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10 Most Beautiful Beach Towns in Italy

With almost five thousand miles of coastline and over 400 islands, you will find an incredible diversity of beaches in Italy. Historically a maritime power, the country boasts some of Europe’s most impressive seaside towns, too. From Cinque Terre dramaticism to Venetian-influenced Adriatic gems, from the white sand-heavy Sardinian fishing villages to the Baroque masterpieces of Sicily. Without forgetting about Amalfitan Riviera and Riviera di Ponente in Liguria, of course. The architecture will be splendid, the food out of this world, and the views to die for in these top beach towns in Italy.

Monterosso al Mare Monterosso al Mare
Credit: Monterosso al Mare by Tim Wildsmith via Unsplash.com

Monterosso al Mare

The allure of Cinque Terre is irresistible. This UNESCO-protected national park comprised of five (hence “cinque” in the name) communes is immensely gorgeous. Monterosso al Mare is among the top beach towns in Italy and the best places to take a dip in the Mediterranean. Fegina is the largest sandy beach in Cinque Terre and you’ve got another smaller stretch right next to the Old Town. The best way to reach the town is by train, you’ve got frequent connections from Levante and La Spezia. 

Portofino Portofino

Portofino

A timeless beach destination for jet setters, aristocrats, wealthy denizens, and artists of all kinds, Portofino and the Riviera are still very much worth the hype. The green of the hills, the blue of the Ligurian Sea, and the terracotta hues of the historic buildings create a spellbinding body of a true Meditteranean dream. It’s not surprising that such a cinematic destination has been heavily featured in artistic works. The fictional Portobello town from Pixar’s Luca is based on Portofino, the period British drama Hotel Portofino was filmed here, and you might have seen the town’s harbor in The Wolf of Wall Street too. 

Rapallo Rapallo

Rapallo

A bigger brother of Portofino, Rapallo is a beachside icon of the Italian North-West. Here, the luxurious villas are scattered among the picturesque hills, the sea promenade is incredibly scenic, and the medieval white-stone castle protects the shore. It’s a perfect destination to book yourself a water-facing room in a five-star hotel and dive headfirst into the sophisticated charm of an upscale Italian holiday. Beaches are mostly private here so expect narrow stretches with bars and umbrellas with fantastic views and an air of exclusivity.

Cefalù Cefalù

Cefalù

Cefalù is one of the most charming small towns in Italy and it’s on this list because the seaside stretch here is of breathtaking variety. You’ll swim and sunbathe with a sublime view of the mighty rock with a castle on top and a beautiful Old Town crowned by the Sicilian Romanesque Cathedral. That’s the kind of vista artists seek to draw and you’ll be privileged to vacation surrounded by such a scene. The panorama may seem familiar to fans of HBO’s White Lotus, as the series used the beach as one of the filming locations.

Vietri sul Mare Vietri sul Mare
Credit: Vietri sul Mare by Anila amataj via Wikimedia Commons

Vietri sul Mare

Amalfi Coast may well be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. A symphony of perched towns, epic cliffs, windy vineyards, and azure sea, this region draws crowds of travelers annually. While you should absolutely witness its grandeur, instead of staying in overpriced and crammed Amalfi and Positano, turn your attention to a more low-key Vietri sul Mare, home to some of the best beaches on the Amalfi Coast. You’ll get the largest beaches on the Amalfi Coast, relatively cheaper accommodation, and easy access to all the attractions of the area. And don’t miss a chance to browse fantastic local polychrome ceramics, the town has been upholding the tradition since the 15th century. 

Ischia Ischia

Ischia

Just an hour from Naples you’ll find an island of mythical beauty. Ischia and its main town are to be revered for the epicness of the local views. There’s an imposing Aragonese Castle on an islet connected to Ischia by a stone bridge, an ultimate photogenic moment. Spiaggia dei Pescatori is your best pick for a scenic beach to enjoy this panorama. Spiaggia di San Pietro close to the port is a large sandy stretch perfect for families with kids. While very compact, Ischia’s volcanic landscape is a sight to behold. And be sure to rent a car to explore the hidden coves and the hillside villages.

San Vito Lo Capo San Vito Lo Capo
Credit: San Vito Lo Capo by Luiz Cent via Unsplash.com

San Vito Lo Capo

Sicilians built their towns in the most spectacular spots. San Vito Lo Capo is one example. A beachside gem of the island, it stands under the shade of dramatic Mount Monaco. Considering that the town has one of the best sandy beaches in Italy, it will be a magnificent backdrop to your vacation experience. As for the accommodation, it’s on the mid-level side of the price spectrum. You’ve also got a picturesque Old Town featuring Arab-Norman architecture, numerous rock climbing trails nearby, and the striking Riserva naturale dello Zingaro outside of the city. 

Polignano a Mare Polignano a Mare
Credit: Polignano a Mare by Vincenzo De Simone via Unsplash.com

Polignano a Mare

One of the finest beach destinations in Puglia, Polignano a Mare is often used on all kinds of promotional materials about the seaside beauty of Italy. Come here and you immediately understand why. The ancient whitewashed town is perched on the rocky cliff above the Adriatic Sea. There’s a spectacular coved pebble beach underneath called Lama Monachile that draws crowds from all over the world. You can’t blame them, it’s among Italy’s most treasured gems. Moreover, you’ve got many other covers around Polignano as well as an abundance of picturesque grottos (best seen from the boat).

Santa Teresa di Gallura Santa Teresa di Gallura
Credit: Santa Teresa di Gallura by fabriziosinopoli via Flickr.com

Santa Teresa di Gallura

Sardinia is all about the white sand beaches and Santa Teresa di Gallura has an amazing one. Located on the island’s north with views of Corsica in the distance, the town welcomes you with a quaint old center, enigmatic ancient coastal watchtowers, and the sprawling Lu Brandali archaeological site of the long-gone Nuragic civilization. Be sure to also check out Rena di Ponente and Zia Culumba beaches nearby for more sandy perfection.

Vieste Vieste

Vieste

Discover a less-visited part of the country by going to Vieste, one of Italy’s top family-friendly destinations. The old white houses form labyrinths on top of the limestone cliffs. It’s a classic case of Italian authenticity with terraces on shady piazzas, family-run trattorias inside tiny medieval houses, and narrow streets you yearn to get lost in. But with Vieste, you also have two of the best beaches of Foggia province right nearby and that makes it one of the best beach towns in Italy to visit. Spiaggia di Castello is an impressive 3-kilometer-long stretch of golden sand with colorful umbrellas of the private beach bars. On the northern side, Spiaggia di San Lorenzo is an undeveloped charming beach perfect for long walks and an easygoing time next to the Adriatic Sea. 

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