20 best beaches in Italy

written by
Ties Lagraauw

updated 06.03.2024

Welcome to a sun-drenched journey through Italy, a land where the sea kisses the shore with a passion as timeless as the country's rich history. Italy, famed for its cultural treasures and culinary delights, also boasts some of the most breathtaking beaches in the world. From the rugged cliffs of the Amalfi Coast to the tranquil waters of Sardinia, each beach tells its own unique story. In this exploration, we'll uncover hidden coves, vibrant seaside towns, and tranquil shores that beckon travelers seeking the best beaches in Italy.

1. Forno Beach, Island of Elba, Tuscany

Elba has five main beaches and they're all crowded in summer, with the exception of Forno beach near Biodola town. This peaceful Biodola Bay cove is also home to L'Ostrica restaurant and sits surrounded by villas and sheltering greenery. For beaches on neighbouring Giglio Island take a look at 15 unforgettable things to do in Tuscany.

  • For active stays: Hotel Biodola is a comfortable four-star perched above Biodola beach. It has a light and airy feel and activities range from a swimming pool and tennis courts to a spa.
  • For peaceful stays: Villa Capitorsola sits near two lovely beaches. An immaculate B&B in a wonderfully scenic spot with views over the gulf it offers cool, simple rooms with tiled floors.
  • For town stays: Hotel Villa Italia is close to Porto Azzurro town centre and beaches. Rooms here are of a decent size, old fashioned but spotless, and staff are friendly and helpful.

Prefer to leave planning and booking to experts? Have a look at some sample itineraries. Both Complete Italy or Italy Itineraries offer inspiration.

2. Levanto, Cinque Terre, one of the best beaches in Italy

Levanto in Liguria is a small and simple resort just west of the Cinque Terre. Despite its famous neighbours, the mood here is pleasantly isolated and Levanto beach is gloriously sandy with a great surfy vibe.

If you want to mix the iconic architecture of this area into your beach break, take a look at the legendary villages of Cinque Terre in our guide to the most beautiful places in Italy.

  • For budget stays: Ospitalia del Mare is a clean, modern hostel set in a rambling old hospital close to the beach. Accommodation includes dormitories and private single and double rooms.
  • For family stays: Aparthotel Miramare is set in a peaceful, oceanfront sport, perfect for exploring Cinque Terre and only a few minutes from Levanto Beach.
  • For boutique stays: Palazzo delle Sirene offers deluxe Apartment & Boutique Rooms in Levanto less than 150 metres from Levanto Beach and close to Spiaggia Valle Santa.

Find more accommodation options in Levanto

3. Cefalù, long and curving sands in Sicily

Cefalù is a lively Sicilian resort where you'll find an authentic local atmosphere and much loved Cefalù Old Beach. This long and curving stretch of sand stays on the right side of the crowded and is famous for its pretty views.

Cefalù might be popular, but it's significantly less busy than Taormina and a good choice if you're looking for a pleasant local vibe.

Also, Cefalù is quite close to Palermo, so don't miss the opportunity to visit this city full of entertaining sights and attractions.

  • For oceanfront stays: for the most sensational views over Caldura Bay and Rocca di Cefalù book a room with a balcony at waterfront Hotel Kalura in Cefalù.
  • For old town stays: Dolce Vita in the heart of the old town is the top choice for B&B. All rooms are en-suite and there's a glorious terrace with uninterrupted sea views.
  • For luxury stays: Villa Caleta is beautifully sited above a little cove, and has its own pool, restaurant and gardens. All rooms face the sea and those on the second floor have large balconies.

Find more accommodation options in Cefalù


Old Beach Cefalu, Sicily, one of the best beaches in Italy © Aleksandar Todorovic/Shutterstock

4. Acquaviva, another of Elba's best beaches in Italy

Acquaviva, close to Sansone on Elba, is one of the best beaches in Italy for swimming. Sheltered by high rocks, it's a shingle beach with a gently sloping shore and great for kids.

    Where to stay in Portoferraio

  • For budget stays: with a beachfront location in Portoferraio, Acquaviva Village Camping offers air-conditioned accommodation free WiFi, table tennis and BBQ facilities.
  • For family stays: Casa Luppoli sits close to Magazzini Beach in Portoferraio. Surrounded by gardens with palm trees it offers simply furnished apartments with kitchens and dining areas.
  • For beachfront stays: Hotel Mare is set in the old fishing village of Magazzini, and offers views of Portoferraio Bay. It also features a small private beach and garden with sea-view pool.

Find more accommodation options in Portoferraio

5. Fornillo Spiaggia, Positano, Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is one reason why you voted Italy one of the most beautiful countries in the world in 2022. Here, expensive Positano has several beautiful beaches, but Fornillo Spiaggia is the best of the best. Just west of Positano Beach, it's large, sandy and sheltered by greenery and cliffs.

  • For beachfront stays: Hotel Pupetto features a terrace overlooking Fornillo Spiaggia and as well as a good value restaurant and rooms with wonderful sea views.
  • For budget stays: Pensione Maria Luisa sits above Fornillo beach. Rooms are simple and there are five-star views from the shared terrace, rooms with private terraces are available too.
  • For luxury stays: Hotel Palazzo Murat is right in the heart of things – you can almost touch the Duomo from its pool. It offers a range of rooms both in the old palazzo and a newer extension.

Find more accommodation options in Positano

Dreaming of going to the best beaches in Italy? Why stop there? Read our list of the best beaches in Europe.

6. Tonnara di Scopello, western Sicily

Tonnara di Scopello in western Sicily is almost too pretty to be true. A one time tuna fishery, this tiny and picturesque cove is also beautifully protected as part of Riserva Naturale Orientata Zingaro.

Explore the historic quayside and see where writer Gavin Maxwell lived in the 1950s. His book about Sicily, The Ten Pains of Death, was published a year before, 'Ring of Bright Water'.

    Where to stay in Scopello

  • For authentic stays: Hotel La Tavernetta offers pleasant, refurbished rooms, all with balconies and sea views. The hotel restaurants sits in a huge garden filled with olive and citrus trees.
  • For beach stays: close to Tonnara di Scopello Beach, Torre Bennistra overlooks the Mediterranean in the centre of Scopello town. The hotel also has its own restaurant.
  • For budget stays: B&B Talìa sits near Tonnara di Scopello Beach, Cala dell'Ovo Beach and Cala Mazzo di Sciacca Beach and guests have access to a large, shared terrace with views.

Find more accommodation options in Scopello


Faraglioni and Tonnara at Scopello, Sicily, Italy © Gandolfo Cannatella/Shutterstock

7. La Guardia, Elba, Tuscany

La Guardia Beach sits on the west coast of Elba. Sometimes known as La Poveraia, this peaceful shingle beach is famous for dramatic rock formations and remarkably transparent waters. If you want to know more about Elba take a walking tour round Portoferraio with local guides.

    Where to stay in near La Guardia

  • For beach stays: Hotel Fabricia not only features an Olympic size swimming pool it has its own private beach and large gardens which include a bowling green and childrens's playground.
  • For budget stays: Al 28 B&B is a cosy property which offers air conditioned rooms and a pretty breakfast terrace. It's close to Portoferraio centre and closer still to La Padulella Beach.
  • For family stays: Villetta Per La Biodola holiday home offers a terrace with sea views just outside Portoferraio and only a short walk from Biodola Beach.

8. Sant'Andrea, Elba, Tuscany

For an alternative to the main beaches on Elba, head to Sant'Andrea. The sandy beach here is less busy but still has plenty of bars and sunbeds, and it's also known for water sports, particularly windsurfing, diving and sailing.

    Where to stay in Porto Azzurro

  • For family stays: Villa Teresa sits a few minutes walk from the beach in Porto Azzurro. A charming 18th-century house surrounded by gardens it offers apartments for up to five guests.
  • For beachfront stays: Hotel L'Approdo is in the heart of Porto Azzuro, a few steps from La Rossa beach. All rooms are air-conditioned and several have balconies with sea views.
  • For spa stays: Hotel Plaza sits on a cliff overlooking the sea close to the centre of Porto Azzurro. As well as big sun terraces, the hotel also features a spa and outdoor swimming pool.

Find more accommodation options in Porto Azzurro


Sant'Andrea beach on the island of Elba in Tuscany © Luciano Mortula - LGM / Shutterstock

9. Calla dello Spido, San Domino, Tremiti Islands

San Domino is the greenest of the three Tremiti Islands in Gargano National Park. If you want peaceful coves in summer make for the west coast which is where you'll find Calla dello Spido beach.

    Where to stay in San Domino

  • For beach stays: just a few minutes walk from the beach, four-star Hotel Kyrie is surrounded by pine forest and features an outdoor pool, restaurant and a secluded, private cove.
  • For family stays: Hotel Eden sits beside the beach and its restaurant features a sea-view terrace. Rooms are en-suite, simply designed and a few offer balconies overlooking the ocean.
  • For authentic stays: cosy Albergo La Pineta is tucked into a pretty garden but only minutes from the beach. All rooms are en-suite and the hotel serves an Italian breakfast.

Find more accommodation options in the Tremiti Islands

10. Torre Guaceto Marine Reserve, Puglia

Discover some of Italy's most natural beaches in the protected marine reserve of Torre Guaceto near Brindisi. One of the most undeveloped areas of Puglia it's also a fantastic location for coral reef snorkelling and diving.

    Where to stay in Brindisi

  • For central stays: right in the thick of things on Brindisi’s main drag, newly renovated highrise Hotel Orientale offers clean, comfortable rooms, a small fitness centre and free parking.
  • For waterfront stays: Hotel Maria Vittoria offers a choice of individually designed rooms and apartments right on the waterfront. All rooms are en-suite and a few have private balconies.
  • For romantic stays: Santo Stefano Luxury Rooms is right in the heart of Brindisi and offers self-catering contemporary apartments with a shared terrace and swimming pool.

Find more accommodation options in Brindisi


Torre Guaceto Marine Reserve near Brindisi in Puglia © vololibero/Shutterstock

11. Rinella, Salina, Aeolian Islands

Sail to Salina from Sicily and discover the stunning black sand beach of Rinella on the west coast. It's great for beach bars and sunsets over Filicudi Island and if you want to get to know the other Aeolians take a boat tour round Salina and Lipari.

    Where to stay in Salina

  • For romantic stays: I Cinque Balconi offers simple rooms in an 18th century townhouse in Santa Marina. Several rooms have sea views and the hotel also has an enchanting garden.
  • For boutique stays: a relaxed boutique-style hotel, Mamma Santina is set on wide terraces around a swimming pool high above the town with views over to Stromboli and Panarea.
  • For budget stays: Mercanti di Mare is a harbourfront three-star hotel with nine, white, airy rooms and an attractive terrace that overlooks the water.

Find more accommodation options in Salina

12. Maratea on Basilicata's Tyrrhenian Coast

Maratea offers several outstanding beaches on Basilicata's Tyrrhenian Coast a ravishing area defined by impressive soaring cliffs, rocky coves and remarkable sea grottoes. Despite being very popular area, Maratea remains undeveloped and well worth exploring. Start with a private tour of Mount Biago with local guides.

    Where to stay in Maratea

  • For budget stays: one of Maratea’s cheapest hotels, Hotel Martino is great value for its position overlooking the coast and its spacious rooms – those with a sea view cost extra.
  • For luxury stays: La Locanda delle Donne Monache is Maratea’s most distinctive hotel. Set in an elegantly renovated convent in the old town it has stunning views, a pool and private beach.
  • For family stays: Grand Hotel Pianeta Maratea is just outside the centre of Maratea. It features an Olympic-size swimming pool and kids pool and all rooms have balconies with sea views.

Find more accommodation options in Maratea


Maratea in Basilicata has several of the best beaches in Italy © Landscape Nature Photo / Shutterstock

13. Mazarro on the north east coast of Sicily

Beautiful beaches are a few of the reasons a trip to Sicily features in our guide to 24 best things to do in Italy. Start with the lovely beach of Mazarro which is connected to Taormina by cable car and the place for views of Isola Bella just offshore as well as great fish restaurants.

    Where to stay in Taormina

  • For good value stays: Pensione Svizzera has excellent views from its spacious rooms, 24hr bar service, free wi-fi throughout and a shuttle to a private beach. Excellent value for money.
  • For luxury stays: San Domenico Palace is one Italy's most celebrated hotels. Set in a 15th century convent it features unsurpassed views and a Michelin-starred restaurant.
  • For boutique stays: Villa Angela, owned by Jim Kerr of Simple Minds, is a swish boutique hotel, high above town with terrific views, a pool and terrace restaurant.

Find more accommodation options in Taormina

14. Riserva Naturale de Vendicari, Sicily

Explore the white sand beaches and salt lakes of Riserva Naturale de Vindicare, the beautiful coastal reserve south of Noto. If you visit between October and March, you can even see Flamingos wading around here.

    Where to stay in Noto

  • For budget stays: Albergo La Fontanella is a three star hotel in a restored palazzo on the edge of Noto Alta. It's good value and the only hotel within walking distance of historic centre.
  • For secluded stays: B&B Montandon is a real gem in a grand palazzo in Noto Alta. It offers three huge rooms, each with its own terrace and guests have access to an enchanting garden.
  • For authentic stays: Villa Canisello is an old farmhouse in the west of Noto, rooms open on to a patio or terrace and the local area is quiet and residential.

Find more accommodation options in Noto

15. Cala Gonone on the island of Sardinia

Pretty little Cala Gonone bay is a popular resort in south east Sardinia made even more alluring by the fact that it's reached by a dramatic road tunnel. that's reached by a dramatic road tunnel. The atmosphere here is authentically Sardinian and it's a popular area with local.

    Where to stay in Cala Gonone

  • For beachfront stays: Cala Luna is a bougainvillea-covered hotel with direct access to the beach, modern art on the walls and a great roof terrace where the restaurant is located.
  • For budget stays: Simple, friendly and family owned, three-star Hotel Nettuno is close to the beach and nestled between the mountains and the Gulf of Orosei.
  • For family stays: at the foot of Mount Irveri, Hotel Villa Gustui Maris offers views of the Gulf of Orosei, an outdoor swimming pool, and a traditional restaurant with panoramic veranda.

Find more accommodation options in Cala Gonone

Beach of "Cala Gonone", Sardinia © LPuddori/Shutterstock

Secluded sand beach in Cala Gonone, south east Sardinia © LPudrori/Shutterstock

16. Alghero in north west Sardinia

For the best town beaches in Sardinia, choose the charming walled town of Alghero. The bustling quayside is fun but the best of the best beaches are a few kilometres to the north and well worth a little travel.

Don't miss Le Bombarde beach, make a point of spending at least a day on gorgeous Lazzaretto, and if you really want to know more about Sardinia's remarkable coast, take a look at how tofind the best beach holidays in Italy.

    Where to stay in Alghero

  • For budget stays: Aigua offers six mini-apartments with exposed stonework, wooden floors and ceilings, and basic kitchen facilities. Self-service breakfasts are also available here.
  • For old town stays: San Francesco is the only hotel in the old town. It lies just behind the San Francesco church, offers simply furnished en-suite rooms and serves breakfast in the cloister.
  • For luxury stays: Villa Las Tronas is a castellated five-star hotel set on a promontory above the old town. Full of character, it also features a spa, saltwater pool and excellent restaurant.

Find more accommodation options in Alghero

17. Anzio, Lazio

For historic beaches, of course you want to be close to Rome and Anzio is only 40km from city and famous for its clifftop ruins of Nero's villa and WWII history as well as stunning sandy beaches just north of town. If you want to dip into Anzio on days out from the city take a look at where to stay in Rome an area by area guide.

  • For seafront stays: Serpa Hotel is right on the seafront in Anzio just two minutes walk from the beach. All rooms are en-suite, several have sea views and the hotel also features a sun terrace.
  • For family stays: Domus Lavinia holiday home is close to Lido dei Gigli Beach and offers two bedrooms, living room, private pool and large, enclosed garden. minutes walk from the beach.
  • For central stays: Grand Hotel Dei Cesari sits on the seafront in Anzio just two minutes walk from the beach. The hotel also has a restaurant and features an outdoor pool with sea views.

Find more accommodation options in Anzio


Anzio, near Rome, as good for history as beaches © Freebulclicstar / Shutterstock

18. The Lido towns of Emilia-Romagna

The nine Lido towns of Emilia-Romagna are where to find some of the best beaches in northern Italy as the region's 35km long coast is lined with golden sands and resort towns range from family-friendly to party until dawn.

If you want peace and quiet to go with your beaches choose the lido town of Porto Corsini or for a livelier atmosphere, try bustling Marina di Ravenna. Keen to know more about this area of Italy? Take a look at Emilia-Romagna: Tuscany without the crowds.

    Where to stay in Rimini

  • For designer stays: DuoMo is a swanky designer hotel in the heart of the old town. Its huge bedrooms are space-age and well equipped and you can expect great breakfasts and friendly staff.
  • For luxury stays: Grand Hotel Rimini is a five-star vision of Fellini-esque luxury. Set in elegant grounds, it has its own beach and the opulent rooms are furnished with antiques.
  • For budget stays: Jammin’ Hostel is a popular, friendly hostel near the beach, which offers bikes, laundry and other services as well as events both in the hostel and in the town’s bars.

Find more accommodation options in Rimini

19. La Pelosa the prettiest beach in Sardinia

Stunning La Pelosa is Sardinia's best beach by far and also the most resoundingly tropical in appearance. Apart from its famously fine sands and turquoise waters, the views of Piana and Asinara Isles from the shore are second to none.

    Where to stay in Stintino

  • For budget stays: Al Martin Pescatore B&B in the centre of Stintino offers fairly basic, but spacious, en-suite rooms and breakfast is served in a nearby restaurant.
  • For waterfront stays: Il Porto Vecchio is a simple B&B which features six spacious rooms with Sardinian decoration. Some rooms overlook the port and breakfast is served in the bar below.
  • For central stays: Silvestrino offers lightly luxurious rooms with terraces and terrific views. The hotel restaurant is one of Stintino’s best and renowned for its seafood.

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20. Marina di Vasto city beach in Abruzzo

Vasto is almost all about Blue Flag Vasto city beach and the possibility of seeing trabocchi fishing from the shore. The south end of the beach is the area for palm trees and charming beach huts, but if you want something wilder, head towards the northern side.

    Where to stay in Vasto

  • For budget stays: Il Pioppeto is one of numerous campsites along the coast, most of which are off the SS16 towards Foggia. Il Pioppeto is right on the beach and has pine trees for shade.
  • For town stays: Locanda dei Baroni B&B is close to the old town in a medieval palazzo. Rooms are bright with four poster beds, antique furniture and smart contemporary bathrooms.
  • For boutique stays: charming Palazzo Florio is close to both the beach and town. All bright, airy rooms are en-suite and several have views of Vasto old town.

Find more accommodation options in Vasto

Ready for a trip to Italy? Check out the Rough Guide to Italy. If you travel further in Italy read more about the best time to go and the best places to visit. For inspiration use our Italy itineraries or speak to our local experts. A bit more hands on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there. And don't forget to buy travel insurance before you go.

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Ties Lagraauw

written by
Ties Lagraauw

updated 06.03.2024

Ties is a true world explorer - whether it be for work or leisure! As Content Manager at RoughGuides, and the owner of Dutch travel platform Reis-Expert.nl, Ties is constantly on the move, always looking for new destinations to discover.

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