The top 10 Italian beaches you cannot miss
Italy is known to have one of the largest combined coastlines in the world and among those lie some of the most beautiful and tranquil beaches you will ever see. From the rejuvenating waters on the western coast to the best surf spots in the south, we have created a list of the top 10 unique beaches in Italy for you to visit on your next trip.
TOP 1 – Live & Learn Italian in TORRE ASTURA
Based in the Lazio region and only an hour from Rome, Torre Astura is a wild beach where you can repose by an ancient stunning fortress. The fortress is placed on the sea and faces inwards into the land. Torre Astura is one of the most well-preserved landmarks in the world, with the tower being initially built by the counts of Tusculum in the 12th . The bridge connecting the fortress to the seashore can still be walked upon to this day, meaning you can explore the hidden wonders of Nettuno and still see the ancient roman ruins underneath the water.
This beach is a must for those who like both history and relaxing by the sea. You can also spend your time skimming stones, exploring rock pools and diving into its crystal clear water which I personally adore.
When to go and how to reach Torre Astura
Torre Astura is a military territory and is only open to the public in summer; starting in June usually with weekends only and then every day until the end of August, and back to weekends only in September. It finally shuts in October so therefore it is advisable to check openings beforehand.
Being an intact paradise, Torre Astura is only reachable on foot from the car park. It is about a 1 km walk or there is usually a taxi boat service at approx. 5 euro per person. It is advisable to take parasols, food and drinks are there are no restaurant or toilet facilities nearby.
If you want to chill out in the shade you can settle in the peaceful pine forest and have a picnic. During the weekends, make sure to get there early in the morning to get a parking space and the best spot on the beach.
In the evenings you can enjoy dinner or apericena (a more substantial aperitif) in one of Nettuno’s many bistros, bars or cafés where you can find delicious light meals and locally produced wines.
Furthermore, this beach is only an hour away from Rome so you can easily make this a day trip to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. This beach is only reachable by car or by an organised private tour on land or boat.
I am so lucky to have grown up nearby hence, I have enjoyed Torre Astura multiple times. Here is my live and learn Italian experience on video at Torre Astura where you can learn some Italian and test your knowledge afterwards. Click now to discover the beauty of this incredible place and learn the magic of the Italian language.
Now enjoy this fun test!
TOP 2 – ANZIO NERO’S CAVES
Anzio is about a 3 km drive from Nettuno town centre or a cheap train ride away from Rome. Anzio beaches are not only famous for their blue flag and clear waters and golden sand, but Anzio town is full of rich history and traditions. The battle of Anzio took place during the Second World War and the town has rebuilt itself since then with the same fishing town accents.
The port is colourful and is full of docked boats, as well as the beach boasting ancient villa constructions that used to belong to Roman emperors. Nero’s caves beach contains 2 caves; both of which you can visit and take a closer look at the ruins.
The beach is also close to Anzio beachhead museum and the archaeological museum located in the 17th century Villa Adele. You can grab a bite to eat from one of the many bistros, bars and restaurants in the town square or even take a look at the amphitheatre that is located opposite the railway line.
TOP 3 – CALA CAPRERIA
Cala Capreria is a natural reserve on North West coast of Sicily. This secluded beach is hidden beneath caves and cliffsides. The best time of day to be there is early in the morning as you will be able to see the sunrise from a peaceful shore. It may be small but the clear blue ocean and overlooking cliffsides views compensate for it.
This is a small shop at the top of the cliff for you to buy food to take down to the beach for the day. If you enjoy picnics on the beach and shelter from the sun, Cala Capreria is the one for you to enjoy.
TOP 4 – GAVITELLA BEACH
Cala Gavitella Beach belongs as part of a club on the Amalfi Coast. This beach is perfect for those who don’t like getting sand on themselves and their belongings or for people who don’t particularly enjoy trekking across a pebbly beach front. Gavitella has the option to rent a western facing sunbed (which means you will have on-going sunshine until the late evening) or spread your towel on a concrete platform close to the sea.
From the small cove at Gavitella, you can enjoy stunning views of neighbouring towns and listen to the peaceful sounds of waves crashing against the cliffside. As this beach is part of a club, you will sure be greeted by live music, endless cocktails and watermelon slices to keep you stay hydrated.
The club also have a restaurant, serving authentic Italian cuisine including a range of pasta dishes such as risotto, along with local wines and of course, tiramisu. You can also retreat to an ocean view hotel room at the end of the day. Furthermore, boat rentals are common on the Amalfi coast and you can rent a boat and a guide who will take on a journey into the sea. Here, you will be able to sunbathe, explore local towns or even do some snorkelling.
TOP 5 – SANTA CROCE
Another hidden gem that lies on the Amalfi coast is Santa Croce. This stunning beach has coves that are dotted along the coast. Santa Croce is truly unique as it can only be accessed by boat from the Amalfi port. The beach itself is named after the ancient chapel of Santa Croce; a Franciscan church in Florence whose remains can still be seen today.
This beach is a deeply secluded one, with crystal clear waters to give the utmost privacy and relaxation. There are two restaurants on the beach – Santa Croce ristorante da Teresa and Ristorante Santa Croce – both of which offer traditional Italian cuisine, locally sourced wine, fresh sea food as well as the option to have a picnic on the beach – where you can have fried calamari with freshly squeezed lemons from the Amalfi coast.
Moreover, what better way is there to finish off a picnic other than fresh fruit, all handpicked from local farmers and placed into small bowls that you can eat by your sunbed. If you’re one for adventure, why not try climbing over the rocks along the beach. There is also an abundance of rock pools full of crabs, moss, mussels and other creatures. If you’re with children, this can be a great way to explore more of the sea.
TOP 6 – ISOLA BELLA
A small rocky island off the east coast of Sicily. Even though you have to climb down narrow steps to reach your destination, the views are definitely worth it. Clear waters, a white sand, dunes and smaller rocky islands calls for more adventure. The beach has a romantic setting and you can watch the sunrise or sunset peacefully from the beach.
There is lots to do in Isola Bella such as visiting the museum of Palazzo Borromeo or seeing the historical town centre of Taormina via a cable car. This beach receives hundreds of tourists per day so the best time to visit would be early in the morning between 8 and 10am. Then you can have peaceful walks across the coast or even have the sea to yourself with an early morning swim.
When you get back to the mainland, the Mendolia beach club offers scrumptious Italian food for a reasonable price.
TOP 7 –BAY OF IERANTO
Based on the far west coast of Italy, the bay of the Ieranto is a tucked away cove and is yet to be discovered. The area is mostly used as a port for small boats; however, the stunning beaches and shallow areas mean that it is the perfect place to have a swim, enjoy a spot of lunch and do some kayaking.
This rocky cove is a marine protected area and so can only be reached by foot – be ready to endure a long hike before you reach your destination. You can start your journey from the town square (Nerano) and follow the guided path towards the cove where you will pass ancient shrines and the villa in which the renowned writer Norman Douglas stayed.
As you descend the cliff, you will pass through forestry and then be welcomed by a change of footing to a narrow wooden staircase (known as the miner’s staircase), which will eventually lead to Marinella beach. Marinella is enclosed by cliffs, rocks, ensuring you will have a thrilling adventure and challenging climbs that will be worthwhile. The duration of the walk is 1.5 hours (each way) so this beach is perfect for hikers and thrill seekers.
TOP 8 – RABBIT BEACH
Located in Lampedusa, an island exactly halfway between Sicily and Libya, Rabbit beach or Spiaggia dei Conigli was named as the best beach in Europe in 2013. Boasting shiny shallow waters, this cove style beach also attracts thousands of marine animals each year, with the area being the prime egg-laying site for turtles.
Rabbit beach is a fantastic place to snorkel; there are many varieties of marine life that you will see including coral and small fish. To get there, simply take the hourly bus from Lampedusa town centre. It’s also best to get there early in the morning as this will be the time to catch a glimpse of the turtles. If you want to experience more of the iconic island, head over to the western coast and hop on a boat.
There will be a good chance of you finding pods of dolphins across the Mediterranean Sea.
TOP 9 – FORTE VILLAGE
This beach resort in Sardinia is perfect for you if you’re with children. The luxury beach resort overlooks pristine white sandy beaches and crystalline waters and it’s seen as one of the best tourist destinations in Sardinia.
Forte Village was named as Forbes’ top 5 most beautiful beaches in the world and there is no doubt to why. Not only does it include a pristine beach, but you will be able to explore the historical Phoenician city of Nora where Roman baths and colonial temples are still standing today.
Not only that, at the right time of year (May), you will be able to take part in traditional St Efisio celebrations which are a prominent part of Sardinian culture. Best of all, Forte village resort have a children’s wonderland so your little ones will be kept busy for the duration of your stay.
TOP 10 – PORTO FERRO
The ultimate surf spot in Italy located on the northern coast of Sardinia. Not only has this beach been awarded with ‘Fee’s blue flag’ for quality of water and attention to environmental protection, but it is also excellent when considering sustainable tourism and has many incentives planned for the future to keep this happening.
Porto Ferro is an amazing destination for surfing; it is exposed to Mistral and therefore has high waves – perfect for any kind of water sports. Furthermore, Porto Ferro has recently opened a dog beach, so it is a great bonus for pet owners and animal lovers.
Current COVID 19 health and safety measures in force on Italian beaches
Currently, travelling to Italy is not a problem for tourists. However, residents from certain countries will have to isolate for 14 days upon arrival as well as when they return from holiday (these rules differ from country to country). However, health and safety in beaches and maintaining hygiene is still a priority for all.
There are stringent guidelines placed for social distancing on beaches although on busy days this may not always be possible. Some beaches may require you to book a time slot in advance so that you are given an appropriate area of the beach to set up your things. Some beaches also have a warden to make sure social distancing is being practiced.
Furthermore, sunbeds may also need to be booked two or three days in advance. You will find that many shops and restaurants have Perspex screens to ensure safety for visitors and staff. Furthermore, upon entering private beach clubs, temperatures of visitors and you may need to fill out a form with your name and contact details so that you are easily accessible.
Finally, hand sanitizer stations are dotted around beaches and at entrance ways to most buildings. Face coverings are also compulsory to wear indoors.