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Best Beaches in Southern Italy: Uncover Paradise

Discover beautiful beaches in Italy on the East Coast Adriatic Sea, West Coast Tyrrhenian Sea and South Ionian Sea.

best beaches in southern italy long stretch sandy beach

We’ve spent a lot of time looking for the best beaches in Southern Italy. Driving around before smart phones we’d try to follow maps. Then losing our way was part of the trip experience. When lost we’d find off the beaten path gems.

Now with smart phones our search for the best beach vacation in Southern Italy is more efficient. No more stumbling upon a fishing village or hidden beach resort thinking it’s a big secret.

Now you can also explore one of the world’s most breathtaking coastlines.

If you are planning an Italy summer vacation you may want to consider the packaged tours to southern Italy.

Click for southern Italy beaches interactive map.

Key Takeaways:

  • Southern Italy is home to some of the best beaches in Italy.
  • PugliaCalabriaCampania, and Basilicata are popular beach destinations in Southern Italy.
  • Each region offers unique landscapes and coastal experiences.
  • Throughout southern Italy find secluded coves, sandy beaches, pebble beaches, charming coastal towns, and national parks.
  • There is a wide variety of options for beach enthusiasts, from relaxing sunbathing spots to vibrant beach towns

Which Side of Italy has Best Beaches?

There are a few coastlines in Southern Italy to explore. An age old debate among travelers is which side of Italy has the best beaches.

But southern Italy has more than two sides. In fact, technically there are at least five sides.

map best southern italy beaches

On the east coast there’s Italy’s Adriatic coast. Its south seaside stretches through Puglia. Here we enjoy the nice long beaches all the way down one of our favorite Italian Beaches, Santa Maria Beach. 

Meanwhile, on the west coast, the Mediterranean coastline beckons. The Tyrrhenian Sea washes against Basilicata, Campania, and Calabria.

And let’s not forget the Ionian Sea. It hugs the coasts of Basilicata, Puglia, and Calabria. Here there are essentially three more coastlines.

These five coast lines in Southern Italy don’t even include the Italy’s big islands. Sicily and Sardinia claim to have the best beaches in Italy.

Unlike Northern Italy’s rocky beaches, the Adriatic, Tyrrhenian, and Ionian coasts, boast warmer waters. The blue water invites swimming and water sports.

You won’t find Caribbean tropical weather on the beaches of southern Italy. But you can plan a beach holiday that includes nice white powdery sand beaches like the Caribbean.

South Italy beaches have it all. Whether you’re dreaming of lounging under the sun or diving into thrilling water sports. So grab your swimsuit, sunscreen, and sense of adventure to discover the best beaches in Southern Italy.

Blue Flag Beaches in Italy

santa maria beach blue flag

The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) awards the designation of Blue Flag to beaches. These beaches meet best practices for water quality, environmental management, safety, and services.

These beaches earn recognition for being clean, safe, and environmentally sustainable. The program promotes sustainable tourism and encourages the preservation of coastal environments. 

Visitors can identify the beaches by the blue flag flying at the beach. This indicates the beach meeting the high Blue Flag beach standards.

There are over 450 Blue Flag beaches in Italy. This ranks Italy number three behind Spain and Greece.

Best Beaches in Southern Italy

Below are six beaches not commonly known. Many Italy travelers have heard of the Amalfi Coast, Italian Riviera, and Cinque Terre. six favorite beaches in southern Italy are somewhat less known.

Porto Selvaggio, Puglia

porto selvaggio puglia beach vacation

Porto Selvaggio in Puglia has a scenic rocky cove with crystal clear turquoise water and sandy beach.

Marasia Beach, Calabria

marasia beach calabria overview long white sand beach torquoise water

One of the best beaches in all of mainland Italy is Marasia Beach. Its dramatic cliffs and perfect white sand contrast with the blue-green sea.

Spiaggia Terzo Cavone, Basilicata

Spiaggia Terzo Cavone gets high marks for its lack of overcrowding. It is a hidden gem worth exploring for those seeking an authentic coastal experience.

The beach is unspoiled beauty. White sand beach, crystal clear water, and endless sunshine await you.

Punta Prosciutto, Puglia

punta prosciutto white sand beach

Punta Prosciutto boasts long stretches of fine, white sandy beaches that stretch for miles along the coastline. The soft sand and clear waters create a picturesque setting for sunbathing, beachcombing, and relaxation.

Marina di Camerota, Cilento, Campania

blue waters beach resport

Marina di Camerota offers miles of pristine golden sand beaches with views of the Cilento cliffs.

Beautiful Beaches in Southern Italy Without the Crowds

During peak tourist seasons, many incredible beaches become crowded. Hidden off-the-beaten-path gems offer a quieter beach experience for you to enjoy.

The following are for those seeking secluded beaches. Many are only accessible by hiking or by boat. They provide a serene escape from the crowds and a less crowded beach experience.

The common themes are remoteness, difficult access by land, with locations surrounded by cliffs and hills. Major towns and tourism hubs are a good distance away.

This isolation rewards visitors with unspoiled, tranquil beaches without the crowds of more famous spots in southern Italy.

Macarro Beach, Basilicata

white sand beaches stunning views

A hidden cove beach near Maratea that requires hiking down a difficult trail from the cliffs above. Its isolation keeps it free of crowds.

Baia della Zagare, Puglia

national park pebble beach

This small bay near Mattinata has no roads leading to it. You may hike or travel by boat. Its remote location ensures seclusion. Its rock formations make for an interesting view.

Baia di San Montano, Ischia

beautiful beaches southern italy

Cliffs surround this beach. Access the beach by a long footpath or by sea.

Fiumicello Beach, Basilicata

east coast beach

This long sandy beach near Maratea is accessible only down hundreds of stone steps carved into the rocks or by boat.

Pozzallo Beach, Campania

campania secluded beach

Pozzallo Beach is a tiny bay with crystal blue water and gray fine pebble beach.

This beach is almost deserted. Even during the high season you won’t find crowds.

Which beaches in Southern Italy are best for families with children?

Popular family-friendly Southern Italy beaches suitable for children include:

  1. Tropea Beach, Calabria
  2. Baia di San Montano, Ischia, Campania
  3. Punta Prosciutto, Puglia
  4. Porto Selvaggio, Salento, Puglia
  5. Lido di Policoro and Lido di Metaponto, Basilicata

These are just a few examples of family-friendly beaches in Southern Italy.

Do tourists often miss any hidden gem beaches in Southern Italy?

beautiful beaches in southern italy without crowds

Yes, there are several hidden gem beaches in Southern Italy that tourists often miss. Beaches like Cala Pulcino and Torre Dell’Orso in Salento offer pristine waters and stunning views. Both are less crowded than the popular beaches.

Southern Italy Beaches Interactive Map

Open the left bar to toggle map by region.

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