The range of activities when visiting Italy is never ending, including discovering the country’s less well-known, sometimes, remote and always beautiful beaches. While resort areas such as Rimini, Sanremo, and Ischia may be known to readers of the Italian Tribune, others range from the remote and rugged to wide open sandy bays and even resort paradises. Discovering just what this romantic land’s coastline has to offer is as exciting as the food and wine to be enjoyed. These ‘off the beaten track’ beaches will find visitors splashing in the shore off the Amalfi Coast, uncovering the turquoise waters of Sardinia’s sumptuous shorelines and lounging along the divine coastline of Sicily. Even though these beaches are of lesser-renown outside of Italy, as the country opens up, these diverse and majestic beaches await you!
Isola Bella, Sicily
Translating literally as ‘the beautiful island,’ Isola Bella sits just off the coast of Sicily and is close to Taormina. Isola Bella was privately owned until the 1990s and as is now a protected site boasting a beautiful beach that brims with nature. The beach can be reached by cable car from Sicily and also provides an ideal opportunity to take in views of the island from above. Isola Bella’s beach is pebble, rather than sand, but there are many activities to try, including boat excursions to nearby caves. But for many, lying on a lounge chair with an umbrella and cool drink are the perfect way to spend the day.
Camogli Beach, Liguria
The small fishing village of Camogli lies about an hour’s drive from Milan along the Italian Riviera. Oozing with culture, the stylish gem of a resort town is virtually unknown to travelers outside of Italy. Camogli Beach itself sits at the bottom of sun-drenched hills, where the sea softly laps at the sand. The most beautiful time of the day at this beach is sunset; as the sun goes down, it illuminates the colorful buildings and is mirrored brilliantly in the silver of the sea.
Cavoli Beach, Elba
Cavoli beach’s clear turquoise waters and warm breezes make it one of the most popular for locals on the island of Elba. Surrounded by rugged countryside and craggy cliffs that protect the bay, Carvoli’s microclimate makes it a great spot to catch a tan. This classically Italian coastline overflows with natural beauty. While there, make sure to check out Grotta Azzurra, you can even rent a paddle boat to explore the cave if you like.
Cala Rossa, Favignana, Sicily
Located on the charming island of Favignana, this is the kind of beach that is impossible to forget. Cala Rossa is eye-catchingly stunning with vibrant turquoise waters lapping against rusty red rocks. Its interesting rock formations make for a great spot to sprawl out in the sun. Make sure to wear shoes when you arrive, so you can amble over rocks before sliding into the refreshingly cool waters. Additionally, the clear and clean sea provides fantastic snorkeling opportunities.
Marasusa Beach, Tropea, Calabria
Marasusa Beach in the Calabrian city of Tropea is situated along the ‘La Costa degli Dei’ or the Coast of the Gods. Calm seas and spotless sands are hugged by picturesque cliffs, seemingly so beautiful that even the gods agree. Marasusa’s transparent waters are cool and calm and there is something for everyone to enjoy, from snorkeling to boating or simply sipping a cold drink at one of the lido bars. The town also has a selection of cafes, shops and restaurants to immerse yourself in after a long, lazy day spent lounging on the beach.
Cala Goloritze, Sardinia
Small but strikingly beautiful, Cala Goloritzé Beach sits at the bottom of a gorge along Sardinia’s spectacular northeastern coast. Jutting limestone outcroppings, topped with bright green foliage, contrast with the soft white sands that tumble into the aquamarine ocean. If you are planning on seeking out this famous beach, you are going to have to use your legs. The hike to reach this blissful spot takes around an hour and will lead you down the rocky ravine, where you will be greeted with glimpses of the green-blue water. Cala Goloritzé is said to be the best snorkeling spot in Sardinia and taking a swim around the rocks will reveal many different types of vibrantly-colored fish.
Spiaggia del Fornillo, Positano
The Amalfi Coast is famous for its impossibly beautiful towns that sit high above the sea on the sides of rocky cliffs. Smaller and less glamorous than neighboring beaches, Spiaggia del Fornillo is a special little beach along the clear waters. Take a stroll from the beach at Positano, down a couple of steps and slip into the peaceful atmosphere of Fornillo Beach. It is less crowded than others in the area, but as the sun-worshipers slip off back to their hotels, the beach bars and restaurants along the shore start to become lively. This is a perfect way to spend an evening on the beach enjoying the fresh catch of the day, sipping local wines and listening to the sound of the waves on the shore.
Translucent shallow seas slowly lap the long curve of ivory sand that makes up La Pelosa Beach. This secluded Sardinian haven is just around the corner from the little village of Stintino in Capo Falcone. The beach is a popular spot for local families and groups of friends to spend days off together, which creates a fun and welcoming atmosphere. A 16th century watchtower, the Torre della Pelosa, which was used for defending the island, sits on rocks that jut out into the sea. Popular with divers, the sun-washed tower is an iconic landmark along this part of the coast. Make sure to get here early during the summer, this area is so beautiful that it can understandably get busy with locals and the visitors who discovered this gem.
Cala Granara, Spargi
Without the rugged steep cliffs that are synonymous with many Italian beaches, you might think your eyes are deceiving you. Cala Granara is a little piece of paradise tucked away on the Isola di Spargi, part of Sardinia’s Maddalena Archipelago. The pretty palms that scatter the shore create protection from the heat of the sun, while the powdery sands offer the ideal spot for sunbathing – but you can only reach this Italian oasis by boat. Its remoteness and undeveloped nature make it all the more beautiful. Maccia trees grow along the sand that gently slopes into the sea. The water sparkles in the sun, revealing a spectrum of greens and blues, creating the sense that you have indeed entered a tropical paradise.
Spiaggia dei Conigli, Lampedusa
With sea the color of topaz and a bay that sits inside a sloping, rocky coastline, Spiaggia dei Conigli on the island of Lampedusa is a special place which captivates visitors with its immense beauty. Nicknamed ‘rabbit beach’ by many who go there, it is located in a nature reserve on the remote island of Lampedusa, south of Sicily. The breathtaking beach has in the past been voted the best beach in the world. Access to La Spiaggia dei Conigli requires a mile scramble down rocks, but the intrepid are rewarded with a cool swim in the crystalline waters.
Special mention is accorded to Terrasini, Sicily, which is home to the tallest waterslide in Europe, set amid beautiful surroundings. Located about 40 minutes from Palermo, the four-story waterslide drops you right into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Each story opens onto another pool until one reaches the final set of slides which plunge directly into the open water. Guests then climb stairs carved into the cliff side to start their adventures again. There are 11 slides in total, which are part of the Citta Del Mare Hotel, one of Sicily’s largest resorts. Only available to hotel guests, the 800 room resort also has an Olympic size swimming pool and a restaurant where its buffet features wine on tap.