The beach is part of our life in Puglia. We spend our summer holidays here with our parents as toddlers. As teenagers we come with our friends. As parents we take our children.
Spoilt for choice
Some of southern Italy’s finest beaches can be found at and around Torre dell’Orso, Sant’Andrea, Otranto, Maldive del Salento and Porto Cesareo.
The Big Guide to Puglia’s best beaches
Long stretches of soft golden sand alternate with rocky shelves to bake on, surrounded always by crystal clear waters. With over 800km of coast, Puglia has stunning beaches. And then some.
Based on our experiences we recommend Puglia’s finest beaches and bathing spots. We tell you which are popular with families and those which have a little more on offer ...
Punta Penna Grossa is the main beach at the Torre Guaceto nature reserve. It has a backdrop of sandy dunes, wetlands and marshes inhabited by a range of wildlife including amphibians and birds. There is even a marine reserve for turtles.
An extremely popular family beach with locals and visitors. The further down the beach you walk towards the Torre, the quieter it becomes.
It’s 20-minute drive from Ostuni and Brindisi. There’s a 5-minute walk to the beach from the main car park. Parking arrangements change from mid-late July until early September when you are directed to the northern car park. This has a €5 flat fee including the trolley bus that loops from the car park to the beach and back again (a 4-minute journey each way).
You can wait from 10-20 minutes to get on depending on the queues.
Public beach and private lido, public bar and toilets, lockers, phone charging, disabled access to the sea. Beach vendors sell umbrellas, beach accessories, coconut, wet almonds and water.
Torre Guaceto’s famous naturist and gay beach is much further away. A 55-minute walk through the reserve takes you beyond the tower. Keep heading in the direction of Brindisi. You will know when you get there.
San Cataldo is a sleepy little town.
The small sandy beach on the lungomare is busy until the end of August when the Italian summer holiday ends and San Cataldo suddenly empties.
Shallow waters extend from the beach for some distance before finding yourself out of depth, the azure blue sea gently undulating as it embraces you in its warmth, and you float gently, the Salento sun smiling down on you.
Grab some refreshments from Il Molo, taking its name from the pier built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian whose nearby ruins sit in the sea. They serve coffee and morning pastries, light snacks - panini or some rusticò - with a cool beer or glass of wine for lunch. Enjoy an aperitivo and nibbles as the afternoon slips by into evening ...
San Cataldo is 15km from the centre of Lecce. The drive takes you along the route of the original Roman road also built by Hadrian.
The larger beach at San Cataldo is located in the nature reserve immediately to the southeast in the direction of the architectural site of Roca Vecchia.
Public beach and Il Molo public caffè bar with customer toilet. The beach is accessed directly from the lungomare S. Caboto where you can park your car in plain view from the beach. Public bars, shops and restaurants are accessed easily on the other side of the lungomare.
Grotta della Poesia
Located only 30 minutes from Lecce by car Grotta della Poesia (the Cave of Poetry) is part of the archeological site of Roca Vecchia.
As with most beaches, try to go before 10am after which it starts to fill up, especially during the summer months until the end of August.
With its crystal clear waters the pool is deep enough to jump into from the shelf, some 4 metres above the water. Once in the water enjoy the calming and magical swimming experience...
From here to Santa Maria di Leuca the coast becomes so much more dramatic.
Torre dell’Orso and Spiaggia delle Due Sorelle
With soft, white sand, crystal clear sea and its gently undulating dunes dappled with maquis scrub, the Spiaggia delle Due Sorelle (Two Sisters beach) is accessed by walking through the pine grove behind it.
Overlooked by the ruins of the Torre dell’Orso (the Bear Tower) it is one of the most famous beaches in Puglia with its stunning natural rock formations.
Dominating the view from the beach are two sea stacks - the Two Sisters.
Want some more?
Try a bitesize piece of Puglia ...
It’s only a short hop from town to town wherever you are in our region. That’s why we have suggested Puglia in bitesize chunks. Suggestions, wherever you are, to make your visit to Puglia just that little bit more special.
Dip into the blue
Take me to Polignano
Tra le granite e le granate
Francesco Gabbani’s song will forever remind us of summer in Puglia.
Polignano a Mare
Take me to Polignano