The Italian region of Puglia, known as Apulia in English, is the area making up the southern “heel of Italy‘s boot.” It shares borders with the Ionian Sea to the southeast and the Adriatic Sea to the east. Its southern boundaries are the Gulf of Taranto and the Strait of Otranto.
Puglia’s shoreline occupies more than 10% of the Italian coast. Certainly, a long shoreline means a variety of beaches, each with its unique charm. In fact, Puglia is home to 15 of the country’s 195 Blue Flag beaches.
Spending the day on one of Puglia’s stunning beaches is one of the best and most relaxing things to do there. You will find plenty of beaches varying between pebbly and sandy beaches. You will also find some expansive beaches and other tiny coves. Each beach boasts crystal-clear seawater, which is the perfect shade of turquoise.
Best Beaches in Puglia
Are you looking for Puglia’s top beaches? Then you are in the right place! Below is a list of 10 of the best and most stunning beaches in Puglia, from undiscovered coves to the most well-known ones.
1. Spiaggia della Purità
Spiaggia della Purità, or the Beach of Purity, in Gallipoli is one of Puglia’s most fabulous beaches. It is situated on the western coast of Puglia, overlooking Sant’Andrea Island. The beach lies in the historic centre of Gallipoli, right behind the protective walls of the old town.
As its name implies, the Beach of Purity features incredibly clean and pure waters embracing an arch of golden sand. The water is suitable for swimming as it is shallow and gradually deepens.
This beach is the perfect destination as you can enjoy the beach and then explore the streets of the old town. Besides enjoying a relaxing swim, you can soak up the magnificent scenery of the sunset at the beach or any of the beach bars overlooking it.
2. Torre dell’Orso Beach
Located halfway between Lecce and Otranto, Torre dell’Orso Beach is one of Puglia’s best beaches. This beach is curved as a crescent moon stretching along 900 metres and framed by some cliffs and a forest.
Torre dell’Orso Beach is covered in fine silver sand embracing pristine waters and has a pine grove behind it. The water is shallow, making it suitable for swimming.
Off the coast, there are twin rocks called the Two Sisters that are good for cliff diving. These twin rocks can be accessed by swimming or kayaking.
3. Santa Maria al Bagno
Located on the Ionian coastline in Nardò, Santa Maria al Bagno Beach is a top beach in Puglia. It is a secluded bay surrounded by sea walls giving it a calm atmosphere.
Santa Maria al Bagno is a sandy beach featuring calm and turquoise waters. In addition, the bay has low reefs, making it suitable for swimming and snorkelling.
The rock formations sheltering the beach make it a scenic spot. Although the beach is small, the rocky ledge facing it is an excellent place to enjoy the beach or jump into the water.
4. Lama Monachile
Lama Monachile, or Cala Monachile, is a small cove located right in the city centre of Polignano a Mare. It is one of the most attractive places in Puglia and Italy. The beach is known for the Roman bridge overhanging it, from which you can get spectacular views of the turquoise waters.
Lama Monachile is a small bay wedged between two magnificent rocky cliffs on which the city is perched. There are also tall buildings on the cliffs and near the edge overlooking the charming bay. The beach gets shady fast because of those cliffs flanking it.
This charming beach features clear, turquoise waters embracing a white, pebbly shore. The water is calm and transparent, so it is perfect for swimming. Lama Monachile is also one of the best spots for snorkelling, as it has many coves and tunnels to explore.
5. Porto Selvaggio
Porto Selvaggio, literally translated to wild port, is one of the most exquisite beaches in Puglia. It is a rocky cove located in Nardò, in the province of Lecce. It is a famous beach with a large number of visitors every year.
Porto Selvaggio Beach is located within a protected area called the Regional Natural Park of Porto Selvaggio. A pine forest of about 270 hectares surrounds the beach, offering a picturesque path leading to the beach.
After around 20 minutes, the path will lead you to the magnificent beach of Porto Selvaggio. The beach features pebbles and rocks on which you can bask while soaking up the fantastic view. The water is crystalline and suitable for swimming, but it gets very cold in some places due to the freshwater springs that end up in the sea.
6. Punta Prosciutto
Punta Prosciutto in Lecce is one of Puglia’s most stunning sandy beaches. It is a natural, unspoiled paradise featuring crystal-clear waters and dazzling white sand that give it tropical vibes. The water is shallow, so it is suitable for swimming.
Not only the bright blue sea but Punta Prosciutto Beach features picturesque scenery and surroundings. It is famous for its tall coastal dunes dotted with lush Mediterranean bushes.
As enchanting as it gets, this beach is nicknamed the “Maldives of Salento.” It is a charming beach and a natural wild environment as well. The beach is home to some unique regional lush flora and fauna. In brief, ranking this beach among the most beautiful beaches in Puglia is well deserved.
7. Costa Merlata Beach
Also known as Darcena, Costa Merlata is a must-visit. Located twenty minutes from Ostuni, this is one of the best beaches in Puglia. We guarantee that you will fall in love with this beach; even the road to it is spectacular, with endless olive groves surrounding it.
The beach is a vast strip boasting golden sand and shallow crystalline waters where you would love to plunge. Besides swimming, this beach is popular for sailing and boat trips. In addition, Costa Merlata is an animal-friendly beach where pet owners can bask and relax with their pets.
The coastline also features rocky ridges and coves. It is surrounded by jagged cliffs and Mediterranean shrubs, including juniper and pine bushes.
8. Vignanotica Beach
The Vignanotica Beach, located in Gargano, Foggia, is one of the most captivating beaches in Puglia. It is a well-known beach among both tourists and locals.
Vignanotica boasts a fantastic contrast between white cliffs and vibrant blue waters. It is a pebbly beach featuring stunning caves and clear, turquoise waters perfect for swimming. It is absolutely amazing that the water is always clear, even when it is windy.
In addition, Vignanotica Beach offers a serene atmosphere when the sun goes down. As the sun sets behind the cliffs, the shadows begin to extend over the beach, giving it a magical atmosphere. Most people leave by sunset, guaranteeing your enjoyment of the quiet and peaceful view.
You can get to the beach through a path called the “path of love” (romantic, isn’t it?). It deserves its name as it offers a superb landscape and an extensive view of the Adriatic Sea. The path is easy to walk through, and the trees give shade, reducing the heat of summer.
9. Cala Susca
Cala Susca is a small, beautiful cove in Monopoli, and it is definitely one of the best beaches in Puglia. This gorgeous beach is only around 0.17 km long, but it offers breathtaking scenery and a heavenly panorama.
It is a lovely beach with a sandy bottom and some rocks just a few steps from the water’s edge. The sandy shore is a pleasant spot to sit and occasionally cool down in the spray of the waves.
It is one of the finest beaches in Puglia for families and groups of friends. Cala Susca boasts a variety of conveniences, such as sunbeds and umbrellas set up on wooden structures so that you won’t end up covered in sand after swimming.
Adding to all this, the transparency and shifting colours of the sea in Cala Susca are just breathtaking. The sea calls and tempts its visitors to dive once they arrive.
10. Baia dei Turchi
Baia dei Turchi is the perfect destination if you’re seeking somewhere to go that will leave you with a lovely memory of the stunning sea of Puglia. This beach has been listed as one of the first 100 locations in Italy that must be protected. It also comes in at number twelve among “places of the heart.”
Being an undeveloped beach surrounded by the Alimini Lakes National Park, Baia dei Turchi is a true paradise. This excellent sand beach is 1.5 kilometres long and is accessible on foot via dense pine forests, but every step is truly worthwhile. Besides the pine forests, a cliff covered with Mediterranean scrub encircles the beach.
The shoreline of Baia dei Turchi is expansive, featuring a clear blue sea and golden sand. The water is gorgeously pure, warm, and shallow, making it perfect for swimming. You can do other activities besides swimming and tanning, such as jet skiing.