We’re doing a road trip this summer, and I can’t wait.
There’s something about Italy that we just can’t get enough of. This will be our third trip and I can say with certainty, it won’t be our last. Italy offers a perfect mix of jaw-dropping scenery, like pastel villas built into sheer cliffs above the crystal blue Tyrrhenian Sea, mouthwatering meals paired with wine that last all night, the most charming people, and of course stunning beaches complete with warm turquoise water… it just doesn’t get any better.
In advance of our August trip, I’ve circled a few of our picks that this couple will be sure to explore.
1. Rabbit Beach, Lampedusa
Granted, this is not on the mainland of Italy, but it’s a stone’s throw from Sicily (well a measly 105 miles away), so I’m throwing on the list. If you haven’t heard of Rabbit Beach, you may have seen some of her photos floating around the web. It’s probably one of the world’s most popular and most photographed beaches in the world – just Google it and see for yourself. In 2013, Rabbit Beach was voted the world’s best beach by travel site TripAdvisor.
Rabbit Beach is located in the southern part of the island of Lampedusa, the largest of three islands nestled off the coast of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea. If you want remote and quaint, you got it. The island is only 3 Km wide and is 12 Km long. But this gem is surrounded with stunning turquoise water and white sand (yup, not stone which is common on a lot of Italy’s beaches). Can’t wait to check it out.
2. Tropea, Calabria
What makes this seaside resort so alluring is the dramatic cliffs that boarder their beautiful beaches. The downside is that to get from the town to the sea below involves steep long flights of steps or you have to navigate down a zigzag road. Tropea is located in Calabria which is the southern part of Italy.
Tropea is famous for it’s spectacular jagged cliffs that tumble down to the sea offering exclusive little white sand beaches, rocky grottoes and turquoise waters. Tropea offers a number of beaches, some quieter than others, but if you are looking for largest, family oriented beaches there are plenty. These Italian ‘Lido’ beaches offer sun beds, parasols, bar service, baby sitting and more.
(Image: Norbert Nagel)
3. Scala dei Turchi, Sicily
Scala dei Turchi, is a dazzling white rocky cliff, rising 50 metres above the sea level. Scala dei Turchi means ‘The Turkish staircase’ because of its natural shaped steps formed by eroded Marl, clay and silt similar to calcite and limestone. One of the most visually stunning coastlines of Italy is located on the coast of Realmonte, near Porto Empedocle in the southern part of Sicily. Visitors hike down one of a few steep sandy trails that lead to a beach with welcoming warm, Caribbean like turquoise water.
4. Isola Bella, Taormina
Once again Sicily offers up another stunner. We’ll have to hike it to this small island but it will be worth it. Also known as the Pearl of the Ionian Sea, Isola Bella is located within a small bay on the Ionian Sea. During low tide there is a narrow path that connects the island to the mainland beach (seen in the image below).
The Isola Bella is Taormina’s most beautiful (and most popular) beach. It’s a pebble beach (note to self: bring beach/water shoes), set at the foot of the town, fronting the islet of the same name clothed in lush vegetation. We just might take a tour by boat along the coast of the Ionian to see dramatic sea caves, the Grotta Azurra and Capo Taormino.
5. Scalo Maestro, Marettimo
It looks like we’re favouring Sicily, but we’ll be calling it home for a week so we’ll have time to do some serious beach exploring. And Scalo Maesto looks like another beauty.
Just off the western tip of Sicily, lies the island of Marettimo. A small (population: 700) has the kind of wild beauty that gives every moment here a dreamlike quality. The coast of Marettimo is a succession of little coves, caverns and bays, like Grotta del Cammello, Grotta della Pipa, Grotta delle Sirene, Grotta Perciata. The tiny beach of Scalo Maestro is one of the few you can access from the shore, and its gentle slope and clear, calm waters are particularly swimmer, snorkel-friendly.
6. Otranto beach, Puglia
Deep in the heel of Italy’s boot lies the region of Puglia and what it has to offer is spectacular. The bay in the center of Italy’s easternmost town is all soft white sand and shallow turquoise water – a tiny sliver of the Caribbean perched on the Adriatic Sea.
I’ll take the advice from what I’ve read and stop in town first, pick up a crisp white wine, a hunk of fresh bread, and a ball of Puglia’s creamy, buttery burrata, then we’ll while away a few hours sipping and snacking on this little seaside slice of heaven.
Featured image: Scala dei Turchi, Sicily