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The natural pools of Salento

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Salento is the southern part of the Italian region, Apulia. The peninsula is the heel of Italy’s boot and surrounded by two different seas, the Adriatic and Ionian. This location offers two different coastlines  being very close to each other.  The Ionian side of the Salento peninsula has wonderful sandy beaches, shallow crystal-clear waters and a mainly flat landscape. The Adriatic side has a rocky coastline with beautiful beach sections. Those cliffs shape amazing cave structures, fun trails, and beautiful natural pools. 

Picture © Credits to iStock/TheSP4N1SH
Picture © Credits to iStock/TheSP4N1SH

1. Grotta della Poesia 

The Cave of Poetry is probably the most famous natural pool in the entire region. The turquoise cave gained international fame after being named among the most beautiful natural pools in the world from National Geographic and CNN travel. It is located at an archeological site and easily accessible. In the summer months, especially in the afternoon, it can get extremely crowded and noisy. To experience the true magic of this natural phenomena I recommend you to visit it before 10 am or off-season. 

Grotta della Poesia
Grotta della Poesia
Strada Statale San Cataldo-Otranto, 73026 Roca Vecchia, Melendugno LE, Italien

2. Piscina Naturale di Marina Serra

The natural pool of Marina Serra is a bit more unknown but equally great to visit. It is not a sinkhole but rather a pool surrounded by the caves and rocks of the Adriatic coastline. There is more space for tanning, relaxing and splashing around than at Grotta della Poesia. If you don’t want to get wet you can also just enjoy the view and have a drink at the café overlooking this miracle of nature. 

Piscina Naturale di Marina Serra
Piscina Naturale di Marina Serra
Via Carlo Mirabello, 73039 Marina Serra LE, Italien

3. Grotta Monaca

Grotta Monaca is probably the best kept secret yet. It is close to the popular touristic destination Otranto. The reason it is off the beaten path, is probably because it literally is. Grotta Monaca consists  of two caves and is only accessible through swimming or by boat. The main arch is the entrance to the 85 m deep cave and once you are in it, immediately reminds of the famous cenotes in Mexico. Since it is very close to a sandy beach section, it is not hard to reach it by swimming or with a floaty – the little extra effort is definitely worth it. 

Grotta Monaca
Grotta Monaca
Contrada Vigne Vecchie, Otranto, 73028 Otranto LE, Italien
Picture © Credits to iStock/sergio-pazzano
Picture © Credits to iStock/sergio-pazzano

These impressive miracles of nature are not just worth visiting in summer. If you visit Apulia in the colder months, enjoy the off-season peace at these marvellous spots, with a relaxed hike or an enjoyable picnic. 

Title Picture © Credits to iStock/GiorgioMorara

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The author

Sandra Marx

Sandra Marx

My name is Sandra and I grew up in Austria. I started a Bed and Breakfast in Puglia, Italy, with my partner. I will tell you about all my favorite places and I hope that this wonderful region will fascinate you.

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