PUGLIA IN 360°
Welcome to our definitive gay Puglia guide. With wonderful gay beaches around Salento, an incredible scene in Gallipoli and a friendly open welcome elsewhere, Puglia is Italy’s gay summer hotspot. Voted Italy’s top gay summer destination by Italy’s LGBTQIA+ community for two years running, and considered to be one of Europe’s top 5. Our region, our home. That’s why we see it in 360°.
Definitive gay Puglia guide | Beach Guide
Puglia has it all. From dedicated gay beaches to secret, hidden coves. Salento in particular is famous for its beautiful beaches and its hot, summer scene. Discover Puglia’s best gay beaches in our definitive gay Puglia guide.
More | see our guides Gay Puglia: our guide to Puglia’s gay beaches
Puglia is a safe destination for LGBTQ+ visitors. In 2022 we celebrated 5 Pride Parades across the region. Summer after summer it draws a sophisticated international crowd who come for the sun, sea and ... food; our region has a wonderful cuisine.
More | The Guardian - Off the Gaydar | discover why Puglia is Italy’s top gay summer destination: Love and Pride and Puglia - Italy’s Gay Summer Paradise
Where to party
Gallipoli may be the best known gay destination. But gay-friendly bars and clubs can be found across the region.
More | our What’s On guide, a calendar of Puglia’s LGBTQIA+ cultural and other selected events.
The definitive gay Puglia guide | Welcome to gay Puglia, Italy’s top gay summer destination
“I first heard about Puglia when a friend moved there to start a new life with his Italian boyfriend. He reported back that along the glittering southern Italian coast there were dozens of gorgeous beaches for swimming, with clear waters and hot rocks on which to bask after a dip. The wild, rugged beauty of the region was also, he said, a major draw for the Italian gay population, and there was a great scene out there.”
“Off the gaydar”, The Guardian 20 June 2009
The Gay Travel Experience: Puglia, Italy | the Definitive Gay Puglia Guide
Puglia is Italy’s top gay summer destination. The region of Puglia makes up the heel of Italy’s boot. It has the longest coast of Italy’s mainland regions, spanning over 500 miles. Puglia sits between two seas, the Adriatic and Ionian, offering incredible beaches and views.
Year over year, Puglia’s reputation as a gay summer hotspot grows. The beautiful and the “gifted” (“dotato” is also the word Italians use to describe being “hung”) can be found swimming all around the coast. And we’ll tell you exactly where to find them in this guide!
Salento, the southern part of Puglia, remains the most popular Puglia gay travel spot. Here, most visitors gravitate towards the towns of Gallipoli and Baia Verde.
Italian men are incredibly style conscious and obsessed with waxing. Chest, abs, arms, legs…even sculpted eyebrows. Speedo style swimming briefs are the rule rather than the exception.
It’s also not uncommon to see male friends walking arm in arm. Even men who identify as straight aren’t beyond a same sex experience, especially in Puglia’s salty summer heat.
Keep in mind however, that while many Italians embrace a non-traditional “masculine” style and take pride in couture and personal grooming, not all Italian men with plucked eyebrows are looking for male company.
Puglia is especially known for its tolerance and inclusivity. This is enshrined in Article 1 of the Statute of the Region of Puglia:
“Puglia […] is an autonomous region founded on respect for dignity, rights, the freedoms of the human person and the values that informed those who fought for the Liberation and for the regaining of democracy in our country”.
The region regularly hosts three annual gay pride parades. In 2022 we had 5: Bari Pride, Salento Pride in Lecce, Taranto Pride, Manduria Pride and Leuca Pride. We put this down to Puglia’s rich and diverse history, a land of passage and a gateway to other cultures.
Long before the invasion of social media influencers, Puglia was conquered by Greeks, Romans, Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Normans, Aragonese, and French. Many of their influences can still be seen today.
Regions of Puglia
For the purposes of this guide, think of Puglia in three parts. At the northern end near the “spur” of Italy’s boot is Gargano. The southern peninsula forming its heel is Salento. Sitting in the middle is the glorious Valle d’Itria, with lush rolling olive groves stretching as far as the eye can see.
Puglia’s best-known destinations include Bari, Lecce, Polignano a Mare, Monopoli, Alberobello, Ostuni, Gallipoli and Otranto, although most visitors experience Puglia somewhere between Bari and Lecce.
Gallipoli is the best-known gay destination. Locally it’s referred to as “Gaylipoli.” But gay-friendly bars, clubs and beaches can be found across our region.
Puglia doesn’t necessarily have any specific gay villages or areas. Gallipoli comes closest. But as with most of Italy, the LGBT community tends to keep a lower profile.
Definitive Gay Puglia Guide | Puglia Gay Hotels, BNB’s & Rentals
While hotels are always an option, Puglia is better known for its masserie and trulli. A masseria is a fortified farmhouse. Many of these have been converted to privately owned boutique bed and breakfast accommodations.
Trulli (one trullo, two trulli) are the limestone “hobbit” homes with conical grey stone roofs that are unique to Puglia.
Whichever accommodations you choose, be sure they come with air conditioning. Daytime temperatures can exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit in the peak of summer.
We usually stay at Apartment q |40 Ostuni. Located in the heart of Ostuni’s historic center, its less than a 2 minute walk to the Piazza della Libertà. As well as three balconies it has three terraces, including an upper level panoramic terrace.
If it is not available, be sure to book an apartment with a roof terrace, with air conditioning and with mosquito screens. Try to get one with a roof terrace which is quite common. We recommend staying just around Ostuni’s centro storico, around Parco Rimembranze, Piazza della Libertà or somewhere in between.
Anima Bed & Wellness is an LGBT friendly, gay owned and run, adult-only bed and breakfast and is highly recommended to us. It is set in a beautiful olive grove between Ostuni and Ceglie Messapica. Read about our visit to Anima Bed & Wellness.
If you’re mainly interested in sunny seaside beaches and don’t have time to visit the rest of the region, stay in Baia Verde, located in south Gallipoli. Renting a fairly generic apartment will suit you well if you aren’t too hung up on staying in a place with character.
Demand for places to stay in Baia Verde peaks in July and August, and accommodations here are some of the most expensive in Puglia. August 15th is Ferragosto, Italy’s main summer holiday around which most Italians take their two to four-week vacation.
We stayed in this Airbnb rental twice. We chose it because it was close enough to the action, but away from the built-up area. Plus it’s surrounded by a beautiful small grove.
For more character, Gallipoli’s old town (centro storico) has some reasonably priced apartments. But if you need the comforts of a hotel and your budget allows try Bellavista Club Hotel.
It’s located right next to the historic center. Bellavista is a gay-friendly hotel in Gallipoli with panoramic views over the fishing port, the old town, and the Ionian Sea.
Places to Stay Around Gallipoli
Twelve miles to the north, Nardò feels like a gay village in summer. This area has less expensive vacation apartment rentals. It’s a pretty town with its own nature reserve with a gay nudist beach, located at Torre Uluzzo at Porto Selvaggio.
From there, Spiaggia d’Ayala is 30 miles north west, about a 50-minute drive.
La Restuccia Urban Masseria is a gay run masseria about halfway between Nardò and Lecce. They have queer events in the summer, including Masseria Wave, a program of curated DJ music festivals, artisan craft and food fairs, as well as gay brunches. It has less of a boutique feel, with around 180 bungalow apartments within the masseria grounds.
Lecce Gay B&Bs, LGBTQIA+ friendly accommodation
On our last visit to Lecce we stayed at a new hotel in the historic center. Arryvo Hotel, Lecce is a progressive, inclusive modern hotel with 25 bedrooms. A play to work, stay and party. The service was extremely friendly and with breakfast included, great value for money.
We have visited two different gay run B&Bs on opposite sides of Lecce’s old town. B&B lastminute is a modern apartment with contemporary rooms and functional rooms, just a few minutes from Porta Rudiae.
On the other side of the old town, try Villa della Lupa, a Lecce gay B&B with a neoclassical style. They’re located by the Giardini Pubblici Giuseppe Garibaldi.
Staying Near Spiaggia d’Ayala
Lune Saracene Gay and Nudist B&B is located just over half a mile from the hugely popular beach, Spiaggia d’Ayala. We had a fun time staying there, finding the other guests and hosts sprawled naked on the porch when we came back after dinner in nearby Maruggio.
Puglia Gay Beaches
Puglia’s coastline is made up of sandy beaches, rocky outcrops and secluded private coves. They’re extremely popular with the gay community and those who are a bit curious.
Our personal favorites were also the top choices of locals and visitors surveyed in our Big Gay Podcast from Puglia Best of Gay Puglia 2020 survey.
Gallipoli Gay Beaches
The gay and nudist beaches are found in between Punta della Suina and Spiaggia degli Innamorati. Comprising a stretch of rocky shelves and coves, you’ll need proper footwear, so bring some durable water shoes. It’s not the most comfortable of spots, but the water is amazing.
If OnlyFans had a section for beach porn, this video below is why you would subscribe:
On the Big Gay Puglia Podcast, we were surprised this beach area topped our poll with 34% of the vote. But we suspect the proximity to Gallipoli helps its popularity.
Access the Gallipoli gay beach area from the Punta della Suina car park. Walk through the pine wood toward the sea and follow the coast back up towards Baia Verde and Gallipoli. Go for about 10 minutes to find the nude and gay section. You will definitely know when you get there.
It costs about 5 Euro for parking in the Punta della Suina car park as of 2020. And, yes, Punta della Suina does literally translate as Sow’s (as in female pig) Point.
We recommend to ignore the flashy white and gold of G-Beach Club. Historically this was one of the most popular gay friendly beach clubs in Puglia. You might still find gay guides recommending it.
But following a change of management a few years back, they decided that while LGBT individuals were welcome to spend money there, this welcome ended if they wanted to display any public affection.
Same sex couples were asked to leave on at least two separate occasions for kissing at G-Beach Club. We were also contacted by their PR who asked us to remove tags to them on our social media because they did not want to be identified as a “gay” beach club.
Bring plenty of water. There are no beach facilities apart from those of the lido beach clubs toward the north and south ends of the shoreline.
Spiaggia d’Ayala, Campomarino
Spiaggia d’Ayala is our favorite gay and nudist beach in Puglia. It is by far the easiest to get to, sitting on a long stretch of golden sand. Convenient pine wood trees behind the beach offer some necessary shade, too.
Sometimes there is a concession stand or bar further down the beach closer to Campomarino. Otherwise, there are no facilities. The nearest are found in the town of Campomarino, which is a little over a mile away via the main road. The walk there along the beach though is shorter.
Torre Guaceto, Brindisi
Torre Guaceto on the Adriatic coast is especially popular with locals. But it’s difficult to reach since Torre Guaceto is in a protected nature reserve where vehicles are restricted. Once you park your car nearby, the gay section of the nude beach is still at least a 30-minute walk away.
Get there from the south side of the Torre Guaceto watchtower. Don’t pay attention to guides that take you from the north. This is even more cumbersome.
The Big Gay Podcast from Puglia Torre Guaceto guide explains exactly how to get there from the main highway, with photographs of the road signs, routes and what to look out for along the way.
Pôr do Sol Lido Beach Club
Our Best of Gay Puglia survey also asked visitors and locals to tell us where their overall favorite beach was. 39% of visitors and 30% of locals said Pôr do Sol was their number one choice.
Gay-owned and operated, Pôr do Sol is our favorite summer hangout. If you want a cool beach vibe, an LGBT friendly crowd, a fine sandy beach and beautiful crystalline water, you have to visit.
Pôr do Sol draws a mixed crowd in every respect. You’ll find Italians (locals and vacationers), international visitors, friends and couples, gay and straight individuals, and a diversity of ages among them.
The facilities include beach loungers and umbrellas, food, drinks, showers and toilets. A DJ set starts from mid-afternoon through sunset (which is amazing, by the way).
For more information read all about our working trip to Pôr do Sol. Hard work indeed!
More Gay Beaches in Puglia
There are spots up and down Puglia’s coast where nude bathing coincides with predominantly, but not exclusively, gay and gay-friendly locals.
Pietra Egea is a popular beach area, located between Cozze and Polignano a Mare. So is Torre Incina, located between Polignano and Monopoli. Further details are set out below.
For a little variety, other favorite beach clubs of ours are located at Torre dell’Orso (the Bear Tower). While they’re not specifically gay beaches, we love this location. And in any event, there are plenty of straight guys for gay eyes.
Not far from here, some other stunning bathing spots include Grotta della Poesia (Cave of Poetry) to the north and Torre Sant’Andrea to the south.
Want even more gay beach recommendations? Discover more local spots, from Gargano to the Salento Maldives, as well as how to get to them, in the Big Gay Podcast from Puglia’s curated Puglia beach guide.
Puglia Gay Bars, Restaurants, Cruising & Bathhouses, Saunas
Puglia’s best restaurants, gay bars, clubs and cruising locations below are all segmented by town.
Bars and Restaurants
After a day on the beach at Baia Verde, the evening action shifts to Gallipoli’s old town located a little over 2 miles along the coast.
Start your evening off either at Caffè Bellini Gallipoli, Corso Roma 9 or Gogó Food & Drink, via Roma 13/G (their seating areas are adjacent to each other).
Picador Village is Salento’s mega club with drag queens and go-go boys. They’re located approximately 6 miles south of Gallipoli (about a 12-minute drive, with around 1,500 parking spaces available). Picador Village is hugely popular with the gay crowd, but draws a mixed clientele most evenings.
Surrounded by olive and palm trees, it’s a fun location, though relatively expensive for Salento. But then again, welcome to Gallipoli!
Gallipoli Gay Cruising
You can’t beat Gallipoli’s gay and nude beach for cruising at Punta della Suina and Spiaggia degli Innamorati (described in the beaches section above). Most of the action takes place in the pine wood that runs behind the beach.
As is the case with most of Puglia’s gay beach locations, cruising is common among those sunbathing, and most hookups on the beach are arranged using apps, rather than by chance encounter. A case of try before you buy!
Salento’s main city is bursting with piazzas and palazzi built using creamy limestone in Barocco Leccese style. The Basilica di Santa Croce has one of the finest and most intricate Baroque facades in Italy. It took over 200 years to complete and its detail is exquisite.
Remnants of Lecce’s Roman history are still on display in Lecce. A theatre and an amphitheater are testament to its importance as a flourishing Roman city.
Lecce Restaurants and Bars
The Lecce old town is packed full of amazing restaurants, busy bars and some of our favorite boutiques. Be sure to visit the trendy and popular Zei Spazio Sociale, an LGBT friendly bar and social space popular with Lecce’s student population.
For a more traditional venue try Marilyn Lounge and Disco Bar just outside Lecce’s centro storico.
Get more insider tips on where to eat and drink in Lecce in our Lecce city guide.
Lecce Gay Cruising
Hotparty Italy Disco & Cruising takes place at Tacco12 in San Pietro Vernotico, a small town between Lecce and Brindisi. Follow them on Instagram for updates, too.
Away from beach locations, most gay cruising usually involves driving around for car sex. Lecce’s best-known spots are on the city’s outskirts.
The driver’s license test area around the Motorizzazione Civile di Lecce (outside business hours) is usually the best cruising spot. Otherwise, take a trip around the football stadium (Stadio Via del Mare). When we visited both after a night out (at around 2.30AM on Saturday morning) the stadium was busier.
Just pull up wherever you find some other cars parked. Asking for a cigarette, or a light, is a good start.
Bars and Restaurants
While not officially a gay or gay-friendly bar, you will notice that Franco Passion Cocktail Bar has a certain “something” about it. More fun than sophisticated.
Ostuni Gay Cruising
You’ll find Ostuni’s local gay cruising scene near the beaches of Lamaforca and Torre Pozzelle, which are in close proximity to one other. They’re about 8 km from Ostuni itself, just off the main coastal highway. By the way, these are both popular family beaches, with dedicated tourist villages nearby.
You will see guys waiting in their cars, or standing by the paths that lead into the woods. Once in the woods, which only stretch back a short distance, just follow the paths and the men.
Both cruising areas are popular with men who identify as straight (Torre Pozzelle more so). Most people are likely to say hello and ask you what you are looking for before inviting you to follow them.
Beware though! We have seen police cars drive up and down the stretch of road that leads to Lamaforca from time to time, pulling drivers over to check their documentation.
If you do continue onto Lamaforca’s beach you will notice a gay presence close to the carpark side of the beach.
Check out the Big Gay Podcast from Puglia Ostuni gay guide for detailed instructions on how to find the gay spots at both, plus more information on what to expect.
Bari Vecchia, a knot of narrow streets and alleyways, was the highlight of a trip to our regional capital. Extensive urban revival has transformed the area into a vibrant hub for bars and restaurants centered around the piazzas Mercantile and Ferrarese. It’s a great destination for visitors.
Bari Gay-Friendly Bars and Restaurants
Check out Reverso Unconventional Bistrot on your way into the old town. They’re a small gay-friendly wine and cocktail bar.
La Ciclatera Sotto Il Mare is a popular gay-friendly café with a wonderful terrace overlooking the Porto Vecchio and beyond. It’s the perfect place to enjoy something light to eat, or a pre-dinner aperitivo. They have a sister bar called La Ciclatera.
On-Off Stutalacapa is gay-friendly bar in nearby Torre a Mare, serving up international (i.e. burgers) and Puglian cuisine.
Big Gay Puglia Podcast’s Bari city guide has more recommendations including where to find some of our favorite street food in town.
Bari Gay Clubs
Makumba Tribe Village at the Palaghiaccio Acquapark is the most well-known gay club in Bari, with plenty of go-go boys and drag queens.
Pazzeska is Bari’s newest gay and gay friendly night, drawing a young and happy crowd. Their nights feature house drag artists, plus male and female dancers. They rotate around different venues in different towns.
Bari Bathhouses & Cruising
Bari’s only traditional gay bathhouse in Bari is Millennium Bath. They’re located in Marconi on the northwestern side of the modern port. You’ll find clean facilities, showers, lockers, private rooms and a blue-lit jacuzzi at Millennium Bath.
Popular central Bari gay cruising spots are along the lungomare Nazario Sauro (the sidewalk that runs along the seafront) and near the University of Bari’s Literature and Language Department building.
You will need a car to get to the main cruising spot which is by the Stadio San Nicola soccer stadium. Just drive around the car park, but not when there’s a game. Main cruising times here tend to be around 1:00 pm, just before 4:00 pm and after sunset.
Barletta & Bisceglie
Pacha Mama is a gay disco club taking place on Saturday nights during summer at one of the lido clubs in Barletta, roughly 60 km north of Bari along the coast. Their last few seasons have been postponed due to “technical” issues.
The winter season was to be held at the Glam’House Club and restaurant in Bisceglie. Check out their Facebook page for updates.
Just outside the town of Molfetta is Babylon, which hosts gay/gay-friendly club nights on Sundays during summer. Their usual venue is the Nautilus Club, popular with a young and enthusiastic crowd.
Only Men Sauna is Puglia’s premium bathhouse and sauna. Don’t let it’s location in the quiet countryside of the Valle d’Itria fool you. This is a modern, comfortable and large spa and sauna. Currently open on Sunday afternoons from 16:00 to 22:00, booking is required. Details here.
Puglia Gay Travel Tips
Grindr is usually the default. Many Italian guys will use Tinder though, especially if they are not out as gay. Scruff is typically underused.
The Planet Romeo gay dating app is also popular in Italy. Most guys looking for a hookup will have a profile and use it; some prefer it to Grindr.
Learning a bit of slang may come in handy. “Non ospito” (sometimes abbreviated to “nn ospito”) means I don’t host. “Ospiti” means you need to be able to host.
By way of reminder, public beaches are safe spaces open to all. While certain activities occur, these may be tolerated rather than lawful. Engaging in sexual activity in public can result in fines ranging from €500 to €30,000.
Where to Base Yourself
The beginning of this Puglia guide mentioned some great places to stay in the region, but here’s a little more information to help you figure out which areas of Puglia may be best for you.
Although Gallipoli is the hub of Puglia’s gay summer scene, most visitors tour around the popular gay nude beaches as well as the historic areas such as Lecce, the iconic Polignano a Mare and Alberobello, Ostuni. And Monopoli.
Puglia’s gastronomy hubs include Ceglie Messapica, as well as the region of Cisternino, known for delicious meat packages “bombette pugliesi.” Though truthfully, good food is easy to find no matter where you are in Puglia.
Overall, staying in more than one location during your trip strikes a good balance. One for the surf, the other for the turf!
If you are travelling around our region then any of the Valle d’Itria’s main towns, will make a perfect, picturesque base, especially Ostuni, Cisternino and Locorotondo. One exception is the overly touristic town of Alberobello.
Nearby Monopoli on the Adriatic coast is fantastic too. It’s only a short distance away from its more popular and slightly more expensive neighbour Polignano a Mare.
If you choose to stay in Salento, where you find Gallipoli, Lecce and Otranto, be sure to head south to visit lesser known spots. Santa Cesarea Terme, Castro (the original) and one of our very favorite destinations in Puglia, Santa Maria di Leuca, are here.
The 22-mile coastal drive from Santa Cesarea Terme to Leuca is an absolute highlight, with stunning coastal views. We always take friends, stopping off variously at Porto Tricase, Marina Serra and Caletta del Ciolo before reaching Leuca which sits at the very tip of the Italy’s heel.
Because stopping and taking diversions en route is recommended, here are our suggestions to inspire you – Bitesize Puglia #1, including a visit to the rather splendid and stylish cocktail bar co-owned by British actor Dame Helen Mirren who has a summer home nearby.
While there is plenty to do and see around Gargano, it does feel out of the way if you are looking for a base to explore the rest of Puglia from. But in common with Salento it does have some of the finest beaches our region has to offer, including its own gay beaches.
Vieste and Peschici have beautiful historic old towns and fine town beaches. Eating at Al Trabucco di Mimì is still one of the best experiences we have had in Puglia for the location.
A road trip from Bari to Vieste or Peschici will take you along some stunning coast. Our own road trip adventure – Bitesize Puglia #2 tells you exactly which route to take to make the most of it.
How to Get to Puglia
Puglia has two international airports, Bari Airport and Brindisi’s Salento Airport. Main car hire companies operate from both.
Trenitalia express trains run along the national network connecting Bari, Brindisi and Lecce (and Foggia) with Rome, Milan, Venice, Turin, Bologna, Naples and the north (as do national bus services). Bari and Brindisi both have major ferry ports. Ferry connections include destinations in Croatia and Greece.
Getting Around Puglia
Hiring a car is undoubtedly the best way to get around our region. Train connections away from the main travel hubs of Bari, Lecce and Foggia can be erratic and cumbersome. Travelling by bus is possible, but requires planning and patience. It will also limit your choice of destinations and where you can stay.
Most of the gay and nudist beaches around Puglia are in secluded locations. Even the main ones will be difficult if not impossible to reach via public transport.
For detailed information on arriving in Puglia and getting around by public transport (including links to train and bus services and timetables) see our Big Gay Podcast from Puglia Guide to Getting Here and Getting Around. For insider tips on driving in Puglia including check out our Driving in Puglia Guide.
Puglia's Siesta: “La Pausa”
We have a very long midday “siesta” in Puglia referred to as la pausa, from around 12:30 pm/1:00 pm to 4:30 pm/5:00 pm when most places are closed. Restaurants will generally stop serving lunch around 2:30 pm. We suggest that you get there before 2:00 pm to be sure you’re able to get service.
Tips for Ordering Coffee in Italy
Italy doesn’t have coffee shops. For a coffee, you go to a “bar”. If you order a coffee (un caffè) you’ll be given a shorter, blacker and stronger than usual espresso. Offered with some water, still or sparkling, which you should drink before your coffee.
If you are recognized as a foreigner you might be asked if you want an americano or espresso, just to save you the surprise of a potentially unexpected short espresso.
Most of us drink our coffee while standing at the bar. It’s a social occasion. If you sit down you might pay 10% more, but considering a coffee is usually 90 cents, it’s nothing to get worked up about.
We have pesky mosquitoes from around May to September. You can buy spray repellent before you arrive or grab it upon arrival. Likewise, bring some soothing cream for bites. We recommend you choose accommodations that have insect screens fitted over the windows.
Puglia Travel Safety
We wouldn’t consider Puglia to be an unsafe destination for tourists. Be cautious as you would in any other tourist destination. Though rare, pick-pocketing and robberies can happen in crowded spots.
But this type of crime is common in so many places around the world. Practice smart travel safety precautions and be remember to keep your valuables secure on the beach if you go swimming.
We have no personal negative experiences. We have left our cell phones on display on cafe bar and restaurant tables outside, in a parked car, and in an unguarded backpack on a beach while we swim, along with our wallet, without incident.
Nevertheless that does not mean you should do so – and our advice as above stands.
The mafia (Sacra Corona Unita) exist in Puglia but isn’t something that should be a concern to travelers. Organized crime in Puglia is rarely in the public eye, except in Foggia. There are no public shootings or any obvious form of organized crime on the streets.
Stick to private rented accommodation shutters. These are quite common to keep the sun out. Many villas are fitted with alarms and benefit from private security.
Travel forums regularly advise against renting cars in Puglia, but you should completely ignore this. These sources state that apparently, rental cars will be stolen and shipped abroad. This is not something we recognize.
And in fact, any cars that we have rented have no markings that would even identify them as such. We know of no-one who has experienced any such incident. So don’t worry about it and enjoy your amazing holiday in Puglia!
Spiaggia d’Ayala | Campomarino di Maruggio
D’Ayala beach is located about 2.5km from the centre of Campomarino. It is easily accessed from Commenda and extends to about 1 km of sandy beach protected by maquis scrub peppered sand dunes and a private pine wood, making the beach extremely popular with naturists. The beach has an extensive gay section.
How to get there | Take the SP136 from Maruggio | stay on the SP136 to go into Campomarino or turn right onto the Circumvallazione di Campomarino before reaching Campomarino | in either case turn onto the SP122 | park where you see the cars on the road at Commenda | walk to the beach from the road that is the continuation of the strada Vicinale no.43 - Scorcialupi - Mare | turn left on the beachfront and its 5 minutes to the gay section; you will know it when you see it.
Our opinion | very definitely worth visiting. It is easy to access and very, very popular with the Italian home crowd and visitors. There are no facilities, but it is a short hop into Campomarino for lunch and refreshments. Naturist optional, though the majority observe nudity. The naturist status of the beach has not been officially sanctioned but has been practiced for over 30 years.
More | Spiaggia D’Ayala | Gay Beach Guide and review | we stayed at Lune Saracene B&B | The Big Gay Naked Podcast from Spiaggia D’Ayala.
Torre Guaceto | Brindisi
Torre Guaceto is a beautiful nature reserve located between Brindisi and Ostuni.
It has long stretches of sand and Puglia’s famous azure-transparent sea. Parts of the coast within the reserve are remote and offer privacy, which is why it is a popular gay | nudist optional beach.
This summer (2020) the cruising areas behind the beach, famously forming 3 “rooms”, have been cut back leaving them open and exposed. Drones have been used to fly over - officially to monitor the swimming ban in the protected reserve, although swimming still takes place.
The gay beach is situated just after the tower heading towards Brindisi, just before in the direction towards Ostuni. The precise co-ordinates are 40°42'44.0"N 17°47'48.6"E
Most guides tell visitors to access the gay beach from the Punta Penna Grossa end of Torre Guaceto (see the link below for parking information) after which it’s a 50-minute walk at least through the reserve in the direction of the tower.
Locally we access it from the Lido Boa Gialla | Lido Parcheggio Torre Guaceto (S.S. 379 Bari-Lecce – Uscita Apani, 72100 Torre Gauceto, Brindisi). Park there and it’s a 10-15 minute walk to the naturist beach. The gay section takes about another 10 minutes to get to. This guide tells you exactly how to get to Puglia’s hard to reach Torre Guaceto gay beach.
Discover more | Torre Guaceto main family beach guide | Torre Pozzelle and Lamaforca, Ostuni’s gay cruising beaches | The Big Gay Naked Podcast from Torre Guaceto.
Pôr do Sol | LED Beach club | Gallipoli
Gallipoli has a well known reputation for being one of Italy’s top gay destinations, drawing a cosmopolitan and sophisticated international gay crowd.
Pôr do Sol is a friendly beach where everyone is welcome. It draws a mixed crowd in every respect. Italians and international visitors, younger and older, friends and couples, gay and straight.
The beach club has a relaxed atmosphere. If you want to kiss your boyfriend or your girlfriend you won’t be asked to leave (unlike another once but no longer gay-friendly lido in Gallipoli - one to be avoided).
With its welcoming, friendly service Pôr do Sol is in our go to gay destination in Gallipoli.
Punta della Suina | G Beach | Spiaggia degli Innamorati | Gallipoli
Gallipoli’s most popular gay and naturist bathing areas are found here, in the various coves found along the stretch of coast between the Punta della Suina and the Spiaggia degli Innamorati. For two years in succession Gallipoli’s Punta della Suina has been voted Italy’s top gay beach by Italy’s LGBTQIA+ community. In 2022 it was also voted Europe’s ‘most trending beach’ and listed as one of 40 best beaches in Europe.
It draws a crowd, intrigued by the reputation. But there is no beach per se. It’s mainly rock and scrub with small, bays dotted along the coast.
A pine forest runs behind the beach.
We did notice that after a few hours people tend to drift back to Baia Verde and Pôr do Sol.
Getting there | from Baia Verde continue by car along the coastal road SP200 / SP 239 | for the spiaggia degli innamorati continue past the Hotel Costa Brada for approximately one km | park on the road wherever you can find a space and turn right into one of the pathways leading into the pine forest | this takes you to to the naturist beach | for Punta della Suina continue along the SP239 until the Punta della Suina sign | turn right into the car park - a €5 flat fee - and walk to the beach.
From Punta della Suina you have to walk for about 10 minutes in the direction of Gallipoli to get to the start of the naturist areas.
G Beach is the public beach at the side of the G Beach lido (the lido itself should be avoided - see below). It’s popular with gay visitors who come for its reputation, rather than the comfort it offers! The waters is amazing, but you will need your ciabatte - rubber soled swimming shoes. The naturist | gay section starts shortly after heading in the direction of Gallipoli towards spiaggia degli innamorati.
Discover more | our guide to Punta della Suina, Gallipoli - Italy’s top gay beach
One to be avoided | G Beach Club lido. Be warned, while many gay guides still refer to this beach club as a gay destination in Gallipoli, following a management change a few years ago they made it clear that same sex couples will not be welcome, albeit their money is.
Two incidents of homophobia were widely reported.
Murgette | Gargano
The Gargano has no shortage of glorious beaches - long sandy stretches of white and golden sand, interrupted by intimate, rocky coves. The coast adjacent to the stretch of road between Peschici and Rodi is popular, where you will find the Spiaggia delle Murgette.
The coves between Calanella and San Menaio are especially popular with naturists and draw a gay crowd all summer long.
Siponto | Manfredonia
A popular local gay-friendly nudist beach is located by Spiaggia Libera litorale Sud Siponto ( located in the section of Siponto between the Lido Aeronautica - Aeronautica Italiana and the Candelaro stream). Head towards the dunes.
Torre Calderina naturist beach| Molfetta
2022 update coming soon.
Cola Olidda naturist beach | Gavetone
2022 update coming soon.
Boccadoro | BAT
This beach is located between Trani and Barletta. From the SS16 take the Trani Zona Industriale Boccadoro exit. Continue directly to the sea. Busiest times | mornings | afternoons | to and from work | summer season.
Freak Beach | Pietra Egea | Cozze
Situated along the beautiful Costa Ripagnola between Cozze and Polignano a Mare. This section of coast has beautiful trulli, wonderful caves and beautiful blue sea. The naturist beach (mainly rocky shelves) is between Pietra Egea and Cala Capoti, a little beyond Cala Capoti in the direction of Cozze.
How to get there | Exit the SS16 and continue along the complanare | heading south towards Polignano at the Cozze exit | heading north towards Cozze at the Polignano a Mare Nord exit | continue to Cala Fetente where you take the road towards the sea, park and continue by foot.
Torre Incina naturist beach | Monopoli
Located between Polignano and Monopoli the beach (mainly rocky shelves and coves) draws people from as far as Bari. Exit the SS16 at the Monopoli Nord exit, and drive towards the tower, where you can park. 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 meet at Torre Incina at weekends.
Torre Uluzzo | Porto Selvaggio | Nardò
Porto Selvaggio is a nature reserve filled with thick, pine forest, covering an area of 1100 hectares.
The naturist and gay section is located at Grotta del Cavallo a little distance away from the main bay at Spiaggia della Sorgente | Spiaggia di Porto Selvaggio. The main bay does have a couple of concessions selling refreshments and snacks.
Below | The main bay at Spiaggia della Sorgente | Spiaggia di Porto Selvaggio with the Torre dell’Alto behind it.
Above | Grotta del Cavallo with the Torre Uluzzo behind it and the Ficoindia bar.
There are no facilities at the Grotta del Cavallo, and its a rocky bay with jagged rocks into the water - so ciabatte rubber soled sea shoes are a necessity.
Most Italian gay destination guides suggest parking at Torre Uluzzo by the Ficodindia bar and to take the steep path on the far left of the tower down towards the sea to the Grotta del Cavallo.
This is the path that lies to the left of the Baia di Torre Uluzzo on the screen cap above, which take you down to the rocks then you climb back up into the forest. But that’s very hard work, and the path is at times hard to find | follow.
We suggest using parcheggio del curvone car park on the SP286, before Torre Uluzzo. From there it’s a short walk to the navettes that navigate the nature reserve. The navette costs 2€ per person per journey. Take the navette to Grotta del Cavallo. From there it is a much shorter walk to the sea.
Alternatively you can use the car park at the side of the Ficoindia bar. The walk is a little further but on your return you can congregate with the crowd from the gay beach at the Ficodindia bar around sunset.
When we visited in the second week of September however it was closed.
Our opinion | 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.
Above | 1. The view south from Torre Uluzzo toward Grotta del Cavallo - the bay enclosed by the last area of land you see - with Gallipoli beyond in the distance. 2. The Torre Uluzzo seen from just behind the Grotta del Cavallo. You can see the paths coming down towards the left of the tower (as you look out to sea).