Imagine a gorgeous cocktail of stretching coastlines, serene beaches and culture-rich towns and villages. You’ve just dreamed of Italy’s Puglia region.
People come here in search of tranquil days spent lazing under the sun and often end up falling head over heels for the views, warm sands and lovable ambience that’s characteristic of the area.
The best sandy beaches in Puglia, when twinned with a leisurely holiday rental, work to epitomiseluxury at its very best. Here’s a few must-visits…
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Pescoluse beach was situated on a remote Caribbean island rather than at the heart of Europe. The transparent shallows here are perfect for swimming, particularly if you’re travelling with young children who would not suit deeper water.
Run headlong into the Ionian Sea to cool off, before ambling back to the sands and catching some rays. You can get to Pescoluse from most parts of Puglia and the beaches themselves are a short drive from the town of Ugento. They’re mainly frequented by locals, although you’ll also find pouches of tourists sunning themselves and enjoying the scenery.
Pane e Pomodoro, Bari
This much-loved gem is on the cusp of the port city of Bari. You’ve got all the advantages of being near wider civilisation – think ice creams and slices of delicious Italian pizza whenever you’ve got hunger pangs – while at the same time being right at the shores of the Adriatic Sea. It’s also got a bar if you want to keep yourself refreshed with a tipple while you sunbathe. Head here early in the morning to avoid the crowds and heat of the later afternoon.
Baia delle Zagare, Gargano
Sometimes you might need to travel a little to reach the best sandy beaches in Puglia, but spots like these make every second of the journey worth it. It’s made up of a kilometre-long stretch of sand which overlooks two pearlescent rock formations jutting out of the sea. Baia delle Zagare is flanked on all sides by a national park, the Riserva Statale Monte Barone, which is also a must-see.
Bring your camera and capture the rich contrast of colours which make up both the beach and the surrounding area. Once again, this beach is within driving distance from Bari and Barletta and can be easily made into a fun daytrip.
Purple Beach, Monopoli
If you’re into plush sunspots shared with relatively few people, head to Purple Beach. There’s only 50 or so sunbeds and parasols available, giving you all the more reason to head down early and reserve a spot. At times it gets a little livelier here, with music and a younger crowd keeping the party going throughout the evening. Soak up the atmosphere before retreating back into Monopoli for some exquisite Italian cuisine. Monopoli’s central location makes Purple Beach accessible from most places in Puglia.
The region’s beaches help to put this area on the map. Whether you’re after a secluded shoreline or a vibrant cityside spot, you’ll find something to treasure in this Italian jewel.
Keep your eyes peeled for Villa Plus properties in the region, but in the meantime, why not look at the different types of holiday rental on offer elsewhere?
By Isabella Perkins, a freelance travel writer best known for writing about self-catering holidays. Her writing tends to have a family focus, and she is in the middle of writing a new travel guide due to be published next year.