These Are the Best Beaches in Italy
Italy is a top holiday destination for many reasons. It’s not just the glorious food or the ancient historic sites that bring in the tourists, because the country is home to some of the best beaches in Europe.
With a long coastline that extends along the Adriatic Sea, the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Ionian Sea and, of course, the Mediterranean Sea, Italy is blessed with warm waters and excellent weather for much of the year.
From the sandy beaches of Sardinia to the bustling holiday resorts of Rimini, here are the best beaches in Italy.
The Amalfi Coast is found 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 that is built back onto the cliff and that’s known for its colorful houses and lively atmosphere.
The beach is crowded in summer and in places it can be pebbly, but few other beaches along the Italian coast offer such incredible views. Here, you have uninterrupted panoramas of the surrounding hills and cliffs stretching towards the sea.
2. Castiglione di Ravello
The picturesque town of Ravello is found high above the sea, perched dramatically on cliffs tops. Far below the town, you can find the hidden beach of Castiglione.
The small beach is nowhere near as well known as the beaches around Positano, but it’s just as beautiful. While the town of Ravello is a popular tourist draw for the exceptional views on offer, not so 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. This beach is hidden away, and although the stretch of pebbles here is actually rather small, nowhere else can beat the location in terms of drama.
The beach is sandwiched between two high cliffs, which form a narrow gorge where you can find turquoise blue water. To top off the scene, an arched bridge rises high between the two cliff faces, and a winding staircase leads back up from the beach.
4. Fornillo Beach, Positano
Another classic Amalfi Coast beach to visit is Fornillo Beach, which is found close to the popular town of Positano.
While Fornillo can be busy in summer, unlike the Marina Grande it tends to be not so heaving with 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 the south eastern region that forms the iconic ‘boot’ of Italy. With miles of coastline wrapped around the convergence of the Ionian and Adriatic Seas, there are plenty of stretches of beautiful sand and turquoise waters waiting to be discovered, along with one of the best climates in Italy.
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 can find the excellent 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 your afternoon lounging on the main beach in town.
7. Maldives of Salento
The Maldives of Salento is a place that’s named in the likeness of the islands and atolls of the Maldives because 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, that means that some of the best stretches of Italian coastline can be 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. Surprisingly, the beach was caused by a landslide only a few decades ago in 1962.
It’s 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. Indeed, the beach is often called Little Tahiti for its resemblance to Polynesian islands, and the white sand and glistening water will irrevocably draw your gaze for hours.
The sands stretch for just under a kilometre, in a half-crescent shape, that leads out to the water. It’s a beautiful place to relax and simply admire the scenery.
Sicily is the beautiful Italian island that’s separated from the mainland by the Strait of Messina. Home to the towering volcanic peak of Mount Etna, this is an island that’s been shaped by nature, where you can 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 a tall mountain peak overlooks the area from the far end of the beach.
The long beach is lined with parasols, while you can enjoy plenty of great restaurants and bars along its length too.
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, it’s Cefalu’s beaches that are the biggest draw, with the town’s historic buildings forming a lovely backdrop against the white sands. The beaches run all along the coast either side of Cefalu and there are plenty more secluded spots set away from the town, just waiting to be discovered by intrepid tourists.
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 can be heaving 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 leave the place almost empty by 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 that’s 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 because with a wonderful climate and plenty of coastline there’s a lot to explore in Calabria.
15. Tropea Beach
Tropea Beach in Calabria is often cited by travel experts as being one of Italy’s cleanest and most beautiful beaches. It’s quite possibly true because you really can’t go wrong with a trip to Tropea.
This is the land of the Greek and Roman gods, and Tropea was supposedly a town that was founded by Hercules. The coastline here is suitably steeped in mythology. You can enjoy several kilometers of beaches, which are framed by dramatic cliffs and hidden coves.
Another mythological, beach destination to visit in Calabria is Scilla, a place where a legendary Greek sea monster was purported to have resided and to have caused havoc when sailors passed by.
Scilla is today better known for its beaches and seafood than it is for shipwrecks, but the small town is found in a dramatic, rocky location overlooking the sea. An ancient castle towers above the fishing town, and you can enjoy the beaches as you gaze along the coastline of Calabria, far into the distance.
Soverato is a classic Italian beach holiday town found along the Calabrian coast. Tourism is booming in Soverato, and much of it is down to the fact that the town has a glorious stretch of white sand that looks out over the Ionian Sea.
You can wander along a long tree-lined boulevard, parasols lying in wait under the hot sun, and there are plenty of hotels and an ever-growing number of resorts reaching further and 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 can find a medieval castle that has overlooked the village since the 13th century when it was constructed to defend the coast by the Aragonese rulers.
This is a place steeped in history, where Turkish pirates used to raid the Italian coast. Today it’s known not only for its ancient fortifications but also for its marine reserve and long beach that offers distant views of the village and the towers of the castle from afar.
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 fly in from across Europe to enjoy the sands, the food and the nightlife.
The city is built on the sands of one of the longest continuous beaches in Italy, as it stretches for 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
Venice might be best known for its canals and historic attractions, but the waterfront city also has an iconic lido, which is 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 tempted to visit Italy and explore its superb beaches, contact Italy4Real to find out more about our small group tours and luxury customized trips.