If you are a thalassophile, like me, then Italy’s coastline is your Disneyland. What I love about it is its sheer diversity. With more than 4700 miles (7500 km), it stretches from the southwest corner of the Slovenian border to within a tantalising touching distance of Tunisia in Africa – encompassing no less than four seas along the way. Framed by the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian seas along the west side, the Adriatic on the east and the Ionian at the south, the beaches in Italy provide you with incredible variety, yet a consistent ‘wow’ factor.
My Instagram is full of stunning photos of brilliant limestone cliffs, dazzling white sand and sparkling azure waters that illuminate the fringes of Tuscany, Campania, Calabria, Abruzzo and over 800 Italian islands, like jewels in a necklace.
When Mother Nature was dishing out areas of outstanding natural beauty, she reserved some of her best work for this region. Italy is a country with some of the best beaches in Europe and although I sat down to write a definitive list of the best of them, I confess, I couldn’t. So instead, here is a selection of 20 of the best beaches in Italy – that I love.
- Best Beaches In Italy
- 20 Italian Beaches You’ll Love
- 1- Spiaggia di Atrani
- 2- Cala del Gesso
- 3- Scala dei Turchi
- 4- Marasusa
- 5- San Fruttuoso
- 6- Spiaggia di Sansone
- 7- Chiaia di Luna
- 8- Cala Pulcino
- 9- Isola di Spargi
- 10- Spiaggia dei Conigli
- 11- Baia delle Zagare
- 12- San Lorenzo Beach
- 13- Cetara
- 14- Cala di Volpe
- 15- Baia del Silenzio
- 16- La Pelosa
- 17- Roca Vecchia
- 18- Cala Goloritzé
- 19- Spiaggia Di Maria Pia
- 20- Tonnara di Scopello
- 20 Italian Beaches You’ll Love
Best Beaches In Italy
20 Italian Beaches You’ll Love
1- Spiaggia di Atrani
Atrani is a small yet very picturesque village in Campania, along the Amalfi Coast.
Its vibe reminds me of Italy’s more iconic coastal towns like Sorrento, Vernazza and Sperlonga, only with far fewer crowds.
In fact, less than 1000 people live here, which is a big part of its charm.
Bookended by two cliffs, Atrani boasts a stunning stretch of white sand, which the Tyrrhenian Sea perfectly offsets.
Sometimes you might be lucky enough to have the beach all to yourself, and when you are finished the town has some beautiful architecture, quaint piazzas and superb coastal views from the bluffs for you to peruse.
Spiaggia di Atrani is at Via Nicolangelo Protopisani, 5, 84010 Atrani SA, Italy.
2- Cala del Gesso
Located on the Monte Argentario peninsula towards the south of Tuscany, Cala del Gesso is a gorgeous spot but it’s not easy to get to.
It involves a rather steep and long walk from the car park but once you do reach there, you’ll soon see that it’s worth it.
The beach is made of up of very small, beautifully smoothed pebbles which creates a fantastic aesthetic – if you are like me, you will want to pick up every one of them.
Directly in front of it is a stunning island, which you will instantly find yourself planning on building a lottery-winning holiday home on, while at the far end lie the ruins of a 16th-century Spanish tower.
Despite having no services or amenities in the area (make sure you bring plenty of your own), this beach is always reasonably well populated.
So try and get here before 10 am to avoid the crowds and the hottest part of the day.
3- Scala dei Turchi
I will forgive you for not noticing the beach at first sight of Sicily’s magnificent Scala dei Turchi.
The stunning rocky cliff on the coast of Realmonte, near Porto Empedocle, is imposing.
But when you do take your eyes off the rocky white wall that extends into the sea, you will notice the sand, at its base, translates into an alluring stretch of fiery bronzed beach.
The rock serves as an ideal springboard for divers, so you will have a great time jumping off there.
While if you would prefer to keep your form flatly on the sand, you will have one of Italy’s most beautiful natural wonders to look at.
So this place is a win-win.
For more beaches around the world read:
Tropea is a lovely town on Calabria’s fringes, known for having some spectacular seascapes.
One of the best of them is Marasusa.
With Mt Stromboli hovering on its western horizon, this beach has one of the most idyllic settings I have ever seen.
It’s not surprising as its located in a region affectionately known as ‘La Costa degli Dei’, or ‘The Coast of the Gods’.
The water is a stunning bluey-green colour here, while the sand is pristine.
This beach also showcases some stunning architecture perched on high cliff tops.
While the magnificent Santa Maria dell’Isola, a gorgeous church, staring at you from an island promontory, only adds to the deity effect.
Marasusa is at 89861 Parghelia, Province of Vibo Valentia, Italy.
5- San Fruttuoso
Another beach that enjoys the most exquisite location is the San Fruttuoso in Liguria.
You can only reach an idyllic cove on foot or by ferry.
This protected area lies halfway between Portofino and Camogli on the Italian Riviera coastline, southeast of Genoa City.
The beach features a gorgeous landscape, with the type of alluring turquoise water you want to run straight into and flat, pristine sands.
It also has a medieval abbey surrounded by mountains to provide extra visual appeal.
Its remoteness is the real appeal here.
Cut off from the business of town life, it’s the kind of place you can lose yourself in a happy daze of thought for hours upon end.
San Fruttuoso is at Via S. Fruttuoso, 13, 16032 Camogli GE, Italy.
6- Spiaggia di Sansone
Tuscany has several beautiful beaches, but the Spiaggia di Sansone is probably my favourite.
Located on Elba Island, it features an immaculate shoreline of smooth white pebbles and flat sand that sit alongside calming waters against a backdrop of a rocky headland.
A lovely beach to walk on, the water is teaming with lots of colourful fish, which makes it a popular spot for snorkelling and swimming, as well as kayaking a little further out too.
It’s popular among families and there is always a pleasant atmosphere here too.
One part of this beach is free to access, while another more private section has lounge chairs and umbrellas available for rent.
Spiaggia di Sansone is at 57037 Portoferraio, Province of Livorno, Italy.
7- Chiaia di Luna
If you are looking to revamp your Instagram with some excellent Italian beach photos, then head to Chiaia di Luna.
Located on Ponza Island, around Lazio, this charming natural beach boasts high cliffs and translucent turquoise waters.
Taking the form of a thin crescent of alluring sand that lies at the base of an imperious 328-foot (100 m) volcanic rock wall that has been curved by nature into a half-moon shape, this has to be one of the most scenic stretches of coastline in the whole of Italy.
Spend any significant length of time here and your photo finger will probably suffer from RSI.
8- Cala Pulcino
Another beach that is a bit of a trek to get to is the wonderful Cala Pulcino in Lampedusa, the largest of the Italian Pelagie Islands.
It will take you around 30 minutes of clambering over rocks and venturing your way through thick and verdant vegetation to get there.
But once you do, you will find a landscape of gorgeous soft sand, breathtaking scenery and miles of the sparkling Mediterranean sea to enrich you.
Best of all, this place is quite remote, so you will get to experience it all to yourself.
Cala Pulcino is in Lampedusa, Italy.
9- Isola di Spargi
You could easily imagine that you have landed in Tahiti when you first step onto the stunning sands of the Isola di Spargi.
But this little piece of paradise is very much Italian.
Sandwiched between Corsica and Sardinia, in the Maddalena Archipelago, you will not find any foreboding or dramatic cliffs here.
Instead, this area is famous for palm trees, silvery sands, lush island plants and dazzling turquoise waters.
It’s the perfect setting for snorkelling, beach walking or sunbathing all day.
Isola di Spargi is La Maddalena, Italy.
10- Spiaggia dei Conigli
Affectionately known as the ‘Beach of the Rabbits’, the Spiaggia dei Conigli is probably one of the most romantic beaches in Italy.
It’s another beach that requires a bit of an expedition to get there (this one will take you about 20 minutes to hike to).
Its secluded nature and staggering landscape of gleaming white sand and aquamarine water saw Tripadvisor nominate it as the ‘most beautiful beach of the world’.
This beach certainly has a real pinch me quality to it, and if you are lucky enough to visit here with a partner, it will feel like the ultimate dream date.
Spiaggia dei Conigli is in Lampedusa, Italy.
11- Baia delle Zagare
Beaches in Italy don’t come any more exclusive than the Baia delle Zagare in Puglia.
You can only access it in two ways, either by boat from nearby Mattinata, or through the premises of the hotel, which has the same name.
Yet this beach is not open to just anyone as only 30 people are allowed each day on the half-mile (.8 km) stretch of sand outside of hotel guests.
On the plus side, if you can visit it you will not only feel like a celebrity, you will also get to experience one of the most pristine shorelines in the whole of Italy.
You’ll be amazed at the sight of the arresting rock formations rising imperiously from the Adriatic sea.
Baia delle Zagare is in the province of Foggia, Italy.
12- San Lorenzo Beach
Siracusa, near Catania in Sicily, is one of my favourite places in Italy and I like it so much is because of the Vendicari Nature Reserve.
At this protected haven you are more likely to see wildlife like flamingos, storks and herons than you are other people.
So that is a big bonus for a start.
The national park also boasts a few hidden coves and miles of spectacular beaches, including the fabulous San Lorenzo Beach.
In between photographing the animals, you can find yourself a quiet spot, all to yourself to enjoy a relaxing day.
San Lorenzo Beach is at S. Lorenzo Str. I, 96017 San Lorenzo SR, Italy.
If you are a budding artist or painter, the beach at Cetara in Campania will provide you with plenty of inspiration in which to draw or paint.
This sedate village features a rustic pebbly beach framed by pretty pastel-coloured buildings and strewn with aging fishing boats.
It creates quite the scene with bosky limestone mountains in the background, a stone citadel, and a majolica-tiled church.
Cetara isn’t the best beach in Italy to swim or sunbathe but if you want to sit and observe the Italian way of coastal life, this is a great place to do it.
14- Cala di Volpe
The Costa Smeralda in Sardinia is one of the most stunning and, it has to be said, expensive stretches of coastline in the whole of Italy.
It is where the rich come in their yacht’s to play and relax.
You will find Cala di Volpe Bay is always full of them, and the best place to see them is on the beach that lines it.
Famous for its fabulous Caribbean blue waters and the glitzy Hotel Cala di Volpe resort, the beach is a white sandy retreat.
It offers stunning vistas of the mountains of Golfo Aranci and Isola Tavolara and a great spot to relax.
Cala di Volpe is at Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy.
15- Baia del Silenzio
Another great beach in Liguria, is the Baia del Silenzio.
Located roughly midway between Portofino and Cinque Terre, and right in the historical centre of Sestri Levante, it’s based around a curved bay, which creates a rather enthralling amphitheatre effect, with the quaint, colourful tiny houses that frame the golden sand.
If you love to people watch with a gelato, this is the perfect place for you.
You will find yourself taking photos galore here as well, especially at sunset, when the stunning colours of dusk illuminate the bay.
Baia del Silenzio is at Via Palinuro, 2,Caprioli, Pisciotta, 84066 , Campania, Italy.
16- La Pelosa
Made famous by the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, La Pelosa beach is stunning.
Found in Stintino, it features fine sands, stunning aquamarine waters and isolated nooks protected by pine forests.
It showcases sensational views of the Isles of Piana and Asinara, which is just one reason why this beach is always busy in the summer.
One of Sardinia’s most popular family beaches, it is advisable to get here early.
If you can take yourself down there at sunrise, you will get to see the beach from a whole different perspective.
La Pelosa is at Viale la Pelosa, 07040 Stintino, Sardinia, Italy.
17- Roca Vecchia
Nestled on the Adriatic Coast of Apulia, the Roca Vecchia Beach is within a beautiful stretch of the craggy coastline in the south of Italy.
It’s a fabulous beach in Italy to explore hidden coves, tiny beaches, swimming holes, and many other geological features can be found.
One of the best of them is the Grotta della Poesia, a round rock formation that has created a natural pool that people come for miles to swim in.
The beach is notable for being a Blue Flag beach, a prestigious award bestowed by the Italian environmental protection agency of Legambiente.
The fact that it received this award is a recognition of how spectacular it is.
Roca Vecchia is in the province of Lecce, Italy.
18- Cala Goloritzé
Undoubtedly one of Italy’s most famous beaches, Cala Goloritzé, enjoys a spectacular location at the base of a ravine in Ogliastra on the northeast coast of Sardinia.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site that can only be reached by boat or a one hour hike, the beach is relatively small but perfectly formed.
Characterised by limestone cliffs, perfect ivory pebbles, and the brilliant bluey-green ocean, this is an incredible beach to look at.
It might not be the best to swim at, though, as it is supposed to have the coldest waters in the Ogliastra region.
But with towering geological formations called ‘The Pinnacle’ hovering 463 ft (143 m) above you, that is where most of your attention is likely to be.
19- Spiaggia Di Maria Pia
If you’re looking for a beach to lift your heart, head to Spiaggia Di Maria Pia.
Backed by beautiful dunes and a lush pine forest, you will find it just northwest of the centre of Alghero.
At 1200 m (3937 ft) long and facing southwest, it showcases excellent views of the nearby settlement of Fertilia and the Alghero bay and the tiny Isola della Maddalenetta, about 1.5km off the coast.
An excellent beach to swim at, the water is crystal clear and the sand pure.
It’s also great for a gentle stroll on, while you can also rent out loungers if you want to sunbathe in style.
Spiaggia Di Maria Pia is at 07041 Alghero, Province of Sassari, Italy.
20- Tonnara di Scopello
Replete with a rustic church and surrounding houses, medieval towers built on jagged cliffs, and imperious sea-stacks rising out of the water, the Tonnara di Capello presents a dramatic setting.
I’d have to say it is one of the most picturesque beaches I have seen in Italy, and I can understand why the writer Gavin Maxwell chose to live here in the 1950s.
Located near the Golfo del Castellammare in western Sicily, this historic quayside used to house a tuna fishery, and there is a museum here highlighting this.
If you want to know what Italian coastal life is like away from the glitz and glamour of the Italian Riviera, then this place is worth a visit.
Tonnaro di Scopello is at Largo Tonnara, 91014 Scopello TP, Italy.
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