BEST FAMILY SUMMER HOLIDAY

zadina beach | adriatic coast | italy

As I’m taking a week off to be with the children 100% I decided to re-publish a couple of my popular older posts.

Now is about the time we start thinking of booking our family summer holiday.

So where better to start than this post of our best family summer holiday in Cesenatico, Italy!  If you’re wondering where to go next summer I highly recommend the Hotel Beau Soleil.

READ ON FOR A LITTLE INSPIRATION & ALL THE DETAILS…

We said goodbye to our Aussie friends & the beautiful big Tuscan villa then set off for a short three hour drive across to the other side of Italy known as Emilia Romagna. To be more precise, Zadina a little village on the outskirts of a small town called Cesenatico. I stumbled upon this quintessentially italian holiday destination on the internet about six years ago when I had just two babies. We’ve been back every year since & although for a few years Mark & I would say we really should try somewhere new, we just can’t seem to let go. And here’s why….

The Hotel Beau Soleil is family owned & run with the same wonderful attentive staff year on in. We often see the same guests too, they must feel as we do, like part of the extended family. Or at least that distant cousin you only see at a family wedding, you know the one you feel connected to but don’t really know very well? It’s easy just slipping into that groove & as the children have grown up we’ve felt more at ease with letting them roam around the hotel, leaving them at the kids club for an hour or allowing them the freedom to go downstairs to breakfast ahead of us.
It’s tricky squeezing a family of 5 into 1 hotel room however with this one it works. We get the same room every year which is split into two parts & with a very high ceiling gives the feeling of more space. The first part, as you walk in has a single bed, double bunk & wardrobe as well as a large window. There’s a door through to the next part which has a large double bed, wardrobe, dressing table & the en suite. Essentially there’s also a breezy balcony with a small clothes line which is a must for the endless wet cozzies. We always ask for a little fridge to be brought up to our room that we use for drinks & a supply of fresh prosciutto & cheese from the local grocer so we can stay in at lunch time when it’s too hot out for the kids. More often than not they’ll have a little nap giving husband & I that skerrick of respite you rarely get on holiday when you have young children.

zadina beach umbrellas cesenatico italy

looking at the adriatic from gabbiano restaurant zadina | cesenatico | italy
Looking out to the Adriatic from Ristorante Gabbiano.

ristorante gabbiano | zadina spiaggia
Ristorante Gabbiano | Zadina beach

italian seafood salad | ristorante gabbiano | zadina cesenatico | italy
Freddo di Mare

Sardoncini Grat | Ristorante Gabbiano | Zadina spiaggia | Cesenatico
Sardoncini Grat

Zadina Spiaggia

A flat sandy beach, which although isn’t the most picturesque I’ve ever seen has something much more attractive to me these days…

gabbiano ristorante | zadina spiaggia | cesenatico | italy

Child safety.
Oh & COFFEEEE.
Rarely a wave & shallow for what seems like miles, I don’t feel on a razors edge when the kids go in. Although when they were little we mostly paddled on the shore building sandcastles & collecting shells, these days we can’t get them out of the water! If they do get out & want to play there are also Little Tykes wendy houses, fuse ball, ping-pong & volley ball dotted along the top of the beach where the restaurants are so if you’re getting fried there is retreat rather than surrender for Mama.
We’ve developed some happy habits here such as having lunch at Gabbiano, our favourite beach restaurant. Of course it’s seafood every time, always the mussels & always the sardines among other delectable delights. We’ll enjoy our feast, then walk it off along the seashore. I’ll let you in on a little secret…It costs roughly the same as an average take away from your local, cheap as chips! I know, criminal!

kids playing with fishing net in the adriatic | zadina | italy

zadina beach on the adriatic coast of italy

antik batik orange and brown halterneck maxi dress
Antik Batik maxi dress.

the park | zadina | cesenatico | italy

the park by the beach at zadina | italy

pine forrest park by the beach | zadina | cesenatico | rimini | ital

bikes on loan from hotel beau soliel | zadina | cesenatico

kids club at hotel beau soliel zadina cesenatico

Back to the hotel for a swim in the pool which is a proper length.

If you fancy a few laps there are a couple of lanes set aside otherwise the entire rest of the pool is for play. Alongside it is a toddler pool with adjoining jacuzzi so nobody is left out. If the pool isn’t your thing the beach is only a two minute walk through the delightful pine forest park which provides a wind break & protection from the blazing high summer sun. It is sympathetically set up with kids swings, slides & climbing frames that we’ll often make good use of right before dinner to work up an appetite.

hotel beau soliel pool | zadina

Cesenatico proper is a pretty port town of about 20,000 cyclists people.

It’s an easy stroll to circumnavigate taking in the colourful boats & wandering through the small shops. Indulge in your favourite gelato combination (mine’s chocolate & lemon btw) or sample some of that delicious locally caught seafood they have around here!
There isn’t anything that Hotel Beau Soliel could do to provide us with more opportunities to relax at this stage in our young family’s life. It’s location in the rustic village of Zadina, has more than adequate essential shops for supplies & browsing. There really is no need for a car here so we returned our rental to the local depot the day we arrived & the hotel will drive us to Bologna airport when we depart.
Along with the kids club at the hotel they have bicycles to borrow for all ages including baby seats when our kids were too little to ride. Cesenatico & it’s surrounds are perfect for cycling because it’s completely flat consequently absolutely everybody here rides! Obviously with so many cyclists the roads have cycle lanes & the drivers are all very bike aware making it feel safe even for a part-time biker like me. occasionally we’ll take the bikes into town but I also like the little local bus. For 2 Euros you get a gentle tour of the town that goes every hour & only takes 20 minutes.

cesenatico | italy

cesenatico italy

taking the local zadina bus to cesenatico town

bicycles cesenatico italy

bicycles of cesenatico port town on the adriatic coast italy

pinocchio souvenirs in cesenatico
Pinocchio souvenir shop

shopping in cesenatico port town italy

souvenir shopping in cesenatico italy
Souvenir shopping in Cesenatico

kids eating gelato in cesenatico italy
Another Italian town, another gelato.

Yep I reckon we’ll go back next year, what do you think? Do you have a holiday destination you can’t say goodbye to?
Ciao…Mx

  • Comments ( 9 )

  • avatar
    Cory

    Another FANTASTIC post, Michelle. I felt like I was there while reading this. The Hotel Beau Soleil sounds like the perfect family vacation spot. No wonder you keep going back to it. And these pictures are all gorgeous. Love your outfits and the food. That one of Jasper singing opera cracked me up. I’m more of an ocean gal than a pool patron, and that beach looks ideal for plopping myself down beneath an umbrella and getting lost in a good book. *happy sigh*

    We don’t have any vacation spots that we regularly return to. Right now, we’re trying to see as much of the world as possible. I think once we’ve satisfied our wanderlust, we’ll likely settle into a more regular routine and begin returning to our favorites. Hopefully we can find something as wonderful as Zadina is for your family!

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      I don’t blame you Cory there are so many amazing places out there, that’s why we asked ourselves if we should go somewhere new. But it’s so different travelling with kids, you need the rest as much as the excitement & a balance is hard to crack. I think if I hadn’t already done so much i’d feel compelled to push the boundaries so yes you’ve hit the nail on the head…
      Fyi – next post is all about the outfits! Hope to see you then x

      • avatar
        Cory

        I totally understand. I think if we had kids, we’d definitely find places that work and stick to them. Can’t wait to see all the beautiful outfits!

  • avatar
    Sandy

    Loved your description and photos of Cesenatico and Zadina! I’ve been to just three cities in Italy, but now have a strong desire to see the town and the hotel you return to (and I can see why you do). Our kids are teens, but would still probably enjoy the peacefulness there. Hate to say it, but they’d probably be happy anywhere as long as they had internet access. Do you see many teens there?

    Beautiful post.

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Welcome Sandy & thanks for popping by, I really appreciate your lovely compliments.
      As a matter of fact there are a few teens at the hotel every year we’re there. This year 3 Italian boys from 2 different families were all messing about on the diving board & throwing a beach ball to my son, very friendly. They didn’t really speak much English but I like that my kids have that different kind of interaction & it teaches them to use some Italian words.
      Never fear there is free wifi at the hotel! 😉

  • avatar
    Lisa

    We go to Ile de Ré every year. Why? Because my husband went every year with his parents (who still go yearly) so it is kind of a tradition. It isn’t my favourite place on planet earth, but it is easy and comfortable and charming, and (most importantly) there is good ice cream! I’m starting to appreciate the familiarity of it, now that I’ve gone for the past six years… a sort of home away from home. I can see that is what you feel with Cesenatico. I love the photos and the descriptions; it makes me want to go there! xx

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      That’s it Lisa, there’s a lot to be said for “familiarity” when you have kids for sure. With cesenatico you get good value for money so other mini breaks are still on the cards! 😉

  • avatar
    Petite Silver Vixen

    2 maxis for the price of one! The orange batik one is stunning. And the photo of the kids with ice creams on their faces is adorable. (From Catherine’s maxi link-up)

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Hahaha I know it’s so cute when they get ice-cream on their faces, I love it but it’s messy. That orange dress I wore when I was pregnant with my 2nd baby, it’s so old. I think it’s timeless though plus it has a true retro style about it & for me that never goes out of fashion 😉
      Thanks for popping by I hope to see you again xxx

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