Whether you’re in search of a beach backed by Roman ruins, wave-carved grottoes, postcard-perfect medieval towns or wild Mediterranean landscapes, Italy is home to beaches for everyone.
So, if you’re heading to this country and you’re in the mood to get a little beachy, we’ve put together a list of our favourites. From the best beaches on Elba to a secret paradise on Lampedusa, there are plenty of options!
1. Cala Goloritze
One of the most beautiful and unique beaches in Italy, Cala Goloritze is a hidden gem that you must visit during your trip to Sardinia. This crescent of minuscule white pebbles and sand is located in Baunei in the Gulf of Orosei.
Originally created by a landslide, this cove is home to a pinnacle that rises 143 meters above the beach. Moreover, there is a natural arch that opens on the right side of the bay, making this place even more special.
The crystalline waters of the Gulf of Orosei are unrivaled in their beauty, a must for snorkeling and swimming lovers. Make sure you take some snorkelling goggles and ease in – you’ll be amazed by the incredible shades of blue and green!
2. Capo San Vito
Located in thenorth-western Sicily, Capo San Vito is famous for its postcard views and its long golden beach. This beautiful blend of sandy and rocky shore is nestled between the cliffs of the Cape of San Vito and the promontory of Punta Salanto.
This lovely resort has a good selection of hotels, B&Bs and holiday apartments for you to choose from. In the Italian holiday period – July and August – the town is busy so it’s best to book ahead.
Aside from the large sandy beach San Vito also boasts the Zingaro Nature Reserve and Monte Cofano Natural Reserve which offer a variety of hiking trails to reach the beaches. These wild landscapes are not as popular with tourists as the beaches at San Vito but the scenery is still as beautiful.
Camogli is one of the best beaches in Liguria, it has beautiful buildings and is by the sea. It also has fabulous restaurants and bars and is not packed with tourists, even in the height of summer!
It has a gorgeous beach, rocky but still beautiful and with great views. There are plenty of lidos with umbrellas and sunbeds for you to relax on.
The beach is also close to the town, so it is a perfect place to go for a walk and see the colourful buildings.
There are a lot of colorful houses in Camogli, but you can also see some more traditional houses in the city. You can get to know the ancient core by strolling around. It is a very interesting area as it offers a real slice of life.
Cefalu is one of Sicily’s most beautiful seaside towns, an hour to the east of Palermo and home to a stunning coastline. The city has a lot to offer and a range of things to do.
The crystalline waters of the beaches in Cefalu are perfect for swimming, while the town itself is full of history and charm. Take a trip to the 12th-century cathedral and explore the historic centre of this charming seaside town, or climb La Rocca (the rock) for views over the coastline.
The sandy beach at Cefalu is one of the best in Sicily, but it does get very busy during summer. So it’s important to book well in advance for the most popular months.
5. Spiaggia Rosa
If you’re looking for an Italian beach that will make you feel like you’ve entered your own little tropical paradise, look no further than Spiaggia Rosa. Its sweeping white sands are backed by sculpted rock formations and lapped by crystal-clear water on the island of Sardinia.
Located within the national park of Cilento, it’s one of Italy’s most pristine beaches and a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the Amalfi Coast. It can be reached by boat or by a challenging hike, but it’s well worth the effort.
Ischia is a secluded volcanic island in the Bay of Naples that has a magnetic allure. Its quaint beach towns, lush green landscapes and sparkling blue waters are a breath of fresh air, compared to its more polished neighbours like Capri and the Amalfi Coast.
While Ischia has long been popular among Italians, it’s been increasingly attracting global travelers, thanks to its pretty Sicilian towns and beautiful beaches. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous holiday or a more leisurely vacation, Ischia has something for everyone.
Ischia is dotted with natural thermal baths, which are sourced from geothermal vents that heat the island’s coastline. These naturally heated pools are free to visit and open year round.
7. Torre Guaceto
Torre Guaceto is one of Italy’s most beautiful beaches and a nature reserve on the Adriatic coast. This pristine beach is surrounded by sea stacks and offers visitors the chance to relax or enjoy many different activities.
The beach stretches for several kilometres and is overlooked by a 16th century watchtower. The sea is crystal clear and there are plenty of fish to spot.
To reach Torre Guaceto you can park your car and either walk to the beach or take the tourist train that runs between the car park and the sand. The area is also home to a sailing school and there is a range of activities you can do here including swimming, snorkeling, fishing and kayaking.
The sand dunes, marshes and rocky gorges of this uncrowded natural preserve on the Adriatic Sea are home to octopi and sea bass and there is plenty of space for snorkeling and a swim in the crystal clear waters. The area is a WWF protected zone which means it is less crowded and you won’t find any resorts or bars here so you can truly experience the true Italian holiday vibe.
A low-key destination in Sicily’s northwest corner, Scopello is a hamlet popular with magazine photographers and film directors. It may soon be a victim of its own success, but in the meantime this remarkably scenic spot is a must-visit for a swim, a meal or a day trip.
The village’s main square, Piazza Fontana, is framed by high walls and shaded by luscious vegetation, under which cafés and restaurants thrive. Among the highlights is the 17th-century Baglio, or baglio as it’s called in Sicily, a fortified rural community or country estate once owned by barons and the church.
The village’s other highlight is Tonnara di Scopello, a former tuna fishery active from the 13th century to the 1980s, now a medieval museum whose entrance fee gives you access to Faraglioni beach, one of the most beautiful beaches on this stretch of Sicily’s coast. You can also visit the adjacent Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve, a protected coastal strip with secluded inlets and coves of crystalline water and sandy beaches.
9. Polignano a Mare
Polignano a Mare is one of the most famous and popular destinations in Puglia. This picturesque town is best known for its gorgeous beaches, which are wedged between rugged cliffs.
It is also known for its spectacular sandstone walls. These are known as Lama Monachile Cala Porto and are a must-see when visiting the town.
The beach is always crowded, but it is worth it for the spectacular views and the beautiful cove. It is a very picturesque area, with cliffs and sea caves.
Another reason to visit this beach is its historical bridge which was built in the Bourbon period. This bridge attracts a lot of tourists, and it gives a unique view over the beautiful cove of Lama Monachile.
A perfect combination of sea, beach and nature, Biodola Beach on the island of Elba is renowned for its fine golden sand. It’s shallow until quite far out, and the crystal clear water is cobalt blue to emerald green.
It’s popular among families with small children and teenagers, and the beach can get busy during the summer months. It’s also a little difficult to find parking, so plan ahead.
Those looking for something more secluded should head to tiny Forno, a peaceful cove tucked behind the resort town of Biodola. It’s home to L’Ostrica restaurant, and sits surrounded by villas and sheltering greenery.