With its seven beautiful beaches, Gaeta is the ideal place to stay for a weekend or for a longer stay. Thanks to its mild climate and to its good position, this seaside town is perfect to enjoy the beach, the sun, crystal-blue waters and a breath-taking landscape for at least six months a year. Gaeta, winner for the fourth year in a row of the Blue Flag award for its clean waters, has seven beaches, which are unique and amazingly different from one another, making your stay in this enchanting town more and more surprising.
The most well-known of these beaches is the beach of Serapo, located within the city area and therefore, easily accessible. The distinctive feature of this beach is the fine white sand, perfect for long walks and games for children. This amazing bay, Gaeta’s leading coastal area, 1.5 km-long is closed on the south side by Mount Orlando and by the Split Mountain, on the north side, by the promontory of Fontania. Not far from the beach of Serapo, the little isle called Nave di Serapo, due to its similarity with the profile of a ship, is extremely interesting, not only for snorkelling lovers and passionate photographers, but also for its biological fauna and avifauna.
For those who prefer quieter and less equipped areas, the little beach of Fontania is the most appropriate. It can be reached from Serapo, both on foot and swimming, or via Fontania a little road which flanks the accommodation facilities. This earthly Paradise is the best choice if you wish to enjoy the beach spending some time surrounded by nature, but also by history. As a matter of fact, used to be the private beach of a Roman Consul, Gneo Fonteo, who decided to spend his summer holidays in Gaeta, chose this place to build a magnificent villa right by the sea. The remains of the sumptuous villa are still clearly visible, bringing visitors and tourists back to the past. The beach of Fontaniais a big attraction not to be visited only in the summer, but also in spring time, when is not crowded and can be better appreciated.
Along the track of coast going from Fontania to the Ariana beach, there is a bay with a beautiful little beach which can be reached only by swimming or by boat, called Quaranta Remi(Forty Paddles), recalling the number of strokes needed in order to reach it from the nearby land. A short distance away is a cave, called Pozzo del diavolo (The Devil’s Well), also known as Pozzo delle chiavi (The well of the keys), a 50 Mt-high sink hole on the sea, with a sort of chimney opening on the outside. Thanks to its shallow waters rich of fauna, it doesn’t surprise that this place is so popular among scuba-divers. Also, if you wish to look at the starry sky from a special spot, then this place is certainly your best choice, during the night becomes unique.
A little further from the town centre, is the Ariana beach, reachable in few minutes with a scooter, a shuttle bus (that most hotels have) or by boat. Crystal-blue waters, fine white sand and windless conditions are the peculiarities that make this beach one of the most popular and crowded of the coast. Its name is probably connected with the binomial of the ancient local language “aria+sana”, suggesting the ideal conditions that characterize the location, surrounded by Mediterranean woodlands and featured by three unique cliffs called I tre cani (the three dogs), popular among scuba-divers.
Another beach not to be missed is the Arenauta beach, known also as Trecento scalini (Three hundred steps). This beach can be reached via the Flacca State Road by means of steps which lead directly to the beach protected by the steep rocks and which is not visible from the coastal road. For this reason the Arenauta beach was one of the first nudist beaches in Italy in the second half of the 70’s, when it was accessible exclusively via the sea or impervious paths. Today, once arrived at the beach, you can relax in one of the bathing establishments, or just keep walking across caves and crystalline waters.
The beach of St. Vito, where the Summit Hotel and The Ninfeo are located, immediately follows the private bay of the Grand Hotel Le Rocce. This small beach is accessible also for people not staying in one of the two hotels.
Last but not the least, the beach of St. Agostino, beautiful, wild and characterized by high seas, is the perfect place for campers, thanks to the number of well-equipped campsites, for climbers due to its spectacular sheer rocky facades, but also for those who wish to have a good meal in one of the snack bars located along the street, parallel to the sea.
MOUNT ORLANDO AND THE REGIONAL NATURAL PARK OF THE ULYSSES RIVIERA
Gaeta isn’t just sea and history, but also nature: here is located the Regional Natural Park of Mount Orlando with a total extent of 89 hectares, 59 land hectares and 30 sea hectares. The promontory of Mount Orlando is the extreme offshoot of the Aurunci Mountains and a special wildlife chest. The natural reserve is managed by the Regional Natural Park of the Ulysses Riviera, which also includes the surrounding municipalities of the Regional Suburban Park of Gianola and Scauri and the Natural Monument of Sperlonga. For those who love nature, visiting all 4 parks would be a unique experience, thanks to the variety of vegetation, fauna and landscape. Looking back at the reserve of Mount Orlando, which has also been renamed mandolin, for its peculiar rounded shape, stretches towards the gulf and ending in a spectacular cliff sheer above the sea, appearing in most of the postcards from Gaeta. The park preserves a number of plant species, many of which are protected, and represents the green lung of the town.
The variety of Mediterranean plants is rich, bonding the archaeological artefacts and the deep-blue sea, creating an extremely harmonious fusion of colours. Mount Orlandois also a perfect place where to take a walk in the wood not too far from the town. One of the most interesting excursions available is the one starting from the Sanctuary of the Holy Trinity, which stands upon the remains of the old Roman Villa of Lucio Munazio Planco, the mausoleum of which remains completely intact on the mountain top. The excursion continues towards the Turks grottoand the Split Mountain,which also gives access to the Natural Park of Mount Orlando. The wild beauty of the location, the surrounding silence and peace make this path unforgettable and particularly loved by different categories of people: nature lovers, sportsmen, hikers, rock climbers, birdwatchers and divers, but also by those passionate about photography and history, who take pictures of these amazingly steep cliffs that fall into the sea. For what concerns the historical aspect, this marvellous landscape intertwines with military fortifications from different eras, conferring the requirements of an impregnable fortress and therefore becoming a strategic point for the Kingdom of Naples.