The Mediterranean culture takes beach-going to another level; romance, history and food are intertwined with beach settings and life. Italians flock to the beaches when the weather warms up to join the tourists who venture in from a far. And why wouldn’t they as Italy is home to some of the Mediterraneans finest beaches. When visiting it is hard to know which ones are best, so let us help you out with our selection of Italy’s Most Stunning Beaches. To avoid the crowds, May, June and September are the months to plan your trip.
Cefalu is an hours drive east of Palermo on the northern coast of Sicily. It is one of those classic Mediterranean beaches with clear azure water, a picture perfect medieval village of golden stone and terracotta hugging the dramatic coast line. Mount Rocca is the great granite mountain at Cefalu overlooking the sea front. The main beach is Lungomare, right in the center of this stunning little town. There are sunbeds and umbrellas but also free public areas where you can soak up the bright Italian sunshine. Madonie National Park is nearby if you want to walk. An alternative free beach option at Cefalu is Caldura, which is much less crowded and only a 20 minute stroll from the town on the opposite side of the harbor. It has a steep 100 step descent to the beach with deep clear water inviting a plunge.
The Amalfi Coast is recognized as the most beautiful coastline in the Mediterranean. Positano’s Marina Grande is the instantly recognizable beach, location to numerous films and fashion shoots. But just 10 minutes walk along the cliff tops along the Via del Positanesi d’America is another beach, Spaggia del Fornillo. Steep hill sides bright with vibrant bougainvillaea, run down to a great little beach sheltered by two ancient watch towers. Diving excursions, snorkeling in the crystal waters are possible from here, plus sailboats are available for hire. Delicious food and post dip aperitifs are available back on the way to town.
Two hours west of Palermo is the historic estate of Tonnara di Scopello. This tiny medieval village is the site of an ancient tuna fishery. The fishery is directly on the bay with its collection of rocky sea stacks. It is breathtakingly beautiful and those wishing to stay here can do so in some of the old buildings which have been converted into lodgings. Tonnaro is next door to one of Sicily’s treasures, the Zingaro Nature Reserve, which covers 7 kilometers of dramatic rocky coastline. There is car parking but the reserve can only be explored on foot with paths running down steep cliff sides to numerous beautiful small bays. The coastal walk runs along cliffs among almond trees and prickly pear plants. The area was frequented by smugglers who used the grottos and caves to hide contraband many years ago.
For truly remote and wild, visit Palmarola Island poetically known as the Pearl of the Mediterranean. It is one of the Pontine Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea on the West Coast of Italy between Rome and Naples. Catch a ferry from the main island, Ponza and it is a 30 minute journey to this haven. This is an island of cliffs and grottos, wild flowers and herbs. The beaches are more cove like and the sea is transparent to great depths. This pearl is largely uninhabited but during the summer months two restaurants provide food for visitors, many who come to the island by yacht charter, which is the best way to see this mysterious spot if you can afford it.
Which beach would you recommend to be on the ‘Italy’s Most Stunning Beaches’ list?