Montecatini Terme is a charming spa town in Tuscany, with beautiful Art Nouveau thermal baths set in gardens. You can indulge in a whole host of health or beauty treatments, or just stroll around the lovely town. It’s been a popular retreat with aristocrats and celebs since the turn-of-the-20th century, and still boasts designer shops and chic cafés and bars. A little funicular makes the climb up to the medieval village of Montecatini Alta, which offers amazing views over the rolling hills. The breathtaking cities of Florence and Pisa are less than an hour’s drive away, and gorgeous little Lucca, wrapped in Renaissance walls, is only about 25 minutes away.
Most popular hotels in Montecatini
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 2h 15m
When to go
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Montecatini Terme has no less than 9 thermal baths that occupy gorgeous Art Nouveau buildings set in lovely gardens. After soaking in the warm spa waters, you can explore the charming Tuscan town, full of fountains and handsome piazzas. There are lots of inviting cafés, bars and restaurants, plus plenty of designer shops to browse through. And after dark, you can linger in one of the town’s enotecas, sampling the local wines. A funicular trundles up to Montecatini Alta, the charming medieval village, which has wonderful views. And there are a host of spectacular day trips: gorgeous Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance, and Pisa, with its famous leaning tower, are both 45 minutes’ drive away. Or you could hit the beaches at Torre del Lago.
Montecatini Terme has a fantastic array of places to eat and drink, whether you want to splash out on gourmet cuisine at an award-winning restaurant or prefer to tuck into home-cooked dishes at a local trattoria. Go for some classic Tuscan pasta dishes like tortelli Lucches, meat-filled ravioli, or pici all’aglione, hand-rolled thick strings of pasta in a garlicky tomato sauce. Then you could move on to some beautifully fresh seafood, or perhaps a succulent beef stew. The biscuits, cakes and chocolates in the area are famous, and you’ll be able to admire the extraordinary creations in the town’s many pasticcerias.
Montecatini Terme is a wonderful place for a relaxed and enjoyable family holiday in the Tuscan sunshine. The gorgeous spas won’t hold much appeal for younger kids, but they will love running riot through the gardens, and sitting out on the lovely piazzas with an ice-cream. The ride up to the Montecatini Alta in the funicular is always fun for children, and the narrow streets of the old town are fun to explore. There is a host of trekking routes and picnic spots in the surrounding hills, or you could rent out mountain bikes or take a horse-riding excursion. Older kids might love the art museums of Florence, but younger kids will probably prefer the crazy angle of the leaning tower of Pisa.
Action & Adventure
The hills around Montecatini Terme offer a host of wonderful outdoor activities. You could follow some of the lovely walking trails, or rent out mountain-bikes, or even go horse-riding. You can also explore the Fucecchio Marshes, Italy’s largest inland wetlands, which attract huge numbers of migrating birds. The canals can be explored by boat, and there are also hiking trails, hides and guided walks. There are more trails and migrating birds at the Massaciuccoli Lake near Torre del Lago by the sea. If you love water sports, you can swim, or rent out kayaks and paddle-boards at the wonderful beaches nearby.
Montecatini Terme is a gorgeous Tuscan hill town. You can soak away in its inviting spa waters, but if you’re looking for sun, sea and sand, the nearest beaches are a 45-minute drive away in vibrant Torre del Lago. Take your pick from the main beach, a long swathe of sand with lots of private lidos offering sunbeds and parasols for rent, which is reached through pine forest. There’s another well equipped beach just north in Viareggio, which is easier to get to. If you want to escape the crowds, head down to the wild and unspoilt Lecciona beach, which is backed by the Migliarino nature reserve. It has no facilities, so don’t forget your parasol and a picnic.
Montecatini Terme is a relaxed and elegant little town. While you won’t find much in the way of wild nightlife, there’s still enough to do after dusk to keep things lively. There are lots of inviting cafés out on the squares, where you can sip a drink and watch the world go by. And if you want to try some of the region’s wonderful wines, head to an enoteca, where you can sample the local vintages along with some snacks. There are a few bars and clubs, but for some serious nightlife than head to Florence. It’s got an excellent nightlife scene, with something to suit all tastes. For the best gay bars and clubs, you could head to Torre del Lago, a fantastic, gay-friendly destination.
The picture-postcard Tuscan hill town of Montecatini Terme, with its Belle Époque thermal baths and gorgeous fountains and squares, is perfect for an unforgettable holiday with your partner. What could be more romantic than soaking in the warm waters at an Art Nouveau spa? And then strolling through the handsome streets to find a table outdoors at a stylish restaurant for lunch. After lunch, you could enjoy a bit of shopping, then take the funicular up to the enchanting medieval village of Montecatini Alta to enjoy the sunset views. You could also head to the beach for the day, or admire the world-famous artworks in Florence, or visit lovely, walled Lucca.
Montecatini Terme has long been famous for its thermal baths, which are located in beautiful Art Nouveau buildings set in gardens. There’s also a charming little Art Nouveau pavilion next to the theatre, which was originally used for the sale of salts for the baths. The grandest buildings are spread along the Viale Verdi, also known as the Vialone dei Bagni. Here you’ll find the Palazzina Regia, the Medici family’s summer residence, and the early 20th-century town hall. The oldest part of town is Montecatini Alta, which crowns the hill and is reached by the delightful little funicular railway. As well as the beautiful panoramic views, you can take a stroll through the narrow streets to admire the medieval clock tower and the Romanesque church of Santa Maria a Ripa.