GUEST ARTICLE: Rimini is certainly a place less traveled to if you don’t live in Italy or some of the surrounding European countries. It’s a summer hotspot that has loads to offer if you’re looking for some summertime fun and a real Italian experience. The best months to go to Rimini are from June through to September during the summer months.
We’ve made this our must-do place every year and prefer to go in late June or early July to miss the heat and the mass of Italian and European holiday makers (super-peak is August when most Italians are forced to take holidays). Rimini is located in the famous Emilia-Romagna region and lies on Italy’s Adriatic Riviera, on the eastern coast. There is about 15kms plus of beach divided into hundreds of little Bagni (beaches) with rows upon rows of beautifully coloured chairs and umbrellas for rent.
On our first visit to Rimini we were very lucky to have found an excellent little family-run hotel called Hotel King which is situated just a block away from the beach and right in the middle of the action. The hotel is run by family-man Mauro, who is a great personality and very accommodating. His momma is an excellent cook and gives all of the inclusive meals a real Italian touch.
I can say without a doubt they are some of the best meals we’ve ever had. Italians opt for the all-inclusive vacation. All-inclusive at Hotel King means you get accommodation, three meals a day, beach chair, umbrella, coffee, drinks, internet and more! Everyday you get a different three course menu with choices. They also have a bbq on the beach once a week which is a culinary treat of barbecued seafood and other Italian delicacies. It is also a fantastic way to make some new friends, which is quite easy in Italy since they are always up for a good chat.
During the day Italians love to relax and soak up some sun on the beach, so like they say…”when in Rome…” The hotel has beach chairs included so we usually spend our day on Carlos Bagno #39. The beach isn’t the best we’ve ever been to but we find it quite relaxing.
The only setback I would say would have to be the trickle of street vendors trying to sell you things on the beach but then again who knows maybe you are looking to buy a fake tattoo or kite? Although I do have to say this problem has calmed down quite a bit over the years with the Municipal Police cracking down. So, if you see these vendors flying past you at mach speed it’s only because the Municipal Police are in the area (pretty funny to see actually).
There are plenty of wonderful things to see and do in and around the Rimini area. There is the historical part of Rimini (Centro Storico) which is a beautiful maze of cobblestone streets, shops, restaurants, piazzas and churches. Under the city they are still finding Roman ruins and are doing their best to restore and protect them.
The Arch of Augustus which was built in 27 B.C. and is the honorary town gate and has also been restored and is quite the sight to see especially at night when it is beautifully lit up. This part of the city is also a wonderful place to be after dinner when everyone is out and about. It’s a great time to take a stroll and partake in one of their delicious gelatos.
Along the beach area at night is also a flurry of activity. People dine at the multitude of restaurants that go on for miles and then do the after dinner stroll. One beautiful area to sit and relax is at the Fontana Dei Quattro Cavalli (Four Horse Fountain). It is a really beautiful area and during the summer months some excellent public concerts are held there (Jazz, Dance, Classical).
The famous 5-star Grand Hotel Rimini is also located near the fountain. It was a favourite to the late film director Frederico Fellini who was a native of Rimini, he was well known for one of his famous films like La Dolce Vita. Fellini actually collapsed in his favourite suite at the hotel and then later died in a hospital in Rome at the age of 73. You can visit his grave at the main entrance of the Rimini Cemetery, in his honour they have put up a beautiful bronze sculpture.
I’m not sure if I would recommend you rent a car as the driving in Italy can be hair-raising at times and very aggressive, too many wanna be Mario Andretti’s out there I think but in order to experience some of the sights outside Rimini you might have to.
Fortunately we have some good friends that live there and they have been kind of enough to drive us to some spectacular spots. For example we’ve gone on some excellent mountain treks, visited the very picturesque town of San Leo which is situated on top of a mountain and the quaint little artsy town of Urbino.
In July they have the famous La Notte Rosa festival which runs up and down all of the beaches. The whole surrounding area is decorated with beautiful pink decorations and as night falls the real action begins. All along the beach there are free food and drink venues and music from old to new playing in the background.
It is a wonderful celebration and very peaceful, we’ve never witnessed anyone getting out of control or having too much to drink (it’s not the Italian culture to over-drink which makes this festival even more appealing). Later in the night you can grab a beach chair and sit back and watch the incredible fireworks display all along the beaches.
Obviously the food in Italy is incredible and every region has its own particular type of dish they specialise in. We love the Emilia Romagna region for their homemade pastas, gelato, piadinas and cassonis – all mouth-watering and things we look forward to every time we go back.
We also really like Rimini because it’s Italy for Italians not Italy trying to accommodate other cultures like some other cities like eg. Venice and Florence. If you’re looking for a place that real Italians go to for their vacations, this is it. Jump on the train for a one-hour trip from Bologna and you can experience excellent food, lazy days on the beach and lots of activities.
This travel diary has been written by Rob Gower, a friend who enjoys taking the road less traveled!