4 Secret Beaches in Southern Italy

by Christopher Atwood

Summer in Italy means two things: sole e mare — sun and sea. Italy borders salt water on three sides. With 7,600 kilometers of shoreline, it’s no surprise that folks flock to Italy's beaches when the heat hits. Areas like the Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast are immensely popular -- luring foreign travelers with their crystal-blue waters.

See Scenic Southern Italy Trip

But, in summer, Italians skip Sorrento and head to the deep South -- opting for the shores of Cilento, Puglia and Sicily. In these areas, you can find scenic seas minus the cruise ship crowds.

In Puglia, you'll dive into blue-green grottoes.

In Cilento, you'll stroll between fishing villages.

In Sicily, you can swim next to sun-bleached cliffs. 

Below, you'll find our local-approved list of the Italy's most stunning seascapes. Take a dip in the authentic Italy with us:


Plunge into Puglia at the Grotta della Poesia. This limestone grotto shelters calm, clear waters. Locals and visitors alike dive here into a shimmering blue cove. Protected from wind by the nearby cliffs, the grotto pampers swimmers with still Mediterranean water. Located between the exquisite towns of Lecce and Otranto, it's haven is where Puglia becomes visual poetry. To unearth more about Puglia, take a peek at this itinerary.

INSIDER TIPThis salt water swimming hole is a favorite among locals. As an unmarked spot, it lures mostly visitors in-the-know – guaranteeing an authentic, uncrowded day by the sea. Pack a picnic of local favorites, like focaccia or burrata cheese.



Picking one beach in Sicily is like picking a favorite Italian dish. How do you choose just one? As the largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily teems with inviting coastline. Just a half hour’s drive from ancient Greek ruins, the Scala dei Turchi is unlike any beach in Italy. Wind-carved cliffs, baked white in the sun, bleed into a sea the color of the sky. Sunbathers bask on the bleached rocks, dipping in warm, transparent seas. For more on Sicily,download this delicious itinerary.

INSIDER TIPThe Scala dei Turchi sea cliffs attract luxury travelers from Italy, the U.S. and N. Europe. Up-scale accommodations can be found in the nearby town of Agrigento -- also home to the spectacular Greek ruins of the Valley of the Temples.


Found in the southernmost part of Campania, Marina di Camerota is part of the Cilento National Park. Since 2000, it’s won awards each year for its pristine waters. Built into the rugged hills, Marina di Camerota is home to soft, sandy shores. Visitors might swim in the light blue sea, cruise the coast with a ship captain, or learn to make pizza with a local nonna. As part of a national park, beaches here are unspoiled – immersing you in natural, timeless beautt. To learn more about Cilento, read our article in L'Italo-Americano Newspaper .

INSIDER TIP: The Cilento region is home to over 700 square miles of protected land and sea -- ensuring that its waters and villages will stay untouched for years to come. This area also makes the best mozzarella in Italy -- you can tour a mozzarella farm here, tasting hand-shaped cheese.


Otranto, on Puglia’s east coast, is one of Italy’s loveliest seaside towns. Otranto is famous for light blue water, stone cliffs and charming whitewashed homes. Strolling Otranto’s promenade, you’ll spot fishermen hauling in the day’s catch and sailboats bobbing in the bay. Otranto also boasts one of Puglia’s sandier beaches, Spiaggia Azzurra – appropriately named for its clear blue cove. It’s the perfect spot to laze the day away by the sea. For even more on Puglia, take a look at our Jewish Puglia tour.

INSIDER TIP: Some of the best swimming near Otranto is reachable only by boat. Travelers can enjoy a small-group or private boat excursions from Otranto's port, dropping anchor at remote beaches for a refreshing swim.

Your travelers can stroll untouched beaches, visiting vibrant villages or diving in beautiful bays. Whether they seek sandy shores or craggy cliffs, Italy is paradise for sea lovers.

To learn more about Italy's seasonal attractions, check out our beautiful new book -- Italy for All Seasons .


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