Salento (Salentu in the local dialect) is a geographic region at the southern part of Puglia. The area has a lot to offer but is particularly famous for its amazing beaches. The region usually enjoys optimum weather conditions for swimming, starting from May until late September. If you appreciate privacy and you're looking for a calm and relaxing holiday, I would recommend traveling to Salento during the "off- season" period, since in July and August it can get extremely crowded. Visitors of the southern Puglia enjoy the comfort of being able to decide between two different seas: the Ionian on the western side and the Adriatic Sea on the eastern side.
The big advantage of having these two options is that whenever the wind comes from the north (Tramontana), the Ionian Sea is calm and whenever the wind comes from the south-east (Scirocco), the Adriatic Sea offers a peaceful swimming experience. .
An exception to this rule are the beaches from Otranto downwards, which have the same wind conditions as the Ionian Sea even though geographically they belong to the Adriatic side. That happens because at Otranto the coastline is not straight but slightly oblique.
Even though the majority of Salento’s coastlines is very nice and blessed with white sand beaches and crystal-clear water, in the list that follows I picked out my personal favorites.
Maldive del Salento (Pescoluse); The beach clearly justifies its name, since it brings to mind the Maldives and it makes it hard to believe that you are still in Europe. With shallow clear water and 4 km of fine bright sand, the area offers a lot of sport activities and beach bars.
Baia Verde; it is considered to be the perfect beach (especially for those staying in Gallipoli), to experience the spectacular nightlife. While there, you can also enjoy white sand and the sun’s reflection in the crystal-clear blue waters. The party-capital's proximity is also noticeable during the day since there are a lot of young people around, while party promoters approach you in order to give you tips and the best offers for Gallipoli's nightlife.
Beaches of Porto Cesareo; Close to the dreamy fishing village Porto Cesareo, there are two magically beautiful beach sections: the Punta Prosciutto and the Torre Lapillo. Those two offer probably the finest white sands in Salento, while their shallow and crystal-clear waters make them truly a piece of paradise that is worth visiting!
Baia dei Turchi; The way to the beach is already a little bit adventurous. Trying to get there, a walk through a stunning pine forest where the turquoise water shines through, is required. The sand part of this beach is actually quite narrow, so make sure to get there early if you wish to reserve a good spot. Shallow crystal waters and big rocks dividing the sandy beach parts, makes Baia dei Turchi a must see place!
Torre dell’Orso (picture above); Only 25 minutes away from Baia dei Turchi by car, another wonderful beach awaits to be explored. Torre dell’Orso offers over 1 km "picture-perfect" coast characterized by big white-washed rocks and clear turquoise water.
Did you like the travel story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.