Orbetello, a characteristic seaside town located in Tuscany, is considered one of the most interesting places in Italy, the heart of the Maremma and a Pearl of the Coast based in the middle of a breathtaking lagoon. The latter is, surely, a must-see destination for anyone looking to explore places full of culture, tradition, history, and surprising beauty.
Orbetello is linked to the Argentario promontory by two beautiful golden sandy beaches: Feniglia and Giannella. It’s fundamental, then, quoting Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole, fishing villages which, due to their uniqueness and charm, offer moments of wellness, relaxation, and a complete immersion in the Italian reality for every traveler.
Whether you are interested in visiting a certain place for its history, getting a tan while strolling on pristine beaches, or exploring cities that are unique for their beauty. Keep reading the article to find out what to do, where to stay, and how to get to the enchanting Orbetello.
Is Orbetello Worth Visiting?
Orbetello is an appreciated destination by international tourists. As a foreign traveler, indeed, you’ll have the chance to breathe moments of the past, feel the warmth of the little ‘paese’, and live a rural dream.
This charm and fascination derive from this city’s proximity to sandy beaches to the most relevant cities of the region (Florence, Grosseto, and Lucca), but also because of its pieces of history, which we’ll show you in the next paragraphs. But first, let’s take a look at how you can get to Orbetello.
How to Get to Orbetello
Accessible by car, train, or plane, Orbetello offers multiple ways to get there. Speaking of the first option, you can easily reach the Argentario area by driving down SS. 1 Aurelia (main highway) and by taking the Orbetello – Monte Argentario exit. After that, a wonderful and outstanding view will welcome you.
About the train option, the smartest railway line involved in reaching Orbetello is the Rome-Genoa one and the nearest station is that of Orbetello- Monte Argentario, really close to the center. Trains depart every hour. However, you can easily reach the town by flying from your homeland to one of the main airports of Italy, such as Rome, Florence, or Pisa, and then take a rental car.
10 Things to Do & See in Orbetello
1. Explore The Town
Orbetello is geographically unique, its streets are typically Italian, and its narrow paths are rich in history. We advise you to explore the area starting from the Orbetello Scalo station where the cycle-pedestrian path runs along the entire western lagoon, the one protected by the WWF, up to the city center. It’s an hour’s walk, including stops. Along the way, you can admire pink flamingos that stop there every year and during all seasons, but also white herons and flocks of coots in flight.
Not to be forgotten is the ancient port of Talamone, but also the historic center where you will find monuments, sculptures, and museums with paintings and impressive works such as the walls that surround the whole city. It is inevitable not to notice the ramparts built by the Etruscans and reinforced during the 16th century, when Hispanics completed the construction of the fortress, without forgetting the majestic and enchanting Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta.
2. Enjoy the Beaches
The Orbetello Lagoon is a unique place of its kind in terms of beauty, temperature, and history. It is a fairly humid area and certainly one of the most popular and always sold-out destinations in Argentario. The beaches are a gem of the place thanks to the crystalline sea that surrounds them, their golden color, and the care and cleaning that the operators in the area dedicate to them. Let’s take a look at the most beautiful Orbetello beaches where you can fully enjoy your vacation.
Among the most important, in terms of fame and beauty, we recommend Feniglia beach, closely connected to Porto Ercole. The latter is distinguished by its wild appearance and crystalline turquoise water. In the innermost part of the coast, you can also enjoy a visual spectacle featuring the local fauna: turtle doves, pheasants, and owls (at night). La Cacciarella, La Bionda, and Spiaggia Acqua Dolce, moreover, are beaches born from coves where it is possible to find pebbles, sand, shallow waters, and in some cases areas suitable for diving enthusiasts thanks to the clear seabed rich in tropical fish.
3. The Food
Italy is known worldwide for its culinary excellence. Orbetello, with its fish-based dishes, is no exception. This is thanks to the proximity to the sea and the high quality of marine products, protagonists of excellent recipes.
Among the most popular delicacies, we suggest you taste: the Anguilla Sfumata, the pappa al pomodoro (pasta with fresh tomatoes), the peposo (rich in hot spices), and the wild boar stew.
4. The Lagoon and the Natural Reserve
The lagoon of Orbetello attracts many visitors every year. Since 1971, the latter has been protected by the World Wildlife Fund, which considers this gem essential for the survival of many animal species. It is also linked to the coast of the Argentario promontory.
Let’s not forget the magical Orbetello Nature Reserve, a brackish coastal lagoon dotted with small sand islands and fed by fresh water from the adjacent channels. The butterfly garden is also an enchanting and must-see place.
5. The Spanish Mill
The so-called ‘Spanish Mill’ is the only windmill, which has remained intact since the 15th century. The latter, in ancient times, was used to grind the flour destined for the inhabitants of the city. The grain was transported with the “barchini”, small boats characteristic of the area.
Then, in 1557, when the territory came under Spanish domination, the mills were restored and thanks to the new sail blades, converted to use the mistral and sirocco winds. Today, It emerges suggestively from the waters right at the beginning of the artificial dam.
6. Birdwatching and Wildlife Photography
The Ponente Lagoon is full of beauty – especially from autumn to spring – thanks to the presence of thousands of pink flamingos. Tourists will be most likely to see them during some December morning. Such a rare, breathtaking but also unpredictable show.
If you’re interested, it is possible to have a close meeting with pink flamingos thanks to the WWF Oasi (located in the Orbetello Lagoon). You’ll be able to watch them closely by using multiple sheds built for bird watching. There will also be many other birds located in those places, which are definitely excellent for those who want to photograph wildlife.
7. Bike Tours
Tourists who love sport will be able to bike-ride in Orbetello thanks to the magical streets. Indeed, the itinerary is about 20 kilometers long and completely flat. With the exception of some cycle crossings and a small portion of the road.
During this trip, you will be able to admire wonders like: the Ponente and Levante lagoons, the Spanish mill, and much more. A unique experience of its kind and full of adventures.
8. Horse Riding
Orbetello is not just a seaside place, but also an environment rich in fauna of all kinds. Among the main things to do here, we mention those concerning horse riding.
For those travelers who wish to stay in much more close contact with Maremma nature, there’s a chance you could book a long horse ride with expert tutors. The main routes take place at the Orbetello lagoon, an enchanting walk where it is possible to observe the countless species of aquatic birds and fish fauna typical of the latter.
9. The Ancient Town of Cosa
Cosa, an ancient Etruscan town, is a precious find for all history enthusiasts. The area includes an East located hill and Arce (south hill) where you can see a breathtaking landscape. Actually, it was formerly used as a strategic position both for the control of the sea and land traffic.
Does this place fascinate you? Then, we suggest you visit:
- The Skeleton House;
- The Baths (for those wishing to spend a moment of well-being in contact with nature);
- The archaeological site, full of remains that tell the story of this ancient city, restored only after the arrival of the emperor Augustus.
10. Feniglia Nature Reserve
Reachable by train or car, the Feniglia Nature Reserve was designed to allow direct contact with the surrounding environment. Indeed, there are more than 15 workstations joined by a wooden handrail, where you can discover the different aspects of the latter.
Moreover, the various aspects of the dune have been recreated:
- the casts of the footprints of the different inhabitants of the forest;
- the shape of the plants;
- the profiles of the leaves.
Best Places to Stay in Ortobello
Orbetello offers numerous hotels, B&B, or guest houses ready to meet the needs of any visitor or group. Check out our top recommendations for some characteristic, rural, and magical Italian accommodations in Orbetello.
Ancient Farm with a View of The Maremma
Not so far from the maritime center of Orbetello, the Antica Fattoria La Parrina offers many rooms for rent, a large swimming pool for guests, typical Italian food taste, and a breathtaking view of the garden and the Maremma.
This place looks ideal place for those who want to get away from the noise of the city and be in contact with nature
Centrally Located Rooms Close to Beaches
A few kilometers from Monte Argentario, the Affittacamere Orbetello centro offers apartments for 1, 2, or 4 people. In addition, you can take advantage of their bicycle rental service to visit the coast in an ecological and unforgettable way.
Rural farmhouse Next to The Lagoon
Only 4 kilometers from the center, La Posta di Torrenova offers modern, unique, and large rooms with restaurant service and a swimming pool for guests — ideal for those who want to reach the lagoon or the Terme di Saturnia in just a few minutes.
What to see around Orbetello
A seaside village of Argentario, Porto Ercole derives from the ancient residential nucleus which is gathered inside the walls at the foot of the Spanish Fortress. We suggest you cross the Pisan gate and take a walk in the heart of the village among alleys, small squares overlooking the sea, and stairways that will lead you to the church and then to the Rocca.
Capalbio, a little town rich in history and tradition, is nowadays a gem of tourism. The latter is advisable for unforgettable beach holidays or romantic weekends spent in Tuscany. It’s also the ideal place to take exciting day trips to Porto Santo Stefano, the Terme di Saturnia, and other historic villages like Pitigliano, Sorano, Sovana, and Radicofani.
Monte Argentario is a place rich in sandy and rocky beaches. Located in the Mediterranean area of Tuscany, this place apparently looks like an island. It is full of breathtaking landscapes, and hiking trails; also, ferries depart from here to reach Giglio Island.