If you want to experience the natural beauty of Italy’s coastlines, look no further than Puglia! The heel of Italy’s boot stretches over 600 miles of coastline along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, boasting some of the country’s best beaches, including the second-most Blue Flag Beaches. 

Much of the region’s natural beaches remain untarnished by excessive tourism, and the turquoise waters, ancient caves, and limestone cliffs are sure to impress. However, some beaches can get pretty congested even in the shoulder season, so you may want to bring out your more adventurous side and explore beaches off the beaten path. 

Explore more off-the-beaten-path destinations all around Puglia in this blog post! 

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Things to Note About Visiting Puglia’s Beaches

While an Italian summer looks like a dream on social media, tourist travel among locals and foreigners can cause severe crowding in the region. We recommend skipping June-September and visiting in the shoulder seasons, meaning April, May, or October. With its year-round mild temperatures, you’ll still have the opportunity to experience Puglia’s coastal vibe on the beach without the crowds. 

It’s also important to note that many beaches aren’t the miles-long stretches of smooth sand that you may have seen in other European countries. In Italy, there are areas of the beach known as the Lido, with rows of umbrellas and loungers set up by a facility, and the Spiaggia, or the free beach area. 

It depends on your desired experience and whether you’re down for an adventure or just looking for a relaxing day by the water. Lidos can get pricey, so make sure to include this in your budget for your trip.  

Lastly, it’s important to note that Puglia’s public transportation system won’t allow you to explore these hidden gem beaches, as you’ll mostly be limited to the area’s larger cities. We recommend renting a car for your trip. Read more of our essential Puglia travel tips here. 

Driving in another country can be intimidating, and Google Maps isn’t always reliable for navigation – read our tips for driving in Italy here! Do you want to skip the hassle of renting a car and avoid a logistics nightmare? A local guide to translate the Puglian experience is the perfect solution for you. 

We’re Chantelle and Giovanni, founders of The Italian on Tour™ and husband and wife team of Italian travel experts. Giovanni’s family is from the beautiful region of Puglia, and he spent his summer holidays there, which is why we are so excited to offer a curated, one-of-a-kind experience for our guests in 2025 – join the waitlist or choose from current itineraries (limited spots available!)

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Torre dell’Orso

Located near Otranto, Torre dell’Orso combines natural beauty with a rich history. Renowned for its sandy beaches, these golden sands are a great setting for sunbathing and strolling along the coastline. The beach is equipped with facilities and loungers/umbrellas. Street parking is available, and the beach is easily accessible by paths from the road. 

One of the defining features of this beach is the Twin Sisters rocks, rising majestically from the sea just off the coast. Torre dell’Orso is also near the Grotta della Poesia, a natural pool and one of Puglia’s most famous beach destinations. 

However, as its popularity grows, Grotta della Poesia now enforces a strict ban against swimming in natural waters. The location is now a protected archaeological site. You can still visit, but you must purchase a pass to do so and explore the entirety of the surrounding area. 

Unfortunately, some first-time travelers to the region still arrive at the location without knowing this information. Want to avoid these kinds of mishaps on your trip to Italy while still getting to see the real Italy? Join us on tour, where you can travel Italy like a local without the stress. 

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Santa Maria al Bagno

Nestled along the Salento coastline of the Ionian Sea, Santa Maria al Bagno is a pristine white-sand beach and a scenic respite from the more popular beaches. The crescent-shaped bay and crystal-clear waters make this beach a picturesque destination. 

Apart from its well-maintained beautiful beaches, the town has historical landmarks, including the iconic Saracen Tower and the charming Piazza Sant’Elia, making this an excellent destination for a day trip. 

Wondering whether you should visit Puglia or the Amalfi Coast for your seaside Italian adventure? This guide will help you decide!

best beaches of puglia italy

Cala dell’Acquaviva

Tucked near the bottom of the boot on the Adriatic Coastline, Cala dell’Acquaviva is a serene and secluded haven of unspoiled beauty. Known for its turquoise waters and rugged rocky coves, the area remains largely untouched by tourist infrastructure, making this the perfect destination for an intimate seaside escape in Puglia. 

Access to the beach may be a trek up a stone staircase, so we recommend coming prepared with essentials such as snacks, water, and suitable footwear. However, the reward of natural beauty when you reach this hidden oasis will be well worth the trip! 

Parking is available, and the small beach town of Castro is nearby. Facilities and restaurants are limited, so come prepared to spend the entire day. 

best beaches of puglia italy

Pescoluse (Maldive del Salento)

Also known as the “Maldives of Salento,” Pescoluse stands out as a coastal gem with its breathtaking beauty, offering a paradisiacal escape to visitors and locals alike. 

Pescoluse is renowned for its expansive beach with powdery golden sand stretching kilometers along the coastline. The shallow, crystal-clear waters gently meet the shore, creating a stunning gradient of blues and greens. The inviting sea is ideal for swimming, wading, and simply basking in the refreshing embrace of the Ionian Sea.

The vibrant coastal sunsets make the evenings perfect for a romantic walk along the shoreline. Read more about Italy’s most romantic destinations here!

Pescoluse offers a mix of free public beaches and well-equipped lidos where visitors can rent umbrellas and loungers. These lidos often provide additional services, including beachfront bars and restaurants serving delicious seafood and traditional Puglian cuisine. The beach’s amenities make it an inviting spot for a full day of relaxation and seaside indulgence. 

best beaches of puglia italy

Baia dei Turchi

Baia dei Turchi along the Adriatic Coastline is a hidden paradise, boasting the Blue Flag and 5 Sails awards. Surrounded by lush vegetation, this beach is an unspoiled seaside landscape to unwind and detach from the crowds. 

Located about a ten-minute drive from Otranto, Baia dei Turchi is one of the most difficult beaches to access. Parking is available, but prepare to do some walking! Lidos are available, but facilities are limited otherwise, so bring everything you will need for your day at the beach. 

best beaches of puglia italy

I Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea

Located just a ten-minute drive from Torre dell’Orso, the Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea rise proudly from the blue waters. The Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea are a collection of limestone sea stacks that have weathered centuries of waves, wind, and tides. These towering formations, known as “Faraglioni” in Italian, stand as guardians of the coast, imparting a sense of ancient beauty and geological wonder to the landscape.

The town of Sant’Andrea, situated on the Salento Peninsula, boasts a rocky coastline that provides the perfect backdrop for the Faraglioni. As the waves crash against the cliffs and sea stacks, the natural spectacle creates a dynamic and ever-changing seascape that draws photographers, nature enthusiasts, and those seeking a glimpse of Puglia’s coastal allure.

One of the best ways to experience the Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea is by taking a boat excursion along the coastline. Local boat tours often provide an up-close view of these striking sea stacks, allowing visitors to appreciate their sheer magnitude and the intricate details carved by the elements.

If you don’t opt for the boating tour, please note that the sunbathing and swimming area is only accessible via a slippery staircase. This location is more for adventure seekers than those looking for relaxation! 

best beaches of puglia italy

Polignano a Mare

Perched on the cliffs overlooking the Adriatic Sea, Polignano a Mare is a postcard-worthy town that captures the essence of Puglia’s coastal allure. With its dramatic cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and charming historic center, Polignano a Mare offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and cultural richness.

The central beach in Polignano a Mare, Caló Porto, is a small pebble beach nestled between cliffs. While relatively small, its intimate setting and clear waters make it a delightful spot for a refreshing swim. Sunbathers can relax on the rocks or enjoy the view of traditional fishing boats dotting the harbor.

Guests on our upcoming 2025 Passport to Puglia Tour will have the opportunity to experience the breathtaking coastline of Polignano a Mare on a private boat tour – join the waitlist here!

Getting off the beaten path is an excellent goal for your trip to Italy, but making it happen can become a complicated logistical nightmare. A local guide can unlock all the nuances of daily Italian life and give you an experience many tourists can only dream of!

We host every single one of our tours to translate the Italian experience for you so that you can finally see the real Italy and enjoy world-class wines, phenomenal cuisine, and curated experiences. 

Get started today and book your itinerary!

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