Film set and ‘gram worthy, bubble gum coloured houses sit atop one another on a steep incline overlooking the waters of this cliffside village. Its narrow streets (and steps) take you to a pebbled beachfront popular with travellers. This is iconic Italian beach living at its finest and worth the stair descent to frolic in the cool waters after walking the famed Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods) hiking trail linking Positano to Bomerano.
The region is known for its historic cities – Florence and Siena – yet its coast is equally worth swooning over. Baratti’s crystal blue water and remote location makes it a destination spot and, since it’s on the periphery of the Bolgheri region, you’ll discover incredible wines as well as memorable swimming spots. During the summer, nearby wineries like Petra host music events while glamping within the vines at Tenuta Poggio Rosso makes for a fruity stay over experience.
Polignano a Mare, Puglia
White pebble beaches and white-washed houses sum up this part of the Bari coastline with Cala Porto (also known as Lama Monachile), a popular slither of beach tucked between jagged cliffs in the village of Polignano a Mare. Named after the Roman bridge that borders the watery enclave, you can watch brave folks cliff dive at Grotta Piana right into the Adriatic Sea.
Scala dei Turchi, Sicily
Southern Sicily is famed for its Greek temples in Agrigento and the nearby white cliffs of Scala dei Turchi (Stair of the Turks), which offers jaw dropping views and pristine beaches near Porto Empedocle. Although two sandy beaches can be accessed by foot, the main event is the limestone rock weathered into the shape of a staircase which can be climbed to secure the best spot for tanning between sea swims.
Lido di Orrì, Sardegna
With Olbi to the north and Cagliari to the south, it would be expected of you to stay by the main towns but doing so will have you miss your chance at visiting the most beautiful beaches on Italy’s second largest island. So head east for crystal clear waters and hidden coves within a nine-kilometre stretch of coastline near the town of Tortolì. Spiaggia Grande (literally “big beach”) was awarded the region’s most bandiere blue (blue flags) and is spread over 3.5 kilometres of fine white sand along panoramic Highway 125.
Forte dei Marmi, Tuscany
Arguably the most chic and stylish of Tuscan beach towns, Forte dei Marmi is where Florentines descend during the height of summer. Wedged between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Apuan Alps, its long sandy beach is lined with summer clubs offering private cabanas and seaside swimming pools. Come nighttime, the town becomes even livelier with music clubs and seafood restaurants overlooking its moonlit waters. You can spend all summer here.
Down the coast from Amalfi on the road to Ravello, Atrani is one of the region’s best-kept secrets. A tiny fishing village (population: 1,000), it’s home to a small beach on the Tyrrhenian Sea with loungers positioned under the shadows of its hilltop houses. Post sun lounging, enjoy a Spritz with the locals in Piazza Umberto I, the town’s main square, amidst the crumbling yet charming exterior decor.
Capri is an island that doesn’t even need an introduction. The famous Grotta Azzurra is on plenty travel bucket lists (and for good reason), as is strolling the island’s bougainvillea-lined streets. Beachside Marina Grande offers the most spacious sunspots and is by the main street, which is peppered with eateries offering breathtaking sea views for a tasty lunch break. Smaller Marina Piccola, to the island’s south, has a few small strips of beach that are free to access, where visitors can perch on the pebbles with the locals
Monterosso al Mare, Liguria
The largest of the five villages of Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare is home to a long sandy beach to the north of the old town that boasts the best seats for lounging after hiking Cinque Terre’s famed trails. Via Fegina has the most beach clubs (a favourite is Bagni Eden by the eponymous restaurant) while a tiny square of public free space is tucked in front of the main train station.
Skip the crowds of Capri and head to Spiaggia dei Pescatori (Fisherman’s Beach) on the idyllic isle of Ischia. A short journey from Naples, it remains a hot spot for local sea catchers and home to numerous eateries serving fresh fish. At its eastern edge, medieval Aragon Castle can be accessed by stone bridge while history lovers revel in the Sea Museum at Palazzo dell’Orologio, which is devoted to Ischia’s fishing tradition.
The Italian coast which includes both the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas, is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It doesn’t matter if you like secluded bays with calm waters quietly lapping onto the shore or fashionable holiday destinations full of celebrities and high class restaurants, the beaches in Italy are impressive in every way and there is something for everyone. Explore Italian coastline highlights such as the amazing Amalfi coast and spend hours watching sunsets from the top of rugged cliffs, or go to Sardinia where you will find some of the most picturesque beaches in Europe. In case you are not sure where to go on your next beach vacation, take a look at our list of best beaches in Italy;