Italy. Think vats of vino, pasta in every shape you can imagine, and more history than you can shake a stick at. Pop on a pair of gladiator sandals and some sunnies – with temperatures reaching the 30s in the summer, you’re going to need them. And we haven’t even mentioned the beaches yet. Often Italy’s beaches are overlooked for the world-famous architecture and charming seaside towns, so you might not think of it as a beach holiday destination. We’ve compiled this list, with destinations for every type of holidaymaker, to change your mind. Afterwards, browse our deals to experience one of these beautiful beaches yourself…
Cefalu’s beaches are best for… history buffs
Head to the seaside town of Cefalu if you’re into blast-from-the-past holidays with superb shorelines for beachy breaks. On the hilltop overlooking the coast you’ll find the Temple of Diana, Latin for the Greek goddess Artemis. There’s also a Norman cathedral with the UNESCO stamp of approval to explore. Then it’s to the beach for maximum sun-soaking opportunities. Cefalu’s beach has been dubbed the best in Sicily by online reviewers – you’ll have to visit yourself to find out if that’s true. Stay at the Hotel Fiesta Garden Beach for access to your own private stretch of sand.
Valledoria’s beaches are best for… escaping the crowds
When it comes to beach holidays, sometimes you just want a slice of sand all to yourself. You’ll feel like you’re escaping the hustle and bustle of the city in Valledoria, Sardinia. The island is to the west of the boot, and still holds on to its historically Spanish flair. Being surrounded by sea has its perks when it comes to coastline – Sardinia knows how to do a beach. Get your fill of wild, untamed spots along the glistening shoreline, and capture jaw-dropping sunsets on Spiaggia San Pietro. It’s a beachy stretch directly next to Casteldoria Mare, where you’ll have plenty of elbow room.
Monterosso al Mare beaches are best for… Instagram lovers
Drive an hour and a half north of Pisa and you’ll find the village of Monterosso. It’s nestled in the mountains of the Italian Riviera, meaning it’s only recently been discovered by tourists visiting the Cinque Terre region. And it’s an Instagrammer’s dream. Thin, brightly coloured apartments teeter over the cliffs, while boats bob in the harbour, waiting for locals to head out onto the brilliantly blue seas. The ocean stretches as far as the eye can see – so it’s perfect for snapping shots for your feed. It’s easiest to reach Monterosso via train or boat, as it’s still pretty isolated. But being challenging to reach has kept the area a secret, so alongside the lemon groves and stunning sunsets, you’ll get a really authentic Italian experience.
Cala Tonnarella’s beaches are best for… adventurers
Getting to this beach isn’t for the faint-hearted. You’ll have to hike for an hour through Sicily’s Zingaro Nature Reserve to reach it – keep an eye out for eagles, tortoises, and wild boar. But once you arrive, the quiet, sandy beach of Cala Tonnarella will reward you with crystal clear, turquoise waters, and ample sunbathing space. It’s the cream of the crop when it comes to quieter Italian beaches.
Positano’s beaches are best for… celeb-spotters
Built into a mountain, the town of Positano is home to the Marina Grande beach. You’ll find it on the Amalfi Coast, where it’s a big-hitter with the rich and famous, and it’s not hard to see why. Pull up a lounge chair for the afternoon, or head to the marina to get a boat out onto the water. The pastel-coloured houses overlooking the sea will have you dreaming of packing up and moving into one yourself. The restaurants in the town are perfect for a delicious post-beach snack, and you can shop until you drop in Positano, too. Why not treat yourself to some handmade sandals?