34 Best Beach Destinations in Italy To Visit in 2023 According to Italians
- Plan Your Best Italian Vacation With These Resources
- 10 Top-Rated Beach Destinations in Italy
- What Is the Best Time to Visit Italian Beach Destinations?
- How to Save Money While Traveling to Italian Beach Destinations?
- Which Italian Beach Destinations Offer the Best Snorkeling and Diving Experiences?
- Which Italian Beach Destinations Are the Most Secluded and Off the Beaten Path?
- What Are the Most Affordable Italian Beach Destinations for Budget Travelers?
- What Are the Best Italian Beach Destinations for Couples Seeking a Romantic Getaway?
- What Are the Most Environmentally-Friendly Italian Beach Destinations That Promote Sustainable Tourism Practices?
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we may receive a small commission at no cost for you, if you purchase through these links.
Italy is a year-round destination that offers something for every kind of traveler. It is renowned for its stunning architecture, rich history, and delicious cuisine. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, Italy will surely capture your heart with its many charms.
Regarding beach destinations, Italy boasts an impressive variety of options. From the pristine white sands of La Pelosa in Sardinia to the charming Cinque Terre coastline in Liguria, there are countless spots to soak up the sun and sea. Plus, with its warm Mediterranean climate, Italy is the perfect place to escape many other countries’ cold and dreary winters.
In addition to its natural beauty, Italy is also known for its accessibility and affordability for tourists. With an extensive public transportation network, including trains and buses, it’s easy to get around and explore all the country has to offer. And while there are certainly high-end and luxury options available, there are also many affordable accommodations and dining options for travelers on a budget.
As locals passionate about our country, we have handpicked the best beach destinations in Italy to share with you. Our list includes hidden gems and well-known favorites, ensuring that you’ll have an unforgettable experience no matter where you go. We’ve also included insider tips on what to eat and where to stay so you can make the most of your time in Italy. So whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, trust us to guide you to the best beache destinations Italy offers.
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10 Top-Rated Beach Destinations in Italy
We have put together a list of destinations that are worth visiting, both well-known and off the beaten path. As locals passionate about our country, we can personally vouch for each location and guarantee they are all worthy of your time.
But our list isn’t just about where to go – we’ve also included insider tips on what to eat in each region. From the succulent porchetta of Umbria to the creamy burrata of Puglia, we’ve highlighted the dishes that will leave a lasting impression on your taste buds. Whether you’re a foodie or simply looking for a new culinary adventure, Italy has something for everyone.
While our list is not exhaustive, and there are certainly many more amazing places to explore in Italy, we’ve done our best to provide a diverse selection that captures the essence of this beautiful country. So pack your bags, get ready to indulge in delicious cuisine, and let us guide you to some of Italy’s best beach destinations.
1. Costiera Amalfitana – Campania
The Amalfi Coast is undoubtedly one of Italy’s most stunning destinations. This breathtaking region has attracted visitors for decades, stretching along the coast between Salerno and Sorrento. The winding road along the coast is a sight to behold, with colorful villages, lemon trees, and sparkling seas as far as the eye can see.
If you’re starting your journey from Sorrento, you’ll encounter Positano first before heading to Amalfi, Minori, Cetara (known for its famous anchovy sauce), and finally ending in Vietri sul Mare and Salerno. If you’re beginning in Salerno, you’ll go to Sorrento in the reverse order. While the seaside villages are undoubtedly charming, don’t forget to stop in Ravello, where you can take in the stunning view of the entire coast from above.
Of course, no trip to the Amalfi Coast is complete without indulging in the region’s delicious cuisine. Be sure to try a glass of limoncello, a sweet liqueur made from the area’s famous lemons, and the delizia al limone cake and Sorrento-style gnocchi. And if you have the time, take a day trip to Naples to discover the city’s many beauties, including its world-famous pizza. For an even more luxurious experience, consider a visit to the nearby island of Capri, where you can truly indulge in the dolce vita.
- Amalfi to Capri: 6-Hour Private Boat Excursion
- Full-Day Private Boat Tour: Positano and Amalfi Coast
- Amalfi Coast Tour-All Inclusive from Naples
- Naples: Street Food Tour with Local Guide
2. Costa degli Dei – Calabria
The Costa Degli Dei in Calabria, Italy, boasts stunning white beaches and rocky cliffs that extend from Nicotera to Pizzo Calabro. One of the jewels in the crown of this area is the beautiful Tropea, a town with beaches that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding cliffs. Pizzo Calabro, a charming fishing village with cobbled streets, is also a must-visit destination. Don’t forget to check out the beautiful Colamaio beach while you’re there. The beaches of Briatico are also among the most famous in the area, with their white sand, high cliffs, and relatively low levels of crowding, even during peak season. To truly experience the culinary delights of the Costa degli Dei, try the red Tropea onion, a local specialty, and tartufo di Pizzo (gelato).
3. South Eastern Sicily
The southeastern part of Sicily is renowned as the Sicilian Baroque area and is home to several World Heritage Sites, including Ragusa, Noto, Scicli, and Modica. Each city and town has a unique story to tell, with Ragusa featuring classical architecture and Marina di Ragusa boasting enchanting beaches. Modica is famous for its world-renowned chocolate and houses carved into the rock. While visiting, don’t miss the Oasis of Vendicari and the charming seaside village of Marzameni, also known for its typical “tonnara”.
When it comes to food, don’t miss out on trying the scrumptious scacce ragusane, a type of pizza, and the delicious chocolate from Modica, made in a unique, traditional method. The southeastern part of Sicily is rich in culture and history and offers a delectable culinary experience.
4. Riviera di Ulisse – Lazio
The Riviera di Ulisse, located in the Lazio region, stretches between Gaeta and Sperlonga and offers a unique and breathtaking landscape. Visitors can admire the stunning white beaches with crystal clear waters, surrounded by rocks and cliffs, dunes, natural parks, and olive groves. Among the cities in this area, Gaeta stands out as a true gem, with its impressive Montagna Spaccata (split mountain) that leaves visitors in awe. San Felice Circeo and Sperlonga are also worth a visit, both awarded the prestigious Blue Flag for many years. While visiting the Riviera di Ulisse, savor the local culinary specialties, including the renowned black olives from Gaeta and tiella.
5. Maratea – Basilicata
Basilicata is a hidden gem in Italy, with its stunning landscapes and picturesque towns. Maratea is a small town in the region that stands out for its beautiful coastal area. The Maratea coastline stretches for about 30 km, offering a variety of beaches and coves with crystal clear waters. One of the must-see beaches is Cala Jannita, a small and secluded cove surrounded by cliffs and clear waters. The Black beach, named after its dark sand, is another stunning beach with a unique atmosphere. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the town of Maratea and its historic center, with narrow alleys and charming buildings.
If you have the time, a visit to the nearby Matera is highly recommended. The city is famous for its ancient cave dwellings, known as “Sassi,” which have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Additionally, the Pollino National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. This park, located on the border between Basilicata and Calabria, boasts an impressive landscape of mountains, forests, and rivers.
When it comes to food, Maratea and Basilicata have many delicious dishes to offer. Sausage Maratea is a local specialty, made with pork meat and seasoned with fennel seeds and chili pepper. Ciaudedda, a bread made with flour, water, and potatoes, is a simple yet tasty traditional food. To satisfy your sweet tooth, try the bocconotti pastry, filled with chocolate and almonds.
6. Riviera dei Cedri – Calabria
The Riviera dei Cedri in Calabria, stretching from Tortora to Paola, is a magnificent coastline close to the town of Cosenza facing the Tyrrhenian Sea. The name of this area is a testament to its key characteristic: the stunning and aromatic cedar trees that dot the landscape. The Riviera boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Calabria, including the picturesque town of Diamante with its winding alleys and colorful murals. Praia a Mare and Scalea are also not to be missed. These areas offer fantastic beaches and unforgettable views. Additionally, Calabria is known for its excellent food, and the Riviera dei Cedri is no exception. Try the local cedars and the spicy chilli for a truly authentic culinary experience.
7. Gargano – Puglia
The Gargano peninsula in Puglia is a stunning destination known for its breathtaking coastline stretching over 200 kilometers. This area is a paradise for beach lovers, offering diverse sandy beaches, rocky coves, and forests. Vieste and Peschici are the two main towns in the area, and they boast some of the most beautiful and famous beaches, including Pizzomunno, Baia della Zagare, and Manaccorra. While the Gargano can get crowded during the high season, visitors can still explore the area’s hidden gems, such as Baia dei Gabbiani and Baia di Mattinatella, accessible only by sea. In addition to the scenic beauty, the Gargano is renowned for its delectable cuisine, particularly caciocavallo podolico cheese and black anchovies from Vieste. Whether you’re a beach enthusiast or a foodie, the Gargano is a must-visit destination in Italy.
8. Riviera del Conero – Marche
The Marche region in Italy offers a lot of possibilities to travelers, and for the perfect summer vacation, the Conero Riviera is a must-visit destination. The area is known for its beautiful and pristine beaches, such as the Spiaggia delle Due Sorelle and the Spiaggia dei Sassi Neri. The Riviera also offers well-equipped beaches, including those in Porto Recanati and Marcelli, ideal for families with children. The enchanting towns of Numana and Sirolo are also worth exploring, offering a glimpse of the local life and culture.
The Conero region is a paradise for foodies, with various delicious dishes to taste. The mosciolo, a mussel found only in the Adriatic Sea, is a local specialty that cannot be missed. Paccasassi, a wild plant that grows along the coast, is often used as an accompaniment to moscioli. Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, a white wine produced in the Marche region, is a perfect pairing for these seafood dishes.
9. Argentario – Toscana
The Argentario region in Tuscany is a highly sought-after destination for beach lovers who also seek to explore enchanting locations and savor typical exquisite products. This region is an excellent destination for those looking for a comfortable holiday experience and those seeking a picturesque seascape, hidden coves, and peaceful surroundings. The charming towns of Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole are the region’s main attractions, with Porto Santo Stefano’s beach with dunes considered an iconic symbol of the area. The nearby town of Orbetello has Talamone, which offers a panoramic view of the entire promontory and the surrounding islands. From the Argentario, ferries depart for the stunning island of Elba, another highly recommended destination. The region is famous for its shaded eel, anchovy and onion pizza, and ricotta pie.
10. Gallura – Sardegna
Sardinia is a highly sought-after destination in Italy, and among its most beautiful regions is Gallura. It comprises three towns – Santa Teresa di Gallura, Palau, and Arzachena, and boasts an array of beaches to choose from. Cala Sambuco is a must-visit, with its crystal-clear waters and fine sand beach. Another beach worth mentioning is Rena Bianca, which has been awarded the Blue Flag for its cleanliness for decades. However, Cala Spinosa stands out for its stunning view, tranquility, and pristine waters, and it can only be reached by sea or via a steep path. As for cuisine, Gallura is renowned for its hearty Gallurese soup, delicate ricotta ravioli, succulent suckling pig, and seadas, a typical dessert made of fried pastry filled with cheese and drizzled with honey.
What Is the Best Time to Visit Italian Beach Destinations?
The best period to visit Italian beach destinations depends on various factors, such as personal preferences, budget, and availability. Generally, the summer, from June to September, is the most popular time for beach holidays in Italy due to the warm and sunny weather. However, this is also the peak season, and many popular destinations can be crowded and expensive.
May and October can be good choices if you prefer to avoid the crowds and enjoy milder temperatures. Remember that some services and facilities may be limited during this period, as many beach establishments close after the high season.
It’s essential to check the weather forecast before planning a trip to the beach, as the weather can be unpredictable in some areas. In addition, some regions, such as Sardinia and Sicily, may have longer beach seasons due to their warmer climates.
How to Save Money While Traveling to Italian Beach Destinations?
Traveling to Italian beach destinations can be an expensive experience, but there are ways to save money while still enjoying all these places. Here are some tips:
- Book accommodations in advance: Booking in advance can help you get better deals on hotels or apartments. Look for deals on travel websites, and book as early as possible to avoid peak prices.
- Travel during the shoulder season: The peak tourist season in Italy is in the summer months, so consider traveling during the shoulder season, typically in May and September. You can enjoy good weather, fewer crowds, and lower prices during these months.
- Shop at local markets and supermarkets: Instead of eating out every meal, consider shopping at local markets and supermarkets to save money on food. You can also pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it on the beach.
- Look for free activities: Many beach destinations in Italy have free or low-cost activities, such as hiking trails, walking tours, and museums. Look for these options to save money while still having a great time.
- Avoid tourist traps: Tourist traps can be expensive and not always worth the money. Look for local recommendations and avoid overpriced restaurants, shops, and attractions.
By following these tips, you can save money while enjoying the beauty and charm of Italian beach destinations.
Which Italian Beach Destinations Offer the Best Snorkeling and Diving Experiences?
Many Italian beach destinations offer excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities due to their crystal clear waters and diverse marine life. Some of the best destinations for these activities include:
- Ustica: This small island off the coast of Sicily is a marine protected area and a haven for divers and snorkelers alike. The waters teem with marine life, including schools of colorful fish, octopuses, and rare species such as ocean sunfish.
- Isola di Bergeggi: Located off the coast of Liguria, this small island is another marine protected area popular among divers and snorkelers. The waters are home to a variety of fish, as well as some exciting rock formations and underwater caves.
- Capo Carbonara: This marine reserve in Sardinia is a popular destination for diving and snorkeling due to its clear waters and abundant marine life. Visitors can spot a variety of fish, as well as octopuses, moray eels, and even some larger species, such as groupers and barracudas.
- Punta Campanella: Located on the Sorrento Peninsula in southern Italy, this marine reserve offers excellent snorkeling opportunities. The waters are home to various fish and colorful sea fans, and visitors may even spot some dolphins or sea turtles if they’re lucky.
- Gallipoli: This seaside town in Puglia is famous for its beautiful beaches and excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities. The waters are home to various fish, exciting wrecks, and underwater caves to explore.
Which Italian Beach Destinations Are the Most Secluded and Off the Beaten Path?
There are a lot of secluded and off-the-beaten-path Italian beach destinations worth exploring for those seeking a quieter and more intimate beach experience. Some examples include Cala Goloritzè and Cala Mariolu in Sardinia, Cala del Gesso in Tuscany, Cala dei Turchi in Puglia, and Cala Spalmatore in Sicily. These beaches are known for their clear waters and pristine beauty but may require some effort, such as hiking or taking a boat ride. However, their secluded nature makes them an ideal destination for those looking to escape the crowds and enjoy a peaceful beach vacation.
What Are the Most Affordable Italian Beach Destinations for Budget Travelers?
There are a lot of affordable Italian beach destinations for budget travelers. Some options include the beaches of Puglia, such as Torre dell’Orso and Porto Cesareo, which offer beautiful landscapes and crystal-clear water at reasonable prices. The beaches of Calabria, such as Tropea and Capo Vaticano, are also great options for budget travelers. The beaches of Abruzzo, such as Punta Aderci and Torre del Cerrano, offer stunning views and a more secluded atmosphere at affordable prices. Additionally, the beaches of the Marche region, such as Porto San Giorgio and Porto Recanati, offer a combination of beautiful scenery and affordable prices.
What Are the Best Italian Beach Destinations for Couples Seeking a Romantic Getaway?
Many romantic beach destinations in Italy are perfect for couples. One of the top destinations is the Amalfi Coast, which offers breathtaking views, crystal-clear waters, and charming villages. Other romantic beach destinations include the island of Capri, the Cinque Terre, the island of Ischia, and the Costa Smeralda in Sardinia. In addition to these destinations, the Tremiti Islands are an excellent option for couples seeking a romantic getaway in Italy. These islands, located off the coast of Puglia, offer stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a relaxed atmosphere perfect for couples looking to unwind and reconnect. These places offer stunning beaches, intimate restaurants, and plenty of opportunities for couples to enjoy each other’s company.
What Are the Most Environmentally-Friendly Italian Beach Destinations That Promote Sustainable Tourism Practices?
Many Italian beach destinations are becoming increasingly aware of sustainable tourism’s importance and adopting eco-friendly practices. Some of the most environmentally-friendly Italian beach destinations include:
- Elba Island, Tuscany: This island has numerous protected areas and offers many opportunities for eco-friendly activities such as hiking and cycling. Many of the accommodations on the island are eco-friendly.
- Cinque Terre, Liguria: This area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has strict regulations to protect the environment. Visitors can enjoy hiking along the cliffs and exploring the picturesque villages.
- Maremma, Tuscany: This region focuses on sustainable agriculture and eco-tourism. Visitors can enjoy eco-friendly accommodations, organic food, and outdoor activities like hiking and horseback riding.
- The Salento Coast, Apulia: This area is known for its natural beauty and pristine beaches. Many accommodations offer sustainable practices, such as using renewable energy sources and eco-friendly toiletries.
- Tremiti Islands, Puglia: This archipelago is a marine nature reserve recognized as a “Blue Flag” beach for its sustainable practices. Visitors can enjoy snorkeling, diving, and hiking while being mindful of the local ecosystem.
These destinations are just a few examples of the many Italian beach destinations that are working towards sustainable tourism practices.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.