Italy's Best Beaches
Surrounded by water on all sides, Italy has a unique coastline with nooks and crannies that create quiet swimming coves and picturesque seascapes. Italy participates in the Blue Flag Programme, so travelers can easily identify beaches that are safe for swimming by the distinct blue flag.
Italy's beaches are most crowded during July and August when Italians join the throngs of foreign tourists heading to the beach to escape the heat. Whether you're searching for an upscale resort or a secluded seaside village, there's a lounge chair on the sea just waiting for you.
Amalfi CoastMost visitors experience the Amalfi Coast while navigating the twists and turns during a scenic drive on the coastal road. The view is breathtaking with jagged cliffs and blossoming flowers, but the best way to experience the coast is to visit one of its seaside villages.
The busiest stretch of the coast curves between the villages of Amalfi and Positano. Erosion has destroyed much of the beach areas in this region leaving small private beaches at hotels and beach clubs. The fanciest hotel in Amalfi is the expensive Hotel Santa Caterina where you can walk a winding garden path to the beach and take the elevator, carved into the rocky cliffs, back up to the hotel.
Positano has been a welcome beach retreat since the days of Roman nobility and even the ancient Greeks. There are 2 public beaches -- the secluded Fornillo beach and the main beach center at Spiaggia Grande. The elegant Il San Pietro di Positano hotel is the utmost in luxury with a private beach cove for sunbathing and swimming.
CapriLocated off the Sorrento peninsula in southern Italy, Capri is a rocky, mountainous island that's a favorite with starlets and jet setters. While many of the island's hotels boast great views of the clear blue sea, the J.K. Palace Capri is the only one with direct beach access. You can easily explore the area's best beaches on your own. The best beach on the north side is the wide expanse at the Bagni di Tiberio while the south side of the island has Marina di Mulo. Most beaches are supported by beach clubs which provide beach access as well as facilities, towels and chairs for a nominal fee. Save time and avoid the steep walk back to town by taking a quick boat ride to the beach from the Marina Grande.
Italian RivieraVisitors flock to the Italian Riviera for great hiking and sunny days at the beach. At the center of it all is Cinque Terre, 5 small villages set in the cliffs hugging the distinctive coastline. Monterosso is the resort town with charming hotels, busy beaches and plenty of restaurants to feed hungry tourists. The beach here is open to the public and free, though there are many spots where you can pay for a comfy lounge chair and umbrella for shade. Escape the crowds by hiking to the smaller town of Riomaggiore where you can relax on the rocky beach before continuing your journey along the seaside trails. Take a break from the beach to enjoy some of the town's famed pesto atop a heaping plate of pasta.
TuscanyTuscany is known for its rolling hills, great wine and classic Italian culture. But Tuscany also has a beach scene with sandy white shores and quaint seaside villages. In western Tuscany, Maremma has a booming cowboy culture as well as almost 100 miles of coastline overlooking crystal clear water. Castiglione della Pescaia is an affordable beach town with plenty of water sports including sailing and windsurfing. The best scuba diving can be found further south in Monte Argentario's coves and bays.
Tuscany's largest beach town is one of the farthest points south on the Italian Riviera. Viareggio is a classic resort town with art nouveau buildings, bustling nightlife and endless food. While the town has pleasant beaches and an active seafront promenade, it's best known for its wild Carnival festival, a tradition since 1873.