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The 20 best beaches in Italy

From secret coves to quaint fishing villages, dip your toes back into travelling at these top seaside spots

We twisted upwards, along a winding road lined with parked cars. Suddenly below us lay an abandoned tower and a swimming pool-like tranquil expanse of the most beautiful sea we had seen in years: the famed La Pelosa beach in Sardinia. Sailing boats bobbed like toy models to the right. 

“Ma questo e’ paradiso!” (“This is paradise!”) one of my son’s friends shouted from the back seat. “It’s more than paradise!” said my son. It’s the same with adults in Italy. While most of us enjoy beaches, I have never seen such childlike love for the sea as the Italians have. It’s so strong, it has religious fervour – the choosing of which beach club, which dish, which region, what time to take a siesta, whether to head to a national park or to a more serviced spot, what time to arrive, where has the best sunset.

Much like conversations here about football, or cuisine, part of the fun is in the friendly arguments that ensue. Sardinia has the best beaches. No – Puglia. No – Calabria. In more than a decade of living here, I have come to love to ask, “Where is the best beach?” and to sit back, silently making notes of where to visit next.

The 20 beaches I have chosen aren’t all necessarily undiscovered, but they all epitomise the spirit of Italian beach life – the idea of a day at the sea at its best, each in its own particular way.


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