“You may have the universe if I may have Italy.” - Giuseppe Verdi
Italy is a popular seaside destination. Of its 5,175km of coastline, 96.1% is public beaches. While there is far more to do in Italy and the Italian islands than just visit the beach, when you visit the Italian islands, you'll probably want to find out which are the best.
But which are the most beautiful beaches outside of mainland Italy? Where can you go as a family or with your friends to relax or have fun?
In this article, we're going to look at the most popular beaches on Italy's islands, the coves you can visit, and the private beaches on the Italian islands.
Beaches: Part of Italy’s Natural Heritage
Italy has a lot of coastline and a lot of islands. The latter tend to be grouped together into archipelagos, with the main ones being:
- The islands in the Ionian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea such as the Tuscan Archipelago, Campanian Archipelago, Pelagie Islands, and the Pontine Islands.
- The islands of the Adriatic Sea
- The islands of Ligurian Sea
Some regions are home to the most beautiful beaches and are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as Cinque Terre.
To get the most out of the beaches, you have to choose the right one for you. Some beaches are your typical sandy beaches whereas others have hidden entrances, rows of pebbles masquerading as sand, or crystal clear waters that are colder or warmer than the rest of the sea.
So, whether you want to go to Italy to enjoy the local culture, the views, or relax for a few days, you should check out Italy’s islands. Of course, islands are a little harder to get to than the mainland but they're completely worth it.
But which one should you choose?
Italy’s Unmissable Coves
A beach’s charm isn’t always whether or not the water is clear. In some cases, it’s its accessibility. There are also coves and grottoes where you can bathe instead of beaches. In Capri, there’s the Blue Grotto, a unique place with deep blue waters, but you can’t swim there. You'll need to take a boat into the caves.
So what’s the difference between a beach and a cove?
A cove is a small bay sheltered by the coast, which keeps it out of sight. The opposite of a beach in some respects, which is often long, open, and accessible.
If you’re looking for a bit of privacy to relax during the afternoon on the Italy islands, a cove or grotto will do the trick. Of course, not everyone knows how to access them, which is part of their appeal.
So where can you go to find the best-sheltered beaches?
In Sicily, there are a lot of coves and grottos with beautiful beaches.
- The Scala dei Turchi, in the Agrigento Province, is one of the most famous. It’s surrounded by white cliffs that are reminiscent of chalk but much sunnier than Dover.
- To get there, you’ll need to go by car, which you’ll leave in the car park (which isn’t free, by the way) a few minutes from the cliffs. You’ll then need to take the stairs to your destination.
- There’s also the Conigli Beach or “Rabbit Beach” in Sicily. It’s particularly clean, too. It’ll take you around 20 minutes of walking to get to it, making it even more popular.
- On the island of Ponza, there’s Chiaia di Luna, a beautiful beach flanked by cliffs. You need to know that there’s no water traffic so the only way to get there is by land.
- Fetovia Beach on the Island of Elba. With its golden sand and rocks, it’s one of the island’s most picturesque beaches. The water is crystal-clear.
- On the Island of Favignana there’s Cala Rossa Beach. Beautiful water and beautiful views will take your breath away.
- Don’t confuse Cala Rossa with the namesake beach at Porto Vecchio!
- Finally, Forgia Vecchia beach by Stromboli has black sand, an imposing view of the mountain, and is a great place to spend a unique afternoon.
In Campania, the most beautiful cove is the Cala Bianca, in the middle of a nature reserve. Now let’s look at the outright most beautiful beaches in Italy across all categories.
The Most Beautiful Beaches on the Italian Islands
There are hundreds of Italian islands grouped into archipelagos. Some, like Sardinia, Sicily, and Capri, are famous for their charm, natural wonders, and beautiful beaches.
This is especially true of San Vito lo Capo in Sicily, one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Italy. It’s crescent-shaped, covered in fine sand, and in the heart of the Zingaro Nature Reserve. This is a beautiful place surrounded by nature that you’ll want to spend days in.
There are also other nearby beaches like Makari or Santa Margherita.
In Italy, it’s not difficult to go from one beach to another and find yourself in completely different surroundings. For example, the Marina Piccola Beach in Capri is also very famous. However, it’s quite touristy but you’ll still be able to relax.
Sardinia has plenty of beautiful beaches and here are the best 3.
Berchida Beach in Sardinia’s Orosei Province has clear greyish sand and blue water. It’s surrounded by junipers, making it feel more natural.
Lu Impostu is popular among tourists thanks to its clear turquoise waters, cliffs, and fine sand. It looks like it’s been lifted straight off a postcard. The waters are shallow, making them good for bathing in.
Finally, the Cala Goloritze is our third and final Sardinian beach. It’s nestled into the heart of some cliffs below the Monte Santo. It’s a great place to relax opposite clear and calm waters.
Who could resist?
Breathtaking Private Beaches
Private beaches are usually owned by hotels and you’ll need to be a guest or pay to get in. This is included in the cost of a night in the hotel but you can pay around €20 to spend the day there.
The advantage of private beaches is that they’re usually quieter. Additionally, some will come with better facilities and services. After all, if you're going to pay to spend the day there, you're probably going to spend the day there.
Finally, here are three unique and private beaches for those who’d prefer some peace and quiet.
- Da Gioa, Capri, not far from the Lido del Faro.
- Pelosa, Sardinia, a natural tropical beach.
- Phi Beach, Arzachena, a little slice of paradise that’s famous for its sunsets.
Make the most of your trip by trying out the local produce. There are plenty of lovely dishes and local specialities including caprese salad, arancini, and limoncello.
There’s also the Vendicari nudist beach in Sicily. It can be found in a nature reserve in the Syracuse Province and covers over 1,500 hectares! It’s great for those wanting to go for a walk and some fresh air.
Whether you love nature or just lounging about, you’re spoilt for choices when it comes to spending time on beaches in Italy. Don’t forget that you can also enjoy watersports, hikes, or just finish a book you’re currently reading.
So which beach would you like to go to?
Before you go to Italy or its islands, you might want to learn some Italian. Fortunately for you, there are many talented tutors on Superprof who can help you. In terms of private Italian tutorials, there are three main types: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials.
Face-to-face tutorials involve just the student and their tutor and are tailored to the former. Your tutor can work with your strengths and weaknesses and put together a programme for you. These tutorials tend to be the most costly but they're also the most cost-effective.
Online tutorials are similar but you're not in the same place as your tutor. Thanks to the internet, webcams, and video conferencing, you can learn a language online. Online tutors tend to charge less than face-to-face tutors because they have fewer outgoings and expenses and can schedule more tutorials each week.
Finally, group tutorials include groups of students learning together. If you and a group of friends, such as your travel companions, want to learn some Italian before you go, you can get group tutorials. With each student sharing the cost of the tutor's time, this type of tutorials tends to work out cheaper per person per hour.