Where is Le Marche? How To Get To Italy’s Most Beautiful Region
Rivalling Tuscany in terms of scenery, but with the added bonus of 180 kilometres of coastline that faces the Adriatic Sea, 17 Blue Flag beaches, 26 beach resorts (tip – there are so many things to do in San Benedetto del Tronto) and nine marinas. Inland, the region has numerous historical towns and villages, vast mountain ranges, freshwater lakes, grand architecture, ancient churches and mighty cathedrals. Add to the mix cobbled medieval hilltop towns in Le Marche, and some of the most delicious dishes in Italy.
We call Le Marche “Italy’s best kept secret”, as although a popular vacation-spot for Italians, it has not been saturated or ruined by mass tourism.
One of the features that attracted us to Le Marche is the low priced real estate market that spreads throughout the region. Many of these houses for sale are ready-for-restoration ruins or inherited homes that nobody seems to want anymore. This has created an amazing property market and you can pick up a spacious rustic home with fantastic views for around a third of what it will cost in Tuscany.
So, with so much going for it, how do you get to Le Marche?
Whether you are travelling from the UK, USA or European countries such as Germany, Belgium or the Netherlands, there are flights connecting these countries to Le Marche’s two main airports, Ancona and Pescara. As Bologna and Rome are only a few hours drive from the region, these airports are better served by a wider variety of airlines and offer more choice to travellers.
See below for our suggested routes on getting to Le Marche from the UK.
We love to drive to our hilltop house and our two-day adventure involves a ferry to Calais, a drive though France and an overnight in Switzerland. From there we head south through Como and join the A50 in Milan, after that it’s autostrada (motorway) all the way. This is a pleasant drive, and to break up the journey we enjoy plenty of stops for photos and food. In the summer months we try to spend a few days at Lake Como or Milan, if we aren’t in too much of a hurry.
There are plenty of variations of this journey, including a road trip through northern France, south through the Alps and on into Chamonix. A scenic drive through the Mont Blanc Tunnel takes you straight to Italia. This route is beautiful with plenty of scenic photo stops to be had, just be sure to have winter tyres fitted if you’re travelling between November and April – a legal requirement in this part of France, Switzerland, and Italy.
Another route that combines an Alpine drive with popular cities involves heading to Strasbourg from Calais, south around Brussels and into Switzerland at Basel. Drive straight to Montreux, and should you catch a mid-morning ferry, you will arrive in time for dinner. Treat yourself to a night in a hotel on Lake Geneva if the sight of an awesome sunrise is your thing, (like it is ours!) Next day it’s a scenic route straight through the Grand Saint Bernard Tunnel, weaving through the Alps before entering Italy in Aosta. Once there you join the autostrada, head south, take in the views of the sea along this side of Italy’s Adriatic Coast, then it’s plain sailing (or rather, driving) all the way.
For the return journey it’s good to note that there are usually less queues at the port of Dunkirk than there are in Calais, and the travel time is only an extra 30 minutes, with both P&O & DFDS ferries operating services at virtually any hour of the day.
Planes & trains…
Should you want to be in Le Marche in two hours rather than in two days, then Ryanair operates a daily flight from London Stanstead direct to the region’s capital, Ancona, and also five days a week to the beach town of Pescara in Le Marche’s south. Pick up a hire car from either of these airports and head to your hotel, apartment or holiday home.
From London Heathrow, Italy’s national carrier Alitalia operate several daily flights to Rome, while British Airways fly year-round to both Rome and Bologna. Italy’s cheap rail services connect both of these cities with Ancona, where a non-stop journey through the Italian countryside from Rome takes three hours, and a shorter trip of just under two hours to Bologna.
If you prefer to fly from a regional airport closer to you in the UK, both Ryanair and Easyjet offer flights to Bologna and Rome, enabling you to explore these cities, hire a car and be at Le Marche’s Adriatic coast in less than three hours.
Le Marche attracts many visitors from the Netherlands, who either drive through Belgium and Switzerland before arriving into Italy, or who fly from Dusseldorf or Belgium into Ancona or Pescara airports.
Visitors and people with vacation homes who reside in the USA or Canada may find it more convenient to get a flight from their homeland directly to Rome, where major routes are serviced, and then either taking a connecting flight to Ancona or driving to Le Marche from there.
Out Now – ‘A Prima Vista: Our Journey to Buying & Restoring an Italian Home’
Our guide on how to buy and restore a house in Italy is out now