Best Beach Breaks in Puglia
With 700 km coastline, Puglia has a perfect beach for everyone. Here are my recommendations for the best beach breaks in Puglia.
Talking about the best beach breaks in Puglia, says a lot, as there are so many wonderful beaches to choose between. Still, it’s the kind of information I’d prefer to keep for myself.
Recently I met up with an experienced travel writer and asked him whether he shared his personal favourites with his readers.
– Well, he said, recognizing the dilemma: There is this really good local restaurant near where I live, that I like to keep to myself.
I feel the same kind of proprietary private attachment to the beaches in Puglia, so it is with the utmost reluctance I share my list of the best beach breaks in Puglia. Yet with 700 km coastline, the heel should have plenty of sea, sand and sun lotion for everyone .
Breathtaking views of white limestone cliffs and emerald waters characterize the Gargano promontory, where the most popular seaside resorts are Mattinata, Peschici and Vieste. I prefer Vieste for a family vacation as the broad sandy beaches and tranquil, shallow water is perfect for children who are just learning to swim. Besides Vieste has a decent size for a seaside town with lots of shops, restaurants and gelaterie as well as a museum, medieval town centre and castle. The drive there is one of my favourite Puglia itineraries. There’s lots to do for all members of the family. And for a more outstanding seaside experience you can always take an outing to the Tremiti islands, where there is excellent scuba diving and pristine secluded coves.
There are two kinds of beachgoers in Puglia. Those who prefer the rugged east coast, where the Adriatic brings fresh water and rolling waves. And those who would rather go to the sandy dunes and warm, tranquil Ionian Sea on the west coast of the Salento peninsula. I belong to the western shores, but like the idea of a swim in the sea within flip-flop walking distance from a decent city, and these can only be found on the east coast in Trani and Otranto.
South of Otranto the coast becomes dramatic with relatively high cliffs and deep caves inviting snorklers, climbers and divers to take a plunge. There’s not much room for sunbathing, but action and adventure seekers love the thrill of exploring the rocky shores in Porto Badisco, Marina Serra or Gagliano del Capo.
Apart from the charming Seno della Purità, all beaches in Gallipoli are outside the city limits. My favourite is Punta della Suina because of the walk through fragrant pine forest and the tiny island where you can dive for live and fossilized sea urchins. If you are interested in more refreshing pine forest shade, you won’t find it much better than in Portoselvaggio, 15 km north of Gallipoli, and a bigger beach island with some pine trees and an opportunity to sail or wade your beach gear across can be found in Porto Cesareo where you’ll also find a protected nature reserve with hatching turtles and corals.
North of Porto Cesareo the Ionian coast stretches out in spacious beaches with fine white sand and soft dunes covered in wild rosemary and thyme. The calm, clean-looking, warm water is not too deep and not to shallow but decends evenly, and on a very clear day when the light is right you can glimpse the mountains of Calabria. That is why I love Campomarino and San Pietro in Bevagna and the southern coast with free and direct all day places in the sun.
Have your been to Puglia, and if so which one is your favourite beach?