The Best Beaches in Puglia, Italy

Known for its glorious surrounding coastline, Puglia is home to some of the best beaches
Known for its glorious surrounding coastline, Puglia is home to some of the best beaches | © Stephen Hughes / Alamy Stock Photo
Kim Gregory

Southern Italy is home to picturesque Puglia – in the heel of the boot – known for its hillside towns and surrounding coastline. There’s a perfect spot for every mood: enjoy party vibes with on-the-beach ‘champagne trains’ or secluded, family-friendly sands by nature reserves, home to flocks of flamingos. Thrill-seekers will get a rush with activities like paragliding and foodies can tuck into succulent seafood and local wine at coastal town lidos – and everyone will enjoy the swimming, sunsets and views unique to the Italian coast.

Planning your trip? Book yourself onto Culture Trip’s complete tour of southern Italy, where, over the course of 10 days, you’ll experience Naples, the Amalfi Coast and all of Puglia’s delights.

1. Bahia Porto Cesareo for Luxury Lounging

Natural Feature

Puglia - Torre Lapillo (Le) village of Porto Cesareo
© Universal Images Group North America LLC / DeAgostini / Alamy Stock Photo

Live luxuriously at this exclusive Beach Lounge Club in Lecce, Salento. Staff shake up refreshing cocktails and serve them to your sunbed or double-bed suite, overlooking the Ionian Sea. Come lunch, take a seat under an on-the-sand canopy and indulge in local oysters and wines. When the sun sets and the sky burns orange, sit back on the sand with a flute from Bahia’s Champagne Train.

2. Porto Selvaggio for Wild Nature

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Italy, Apulia, Salento, Porto Selvaggio natural reserve, the bay
© AGF Srl / Alamy Stock Photo

This unusual bay – west of Salento – has been a protected marine area since 1980. Its name translates to ‘wild port’ thanks to the unspoilt green and rocky landscape, pine forest and rare wildlife. Sunbathe on a rocky platform jutting out to sea, then head into the water for excellent snorkelling. Watchtowers Torre dell’Alto and Toree Uluzz stand at either end, overlooking the surrounding nature reserve.

3. Baia Dei Turchi for Swimming

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It’s clear why this Otranto-based bay has a Blue Flag, Five Sails award and protected area status as part of the oasis of Alimini Lakes. Expect shallow, crystal-clear waters at this pristine forest-lined bay. Lay a towel on the soft sands, hire a barside bed at the lido or find a secluded bay along the coastline. It can get busy, so get down here early.

4. Spiaggia Alimini for Thrill-Seekers

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Adventure-lovers should visit the activity-packed Alimini beach, near the lakes and dunes. Start by renting a canoe from the shores of the lake to explore the calming, natural site. After, walk by the green-dotted dunes and find a picnic spot under aromatic pine trees. Thrill-seekers can finish off the day at neighbouring Aqua Speed Beach for adrenaline-pumping water sports like paragliding, jet skiing and banana boating.

5. Zeus Beach for Indulgence

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Hire one of Zeus Beach’s stylish cabanas to while away days by the glittering Baia Verde in Gallipoli. Tuck into some fresh Italian fayre – like roasted octopus sandwich with avocado and mango burrata. Come evening, happy hour begins and the music grows. Hire a floating privee to watch the sunset from the waves – with a glass of fizz in hand.

6. Spiaggia di Porto Miggiano for Dramatic Landscapes

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beach, coast, rocky shore, Porto Miggiano, Santa Cesarea Terme, Santa Cesarea, Terme, Lecce Province, Puglia, Italy
© Imagebroker / Alamy Stock Photo

Surround yourself with dramatic cliffs at this picturesque, white-sand bay in Lecce – near Santa Cesarea Terme. The water is deep, mostly sheltered from the wind and best enjoyed by confident swimmers. Grab a snorkel and watch fish swim as you glide through the perfect conditions. There are no restaurants here, though, so remember to bring your own food and drink.

7. Campomarino di Maruggio for Fresh Family Dinners

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Take the kids on a trip to this sandy beach that stretches for miles. There’s free parking so you can explore all the nearby Taranto towns – like Maruggio village that’s five minutes away – and stop at traditional restaurants for family dinners. You won’t beat a dip in these spectacular warm waters, followed by fresh seafood spaghetti and crisp local wine as the sun goes down.

8. Spiaggia Salina dei Monaci for the Wildlife

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Salina dei Monaci boasts a beautiful beach and a natural, green-lined water reserve that attracts bright flocks of flamingos. Stroll the walkway to marvel at this unspoiled nature and wildlife, before settling on the dune-lined beach with its soft sand and beautiful waters. It’s worth the drive to this wild, remote area. After your day in nature, fuel up at nearby restaurants.

9. Santa Maria di Leuca for Foodies

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Italy, Apulia, Salento peninsula, Lecce province, Aerial view of Santa Maria di Leuca with harbor
© Westend61 GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Visit coastal, colourful architecture-filled Santa Maria di Leuca and find the seaside Lido Giulia Wine Restaurant. Grab a table or sunbed on wooden platforms above the sand and, as waves lap beneath you and the town twinkles on the horizon, tuck into fine, fresh Italian cuisine that’ll light up your Insta feed as much as your stomach. Try seafood gnocchi or perfectly done salmon fillets, accompanied with your choice of wine and desserts.

10. Lido Pineta for Ultimate Relaxation

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Coconut palm parasols, sunbeds and cabanas meet soft sands, the Ionian sea and aromatic trees and scrubs at this Ugento Coastal Park-based beach. Choose your bed and wait for Lido staff to bring excellent salads and cocktails to your side, or picnic on the pine-side wooden tables. There’s also beach volleyball, changing rooms and showers. And, unlike other nearby beaches, there’s no music so you can truly kick back and relax.

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