20 best beaches in Italy

updated 1/5/2022
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What are the best beaches in Italy? Find them with our list of 20 favourites from coves in Sardinia and Tuscan bays to Sicilian sun traps, historic sands near Rome and indulgent northern Italian lidos. The information in this article is taken from The Rough Guide to Italy your travel guide for visiting Italy . When you're done discovering these best beaches, find out some fun facts about 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 .

Prefer to leave planning and booking to experts? Have a look at some sample itineraries. Both Complete Italy or Italy Itineraries offer inspiration. All Tailor Made Trips can be modified together with your local expert, then booked for a stress-free holiday. Click 'Modify this itinerary' to contact a local Italy expert.

2. Levanto, western Cinque Terre, Liguria

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.

Make the most of this unusually peaceful pocket of Liguria in summer and book a break at Aparthotel Miramare, perfect for dipping into Cinque Terre, yet only minutes from Levanto beach.

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 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. Book a room with a balcony at Hotel Kalura for sensational views over Caldura Bay and Rocca di 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. Stay nearby at Acquaviva Village Camping close to Portoferraio.

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5. Fornillo Spiaggia, Positano, Amalfi Coast

Expensive Positano has several beautiful beaches, but Fornillo Spiaggia is the best of the best. Just west of Positano Beach, Fornillo is large and sandy, backed by cliffs and sheltering greenery.

Hotel Pupetto is another reason to pick Fornillo Spiaggia. Its terrace overlooks the beach and as well as a famously good value restaurant - a Positano rarity - it specialises in rooms with wonderful sea views.

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'. If you want to hang out, stay at Hotel La Tavernetta.

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're visiting Elba take a little more time to get to know the fascinating island on a walking tour round Portoferraio with excellent local guides.

8. Sant'Andrea, Elba, Tuscany

For an alternative to the main beaches on Elba , head to Sant'Andrea. This sandy beach has plenty of bars and sunbeds, but it's also known for windsurfing, diving and sailing. Hang out for longer and stay at Hotel Barsalini on the beachfront.

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. Make for the west coast to find quiet coves and Calla dello Spido is the beach to choose in summer. For an island break, stay at Hotel Kyrie Isole Tremiti on San Domino.

10. Torre Guaceto Marine Reserve, Puglia

Discover some of Italy's most natural beaches in the protected marine reserve of Torre Guaceto near Brindisi . It's also a fantastic area for coral reef snorkelling and diving. If you're tempted to linger, book Maria Vittoria on Brindisi waterfront.

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.

12. Maratea on Basilicata's Tyrrhenian Coast

Maratea offers several outstanding beaches on Basilicata's Tyrrhenian Coast. This ravishing part of the coast is also defined by impressive soaring cliffs, rocky coves and remarkable sea grottoes.

Despite being a very popular area, Maratea remains wonderfully undeveloped and it's well worth exploring. Start with a private tour of Mount Biago with local guides.

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

13. Mazarro on the north east coast of Sicily

The lovely beach of Mazarro is connected to Taormina by cable car. Visit for views of Isola Bella just offshore and great fish restaurants overlooking the beach. Stay nearby at Hotel Villino Galodoro 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. Stay at Ostello della Gioventù in Noto old town.

15. Cala Gonone on the island of Sardinia

Pretty little Cala Gonone bay is a popular resort in south east Sardinia that's reached by a dramatic road tunnel. Go for the authentic, local atmosphere, hang out on the beach and think about staying at Hotel Nettuno.

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 and make a point of spending at least a day on gorgeous Lazzaretto. If you're intrigued by Alghero for its beaches and beyond, stay at Alghero Roof Garden in town.

17. Anzio, Lazio

For historic beaches, of course you want to be close to Rome . Anzio is only 40km from city and famous for its clifftop ruins of Nero's villa, WWII history and stunning sandy beaches just north of town.

This fascinating town deserves as much time as you can spare, so think about getting to know it better with a stay at Daniela House 4 on the beachfront.

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. The 35km long coast is lined with golden sands and if you want peace try Porto Corsini.

But for a livelier atmosphere, bustling Marina di Ravenna is the resort to choose. To fully indulge in its lido vibe, think about staying at Residence Rivaverde.

19. La Pelosa the prettiest beach in Sardinia

Stunning La Pelosa is Sardinia's best beach by far. Apart from fine sands and turquoise waters, the views of Piana and Asinara Isles from the shore are spectacular. Enjoy them with a stay Hotel La Pelosetta overlooking the beach.

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 of the beach is palm trees and beach huts, but it's wilder to north, if you want both stay at Il Giardino Nascosto in Vasto.

Ready to travel to Italy ? Find out about the best time to go and the best places in Italy as well as the best things to do in Italy . For inspiration use the Italy itineraries from our Italy Travel Guides and our local travel agents in Italy . A bit more hands on, learn about getting there , getting around the country and where to stay in Italy once you are there. And don't forget to buy travel insurance before you go.

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updated 1/5/2022
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