San Foca, Puglia – Visitor’s Guide
San Foca, Puglia, is a seaside village in the Melendugno municipality. It’s known as a great resort town due to the many options when it comes to beaches. It’s also known for the rocky shore that can create some truly dramatic sights.
San Foca in Puglia is not your usual beach destination though. It doesn’t have huge stretches of sandy beach. Rather the shore is divided into smaller sections between the rocks and cliffs. It’s a unique experience and there are many tourists who prefer these kinds of beaches.
This lovely seaside town is also a great base to explore the Salento peninsula. Located close to Lecce you’ll get access to everything with a rental car. Even Pescoluse beach is only an hours’ drive away which is on the opposite side of the peninsula.
San Foca Overview
Let’s start with the basics about San Foca in Puglia. It’s located in the Lecce Province and it overlooks the Adriatic sea. It’s a rather small village and a tourist hotspot during the summer.
The town also has a great marina for tourists. It’s actually a prime location to visit for people who are boating on the Adriatic. It is well connected to the rest of Puglia and many hotels have on-site parking for your rental car.
How to get to San Foca, Puglia?
If you are traveling to San Foca the best airport for you is Brindisi. Although Bari is good as well you’ll travel less if you land in Brindisi. If you are unsure where these airports are be sure to check out our airports in Puglia guide.
Your first stop will be Lecce. The town of Lecce is easy to reach both from Brindisi and Bari. All three towns are located on the main train line. This means that the connection is high-speed rail and you won’t be stuck sitting long on trains.
San Foca is east of Lecce. There is no train station in San Foca so it’s not possible to travel there by train from Lecce. Rather you can take the bus. You need to take bus line 101. That will take you directly to San Foca from Lecce. Check out the official bus map for more info.
Of course, you can also rent a car at the airport. Without question, this is the easiest way to visit San Foca. If you want to explore Puglia fully you’ll need to have a car with you anyway for your day trips.
San Foca History
As it is with many towns on the Adriatic coastline, San Foca was originally a fishing village. Originally there wasn’t even a village. The people living inland in towns like Melendungo needed a supply of fresh goods from the sea.
As people realized this they’ve found the location of San Foca to be a perfect place to launch fishing boats onto the water. Soon more and more people started moving to San Foca, Puglia, and the small houses started to pop up all over town.
The defensive structures along the shore show that even in medieval times the town served as an important source of food for the people of the Salento peninsula.
In recent years tourists have rediscovered the beauty of this small fishing town and now it’s a resort town with awesome hotels and great beaches.
San Foca Beaches
It’s time to dive into the attractions of San Foca, Puglia. It’s only natural that we start with the beaches in the area. Most people come here during the summer and want to enjoy a nice laid-back holiday. They want to feel the sun on their skin and swim in the crystal clear sea.
The beaches around here are characterized by having a lot of ‘lidos’ which are essentially separate beach clubs. They also vary in size and type. There are sandy beaches, small pebble beaches, and even rocky beaches.
Beach of San Foca
The local beach is just north of the marina. You can visit it easily by walking through the city. You’ll find here a sandy beach with shallow water. It’s a great choice if you are looking to get into the water as soon as possible. It’s also a great choice if you are looking for a place with sun loungers and on-site bars.
In fact, this beach is fully occupied by the so-called lidos and other beach bars. There are a few places between them where you can fit a towel and your own sun umbrella but they can fill up quickly during the high season.
Many people who visit this beach will instead choose one of the bars and use their sunbeds for a relaxing time on the beach. Below we’ve prepared a list of places with sun loungers for your convenience.
- Eurogarden Beach
- Lido Mamalù (highest rated)
- Lido L’Isola dei Briganti (second highest rated)
- Zenzero Beach Club
- Lido Solemar
Li Marangi & Lido Solero
South of San Foca, Puglia is Li Marangi and Lido Solero. We consider them as one beach because they occupy the same patch of sandy shore. They are beach bars with food and prepared sunbeds for your convenience.
Between the two bars, there is a small area where you can sit on your own towel and enjoy the sea without paying a dime.
Spiaggia di Canale Zzuccatu
If you are looking for a unique swimming opportunity then Spiaggia di Canale Zzuccatu is definitely a beach to consider. It’s a rocky beach with multiple tiny bays of water next to each other. There are patches of sand but most people prefer to stay on top of the rocks.
Spiaggia di Pascariello
For the ultimate cliff beach experience, you have to go to Spiaggia di Pascariello. It’s essentially a collection of huge cliffsides that extend into the water.
They create an amazing spectacle. As you are walking on the rocky landscape you will see natural pools formed between the cliffs and even some great cliff jumping opportunities. A fun beach for sure.
This is the southernmost beach we’ll recommend. It’s still just a few minutes of driving from San Foca, Puglia. Let’s continue with beaches towards the north.
Mora Mora Beach
The first famous beach towards the north that’s outside of town is Mora Mora Beach. This beach has a very nice part which is sandy and which has sunbeds available. There’s also a beautiful rocky cliffside area near the entrance.
You can also see Isoletta di Manfredi from the beach. It’s a small ‘rock island’ near the shore. People who have SUPs love to row there and explore this uninhabited piece of land.
Spiaggia libera Punta Cassano
One of the most photographed beach near San Foca, Puglia must be Spiaggia libera Punta Cassano. It’s north of town with parking available. There are signs that guide you where to park and you need to read them carefully or you might get towed.
It’s a narrow sandy beach under the cliffside. The cliffs extend over the beach which creates a dramatic place for a swim. Although this does have a bad effect as the beach is fully in shade during the afternoon. So, not the best choice for sunbathing.
The main sight here is the rocky shore. There are some stunning rock formations and natural bridges that extend into the water. A beautiful coastline where you’ll be amazed. Come here for the views, as there are better beaches for swimming in the area.
San Foca, Puglia – Attractions
After covering the beaches in the area it’s time to take a look at all the nearby sights and attractions. Visit these attractions in San Foca to mix up your beach days and see more of Puglia.
Torre di San Foca & The Marina
The attraction that you simply can’t miss is the local watchtower and the marina of the town. The tower is a reminder of the medieval age when times were not as peaceful as they are today.
You can walk around the marina and enjoy the sights of rocking boats. If you want you can also head into the restaurants to grab some fresh seafood or fish.
The marina of San Foca, Puglia is not only a tourist marina. There are a few companies that arrange boat excursions where you can see the coast from a different angle.
Many of these include some drinks on board and stops where you can jump from the boat and swim in the water. Here’s the full list of boat excursion providers:
- Stellar 5.0 star reviews on Google maps. We choose this company when we were in San Foca and they delivered an excellent boating trip.
- You can rent a boat without a license here
- Mixed 3.4 star reviews on Google. As we have no on-hand experience with this provider we can’t confirm if the service deserves this rating or it’s skewed by some bad reviews. If you ever try them we’d be happy to hear from you. You can reach out via our contact page.
Day Trips from San Foca
Although you can get around Puglia with the help of the local transport system it’s easier to do day trips if you rent a car.
You can enhance your visit to this region of Italy by simply seeing more of it. Visit the inland towns to learn more about the culture of Puglia and extend your cultural horizons.
The obvious choices are Lecce and Melendungo. However, if you don’t mind driving you can include towns like Matera, Brindisi, Ostuni, or Cisternino. If you want you may include more than one during a single day.
Visit the Poetry Cave
You will find the Poetry Cave in the town of Roca. It’s an amazing natural pool that charms with great views and offers cliff jumping opportunities.
The Poetry Cave or Grotta della Poesia is a must-see attraction when you are in this area of Puglia. Only a few such natural pools exist in the world and Grotta della Poesia is among the most beautiful of them.
Where to eat in San Foca, Puglia?
Most hotels in San Foca, Puglia offer some kind of meal along with their rooms however there might be days when you feel like going out. Let us hook you up with some restaurant recommendations for these days based on our own experience.
Ristorante da Romano
In case you are looking for nice seafood then you must go to Ristorante da Romano. They have a menu full of great meals from mussels through squid to lobster. Everything we’ve tried was great and the restaurant has a pleasant overall atmosphere.
The menu is on the pricey side but in our opinion, it’s worth the money. Check their official page for more info.
L’approdo Ristorante di Pesce
I think the editorial team of this website loves seafood just a bit too much. Another great seafood restaurant on our list? Yes, why not! L’approdo Ristorante di Pesce is an excellent place to eat fresh fish and other delicacies from the water.
They also have a nice pizza menu so if you are traveling with someone who isn’t too keen on seafood you can easily pick this restaurant. Don’t worry their pizza is also excellent. Head over to their official site for more info.
Our last pick is a fast-food restaurant. This place is awesome if you want to grab a quick bite or you want something tasty to go. We’ve found ourselves picking up some great-tasting food in the morning so we have lunch on the beach.
You can check out their official Facebook page for full info on this restaurant.
Where to stay in San Foca, Puglia?
Finally, let’s list some of our favorite hotels in San Foca. As usual, we will list three choices and will try to accommodate our recommendations to all kinds of travelers.
POSIA Luxury Retreat & SPA
Our first pick is a Luxury hotel in San Foca. It’s got everything that you wish for. Rooftop pool, great views, superb rooms, and nice meal options.
Of course, as the name suggests there are also plenty of wellness options in this hotel. The on-site SPA makes any stay super relaxing. It’s our favorite place to wind off and charge up.
Hotel Côte D’Est
For an affordable pick, Hotel Côte D’Est is a perfect place to stay in San Foca, Puglia. It’s a simple hotel with intercontinental breakfast options.
Although the rooms are simple, we’ve found the beds comfortable. The bathroom is also nice which is always good for a more budget hotel.
Surfbar B&B Lo Scoglio
Finally, something for the younger travelers. Surfbar B&B is a lovely pick if you are looking to meet new people and have a bar right at the bottom of your hotel. It might not be the quietest place to stay around town but it’s definitely among the most lively.
We’ve loved the ‘Surf’ styling and we think it flows well into the rest of the hotel. Although the rooms are simple they have everything you would want from a B&B. You’ll be spending most of your time on the beach anyway.