The traditional image of Italian beaches conjures visions of brightly coloured rows of sun loungers and parasols – a vintage seaside atmosphere. However, there are also hidden corners of Italy, both in popular tourist destinations and off-the-beaten path, boasting unique beaches that rival some of the world’s best. From quaint fishing villages and small coves, to long swathes of sand, both pristine and rugged, there really is something to keep all beach enthusiasts happy.
Chia Beach, Sardinia
There is over 1,800 kilometres of coastline in Sardinia to choose from, but Chia Beach in the south of the island is one of Italy’s best. With a backdrop of protected sand dunes and juniper trees, the beach has its own little shelter. The perfect base here is the Chia Laguna Resort, which offers a complimentary shuttle service to access the beach.
Furore and Arienzo Beaches, Amalfi Coast
Crowds flock to the Amalfi Coast for its pretty coastal towns, but there are also some beautiful little coves perfect for seeking respite. Furore Beach, nestled halfway between Amalfi and Positano, is just 25 metres long and within one of Italy’s only fjords. Overlooked by towering rocks and lined with pastel-coloured fishermen’s cottages, it is far from a simple bucket-and-spade option.
Just along the coast, Arienzo Beach, is the pick arund Positano – it is south-west facing, meaning it’s the only one around that gets the sun all day long. It offers deep turquoise waters and views of the Amalfi Coast’s most glamorous beachfront villas.
San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily
This three-kilometre stretch is lauded as the pearl of the Trapani coastline and celebrated for its Caribbean-like shallow waters. The beach is not only pretty, but enjoys a location next to San Vito Lo Capo town, with lovely restaurants and shops. A stay at the Baglio La Porta di San Gerardo in town is the perfect beach stop on a self-drive holiday around Sicily.
Tropea Beach, Calabria
Calabria is one of the least-visited areas of Italy and the sands of Tropea are some of the most spectacular, known as the ‘Coast of the Gods’. Located beneath the Santa Maria dell’Isola monastery, Tropea Beach offers white sands reminiscent of the coasts of the Caribbean, flanked by mountain views. It has excellent facilities, watersports and is just a short walk from Tropea town.
Punta Prosciutto Beach, Puglia
Truly one of Puglia’s (and Italy’s) best, this gorgeous stretch of sand is unspoilt and one of only 20 protected marine areas in Italy. It also boasts some of the clearest waters this side of the Indian Ocean. A 40-minute drive south from Lecce means that it’s a little off the traditional UK tourist trail, yet within easy reach on a day trip from the historic baroque city.
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Planning a trip to Italy? Find out more about this incredibly diverse and historically rich country by watching our Globe Trekker episode Ultimate Italy.