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.
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.
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.
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.
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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