Come on in. The water’s very fine.
Our first hand experience tells us that you’re going to love Puglia in 2021. The salty hot summer and the salty hot Italian men, glistening and dripping in their skimpy speedos are guaranteed to make you thirsty. A long-time favourite of the Italian gay population, Puglia draws a sophisticated international gay crowd all summer long. And it’s a very long summer...
Benvenuti in Puglia
Year on year, Puglia’s reputation as a gay holiday hotspot grows. Salento remains the focus for gay travellers. The beautiful and the “gifted” are found hanging out on the beaches around Gallipoli and nearby Baia Verde. To see them literally hanging out, head to Spiaggia d’Ayala and Torre Guaceto, our region’s most popular naturist beaches.
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Our top 5 beaches for 2021
#1= | Pôr do Sol, Baia Verde
Why? | our favourite beach club | super friendly | mixed - gay-friendly - gay
If you want a cool beach vibe, a gay friendly crowd and some fine sandy beach around Gallipoli head here. It draws a mixed crowd in every respect. Italians and international visitors, younger and older, friends and couples, gay and straight.
The food is fresh and simple - all you need for a light lunch on the beach. The prices are reasonable all summer long - especially by Gallipoli standards.
We prefer to stay in Baia Verde rather than Gallipoli’s old town - it’s easier to drag yourself to the beach in the morning. But this is a popular holiday destination and accommodation in Baia Verde is very expensive, particularly in August and either side.
Be sure to stay to watch the sunset behind the old town. It’s spectacular.
Sergio and his crew make sure that everyone is made to feel welcome.
We couldn’t help but notice a definite twink presence. Behind the bar, on the sun loungers as also keeping a watchful guard over the swimmers. On which subject we can’t help being fans of the lifeguards who really didn’t mind being pictured for our guide.
Facilities | loungers and sun umbrellas | toilets | shower | food and drink | sunset DJ.
Discover more | in 2020 Pôr do Sol was brought to you by Davide | Marco | Gioele | Lorenzo (the barman) | Sergio | Lorenzo (the guest) | Pôr do Sol on Instagram | read the Big Gay Guide to Gallipoli | our working trip to Pôr do Sol.
The Big Gay Podcast from Puglia paid for all drinks and refreshments every time we visited. On a couple of occasions the charge for sun loungers and ombrellone was waived because our bar bill was in excess of 100€.
#1= | Spiaggia d’Ayala, Campomarino di Maruggio
Why? | the most popular naturist beach with an extensive gay section | easily accessible | relaxed atmosphere
A long, sandy beach, with deliciously scented maquis scrub dotted dunes running behind it. There’s a pine wood conveniently located behind the gay section. A few rocks are scattered around the beach and at the sea’s edge. The sand is a little coarser underfoot, the water warm and welcoming.
D’Ayala beach (also known as Commenda beach) is easy to access. It’s a 5-minute walk from parking your car to hitting the gay section (the most extensive part of D’Ayala’s naturist beach).
This is a popular beach frequented by committed naturists and dripping with good looking boys who have come for sun, sea and sometimes - very openly - something else. A must-visit if you want to experience Puglia’s finest.
Getting naked feels, well absolutely natural here. Although it is by habit and repute a naturist beach (naturist bathing is not officially licensed at D’Ayala, but it has been practiced for over thirty years), being naked is not obligatory. About two-thirds of the guys were happy to be at one with nature. The rest covered up.
Besides the Salento sun is strong and relentless. Not all body parts are suited to exposure to UV rays. Just as well then that the current Italian trend is to have a well bronzed upper and lower torso, while retaining a milky white butt, framed by clearly defined tan-lines.
As you can see even Davide, the Big Gay Podcast from Puglia co-host and production assistant, stays on trend.
Facilities | none | the nearest refreshments are found in Campomarino; if you feel particularly energetic you could walk along the beach there - you can see it about 1.5km further down the coast.
More | read our review of D’Ayala beach | we stayed at Lune Saracene Gay and Naturist B&B read our review | follow Davide on Instagram.
#3= | Punta della Suina - Spiaggia degli Innamorati
Why? | the turquoise water | the “private” coves | nude bathing
After our naked podcasts recorded at two of Puglia’s top naturist beaches, we’ve become fans of nude bathing. Was it a surprise that we found it so liberating?
With that in mind - and given the superb water transparency here - the stretch of coast from Punta della Suina back up in the direction of Gallipoli to Spiaggia degli Innamorati tied in 3rd equal place.
The area is not exclusively gay. It is not exclusively naturist. But it draws both crowds. We noticed many familiar faces that we had seen the day before and saw again later at Pôr do Sol. Many seem to visit here in the late morning before heading back to Baia Verde for lunch and an afternoon into evening at Pôr do Sol.
Here’s a video we took as a drone test. There is no sound.
This stretch of coast is rocky and those rocks are sharp. We recommend ciabatte or some other rubber soled shoes for getting in and out of the water. You don’t want to slip and scrape against them. Nevertheless it is stunning - and it is fun.
The area has a reputation for something more than sun and sea. The closer that you get to Spiaggia degli Innamorati, the more comfortable guys get with nude bathing in the not so “hidden” coves that punctuate the coast... and the more fun it becomes. Conveniently there are some shallow woods that run behind the entire length of the beach.
BEWARE | the G Beach Gallipoli Club found here used to be a popular gay friendly lido. It still has that reputation. But after a change of management, they no longer are. On more than one occasion, in one instance following on from Gallipoli Pride, they asked same sex couples who were kissing to leave. They also emailed the Big Gay Podcast from Puglia asking us not to tag G Beach on our Instagram feed as they were not a gay beach.
Facilities | none, but there are other lido clubs in between where you can have a coffee or aperitivo.
More | listen to our Naked Podcast from Torre Guaceto | listen to our Naked Podcast from Spiaggia d’Ayala | read our Spiaggia D’Ayala Gay Beach review | for more details on how to get here see the Big Gay Puglia Guide.
#3= | Torre Guaceto naturist beach
Why? | located in a protected marine area and national park | secluded | soft white sand | a favourite with locals
Don’t confuse this with the Torre Guaceto family beach accessed from the Punta Penna Grossa end.
The gay section of Torre Guaceto’s naturist beach is extremely popular with locals, despite the fact that it is difficult to access. The accessibility issue is the reason why it tied in 3rd equal place.
The beach area is long and shallow with whiter rather than golden sand. It sits within an adjacent protected marine area where swimming is not actually permitted, though little regard is paid to this. However, drones have been known to fly over to police this - as perhaps other “activities”.
Facilities | none | bring your own refreshments.
More | most guides give the wrong information about how to access the gay beach - read our Torre Guaceto Gay Beach Guide to find out how best to get there.
#5 | Torre Uluzzo | Porto Selvaggio
Why? | wonderfully rugged and wild | well off the beaten track
Porto Selvaggio is beautiful. But getting to the gay beach is hard work, and it is some of the rockiest, most jagged coast, with fewer flatter shelves to lie out on comfortably. If you really love nature at its most authentic and a sense of isolation by all means try it out. But if cruising trumps nature, and prefer a more comfortable option, you might have more fun staying in Gallipoli.
We found the information on how to get to the naturist section from other gay guides fairly unhelpful. It was extremely difficult. Think the Torre Guaceto distance with the extra challenge of following a track that is hard to find all the while descending an extremely steep incline. We found our own easier and quicker route there.
In this instance we preferred the main beach area elsewhere in the reserve. You can take a trolley bus to get there. It had a bohemian feel. But we wouldn’t be able to stay all day. It’s a rock and stone beach and gets uncomfortable.
Facilities | food and drink sold by concession stands.
More | read the Big Gay Puglia Beach Guide to find out how best to get there.
Want some more?
There are spots up and down Puglia’s coast where nude bathing coincides with predominantly, but not exclusively, gay and gay-friendly locals. We have tried to list as many of them in the Big Gay Puglia Beach Guide, with instructions on how to get to them.
But because we always try to add value to everything we do, we offer you our +1.
#6 | Torre Incina Naurist beach | Monopoli
Why? | a local favourite
Torre Incina beach, mainly rocky shelves and coves, lies between Polignano a Mare and Monopoli. It draws people from as far as Bari. The gay | naturist area is on the other side of the tower from the popular Cala Incina beach (i.e. on the left as you face the sea), a short walk from the tower in the direction of Polignano.
There’s a young gay nudist bathing group originating from Bari who sometimes meet at Torre Incina at weekends.
Facilities | none.
More | read the Big Gay Puglia Beach Guide for a detailed listing of gay and gay-friendly beaches around Puglia.