While many of us may think of the Mediterranean when we think of Italian beaches, there are plenty more incredible beaches to be found all over the country. Some of the best beaches in Italy? You can find them in Puglia, a region found in southern Italy, that borders the Adriatic Sea to the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Gulf of Taranto and Strait of Otranto to the south. All of that water means you'll find some of the most amazing beaches in the entire country.
Here are the very best beaches in Puglia!
Polignano a Mare
You'll find Polignano a Mare on every single list of Puglia's best beach towns, and there's good reason for it: think white-washed buildings perched on limestone cliffs and winding streets that lead down to brilliant turquoise waters.
The main beach, Lama Monachile, is fairly small, but with plenty of terraced restaurants surrounding the beach, you're always able to enjoy the view whether from the water or from above. Make sure to try a cono tuffato on a hot day, Polignano's famous ice cream!
Nicknamed "the pearl of the Ionian Sea", the town of Gallipolli is absolutely stunning. With a bustling harbour and gorgeous sunset views, people flock here not only for the delicious seafood, but for lounging the days away on La Purita, or the Beach of Purity, a beach with golden sand, sapphire waters, and a backdrop of ancient city walls. A holiday to Gallipolli might be just what you need...
Mora Mora Beach
Found not far from Lecce on the Adriatic Coast, Mora Mora is a great place to relax for a day or two. While some of Puglia's beaches, like Torre dell'Orso Beach, have become a bit crowded in the past few years, you can still find a little slice of heaven on Mora Mora to call your own.
Pay for the use of a sun lounger and take advantage of the beach kiosk's cold beverages, or keep wandering to find a more secluded spot. Either way, Mora Mora Beach has plenty of soft white sand and gently lapping water for everyone!
Santa Maria al Bagno
Also fairly close to Lecce, Santa Maria al Bagno is extremely popular with locals, and for good reason. This beach is kept spotlessly clean, and boasts some of Puglia's most tranquil, crystal-clear water. This is the perfect beach to spend the day, especially as it is also home to plenty of fantastic lunch options for when all that swimming and lazing about stirs up your appetite for fresh fish and homemade pasta...
Torre Lapillo Bay
Found in Porto Cesareo, this gorgeous stretch of sand has even been listed alongside beaches in Brazil, Thailand, and Australia as one of the best "unknown" beaches in the world. This area is sometimes referred to as "the Maldives of Italy" as it showcases beautiful clear water and shimmering gold and white sand. With plenty of shallow water to play about in, this is also a great spot to take the kids on holiday!
That's it for our top picks of the beaches in Puglia, although quite a few more could have made the list: Porto Badisco, the beaches of Gargano, Torre Guaceto......
What else do you need to know about the beaches in Puglia?
Your best bet for a base in Puglia is in Lecce or Bari. There are plenty of great hotels in Lecce and hotels in Bari; hiring a car in Puglia is also easy to do, and makes getting around to all the best beaches even easier.
Have you been to Puglia? What would you add to the list?