Best Beaches in Italy

If you’re trying to plan your vacation to Italy, you’ve certainly asked yourself the question – when is beach season in Italy? Well lucky for you, beach season in the Italy is much longer than those few short months (July & August) in the heat of summer. It starts as early as May and can go until mid to late September.

The longevity of our swimsuit season means that, if you are free to do so, you can plan your trip according to which part of the season suits you best! From the north to the south, there are plenty of climates and beaches to satisfy every need and desire, whether you are looking for fun summer crowds or quiet romantic getaways, whether you want to travel on a budget or prefer to avoid other tourists. There’s even multiple options of nude beaches in Italy for those who like to live a little free and risqué.

Peak Beach Season | May – September

High temperatures in May can already hit between 72°F – 75°F (22°C-24°C), and lows stay within the 52°F-59°F (11°C-15°C) range. July and August are by far the hottest months, with highs that can peak to 93°F (34°C), and lows that stay between 64°F-73°F (18°C-23°C). September is cooler, but still warm enough to beach it up, with highs between 75°F – 82°F (24°C-28°C) and lows ranging between 57°F-66°F (14°C-19°C). Keep in mind of course that temperatures are lower in the north and higher in the south.

By comparison, in most US coastal destinations (aside from Florida and California), beach season is limited to July and August, and perhaps a bit of June in certain areas. Same goes for destinations like the South of France. Within Italy itself, northern coastal destinations like Cinque Terre might be too cold to swim in May, but in places like Sicily or Calabria, you might even be able to jump in at the end of April!

With so many beaches in Italy and so much time to enjoy them, let’s be honest, you can be a little picky. So, let’s look at what makes each season more or less attractive depending on what you are looking for from your vacation.

Spring | Best Deals

This time of year is perfect for couples and millennials, looking for romantic getaways, cheaper prices, and younger crowds. Since school is still in session, beaches will still be fairly empty of tourists and families, especially on weekdays, and airfares tend to be considerably less expensive in May than in the rest of the summer. Just remember, if you’re looking for a good beach to swim and soak up some warm sun, stick to researching areas in Southern Italy!

Summer | Peak Season

If you are traveling with kids, this is the best time to go! By now all the stabilimenti balneari (private beach with facilities) are open. These private beaches are widespread around Italy, and are typical of Rome beaches in Ostia and the Tuscan Riviera and make for a great option because they are usually reasonably prices and provide beach beds and umbrellas, are equipped with beach volley courts, playgrounds, snack bars, and other amenities, and are truly perfect for families! Keep in mind this is also the time of year that locals go to the beach (especially August), so more often than not, and of course depending on the location, beaches will be crowded.

Fall | Beat the Crowds

If you want to fully avoid the crowds, but are ok with slightly less hot temperatures, then September is your month, especially if your destination is more southern beaches. Some private beaches will have closed by now, but with cooler temperatures it is also not as necessary to have all the amenities provided by them. If you do find yourself in need of certain amenities, there are many beaches located next to popular towns where you can find most anything you’d need.

What are the best beaches in Italy?

OK, so now that we’ve discussed what part of the season works best for your desires, let’s get to the most important part: which beaches are the best and most beautiful? The same distinction here also applies , of whether you are more interested in fun or natural beauty, or whether you want to avoid the crowds vs. gong to the most popular spots.

Cinque Terre | Picturesque Rocky Beaches

Starting in the north, we can begin with the beloved le Cinque Terre. Situated in the region of Liguria, this chunk of coastal majesty is a must see for its picturesque towns dating back to the medieval era and beautiful trails, along with the gorgeous rocky beaches. It tends to be quite crowded most of the year, but you might hit less crowds if you go in early may or late September. In that case though, it might be too cold to swim. But for those who are less interested in swimming, late spring or September are great months to explore the historical towns and take those romantic strolls on the beach without the crowds or the sweat! So the question is: crowds and beach time or no crowds and potentially no swimming?

Rimini and Riccione | Family Fun Beaches

Jumping a little south and all the way east, we hit Rimini and Riccione. Now, these are not necessarily naturally gorgeous beaches, but these beaches cater to a wide variety of needs, ranging from young party goers looking for great nightlife to family looking for kid friendly resorts. Though these beach areas are known for being relatively crowded in peak summer months, there are a lot of other activities you can do in the area since Rimini and Riccione have rich historic centers with ancient ruins worthy of exploring.

Argentario | Crystal Clear Tuscan Beaches

Zig-zagging again a little south and all the way west, we hit the archipelago known as Argentario. A jewel of Italian beaches, this incredible portion of the Tuscan coast is sure to take your breath away with its crystal waters, beautiful cliffs and islands, and historic fortresses guarding the shores from the stories of the past. This area tends to be fairly crowded in the heat of summer, but there are so many different nooks and crannies you can find among all the rocky mountain sides that you will likely find romantic privacy. To escape the crowds and add a little romance with your hunny or some excitement with your family you can also rent a boat and navigate around all the gorgeous tiny islands!

Amalfi Coast and Capri | Italy’s Iconic Beach

Jumping a bit farther south, we land in the famous each areas of the Amalfi Coast and Capri. A must see if you are coming to Italy, whether or not you are planning a beach-centric vacation. This area of the country is a feast for the eyes, and your taste buds! It is also very historically relevant with Pompeii, Herculaneum and Mount Vesuvius just a skip, hop and jump away. One of the highlights of this area, especially for families, is the close proximity to so many historical treasures. Families and those without kids, will be able to explore the paths ancient Romans walked during the day and relax back at the beautiful coastline in the evening. It is hard to find non-crowded times of the year in this major destination, but the good news is that there is so much to explore in the area and it will very likely always be warm enough to swim!

Calabria, Basilicata and Apulia | Hidden Gem Beaches

Traveling further south into the inside of the boot, right where Calabria, Basilicata and Puglia all converge, there are some of the most unknown beaches to tourists. For those who want to have a more local experience, these are the beaches to visit. Fewer tourists, plenty of siesta-loving locals, an abundance of Italian culture, and old-fashioned villages are just some of the highlights found near these beaches. Added perk: these are some of the most beautiful beaches in the country! With crystal clear waters and snow white sand, you will feel like you’re in the Caribbean.

Sicily and Sardinia | Stunning Beaches

And of course, there’s Sicily and Sardinia. Both of these destinations will be warm and swimmable pretty much the entire spring to early fall season and are also the homes of glorious coastal nature. Tourists tend to gravitate more towards Sicily with it’s rustic vibes, numerous restaurants, and all beach necessity amenities, while in Sardinia with its unrefined landscape littered with thousands of nuraghi (Bronze Age ruins that look like beehives), the tourist crowds are replaced by crowds mostly made up of locals.

See you at the beach!

Whether it’s May or September, whether you’re in the north, south, or on the islands, whether you are looking for beach-side fun and nightlife, beautiful coastal hikes, or romantic rocky nooks, Italy has the beach for you. See you beach-side!