Beaches of Apulia. A tour in the land of trulli and crystal clear sea, guided by the locals
Beachs of Apulia
There are places in the world that take your soul. They conquer so much that you lose track of time. A bit like love at first sight. It also happens not so far from our home. Let’s stay in Italy, in Puglia, among soaring cathedrals, ancient trulli and enchanting masserie. Plus good food, hospitable people and crystal clear sea. A place where a simple weekend getaway can become unforgettable. Especially if you discover its most beautiful beaches, unspoiled, over-photographed or far from the chaos. The journey along the Apulian coast starts from the Gargano, the promontory with a thousand faces that boasts a 200-kilometer-long coastline, from Lesina to Manfredonia. A dip in the turquoise water of the Tremiti and in the sea of the Itria Valley and then down to the bottom of the heel, in Salento, where the two seas meet: Adriatic and Ionian.
1) Bay of San Felice – Gargano
Here they call it “l’Architiello”, precisely because of the presence of a rocky arch of karst formation that, with the action of water and wind, has given birth to the arch of San Felice. “A freak of nature,” Domenico Antonacci, a local tourist guide, defines it with a smile. This is one of the most taken photos of the Gargano, along with the photo of the Baia dei Faraglioni, near Mattinata. Accessible to all, equipped with services, the beach of San Felice deserves a trip by canoe or pedal boat to reach its rare beauty and admire the panorama of Vieste and the coastline. For those who are looking for a beach more exposed to the Sirocco and the Levant, can opt for Baia di Molinella, ideal for kite or windsurfing. There is also a hidden beach, away from the summer chaos of Vieste and Mattinata and certainly less known, but worth visiting because, as Antonacci explains, it is so long that you can often stand alone for tens of meters. It is called Capojale Beach. To reach it, you have to cross a pinewood. It is particularly suggestive for its position, near the lake of Varano, where a strip of sand separates the lake from the sea. beaches of Apulia.
2) Vignanotica – Gargano
We are on the border between Mattinata and Vieste. To get to the beach you have to walk a pleasant path two kilometers long. “The path is within everyone’s reach, even for children, but you need comfortable shoes,” suggests the tour guide Antonacci. The view at times is sheer to the sea, at times it goes on the steep terraced slopes, covered mainly by olive trees. Here you can smell all the wild fragrances of the Gargano National Park, such as rosemary and aleppo pine, which in this magical place gives the water an extraordinary color. Most people know it as Vignanotica, but with the use of Gps you can search with the less common names Baia dei Gabbiani or Baia dei Mergoli. Its characteristic are the immense white walls overlooking the sea. Nearby there is a small shelter, a couple of small restaurants and a beach bar. The main dishes are the local bruschetta with cherry tomatoes and olives and the caciocavallo podolico cooked on the grill. Antonacci specifies that for some years the ordinances of the municipality of Vieste have forbidden to stay under the cliff, due to the risk of collapse.beaches of Apulia.
3) Cala Matano, San Domino – Tremiti Islands
Lucio Dalla, for his villa, had chosen the most beautiful beach in San Domino. And it is indeed Cala Matano. A small uncontaminated paradise inside this natural cove. This can also be reached through a path.
The Tremiti is one of the most suitable places for lovers of underwater sports because it has really incredible backdrops. Between one cove and another, all beautiful, you move by boat or canoe. There are very rare corals – such as black coral – and wrecks. The best time to visit the Tremiti archipelago is in the months of May, June and September.beaches of Apulia.
4) Cala Porto Beach – Polignano a Mare
We are south of Bari, quite close to the trulli of Alberobello. This is Polignano, the small Apulian town overlooking the sea located on the edge of a cliff. It is the town of Domenico Modugno, one of the most visited and photographed villages in Puglia. Unique charm also thanks to its ability to have preserved every corner. Walking through the narrow streets, always well maintained and decorated with flowers, you can see breathtaking views. Adjacent to the historical center, there is Cala Porto beach, a small inlet that can be reached by crossing the bridge Lama Monachile, the ancient Trajan’s way. In summer is super busy, the locals in fact prefer Cala Paura, more hidden and therefore more romantic. To approximately fifteen minutes in car there is Monopoli, other small pearl of the coast pugliese. Here deserve a dip Porto Ghiacciolo, at the foot of the ancient abbey of Santo Stefano, a beautiful place where the water is always cold, but not among the most relaxing because often taken by young people, and the private beach Lido Bambù, much more zen and furnished with natural materials. Moving south, for those who are looking for novelty and trendy places, there is the Lullabay, set up on the inspiration of the great festivals such as Coachella. If there is no time for a dip, you can certainly stop for a drink and a souvenir photo. beaches of Apulia.
5) Oasis of Torre Guaceto – Carovigno
We are in the area of Ostuni, in Alto Salento, and this is the Marine Protected Area of Torre Guaceto. One of the most beautiful places in all of Puglia, especially for its biodiversity and landscapes. In the months of October and November it is in fact reached by groups of flamingos. The backdrops are extraordinary, they change from sandy to rocky, up to the posidonia that extends along large prairies. The reserve is made up of coves of fine sand and crystal clear water. The oasis can be reached on foot if you park your car far from the beach, about 200 meters away, just to preserve the flora and fauna of the reserve. Another very beautiful beach nearby is Costa Merlata, where the water remains low for many meters. On the Ionian side instead, about an hour’s drive away, there is Baia del Girasole, near Marina di Pulsano (Taranto), with shallow caves to be discovered. To visit obviously Ostuni. If you have enough time, highly recommended are the small towns of Valle d’Itria: Cisternino, Locorotondo, Alberobello. beaches of Apulia.
6) Torre Sant’Andrea (Cave of lovers and poetry)
Skyscanner has included it among the 15 most beautiful beaches in Italy. The landscape here is truly unique. Almost 15 kilometers from Otranto, Torre Sant’Andrea (marina di Melendugno), is one of the most popular places for young people who frequent Salento in the summer. the area is exclusively made of rocks, but admiring these stacks is an open-air spectacle. the nearest beach is Baia dei Turchi, equally breathtaking. To the south of Torre Sant’Andrea begins the pine forest that reaches the Alimini lakes. Worthy of a stop are Frassanito, Porto Badisco and some marinas in the area of Tricase: Cala dell’Acquaviva Marittima or the Grotta Verde of Andrano. beaches of Apulia.
7) Beach of Pescoluse, the Maldives of Salento
It’s true, the beach of Pescoluse is known as the Maldives of Salento. In fact, it looks like an exotic beach: a long expanse of fine white sand, super crystal clear water and very shallow waters. An award-winning beach. Tourists love it. But if there is wind, it becomes difficult to enjoy the day at the beach. The claim that describes the Salento is in fact: sun, sea and “ieuntu”, that is, wind. The fundamental rule of the Salento people is to choose the beach to go to according to the wind: if there is a tramontana (north wind) they prefer the Ionian, with scirocco (south wind) it is better to move to the Adriatic coast.
8) Punta Prosciutto – Porto Cesareo
Wonderful stretch of the Ionian coast of Salento, north of Porto Cesareo. Among the most popular sandy beaches of the area, it presents an uncontaminated nature made of dunes covered with Mediterranean scrub. Perfect for children, families, couples or for the most sporty, lovers of snorkeling and windsurfing. The beach is about two kilometers long (mostly free) and the water is simply perfect. One of the marine paradises of Salento.
9) Torre Lapillo – Porto Cesareo
Very close to Punta Prosciutto and, also this one, with a unique beauty. If you are in the area of Porto Cesareo, you cannot but stop here for a dip in this clear sea. The ideal is to take a bath early in the morning, even if it is a cove very sheltered from the wind, so it is advisable at any time of the day. Not far away there is the beautiful Bay of Sant’Isidoro: it extends for almost a kilometer, has white sand and the sea visible to the naked eyes to a few meters deep. This is also well sheltered with shallow and calm waters.
10) Porto Selvaggio
There are those who prefer it to any other beach in Salento. Certainly for the charm of its oasis. Welcome to the Natural Reserve of Porto Selvaggio, conqueror of young people and families who love trekking and uncontaminated landscapes. The cold water springs, the green sea, the shade of the pine forest and the large park make it a very unique place. Frascone is also part of the Natural Park of Porto Selvaggio, a small bay but worthy to be included in the list of the most beautiful hidden beaches.