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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.