The Salento peninsula of Puglia also known as the Maldive of Italy is bordered by the Adriatico (Adriatic) and Ionio (Ionian) seas, so it has a long coastline and many enchanting beaches with white sands and stunning views. The sea water here has a clear turquoise blue color of the Mediterranean. There are some beaches that take a bit of effort to get in, but in return the scenery is so beautiful that you forget the way back. So, where are the best beaches in Puglia? Let’s check out our review in detail of top Salento beaches (Salento Puglia beaches) with the list of 6 best beaches in Salento in the Puglia region.
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Last August, my family ‘fought’ on the beaches of Salento for up to 7 days. So, after returning home, I also have a bit of experience to review and share with you. Because my family went by car, so in this article, I will not write about how to get there by public transport. If you want to go to these Salento beaches by bus, you can check them out on Salentoinbus website.
Salento beaches review: Some notes when going to the beach in Puglia
The very first 2 days of arriving in Puglia, we were quite struggling to find a place to rest at the beach because there were so many people. The weather at the sea is still fastidious, the waves were too rough. So, although going to the beach but we did not relaxing much.
After the first few days, I has learned the following experiences:
- Always check the weather forecast in the region: Salento has sea on both sides of West (Ionian) and East (Adriatic). Knowing the direction of the wind is extremely important because it will help you know which side of the sea is better. There are days when the sea is calm on the Ionian side, but on the Adriatic side, the sea is rough and vice versa. During my trip, I always used 3bmeteo’s weather forecast and found it very accurate.
- Avoid going to the beach in August: August is the peak month for beach tourism in Italy because of the Ferragosto holiday on August 15. The room rates and services at the beaches in August are also higher than other months. So if you want to go to the beach but looking for relaxation and cost savings, you should go in June or July.
- You should go to the beach as soon as possible: If you can only go in August like my family, you should try to go to the beach as early as possible (around 9am) if you want to have a spot to resting or lying. Usually from 11am onwards, people start to flock to as many as the “Yuan army”, too crowded.
As for the service price in Puglia beach in August, it usually ranges from €25 to €40 for 2 sun loungers and 1 large umbrella. If you decide to go to the free beach, remember to prepare at least an umbrella, otherwise the sun will be terrible.
Beaches near Otranto (Best beaches in Salento)
Torre dell’Orso (Beach of the Two Sisters)
Torre dell’Orso is the perfect combination of majestic scenery and beautiful beaches, suitable for everyone. This is my most favorite beach in Puglia. I don’t like the pebble beach very much, but prefer the sandy beach, so this beach is very suitable.
In addition to the clear blue sea that can be seen to the bottom, this beach is also famous for its two rocks located next to each other called “Le due sorelle” (the two sisters).
- Suitability for children: Very suitable because the water is not deep but there are many services.
- The way to the beach: Pay attention when choosing a parking lot on Google Maps. Remember not to let “Le Due Sorelle” like my family, because there are 2 parking lots: 1 for the service beach and 1 for the scenic view point. My family went to the wrong view point, so we climbed from the cliff to the beach and so tired. In return, the scenery from here is very stunning beautifully. Those who want to go directly to the beach should choose I Caraibi del Salento or La Sorgente on the map. From here to reach the beach is very fast.
- Nearby attractions: Apart from Otranto, not far from Torre dell’Orso is Torre Sant’Andrea with its famous cliffs and Grotta della Poesia (Cave of Poetry) in Roca Vecchia. This is one of the most beautiful natural swimming pools in the world. It costs €3 for the entrance fee. I have to recognize it is very beautiful and very worth going. But now people flocking here too crowded to sunbath and swim. If you go on a less touristy occasion, you will be able to capture very beautiful landscape photos.
Baia dei Turchi and Spiaggia di Alimini
Baia dei Turchi which is roughly translates as The Gulf of Turks. This beach got its name because it was here in the 15th century that Turkish warriors landed and invaded the nearby town of Otranto.
The scenery here is very beautiful. The beach is sandy with gentle turquoise blue water and is surrounded by cliffs.
However, from the parking lot to reach here, you have to walk about 5 minutes through the pine forest and this beach is mostly free, so there are not many services and not very suitable for families with small children. Almost all visitors here are young people.
Because this trip, my family was mainly looking for a beach with services to relax, so we decided to go to Alimini beach right next to it. The sea water here is similarly beautiful, but the beach is large and offers many services. From here, it only takes about 10 minutes to walk to come to Baia dei Turchi.
- Suitability for children: Very suitable
- The way to the beach: Please note that parking is not allowed in the pine forest right outside the parking lots. If it’s just a short stop, it’s fine, but to park your car, you need to go to the official parking lot about 1km away, and from there you can walk or take the tram (free of charge). The parking lot of Baia dei Turchi and Alimini is different.
- Nearby attractions: In addition to Otranto, right near the beach is Lake Alimini, so if you want, you can combine visiting the lake.
Where are the best beaches in Puglia: Southernmost beaches in Puglia
Marina di Pescoluse
Marina di Pescoluse is located near Santa Maria di Leuca on the southernmost tip of the Salento peninsula. Here is famous for the Maldive del Salento beach.
Before coming here, I read and heard a lot of conflicting opinions. Almost every website praises this beach, but a few people on TripAdvisor and even family members criticize it. I asked the locals, they recommend going because it’s very beautiful, but you have to see the weather forecast first.
That day, the sea was calm, so I decided to go. From Lecce to here about 1 hour drive. Arriving at around 10:30 a.m. but at Maldive del Salento was already full of sun loungers. This is the largest beach in the area. Walking on the left hand side also has other beaches, and finally we chose Lido del Sol.
On days when the sea is calm with gentle waves, the sea water here is extremely beautiful but very shallow. In general, it cannot be compared with Maldive del Salento, but in general in Salento, it is not inferior to other beaches.
- Suitability for children: Very suitable
- Access to the beach: The Lido del Sol and Maldive del Salento parking lots are both just outside the beach. If you park in Maldive del Salento, there is no need to pay for a stopover of less than 20 minutes.
- Nearby attractions: You can combine visiting Santa Maria di Leuca, where the Adriatic and Ionian seas meet. There is a church of Santa Maria de Finibus Terrae with a panoramic view of the town and a beautiful night-time seaside promenade.
Salento Puglia beaches: Beaches near Gallipoli
Note: This list is missing Porto Selvaggio, Puglia’s very well-known beach. It’s a pity that my family didn’t have the opportunity to go this time, so I can’t write a review. If you go backpacking, it doesn’t matter whether the beach has a service or not, you should go because the sea here is surrounded by extremely spectacular cliffs.
The Porto Cesareo marine protected area has many beautiful beaches, one of which is Punta Prosciutto. This beach is very famous, so the number of people coming in the summer is also terrible of crowds.
This is also the first beach I visited in Puglia. After traveling for a few hours in the car, I was just eager to see if this beach was as beautiful as the rumors said. When I arrived, people were crowded with no way to go, the sea was rough that day, the waves were very big, so I turned and decided to go to Torre Lapillo beach nearby. If you go to Punta Prosciutto in June and July, you will probably enjoy the beauty of the beach.
Torre Lapillo is just a 10-minute drive from Punta Prosciutto. Although the sea was no less rough that day than Punta Prosciutto, it was very beautiful to see the color of the sea, even I saw it more beautiful than Punta Prosciutto. It’s just a pity that the place is crowded and the weather was not so nice that I could not enjoy much.
- Suitability for children: Very suitable. Both beaches are sandy with shallow water and have many services.
- Road to the beach: You can park your car right on the road near the beach. From there walk in just 5 minutes.
- Nearby attractions: If you go to the beach in the morning, you can visit Gallipoli in the evening. This is where the famous nightlife in Salento. The town center has a lot of restaurants, cafes, especially a seafood market with nighttime eateries.
Punta della Suina
In addition to Punta Prosciutto, Punta della Suina is also a very famous beach that attracts a large number of tourists every year.
Some say this is the most beautiful beach in Puglia. The landscape here is recognized as charming, the color of the sea gradually changes from turquoise to dark blue like many other places.
As for me, it’s only beautiful to see and take pictures here, but I still prefers Torre dell’Orso. Because there is a sandy beach here, but when you step into the water, there are large pebbles and rocks, so it is a bit inconvenient. In addition, there is only one service beach here with exorbitant prices, so most people go to the free beaches.
If you like going adventure, looking for beautiful scenery and going to the beach freely, then you will love Punta della Suina.
- Suitability for children: Not much very suitable
- The way to the beach: From the parking lot just a few minutes walk to the beach.
- Nearby attractions: Gallipoli
Near Gallipoli, the section from Lido Conchiglie to Rivabella is mostly sandy beaches with shallow water. The sea water in this area is also beautiful, but not as famous as the beaches mentioned above.
That day, because the sun loungers run out of everywhere, we stopped at Padula Bianca. If you are traveling with a family with small children or pregnant women, this area is very suitable. Of the many serviced beaches here, Punto Fisso is my favorite beach, due to the good service and the delicious food.
- Suitability for children: Very suitable
- The way to the beach: Near the beaches, there are many parking lots. Average price is €3/day
- Nearby attractions: Gallipoli
The above are just typical beaches, the rest in Puglia there are many other beaches. In general, in Salento, there is no place where the beach and sea is bad, it is important that you go on the right day when the sea is calm or not.
If you are a lover of the sea and landscape, then definitely going to Puglia will be very interesting. Have a great summer day!
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Puglia you can refer to
- Puglia Alberobello Guided Walking Tour
- Guided Walking Tour in Matera
- Lecce Walking or Biking Tour
- Altamura and Gravina, 4 hours guided tour
Read more Italy guide here.