The Most Beautiful Beaches of Salento

The sea has always been a combination of life, and at the same time “cross and delight” for the Salentines and Salento: from the sea came the Egyptians with alabaster and the Greeks with precious terracottas. From the Salentine sea, the Romans conquered the ancient Middle East.

And then Saracens and Turks, looking for easy raids to the detriment of maritime villages and inland cities.

From here, wine, wheat, and oil were shipped. Soaps, perfumes, wools, and fabrics.

The Messapi were the ancient Italic population that inhabited Salento in archaic and Hellenistic times: this name was given to them by the Greeks, and it means “people living between two seas“. The Adriatic and the Ionian precisely.
High, rocky, jagged, and interspersed with coves and natural pools – as in the case of Roca and Marina Serra – the Adriatic coasts.

Salento beaches: sinuous, low, with white and fine sand.

The chromaticism of the sea is particular: an “aqua green” the Adriatic, a “sky blue” the Ionian…both rich in fish and shellfish, pure and clear for millennia.
Saying that our sea and its beaches are “to be lived”, “to be discovered” is overly reductive.

We say that you have to take a boat ride, a dive offshore and enjoy it…whether you are on the shore of a sandy beach, or whether you soak in one of the many “conches” – natural cavities carved by erosion and the force of the sea motion and used as a bathing spot for those who prefer the rock to the sand – that arise along the rocky coast.

So, all this must be done at sea…in Salento. And there will be no shortage of sea urchins, “mateddhre” mussels (patella, in Italian) and a “sponsata” frisa (meaning “soaked”) directly in the sea water.

Lido Marini Beach, fine sand and fresh water springs

Lido Marini Beach, fine sand and fresh water springs
The beach of Lido Marini, a coastal location of Ugento, is among the most beautiful in Salento: fine sand, non-rocky seabeds, wide dunes, and the presence of fresh water springs, which “refresh” the sea waters even on summer days where the heat is felt more.

The place takes its name from the presence of a farmhouse, whose last finish is of eighteenth-century workmanship, assumed as a “balsamic residence” for the Bishops of Ugento, who spent short periods of relaxation and holiday from their spiritual and ecclesiastical tasks here.

Torre San Giovanni Beach, between rock and fine sand

Torre San Giovanni Beach, between rock and fine sand
The beach of Torre San Giovanni, a hamlet of the Municipality of Ugento, is one of the most extensive on the Salento coast. The place takes its name, also here, from a coastal tower, erected as an anti-Turkish function, in the second half of the ‘500, by the sovereign Charles V.

The lighthouse, marks a kind of watershed between a low and rocky coast to the north, with the characteristic small beach of Pazze, set in a high dune, with an islet in front that gives its name to it, and the fine sandy beaches to the south of it: here the water is very shallow, and the presence of the Ugento Shoals – rocks at water level, right in the middle of the sea – enriches the suggestion and the charm of visiting, who from the mouth of the fishermen will be able to hear the name of each of these Shoals, and the particular legends that are an integral part of it.

To mention and to dive immediately into the sea Fontanelle location: here the dunes are well preserved, and it is not rare to smell the scents of some floral species even in the summer period, such as that of the Lily of the Dunes.

Once you have finished relaxing, lulled by the sea waves, here the visitor can seek relief from the summer heat among the bushes and pine forests that make up this stretch of the Ugento coast.

Gallipoli between sandy beaches, sea and ancient walls

Gallipoli between sandy beaches, sea and ancient walls
Gallipoli… the “Pearl of the Ionian”, the Kalè Polis – or Beautiful City – for the Greek navigators.

The old town is located on a natural islet, made of courtyard houses, alleys, churches, brotherhoods, and centuries-old traditions. The sea is an integral part of this Ionian town, as well as its beaches that rise south of the same Ionian city.

Made of white sand and low dunes, they have particular names: Rivabella, Punta Pizzo, Baia Verde, Punta della Suina…but one above all stands out for its particular location, and it is the so-called “Seno della Purità“.

It is a sandy beach, which is literally set in a stretch of ancient walls, which surround old Gallipoli and its historic center.

It was the ancient commercial port of the City, and it is particularly delightful for the bright chromaticism of the sea and for its shallow seabed.

The beach of Pescoluse The Maldives of Salento

The beach of Pescoluse The Maldives of Salento
Today the coastline of Marina di Pescoluse on the Ionian, part of the Municipality of Salve, offers numerous bathing establishments where to find every comfort: deckchairs, sunbeds, umbrellas and for sports enthusiasts also equipment for water sports such as windsurfing, water skiing and jet skiing.

Spectacular sunsets, breathtaking sea and excellent hospitality make this charming seaside resort of Salento one of the most appreciated in Italy.

Thanks to the intuition of local entrepreneurship, this stretch of coast over the years has taken on the evocative name of “Maldives of Salento“, for its strong resemblance to those atolls of the Indian Ocean.

Torre dell’Orso a crystal clear and warm sea, like in the Caribbean

Torre dell'Orso a crystal clear and warm sea, like in the Caribbean
Torre dell’Orso, a tourist location of the Municipality of Melendugno, is located on the southern Adriatic of our Peninsula. The sixteenth-century tower dominates the coastal area and gives it this curious name.

The most accredited hypothesis wants this name deriving from the term “Urso“, or the surname of the family that anciently managed this area. The stretch of coast here presents rocky traits, frequently interrupted by quite pleasant coves and inlets, The seabeds are suitable for snorkeling enthusiasts and particularly underwater diving. in some points, the cliff becomes high and jagged, but not for this not suggestively breathtaking.

Emblematic, in this regard, the vision of two stacks, clearly visible from the city promenade, called “The Two Sisters“: legend has it that this name derives from two sisters, precisely, who one day decided to escape from daily chores seeking refreshment in the sea.

Arriving at Torre dell’Orso, they dived from a cliff into the stormy sea, failing to regain the shore. The Gods, moved to compassion, transformed them into the two charming stacks.

Porto Cesareo, between beach and crystal clear sea

Porto Cesareo, between beach and crystal clear sea
A few meters from the city beach of this charming seaside resort, we find the Isola Grande, better known as “Isola dei Conigli“, easily reachable by swimming or with the help of small rental boats or organizing fishing tourism itineraries.

An important botanical evidence has been found and reported here: the Iris revoluta.

This flower boasts a glorious past because it was a recurring symbol in Egyptian mythology in the times of the pharaohs, and for the Greeks, it represented the Goddess Iris, an infallible messenger who climbed the rainbows of Mount Olympus, dyeing herself in a thousand colors.

The richness of the seabeds their integrity and the presence of some specimens of Caretta Caretta sea turtle have made it possible to establish a protected marine area including the entire area.

The most famous stretch of coast of Porto Cesareo is then the “Beach of the Dunes“, characterized by a cord of coastal dunes that protect it and from which the beach takes its name. It extends from Scala di Furno to Torre Chianca, and is surrounded by thick vegetation that together with the very fine sand and many comforts make it very popular.

Torre Lapillo stretches between pine forests and light sandy beaches

Torre Lapillo stretches between pine forests and light sandy beaches
The name of this Ionian Salentine location takes its name from the homonymous coastal tower (initially renamed as “Torre di San Tommaso“, built by Emperor Charles V in 1568, to better defend this stretch of coast from Turkish incursions.
The coastal stretch of this splendid place consists of pine forests and Salento beaches of light-colored sand, dotted with low dunes, carved with splendid Mediterranean scrub.

The seabed is shallow, and there are no rocks, except in a small stretch in the immediate vicinity of the Tower.

Punta Prosciutto Beach, white and fine sand and cliff

Punta Prosciutto Beach, white and fine sand and cliff
The beach of Punta Prosciutto – in Salentine dialect, also called “Li Prisuddhri” – is one of the most enchanting of the Ionian Salento, and is located on the border between the Provinces of Lecce and Taranto.

It is renowned for being one of the most beautiful beaches in Salento in the world: the area is almost untouched, mostly made of white and fine sand, with small stretches of low cliff and shallow and sandy seabeds.

It is located in the Regional Natural Park “Palude del Conte and Dune Costiere”, established by the Puglia Region in 2006. The stretch to the north is delimited by a late 16th-century tower, built under the Empire of the Habsburg sovereign Charles V, called “Torre Colimena“.

The origin of the name of it is uncertain: most likely, it is a contraction of the ancient Greek kalì limènon, meaning “good ports”, indicating a stretch of coast excellent for mooring and docking of boats in previous historical epochs.

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