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Our 16 Favourite Beaches in Puglia — ALONG DUSTY ROADS

Our 16 Favourite Beaches in Puglia — ALONG DUSTY ROADS


If you’re planning your first summer escape to Puglia, then it’s important to know about a few differences between the region’s coastline in comparison to somewhere like Portugal or Spain.

First, it’s that outside the less frequented west coast, long stretches of soft golden sand are not the norm. They absolutely do exist – and the best of them are in this post – but Italians have an innate ability to turn (and call) anywhere you can pitch a chair and a parsol a ‘beach’ (spiaggia).

Therefore, wherever you see a ‘spiaggia’ in Google Maps, don’t assume it’s going to be long and sandy.

Second is the very Italian phenomenon of the ‘lido’. Many of you will be familiar with pictures of rows of tightly packed sun-loungers paired with bright, colourful umbrellas, all laid out with hypnotically perfect precision and repetition – that’s a lido. Though they come in various shapes, styles and standards, all subscribe to that particular aesthetic of matching sun-lounger (lettini) and ombrellone (parasol). You have to pay an entrance fee to access them and their facilities, which usually includes the rental of your own lounger and umbrella for the day.

They are pretty common in Puglia.

For first-timers in Italy, or if you’ve never before travelled its nearly 5,000 mile coastline, then understanding what these are and how they operate in advance will save you a good deal of shock, befuddlement, and irritation.

We’ve written a whole post about these if you’d like to know more: The Art of The Italian Lido.

The lidos take up the majority of beach space in summer, but there will pretty much always be sections known as spiaggia libera (free beach) that you can access for free on the same stretch of sand.

As well as letting you know the best beaches in Puglia – of the traditional sandy variety – we’ve also shared our picks for those destinations where the swimming is great and the sunbathing divine, but it’s on a rocky outcrop, a pebble cove, or a concrete patch which has turned into summer central.

Until we spent several summers in Italy, we always thought this was a poorer option to spend a day by the water, but we now love it (and often choose them over a sandy option).

Top Tip // Whilst some of these beaches are accessible by public transport or on foot from towns, a number are either much easier or only possible to reach with your own rental car. We rarely go direct when hiring our road trip vehicles, instead preferring to use two…

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