Land of sun and sea, Puglia is undoubtedly one of the country’s most famous regions, known for its iconic ‘Trulli’, baroque architecture and of course, the stunning coastline. Read on for the best beaches in Salento.
On the Adriatic coast it is possible to experience every type of coast: the coasts alternate tropical landscapes, long beaches, fascinating caves and impressive cliffs. Try to take a selfie at some of the most iconic beaches in Puglia and don’t tag your location.. People may ask you if you’re at the Maldives or Caribbean, such is the beauty of Puglia!
Discover the 5 best beaches in Salento, the Caribbean of Italy
Torre dell’Orso beach
A crescent between two cliffs, near caves where you can admire the graffiti in Latin and Greek, by ancient sailors, this is Torre dell’Orso, one of the best beaches in Salento.
Torre dell’Orso is located along the Adriatic coast of Salento and it has a bay of almost 1 km with very fine sand, dunes and a pine grove behind the dunes. The sea in this area is limpid and crystal clear thanks to the currents of the Otranto Channel.
On the right side of the bay, at short distance from the seashore, two cliffs rising out of the blue waters, called Le Due Sorelle (two sisters), have become the postcard image of Salento.
According to a folk legend, two sisters dived into the choppy waters and when they realized they would never be able to reach the shore, the gods turned them into two beautiful sea stacks.
Along the cliffs are numerous sea caves rich in graffiti and traces of prehistory. There are not many free stretches of beach, most of the coastline is managed by the bathing establishments.
Young people love this seaside town for its vitality: the central square, the beaches and some local, come alive at all hours of the day, offering entertainment, live events, meals and typical drinks and more. In some summer nights you can watch the fireflies on the beach (small fires lit by groups of friends, awaiting the dawn while singing)
A curiosity: The name of the village derives from the presence, on the coast, of a 16th century tower used (like all the towers on the Salento coast) in the past to spot Turkish, Saracen and pirate ships, bound for Salento.
Alimini, one of the best beaches in Salento, is a sea resort with fine white sandy beach is located between Otranto and Torre Dell’Orso. Unusual feature is the presence of two salt lakes (“Alimini lakes“), rich in vegetation, home to fish farms, located between the deep green of the Mediterranean maquis and the blue of the nearby sea.
The beach, located in front of the lakes, is surrounded by rich Mediterranean vegetation and it is six kilometres long, it has white sand bordered by dunes and is proud of the Blue Flag and 5 Sails (a flag awarded to the most beautiful beaches) of Legambiente (Italian environment protection association).
The long coast, usually exposed to winds, is a real paradise for surfers. The shore has equipped lidos and free beaches, the lidos are constantly motivated by social events and sports (alternating various DJs, bands, radio, beach volleyball tournaments, surfing).
On summer nights groups of friends organize bonfires, so you’ll see people dancing in an atmosphere of harmonious brotherhood, illuminated by the glow of fires, moments where time seems to stop in the atmosphere of the magical starry nights of Salento.
Torre Guaceto beach
As a protected marine area and a nature reserve, Torre Guaceto is a haven of natural beauty and it is one of the best beaches in Salento. The several kilometres of coastline means there is always a private patch of sand to claim, while the colourful coral reefs and seagrass beckon snorkelers and divers alike.
There aren’t no buildings, only beaches, dunes, small lagoons and swamps, among which shelter are numerous species of migratory birds, amphibians, insects and turtles. You can’t get to the shore by car, but there’s a little train that brings you to the bays.
In the summertime, you can often participate in interesting events at night, including music, exhibitions and installation art events, with a very suggestive atmosphere.
Santa Cesarea Terme beach
Spa pools, old quarries and coves: Santa Cesarea Terme offers an ancient and appealing view by the sea. The beach takes name from the sulphurous waters that characterize the many surrounding caves.
Santa Cesarea Terme is mainly rocky, with small pools created by the rocks which surround the blue and turquoise sea.
Located at south of the Strait of Otranto and adjacent to Castro, it has several points loved by swimmers, such as the terraces and the beach of Porto Miggiano, over a wide range of rocky landing points, often chosen by fishermen.
Polignano A Mare beach
Placed a plateau above the sea, Polignano a Mare lies south of Puglia’s capital city of Bari, along the crystal-clear Adriatic Sea. The beach of Polignano a Mare is inserted in the homonymous seaside resort, one of the most famous of the Apulian coast.
The main beach of Polignano a Mare, the one immortalized in the photographs of all visitors staying in Puglia, is the beach of Lama Monachile – Cala Porto. It is a small cove composed of pebbles and rocks that offers a wonderful glimpse of the town of Polignano a Mare.
The beach looks like a hemmed-in fjord, but is the mouth of an extinct river, spanned at the inland end by a Roman bridge. The beach is easily accessible, with the services, cafes and restaurants of the town just steps away.
Another beach at Polignano is Cala Paura, a small cove that is very popular with the locals, where you can also try delicious fried fish at the trattoria by the beach, just a stone’s throw from the sea.
If you prefer sand, there’s Porto Cavallo, a small beach ideal for children and families, right next to Polignano a Mare’s new marina.
Don’t’ miss: Raw fish platters served at Grotta Palazzese, a chic grotto hotel-restaurant with a rock platform suspended above the sea.
Puglia Travel Tips for Your Summer Vacation
- There are two international airports in the region – Bari and Brindisi. Choose Brindisi if you want to spend your vacation in Salento and Bari airport if you will stay somewhere around Bari or around Gargano.
- In Puglia you will not be able to move without a car... Book a car in advance!
- If you love nightlife and aperitive places, go to Gallipoli and the nearest areas.
- Choose your Puglia coast: The big advantage of having two coasts is that whenever the wind comes from the north (Tramontana), the Ionian Sea is calm and whenever the wind comes from the southeast (Scirocco), the Adriatic Sea offers a peaceful swimming experience.
- Visit Otranto: Pressed against clear Adriatic waters at Italy’s easternmost point, Otranto’s whitewashed medieval core makes a great base for getting around the Salento’s windswept coast.
- If you love fish: for some of the best sea urchins in Italy go to Porto Badisco
- Don’t miss to taste burrata: a fresh Italian cow milk cheese (occasionally buffalo milk) made from mozzarella and cream, simply delicious!
- Festivals and events are around every corner during the summer months, and the whole of southern Italy has more of a party atmosphere during this time.
- Watch a Pizzica Concert. It’s the traditional music/dance of Salento and has its origins from an exorcism ritual that used to be carried out mainly on women a long time ago.
- If you want to be in a desert, or at least calmer atmosphere, choose beginning of June and September. The prices are adequate.
- If you have some spare time, don’t miss, the more wild region of Gargano, in the north of Puglia.
Best time to visit Puglia
Puglia has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild winters. If you enjoy hot perfect sunny days the best time to visit Puglia is between June and September. The hottest month of the year is July with an average daily maximum of 35 C and an average low of 24 C.
The waters of the sea, warm up to a most pleasing temperature, which is perfect for those who love swimming in the sea.
In July and August, Italians on holiday flood into Puglia and though this is the most crowded time, the area is busy with food festivals, concerts and other spectacular music events.
You may even learn the local dance such as the Tarantella or Pizzica, at one of the many music and dance festivals that pop up across the historic towns and beach villages.