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Best Beaches in Italy to Visit on Vacation

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Tropea Beach in Calabria, Italy

Tropea Beach in Calabria, Italy

The best beaches in Italy boast tranquil swimming coves, gorgeous seascapes, and popular stretches of sandy shores that attract visitors from around the world who are eager to embrace Mediterranean charm and indulge in the sweet life for which Italy is known.

The Italian peninsula is surrounded on three sides by the Ligurian, Tyrrhenian, Ionian, and Adriatic seas, with azure waters that shape the country’s coastline and add to the stunning opportunities you can enjoy during your Italy trip.

Scroll down and learn more about the country’s best beaches to visit, depending on your preferences and interests.

  1. Best Beaches for Italian Culture, Cuisine, and Drinks
  2. Best Beaches in Italy for Swimming
  3. Best Beaches in Italy for Sunbathing
  4. Best Scenic Beaches in Italy for Spectacular Views
  5. Best Beaches in Italy for Scuba Diving
  6. Best Italian Beaches for Seclusion and Privacy
  7. Best Beaches in Italy to Enjoy Good Weather and Warm Water
  8. Explore the Best Beaches in Italy on Vacation

Best Beaches for Italian Culture, Cuisine, and Drinks

Manarola in Liguria, Italy

Manarola in Liguria, Italy

The best beaches for Italian culture, cuisine, and drinks include Maremma in southern Tuscany, the shores of Cinque Terre in Liguria, and the southeastern most point of Italy’s peninsula at the town of Otranto in Puglia.

Italy’s seaside villages boast pristine beaches that accentuate the art, ruins, and culture, celebrating regional heritage with delicious cuisine and drinks that highlight the diverse flavors of coastlines that brim with life each summer.

The following list captures the majesty of Italy’s beaches, while focusing on the flavorful cuisine, magnificent wines, and charming cocktails travelers enjoy while lounging on or exploring the shores of the peninsula.

1. Manarola, Liguria

A Cinque Terre tour of the five legendary hillside towns reveals the stunning pebbled coastline, while its colorful tower homes share gorgeous views of the Mediterranean Sea.

While a few of these villages are known for their long coastlines and natural marinas, Manarola’s claim to fame is its combination of exquisite culinary hotspots and lofty panoramas of the turquoise waters from the top of a plateau, resulting in one of Italy’s famous beaches.

The town’s gorgeous restaurants offer stylish terraces to take in the views and menus featuring regional dishes such as freshly baked focaccia bread with rosemary and mixed plates of seafood and shellfish. Marvelous wines are also stocked from nearby hillside vineyards and paired with each mouthwatering plate.

2. Porto Ercole, Tuscany

Mentioning Tuscany conjures images of medieval castles, rolling hills, and rows of cypress trees lining country lanes, but the coastline of the legendary region has stunning beaches, with Porto Ercole, situated halfway between Florence and Rome in the Grosseto province proving to be a dreamy culinary Italian beach.

Many visitors venture to town for the history at the six-pointed Spanish Forte Stella and stroll to the swirling rock pools at Acqua Dolce, but the superb seafood and excellent wines at restaurants along the shores overlooking the water can be equally alluring.

3. Venice Lido, Veneto

Venice is not commonly associated with beaches as the city stands over canals in the Venetian Lagoon. However, visitors can travel a short distance from the city center to the beach of Venice Lido, Europe’s first bathing resort, established in the 19th century.

The seven-mile strip along the lagoon was a luxurious destination, with legendary callers including Coco Chanel, Thomas Mann, and Lord Byron. This town is flush with beachside restaurants on the stand and on the sand, serving traditional Venetian cuisine such as salt cod or cuttlefish.

They also sell fantastic drinks that can be appreciated beneath the umbrellas of the Gran Viale Santa Maria Elisabetta, where tables face the swishing water. Explore more of the City on the Water with our Venice vacations and tour packages.

4. Tirreno Beach, Ponza • Lazio

Italy’s secret island of Ponza possesses some of the country’s best beaches, with many locals fleeing the capital's heat for the stunning views and cooling seaside breeze. The island has a long history that dates back to the Etruscan colonies, but is equally famous for being the filming location for The Life Aquatic by Wes Anderson.

While each beach on the island has its own unique quality, Tirreno Beach combines the casual art of dolce far niente, which translates to the sweet act of doing nothing, and it’s easily reached during a Rome vacation. Embrace local delicacies from a nearby restaurant and sip cocktails over ice while reclining on a lounger.

5. Acireale, Sicily

The alluring beach of Acireale shines with volcanic rocks that have been shaped by Mount Etna.

The hard stone is not ideal for sunbathing, but provides spectacular scenery, the dark colors glimmering against the transparent, turquoise water, making the sea feel like a swimming pool.

Ornate Baroque churches, nature reserves, and lush public parks decorate the town, while the celebrated Café de Mar offers a unique panorama of the bay, filling the air with the aromas of seafood, wines, and cocktails.

6. Numana, Marche

The beautiful town of Numana, in the Marche region, is peppered with rolling hills, olive groves, and vineyards often associated with the more popular regions of Tuscany or Umbria.

This town also brags stunning views of the Adriatic Sea, unique caves, and the rocky beach of Grotte del Passetto, one of the most accessible, but private, castaway beaches in the region. Its long stretch is nestled between the main streets around the province of Ancona and small huts once used by fishermen remain elevated above the water.

A small restaurant serves local dishes and drinks to enjoy while indulging in views often overlooked by visitors to Italy.

Best Beaches in Italy for Swimming

Marina Piccola beach in Capri, Italy

Marina Piccola beach in Capri, Italy

The best beaches for swimming in Italy can be found in regions like Calabria and Capri, with their calm, shallow waters that are great for maritime immersion.

Italy’s seaside destinations range from historical towns to lavish resorts, unique grottoes, and small, secluded islands, but when discovering the varied coastline of the Italian peninsula, not all beaches provide the same safe and comfortable access to the water.

The following list offers several suggestions for beaches that are perfect for swimming, from the depths of Calabria to the northern shores of Liguria, a region famous for its luxe atmosphere.

1. Tropea Beach, Calabria

The beach town of Tropea is a popular vacation destination for Italians taking time off in the summer months, but it is virtually unknown to outsiders. Those in the know are treated to cobbled lanes perched above the Tyrrhenian Sea and may bask on two and a half miles of white, pristine beaches.

The clean sand spreads beneath epic rock formations, dramatic cliffs, and a secluded cove that shimmers against the calm, turquoise water. When dipping into the refreshingly temperate sea, fish swim beneath your feet and the water offers an easy-going tide absent of boats and crowds,  relatively shallow and close to shore.

2. Spiaggia de Maria Pia, Sardinia

The delightful shores and shallow waters of Spiaggia de Maria Pia on the island of Sardinia make it one of the best beach destinations for swimming in Italy. The relaxed ambiance adds a unique charm that accompanies the majestic, black sand, while beach bars and softer, white sands provide much-needed refreshment after a dip in the cool waters of the Sea of Sardinia. You can arrive early to reserve a sunbed for a place to relax and take a reprieve from the sun in between bouts of swimming.

3. Marina Piccola, Capri

The small and quiet beach that is connected to Capri’s Marina Piccola boasts an unending charm that derives from the colorful restaurants and classic fishermen’s homes that line the sandy cove.

Lounge chairs, colorful umbrellas, and crystalline, turquoise waters compose the view visitors will wallow in from the pebbled beach that stretches to the edge of a cliff and leads into the comfortable, shallow water. The boats remain at a distance, keeping safe swimmers and visitors sunbathing on innertubes.

4. Torre Guaceto, Puglia

The protected marina of Riserva di Torre Guaceto shares long stretches of sandy, undeveloped beaches with the crystal-clear, azure waters of the Adriatic Sea.

Dunes protect the sands from inland weather and cliffs defend the coves’ fine sand from the wind.

The seclusion of the beach and the protected nature of the reserve makes Torre Guaceto an incredible spot for swimming. The calm and clear water, and absence of crowds and boats, are a bonus to the appeal of this shoreline.

5. Baia del Silenzio, Liguria

The Bay of Silence is halfway between La Spezia and Genoa, on the legendary Ligurian coastline.

There is a surprisingly tranquil ambiance to the fishing village, with calm, shallow waters in view of hotels, restaurants, and cafes.

The serene panoramas from the sandy, white beaches look out over peaceful, turquoise water, where beachgoers can swim laps, wade, or relax on loungers.

Best Beaches in Italy for Sunbathing

Otranto Beach in Puglia, Italy

Otranto Beach in Puglia, Italy

The best Italian beaches for sunbathing include Otranto Beach and Campo all’Aia, both with beautiful sandy shores flooded with uninterrupted, golden sunlight.

The coastal shorelines possess stunning, secluded bays and calm waters, with impressive, rugged cliffs and expansive sands that shape the picturesque beaches.

Sunbathing and beach-going go hand-in-hand, and the following list covers several beaches, from the corner of Puglia to the often-overlooked island of Elba, great places for lazing about and enjoying the warm Mediterranean light.

1. Otranto Beach, Puglia

The turquoise waters and soft, white sands allow Otranto Beach to capture the imagination along the edge of Italy’s easternmost town, a popular retreat for history enthusiasts and sunbathers.

Restaurants, cafes, and high-end resorts offer comfortable loungers where you can relax in the sunlight and enjoy the spectacular views of the clear, azure water. The seascape is highlighted by the bright reflection of the sun off the sand, and the aromas of fresh seafood and delicious Italian cocktails fill the air.

2. Gavitella Beach, Campania

The treasured Gavitella beach in the town of Praiano, on the Amalfi Coast, looks out to the legendary cliffs of Capri. Two concrete piers lead deeper into the water, while the nearly 100-foot-long stretch of sand offers ample space for sunbathing.

The secluded shoreline is located down steps that lead from the town’s main square. Whether you find yourself luxuriating at one of the cafes overlooking the sea or relaxing on the lounge chairs dotting the beach, you can bask in the sunlight of the celebrated Amalfi Coast.

3. Campo all’Aia, Elba

The sands along Campo all’Aia create the longest beach on the island, with shelter from the sun. The fine sand offers a fantastic setting for umbrellas and sunbeds, as well as a beach bar with views of the water. The island is easy to visit, especially during a Tuscany tour, with its connection to Italy’s famous region.

Its sheer size lends itself to privacy, avoiding the crowds of neighboring Procchio Beach. The sun’s brilliant glow reaches across sand that twinkles at sunset, illuminating views of the nearby French island of Corsica.

Best Scenic Beaches in Italy for Spectacular Views

Scala dei Turchi beach in Sicily, Italy

Scala dei Turchi beach in Sicily, Italy

The best scenic beaches in Italy include Marina di Vasto and Scala dei Turchi, which cover the range of magnificent images an Italian coast possesses.

The country’s coastline stretches from the northwest, along the borders of France, to the southeast, touching the edges of the Adriatic Sea and highlighting a range of diverse settings, such as secluded coves, caves, and golden shores.

The best beaches in Italy offer a combination of fine water, beautiful sands, and charming villages or towns, with the following list focusing on several of Italy’s treasured shores that are celebrated for their enchanting scenery.

1. Cala Granara, Sardinia

Cala Granara in Sardinia embodies the quintessential setting of a dream beach, possessing powdery white sand and warm, shallow, turquoise water. Palm trees accentuate its tropical setting, with sub-tropical plants adding to the ambiance.

Looking out from the island’s treasured Emerald Coast will reveal views of sailboats in the distance and, behind you, Roman ruins that enhance the beach’s unique, classic beauty, perfect during an Italy tour for couples.

2. Scala dei Turchi, Sicily

The stunning shoreline known as Scala dei Turchi, on the island of Sicily, does not conform to the standards of classic beach beauty and instead carves its own niche of alluring visual drama, with sand the color of bronze contrasting glistening limestone cliffs. The unique scenery also features a nearby Roman villa that blends the splendors of nature with the grandeur of Roman history, offering a fantastic touchpoint on a Sicily tour.

3. Marina di Vasto, Abruzzo

On the unexplored coastline of Abruzzo, the unspoiled town of Vasto boasts a beautiful marina, with boutique resorts and a large, sandy beach.

The smell of gelato often merges with the gentle sea breeze and drifts along the marina’s promenade, which connects to pebbled and stone beaches concealing coves and protecting wooden fishing machines, known as trabucos, that are typical of the region.

Lounge chairs provide the perfect place from which to immerse yourself in the coastline’s azure waters or enjoy the ambiance of beach cafes set beneath a medieval castle and cathedral.

4. Zagare, Puglia

The half-mile stretch of golden sand that is Zagare Beach in Puglia offers unrestrained panoramas of the shimmering Adriatic Sea. It is all located on a bay surrounded by dramatic cliffs and overlooks the sensational rock formations carved by time.

The water is three shades of clear blue and hosts the ancient trabucos, which are similar to the structures used in Abruzzo, but with a different dialectical emphasis. The scent of orange blossoms mixes enhances the vivid scenery of sea stacks and a hidden staircase you may wander up and down.

The semi-private beach only allows a certain number of visitors per day, protecting the majesty of the bay and providing a unique beach-going experience, especially during an Italy tour in September to enjoy the warm waters and smaller crowds of shoulder season.

Best Beaches in Italy for Scuba Diving

Fetovaia beach on Elba Island in Tuscany

Fetovaia beach on Elba Island in Tuscany, Italy

The best beaches for scuba diving include Punta Di Fetovaia and Ustica, with many more offering access to the underwater splendors of Italy’s immaculate waters. Scuba diving shines a light on a different side of Italy’s charming coastlines around the Mediterranean peninsula and islands.

With thousands of miles of untouched shoreline to explore and myriad marine life to view, as well as a maritime history that eclipses many other countries, Italy is a remarkable destination for scuba diving.

The following list provides insight into some of the best seaside settings used as jumping-off points for a mesmerizing diving expedition.

1. Punta Di Fetovaia, Elba

The enchanting dive site of Punta Di Fetovaia is famous for the red, white, and yellow coral known as gorgonian. It resembles a bare tree and spans approximately 65 feet of the seafloor.

Posidonia grassland rustles in the current, while lobster, scorpionfish, and barracuda find refuge in the beauty of the untouched ecosystem. When venturing into the depths, you can swim with large schools of grouper or chromis, a thrilling experience for new and advanced divers that is elevated by fantastic, year-round visibility.

2. Ustica, Sicily

Ustica, an island off the coast of Palermo in Sicily, is consistently rated one of the best scuba-diving destinations in the Mediterranean.

Featuring abundant coral reefs and fish that feast on the untouched elements of their maritime paradise, Ustica serves as an underwater playground for divers.

Submerged grottos, decorated tunnel walls, and colorful coral shape the luster of the little-known destination that hosts a substantial population of barracuda, goliath, amberjacks, and grouper. Shipwrecks also carry slabs of marble that are protected by the area’s Marine Reserve designation.

3. Saint Lucia, Rome

Unique Saint Lucia, off the coast of Rome, celebrates the history of the Mediterranean with magnificent wreck dives that lead groups to a boat that was sunk during World War II, revealing an anchor, propeller, and stern handrail that remain intact. You can witness the stunning perseverance and persistence of nature by viewing how marine life has taken over the vessel, displayed by the colorful coral, waving seagrass, and snapping moray eels.

4. Aci Trezza, Sicily

The marvelous dive site of Aci Trezza, off the coast of Sicily, brings to life the maritime culture of the island and Mediterranean seafaring heritage with numerous shipwrecks that have occurred between the Roman Age and World War II.

You can explore the astonishing Cyclopean rock formations above and below the water that lead to volcanic boulders, gigantic sea fans, and bright, igneous stones. In the protected waters around Aci Trezza, giant gorgonians thrive and seahorses are often unnoticed because they blend in with their surroundings.

Best Italian Beaches for Seclusion and Privacy

San Fruttuoso in Liguria, Italy

San Fruttuoso in Liguria, Italy

The best secluded beaches in Italy have some of the world’s most magnificent coastlines, spanning thousands of miles across the mainland peninsula and numerous islands.

Many of the most famous seaside towns host beaches that are full of tourists or locals during the summer season, overtaking the sunbeds and pebbled or soft sands. However, a collection of Italy’s beaches retain a relaxing ambiance set in unspoiled nature, providing refuge from the crowds for privacy-seekers.

The following list shares some of Italy’s best-kept beach secrets, from San Fruttuoso’s soft sands beneath tall, coastal cliffs only accessible by boat or a hike, to idyllic seas and hideaway caves carved into the rock faces of Macarro.

1. San Fruttuoso, Liguria

The fabulous, secluded beach of San Fruttuoso in Liguria is only accessible by boat or a long hike, and its velvety sands line the foothills of coastal cliffs between the cities of Portofino and Camogli.

Lush vegetation accentuates the sense of privacy, while the medieval Fruttuoso Abbey rises above the clear, cerulean water. Divers visit the surrounding seascape to explore the sunken statue of the Christ of the Abyss, while beach-goers lounge on the pebbled beach and enjoy the absence of large crowds, making it a great place to visit during a first-timer’s Italy tour.

2. Laurito, Campania

The Amalfi Coast is celebrated for its views and historic towns that are connected to lavish resorts in the summer. The true charms of the region’s best beaches are protected by locals like pirate treasure, leaving Laurito the perfect, secluded beach.

You can indulge in the famous Mediterranean sunlight while relaxing on a deck chair that overlooks the indigo hues of the sea, juxtaposing the dark sand and pebbles of the shoreline. The beach is popular with locals but mostly out of sight of visitors of the Amalfi Coast.

3. Riserva dello Zingaro, Sicily

The rugged landscape of the Riserva dello Zingaro in Sicily protects the soft, white sand and clear water of its hidden beach. Steep paths and the province’s label as a protected area keep crowds away from the more than four miles of coastline decorated with transparent water, rugged cliffs, and subtropical vegetation.

4. Macarro Beach, Basilicata

This small, hidden beach, a favorite among locals, remains mostly overlooked by tourists.

It lies along the shores of Basilicata, spreading across the edge of the Tyrrhenian Sea, and provides an idyllic setting that makes Macarro Beach perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and sinking into the comforts of a lounge chair underneath the hot, summer sun.

The black-sand beach is a short hike down a steep path that only adds to its secluded ambiance, and it possesses a majestic pine forest that connects to the shoreline and thrilling caves.

Best Beaches in Italy to Enjoy Good Weather and Warm Water

Cala Goloritzé Beach, Sardinia

Cala Goloritzé Beach, Sardinia

Italy’s best beaches are known for clear weather and warm water. Many in southern Italy and on the island of Sicily, as well as more famous beaches such as Anzio in Lazio and Cala Goloritzè on the island of Sardinia, have much to offer.

The temperate waters extend from the Adriatic to the Ligurian Sea. However, the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas can drastically change with the weather.

Whether preferring seclusion or the comforts of a resort, the drama of bordering cliffs or accessibility to nearby caves, the following list includes some of the best, well-rounded beaches in Italy that are famous for good weather and warm water.

1. Arco Magno, Calabria

The unforgettable beach has streaks of gray pebbles and impossibly clear, azure waters hidden inside a secluded cove in a fan-shaped lagoon.

A natural stone arch rises out of the water, turning the scenery into a storybook, with perfectly warm waters between April and November, and the typical hot climate of southern Italy.

In summer, the weather remains warm into the evening, when you can watch the sunset cast a bronze hue over the water and fade through the fabled archway.

2. Cala Goloritzé, Sardinia

The majesty of Cala Goloritzè on Sardinia is only reachable by boat or a long hike from the car park, rewarding visitors with crystalline, turquoise water and a secluded cove that is seemingly crafted as a gift for those eager enough to make the journey.

Pebbles and sand with glistening ivory hues line the beach as it reflects the sunlight and adds to the day’s heat. The sun disappears behind the rocks in the mid-afternoon for a perfect excursion during the warmer hours of the day.

3. Sansone, Elba

The picturesque island off the coast of Tuscany was once home to an imprisoned Napoleon and gained fame for the sensational strip of sand and pebbles that shape Sansone Beach.

Craggy, white cliffs look out to the translucent, azure waters, where locals and visitors spend their days from May to October, lounging in the soothing Mediterranean sun and cooling off in the refreshing waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

4. Isola Bella, Sicily

The stunning stretch of narrow sand that connects the shores beneath Taormina with Isola Bella embodies the brilliance of the Sicilian coastline and the celebrated beauty of the resort town of Taormina, which is great to visit during an Italy tour for seniors.

The exotic plants and mild Mediterranean climate have made the destination popular with tourists for over a century. It is easy to marvel at the pebbled coastline and clear-blue hues of the Ionian Sea. The calm water that is protected by the bay is always warm and inviting, with easy access from the upper lanes of Taormina by cable car.

5. Anzio, Lazio

The charming beach of Anzio connects to a medium-sized fishing port and is significant as the site where Nero had a villa that overtook half a mile of the cliffs. This is also where the Allies landed during the second World War, sparking the Battle of Anzio.

The manicured beaches offer ruins of a Roman port, restaurants serving local specialties, and cliffs that form rocky caves. The weather becomes perfect along Lazio’s coastline between late May and early October, with warm water and easy access from Rome for a day trip.

Explore the Best Beaches in Italy on Vacation

Isola Bella Beach in Taormina, Sicily, Italy

Isola Bella Beach in Taormina, Italy

Italy is a country that has it all, from enticing beaches to mouthwatering cuisine, ancient history to timeless fashion. You can find more ideas and inspiration on how to experience your perfect trip by visiting our Italy tours and vacations. You can also learn more about how to plan with Zicasso’s Italy travel guide.

Whether looking for the perfect place to soak in the golden Mediterranean sun or an escape to a serene ocean view, you can find more Italian beaches to visit with our ideas on the 10 best islands to visit in Italy or explore the rich variety of culture and scenery in one of our 9 best Italian island itineraries.

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