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.
Puglia is a region of contrasts, with the rugged cliffs of the Gargano Peninsula in the north giving way to the pristine sandy shores of Salento in the south. With over 800 kilometres of coastline, Puglia offers a diverse range of beach experiences for every type of traveller. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, water sports, or a vibrant beachside atmosphere, Puglia has it all.
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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. This family-friendly beach features soft golden sand and turquoise waters, perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Nearby, you can explore the fascinating caves of Grotta della Poesia or take a stroll through the pine forest.
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. This protected nature reserve is home to a rocky, secluded beach surrounded by lush Mediterranean vegetation. The crystal-clear waters make it an excellent spot for snorkelling and diving.
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. With its long stretch of fine white sand and clear, shallow waters, Punta Prosciutto is ideal for families with young children. The beach is also popular among kite surfers and windsurfers.
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.
11. Peschici Beach
Peschici Beach, also known as Baia di Peschici, is located in the Gargano National Park. This charming beach is known for its crystal-clear waters, white sand, and dramatic limestone cliffs.
The beach is perfectly nestled between the picturesque town of Peschici and the sea, offering a beautiful setting for sunbathing and swimming. The waters are renowned for their clarity and shades of blue, making it a great place for swimming, snorkelling, and other water-based activities.
Visitors can explore the nearby historic village of Peschici and traverse through the town’s narrow streets, enjoy local cuisine, and experience the vibrant atmosphere of Peschici. You can also take a boat trip to the stunning Tremiti Islands and appreciate the captivating views of the Adriatic Sea.
Peschici Beach is a scenic destination that combines natural beauty, clear waters, and the charm of the surrounding town. It attracts both locals and tourists seeking a relaxing and enjoyable beach experience in the stunning Puglia region of Italy.
12. Baia delle Zagare
Baia delle Zagare, also known as Zagare Bay or Bay of the Zagare, is a breathtaking coastal area located on the Gargano Peninsula in the Puglia region of southern Italy. Nestled between towering cliffs, this secluded bay offers a tranquil escape. The beach is only accessible by boat or through a nearby hotel, ensuring a serene and exclusive experience.
The bay is characterised by its striking white limestone cliffs that contrast beautifully with the azure waters. The cliffs rise majestically from the sea, creating a captivating and picturesque setting. The bay is often hailed as one of the most beautiful in Italy due to its unique rock formations and pristine environment.
One of the distinctive features of Baia delle Zagare is the presence of sea stacks or “Faraglioni.” These towering limestone formations emerge from the sea, creating an enchanting sight. The most famous of these stacks is known as the “Pizzomunno,” a large solitary pillar that stands near the shore.
Baia delle Zagare is a natural gem that showcases the beauty of the Gargano Peninsula. Visitors are drawn to its stunning cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and picturesque beaches, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and beach enthusiasts in Puglia.
Puglia Beachside Activities and Facilities
Puglia’s beaches offer a wide range of activities and facilities to cater to different preferences, interests and hobbies, whether you’re after a thrilling adventure or tranquil relaxation, you can find the details you need below.
Water sports and activities
Many beaches in Puglia offer water sports facilities, such as windsurfing, kitesurfing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. It’s a great opportunity to explore crystal clear waters and unleash your inner explorer. Check out some spots in Puglia where you can take part in these water activities.
The Salento Peninsula, particularly the coastal towns of Gallipoli, Otranto, and Santa Maria di Leuca, is known for its beautiful beaches and abundant water sports opportunities. You can find centres that offer activities such as windsurfing, kiteboarding, snorkelling, and scuba diving.
The Gargano Peninsula, with its rugged cliffs, secluded coves, and pristine beaches, is another popular area for water sports in Puglia. Places like Vieste, Peschici, and Mattinata offer opportunities for activities like kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing, and boat tours to explore sea caves and hidden beaches.
Located on the Ionian Sea, Taranto is a city that provides various water sports activities. Along its coastline, you can find centres that offer activities such as sailing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, and even jet skiing.
These are just a few examples of places in Puglia where you can enjoy water sports. It’s recommended to check with local water sports centres, surf schools, or tour operators for specific activities, equipment rental, and guided experiences based on your interests and the season.
Beach clubs in Puglia
For those seeking a more luxurious beach experience, several beach clubs along the coast provide sunbeds, umbrellas, and refreshments for a fee. This collection of private beach clubs includes;
Polignano a Mare: Situated in Polignano a Mare, Lido Bizzarro is a stylish beach club offering sunbeds, umbrellas, and a relaxing atmosphere. It features a sandy beach, crystal-clear waters, and a seaside bar serving refreshing drinks and light snacks.
Lido Bosco Verde – Gallipoli
Located in Gallipoli, Lido Bosco Verde is a beach club known for its lush green surroundings and tranquil atmosphere. It offers beach facilities, a swimming pool, beachside dining, and a bar. The club provides a comfortable and serene environment for a day at the beach.
Lido Morelli – Porto Cesareo
Lido Morelli in Porto Cesareo is a popular beach club known for its pristine white sandy beach and clear turquoise waters. The club offers sunbeds, umbrellas, showers, and changing facilities. Visitors can also enjoy a beachside restaurant and bar serving delicious seafood dishes and refreshing drinks.
Lido Silvana – Torre Canne
Situated in Torre Canne, Lido Silvana is a well-known beach club offering a wide sandy beach and panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea. The club provides sunbeds, umbrellas, a beachside restaurant, and a bar. It is a great spot to relax and soak up the sun.
Lido Sabbia d’Oro – Monopoli
Located in Monopoli, Lido Sabbia d’Oro offers a beautiful sandy beach, calm waters, and a family-friendly environment. The beach club provides sunbeds, umbrellas, a beach bar, and a restaurant serving traditional Puglian cuisine.
These are just a few examples of beach clubs in Puglia. Each club offers its own unique ambience, facilities, and services. It’s recommended to check the specific amenities, prices, and availability directly with the beach clubs or through reputable travel websites for the most up-to-date information.
Restaurants and Bars in Puglia
From rustic beachside trattorias to trendy bars, you’ll find a variety of dining options along Puglia’s coast, serving up fresh seafood and local specialities. Check out some of these bars and restaurants below and discover the region’s rich culinary scene.
Restaurants in Puglia
From delicious fresh seafood to homemade pasta dishes, you will not be disappointed with the level of culinary skill in Puglia.
Osteria del Tempo Perso (Ostuni)
This renowned restaurant in Ostuni serves traditional Puglian cuisine with a modern twist. It offers a cosy atmosphere and dishes made with fresh local ingredients, including seafood, vegetables, and homemade pasta.
Antichi Sapori (Montegrosso)
Situated in Montegrosso, Antichi Sapori is a rustic restaurant known for its authentic Puglian cuisine. It offers dishes inspired by local traditions, such as orecchiette pasta, roasted meats, and traditional desserts.
Al Fornello da Ricci (Fasano)
Located in Fasano, Al Fornello da Ricci is a family-run restaurant known for its farm-to-table approach. It serves dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, including homemade pasta, seafood, and local specialities.
Situated in Bari, Cibus is a popular restaurant that blends traditional Puglian flavours with modern techniques. It offers a creative menu featuring dishes made with seasonal ingredients, accompanied by an extensive wine list.
L’Altro Baffo (Gallipoli)
This seafood-focused restaurant in Gallipoli offers a stunning view of the sea. It specializes in fresh fish and seafood dishes prepared with simplicity and respect for Puglia’s culinary heritage.
Bars in Puglia
What better way to enjoy the breathtaking scenery than with a cool beverage by your side? Check out these charming bars along the Puglia coast.
Birrificio Mandarà (Lecce)
Located in Lecce, Birrificio Mandarà is a craft brewery and taproom that offers a wide selection of artisanal beers. It provides a relaxed atmosphere for beer enthusiasts to enjoy unique brews.
Bar del Fico (Bari)
Situated in the historic centre of Bari, Bar del Fico is a popular bar known for its lively atmosphere and wide variety of drinks. It offers an extensive cocktail menu, including classics and creative concoctions.
Don Tonino (Ostuni)
Don Tonino is a charming wine bar located in Ostuni. It offers a curated selection of local and Italian wines, allowing visitors to explore the region’s viticultural heritage.
Caffè Alvino (Lecce)
Caffè Alvino is a historic café-bar in Lecce that dates back to the 18th century. It is known for its elegant ambience and traditional Apulian pastries, accompanied by coffee or aperitifs.
Bar del Porto (Gallipoli)
Situated near the port of Gallipoli, Bar del Porto is a popular bar with a vibrant atmosphere. It offers a wide selection of drinks, including cocktails, wines, and refreshing beverages, perfect for enjoying a seaside view.
These are just a few examples of the many restaurants and bars available in Puglia. The region offers a diverse culinary scene with options to suit various tastes and preferences. It’s advisable to check the opening hours, reservation policies, and specific offerings of each establishment before visiting.
Nature Reserves in Puglia
Puglia is home to numerous protected areas, offering visitors the chance to explore diverse ecosystems and enjoy the region’s natural beauty. Here are some notable nature reserves in Puglia.
Gargano National Park
Situated on the Gargano Peninsula, Gargano National Park is a vast protected area that encompasses diverse ecosystems, including forests, coastal cliffs, wetlands, and beautiful beaches. The park offers numerous hiking trails, wildlife observation opportunities, and breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea.
Located within Gargano National Park, Foresta Umbra is a dense and ancient beech forest covering approximately 10,000 hectares. It is considered one of the largest and oldest beech forests in Europe. Visitors can explore its trails, enjoy the tranquillity, and observe various plant and animal species.
Salina di Margherita di Savoia
Situated along the Adriatic coast near the town of Margherita di Savoia, Salina di Margherita di Savoia is a protected wetland area known for its salt pans and rich birdlife. It is an important resting and feeding site for migratory birds and offers birdwatching opportunities.
Torre Guaceto Nature Reserve
Located near Brindisi, Torre Guaceto Nature Reserve is a coastal reserve that spans over 1,000 hectares. It features sandy beaches, dunes, wetlands, and Mediterranean scrub. Visitors can enjoy swimming, snorkelling, hiking trails, and exploring the diverse flora and fauna of the area.
Bosco delle Pianelle
Located near Foggia, Bosco delle Pianelle is a nature reserve known for its oak and pine forests. It provides a peaceful setting for nature walks, picnics, and observing the local wildlife.
Riserva Naturale Statale Isole Tremiti
The Tremiti Islands, located off the coast of Gargano, are a group of five small islands that form a nature reserve. The reserve protects the islands’ unique ecosystems, crystal-clear waters, and marine biodiversity. Visitors can enjoy snorkelling, diving, and exploring picturesque landscapes.
These are just a few examples of the nature reserves in Puglia. Each reserve offers opportunities for outdoor activities, nature exploration, and the conservation of the region’s natural heritage.
Practical Tips for Visiting Puglia’s Beaches
Best time to visit: The peak season for visiting Puglia’s beaches is from June to September. For fewer crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of May or October.
Beach access: While many beaches in Puglia are free to access, some may require a fee for parking or the use of facilities such as sunbeds and umbrellas. Make sure to check the local regulations before visiting a particular beach.
Safety: Most popular beaches in Puglia have lifeguards on duty during the peak season. However, it’s essential to exercise caution when swimming, especially in areas with strong currents or rocky coastlines.
Beach etiquette: To ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone, be respectful of other beachgoers by keeping noise levels down, not littering, and avoiding encroaching on others’ space.
Protect the environment: Help preserve Puglia’s natural beauty by leaving no trace behind. Dispose of your rubbish responsibly and avoid disturbing the local flora and fauna.
Getting to Puglia’s Beaches
Puglia is well-connected by various modes of transport, making it easy to reach its stunning beaches:
By Air: The region has two main airports – Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport in the north and Brindisi-Salento Airport in the south. Both airports offer domestic and international flights, with several low-cost carriers servicing the region.
By Train: Italy’s national rail network, Trenitalia, connects major cities in Puglia with the rest of the country. From the main train stations, you can use local trains or buses to reach the coastal areas.
By Car: Renting a car offers the most flexibility for exploring Puglia’s diverse coastline at your own pace. The region has an extensive network of well-maintained roads, and many beach destinations are easily accessible by car.
Beach Resorts in Puglia
Puglia, a region located in southern Italy, is known for its stunning coastline and picturesque beaches. Here are some beach resorts in Puglia that offer a combination of luxurious accommodations and access to beautiful coastal areas:
Located in Savelletri di Fasano, Borgo Egnazia is a luxury resort known for its elegant design and top-notch amenities. While not directly on the beach, it offers a private beach club just a short shuttle ride away, where guests can enjoy the sun, sand, and crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea. The resort features luxurious rooms, multiple swimming pools, a spa, and various dining options.
Masseria San Domenico
Situated near the town of Fasano, Masseria San Domenico is a historic estate turned five-star beach resort. It offers direct access to its own private beach, complete with sun loungers, umbrellas, and beachside service. The resort features well-appointed rooms, a golf course, a spa, and several dining options.
Don Ferrante – Dimore di Charme
Located in Monopoli, Don Ferrante is a boutique hotel that offers panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea. While not directly on a beach, it provides easy access to nearby beaches. The hotel features stylish rooms, a rooftop terrace, a restaurant serving local cuisine, and a private beach club.
Canne Bianche Lifestyle & Hotel
Situated in Torre Canne, Canne Bianche Lifestyle & Hotel is a contemporary beachfront resort. It offers direct access to a private sandy beach, where guests can relax and enjoy the sea. The resort features modern rooms, a spa, an outdoor pool, and a restaurant specializing in Mediterranean cuisine.
Masseria Torre Maizza
Located in Savelletri di Fasano, Masseria Torre Maizza is a luxurious resort surrounded by olive groves. While not directly on the beach, it provides a shuttle service to a private beach club. The resort features elegant rooms, a golf course, a spa, and a restaurant serving traditional Puglian cuisine.
These are just a few examples of beach resorts in Puglia, with each offering its own unique blend of luxury, amenities, and beach access.
More Accommodation Options in Puglia
Puglia offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences, check out what’s available during your stay below.
Agriturismo: Experience the region’s rural charm by staying in a traditional farmhouse, where you can enjoy home-cooked meals and immerse yourself in the local culture.
Holiday Rentals: Renting a villa or apartment is an excellent option for families or groups, providing more space and privacy than traditional hotel rooms.
B&Bs and Guesthouses: For a more intimate experience, consider staying in a family-run B&B or guesthouse, where you can enjoy personalised service and local hospitality.
With its breathtaking coastline, a diverse range of beaches, and charming seaside towns, Puglia is the perfect destination for a sun-soaked holiday.
Our ultimate guide to the beaches in Puglia will help you discover the region’s hidden gems and make the most of your time in this enchanting corner of Italy. So, pack your swimsuit, sunglasses, and sunscreen, and get ready for an unforgettable coastal adventure in Puglia!
Discover More of Italy
if you’re planning an upcoming trip to Italy, be sure to check out these other articles to inspire your visit: Best City Breaks in Italy | Visit Rome | Things to do in Sicily | Florence Italy | Cagliari Italy.