Start planning your beach vacation in Italy
With miles of coastline stretching from the Ligurian Sea in the north to the Ionian Sea in the south, Italy's beaches range from the wild, rugged coves flanked by soaring cliffs to pristine, white-sands spread out beneath quaint towns.
What makes Italy a great beach destination?
Beaches in Italy vary from rocky, pebbled coves perfect for wild swimming to tranquil golden expanses best experienced with a sun lounger. While the beauty of these beaches means many are very popular, especially on the Italian mainland, the islands of Sicily and Sardinia provide some off-the-beaten-track options.
The best beaches to visit in Italy
Italy's beaches offer everything from marvellous sunsets to incredible emerald waters, dramatic views, colorful coral reefs, and abundant wildlife. Here are just a few of Italy's beach highlights.
Sunset at Camogli Beach, Liguria
This stylish beach on Italy's northern coast is best experienced at sunset, when the sun illuminates the terracotta pastel colors of the surrounding fishing town. These intense colors are mirrored brilliantly in the glowing silver of the Ligurian Sea.
Relax on the Coast of the Gods at Marasusa Beach
Marasusa Beach in the Calabrian city of Tropea is situated along 'the Coast of the Gods', where calm seas and perfect sands are presided over by sheer cliffs, providing shelter from the coastal winds. The bars that border the beach serve refreshing Aperol cocktails to enjoy after lounging in the heat.
Dive in at Torre Guaceto, Puglia
Sitting in a beautiful nature reserve, the sandy Torre Guaceto is perfect for snorkeling among colorful coral reefs. These emerald waters are a short drive from the port town of Brindisa, where sampling local fish at small, family-run restaurants is an essential experience.
Admire the birds at Isola Bella, Sicily
Known as ‘The Beautiful Island’, Isola Bella sits just off Sicily's coast. Famed for its array of bird life, Isola Bella is a protected site brimming with nature. Arrive by local cable car to enjoy stunning aerial views of the beach.
Climb out to Cala Goloritzé, Sardinia
Set at the foot of an idyllic ravine on Sardinia, this small white pebble beach is backed by mountain ridges. This unique location requires you to traverse the Baccu Goloritzè trail to reach the cove, but it’s worth the trip: the unforgettable, dramatic setting makes Cala Goloritzé unmissable.
Tips for planning a beach vacation in Italy
To best enjoy Italy's beaches, visiting outside of July and August is essential. In 'high summer', Italy's beaches are heavily frequented by locals, making May, June and September great times to visit and avoid the crowds. Car rental is crucial if trying to reach isolated coastlines, especially in Sicily and Sardinia where beaches outside of towns are difficult to get to using public transport.