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Puglia is in southern Italy in the region known as the ‘heel of Italy’s’ boot. Puglia has been a famous beach and holiday destination for Italians forever, however, the rest of the world is starting to catch on to all of the delights of the stunning region.

Puglia boasts an impressive coastline which stretches from the Adriatic Sea on the east coast around to the Ionian Sea on the west coast. There is a great diversity of beaches to suit almost anyone’s taste. From long sandy beaches to rocky grottos to small idyllic coves and sparking ports. Puglia is home to some of the best beaches in Europe!

This region is spoilt for choice when it comes to insanely gorgeous beaches with crystal clear waters, cotton candy skies and charming ancient seaside villages.

In this post, we are highlighting 10 of the best beaches in Puglia. These beaches are scattered from the Northern end on the eastern coast of Puglia down to the very southern tip of the country and back up the west coast. This selection includes some of the most iconic beaches in Puglia (that most people know about!) and hidden gems frequented by locals.

1. Baia delle Zagare | Foggia 

Located in the north of Puglia is one of the most beautiful parts of Puglia. In the Province of Foggia find the stunning coastline of Baia delle Zagare. This place looks like a true paradise! Within the small area known as Baia delle Zagare, you will find breathtaking beaches, gorgeous small coves and beautiful rocky grottos. All topped off with crystal clear waters and lush green top cliffs. 

Within Baia delle Zagare you can visit the beautiful beaches of piaggia di Baia dei Mergoli, Faraglioni Di Puglia Cala della Cattedrale & Cala della Pipa. The Grotto del Purgatoria is also a stunning place to visit here.

Come here to explore more of the natural beauty of Puglia without all the development of towns and villages. 

Baia delle Zagare

2. Lama Monachile, Polignano a Mare | Bari 

Lama Monachile is THE most famous beach in Puglia and is certainly the most Instagrammable spot in Puglia. Our list of best beaches in Puglia wouldn’t be complete without this iconic beach.

Lama Monachile is located in the gorgeous seaside town of Polignano a Mare in the province of Bari, north of Lecce. Lama Monachile is a small cove in the centre of the town. It is surrounded by cliffs with ancient white-washed buildings perched on top. It is a stunning sight to behold!

The cove is small with calm waters that are perfect for swimming. However, it is ultra popular so don’t expect to have the place to yourself! We recommend going as early as possible or saving this trip for a visit during the shoulder season.

Lama Monachile, Polignano a Mare

3. Cala Porta Vecchia & surrounding coves, Monopoli | Bari 

Located in the province of Bari you will find the small seaside village of Monopoli which has one of the best beaches in Puglia at its centre, Cala Porta Vecchia. This stunning town is popular among locals but is often overlooked by tourists for other more famous villages like Ostuni or Lecce.

One of the most striking features of this beach is its location just below the white-washed old town walls in the city centre. If you continue to walk along the main promenade you will find even more secluded coves to relax in more privacy such as Cala Cozze, Porto Bianco and Porto Rosso. A bit further along (12 minutes walk) you will find the stunning Porto Verde Beach and Grotto di Cala Paradiso.

What's more, you will find plenty of incredible restaurants, bars and shops to stay well-fed and watered on some of the finest Italian delights all day long.

Cala Porta Vecchia & surrounding coves, Monopoli

4. Spiaggia di Porto Ghiacciolo, Monopoli | Bari 

Spiaggia di Porto Ghiacciolo is a tiny cove located in Monopoli. This hidden gem is the perfect cove to relax with locals. Make the most of the surrounding restaurants and cafes! Spend the day swimming, sunbathing, drinking and eating in a picture-perfect Italian summer town setting.

Spiaggia di Porto Ghiacciolo, Monopoli

5. Torre Guaceto | Brindisi 

Don’t expect to find any ancient picturesque beach towns here! Torre Guaceto is one of the best beaches in Puglia because it is a nature reserve. Located in the northern province of Brindisi, Torre Guaceto boats long stretches of white sand and crystal clear, calm waters. 

This is a great place for families to set up for the day with incredible swimming and snorkelling. You may even spot some marine life in the surrounding reefs while you are in this protected area!

If natural beauty, adventure and quieter, undeveloped beaches (where you have no problem finding a space) are more of your vibe over towns and cities then don’t miss Torre Guaceto!

Torre Guaceto

6. Torre dell'Orso | Lecce  

Torre dell’Orso is a beautiful beach located in the province of Lecce. What makes this one of the best beaches in Puglia is the crystal clear waters and white sand surrounded by striking limestone cliff formations.

Two towering cliffs emerging from the sea, known as Due Sorelle or Two Sisters, are the main feature of the beach!

Torre dell’Orso is conveniently located just 35 minutes from the city of Lecce. This beach frequents the best beaches in Puglia lists and it rightfully deserves this position.

Torre dell'Orso

7. Tricase Porto | Lecce 

Tricase Porto is a charming small seaside village near the southernmost point of Lecce. This gorgeous town boasts a small port that is so picturesque you will feel as if you are looking at a postcard!

Picture small floating boats bobbing in crystalline emerald waters casting a shadow on the white sandy seafloor. There is a small sand beach on one end of the port where you can enjoy the splendour of the most gorgeous waters you can imagine.

Stay for sunset drinks at the nearby restaurants to add to the magnificent summertime ambience of one of the most beautiful port beaches in Puglia.

Tricase Porto

8. Santa Maria di Leuca | Lecce 

Santa Maria di Leuca is a stunning seaside town located at the southernmost tip of Puglia in the province of Lecce. This is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and coves in Puglia. The surrounding landscape is also breathtaking and worth making the effort to visit.

What is special about Santa Maria di Leuca is that it is the place where the Ionian and Adriatic seas meet. On a clear day, you can see the different colours of each sea from the Punta Ristola viewpoint.

One of the best ways to explore the surrounding beaches and caves of Santa Maria is via boat or kayak.

Santa Maria di Leuca

9. Spiaggia di Santa Maria Al Bagno | Lecce 

Santa Maria Al Bagno is an ancient fishing village located on the Ionian (west) side of Lecce, located near Gallipoli. This is yet another town where one of the best beaches in Puglia is located in the heart of the town centre, Spiaggia di Santa Maria Al Bagno.

This charming town has beautiful blue waters surrounded by cliffs with old houses perched on top. It is truly striking and one of the most beautiful places to visit in Puglia.

Spiaggia di Santa Maria Al Bagno

10. Spiaggia della Purità, Gallipoli | Lecce

Last but certainly not least is the beautiful beach of Spiaggia della Purita. This is one of the best sandy beaches in Puglia and is located behind the old walls of Gallipoli’s old town on the Ionian Sea.

This lively beach will be buzzing from spring to autumn with restaurants and bars lining its shores. If you love to combine vibrant nightlife with incredible beaches, then this is certainly the beach for you!

If you love a good sunset, then beaches located on the western side of Puglia like this one will be sure to take your breath away as the day draws to a close!

Spiaggia della Purità, Gallipoli

How to get around Puglia

Without a doubt, the best way to get around Puglia is by hiring a car. The public transport system isn’t the greatest and it will be challenging to get to all of these beaches using buses and trains. 

During the peak summer months, you may be able to get away with catching buses to the beaches from main centres such as Lecce City however having a car is preferred.

Plus when you have a car, you have the freedom to explore the hidden coastline where you can find hidden beaches for yourself (we all know these are truly the best ones!!).

Where to stay

If you are planning on exploring many of the beaches in Puglia as opposed to staying in one place, it’s best to find accommodation in a centrally located town or city and travel from there. See which region has the biggest number of places you’d like to go to and stay in the nearest town.

The city of Lecce is a great option as it is centrally located. It is well connected with lots of accommodation options and you can travel easily between the east, west and south coast. Plus Puglia isn’t huge overall so in a day you can see most of the destinations from Lecce from the top of Puglia to the bottom.

If you just want to base yourself in one place and do some small trips from there, pick your favourite beach and search for accommodation in the nearest town!

When to visit

The best time to visit Puglia is between May and October. July and August are the hottest, busiest and most expensive months as the rest of Italy descends on Puglia for a holiday. Therefore to get the best of everything, the most ideal months to visit are May - June and September - October. Saying that Puglia is a great destination year-round with a mild climate but during winter the beaches aren’t as appealing!

>>> Check out the best towns in Puglia