Puglia, the land between two seas
Thanks to its 800 km of enchanting coast, Puglia is the most sought-after destination for those who love every facet of the sea, able to surprise with its countless scenarios, between stretches of white sand and cliffs overlooking the water.
But, imagining to take a complete tour of the whole coast, from North to South of the region, the first stop will be the Gargano. The Gargano coast goes from Rodi to Mattinata, arriving to count about 140 km of coastline between wide beaches and high limestone cliffs overlooking the sea.
Among the most beautiful bays in the area, worthy of note are the Bay of Manaccorra between Peschici and Vieste, a perfect place for lovers of sailing and windsurfing because it is very widely-known for the winds. Don’t miss out is the Baia delle Zagare, a kilometre of sandy expanse, in the stretch between Pugnochiuso and Mattinata, where two rock cliffs (the Arch of Diomedes and the Window of Dreams) rise majestically with crystalline waters.
Just 500 meters walk from the centre of Vieste, Pizzomunno beach is distinguished by its 26 meter-high limestone tooth, which stands on soft, golden sand, perfect for families with children.
But if you really want to be enchanted by the Gargano, take a boat and go around all those coves that can only be reached by sea, like that of Pontone Tunno with its three pebble beaches protected by steep white rocks, or that of the Sirens’ Valley, so called for the mysterious beauty that distinguishes it, compared to the attraction of the sirens' song, until you go to the Tremiti Islands and especially to the Island of San Domino, full of inlets and caves so beautiful as to be a source of inspiration for many artists.
Continuing our tour along the Adriatic side of the Apulian coast, You have to stop to the famous Bread and Tomato beach (Pane e Pomodoro), close to the centre of Bari. During the day, it is the ideal place for families and children, but after sunset it becomes the fulcrum of the nightlife of the capital between concerts, parties, photographic exhibitions and events of all kinds.
Going down a few kilometres to the south, a must is Polignano a Mare, blue flag from 2008 to today, home of Domenico Modugno, boasts 12 km of enchanting rocky coastline, sometimes sandy, washed by crystal clear waters of a thousand shades. Worthy of mention are the coves of Cala Paura(a cove) with its white pebbles and that of Lama Monachile, in the centre of the village, which enchants with the nuances of the water in an incredible encounter between blue and green.
The tour of the coast of Bari ends at Monopoli. For those looking for fun on long and sandy beaches, the Capitolo Beach is the perfect solution, with countless clubs, discos and lounges by the sea, open day and night.
The coast of Brindisi is characterized above all by beaches of fine and clear, almost golden sand, like the one that colours the landscape of Torre Guaceto, about 1000 hectares of natural reserve around a sixteenth-century tower. Here, to protect a stretch of coast rich in precious species (this area is not included in the list of Marine Protected Areas), bathing is allowed only in some beaches and only until sunset; among these you can choose between the beach of Punta Penna Grossa, the most popular and convenient to reach, and some more hidden coves like the Spiaggia delle Conchiglie(Beach of the Shells).
The journey continues towards the South, touching the Salento waters of the Adriatic side. Here you find a rich selection. For the more sporty there are the beaches of Torre Chianca or Torre Rinalda, stretches of sand more open to local winds and ideal for kitesurfing, windsurfing or sailing.
Continuing to descend, the coast from San Foca down alternates beaches of fine sand with cliffs overhanging the sea, like the two sea stacks that rise from the clear waters of Torre dell' Orso bay or the arc of soft limestone that opens its gaze to the emerald green sea of Torre Sant'Andrea, a small port a few kilometres from Otranto.
The Otranto coast stretch is more sandy, leaving space to the areas of beaches of the Alimini Lakes area and, a few kilometres to the south, Punta Palascia is the easternmost point of Italy where the night of New Year is possible to watch the show of the first dawn of Italy and where, according to the nautical conventions, Adriatic meets the Ionian Sea.
Continuing the tour, the coastline becomes increasingly rocky, passing through Castro where a must is the Grotta della Zinzulusa which owes its name to the "zinzuli", a dialectal term for the rags that recall the karstic formations of which the cave is rich.
Arriving at the southern end of Puglia, you cannot stop at Santa Maria di Leuca, characterized by a high rocky coast. For the bravest, just 5 km from here, a bridge 40 meters high, known as Il Ciolo, will allow you to dive into deep and crystal clear waters.
Going back up the Salento peninsula on the Ionian side, we find mainly sandy stretches, alternating with little rocky coast, mostly of low height. Among the most beautiful beaches, the most popular are the Marina di Pescoluse, also known now as the Maldives of Salento for its white sand and crystal clear water, and also Torre San Giovanni, Torre Mozza, up to the seafront of Gallipoli with the most fashionable beaches of the coast. Continuing to go up the coast, a stop is a must to the bay of Porto Selvaggio, a pine forest that, after a long walk, opens the view to a rocky promontory on a small gravelly inlet.
Passing the clear waters of Porto Cesareo and Torre Lapillo, you will pass the borders of the Taranto province where beaches like that of San Pietro in Bevagna and the Marina of Pulsano surround themselves with vegetation typical of the Mediterranean, alternating with free beaches and establishments bathing.
The coast of Puglia takes all kinds, it is coloured, with its many different shades, each place is unique and every corner of the coast deserves to be discovered!