Whether it’s the middle of summer or the long nights of winter, dreaming of the sun-soaked shores of Italy is a common vacation fantasy. And with so many beach resorts in Italy across the country’s 4,00 miles of shoreline, there’s a good chance there’s a resort you can afford in a place you want to visit.
The best beaches in Italy range from white-sand beaches dotted with colorful umbrellas and Europeans living la dolce vita to more rugged and rocky coastlines with beach chairs tucked into nooks and crannies. Some of Italy’s beaches are wide and sandy, but you’ll also find popular beaches covered in pebbles where you’ll surely want to spring for a beach chair rental.
From the stunning Amalfi Coast to the picturesque Sardinian coastline and lesser-known reaches to the north, these are the best beach resorts in Italy for travelers aching to discover the beauty of Italy’s stunning coastlines.
A quick note about cost: Italy has long been the go-to summer getaway for much of the summer vacation crowd in Europe, so prices rise exponentially in the summer, especially for hotels on the beach. Go in May before school breaks or in September before it gets cold to (hopefully) find the right balance of warm weather and smaller crowds. The earlier or later in the season you visit, the further south you’ll want to go.
We hope you love the spaces and stays we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.
Where to find the best beach resorts in Italy
Italy, as you can guess, has plenty of coastal beaches. If you visit in the middle of summer when all of the country is warm, you can also visit some of the lakeside hotels further north and find warm enough weather for lounging. If you’re visiting a small town, consider relying on Italy’s train system to get around, rather than dealing with parking in the busy summer season.
Hotel Poseidon is on the Amalfi Coast in the town of Positano, and there’s no beating around the bush: it’s a very expensive place to visit. But you can save a few Euros by booking a room at the Hotel Poseidon, which does not have a private beach. That makes the rooms cheaper than beachfront Amalfi Coast properties, even though it’s still a high-end, four-star resort.
Rooms at the Hotel Poseidon have a classic Italian feel, with tile floors, arched doorways, and wrought-iron balconies. Many rooms have coastal views, and there’s a cocktail bar by the pool overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, plus a rooftop restaurant for something more formal. The hotel’s central location also makes it easy to walk to most of the restaurants in Positano.
When you do want to hit the beach, it’s an eight-minute walk to Spiaggia Grand (i.e. Positano Beach). There’s a public area, or you can rent loungers and umbrellas and such from the various beach clubs. Also nearby is Fornillo Beach, which tends to be a little less busy (but it’s still, you know, the Amalfi Coast in the summer). It’s about a 10-minute walk and you can also rent beach chairs and umbrellas when you get there.
Private beach? Sort of — private sea access, with a beach club built into the cliffs
Rates from: $615/night
If Amalfi brings to mind visions of terraces covered in fresh lemon trees, rocky cliffsides dotted with small clusters of deck chairs, and VIP beach service where the only thing you need to carry with you is your sun hat, you’re thinking of Hotel Santa Caterina in Amalfi. It’s one of the most luxurious beach resorts in Italy, with a private beach club overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. There’s even a salt water swimming pool and several outdoor terraces with live music and evenings illuminated with hanging white lights.
As you’d expect, living like Italian royalty on summer holiday doesn’t come cheap, and even the “low” rates in the summer are still extremely expensive. So add this to your list of potential honeymoon locations, rather than a place you’d book on a whim — especially if you want the “Romeo and Juliet” suite, with a private pool built directly into the cliffs. While rates start in the $600s, it’d be hard to find a room in the summer for under $1,000 per night.
If you’re looking for a beach resort in Italy on the island of Sicily, Hotel Capo San Vito should fit the bill. It sits on a white sand beach (and has its own beach club and beach bar), though it’s also close to many of Sicily’s other great beaches. That includes the shoreline at the Monte Cofano Reserve and the gorgeous Faraglioni di Scopello, a private beach best reached via a boat tour.
San Vito Lo Capo is a popular beach town on Siciliy’s northwestern coast, known for soft beaches and generally calm, warm water. However, if the beach isn’t your thing, take note, as this hotel doesn’t have a pool. However, there is plenty of outdoor space around the hotel, including several gardens and lounge areas. Rooms aren’t very large, but they are nicely appointed. There’s also a three-person suite, which could be a good option for groups of friends traveling together through Italy.
Sardinia is a bit more rugged and outdoorsy than the rest of Italy’s big beach destinations and can — sometimes — be a smidge cheaper than other beach areas. Baglioni Resort has stunning views, a Michelin-starred restaurant, private multi-room villas, and modern rooms akin to something you’d expect to find in Cabo San Lucas.
But the real highlight of this resort is no doubt its private beach, offering visitors an idyllic escape along the pristine coastline. From Lu Impostu beach, guests can paddle, swim, snorkel, or take boat tours to scuba dive or enjoy a romantic sunset cruise.
Nearby on Sardinia, you’ll find places to go cliff diving, pine forests ideal for morning hikes, and can’t-miss destinations like Poetto Beach and the Cagliari Old Town. The island is the second-largest in Italy and actually has quite a few more budget-focused accommodations, though most that are under $300 or so a night are unlikely to be within walking distance to the beaches.
Hotel Palme exemplifies old-school, low-key Italian style, the way it was decades before “The White Lotus.” It’s one of the best beach resorts in Italy if you dislike the idea of a sprawling, modern resort. It’s a true mom-and-pop place, with an on-site restaurant, gardens, and a big breakfast spread every morning. The bright pink hotel is a one-minute walk from Fegina Beach and proof that a gorgeous Cinque Terre basecamp need not cost an arm and leg. Rooms during weekends in the summer start at $217 — quite the steal for this part of Italy. The rooms are nothing special, but you’re not there to spend all day inside, right?
The hotel is in Monterosso al Mare, the largest of the villages in Cinque Terre (Cinque Terre means “five lands”). It’s a beautiful town known for stunning beaches and coastal walks between towns, plus dozens of excellent restaurants and cafes. And if you want to save money on a car rental, consider reaching Cinque Terre by train — having a car in the tiny towns is a bit of a headache, anyway.
Private beach access on a local beach beloved by Italian locals and surrounded by local restaurants and cafes — what could sound better than that? Beach resorts in Italy can get quite pricey, which is what makes the Aurora Hotel a great choice. It’s in Sperlonga, halfway between Rome and Naples. That’s where you’ll find the famous Grotta di Tiberio (a beach grotto owned by a Roman emperor), and the town has plenty of free beaches.
The Aurora Hotel has its own private stretch of beach, and guests get an umbrella and loungers to use while there. Rooms at the hotel aren’t particularly stylish and are more akin to what you’d find at a nice beach motel in the States. But that said, many have balconies or terraces, and the hotel itself has an affordable terrace restaurant overlooking the cute town. Sperlonga is easily accessible via train from Rome, making it a popular day-trip location for Romans — which means it tends to be less busy in the evenings compared to destinations used to overnight guests.
Il Pellicano is one of the most luxurious beach resorts in Italy, with a private beach and huge terraces covered in clusters of sun loungers and oversized umbrellas. It’s as chic and classically Italian as you can imagine, and rooms have flower-covered balconies and terraces. It’s actually the sprawling former home of European elites in the 1960s, but now, it’s a glam hotel for travelers willing to fork out the admittedly steep nightly rate.
The resort has its own large beach area on the Argentario Coast steps from the hotel, complete with a private pier, heated swimming pool, and cliffside elevator. There’s also great snorkeling from beaches in the area, in case you need a break from sitting in the sun. Oh, and there’s a Michelin-starred restaurant on site, too.
Portofino is in northern Italy, making it best visited in the peak of summer (July and August). The cute town is known for pastel-colored houses, beautiful beaches, and luxury yachts parked in its waters come June. It’s also popular hiking destination and has fantastic northern Italian cuisine (heavy on the seafood, naturally).
If that sounds good, book your room at Hotel Piccolo Portofino. It’s an excellent four-star hotel, with a similar look to some of the more famous cliffside hotels in Amalfi. The hotel has a private beach (it’s pebble-covered, not sandy) and has a series of walkways, gardens, and patios connecting the gorgeous Italian resort with the Tyrrhenian Sea below. And if you do want a sandy beach, it’s close to popular Pedale Beach.
Rooms are fairly modern and don’t have the oversized balconies of some other beach resorts in Italy, but given the hotel’s beautiful outdoor space, there’s no reason to spend much time in your room, anyway.
Portofino’s privileged location and reputation for elegant summer getaways means it’s quite pricey, so it’s surprising to see rates in the summer here starting around $600 per night. It’s downright affordable by Portofino standards.
Funny you should ask: Matador did a complete guide to the pros and cons of every season. It varies a lot on where in the country you want to go, however. You’ll have warm weather year-round in the southern part of the country, but if you head into the mountains in March, you’d better bring your skis. Summer, as you might imagine, is the best time to go to Italy for beaches (but also the most expensive).
Does Rome have a beach?
Ostia Beach, near Rome. Photo: DedMityay/Shutterstock
Indeed, Rome does have a beach — more than one, actually. However, they’re not in the city (since the city is not on the coast). They’re about 45 minutes west, and good options include Ostia Beach and FregeneBeach.
While it’s generally accepted that they’re a bit busier and not quite as picturesque as other beaches in Italy, they’ll make do if you only have half a day to spare. Just remember that many beaches are primarily private, meaning you’ll have to rent beach chairs and such from a beach club, rather than being able to walk in and plop down anywhere you like.
Italy is more than just “the boot.” The country has roughly 450 islands, though some are more popular than others. When it comes to beaches, some of the most popular islands in Italy include Sicily and Sardinia (the largest and second-largest islands in the country, respectively), Capri, and Elba, among many others. Elba may be of particular interest for travelers keen on outdoor activities beyond just relaxing at the beach. It’s a little more rugged, a little less crowded, and a smidge less developed as a tourism destination (for now, at least).