, but there is less intimacy between the daily life of the people and the daily life of the sea. In Trieste, on the other hand, you can bathe in the sea in the centre of the city (…) and, wherever you are on the waterfront, you can turn aside, strip off (…) take ten steps and you're at the water. This familiar and constant contact explains the use of the expression "andar al bagno" (which could be mistaken for "go to the bathroom") in Trieste to mean "bathe in the sea", as if Barcola were the family bathtub that you head to barefoot, or in slippers at most". (Trieste sottosopra (Trieste Upside Down) Mauro Covacich, 2006, Laterza)

People have been bathing in the sea in the centre of the Trieste since 1820. In fact, there used to be many floating bathing facilities in Sacchetta and in front of Unità Square (Soglio di Nettuno, Bagno Buchler and the beautiful Bagno Maria, a sort of spa that was ahead of its time), while guests at the Hotel della Ville were able to bathe in sea water without leaving their suites by means of a complex sea water pumping and filtration system.

Starting in the mid-nineteenth century, true bathing facilities began to spring up along the coast in Barcola, Grignano, Sistiana and Muggia. At the beginning of the twentieth century Bagno Lanterna (El pedocin) and Bagno Fontana opened on the Lantern Pier near the city centre. Over the years, Bagno Fontana was gradually renovated and expanded. In the 1930s it became the magnificent "Ausonia" bathing complex, frequented by generations of residents and still extremely popular today.

"El pedocin" still exists on the Lantern Pier. For those who want to feel like an "authentic" resident it is a must-visit destination, much loved and much visited by the people of Trieste. This public bathing facility still has a wall dividing the beach, with the men's section on one side and the women's on the other. Over the years, the authorities often suggested that the wall should be demolished. But, each time, there was a sort of popular uprising: the wall is there and should stay there!

People travelling to Trieste on the Strada Costiera (Coastal Road) in the summer are guaranteed a spectacle.
From the Miramare crossroads to the Barcola pine grove, tourists travelling by car coach are taken aback by the sight of bikini-clad local girls sunbathing on loungers and towels, older men and women tranquilly playing cards, reading, or just enjoying the summer warmth on the wide pavements, and further ahead crowds of youngsters playing and plunging into the water at the Topolini free public bathing facilities, the undisputed realm of generations of local adolescents.

But let's go in order, starting from the city.

  • La Lanterna bathing facility La Lanterna bathing facility The facility consists of two separate areas: one for women and children up to 12 years old, the other for men read more >
  • Ausonia Ausonia Very central and easy to reach by bus. It has been extremely popular ever since it opened in the 1930s. read more >
  • “I Topolini” “I Topolini” Built in the 1930s, I Topolini consists of 10 semi-circular terraces that look out to sea along the coast. read more >
  • Bagno da Sticco Bagno da Sticco  Located near Miramare Castle, the facility was built in 1955 by Antonio Sticco. Its proximity to the protected marine reserve ensures clean water and a wealth of marine life. read more >
  • Sirena bathing facility Sirena bathing facility The beach club Sirena is located in the beautiful bay of Grignano . read more >
  • Riviera bathing facility Riviera bathing facility The facility is located on a cemented are at the foot of the old Riviera Hotel, set amidst green maritime pines and the sea. read more >
  • Alle Ginestre Alle Ginestre Perhaps the most stunning and spectacular in terms of setting. read more >
  • Sistiana Bay Sistiana Bay Sparkling seawater, a stone's throw from Trieste, thanks to the rocky seabed of the Trieste Coast. read more >
  • Portopiccolo Sistiana Portopiccolo Sistiana The sea and its horizon. The Gulf of Trieste is home to Maxi's Beach Club, an exclusive private area for swimming and sunbathing. read more >
  • Beaches along the Strada Costiera Beaches along the Strada Costiera (Coastal Road)  If you are the athletic type, there are numerous steep trails along the coastal road, that lead to bays and coves with beaches that have few or no services, offering the opportunity to enjoy a peaceful spot and splendid sea. read more >