The Abruzzo Coast is a rewarding destination for those looking for a hidden gem in Italy, or to get off the beaten path along Italy’s Adriatic Coast. Arguably, the most beautiful part of the coast is its southernmost stretch leading right up to the border with Molise, where you can explore the Costa dei Trabocchi and unspoilt beaches and seaside towns, where your money goes a little further than in Puglia, or on the Mediterranean Coast.
Here’s a few itinerary ideas for better exploring the Abruzzo Coast, visiting towns like Chieti, Ortona and Vasto.
Chieti is a bustling town around 15 km from the Abruzzo Coast, 200 kilometres east by northeast of Rome. It is the capital of the province of Chieti, in the Abruzzo region, and can be easily reached from Rome by coach, with Flixbus journeys taking around 2′ 15″. It is a good base for visiting Pescara and Ortona and for exploring the coast further.
If you stay in Chieti, don’t miss gourmet pizzeria Fermenta, which opened in 2018, significantly upgrading Chieti’s culinary credentials. The brainchild of pizza chef Luca Cornacchia and his wife Giorgia Santuccione, an expert sommelier, this pizzeria serves classic and gourmet pizzas with imaginative toppings, that nevertheless remain coherent. Luca’s signature cacio e pepe with raw red prawns is not to be missed.
Abruzzo coast: visit Ortona
Italy’s Costa dei Trabocchi or Trabocco Coast begins near the town of Ortona, not far from Pescara, on the east coast of Italy in the region of Abruzzo, and traditionally runs down to the town of Vasto about 40 km further south. It is called this for the presence of numerous trabocchi, wooden piers with shelters built out into the sea. According to local lore, these wooden structures were introduced by Phoenician immigrants, although the majority of documented structures date back about 300 years. They were used for fishing, both by fishermen when the weather was too bad to go out in boats, or more typically by farmers and locals who were not experienced enough or equipped to go out to sea.
Many trabocchi fell into ruin over the centuries, washed away and beaten down by sea and storms. But over the last few decades, there has been increasing interest in recuperating these historic structures and turning them into restaurants. If you’re interested in learning more about dining on a trabocco, don’t miss this post detailing lunch at Gli Ostinati trabocco restaurant.
Where to stay? If you like glamping with sea views, Camping Ripari Di Giobbe is a well-kept campsite with both regular pitches for those who want to bring their own tents or caravans, as well as chalet-style bungalows that are clean and bright. I stayed in this facility for one night, in a chalet, and enjoying waking up to birdsong and sea views. The campsite Camping Ripari Di Giobbe is also equipped with an ample swimming pool, bar and restaurant, as well as a playground for kids.
Alternatively, a little closer to Ortona, if you just want a regular room stay at a decent price, try B&B Ripari di Giobbe for rooms from around €70.
Abruzzo Coast: visit Vasto
Vasto is a true hidden gem in Italy, comprising a charming hilltop town called Vasto and seaside resort called Marina di Vasto, and benefitting from a green and sparsely populated coastline. To explore Vasto by sea, I recommend a chartered boat trip with Abruzzo Skipper. These private boat trips along the Abruzzo Coast allow you to see La Costa dei Trabocchi from the sea, stop for a quick swim, and also enjoy some food and drink on board. Boat trips with Abruzzo Skipper last around 3 hours, and cost €600 for up to 10 people. This is a lovely trip to do with family and friends and works out at a reasonable price per head with a large enough group.
Our trip with Abruzzo Skipper started out right on the Abruzzo border next to Porto Turistico Marina Sveva, which is actually located in Marina di Montenero, the first coastal town in Molise. We set off around 9am and spent three hours on the speed boat, passing Marina di Vasto and several trabocchi, before pausing for swim stops. Food and drink were provided on board, including raw oysters, steamed mussels and prosecco, plus soft drinks. This was a lovely half day trip and highly recommended!
Testaccina was a guest of Fermenta, Camping Ripari Di Giobbe, and Abruzzo Skipper