Updated: May 2016
This is a guide for your holidays in Puglia, Italy. This beautiful region also known as ‘Italy’s bootheel’ is famous for its delicious food, amazing culture, wonderful people with high sense of hospitality and a crystalline sea with some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy. So we will show you the best beaches and suggest some of the best hotels in Puglia.
“Beach or mountains?” is one of the questions that travellers frequently are asked. Although I know some beach lovers who wouldn’t fancy conquering a mountain, I can’t recall any hiker who wouldn’t mind a week on the beach. There are loads of things to enjoy while walking through unpaved paths in the woods, catching your breath at a higher altitude and descending a mountain with sore legs, yet feeling amazing while endorphins pump through your whole body.
There is this other kind of ultimate bliss though; when your toes and heels are covered with white warm sand, when your hair dries in the hot sun tousled with sea salt and all of a sudden your face covered with summer freckles.
In this post, we are inviting you to experience our top 10 beaches in Puglia, Italy. (This is the region where Gianni comes from, and which has been getting more attention last few years among travellers.). We will also suggest some of the best Puglia hotels where you can spend your next amazing Italian summer.
- Why you should visit these top 10 Puglia beaches?
- 1. Baia delle Zagare beach, Gargano
- 2. Lido Bosco Verde beach, Ostuni
- 3. Torre Guaceto beach, Brindisi
- 4. San Foca beach, San Foca
- 5. Torre dell’Orso beach, Melendugno
- 6. Baia Dei Turchi beach, Otranto
- 7. Pescoluse beach, Santa Maria di Leuca
- 8. Punta Prosciutto beach, Porto Cesareo
- 9. San Pietro in Bevagna beach, Maruggio
- 10. Dune di Campomarino beach, Maruggio
- When to travel to the 10 top Puglia beaches?
- How to arrive to Puglia?
Why you should visit these top 10 Puglia beaches?
Without biases, we can truly say that apart from turquoise water, fine white sand, cozy small towns with white buildings and colourful markets, areas covered with macchia mediterranea (maquis shrubland), hundreds of olive tree fields, ancient stone towers along the coast— Puglia is a place where you’ll have a chance to fully live the Italian lifestyle, You’ll see all pleasures that this culture can offer you. You’ll taste unbeatable cuisine, and witness both the modern and ancient culture of the incredibly vital and energizing southern coast.
In this article, you will find a list of the best beaches in Puglia with a short description of each beach, our suggestions for best hotels and accommodations in the area and some useful tips on when to travel to Puglia and how to move around.
All prices for these top hotels in Puglia are for the high season (mid June-August,) so keep this in mind when picking your room/apartment. We researched our information on HotelsCombined which we use ourselves when booking a place in Europe. You’ll always find great value deals there! Guaranteed!
The best Puglia beaches are listed in a clockwise direction following the coast of Puglia from the north to the south. Gianni has spent lot of time at certain beaches when he was living in Italy. Some of these places we’ve visited together, and some others are famous for their reputation and suggested by our friends. We hope at some point to visit them all personally.
Ready? Let the Puglia beach tour begin!
1. Baia delle Zagare beach, Gargano
Starting from the North of the region is the Baia delle Zagare beach. It lies in the Gargano subregion between Vieste and Mattinata. Its name is derived from the fragrant flowers called ‘zagare’ that are typical in the area. The beach of soft white sand is 1 km long and surrounded by the National Park of Gargano. The two big white rocky faraglioni, rising from the turquoise waters are one of the most popular trademarks in the region.
Pro tip: You can reach the Zagare Bay by land either by passing through two seafront hotels or via a steep path, about 500 meters after the entrance of the hotels. You can park your car under the bridge of the SP53 and then walk for about twenty minutes down the trail through the pine forest, until you reach the beach.
Best Hotels for Baia delle Zagare beach, Puglia.
2. Lido Bosco Verde beach, Ostuni
This sandy beach with dunes and crystalline water is located near the Parco Naturale Regionale Dune Costiere. The beach is both equipped and free. The nearest bigger city is Ostuni, which offers a spectacular view of the city on the horizon, towering on the hill with shining with white rooftops far away.
Best Hotels for Lido Bosco Verde beach, Puglia.
3. Torre Guaceto beach, Brindisi
The beach is covered with fine sand and green vegetation. The water is also shallow and gorgeously clean! Last time we visited Torre Guaceto, it was mid October and the beach was almost empty and fairly hot, which is quite common in Puglia.
Mediterranean scrub, marshes, sand dunes, sea grass and olive trees are untouched on the Torre Guaceto beach and you’ll love walking through Mediterranean landscape there.
The Nature Reserve of Torre Guaceto (stretch of 6 km long coast) is a WWF protected area, which guarantees a lack of tourists. You won’t find any resorts or bars here, so if you prefer a more serene place for your beach experience, this place is for you.
There is also a Torreguaceto sailing school where you can learn the basics or take an advanced course on windsurfing and sailing a catamaran. To find more information about other facilities and activities (hiking, cycling, diving), visit this website or walk straight to the visitor’s centre in Serranova that organises hiking tours and provides bikes and snorkelling equipment.
There are no restaurants on this beach, only a small snack bar where they sell soft drinks, snacks, and sandwiches in high season—so you might want to pack your own lunch, unless you don’t mind taking a car and go to Specchiolla town that is 10 km away from Torre Guaceto.
Best Hotels for Torre Guaceto beach, Puglia.
4. San Foca beach, San Foca
San Foca is an old fisherman’s village where you’ll find beautiful coves of clean white sand surrounded by white outcroppings, and a series of little islets that can be easily reached swimming. The waters are pristine and full of fish. A few caves can be visited via boat, the most beautiful being the Grotta degli Amanti (Cave of Lovers).
There you’ll find beaches equipped with everything you need and a newly renovated promenade, perfect for a stroll along the coast.
San Foca beach is one of the top beaches in Puglia and very popular among Italian vacationers. We highly recommend booking your vacation here in a shoulder season.
Best Hotels for San Foca beach, Puglia.
5. Torre dell’Orso beach, Melendugno
One of Gianni’s favourites. No doubts a special place, Torre dell’Orso is a thin 1.5 km stretch of white sand with crystal clear waters surrounded by calcareous rocks creating interesting caves and the impressive ‘Two Sisters’ faraglioni rocks. Tired of hot sunbeams? Then you’ll appreciate a pine forest (Pineta di Torre dell’Orso) right behind the beach.
Best Hotels for Torre dell’Orso beach, Puglia.
6. Baia Dei Turchi beach, Otranto
Not far away from the white ancient city of Otranto is Baia Dei Turchi. This is a bay where the Turkish soldiers landed during the Otranto battle and which is a part of the Natural Reserve of the Alimini Lakes. This quiet beach is a heavenly place bordered by lush Mediterranean vegetation. You’ll find both free and beaches equipped with everything you need.
Great spot for scuba diving!
To get to the beach, you’ll need to walk down the hill through a pine forest, so if you intend to spend a day on the beach with small children or someone with limited mobility, you might prefer going to the more accessible Alimini Lakes.
Getting to Baia Dei Turchi is a bit tricky so we suggest you to follow these instructions.
Best Hotels for Baia dei Turchi beach, Puglia.
7. Pescoluse beach, Santa Maria di Leuca
This incredible white sand beach near Santa Maria di Leuca, is also nicknamed the ‘Maldives of Puglia‘. It sits on the southernmost tip of the Salento peninsula, where the waters of the Adriatic Sea merge with those of the Ionian. The stretch of 2 km long beach includes various sandy coves, rocky cliffs, plenty of Karstic caves, and an impressive lighthouse built in the XIX century.
You’ll find a lot of Italian families here, as well as young people in high season, but the Caribbean-style shallow water and beach are terrific and worth the visit.
Best Hotels for Pescoluse beach, Puglia.
8. Punta Prosciutto beach, Porto Cesareo
If you look for beach perfection in Puglia, this is the place to look for it. Punta Prosciutto is as stunning as it sounds. It has uncontaminated sandy beaches with clear turquoise shallow water good visibility, sand dunes and a wide variety of Mediterranean flora.
It is also one of twenty protected Marine areas in Italy. It’s located near the town of Porto Cesareo and the area is defined by Torre Colimena to the north and by Torre Lapillo in the south. It’s easily one of must visited top beaches in Puglia.
Best Hotels for Punta Prosciutto beach, Puglia.
9. San Pietro in Bevagna beach, Maruggio
Only you, blue horizon, soft sand, azure sea with white sand dunes, and green Mediterranean maquis. This is a beach lover’s dream of paradise. You can experience it yourself on the San Pietro in Bevagna beach.
The legend says, the apostle St Peter landed in San Pietro in Bevagna after a shipwreck and washed up on the Ioanian coast, where he performed a miracle when a statue of Zeus fell down and he made the sign of cross to the statue.
The majority of the beach is free, although you’ll find equipped area there, too.
Best Hotels for San Pietro in Bevagna beach, Puglia.
10. Dune di Campomarino beach, Maruggio
This beach is free, with 12 m. high sand dunes and lush vegetation. You won’t find any rows of sun umbrellas or a beach bar here, but only shrubs of juniper, thyme, lavender, white sand and crystalline water, so if you look for a tranquil and beautiful place to get some rest and enjoy the sea, Le Dune di Campomarino should be on your list.
Best Hotels for Dune di Campomarino beach, Puglia.
When to travel to the 10 top Puglia beaches?
As we mentioned in our article about Matera, the best period to visit Italy if you want to avoid crowds (especially in the south) is to travel there either late May, early June, or in September and October when Italians are back at work from their holiday.
The weather in September is still hot in Puglia, and last September and October when we stayed there the temperature reached 35C. That said, try to avoid weekends on the beaches in Puglia in low seasons, since locals do love to bask in the sun before rainy autumn arrives.
Apart from emptier beaches in May or September, you’ll save a big chunk of money when booking your accommodation in Puglia.
How to arrive to Puglia?
The easiest and cheap way is to fly to Bari or Brindisi with low-cost companies Ryanair or EasyJet. In case you are already exploring Rome, Milan or other places in the north of the country, you’ll find cheap flights from these cities to Puglia, too.
You can also take a night bus from the capital to Lecce, where you can spend a couple of days before you hit the road for the best beaches in Puglia. If you have more time to explore the south, we suggest renting a car in Lecce, Taranto, Bari or Brindisi so you’ll be more flexible and able to reach remote beaches as well as neighbouring towns and villages nearby.
You can also travel by train to Puglia. Here is a list of resources for trains in Italy. When in Puglia you can move from one town to the other with local trains, check the Ferrovie del Sud-Est website.
Whether you are a beach person or you need to get a proper rest after trekking in the mountains, so we do hope this post will help you to pick out one of the best beaches in Puglia. Summer is coming dear friends, and hopefully you’ll get to Puglia for your next beach vacation.
Have a blast and if you have any question, please, contact us. We’ll be happy to help if we can.
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, which at no extra cost to you, will earn us a small commission and reduce the costs of running this site.