10 Things to Do in Cervia #inEmiliaRomagna with Kids!
It’s no secret that I love the Riviera Romagnola, the North Eastern coastline of Italy along the Adriatic Sea. Every year in June I go with my son for a few weeks of alone time and I’ve described the tradition of June beach going here. This year was the first time we went to Cervia so I wanted to share some info for anyone who is planning a trip to the area comprised of Cervia, Milano Marittima, Tagliata or Pinarella!
This year I’m really happy that the Emilia Romagna Tourism board reached out to me and invited us to do many different things in the area. These weren’t necessarily things I would have done on my own, and they turned out to be really nice experiences for the three of us. I’ve written in-depth posts of most of these ideas, so feel free to pop over to those posts for visiting info and details.
I will be the first to admit that you won’t find the crystal clear waters of Sardegna in the “Riviera” but you will find PLENTY of things to do as a family. There is something for everyone from toddlers to retirees…. actually my dream is to one day be a retiree with a house in Romagna, spending my days playing bocce on the sand, dancing the waltz in the evenings and waking up at 7 to wade in the low tide!
The Riviera Romagnola makes vacationing with a family very EASY because everything you need is very convenient and well-planned. Actually “Romagnoli” are known throughout Italy for their hospitality and organization. Plus, IT IS ITALY!!, so there are plenty of Roman ruins, Byzantine mosaics, cultural events and natural wonders to satisfy your adult vacation needs as well….all mixed in with a good dose of RELAX, because you know your kids are having a good time and are welcome EVERYWHERE!
10 Things to Do in Cervia with Kids!
1 – Go To The Beach!
You’re on the Coast after all, so a day at the beach (or a week, or two) is a must!) Italians live by a set of sun-bathing rules – and I’m not kidding. They follow a pretty strict guideline for their beach-going ritual that is both logical and practical. In fact, you could say they have beach-going down to an art!
Head to an Italian “Bagno” – a section of private beach complete with umbrellas and sun beds that you can rent for your stay, and enjoy their luxury services right on the waterfront. Many offer a kid’s club and kid’s activities, a play area, fitness classes, massages, hot showers and change rooms with baby changing facilities. Plus, they also have storage rooms for your beach toys, pressurized pumps for inflating your floating mattress in seconds and paddle boat rentals!
2 – Enjoy The Nightlife – that’s right NIGHT LIFE WITH KIDS
While on vacation in Emilia Romagna do as the Italians do and let the kids stay up late! After your morning at the beach and lunch, why not take an afternoon nap so you’re all refreshed for a late dinner and evening stroll. Seriously, the afternoon nap is the secret to really enjoying your evening because everyone is well-rested and not grumpy.
It is SO HOT in Italy in the summer, that you’ll want to enjoy the slightly cooler evening temperatures and hopefully there will even be a breeze. We love taking a walk after dinner to get an ice-cream, go the the arcades or even go to a museum, because they are often open late! Check out this post on Cervia’s Sweet Salt Museum and Gallery which is open after dinner in the summer!
There is ALWAYS something happening from markets, concerts, exhibits and special events in Cervia. This summer we had the chance to check out the Family Land festival that happens for the entire month of June in and around Cervia. There were plenty of events that were also appropriate for kids who are non-Italian speakers.
We went to the dog show and face painting events at the Cervia Nature Park that were part of FamilyLand. To be perfectly honest, what I really like about these festivals is that you don’t have to try too hard to actually attend. They are frequent and held in all major tourist spots, so you are likely to stumble upon them at the right moment!
4 – La Casa delle Farfalle – Cervia’s Butterfly House
This year I discovered that Cervia is home to Italy’s largest Butterfly House with an attached Bug House. We loved this and will definitely return. Be sure to visit their website for their workshops and special events and feel free to read this review I wrote about the whole experience complete with all the info you need!
5 – Visit Cervia’s Nature Park and Tree Top Adventure Park
If the older kids are getting restless why not bring them to Cervia’s Adventure Park complete with tree-top suspended bridge route, zip lining and adventure tracks that are age appropriate from younger kids to adults! If you have really little ones in your group you can spend the day next door at the attached Nature Park! Shielded from the strong sun under an umbrella of Maritime Pine trees you can go to the petting zoo and you’re invited to bring vegetables to feed the animals!
Cervia is home to one of Italy’s very special food products – sweet salt! Now, this isn’t actually sweet, it is a very pure salt that is excellent in cooking and in my humble opinion makes cooking easier and yummier! We had a great day visiting the Saline di Camillone, the only part of Cervia where you can observe the salt harvest done the exact way it was thousands of years ago and even participate yourself.
Read about my visit to the Saline di Camillone here, I’ve also included visiting info and everything you need to plan a trip! **Bring some money to buy the actual salt that they sell, it is a Slow Food Presidium Product and makes a great gift!
7 – The Salt Museum and Byzantine Mosaics
I’ve mentioned before that one of the great things about having a beach vacation in Italy is that you are always close to something incredibly important and cultural!! There’s no need to feel as though you’re missing out on adult enrichment when visiting Cervia. Aside from the stunning natural surroundings of the ancient Pine trees, the Port and Italian boardwalks you can also visit Cervia’s MUSA – Museo del Sale which currently has a recently uncovered Byzantine mosaic on display that was breathtaking and in fantastic condition.
I’ve written about Cervia’s Salt Museum, the old converted salt warehouse turned museum and gallery here with all visiting info.
8 – Dinner Along the Port
Cervia makes for some great evening strolls especially along the port where you’ll often find markets, festivals and a great variety of very authentic restaurants. One of our favorite things to do is take an evening walk along the port, have a seafood dinner and then visit the MUSA salt museum and gallery. If you are looking for a nice sit down meal I recommend the restaurant La Brasserie Borgo Marina which has 10 highchairs and a children’s menu! We enjoyed the full seafood tasting menu for two which is a GREAT deal and will leave you very satisfied, plus it includes many of the traditional dishes of the area.
If you want to taste the local seafood specialties but you are looking for a more rustic experience that you’ll want to visit the Circolo Pescatori, where heaping portions of their fried fish and seafood risottos are served up on long tables where you sit yourself down wherever you find a spot!
An EVEN MORE rustic experience is to attend a “Sagra”, these are small festivals dedicated to a local food product, and you’ll have the chance to eat something typical for just a few euro!. In June there is “Cozze e Pesce in Festa” along Cervia’s Port. For a few euros a huge plate of mussels is served up and everyone sits together in a big open space to enjoy good food and a very low key environment. If your kids like seafood this is GREAT for them!
9 – Ride a Rickshaw
When in “Romagna” do as the Romagnoli! Riding a rickshaw is a very typical experience that all tourists MUST do. You’ll find these at any bike rental place along the beach boardwalks. For a few euro enjoy an hour or two of cycling as a family exploring the shoreline. Personally, I like renting them during the day, but many tourists (Italian and non) prefer an evening ride.
10 – VISIT AN AMUSEMENT PARK LIKE MIRABILANDIA!
The first time I visited an amusement park in Italy I was SHOCKED at how great it actually was. A few minutes from Cervia, you’ll find one of Italy’s largest amusement parks, Mirabilandia, which has an entire thrilling area dedicated to younger kids called Dinoland! One thing to keep in mind is that almost all of the play areas and rides have a height minimum, but most 3/3 and a half year olds should be fine.
These are just 10 things to do with your kids in Cervia to give you an idea of how to spend your time visiting the area. I have many other suggestions to explore the area and visit Rimini, Ravenna, Cesenatico and Milano Marittima all nearby. As I’ve mentioned the Emilia Romagna Tourism people were the ones to suggest we do a lot of these activities and I recommend visiting their site directly for planning help and lots of ideas.
Feel free to pin this for later or share it with a friend and if you’ve ever been to Cervia or the Riviera Romagnola I’d love to hear what you thought of the area and what you did!
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I thought I was just going to stay in Milan for a few months to learn Italian.
It's been 6 years. Now I work from home for an exotic leather belt brand, live in Modena (Pavarotti’s hometown and where Balsamic Vinegar and the Ferrari come from!) and I’m married to the guy who was once just my Italian lover. Together we have a very feisty and strong spirited toddler.
I thought becoming a mom and working from home, meant I would no longer have a reason to dress. Thankfully, Italy is filled with reasons to shop, get dressed and be seen.