Soak up the secret coastlines of Italy

Italy is home to some of the planet’s dreamiest coastlines but some are better known than others. Here are five you can enjoy to yourself…

4 mins

The glamour of Amalfi Coast’s dramatic cliff-hugging roads, colourful cascading towns with some of Italy’s most sought after hotels, is the postcard of an Italian coastal dream. However, with around 7,900km of coastlines in Italy, there are untouched shores just waiting to be explored. Here are five alternatives worthy of the perfect coastal holiday that you can enjoy yourself...

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1. Liguria

Sharing the same coastal geography as France’s Côte d'Azur, the Italian Riviera of Liguria is possibly Italy’s most underrated seaside destination. The 350 km coastline shares a similar topography with the likes of Amalfi Coast, where Ligurian mountains run steeply to the sea. From the gentle seaside of Riviera dei Fiori along the French border to the historic port city of Genoa, birthplace of Christopher Columbus, the Ligurian coastline is filled with day trip possibilities. Soak up the romance of the colourful villages of Cinque Terre or enjoy an adventure-filled holiday involving hiking and cycling. The Ligurian beaches have more Blue Flag certifications than anywhere in Italy, making this seaside holiday a little secret to keep to yourself!

Where to stay

Royal Hotel Sanremo is a large, period property that has been welcoming guests to the Italian Riviera since 1872. With stylish, well-appointed rooms, the temptation of delicious Ligurian and Mediterranean cuisine at the restaurant, and an outdoor swimming pool area that feels like a natural oasis, this is a holiday maker’s home away from home.

2. Tuscany

The dreamy postcard image of Tuscany is of rolling hills laced with white gravel roads, and lines of Cypress trees leading to beautiful wineries and villas. Its beaches are often forgotten and overlooked and yet it is one of the unique seascapes of Italy. Stretching for more than 200km, it is known as the Etruscan Coast after the pre-Roman civilisation that settled here, with the coast lined with beautiful pine forests that meet white sand dunes. Visit during the vibrant carnival festival of Viareggio to soak in the vibe and drop in to opera composer Giacomo Puccini’s villa on Lake Massaciuccoli. For culture, check out the vibrant town of Livorno, take a day trip into Pisa or simply relax on the quiet beaches.

Where to stay

Grand Hotel Royal Viareggio is luxury living with an old school charm. Situated right in the heart of Viareggio’s lively coastal promenade with the spectacular backdrop of the Alpi Apuane mountains and the calm Tyrrhenian Sea within one sweeping vista. The hotel offers a wide range of activities that will delight anyone looking for a Tuscan seaside break.

3. Cilento

Roughly 100km south from the famous Amalfi Coast lies an alternative coastline that shares the charm without the crowds. Cilento is possibly Italy’s best kept secret. The landscapes around the town of Palinuro, where dramatic limestone cliffs fall straight into the sea, is simply fantastic. The area’s quiet coastal towns are a great alternative to the jam-packed Positano, equally beautiful, completely authentic. Active travellers will find plenty of hiking trails in the Cilento National Park for nature, and the temples and ruins at two UNESCO World Heritage sites will delight those interested in history. Not to mention, miles and miles of beaches along this part of the Italian coastline, perfect for whiling away the hours bounded by the azure of the sea.

Where to stay

Family friendly Hotel Saline on the beach in Palinuro is a bright and cheerful property with a wide range of services for a relaxing seaside break, offering modern rooms with plenty of comfort for the days not out exploring the area, and a restaurant that focuses on the intangible heritage of the Mediterranean diet.

4. Puglia

Puglia is having a moment. The Stiletto heel of Italy is a region that is recently receiving worldwide attention with its mesmerising cyan coloured coast. While Puglia is mostly on the Adriatic Sea, its coastline boasts the meeting point of the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea and possesses some of the most unique cultures in Italy. From the postcard perfect Polignano a Mare, the whitewashed towns of Locorotondo and Ostuni, the Baroque Lady of Lecce to Albertobello, an iconic UNESCO World Heritage site, known for its ancient architecture, Puglia presents a surprise around every corner. When in Puglia, dive into the region’s cuisine, known for its freshness from the land. Of course, no visit to Puglia can be complete without trying some local primitive wines from the many wineries and masserias.

Where to stay

A luxury hotel in a quieter part of the Apulian Adriatic coast, the boutique Canne Bianche Lifestyle Hotel is the perfect base to explore the surrounding gems of Puglia. There is a gentle ambiance throughout the property, including neutrally decorated rooms fitted with style and comfort. From horseback rides, bikes, cooking classes and wellness treatments, this is the place to live the Apulian dream.

5. Calabria

Calabria has long been hidden away from mass tourism, and is truly the secret Italian coast. Its 800km coastline, known as Costa degli Dei, Coast of the Gods, boasts rugged and wild seascapes lined with a combination of pebbled and sand beaches, with the hinterland covered in patches of vineyards and beautiful historical villages. Tropea, an attractive seaside resort, has a cliff-top old town webbed with narrow alleyways, time stamped palazzos, ancient churches, a lively Saturday market and stunning views of the surroundings. Calabria is great for the adventurous. Take boat trips to the nearby islands, hike among pine forests in Sila National Park or get on a bike and explore a little further afield from the accommodation. The options are endless.

Where to stay

Close enough to Tropea for visiting but far enough to escape the crowds, Sentido Michelizia Tropea Resort is located on a clifftop with magnificent views of the sea. Rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated, when not exploring, the large swimming pool is the perfect place to relax, before dining at the restaurant for seasonal fresh cuisine from the region.

Explore with the experts

For 95 years, Citalia has been helping their customers discover the real Italy. They are experts in finding unique experiences for every type of holidaymaker, with extensive knowledge of Italy and their surroundings, their attention to detail and personal touch are unmatched. With the added renowned Italian Chef Gennaro Contaldo as Citalia’s brand ambassador, there’s also an element of great gourmet experiences to be had, which is what all perfect Italian holidays are made of.

Plan your Italy adventure with Citalia

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