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Beach Holidays in Italy

Everyone has their own version of an idyllic beach holiday in Italy. With over 5,300 miles of shoreline bordering Italy and its islands, take your pick from hideaway pebbly coves to long crescents of golden sand to castaway islands – and everything in between for some of the greatest beach holidays in Italy.

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Perhaps unfairly over-endowed, Italy also has two Rivieras in Liguria. To the west of Genoa are well known resorts such as Alassio and San Remo where brightly coloured parasols and sun beds are as standard as the obligatory daily passeggiata, when everyone struts to see and be seen. But to the east, the more rocky territory harbours very chic Portofino and the five villages clinging spectacularly to the mountainside, the Cinque Terre, perched over beautiful little fishing village bays. But not only offering spectacular beach holidays in Italy, the area also offers glorious walking and cycling trails to boot.

Tuscany’s beaches are as varied as the high number of Blue Flags for beach cleanliness that they hold. For those who like their Italian beaches big and sociable, Forte dei Marmi and Viareggio are perfect for long, lazy day and offer some of the most popular beach holidays in Italy. South of Pisa, the dramatic outcrop of the Argentario Penisula is the site of cool Porto Santo Stefano and small, but very chic Porto Ercole where little coves begs to be explored.

If steep, craggy coastlines float your boat, then the Amalfi coastline is one of Italy’s most picturesque and dramatic but the beaches here are small and the largest stretch of greyish sand is at chic Positano. And although not the best location for beach holidays in Italy, this famous coastline is one of the most beautiful in the world. Nearby Sorrento enjoys spectacular views, sun bed-packed jetties and easy access to legendary rocky Capri. For an alternative, head to Capri’s big sister island, Ischia, where beaches are long and soft and thermal springs are a delight for wallowing in – even in winter.

Farther south, the lesser-know Basilicata region is rugged, unspoiled and a contender for one of the country’s most beautiful coastal areas around Maratea where dozens of gorgeous, secret beaches await. This spectacular stretch of coast, just 25km long overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, refuses to heed to the siren call of mass tourism.

Puglia in the ‘heel’ of Italy offers diverse beach holidays in Italy with its long, spectacular coastline including, at its ‘spur’, the Gargano Peninsula. Here ancient forest plunges to the sea and picturesque towns such as Peschici and Vieste cling to the coast – indented with grottoes, extraordinary rock formations and long sandy beaches. On the west side of ‘the heel’, overlooking the pale turquoise Mediterranean waters lap at an abundance of spectacular white sandy beaches.

For castaway islands, the tiny Pontine Islands just off Lazio are a celebrity hideaway.

Sicily’s necklace of archipelagos include the volcanic Aeolian Isles, the Egadi and the chic black island of Ustica and Pantelleria. Being the largest Mediterranean island, Sicily has a long and diverse coastline where you can access anything from dramatic rocky coves to the idyllic beaches of Taormina in the north east to the fascinating beach now under UNESCO called Scala dei Turchi found close to Agrigento – Valley of the Temples.

However, the most beautiful island coastline in the whole of Italy is Sardinia and offers some of the world’s most idyllic beach holidays in Italy where sugar-soft sands dip into waters of dazzling shades of emerald and aquamarine.