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Spiagge del Salento Ionico - spiaggia di Punta della Suina - best beaches in Salento

Puglia is one of Italy’s jewels, attracting admiration and envy from all over the world, thanks to its beautiful sea and its hinterland rich in history and culture. In particular, one of the most popular areas in recent years is Salento.

In this article we will tell you about our 8-day itinerary in Salento, the southern peninsula of Puglia, enclosed between the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea, discovering the best places to visit in Puglia and the best beaches in Salento.

Guide Salento: our 8 days puglia itinerary

Salento is known for its beautiful beaches, washed by the waters of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, inviting you to relax and swim in crystal clear waters. But Salento is much more than just a beach destination. This region is rich in history, with ancient cities, medieval villages and archaeological sites that bear witness to the different civilizations that have left their mark over the centuries.

Salento’s culture is equally fascinating, with a strong musical, culinary and folkloric tradition.

In short, Salento offers a fascinating blend of natural beauty, history and culture that makes it a must-see for travelers who want to explore Puglia. We followed an 8-day itinerary, exploring the entire coast and moving through the hinterland. In this article we tell you about the itinerary for visiting Salento DIY in 8 days that we followed, from the Ionian to the Adriatic coast!

Puglia itinerary DAY 1 – Gallipoli, the “capital” of Salento

The first day of the trip on our itinerary to visit Salento DIY in 8 days started in Gallipoli in the early afternoon, after arriving from Matera and stopping for lunch in Alberobello, which we will be writing two articles about soon!

We chose to stay in an apartment just outside the historic center of Gallipoli, but within walking distance in about twenty minutes. This choice allowed us to be close to the beach and the waterfront while avoiding the chaos and traffic of the center.

After a long trip, we were a bit tired, so we spent the afternoon at the beach of Baia Verde, near Gallipoli. In the evening, however, we went to the historic center to have dinner.

Located on a small island connected to the mainland by a bridge, the historic center of Gallipoli is dominated by the majestic presence of the Angevin Castle at the entrance. Exploring the historic center is a unique experience, with its charming alleys filled with shops and clubs. The white Lecce stone that characterizes the local architecture adds a touch of beauty, and the smell of freshly baked pucce makes the atmosphere even more charming.

ITINERARIO PER VISITARE IL SALENTO FAI DA TE - Pescatore al lavoro nel porto vicino alla città vecchia di Gallipoli in Salento - GUIDE SALENTO

The port of Gallipoli

Puglia itinerary DAY 2 – Porto Cesareo, spiaggia di Torre Chianca, Torre Lapillo

The second day of our itinerary to visit Salento DIY was entirely dedicated to the beautiful beaches in the area north of Gallipoli.

In the morning we went to Porto Cesareo beach, a beautiful bay characterized by white sand and deep blue crystal clear water. The water looked almost like glass when the wind was calm, creating a truly spectacular view. The bay is surrounded by clubs and bathing establishments, but also offers an area of free beach.

Late in the morning we visited Torre Chianca beach, which is located north of Porto Cesareo beach. This is a charming little bay, less crowded but just as picturesque.

In the afternoon we went to Torre Lapillo, which has similar characteristics to Porto Cesareo beach. Here we were able to spend more hours relaxing and swimming in the turquoise waters.

In the evening we stopped in Porto Cesareo for dinner. The best parking to reach the center is near the port, but it can be difficult to find a free spot, so a little luck is always helpful! Restaurants and eateries line the waterfront and the picturesque alleys that lead into the historic center.

Puglia itinerary DAY 3 – Punta Prosciutto, Campomarino, Maruggio

The next day, in the morning, our itinerary for visiting DIY Salento included a first stop at Punta Prosciutto, one of the most popular and therefore quite crowded beaches. There are several bathing establishments here, interspersed with stretches of free beach.

The beach of Punta Prosciutto is very long and, as it is not protected by a bay, it is a bit more exposed to the wind than the other beaches to the south.

In the afternoon we decided to go to Campomarino beach, which was less crowded than the other beaches we visited. This beach is also quite exposed to the wind, but the most striking part is the southern part, where the dunes extend and the beach is completely free.

In the evening we decided to explore the small village that impressed us the most: Maruggio. This small village is an intricate labyrinth of picturesque alleys, enriched by numerous typical bars and taverns. Maruggio is less crowded than more famous places such as Gallipoli and Porto Cesareo, making it the perfect choice if you are looking for a quiet evening away from the hustle and bustle, where you can enjoy the authentic local atmosphere.

ITINERARIO PER VISITARE IL SALENTO FAI DA TE - Poesie scritte sui muri dei vicoli storici del paese di Maruggio in Salento - GUIDE SALENTO

Alley in Maruggio

ITINERARIO PER VISITARE IL SALENTO FAI DA TE - Il mare azzurro e la sabbia bianca della spiaggia di Torre Lapillo in Salento - GUIDE SALENTO

Torre Lapillo beach

ITINERARIO PER VISITARE IL SALENTO FAI DA TE - La spiaggia dorata e il mare blu della spiaggia di Campomarino in Salento - GUIDE SALENTO

Campomarino beach

Puglia itinerary DAY 4 – Punta della Suina, Porto Selvaggio, Nardò

On the fourth day of our guida Salento, we traveled both north and south of Gallipoli, first heading south until we reached Punta della Suina. At the time we went, there were no bathing establishments open and the beach was sparsely populated. This allowed us to enjoy this small bay, devoting ourselves to some snacks and relaxing in the coves where natural shallow water pools have formed.

In the afternoon we moved to the beautiful beach of Porto Selvaggio. This enchanting beach is tucked away in a cove that can be reached by a 20-30 minute walk from the main parking lots (be patient on the way back, as there is a steep climb!). Except for a small area of beach, the cove is characterized by rocks and surrounded by a pine forest, ideal for laying out your towel and enjoying some shade.

As the name suggests, Porto Selvaggio is without a doubt the wildest beach we discovered in Salento and one of the best beaches in Salento.

In the evening we stopped in Nardò, a town a little bigger than Gallipoli, with a typical Apulian center, where in the alleys and squares you can find various clubs and restaurants.

Puglia itinerary DAY 5 – Marina di Pescoluse, Torre Mozza, Torre San Giovanni

On the fifth day of our itinerary to visit Salento do-it-yourself, we went to the so-called “Maldives of Salento”, and the name itself suggests the extraordinary beauty of this place. The beach is heavenly, with crystal clear water and shallow depths that extend for a very long stretch. The only downside to this beach is the crowds and the constant presence of street vendors passing by every two minutes, so…forget your nap!

For lunch we moved to Torre Mozza beach, so called because of the partially destroyed tower that stands on the beach.

In the late afternoon, we headed to the beach of Torre San Giovanni, a beautiful seaside resort near the city. After a pleasant walk along the seafront, we decided to stop here for dinner and end our day at the beach.

ITINERARIO PER VISITARE IL SALENTO FAI DA TE - L'acqua azzurra e trasparente a Marina di Pescoluse, conosciuta anche come le Maldive del Salento - GUIDE SALENTO

Maldives of Salento

Puglia itinerary DAY 6 – Marina Serra natural sea pool, Cala dell’Acquaviva, Grotta Zinzulusa, Castro

On the sixth day of our itinerary, we decided to explore the Adriatic coast, which in our opinion offers a greater variety of beaches. Our first stop was Marina Serra, where we discovered a natural swimming pool protected from the open sea by a cliff. This natural pool is not particularly large and the space available for relaxing is limited, so we recommend visiting it early in the morning to best enjoy this hidden jewel.

To the north of Marina Serra, we made a short stop at Cala dell’Acquaviva, a small cove surrounded by greenery. This place takes its name from the “fresh” water springs that flow from the bottom.

In the afternoon we went to visit the ZINZULUSA CAVE, located near Castro. The Zinzulusa Cave fascinated us with its beauty and its imposing and suggestive entrance.

In the late afternoon we visited Castro, with its enchanting walk around the walls and the majestic ARAGONESE CASTLE, from which you can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding area. For dinner we stopped at one of the various restaurants overlooking the picturesque Piazza della Vittoria.

ITINERARIO PER VISITARE IL SALENTO FAI DA TE - Passeggiata al tramonto lungo le mura storiche della città di Castro e vista sulla spiaggia - GUIDE SALENTO

Walking in Castro

ITINERARIO PER VISITARE IL SALENTO FAI DA TE - La cala di Marina Serra nel Salento è una piscina naturale protetta dalla scogliera - GUIDE SALENTO

Marina Serra natural sea pool

ITINERARIO PER VISITARE IL SALENTO FAI DA TE - L'accesso attraverso un camminamento nella scogliera sul mare alla Grotta Zinzulusa in Salento - GUIDE SALENTO

Cave Zinzulusa

Puglia itinerary DAY 7 – Porto Badisco, Cava di Bauxite, spiaggetta dell’Orte, Otranto (one of the best places to visit in Puglia)

On the seventh day of our itinerary to visit Salento do-it-yourself, we continued along the Adriatic coast, making our first stop at the beach of Porto Badisco. This beach is smaller in size and is located in a small bay that can be reached by a short walk from the main town.

In the afternoon we continued our journey towards Otranto, stopping to visit the Bauxite quarry and the nearby beach of Orte. The Bauxite quarry fascinated us with its intense red colors, and we had the opportunity to walk to the nearby wild beaches, such as the small Orte beach.

In the late afternoon we spent some time in the beautiful town of Otranto. Here we enjoyed a suggestive aperitif at sunset in one of the many places along the seafront, followed by dinner. The historical center of Otranto is fascinating, with its characteristic bars and shops scattered among the picturesque alleys.

Puglia itinerary DAY 8 – The best beaches in Salento: Baia dei Turchi, Torre Sant’Andrea, Grotta della Poesia, Torre dell’Orso, Roca Vecchia

The eighth and last day of our itinerary to visit Salento do-it-yourself included another adventure along the Adriatic coast of Salento.

In the morning, we set out for Baia dei Turchi, a wonderful place characterized by a variety of landscapes: to the south of the bay we discovered numerous secluded coves, while to the north extends a splendid white sand beach with shallow waters.

Our second stop was Cala di Sant’Andrea, dominated by white stone stacks. This area is perfect for snorkeling and is an excellent point for diving enthusiasts as there are only rocks and reefs around the cove.

In the afternoon we visited the wonderful Grotta della Poesia, a nearly perfect circular formation that opens into the ground and contains a beautiful natural swimming pool. When we were there it was still possible to dive, but recently it has been banned.

The last stop of the day was the beach of Torre dell’Orso, known as the “Caribbean of Salento”. This beach is very wide and overlooks the town of the same name. Here you can find both equipped areas and free spaces, especially in the part near the Two Sisters, two rocks jutting out of the water next to each other.

For dinner we stopped in the less frequented village of Roca Vecchia, where time seems to have stopped and where there are some typical restaurants.

ITINERARIO PER VISITARE IL SALENTO FAI DA TE - Il mare azzurro e cristallino nelle calette della Baia dei Turchi - GUIDE SALENTO

Baia dei Turchi

ITINERARIO PER VISITARE IL SALENTO FAI DA TE - Le mura in pietra della parte antica e storica della città di Otranto e una torre difensiva - GUIDE SALENTO


ITINERARIO PER VISITARE IL SALENTO FAI DA TE - Il buco circolare nel terreno che si affaccia sulla Grotta della Poesia in Salento - GUIDE SALENTO

Grotta della Poesia (Cave of Poetry)

We hope that this article will be of inspiration for you to organize your itinerary to discover the fantastic Salento! If you are interested in the topic we recommend you read the related articles you find next to the menu and remember…trip to try!

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