Indagare Matchmaker: Italian Beach Destinations

Italy’s eternal allure has beckoned travelers for centuries with its dramatic coastline and sophisticated isles. From charming, cliffside villages with dramatic sea views to islands brimming with untamed beauty and secluded coves, Italy plays host to some of the world’s loveliest beach destinations. Here, Indagare reports on our Italian seaside favorites, as well as the iconic lake region, and offers tips on how to see the Italian coast by boat.

Contact Indagare for assistance planning your next trip to Italy. Our specialists can match you with just the right destination and design a custom itinerary.

Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast, around 30 miles south of Naples, is a place where land, sea and sky combine in otherworldly perfection. Positano, the alluring honeymoon destination par excellence, is almost unrecognizable from its days as a humble fishing port, but its wide beach and fabulous hotels are a summer favorite. Continuing east along the road after Positano, the teeny coastal villages line up like pearls on a string: Praiano, Conca dei Marini, Amalfi, Atrani, Cetara.

Beach Scene: The region’s steep coastline means most beaches are narrow and often rocky. Still, it’s one of Italy’s perennially popular beach destinations thanks to the epic scenery.

What Makes It Unique: The cliffside towns with romantic hotels and unsurpassed views

Top Activities: Hiking, leisurely lunches, boating, lounging at beach clubs, cooking classes, visits to Pompeii

Who Should Go: Honeymooners and couples looking for a beautiful backdrop to their romance

Where To Stay: The elegant Le Sirenuse in Positano or the peaceful Monastero Santa Rosa

Fine wine, unforgettable dining, long summer days on the sea, hiking among lush flora and fauna and elegant coastal hotels where glamorous international travelers summer each year define the picturesque port town of Portofino. Located on Italy’s northwest coast, between the Ligurian capital of Genoa and the towns of Cinque Terre, the idyllic seaside village encapsulates the true Italian Riviera. Portofino offers medieval architecture, botanical gardens and a variety of scenic hiking paths through the promontory’s protected nature reserve, and its location makes day trips to Cinque Terre, Pisa and Lucca convenient for those with more time.

Beach Scene: Like the Amalfi Coast, Portofino has limited “beach” offerings. Paraggi Beach, a quiet sandy stretch just outside of town, is where guests from Indagare’s preferred hotels usually go. What Makes It Unique: The enchanting seaside village offers lavish villas and medieval architecture Top Activities: Excellent shopping and dining, day trips to medieval towns, touring gardens, hiking, lounging on beaches Who Should Go: Couples and families who want a relaxing seaside vacation Where To Stay: The elegant, grand-dame Belmond Splendido or the boutique Belmond Splendido Mare



Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean (after Sicily), is about the size of New Hampshire. The glamorous Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) is a relatively small area on the island’s northeast side, which is today a European summer destination on par with St.-Tropez. The rest of the island boasts a rugged, mountainous interior, hidden beach coves and lunar-like landscapes dotted with charming towns.

Beach Scene: Plentiful sandy beaches with several buzzy beach clubs What Makes It Unique: Sardinia boasts a wild, natural beauty alongside a glitzy, yachting scene Top Activities: Boating to undiscovered beaches, shopping the weekly market, hiking, visiting vineyards Who Should Go: Yachters, couples, families Where To Stay: Hotel Romazzino, a beachfront family resort property, Hotel Pitrizza for couples or Hotel Cala di Volpi, the ultimate see-and-be-seen resort

Related: The Two Sides of Sardinia


Nearly the size of Massachusetts, Sicily is the Mediterranean’s largest island. Its many different regions offer a wealth of exploration, from the vibrant city of Palermo to the bucolic corners of the southeast. Because the island has not been overly developed for tourism—although White Lotus has prompted a surge in interest, exploring is still unscripted, making it a destination for travelers who can go with the flow. The island is unapologetically set in its ways, as universally sighed over by many of today’s movers and shakers who want to stir up some lasting changes, especially in the hospitality industry. But for visitors this means a preserved slice of old-world travel that is hard to find these days.

Beach Scene: There are many sandy beaches, such as the tropical-like San Vito lo Capo near Trapani or Cefalù near Palermo. Taormina has a popular, rocky beach. What Makes It Unique: With a melting pot of culture and dramatic landscapes, Sicily is uniquely undeveloped and boasts six UNESCO World Heritage sites Top Activities: Hiking, road trips to Baroque towns, climbing Mount Etna, shopping at local markets, cooking classes, visits to beach coves Who Should Go: Adventurous travelers seeking authenticity, beautiful landscapes and historic sites Where To Stay: Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo in Taormina town or the seaside Villa Sant’Andrea

Related: Sicily Sojourn


Despite its jet-set status, Capri is also a soulful island with especially stunning, fragrant landscapes. Surrounded by the Bay of Naples and Tyrrhenian Sea, the island of Capri lies some 17 miles off the Amalfi Coast of southern Italy. It’s just four square miles and has two townships: the bustling Capri town, near the Marina Grande where the ferries arrive, and the more serene Anacapri, in the west. Here, Italian rhythm is on full display, which includes days spent pool-, or lido-, side, with the occasional shopping afternoon or spa treatment thrown in.

Beach Scene: Capri has few actual “beaches” but some of the most idyllic beach clubs, which often are on rocky outcroppings where it’s easy to jump directly into the Mediterranean. What Makes It Unique: A storied island with glamorous shopping and dining and dramatic landscapes Top Activities: Spending afternoons poolside or beachside, shopping, boating, hiking, visiting the Blue Grotto Who Should Go: Jet-setters, fashionistas, couples Where To Stay: The romantic La Scalinatella in Capri town or outside of town at the designer JK Place

Related: Indagare Matchmaker Capri


The region of Puglia comprises the heel of Italy, a peninsula facing three seas: the Mediterranean, Ionian and Adriatic; the province was once ruled by Greek, Turkish, Roman and Saracen invaders and displays its ancient history in elaborate Baroque churches, UNESCO-recognized trulli houses and exquisite meals perfected through generations of multi-cultural cuisine. With a warm Southern Italian climate, miles of white-sand beaches, and quaint villages, it is surprising that there remain pockets of the region so blissfully undeveloped and unexplored.

Beach Scene: Puglia’s lengthy coastline has myriad sandy beaches, some entirely undeveloped and some with beach clubs. Polignano a Mare (pictured above) is a narrow, pebbly beach that fills up with a mostly-local crowd What Makes It Unique: Beautiful, historic towns that boast an undeveloped feel Top Activities: Day trips to the villages, going to the beach, biking, olive oil and wine tasting Who Should Go: Those who want to explore a pristine, undeveloped part of Italy dotted with charming towns Where To Stay: For more of a country experience, stay at Borgo Egnazia, a family-friendly, five-star resort; for a city stay, La Fiermontina in Lecce

Related: Italian Getaway: Puglia

Porto Ercole

Porto Ercole—meaning "Port Hercules"—is a picturesque town located in the Tuscan municipality of Monte Argentario. Set along the rocky coastline, the port has long been frequented by the discreet and glamorous jet-set (the Dutch Royal Family had a summer residence in the area during the latter half of the twentieth century).

Beach Scene: The area has several small, laid back beaches. Indagare’s favorite hotel in Porto Ercole has a terraced beach club that plunges into the sea. What Makes It Unique: Getting the best of Tuscan food, wine and hospitality with access to day-trips around the region while staying oceanside Top Activities: Exploring the coast by boat, visiting nearby vineyards and soaking up the Tuscan sun Who Should Go: Sophisticated couples looking for a nostalgic Italian escape Where To Stay: Step into a Slim Aarons photograph at Il Pellicano, a chic hideaway above the Med

Moored off the shores of the country’s spectacular islands, those on yachts can take advantage of the shopping, dining and nightlife scenes but then escape when the crowds become too intense. Traveling on a private charter allows passengers to hop between such destinations as Capri, Sicily, the Aeolian Islands, Sardinia and more, as well as access secluded coves and top beach clubs (like Capri’s La Fontelina) that are only reachable by boat.

Beach Scene: As varied as you please What Makes It Unique: The ability to visit multiple islands and seaside villages, and enjoy breathtaking views of the coast Top Activities: Trips to isolated beaches, snorkeling, swimming, jet skiing, water skiing Who Should Go: Groups of friends, families with older children Where To Port: Aeolian Islands, Capri, Sicily, Sardinia, Forte Dei Marmi, Portofino


Lake Como

Lake Como

is surrounded by the pre-Alps, which plunge from 5,000 feet into the water. It is deep (the deepest in Europe at 1,300 feet,) and the cliffs are so steep that the vast majority of development is in the form of small towns that wind along the foothills close to the shore. Above, the mountains are wild, unspoiled and thickly forested.

Published onMarch 15, 2023

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