Experts' Choice 2021: Italy wins Best Beach Destination

Italy wins our Experts' Choice award for Best Beach Destination for its hundreds of beautiful beaches.

April 23, 2021

by Laura Thayer

by 61

With tantalizing coastlines and jewel like islands, Italy is a natural choice for Best Beach Destination in our Experts’ Choice awards. An abundance of options, including 482 Blue Flag beaches noted for their clean water and beauty, as well as a focus on safe beach experiences, makes it an ideal choice for a future  holiday.
Whether you’re sipping a Spritz and admiring the glamor of the Amalfi Coast, soaking in Ischia’s thermal waters, or seeking out hidden away coastlines in Tuscany or Sicily, there’s a beach perfect for every traveler in Italy.

The Amalfi Coast has dozens of pretty beaches.

Italy’s famous Amalfi Coast is a treasured summer escape destination, and for good reason. Along this stretch of rocky coastline dotted with colorful villages you’ll find one pretty beach after another. From Positano’s photogenic Spiaggia Grande 79 to the picturesque Fiordo di Furore 82, there are beaches for every taste. As well as Spiaggia Grande, Positano is home to two more Blue Flag beaches. Right in town, stroll to the Spiaggia Fornillo or hop on a boat to the nearby Spiaggia Arienzo.

Santa Caterina hotel, Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast boasts many off the beaten path beach destinations as well as hotels with exclusive beach access. The family-run Santa Caterina Hotel 87 offers a refreshing blend of personalized service with five-star luxury. With a private pool just steps from the sea, you can enjoy the best of both swimming experiences. The hotel’s Glicine restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in 2020 and is a must for gourmands on the Amalfi Coast.
Enjoy a peaceful escape near the western tip of the Amalfi Coast in Nerano, with two Blue Flag beaches, Marina del Cantone and Recommone Bay just a short walk away. Toward the eastern end of the coastline, get away from it all at the seaside town of Cetara, famous for its fishing fleet and good food.
Just steps from Cetara’s charming beach, try all the specialties at Acquapazza 79 including locally produced Colatura di Alici, a strong fish oil made with freshly caught anchovies. In late 2020, the Colatura di Alici was awarded DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) status, which highlights and protects unique regional foods throughout Italy.

Marina Grande beach, Capri

Italy’s islands shimmer in the summer months and nothing says chic holiday quite like Capri. The island’s rocky beaches at the foot of the Faraglioni have plenty of drama, and iconic blue and white stripped umbrellas fluttering in the sea breeze. Enjoy all the comforts at the Capri Palace, a peaceful oasis in Anacapri complete with spa, pool and Michelin-starred restaurant L’Olivo The hotel’s private beach club Il Riccio has fine dining overlooking the sea near the famed Blue Grotto 79
If you’re looking for pampering on your Italian holiday, book an escape to Ischia. Famous for its healing thermal waters, the island’s many spas and beaches offer the perfect restorative break. Plan time to explore the beautiful beaches, which are well-equipped with beach clubs and services. For a unique experience, visit the Baia di Sorgeto where you can soak in bubbling hot thermal springs at the edge of the sea.
Excelsior Belvedere Hotel & Spa has everything you need for a relaxing beach holiday. Soak up the sun beside the pool surrounded by a lush garden or dive into the sea at the hotel’s private beach nearby.

The tiny island of Procida between Naples and Ischia is a dreamy beach destination perfect for leisurely days and reveling in the charm of pastel hued fishermen’s houses. The island has been chosen as Italy’s Capital of Culture for 2022, so this is the time to visit before the world finds out how picture perfect it is.

Four Seasons Taormina

Sicily is famous for its captivating beaches and crystal-clear sea.  One of the hottest new hotels of the year is the San Domenico Palace Hotel 91Located in San Domenico Palace, a 14th-century monastery overlooking the Ionian Sea, the hotel has terraced gardens to enjoy fine views of the sea and Mount Etna in the distance.
Take a private boat excursion along the scenic coastline by Isola Bella to secluded swimming and snorkeling spots. It’s the ideal way to kick off a beach hopping holiday around the island, with stops at stunning locations like the white cliffs of Scala dei Turchi, Capo d’Orlando beach and the Aeolian Islands.

Cala Goloritze beach, Sardinia

For a holiday in a less visited region of Italy, head to the island of Sardinia. Although popular with Italian travelers, especially in the summer, the island manages to be just off the radar for many international travelers  — in the best possible way. For a romantic and private escape, stay at Villa Las Tronas Hotel & Spa 90 in Alghero on the northwest coast of the island. This 19th-century villa, set on a small rocky peninsula, is surrounded by gardens and sea views that you’ll be dreaming about for years to come.

Laura Thayer is the author of “Moon Amalfi Coast with Capri, Naples & Pompeii” and the Amalfi Coast based travel website