So you’re planning a trip to Puglia’s Polignano a Mare, the famed seaside resort town. Keep reading to find out more about Polignano a Mare beaches and the best ones to visit on your trip.
With its breathtaking clifftop vistas, local history, warm turquoise waters and a buzzing culinary scene, Polignano a Mare is Puglia’s hottest beach resort town. There are many truly wonderful things to do in Polignano a Mare from wandering its labyrinth streets in the afternoon, snacking on gelato or getting up early to catch an epic sunrise from one of the unique balconatas.
As if you need another reason to visit, there’s also the Polignano a Mare beaches. Unassuming but pretty and relaxed, they might not rival those of Positano but then again Puglia has a completely different vibe.
Keep reading to find out more about the stunning Polignano a Mare beaches and which ones to visit based on your itinerary. From the world-famous Cala Porto in town to sandy Spiaggia di Cala Corvino, one of the best sandy beaches in the area.
*This ‘Polignano a Mare beaches’ post contains affiliate links meaning I might make a small profit if you choose to book at no extra cost to you. This helps me to keep providing you with top-quality content for free.
WHY SHOULD YOU VISIT POLIGNANO A MARE?
Polignano a Mare really is one of Italy’s best-kept secrets but it’s getting out and fast. The town is simply gorgeous and truly unique with its clifftop dwellings, fantastic beaches, delicious local food and relaxing atmosphere. It’s the perfect spot for a relaxing weekend away.
If you’re someone who wants to explore Italy but also get away from the crowds and the popular destinations, Puglia and Polignano a Mare make splendid destinations (although I do recommend coming in May, June or September to really have the place to yourself). Compared to Rome, Tuscany, Venice and the Amalfi Coast, Puglia remains quite under the radar especially for international visitors.
HOW TO GET TO POLIGNANO A MARE PUGLIA?
Polignano a Mare sits on Puglia’s beautiful, rocky northern coast, just 30 minutes south of Bari, one of Puglia’s main hubs. It’s a relatively easy place to get to especially if you’re coming from Bari.
Car – The best way to get around Puglia is to rent a car and drive. While Polignano is easily reachable from Bari by public transportation, if you are planning to visit other parts of Puglia and the Polignano a Mare beaches it’s best to have a car. When renting a car in Europe, I personally always use Auto Europe to find the best online deals for car rentals- they really do have the best rates. Click here to find the best rates for your travel dates.
When renting a car in Puglia and for Polignano a Mare rent the smallest car you can- the roads in Polignano and other towns in Puglia are tiny and it helps to have a small car.
Train – From Bari Centrale you can reach Polignano a Mare by train in under 45 minutes with tickets costing less than €5 one way. If you’re visiting Polignano a Mare just for the weekend from Bari or Bari Airport this is a good way to get to town but you won’t have so much flexibility when exploring nearby beaches.
From Bari airport, you’ll need to get another train from the airport to BARI C.LE FNB station, walk to Bari Centrale and then take the train to Polignano. For more information and to book tickets check the Tren Italia website here.
WHERE TO STAY IN POLIGNANO A MARE
As Polignano a Mare is fairly small most people do stay in the center of town or somewhere nearby to make the most of their time in Polignano. Polignano a Mare, being a clifftop town means that there aren’t any hotels in town that have beaches- only 100 ft/ 30m drops into the blue abyss below.
Having said that, there are a few lovely properties just outside town that do have private beach access and as this guide is about the Polignano a Mare beaches I’ve included some of them here. This way you’ll be able to make the most of a beach right by your hotel during the mid-day heat and explore the beautiful town in the early mornings and evening.
Grotta Palazzese Beach Hotel – Grotta Palazzese’s main hotel and famed grotto restaurant are located in Polignano a Mare but for those looking for more space, a relaxed atmosphere and to be on the beach, this is the perfect luxury choice.
Located just past San Vito and less than a 10-minute drive from town, this 5-star hotel has amazing service, modern designed rooms and a private beach for guests. Check availability and rates here.
Echi di Puglia Marsento – A beautiful B&B right on the coast just past Cala Paguro, they offer beautiful, colorful and airy rooms with local design features, a roof terrace with a stunning view of Polignano, especially at sunset and a semi-private beach right outside the property. Check rates and availability here.
Musae Relais & SPA– Modern facilities, free wifi, and beautifully decorated rooms that are both functional and swoon-worthy, this boutique hotel is my pick for those that want to be close to all the action. Make sure to book a room with a terrace for great views and make the most of the on-site wellness center, free bike rental and some really gorgeous decor. Check rates and availability here.
Posea Suites – Located right above Cala Porto in the old town, this little clean and cosy B&B has some of the best beach views around. Opt for one of their double rooms with sea views and enjoy near-perfect sunset or sunrise views of Cala Porto. Their breakfast is also delicious and sets you up for a day of exploration. They also offer private parking too. Check rates and availability here.
Looking for all the best things to do in Polignano a Mare? Read A Weekend in Polignano a Mare, Puglia: The Definitive Guide
TOP POLIGNANO A MARE BEACHES
Polignano a Mare beaches are glorious little coves tucked between rocky, limestone outcrops. They are surrounded by crystal clear blue water which beckons to be jumped into right away.
One thing to note however is the Polignano a Mare beaches are not really sandy. They are rocky and pebbly so if you are looking for a sandy beach destination, the beaches around Polignano a Mare are probably not what you’re looking for and you’ll want to go further south.
Many beaches around Polignano a Mare are actually called calas or coves. They are small inlets that are normally used by local fishermen as landings. They are quite rocky but still make a great place to put down a towel, or as the Puglians do- bring a small deck chair instead to avoid having to sit on the rocks.
BEACHES BY TOWN
If you don’t have a car and want to explore Polignano a Mare beaches, make sure to focus on the beaches in this section. You won’t need a car to get to these (although the final two are a 20-minute walk away from town).
These beaches are incredibly beautiful, small, rocky coves perfect for lounging on for the afternoon in between taking dips in the crystal-clear sea.
Cala Porto or Lama Monachile beach is the most famous beach in Polignano, which you’ll probably already know from social media. It’s one of the smallest beaches in Italy, sitting in a ravine flanked by steep limestone cliffs and a high viaduct Lama Monachile bridge.
It’s a great spot for a few hours of sunshine and bathing while exploring Polignano a Mare and the perfect beach for those that are flying through and don’t really have much time for any other beach.
Due to its fame this beach can get ridiculously busy, especially in the high summer months of July and August so make sure you come early to secure your spot as space here is quite limited. Also due to the high limestone cliffs all around Cala Porto, there is quite a bit of shade around for much of the morning and the latter part of the afternoon. If you’re planning to get some sun- make sure to head over at about 11 am.
If you’re someone with an adventurous side, you can also do a bit of cliff jumping here. In fact, Cala Porto does have a bit of a reputation for being a great and perhaps, somewhat lucky place to take the plunge.
Getting to Cala Porto from the historic center or centro storico is very easy. Walk along Ponte Lama Monachile and then descend the stairs on either side of the bridge. The stairs will turn into a path that will go under the bridge and then down to the beach.
For the best photo of this beach head to Terrazza Santo Stefano just a short walk from Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, Polignano a Mare’s main square.
Just a short walk down the main road in Polignano you’ll reach Cala Paguro, a wonderful little fisherman’s bay perfect for relaxing on. This cove isn’t much of a beach per se but more of peddle inlet with a concrete jetty that’s good enough for relaxing.
There are plenty of spots here to choose from from the rocky headland to the stony beach. One of the most popular spots is also the concrete jetty on which you can just lay down a towel and relax. It’s a great spot from which you can just jump into the clear blue water below.
Cala Paguro is really popular with the locals who come out here for some sun and sea in the summer months.
You can get to Cala Paguro by walking down the main road or taking the scenic coastal path past Pietra Piatta lookout point and the statue of Domenico Modugno.
Lido Cala Paura
Just adjacent to Cala Paguro is Lido Cala Paura, another little cala with a stretch of pebbles to relax on. On Cala Paguro in the summer months, locals rent out deck chairs and parasols for the time you want to stay at the beach. Alternatively, you can also bring your own towel or small deck chair.
On this side of the bay, there is another concrete deck running around the side of the main lido where you can also camp out for the day- perhaps smooth concrete is more comfortable than pebbles on the beach?
Spiaggia di Ponte Lapilli
A 10-minute walk further up the coast from Cala Paura you’ll find another lovely Polignano a Mare beach. This popular cove is a lovely place to stop for a dip when exploring the Puglian coastline and Polignano a Mare’s beaches.
Unlike many other calas nearby, this one is actually quite large, a rock-strewn beach with limestone cliffs on either side and beautiful blue water that’ll be calling your name after a day of exploring under Puglia’s sweltering sun.
Cala Sala (Port’Alga)
For those wishing to get away from the crowds a little more and skip Polignano a Mare beach altogether head south towards Monopoli to Cala Sala (Port’Alga).
Located just outside Polignano a Mare, this beach is a short drive away (3 mins) or a 20-minute walk from town. Parking is available right next to the bay.
If you’re walking then keep following the Polignano a Mare lungomare out of town. When the cliff-top path finishes head around the car park until you get to the road and keep following the road out of town until it turns down towards the sea.
Cala Sala is a lovely little inlet with rocky outcrops on either side, a concrete walkway to relax on with a few quintessentially Puglian fishing boats bobbing around on the clear waters. There’s even a little outdoor library as you decent down if you read Italian and want to grab a book for your beach day.
Grab a book, a good podcast, a towel or a deck chair and spend the afternoon reading and listening to the waves lap at your feet.
Just around the corner from Cala Sala (Port’Alga) is Cala Eremita, another nice little bay to spend a few hours.
You’ll need to be a rock lover to spend some prolonged time here- there isn’t really much of a beach, even a stone one and just rocky outcrops to sit on. However, due to the lack of beach sediment, the water is as clear and blue as it can get.
BEACHES FURTHER AWAY
For those that have rented a car for a weekend in Polignano a Mare or a Puglian Road Trip Itinerary, you’ll be able to put it to good use and perhaps visit some beaches a little further away.
Whether you’re coming in from Bari or from Monopoli these Polignano a Mare beaches are some great spots to consider for a quick stop and a swim before coming into town.
Make sure to note that there isn’t much available around these beaches in terms of water, food or services. If you’re heading out of town, make sure to pack enough water for a beach day out and some antipasti for a lovely beachside picnic.
Right between Polignano a Mare and Monopoli you’ll find this lovely cove. Flanked by rocky limestone outcrops on two sides and secluded by a green, shrub-lined hillside, this is one of the nicest beaches close to Polignano a Mare.
Descend down from the car park and take a seat on the pebble beach or make your way around to the rocky outcrops for some jumping and to find a less crowded spot.
When at Cale Incine you can also check out Torre Incina, some historic ruins sitting on the rocky headland. It’s also possible to organise a scuba dive of this cala and Grotta di Cala Incina, but to do this you’ll need to enquire at dive centers in Polignano a Mare or Monopoli.
Spiaggia di Porto Cavallo
One of my personal favourites, this beach makes the perfect spot at the end of your time in Polignano a Mare if you’re looking for just one more beach or swim before heading back to Bari.
With a small, -almost- sandy beach (actually this one is probably the sandiest beach you’ll find in these parts), this one is really popular with locals but if the beach has already filled up by the time you arrive, make sure to make your way around to the rocky outcrops where you can relax on top of a rock by the sea.
Look out for the many fish around you including those that’ll nibble at all the dead skin on your feet.
Spiaggia di Cala Corvino
Just a little further down the Puglian coastline from Cala Incine, is the delightful little beach of Cala Corvino. This little sandy beach between two rocky headlands is the perfect spot to spend the morning.
During the summer, there is a lido on the beach where you can rent out a lounger and umbrella for the day or half-day, or just take advantage of the sand to throw down your towel. Around the beach, you’ll find some resorts and restaurants open during the summer where you can grab fresh seafood and drinks.
The water here is just divine but it can get a bit choppy if it’s windy.
San Vito Beach
San Vito is a Puglian resort town in its own right and it does also have a pretty good beach. Located a 10-minute drive north of Polignano a Mare, San Vito also has some lovely restaurants and cafes for beachside drinks if you’re looking for a beach day with food options and services.
There are plenty of options for laying down a towel in San Vito, along the small, main beach or on one of the rocky coves. You can also head around to check out the historical Torre di San Vito for a quieter spot to relax, right by the water.
LIST OF POLIGNANO A MARE BEACHES
In summary, here are the best Polignano a Mare beaches to consider visiting when in Polignano. I highly recommend adding them to Google Maps for exploring once you arrive in Polignano a Mare.
-Cala Porto/Lama Monachile
-Lido Cala Paura
-Cala Sala (Port’Alga)
-Spiaggia di Cala Corvino
-Spiaggia di Ponte Lapilli
-Spiaggia di Porto Cavallo
-San Vito Beach
Ready to plan your time visiting the Polignano a Mare beaches? Let me know your questions and comments below, I’d love to hear from you.
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