Great Beaches in and Around Naples

Bagni della Regina Giovanna natural pool, near Sorrento, is a popular spot for locals and adventurous holidaymakers
Bagni della Regina Giovanna natural pool, near Sorrento, is a popular spot for locals and adventurous holidaymakers | © John Reveley / Alamy Stock Photo
Elena Alston

While Naples is a popular destination in its own right, it’s also a gateway to plenty of beautiful bays and islands for beach-going explorers. Our local insiders help us pinpoint the best ones. Read on for the best beaches the Gulf of Naples has to offer.


In Posillipo on the Neapolitan coast, Gaiola is a half-an-hour drive west of Naples. It’s a secluded underwater nature reserve, complete with submerged Roman ruins, a Roman theatre and a first-century villa – once owned by a murderous, eel-breeder friend of Emperor Augustus. The coastline is rugged and rocky, but there is a small white-sand beach lapped by dazzling blue sea. At peak times it can get busy, so get here early as they stop clocking in visitors at 100. The marine reserve offers daily kayaking, snorkelling and diving tours all year round, with archaeological and glass-bottom boat tours running in the summer. Recommended by local insider Matt Barker

Lo Scoglione

This rocky cove, on a secluded stretch of coast at the end of an old fishing village in Posillipo, can be reached by boat or on foot. Snorkellers are privy to shoals of rainbow-coloured fish flitting through rocky crevices, and sunbathers have wonderful views of Sorrento across the sea. If you’re waiting for the crowds to dissipate, consider making a pitstop at Villa Fattorusso, a beach club with views of the beach below. And if all that walking has made you work up an appetite, the creamy gnocchi and shellfish dishes are a hit. Recommended by local insider Matt Barker

Bagno Elena

Once the stomping ground of writer Oscar Wilde and composer Richard Wagner, this classic Italian seaside resort is a family-friendly spot where you can enjoy a dip in calm waters, or relax on the wooden sundeck. In Posillipo, half an hour’s drive from the city, Bagno Elena has dark, volcanic sand, with a 17th-century palace on one side and an ancient watchtower on the other. During the summer, it hosts aerobics, fitness classes and even wedding ceremonies. Recommended by local insider Matt Barker

Bagni della Regina Giovanna, Sorrento

Bagni della Regina Giovanna lies among the ruins of Villa di Pollio, with sleek slabs of rocks that you can sunbathe on. These rocky ruins form a natural arc over the sea and have created large rock pools for bathing. This bay – hidden from view inland – was said to be a favourite holiday spot of the Queen of Naples in the 14th century. The lagoons are free of charge and visitors can access them by walking through Sorrento, past olive and lemon groves as well as Mediterranean scrub, down a cliff walk to the coast. Recommended by local insider Debbie Oakes

Massa Lubrense (Baia di Ieranto)

Baia di Leranto is a nature reserve located in the fishing village of Nerano – an hour and a half’s drive from Naples. Long stretches of rocky bays overlook the sea and offer panoramic views of Capri across the water. While the walk down to the pebbly cove is a scenic one, through groves of olive and lemon trees and mediterranean scrub, expect it to take an hour (so bring plenty of water). It’s worth the trek, though, as the beach is always quiet, even during peak times in the summer. Recommended by local insider Debbie Oakes

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