10 Best Beaches in Italy
Italy’s beaches range from remote and rugged to wide open sandy bays and perfect paradises. Discovering just what this romantic land’s coastline has to offer is as exciting as the food being served up. Find yourself splashing in the shores off the Amalfi Coast, flanked by soaring cliffs and quaint towns; uncover the otherworldly turquoise of Sardinia’s sumptuous shorelines; and lounge in the shallows of the divinely coastline of Sicily. The diverse and majestic beaches in Italy are waiting for you.
10. Isola Bella, Sicily
Translating literally as ‘the beautiful island’, Isola Bella sits just off the coast of Sicily and is part of the Taormina region. Isola was actually privately owned until the 1990’s, and as it is home to several species of bird, is now a protected site boasting a beautiful beach that brims with nature. The beach itself is a pretty little spot, which can be reached by cable car from Sicily – also a great chance to take in views of the island from above.
Isola Bella’s beach, popular with sunbathers, isn’t a classically sandy one; small stones and pebbles make wearing flip flops almost essential. Vendors and cafes sell refreshments, and sun loungers and umbrellas are available to rent. There are plenty of activities to get involved with too – try out snorkeling, diving or a boat trip to nearby caves.
9. Camogli Beach, Liguria
The small fishing village of Camogli lies around an hour’s drive from Milan on the Italian Riviera. Oozing with Italian culture, the stylish gem of a resort town isn’t very well known to travelers outside of Italy. Camogli beach itself sits at the bottom of sun-drenched hills, where the sea softly laps at the stony sand. As temperatures hot up, the beach becomes busy, with Italian families enjoying time together splashing in the blue waters, chatting, and tucking into hearty meals of focaccia and tasty cheese along the waterfront.
The best time to take this beach in is at sunset. As the sun goes down, it illuminates the color-pops of buildings and is mirrored brilliantly in the silver of the sea.
8. Cavoli Beach, Elba
Cavoli beach’s clear turquoise waters and warm breezes make it one of the most popular beaches on the island of Elba. Surrounded by rugged countryside and craggy cliffs that protect the bay, Carvoli’s microclimate makes it a great spot to catch a tan. The sand here is rather stony, but that doesn’t stop sunbathers. This classically Italian coastline overflows with natural beauty, as well as people during the summer months. At around 300-metres in length, the beach is divided into two – one side for bars and sunbeds, the other is free to spend time as you wish.
Make sure to check out Grotta Azzurra – if you hire a pedalo or a boat, it is possible to explore inside. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can join the groups of teenagers that like to dive from the surrounding cliffs straight into the depths of the sea.
7. Cala Rossa, Favignana, Sicily
Located on the charming island of Favignana, this is the kind of beach that you are not going to forget easily. Cala Rossa is eye-catchingly stunning – vibrant turquoise waters lap against rusty red rocks. This isn’t a beach with pure white sands, but the interesting rock formations make for a great spot to sprawl out in the sun. The beach here can get busy, so make sure to arrive early and – if you want a little more privacy and space – you can find yourself a little exclusive space to sunbathe protected between the rocks.
Make sure that when you arrive you’re wearing shoes, so you can scramble over the rocks and then simply slide yourself into the refreshingly cool waters. The clean and clear sea here means fantastic snorkeling opportunities – try and spot the small fish that flit around the rocks.
6. Marasusa Beach, Tropea, Calabria
Marasusa beach in the Calabrian city of Tropea is situated along the ‘La Costa degli Dei,’ or the Coast of the Gods. Calm seas and spotless sands are hugged by handsome cliffs – this place is so beautiful that even the gods agree. Take some time out on your Italian vacation to while away days in the most beautiful bay in the region. Marasusa’s transparent waters are cool and calm. Although there can be some waves, swimming is safe.
There is something for everyone to enjoy; try out a spot of snorkeling, hire a boat or simply sit and sip a cold drink at one of the lido bars. The town also has a selection of cafes, shops and restaurants for you to fully immerse yourself in all things delightfully delicious and Italian after long, lazy days spent lounging on the beach.
5. Cala Goloritze, Sardinia
Small but strikingly stunning, Cala Goloritzé beach sits at the bottom of a gorge along Sardinia’s spectacular northeastern coast. Jutting limestone configurations, topped with verdant foliage, contrast with the soft white sands that tumble into the aquamarine ocean. This kind of beauty comes at a price, however.
Don’t think you can just arrive here by car or even by boat. If you’re planning on seeking out this famous beach, you are going to have to use your legs. The hike to reach this blissful Sardinian beach takes around an hour and will lead you down the rocky ravine, where you’ll be greeted with glimpses of the green-blue water. Cala Goloritzé is said to be the best snorkeling spot in Sardinia, too; take a swim around the rocks to catch sight of the many fish – just make sure not to forget your goggles!
4. Spiaggia del Fornillo, Positano
The Amalfi coast is famous for its delightfully divine towns that sit high above the sea on the sides of rocky cliffs. Smaller and less glamorous than neighboring beaches, Spiaggia del Fornillo is a special little beach with pretty pebbles and clear waters. Take a stroll from the buzzing beach at Positano, down a couple of steps, and slip into the unpretentious and peaceful atmosphere of Fornillo beach.
The perfect suntrap, this beach may be less crowded than others in the area, but as the sun-worshipers slip off back to their hotels, the beach bars and restaurants along the shore start to get a little livelier. Spend an evening on the beach tucking into the fresh catch of the day, sipping local wine and listening the sound of the waves on the stones.
3. La Pelosa, Stintino
Translucent shallow seas slowly lap the long curve of ivory sand that makes up La Pelosa Beach. This secluded Sardinian haven is just around the corner from the little village of Stintino, in Capo Falcone. At 300-meters long, La Pelosa could compete with some of the beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. The beach is a popular spot for local families and groups of friends to spend days off together, which creates a fun and welcoming atmosphere.
A 16th Century watchtower, the Torre della Pelosa – which was used for defending the island – sits on rocks that jut out into the sea. Popular with divers, the sun-washed tower is an iconic landmark along this part of the coast. Make sure to get here early during the summer – this place is so beautiful that it can understandably get very busy.
2. Cala Granara, Spargi
Without the rugged, steep cliffs that are synonymous with many Italian beaches, you might think your eyes are deceiving you – but no, this isn’t some kind of tropical island. Cala Granara is a little piece of paradise tucked away on the Isola di Spargi, part of the Maddalena Archipelago. The pretty palms that scatter the shore create protection from the heat of the sun, while the powdery sands offer the ideal spot for sunbathing – the thing is, you can only reach this Italian oasis by boat.
The lack of easy access makes it all the more beautiful, remote and undeveloped. Without the usual tourist traps that often surround popular beaches, Cala Granara is able to remain an undeveloped bay, where maccia trees grow sporadically along the sand that gently slopes into the sea, and the water sparkles in the sun, revealing a spectrum of greens and blues.
1. Spiaggia dei Conigli, Lampedusa, Sicily
With sea the color of topaz and a bay that sits inside a sloping, rocky coastline, Spiaggia dei Conigli, Lampedusa is a special place which never fails to captivate visitors with its immense beautify. Nicknamed ‘rabbit beach’ by many who go there, it’s located in a nature reserve on the remote island of Lampedusa south of Sicily.
Loggerhead turtles return here year after year to lay their eggs in the warmth of the sands – importantly, the beach closes in the evenings to allow the turtles to return safely. This breathtaking beach may have once been voted the best beach in the world, but it is no easy feat to reach it. Access to La Spiaggia dei Conigli requires a two-kilometer scramble down rocks, but you are rewarded with a cool swim in the crystalline water. This beach might get busy with sun-worshipers and day-trippers, but once you take a splash in the glistening shallows and snorkel out to catch a glimpse of the turtles, tranquility washes over you.