Summer vacation in Italy for most typically means making your rounds to Venice, Florence and Rome. Although, what most tourists fail to realize is that summer in Italy is best experienced at the beach. The Italian peninsula is home to some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in the world. From the natural reserves of Elba, white sand beaches in Puglia, to the rocky coastline of the Amalfi Coast, you are sure to find the perfect escape for your summer holiday.
The diversity of fabulous beaches is seemingly endless. Whether you are looking for a secluded, private beach, posh resort with beachside food and drink service, or a family friendly getaway escape, you are sure to find one in Italy. Not only is the Mediterranean state abundant with secluded and undiscovered beaches, but it also is hard to beat the overall charm, exquisite food and fascinating history that Italy has to offer. Each region with a unique geography, cuisine and culture of their own, you can be sure it will continue to have you coming back for more each summer.
The heel of Italy’s boot, this mostly undiscovered region in Italy is home to some of the most pristine beaches not only in Italy, but probably the world. At this unique peninsula, discover beaches where the Adriatic Sea meets the Ionian.
- Spiaggia di Pescoluse: Nicknamed the Maldives del Salento (Maldives of Salento), this beach is at the southern most point in Puglia. Grab some lounge chairs and an umbrella for the day for around €10 and experience the white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters. You may even forget that you are in Italy, but instead on a relaxing island getaway.
- Baia Verde, Gallipoli: Looking for a livelier beach, head to the coastline just below the fortressed city of Gallipoli. Walk down the sandy stretch, and you will find an array of beach clubs perfect for both those looking to relax and catch some rays or day party. For a live DJ and Aperol Spritz, head to Samsara Beach Club. For a more relaxed vibe with backround music and a bar that serves up drinks and food, Bikini Beach Club is a perfect option.
- Lama Monachile Cala Porto, Poglinano a Mare: Wedged between two cliffs, this narrow stretch of beach is likely one of the most picturesque in all of Italy. Join fellow sunbathers along this public beach for a swim in bright blue waters, and possibly even a snorkel into the grottos situated along the parallel cliffsides. After a long day in the sun, stop at the local ristorante, Fly (Vico Cala Porto 13), just above the beach for an aperitivo and chance to watch the sunset from one of the most spectacular terrace viewpoints.
The island of Sicily may be one of the most magical destinations in Italy. Seemingly stopped in time, the Italian charm that is Italy truly comes alive here. Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, there are seemingly an infinite number of options for a seaside vacation. Some of the best in the region are the following.
- Cala Rossa, Isola di Favignana: Just off the western coast of Sicily, the Aegean Islands are just a short, high-speed ferry ride from the port town of Trapani. Hop on the ferry for a day trip to the most beautiful of the three islands, to Favignana. Upon arrival, rent a bicycle or scooter and set off exploring the small island escape, hopping from one beach to the next. One you cannot miss is Cala It is truly like something you only see in photos, the waters are so clear that you can see the shadow of boats on the sandy ocean floor below. It is also the perfect snorkeling escape along its’ rocky beach, so be sure to bring some goggles and flippers.
- Isola Bella, Taormina: Just below the famed city of Taormina, this quaint and charming beach has a shallow pathway to the island just off the shore. Also referred to as The Pearl of the Ionian Sea, this small bayside beach and nature reserve is the perfect getaway for a relaxing day at the beach.
- San Vito Lo Capo: Situated in a protected bay area, escape the coastal winds and grab a lounge chair under the towering Mount Monaco. This low-key, typical Italian beach locale is the perfect way to spend a day at the beach for both singles and families alike.
The crescent shaped region in the northwestern portion of Italy, and known as the Italian Riviera. Of course home to the five famed seaside towns of Cinque Terre, though the best beaches lie mostly undiscovered by tourists and are true Italian getaways.
- Baia del Silenzio, Sestri Levante: Characterized by fine golden sand beaches, calm waters inside this tucked away bay and its’ beautiful rocky coastline. This is the perfect Italian Riviera beach town for those looking to stay outside the tourist traps of Cinque Terre while also still being a short 20 minute train ride away for day trips to the famed, cliffside towns. A must do in this Italian holiday town is a Catamaran sailing tour that you can find just at the port. Head out into the calm waters for a relaxing and adventurous sailing cruise. Get the chance to jump into crystal waters, snorkel for marine life below, and marvel at the jetting cliffs from the sandy beaches ashore.
Just off the coast of Tuscany, this Tyrrhenian Sea Island is a part of the Archipelago National Park. Specifically known for its’ beaches, it is no wonder that Napolean chose this as his place of exile from 1814 to 1815.
- Spiaggia di Sansone: Arguably one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Head to this mesmerizing beach, if possible on a day without wind, for perfect views into the crystal clear waters. As the cliffs meet the coastline, white sand jets out into the turquoise waters. For adventure seekers, head to the cliff that separates this beach from Sorgente Beach for an opportunity to go cliff jumping.
The largest Italian island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Sardinia is no stranger to ranking among the best beaches in the world. Best compared to Caribbean-esque beaches, with stretches of soft white sand and glistening blue waters, Sardinia’s beach clubs, coves and secluded natural reserves are all bucket list musts when it comes to Italian beach holidays. On this relatively large island, you are sure to find the perfect seaside spot for whatever your holiday needs are, whether it includes relaxation, family friendly or water sports.
- Putzu Idu: A highly frequented locale for windsurfers and kitesurfers alike, this beach lies on the northern peninsula of Sardinia. For those looking for a more active Italian holiday, the town surrounding the beach includes quaint vacation rentals and accommodations and typical Italian bars and restaurants for the full setup.
- Spiaggia di Piscinas: For a taste of Sardinia outside of the resorts and tourism, make the drive to Costa Verde (Green Coast) for an exclusive beach characterized by golden sand dunes that reach up to 60 meters high and crystalline blue waters.
- Spiaggia del Principe: In the renowned region of Costa Smeralda enjoy the views of mega and super yachts just off the coastline as you sip on a cold glass of prosecco with your toes in the shimmering sand. Take a dive into the clear, calm waters and explore the rocky sea sides for a chance to snorkel and explore the marine life in true paradise.
The toe of Italy’s boot, Calabria is truly the essence of undiscovered beach gems. Surprisingly hidden from tourists, this region is full of enchanting seaside towns and illuminating blue waters both along the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas.
- Práia a Mare: In the more northern region of Calabria, known as Cosenza, Praia a Mare lies on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Most notable for Dino Island, a World Heritage Site as a result of its’ sea caves that irradiate underwater light creating an iridescently blue hue to the sea. The beach is also unique in its’ volcanic black sand, giving it a striking contrast between the dark stretches of beach and crystalline waters. For those looking for full beachside experience, there are also plenty of lidos (beach clubs) with lounge chairs, umbrellas and full service bars. For a more naturesque escape, head to the nearby Pollino National Park for windsurfing, scuba diving and snorkeling, as well as hiking.
- Tropea: This fabulous white sand beach of the region is often referred to by locals as the “Positano of the South”, and by Ancient Greeks as the “Coast of the Gods.” Lay out on the glistening sands and soak up the rays, gorgeous views of the cliff jetting up from the shoreline and light reflecting off of the marvelous blue waters ahead. On a particularly clear day, keep an eye out for a glimpse of the volcano on the Aeolian island of Stromboli.