There's no denying that Puglia is one of the dreamiest destinations in Italy. If you want to talk about natural wonders, this region fits that description to a tee. Of course, as it is on the southernmost tip of the country, what makes Puglia such a gem of an escape are the many coasts. Beaches, coves, grottos—these aren't your average sun-filled paradises. They truly evoke the natural beauty of Italy, even when most of what the country has become known for are its big cities and charming towns. But among the many coasts of Puglia, these ten are definitely must-sees!
Cala Porto is one of, if not the most famous spot in all of Puglia. When you search about Puglia online or on Instagram, there's a good chance that images of this very beach will pop up a lot. This grotto-like shoreline, beautiful surrounded by the high cliffs where the town of Polignano a Mare is perched on, almost looks like it's a secret escape that no one knows about. That's certainly part of its charm even though it's one of the top tourist hotspots in the region.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Also called 'Mergoli Bay,' Zagare Bay is another Apulian escape worth going to. The beach itself is small—only a kilometer stretch of white sand—but the waters that surround it are nothing short of breathtaking! The stunning shades of aquamarine and teal that color the waves that splash by brings about an other-wroldy aura in this small but serene natural wonder. There's also the small cove by the corner of the coast that's perfect for a romantic rendezvous!
Source: Flickr.com/ photolupi
Grotta della Poesia
What separates Puglia from the other destinations in Italy is itsmany grottos. These small natural pools make for a great adventurous retreat, even if they have little to no shoreline you can relax on. Among the several grottos found in this region, the Grotta della Poesia by the town of Roca is definitely a must-see! And to swim here, all you can do is jump. Though the drop isn't that high, it can still feel daunting for those who are not used to spending time in these sorts of places.
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ andresumida
A small distance away from Santa Maria Al Bagno, one of the lesser-known towns of Puglia
, there stands a man-made beach that's worth checking out: Salsedine Beach. Despite its name, however, it's not necessarily a 'beach' per se, but rather a swimming hole with a deck perched atop the coastline rocks. You won't see sand here but the prepared beach umbrellas, seats, and more allow you to have that full 'beach experience” nonetheless. But the waters? Simply breathtaking! All you have to do is to climb down the steps and dive right in!
Source: Salsedine Beach Facebook Page
Mora Mora Beach
In the beautiful city of Lecce, where grand churches
reign supreme, the nearby beach is as much of an extraordinary site as the various places of worship. Mora Mora Beach, which is a stone's throw away from Lecce’s city center, offers a sandy paradise for those who want to soak up the sun and the sea in Puglia. One of the few traditional beaches on this list, it has everything you'll want in an Apulian coast: white sands, calming waves, and lots of sunshine!
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Isidro Jabato
Maldives of Salento
Although The Maldives are all the way in South Asia, Puglia has its own version that just as stunning! Generally referred to as the 'Maldives of Salento,' this coastline feature one of the beast shorelines in all of Puglia. The white sands will truly remind you of the famous archieplago in South Asia, albeit with a more Mediterranean feel to it. It's also worth noting that this coast is practially the southernmost tip of the country, the edge of 'Italy's heel.'
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Part of what makes Italy such a fascinating country is its history. And yes, even its most beautiful coastlines have a few legends to them. The beguiling Porto Badisco beach near Otranto, for instance, was said to be the first patch of land that the legendary Greek hero Aeneas stepped on when he escaped to Italy from Troy. Nowadays, it's become a well-known fishing area and its stunning greenish aquamarine hue can be seen from a mile away!
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Nikater
Translated into English as 'Wild Harbour,' Porto Selvaggio is among one of, if not the most untouched coastlines in all of Puglia. It barely even has its own shoreline, just some rocks that you can dive off from to experience the majesty of its jewel-toned waters. Just like Grotta della Poesia, this is a coastline that's perfect for adventurers, those who prefer to swim and explore the natural wonders of Puglia instead of spending half of their time sunbathing or playing on the sand.
Source: Flickr.com/ Andrea Marutti
Santa Maria al Bagno
What's so beautiful about Santa Maria al Bagno is that it's a coastline that's very near its eponymous town. Compared to the other places on this list, where you'll still have to go even further to get to, this beach is only a few steps away from the city proper. And the way the whitewashed homes and buildings line the aquamarine waters make for an idyllic scene indeed, one that you'll want to capture and post online.
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Freddyballo
Now, let's end this list with one of the most crowded beaches in Puglia: Torre dell’Orso. Located by Otranto, it's regarded as the region's 'worst kept secret' and no moniker could have ever descrbied the place more accurately. Thanks to the rocky surroundings and nearby forested areas, it's easy to think that only few people would discover this white sandy shoreline. But over the years, it has become one of the most commercialized beaches in all of Puglia.
Source: Flickr.com/ Daniel Enchev
'Beautiful' doesn't even begin to describe the southern Italian region of Puglia. Its crowning glories, the many coastlines, prove that natural wonders still exist in this Mediterranean country. Though getting to these paradises may be challenging, all your efforts will be worth it!