A Guide to the Best Beaches in Italy
Italy is a top holiday destination for many reasons. Beyond the food and historic sites, Italy is home to some of the best beaches in Europe.
With a coastline that extends along the Adriatic, Tyrrhenian, Ionian and Mediterranean seas, Italy is blessed with warm waters and excellent weather most of the year.
From the sandy beaches of Sardinia to the bustling resorts of Rimini, here is our guide to the beaches you won’t want to miss!
The Amalfi Coast is located in the sunny climes of southwest Italy and it’s one of the most enduringly popular coastal destinations in the country. This is where history meets the seaside, and you’ll find UNESCO World Heritage ruins towering over a dramatic coastline.
1. Marina Grande Positano
Marina Grande Positano is one of the most beaches on the Amalfi Coast, and also one of the best known in Italy. This is the main beach in Positano, a small town built onto the cliff and known for its colorful houses and lively atmosphere.
The pebbly beach is crowded in summer, but few other beaches along the Italian coast offer such incredible views. Here, you’ll find uninterrupted panoramas of the surrounding hills and cliffs stretching towards the sea.
2. Castiglione di Ravello
You’ll find the picturesque town of Ravello located high above the sea, perched dramatically on cliff tops. Far below, you’ll find the hidden beach of Castiglione.
The small beach is less well-known than the beaches around Positano, but it’s just as beautiful. While the town of Ravello is a popular tourist draw for its exceptional views, not as many people make the journey to Castiglione beach, itself.
3. Fiordo di Furore
Another beautiful, somewhat hidden gem of a beach to visit on the Amalfi Coast is Fiordo di Furore. The beach is sandwiched between two high cliffs forming a narrow gorge where you’ll find turquoise blue water. To top this off, an arched bridge rises high between the two cliff faces and a winding staircase leads you back up from the beach.
4. Fornillo Beach, Positano
Another classic Amalfi Coast beach to visit is Fornillo Beach, located close to the popular town of Positano.
While Fornillo is busy in summer, unlike the Marina Grande there are fewer tourists and you can always find a quiet spot along the sand and exceptional views of the surrounding cliffs.
Puglia, also known as Apulia, is located in the southeastern region that forms the iconic ‘boot’ of Italy. With miles of coastline wrapped around the convergence of the Ionian and Adriatic Seas, you’ll discover stretches of beautiful sand and turquoise waters.
5. Otranto Beach
Otranto is a small town that’s just a short journey from the bustling southern city of Lecce. It makes for a great escape in the Puglia Region.
Alongside an Aragonese castle, soaring cathedrals and a ramshackle yet historic town, you will find Otranto Beach and many more secret beaches to that stretch along the coastline either side of the town.
The walled town of Gallipoli overlooks the Ionian Sea and is one of the best places in Puglia to visit if you are looking for a mixture of history, sun, sea and sand.
Spend your morning strolling along the ramparts and visiting the 13th-century fortifications and castles, before spending the afternoon lounging on the main beach in town.
7. Maldives of Salento
The Maldives of Salento is named in the likeness of the islands and atolls of the Maldives. The sea is a vibrant shade of turquoise and the beaches more tropical than the Mediterranean in look and feel.
The long stretch of coast starts in Torre Pali and heads south towards Torre Vado, offering quiet, hidden spots unlike anywhere else in the country.
Sardinia is the largest of Italy’s islands, and one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean. For beach lovers, some of the best stretches of Italian coastline are found here. With warm waters and clear seas, there are few better holiday destinations than Sardinia.
8. Cala Goloritze
Cala Goloritze is one of the most breathtaking beaches in Italy, formed by a landslide in 1962.
It is relatively new as far Italian landscapes go, but it’s certainly a beautiful spot in the south of Sardinia, where you’ll find an imposing cliff-top rising to almost 150 meters above the soft white sand and vivid turquoise water lapping gently against the beach.
9. Spiaggia di Piscinas
Soft white sand and glimmering turquoise water characterize the beach of Spiaggia di Piscinas, where golden dunes flow uninterrupted along the coast for several kilometers. It’s a marvelous sight to see and there’s plenty of space to go around.
While you can stroll through the large dunes or sit back in the sand, it’s also a wonderful snorkeling destination and there’s a shipwreck just off the coast that is popular with scuba divers.
10. Cala Brandinchi
Another beautiful Sardinian destination is Cala Brandinchi, a place that would look more at home in the South Pacific than off the coast of Italy. The beach is called Little Tahiti as it resembles the Polynesian islands. The white sand and glistening water will irrevocably draw your gaze for hours.
The sands stretch for just under a kilometer in a half-crescent shape leading out to the water. It’s a beautiful place to relax and simply admire the scenery.
Sicily is a beautiful Italian island, separated from the mainland by the Strait of Messina. Home to the towering volcanic peak of Mount Etna, Sicily has been shaped by nature, where you will find stunning beaches alongside ancient ruins.
11. San Vito Lo Capo
Sicily has a remarkable number of beaches, but one of the best on the island is San Vito Lo Capo. The small town of San Vito Lo Capo, while now a popular holiday resort, has an intriguing collection of medieval, Norman-era buildings to explore, while the tall mountain peak overlooks the area from the far end of the beach. You’ll find rows of parasols and plenty of great restaurants and bars here.
Another enduringly popular beach destination in Sicily is Cefalu. Located along the northern coast of the island, this is a town that dates back to the days of ancient Greek colonization and it also has a wonderful collection of Norman-era, medieval architecture.
For many though, Cefalu’s beaches are the biggest draw, with the town’s historic buildings forming a lovely backdrop against the white sands. The beaches run along the coast on either side of Cefalu, with many secluded spots to discover.
Perhaps the most iconic beach in Sicily, Mondello is a must-visit for anyone exploring the island for the first time. Located just along the coast from the city of Palermo, Mondello fills with tourists in the summer, but stay on a little later in the day and you’ll find most of the day-trippers from the city have left before sunset.
Here you can find restaurants, bars and piers, and old bathhouses that add to the summer-holiday vibes.
14. Isola Bella
One of the most beautiful spots in Sicily is Isola Bella, a small, rocky outcrop connected to the mainland by a thin stretch of sand. Overlooking a turquoise bay beneath the popular town of Taormina, this is not only prime viewing estate but prime snorkeling territory too. The beach is rocky, but the landscapes and the clear water are absolutely spectacular to see.
Calabria is mainland Italy’s most southerly region and it overlooks Sicily and forms the infamous ‘toe’ of the country’s ‘boot’. This is excellent beach territory with a wonderful climate and plenty of coastline to explore.
15. Tropea Beach
You can’t go wrong with a visit Tropea Beach in Calabria, one of Italy’s cleanest and most beautiful beaches.
The land of the Greek and Roman gods, Tropea was supposedly founded by Hercules. Beyond a coastline steeped in mythology, you’ll also enjoy several kilometers of beaches framed by dramatic cliffs and hidden coves.
Another mythological beach destination is Scilla, where a legendary Greek sea monster was purported to have resided and caused havoc when sailors passed by.
Found in a dramatic, rocky location overlooking the sea, Scilla is better known today for its beaches and seafood than it is for shipwrecks. An ancient castle towers above the fishing town, and you will enjoy the beaches as you gaze along the coastline of Calabria, far into the distance.
Soverato is a classic Italian beach holiday town located along the Calabrian coast. Tourism is booming in Soverato, and much of that is due to the fact that the town has a glorious stretch of white sand that looks out over the Ionian Sea.
As you wander along a long tree-lined boulevard, you’ll find parasols lying in wait under the hot sun, and there are plenty of hotels and an ever-growing number of resorts reaching further along the coast.
18. Le Castella
For a look at one of the most dramatic beachfront locations in all of Italy, then pay a visit to Le Castella. Here you’ll find the medieval castle that has overlooked the village since the 13th century, when it defended the coast.
Steeped in history fromTurkish pirates that raided the Italian coast, today it is for its ancient fortifications, a marine reserve and long beach offering distant views of the village and the towers of the castle.
OTHER BEACHES IN ITALY
Looking out over the Adriatic Sea in the Emilia-Romagna Region in the north of the country, the city of Rimini is perhaps the best-known beach holiday destination in Italy. In summer, the city turns into a huge beach resort, as package holiday tourists arrive from across Europe to enjoy the sands, the food and nightlife.
Built on the sands of one of the longest continuous beaches in Italy, Rimini stretches 15 kilometers along the coastline. This is a classic beach holiday location, where you can sit under a parasol for the day, sipping on cocktails or cold drinks, before spending the night eating and drinking along the long boulevard.
20. Venice Lido
While Venice is best known for its canals and historic attractions, the waterfront city also has an iconic lido, found a short ferry ride away from the city, itself.
Venice Lido is a sandbar that sits in the Venetian Lagoon, forming a barrier against the sea. Several thousand people call this 11-kilometer stretch of sand home, while thousands more visit every day, especially in summer, to soak up the sun and to escape the crowded canals and streets of the city.
If you’re dreaming of traveling to Italy and exploring its superb beaches, contact Italy4Real to find out more about our small group tours and luxury customized trips.