Coastal towns in Italy beach seaside italian port villages mediterranean sea bay
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  • Vernazza by night di notte Cinque Terre village Five Lands Five villages italian riviera
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Italy boasts a wealth of postcard-perfect coastal towns, each with its own panorama of breathtaking ocean views. With their rows of coloured houses blanketing the dramatic cliff faces, the towns are easy on the eye from the sea, too.

From Liguria to Sicily, you will find the most beautiful coastal towns in Italy for a holiday this summer.
Take this opportunity to enjoy a stroll along the water's edge, enjoying the sunshine and admiring the architectural beauty and history of these charming places, all while staying in the perfect holiday home.

From the Italian Riviera to the farthest reaches of Sicily, there are plenty of seaside villages to please travelers in search of pristine beaches, ancient ruins, art, culture, and delicious cuisine.
The truth is that they’re likely in one of these towns, as Italians in major cities make a mass exodus toward the coast every summer.

Hilltop villages, clear water, beautiful beaches, and delicious food.
You can reach all of them quickly and easily by train from all over Italy in fact, for some of them, the scenic train journey to get there is half the reason why you should go.

In the province of Bari, Southern Italy, Polignano a Mare is perched upon limestone cliffs overlooking the azure sea. The historic old town is thought to be one of the most important ancient settlements in Puglia and features a maze of houses and narrow alleyways, as well as many panoramic terraces offering views of the Adriatic Sea.
Along with its rich history, Polignano is known for its world-class cliff-diving opportunities and has previously hosted the Red Bull diving competition.
Watch the sun rise over the Adriatic Sea from this traditional Apulian holiday home.

In the Italian province of Agrigento you will find Sciacca, a maritime town with thousands of years of history.
Entering through one of the four gates of the city, you will immediately be sent to another world with beautiful city walls, winding alleys, monuments and buildings all hinting to the city's incredible past.

Further down the Costa degli Dei (Coast of the Gods), in the province of Vibo Valentia, we find Tropea, a town famous for its gorgeous beaches and tasty local cuisine. The hillside geography of the place naturally divides it into two parts, the upper old town and the lower Marina, near the sea and the port.

Sestri Levante, renamed as città dei due mari (city of the two seas) by the writer Hans Christian Andersen, is located in the province of Genoa and is one of the last cities in the Gulf of Tigullio.
This name derives from the fact that its historic centre is dominated by two bays, the Favole and the Silenzio, separated by a narrow land bridge linking the oldest part of the city with the mainland, which makes for a breathtakingly beautiful landscape.

Part of the Cinque Terre National Park (comprised of five villages) in Liguria, Manarola is reputed to be the most colourful city in the world. With its vibrant buildings jostling for space, the town that is famed for its Manarolese dialect resembles an artist’s palette. Every year, visitors flock here to hike between the five villages, with numbers soaring in peak season. Don’t miss a visit of the Church of San Lorenzo, beautiful both inside and out with its sweeping views of Manarola and neighbouring towns.

With its rustic charm and wisteria-draped hotels, Positano is widely regarded as the most picturesque and photogenic town in Italy. Being the most sophisticated resort on the central Amalfi Coast, it is also the most expensive.
Positano’s enviable location allows visitors to travel by boat to nearby Capri, Ischia and the Grotta dello Smeraldo. You can also choose to spend a day on Fornillo beach, a smaller alternative to the popular Spiaggia Grande. Sleeping up to five, this dome house in Fornillo, the oldest part of the town, provides large, elegantly decorated rooms, a secluded atmosphere and some of the most spectacular terrace views you’ll find anywhere in the city.

Located where the mountain meets the sea and where citrus plantations alternate with deep valleys, Sorrento is set in an extraordinary landscape. Set within the province of Naples, the old town is known for its production of lace and ceramics. Sip a glass of Falanghina, and soak up the atmosphere of Piazza Tasso – a people watcher’s paradise. With its prime location, the town easily makes up for its lack of beaches: Amalfi Coast to the north, rolling countryside to the east and stunning Capri just offshore.
If you’ve ever dreamt of spending the night in a castle, then this two-bedroom flat just outside Sorrento may be for you.
Originally part of Giusso Castle, a 16th-century castle on the Sorrento Coast, it has been renovated with a private garden and swimming pool, an elevator directly to the beach and has sea views fit for a king.

Portofino and its distinctive half-moon shaped harbour are located on the coast of Liguria, in the province of Genoa on the Italian Riviera. Having become increasingly upmarket in recent years, it’s popular with the rich and famous, and you’ll now notice plenty of luxurious superyachts adorning the horizon here. Hike up to Castello Brown, Portofino’s 15th-century castle, for spectacular views.
Overlooking the main square of Portofino is this exclusive three-bedroom flat, which, thanks to its unique rooftop terrace, strikes the perfect balance between glamour and convenience.

Riomaggiore is part of the Cinque Terre and is the largest and most easterly of the five villages. Sitting upon the unspoilt, serene blue waters of the Gulf of Genoa, Riomaggiore is famed for its sweet wine Sciacchetrà, made from Bosco, Vermentino and Albarola grapes. Riomaggiore’s multi-coloured ravine of pastel buildings is where the famous Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Path) begins. From here, you can embark on the first section between Riomaggiore and Manarola, which is also known as Via Dell’Amore (Lovers’ Path).

Amalfi lies at the mouth of a deep ravine at the foot of Monte Cerreto within the province of Salerno. Surrounded by dramatic cliffs and coastal scenery, Amalfi is modestly sized, and visitors can walk from one edge of the town to the other in 20 minutes.
The town boasts sun-filled piazzas and small beaches; its many squares are connected by pedestrian streets flanked with souvenir shops, perfect for stocking up on cameo brooches and limoncello.
Also, don’t miss a visit to the Duomo di Amalfi, a 9th-century Roman Catholic structure. Ascend the steps, and admire the beautiful mosaics and magnificent ceiling detail.

Located near Amalfi, Atrani became the wealthy residence for Amalfi’s most powerful families. Today, Atrani maintains its distinct atmosphere of a fisherman’s town. Traditional houses climb up the valley from the beach, broken up by lemon terraces and colourful gardens and creating an atmospheric tangle of tightly packed buildings and narrow staircases.
As the smallest town in Southern Italy, Atrani’s ancient medieval structure remains incredibly intact.

Santa Cesarea Terme sits atop a rugged plateau overlooking the sea in Puglia, on the ‘heel’ of Southern Italy.
The town is characterised by the typical architecture of the early 20th century, and its coast is punctuated with thermal springs, situated within four natural caves along the cliff.
Although not as touristy as other Italian coastal towns, Santa Cesarea Terme’s popularity with Italians themselves makes it all the more authentic.
A pathway through the woods leads to the higher part of the town, which boasts beautiful views of the Salento coast, all the way up to the headland of Santa Maria di Leuca.

Tropea, Calabria
Another magic coastal town you shouldn't miss in Calabria is Tropea.
With its stunning scenery, turquoise water and rich history, Tropea is the perfect destination for your summer holiday in Italy. And as if its beauty wasn't enough, this beautiful beach town also has a lively local wining and dining scene, so you'll never be at a loss for places to perch for a perfect sunset aperitivo.

Vernazza Cinque Terre
Representing the beautiful Cinque Terre on our list, Vernazza packs a lot into one tiny, colourful village an authentic marina, brightly coloured houses, dramatic rocky coastline, a historic bell tower, even a secluded swimming hole and cliffside restaurants. Doria Castle, clinging to the rugged hillside, is a local highlight.
The railway line connecting the Cinque Terre is one of the most spectacular journeys in Italy. And Vernazza is a convenient starting place for hiking to the other Cinque Terre villages. Especially Corniglia and Monterosso, which have the best swimming beaches in the area!

Polignano a Mare, Puglia
Think turquoise waters and white-pebble beaches, Roman ruins and whitewashed houses.
Puglia, wrapping around the heel of Italy's boot, is loaded with beautiful beach towns. And Polignano a Mare may well be the best of the lot. The town's iconic abbey and 16th-century tower, overlooking the sparkling Adriatic Sea from the top of a cliff, offers a photo opportunity you won't want to miss.

Sorrento, Campania
Looking back towards the ancient city and Mount Vesuvius from across the Gulf of Naples, the location of Sorrento is enough in itself to warrant its status as one of the finest Italian beach towns.
So the fact that it throws ridiculous historical beauty and otherworldly rugged landscapes into the mix is just unfair.

Scilla, Calabria
Laden with beautiful beaches, colourful terracotta towns, stunning landscapes, and rich culinary heritage, it's hard to understand why Calabria doesn't get as much attention from foreign visitors as its other Italian counterparts.
Not that we're complaining. Calabria's sense of being undiscovered is what gives it much of its magic. Nowhere is that more evident than along Calabria's Purple Coast (Costa Viola). And no Purple Coast town encapsulates that magic as completely as Scilla.

Vietri sul Mare, Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast is the epitome of what beautiful Italian coastal towns can be.
While many Amalfi Coast towns have come to rely on tourism, Vietri sul Mare has remained a traditional fishing village.
That has helped this quaint but vibrant seaside town retain a high level of authenticity. In cliffside restaurants, you can taste possibly the best tuna and sardines you'll ever try. Stroll the winding old streets up to the town's central beacon, the Church of Saint John the Baptist, for incredible ocean views.

Rimini, Emilia-Romagna
With impressive historical buildings to match its 10 miles of sandy beach, Rimini has long been a favourite among Italian coastal towns.
It is Italy's biggest beach resort – you could spend all day every day in different parts of the beach, and after a month you might still be discovering new spots. It's not all about swimming and sunbathing here, though, as Rimini's nightlife scene is almost as famous as its beach.

Sperlonga, Lazio
If you're in Rome and are planning to go to the beach, head to Sperlonga - we promise you won't be disappointed! Sperlonga is well-known for its whitewashed houses, which are clustered together on a steep headland, and its beaches are among the most popular ones near Rome for the beauty of their landscape and crystal-clear sea.

Viareggio, Tuscany
Situated in the north of Tuscany, near the hills where the marble for Michelangelo's "David" was quarried and only 15 minutes by train from Pisa and its leaning tower, the beachside resort town of Viareggio is no stranger to history and culture.
Since 1873, Viareggio has hosted one of the biggest and best annual Carnival celebrations in Italy.
At just under two miles long, its seaside promenade is lined with Art Nouveau buildings. Other architectural masterpieces in town include the Savoy Cinema, dating to 1925, and the 16th-century Matilda Tower, which harks back to Viareggio's early days as a defensive maritime outpost for the Republic of Lucca.

Forio is the largest town on the island of Ischia, which fans of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels will recognize from the books.
Though it’s more under-the-radar than Capri, Ischia has long drawn Italians seeking sun, sand, and the healing treatments offered by its mineral-rich thermal waters.

Aeolian Islands
Sicily is known for its alluring beaches, but Acireale is special.
Formed on volcanic rock from Mount Etna, Acireale’s beaches are made of stone, not sand.
While this isn’t ideal for sunbathing, it makes for a truly unique place, where ladders descend from the rocks allowing people to climb down into the sea as if it were a swimming pool. Of course, most people just dive in and swim out to the next outcropping. Acireale is known for its ornate Baroque churches and beautiful public parks and nature reserves. It’s also famous for its Carnival festivities, considered the best in Sicily.

Amalfi may be more famous, but Ravello tops it—literally. French author Andre Gide wrote that it’s “closer to the sky than the sea,” and he’s right.
The town is poised high above the Bay of Salerno, and is celebrated for Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone, two romantic gardens offering spectacular views of the water.
Ravello became famous as the home of the noble families of Amalfi’s 12th-century maritime republic.

Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia, has it all: gorgeous beaches, superb Italianate architecture, plenty of shops, cafés and restaurants, wildlife, and parks.
On the Poetto Beach, flamingos roam in the marshy areas and people picnic under umbrellas. Sardinians call the city “Casteddu” (literally, castle) and the old part of the city high up on the hilltop is certainly worth exploring.
Climb up to Castello for a walk through the narrow cobblestone streets, visit the impressive Bastione San Remy, and stroll over to Piazza Indipendenza for a glorious panoramic view of the city and the sea.

As the easternmost point in Italy, Otranto was originally a Greek village known as Hydruntum, which sided against Rome in the wars of Pyrrhus and Hannibal.
The town gives its name to the Strait of Otranto, which connects the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, and on a clear day, you can see across to Albania.
Over the course of its history, Otranto came under the rule of the Romans, Byzantines, Saracens, Ottomans, and Napoleon’s troops.
Travelers can swim in the pristine turquoise sea and trek up to the Castello Aragonese medieval fortress.

The island of Capri was once the vacation spot of Roman emperors and derives its name from the herds of goats (capra in Italian) that once inhabited it.
The natural beauty of the Grotta Azzurra is unparalleled and became a symbol of the pastoral Romantic ideal when it was “discovered” by Germans August Kopisch, a poet, and artist Ernst Fries in 1826.
A hidden opening in the cave allows light to refract, making the water appear an incredible shade of sapphire blue.
Today, the secret’s out and Capri draws crowds of tourists, but it’s worth a trip for the island’s stunning beauty.

Porto Ercole
When we think about Tuscany, we usually envision rolling hills dotted with cypress trees and Medieval cities, but Tuscany has a coastline too, and a gorgeous one at that.
About halfway between Florence and Rome lies Porto Ercole, “Port Hercules,” in the province of Grosseto.
The town is the final resting place of Caravaggio, who died there on his way back to Rome to receive a pardon after being exiled.

Venice Lido
The Venice Lido became the first European bathing resort in the 1800s when Lord Byron, Lido’s first famous foreign tourist, arrived. He certainly wasn’t the last.
The Lido is a seven-mile strip of beach in Venice that became known as a luxury destination for the likes of Serge Diaghilev, Coco Chanel, and Thomas Mann, author of Death in Venice.
As if Venice wasn’t already beautiful enough, the Lido only increases La Serenissima’s charm.

Located about halfway between Rome and Naples lies the charming town of Sperlonga, once home to Emperor Tiberius. A museum constructed on the former villa of Tiberius displays sculptures celebrating the deeds of Odysseus, which were discovered in the grotto for which the town is named.
Long stretches of pristine beaches draw Romans to the village today.

The picturesque island of Ponza is another popular destination for Romans fleeing the city in the summer. Legend has it the island was named after Pontius Pilate, whose family owned a grotto there.
The Etruscans first colonized Ponza, which may be the last remnants of the lost island of Tyrrhenia, and archeologists have found the ruins of sunken Roman temples nearby.
It is also rumored to be the home of Circe, the sorceress who seduced Odysseus and turned his men into pigs. More recently, Wes Anderson filmed some scenes from The Life Aquatic here.

Sicily is known for its alluring beaches, but Acireale is special. Formed on volcanic rock from Mount Etna, Acireale’s beaches are made of stone, not sand. While this isn’t ideal for sunbathing, it makes for a truly unique place, where ladders descend from the rocks allowing people to climb down into the sea as if it were a swimming pool.

Another off-the-beaten-path spot on the Adriatic, Numana is more tranquil than beach towns to the north, such as Rimini and Ravenna, and just as beautiful. Known during ancient times as Humana, the town later became an episcopal see.
Numana’s city hall was once the Bishop’s palace and now hosts exhibitions.

La Maddalena
The largest town in the Maddalena archipelago, which lies between Sardinia and Corsica, La Maddalena is renowned for its dazzling beaches.
The granite islands are composed of rocky outcroppings, and the coves make for some stunning scenery.

The fortified village of Alghero was taken over by the Aragonese in the Middle Ages and later by Catalan colonists, lending it a distinctly Spanish air.
Many whitewashed buildings feature wrought iron scrollwork and other Spanish embellishments.

Tellaro is a teeny tiny cluster of colorful houses perched on top of a cliff overlooking the Gulf of Poets. Located near the Cinque Terre rockstars, the village develops around a small piazza with its iconic pinkish church looking out onto the sea.
Quaint alleys lead to beautiful panoramic spots where you can sit and relax to the sound of the waves or enjoy a stunning sunset.
There’s not much to do really, but the beauty of Tellaro lies precisely in its simplicity.
The sea in Tellaro is crystal clear.
The marina is dotted with colorful fishing boats and is a quiet place with shallow waters that are perfect for children.

Levanto is a charming town close to the Cinque Terre National Park that offers a friendly atmosphere, great sights and lots of adventures.
Here you can enjoy some fabulous biking trails, take surf classes or just laze on the sandy beach.
The town is filled with interesting landmarks, such as the Church of Sant’Andrea with its iconic black and white stripes.
There is also a lovely waterfront promenade punctuated with beautiful villas, including Villa Agnelli (yep, the founder of Fiat).
The coast around Levanto is rich in hidden coves that can be easily reached by bike along the Ciclopedonale Maremonti.

Borgio Verezzi
Located between Finale and Pietra Ligure, Borgio Verezzi is a lovely Italian coastal town that was established from the union of two municipalities, each with its own unique character.
Borgio is the typical Ligurian seaside resort bathed by shallow waters. Its main attraction is an impressive system of underground caves that will make you feel like you are at the center of the earth!
They are said to be Italy’s most colorful caves because of the great polychromy that characterizes their stone formations.

Caorle is one of those typical Italian seaside villages rich in traditions and sights.
It boasts a super colorful historic center that looks like a miniature copy of Venice and a picturesque little port where you can see fishermen at work mending nets or unloading boxes of fresh fish that will be auctioned at the local fish market.
By the way, a visit to the local fish auction is not to be missed while in town.

Another miniature copy of Venice far less crowded than the real one and equally enchanting is Chioggia, an adorable town nestled on the southern tip of the Venetian Lagoon.

Once the seaport of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Trieste is a splendid border town close to Slovenia.
It’s mostly famous for its strong Bora wind, the regal palaces dotting the city center and a very unique character that resulted from its different past rulers.

The Most Beautiful Seaside Towns in Italy

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