Travelers to Puglia will be left speechless by the unspoiled beauty of Italy’s heel. Gnarled, hundred-year-old olive trees give way to whitewashed villages that look like they belong on a Greek island. Let’s take a look at the best beaches in Puglia to get the most out of your vacation.
Along the dusty rural roads, you’ll come across the unique Apulian architecture, a strange mix of the type-shaped Trulli and the rectangular robustness of the traditional Masseria. And the fresh flavors of the local food and produce will linger on your tongue long after you’ve left.
On the other hand, the beaches of Puglia may be the best-kept secret in the region. It should come as no surprise that Puglia’s beaches are among the best in Italy. In contrast to the Ionian, the pools and best beaches in Puglia are undeniably beautiful but often overlooked by foreign visitors.
The warmer months are ideal for enjoying the best beaches in Puglia, but you will have a better time if you visit Puglia outside of the high summer season. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit Puglia in July or August but get prepared for more crowded beaches, higher prices, and fewer chances of finding a secluded spot to swim just for yourself.
The mid-season months of May, June, September, and October are ideal for visiting Puglia’s beaches. During the quieter months, you will be able to enjoy the best of Puglia. My most recent trip was in early June when the weather was ideal for sightseeing and swimming!
How to Visit Puglia’s Beaches?
To see the best of Puglia, we highly recommend that you rent a car! While public transportation will allow you to visit the towns of Puglia, you will need your wheels to find the best secret beaches in Puglia. There are some special cases like the beaches around Ostuni that have free public transport but most of the time you’ll need a car.
The service is usually outstanding, and the vehicles were modern, clean, and enjoyable to drive. Make a reservation for a rental car. Remember that, as in most places around the world, leaving valuables in the car while enjoying the beaches of Puglia is not a good idea. Read more about renting in our article of getting around Puglia.
Best beaches of Puglia
We’ve compiled a list of the best beaches in Puglia that we believe every tourist should see while visiting the region, and they chose for their uniqueness.
1. Tremiti Island
The Tremiti Islands are an archipelago of small islands with white sandy beaches and an unpolluted sea. The Tremiti Islands are a protected marine reserve with a unique environment that attracts divers due to the abundance of coves and underwater caves.
Only San Domino and San Nicola are inhabited, but the other three can be reached by boat. The archipelago is a jewel, literally a pearl of the Adriatic Sea, and adds to the splendor of the journey.
The boat ride takes you into a world of jagged cliffs, sandy coves, and dense pine forests, all surrounded by a cobalt blue sea. Only two of the three Tremiti Islands are inhabited, but they are all reachable by sea from the mainland in Termoli or other small towns in Gargano.
Because San Domino and San Nicola are larger islands, they have more facilities. The snorkeling and diving are excellent, and the beaches and coves are beautiful, sandy, and wild.
2. Spiaggia di Pescoluse
Pescoluse beach is the most famous and the longest in Puglia, stretches for 8 kilometers along the Ionian coast. Breathtaking beauty is also known as the Maldives of Salento.
The dunes form a natural barrier between the beach and the main road that leads inland. Pescoluse is an extraordinary and unforgettable location.
It has fine white sand, crystal clear sea shades of blue, blue, green, shallow waters, islets emerging from the sea, dunes covered in acacias, and white lilies. Because of the shallow waters, it is ideal for families with children. Certainly one of Puglia’s most well-known beaches.
3. Torre dell’Orso
This lovely beach takes its name from a 16th-century watchtower. It has been awarded the Blue Flag for the quality of its sand and water on numerous occasions.
It is about 800 meters long and is around cliffs; to the south, just off the coast, are the Two Sisters, two famous cliffs.
As legend holds, the sisters threw themselves into the sea one day and never returned. The gods felt sorry for them and turned them into the two cliffs.
The white sand, clear sea, and partly the nearby Alimini lakes, as well as enough wind for surfing, combine to make this beach one of the most beautiful in Puglia.
4. Porto Selvaggio
In 1980, Porto Selvaggio (literally, Porto Selvaggio) was a national park. It is located on Salento’s west coast, between Sant’Isidoro and Santa Maria al Bagno, and is accessible by car from Nardo.
A protected area composed of a vast pine and eucalyptus forest rich in plant and animal species. To get to the coast, you’ll have to walk through a dense pine forest for ten minutes. Only then you can reach the beach, a natural harbor with crystal clear waters. The rocky bottoms are often explored by divers and the cliffs reach 40 meters.
The entire area is protected from tourist development and is home to a wide range of wildlife such as lizards, weasels, finches, foxes, and birds such as hoopoes, thrushes, and kestrels.
5. Dune di Campomarino
Mention Taranto province to anyone in Puglia, and you’ll get a wrinkled brow and a puzzled expression; it’s famous for having a dilapidated and moldy old town as well as a contentious steel production plant.
An hour’s drive south of the forgotten town is the charming town of Maruggio, which has a single honey-colored church, a few sun-white houses, and an unspoiled beach.
Except a few resident flamingos, its peaks of fine sand are dotted with cacti and purple lavender bushes that look like a bunch of Parma violets.
Discover Campomarino’s dune beach for complete seclusion. There are no beach bars or umbrellas to be found, only fragrant junipers, lavender, and thyme shrubs and greenery. It is the place to go if you want to find peace, connect with nature, and enjoy crystal clear water.
6. Baia Dei Turchi
Otranto looks like the Puglia you’ve seen on Pinterest. With whitewashed houses, colorful mint green shutters, gnarled olive trees, and family-run delicatessens selling steaming slices of chili focaccia.
Some may be satisfied with Otranto’s main sandy road, but a few miles north to the Casino de Turchi will reward you with deserted beaches lined with abandoned fishing boats.
When you arrive at the Turks’ parking lot, you’ll probably be perplexed by the neat rows of striped umbrellas on the horizon. It’s Alimini beach, so don’t be afraid. Turn right and walk for five minutes to find the ideal location. A typical Mediterranean clip pine forest separates the beach.
7. Polignano a Mare
We discover Polignano a Mare, a pearl on the Adriatic Sea. It has frequently received the Blue Flag (from the Foundation for Environmental Education) for its clean bathing waters, beaches, and tourist amenities.
The country’s oldest part is on limestone cliffs overlooking the sea. Cala Porto Beach, or Lama Monachile Beach, is a few minutes’ walk from the historic center. The place gets its name from an old bridge part of the Via Roman Traiana.
The beach is small, with small white pebbles and crystal clear blue-green water. The entire area is surrounded by cliffs and caves. This makes it ideal for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts and boat trips through the caves. The Black Grotto and the Caverne de Monumenti are two examples.
8. Zagare Bay
Zagare Bay, also known as Mergoli Bay, is approximately 1 km long and has soft white sand. It is within an enchanted cove.
Because of two hotels, the Baia delle Zagare and the Baia dei Faraglioni, this beach is accessible by sea or land. Given that the beach can only accommodate a maximum of 30 visitors per day to protect the site, it is best to plan ahead of time and obtain a pass from the Municipality of Mattinata if you want to visit Baia delle Zagare without being a hotel guest.
9. Cala dell’Acquaviva
Cala dell’Acquaviva is one of the few bathing bays along the rocky coast between Otranto and Santa Maria di Leuca. More of a steep cove than a full-fledged beach, and it’s only a 30-minute walk from Castro’s pastel-colored houses and swaying palm trees.
You will have to walk through the fields behind the Naturalist Museum to access this beach. After that take the stone stairs down and you will arrive at the right place.
What we love about this beach are the beautiful surroundings and the hidden nature. Not many people know about this. It’s a great choice when you want a secluded spot. The water remains cool due to springs that flow directly into the ocean even during the hottest months.
10. Spiagga di Vignanotica
Vignanotica is a pebble beach known for its high white cliff. The beach is surrounded by lush nature and located between Santa Tecla Park and Monte Barone Park.
It is about 3 kilometers away from the municipal road “Vieste / Mattinata”. Early afternoon is the best time to visit this place as the sun shines on the rock wall.