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Spending your holidays by the sea in Italy means discovering iconic seaside resorts and landscapes. From the coves of Sardinia, to the glamorous resorts of the Amalfi Coast. Speaking of about 8 thousand kilometres of coastline with a variety of breathtaking, wild and pristine beaches. Dive into the gentle waves of the Mediterranean and let yourself be soothed by its crystal clear waters.

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Nature

Baia delle Mimose

In Sardinia at Baia delle Mimose, between fine sand and a thousand shades of blue Light, fine Caribbean-like sand and small clumps of bushes and wild flowers that conjure up images of beautiful deserts: yet we are not on the other side of the world, but in the incredible Sardinia that holds constant surprises in store for us. Welcome to Baia delle Mimose, a long beach on the border between Gallura and Anglona, amidst jagged cliffs overlooking the sea and the typical colours of the Mediterranean maquis. A holiday for the whole family Mimosa Bay is a corner of paradise that appeals to everyone: adults can indulge in lazing around in the sunshine, and youngsters enjoy long swims and organised games on the beach. The scenery is literally hypnotic, thanks also to the soft dunes covered with junipers and sea rosesagainst the backdrop of crystal-clear water, in a postcard-perfect setting. Not far from these small sandy mountains are a few small villas, a shopping centre with the main services, including a tobacco bar, a beauty centre, a boutique and an excursion point. The most popular destination for sportsmen The wind is constant at Le Mimose and this makes the 3 km long coastline perfect for wind and kite surfing. In addition, for those wishing to travel and explore the surroundings, its location is strategic: in fact, it is only 6 km from the town of Badesi, 70 km from Alghero and 80 km from Olbia. A small scenic paradise Among the many surprises Baia delle Mimose has in store is that it is not particularly crowded. This is how this beach, despite its limited size, remains an oasis of tranquillity even in high season. An advantage for tourists who want to spend their holidays in direct contact with nature and, at the same time, not stray too far from their residential centre. From here, one's gaze can sweep over the Isola Rossa in the distance in all its splendour and the outline of the Castelsardo promontory. A Blue Flag beach For its quality services, as well as the cleanliness of its waters, the beach has been awarded the Blue Flag continuously since 2017. The prestigious title was awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education (Fee), after a careful evaluation including, among others, its excellent accessibility, the presence of parking, refreshment facilities and the possibility of hiring bathing equipment. What's more, even four-legged friends can enjoy a well-deserved holiday here. Not far from the mouth of the Coghinas river, there is a small 300 square metre beach with a dog beach, equipped with parasols, bowls and showers. Exploring the surroundings of Badesi The Bay of Mimosas is spectacular, but it is not the only gem in the area. Not to be missed is Li Mindi, with its clear sand and the possibility of catching a glimpse of Corsica and Asinara in the distance on fine days. No less interesting is also Li Junchi, with its golden sand and often windy, so perfect for surfers. Past the mouth of the Coghinas river, another naturalistic treasure awaits: Valledoria, with the seaside hamlet of San Pietro a mare, with its dunes covered in Mediterranean maquis, stretches of vegetation and a seabed perfect for diving and snorkelling.
Nature

Isola di Budelli

Budelli pink beach, a wonder in Sardinia Unique in the world for the unlikely colour of its sand, located in the far North of Sardinia, near the Strait of Bonifacio. The pink beach of the Island of Budelli alongside Razzoli, Santa Maria and the nearby Spargi, are the most unspoiled, wild areas of the Archipelago della Maddalena National Park. A hidden gem Situated in Cala di Roto, which is on the south-eastern side of Budelli Island, the beach glows its special rosy hue. To protect it, the park authorities decided to prohibit tourists from docking their boats on the shore. All around there is an archipelago full of islets, coves, inlets and beaches - all accessible - and sea beds to be discovered. Populated by fish and colonies of soft corals gifting their typical red reflections to the crystalline waters. Heritage to be safeguarded The island was owned privately for the last century. The last individual a New Zealand billionaire who bought it at auction in 2013 for almost 3 million euros. The state however snatched it back and it became public property in 2016. It was assigned to the care of the Archipelago della Maddalena National Park who declared the beach Zone A. This high level of protection prohibits tourists from accessing, passing through, resting and bathing in the water of the island. Stepping on the pink beach is therefore, a now forbidden pleasure, navigation is possible up to the border of buoys, which close access to the bay from about 70 metres from the shore. Having recently evicted the very popular 80 something year old caretaker, who shared the wonders of Budelli with the whole world through social media, the Park council decided to install, in collaboration with the WWF, a surveillance camera system that allows constant monitoring of the beach. Alchemy en rose Sheltered from the wind thanks to a jagged rocky headland and a high juniper hedge, the beach owes its particular colour to a fragile yet powerful alchemy from mixing fragments of coral, granite, shells and molluscs in its fine sand. The rare pink hue is particularly influenced by a microorganism that lives inside the shells, decorating the seabed in the Posidonia meadows. When this microorganism dies, its shells get swept to shore pulverized by the currents and atmospheric qualities. In the last century, frequent anchoring and the irregular motion of the sea compromised the Posidonia seagrass beds and modified the sandy composition. Since the rules for safeguarding the beach were put in place, the beach has finally taken back its original coral colour. A myth immortalized by the cinema “There was a little girl who lived on an island”: is how Monica Vitti began her long monologue. Legendary protagonist of Deserto Rosso, the first colour film shot by Michelangelo Antonioni. Vitti’s unforgettable voice evokes a dreamlike enchantment, in the 1964’s film which the director from Ferrara decided to set on the pink beach of Budelli. A step from beauty Even if the authorities have prohibited access to the shoreline, in order to preserve its integrity. From a distance, you can still enjoy its unique panorama, thanks to the many boat services departing from Palau or Maddalena that offer the Archipelago tour. You can indeed limit yourself to admiring its beauty from the sea, at about 70 metres. However the Park Authority have also made wooden pathways surrounding the perimeter of the beach, to give tourists the opportunity of visiting this natural paradise, without trampling or altering it. Once your boat or raft is anchored, from the nearby beaches of Cavaliere and Cala di Roto, which also offer spectacular views, you can set off accompanied by park guides along the pathways that run alongside the area.
Nature
182062953

La Maddalena National Park

La Maddalena National Park, with Mediterranean charm With its 180 km of coastline, the La Maddalena National Park in northern Sardinia boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean Sea. Those who love the idyllic sea cannot fail to put places such as the Pink Beach on the island of Budelli, Cala Corsara and Cala Granara in Spargi, Cala Napoletana and Del Relitto in Caprera on their list of places to visit. In the park of La Maddalena, nature's own architect has really indulged in shapes and colours here: the pink granite rocks and the blue sea make this slice of paradise on the Bocche di Bonifacio truly irresistible. La Maddalena and Caprera There are 62 islands and islets that make up the Maddalena archipelago park. The largest island is the landing point due to the frequent ferry service from Palau, on the nearby Sardinian coast. The historic centre is a delightful maze of narrow streets sloping down to the sea, always lively both during the day and at night. From the port by bus, one can circle the island and stop at its many beaches: Spalmatore is a deep inlet that is well protected when the mistral wind blows; the beaches of Bassa Trinita and Monti d'Arena preserve sand dunes, and walkways have been built to protect them from being trampled on, allowing even the disabled easy access to the sea. The most beautiful sunsets can be enjoyed from Punta Tegge, opposite the island of Spargi. The island of Caprera, connected by a bridge to La Maddalena, is the true enchantment of the Archipelago Park. The dense pine forest that covers it is owed to Giuseppe Garibaldi, who wanted to spend the last years of his life from 1856 to 1882 in one of the most beautiful places on the island. His home and burial place is definitely worth a visit, not just for historical curiosity, but for the pleasant atmosphere that emanates from a place that was certainly much loved: 4 km from the house in Forte Arbuticci is the Garibaldi memorial, which recounts his adventurous life, to say the least. The rest of the island is a succession of bays and beaches, one more beautiful than the other; in one of which you will find the Centro Velico, one of Italy's best-known sailing schools. The islets of the archipelago The island of Budelli is famous for an inlet that faces south-east, known as the Spiaggia Rosa or Pink Beach, because of the colour of its sand. This colouring is due to the skeletal debris of aquatic animals (Miriapora truncata, Miniacina miniacea) that are concentrated here due to a number of factors: the presence of a Posidonia prairie, the shape of the seabed, because there are low-energy currents, and because it is protected from the westerly winds by a thick juniper hedge. Changing just one of these factors, for example with the wave motion of boats that would intensify the energy of the currents, could alter the delicate balance and set off an irreversible degradation process. This is why the Pink beach is not accessible and can only be seen from a distance from walkways set up by the park. Equally beautiful and fragile is Budelli's white Cavaliere beach in the north-eastern part, a natural swimming pool facing the so-called Porto della Madonna, the stretch of water bordered by Budelli and the islands of Razzoli and Santa Maria, one of the most sought-after spots by yachtsmen. Due to sand erosion, the beach has only been open partially since summer 2020. The beaches of Spargi, the largest and greenest of the smaller islands, are also beautiful. Many protected birds nest here thanks to the presence of fresh water: as far as beaches are concerned, with cala Corsara and cala Granara, we are in the top 10.
Art & Culture
515865124

Portovenere

Porto Venere, in the park where nature is poetry The name of a goddess is fitting: Porto Venere rises from the waters in a splendid position at the southern end of the peninsula in the Gulf of Poets. For lovers of the sea, this is a true paradise, among the UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Porto Venere Regional Natural Park includes the ancient village, the Protected Marine Area to protect the purity of the waters, and the three nearby islands: Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto. The joys of the sea Regular ferries departing from Porto Venere land on the island in front of Palmaria, a splendid marine oasis. You could be content with just a panoramic sea tour, admiring the other two islets in the archipelago, Tino and Tinetto, but it is worth stopping on Palmaria to enjoy an amazing day at sea. The beaches here are among the most beautiful in Liguria. Once on Palmaria, the ferry stops at Cala Pozzale and Cala Fornace, beaches that cannot be reached in any other way. In the first, the tongue of pebbles and small rocks is framed by pine and myrtle trees and the water is emerald, as it is also in the second, a bay with a cliff behind it. Larger is the Spiaggia del Secco, on the tip of the same name, equipped to provide every comfort. For divers, the wonder continues in the seabed, a diverse world of sheer cliffs that continue into the depths and submerged caves. Seahorses, starfish and the Poseidonia prairie of aquatic plants are just some of the surprises you will encounter while diving. And all it takes is a simple mask to get lost among the fish. By boat, you can visit the Blue Grotto, so called because the reflections of light paint a palette in all shades of blue. If you wish to explore the interior of the island, you can set off along the well-maintained paths organised in loops for a total walking time of about 3.5 hours, with dry stretches alternating with patches of Mediterranean scrub. Nature and architecture, allies in a magical setting Porto Venere boasts a prestigious history, dating back to the 6th century BC, in Roman times. Here, nature meets architecture, because among the alleys and houses with their typical pastel colours are ancient testimonies of the many peoples who have passed through this strategic military and commercial port. At St Peter's Church you will appreciate the two buildings, one more recent in Gothic style, the other Romanesque, and you will be amazed by the location. The complex is perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the sea, the Promontorio delle Bocche: a place surrounded by an atmosphere of spirituality enhanced by its natural setting. Look out from the loggia outside for a view of the coastline framed by the arches. The Sanctuary of the Madonna Bianca, in the old town, is an imposing Romanesque masterpiece, and after visiting it, go up again to the highest point of Porto Venere with the Doria Castle, the fortification that watches over the sea. An inspiring place: Byron's Cave Without moving too far from the old town, Porto Venere offers small beaches to cool off with a dip. The place not to be missed, however, is Byron's Grotto, near St Peter's Church, so named because the British poet found inspiration for his writing there. You can get there on foot via a footpath or by private boat. Jump in equipped with a mask and let yourself be captivated by this deep cavern carved out of an impressive cliff. Also observe the cave walls, rich in fascinating concretions. In the evening, shopping and the pleasures of the table A walk through the village is also an invitation to go shopping. You will be attracted by the hand-painted silks and shawls of ancient tradition, the precious “mezzari” once used by local women to cover their heads and now reinvented in fashion. Also interesting are the vibrantly coloured majolica tiles on sale in the many ateliers. Then choose a restaurant, either with an intimate and romantic atmosphere in the old town or in movida style on the promenade characterised by the Palazzata: the row of tower-houses built on several floors clinging to each other against the rock. When ordering, remember that Porto Venere is famous for its mussels, oysters, sea bass and sea bream, plus a species of shellfish named after the place. The mussels of Porto Venere, similar to mussels, are delicious fried or as a condiment for a dish of spaghetti.
Nature
Panarea - Isole Eolie, Sicilia

Panarea

Panarea, the smallest island of the Aeolian Islands Panarea is the smallest and lowest of the 7 Aeolian islands, but also the oldest, geologically speaking. With its rocks and islets, it forms a kind of “archipelago within an archipelago” in the stretch of sea between Lipari and Stromboli. An unspoilt paradise in the Sicilian sunlight, at sunset becoming the queen of nightlife, epicentre of Aeolian social life. Exclusive destination with an ancient heart Discovered in the 1960s by a large community of artists and intellectuals in search of a lost Eden, a set celebrated by legendary films, over the decades the island has become a popular destination for tourism and the international jet set, attracted by its black beaches, thermal mud baths, whitewashed houses overlooking the sea, amidst patches of bougainvillea, capers and prickly pears. In the small town of San Pietro, the centre of the archipelago's summer nightlife, among clubs and discos to dance until dawn, among boutiques and restaurants, you can also visit a small branch of the Lipari Archaeological Museum: it preserves artefacts that testify to the island's ancient history, from the Neolithic period to the Bronze Age, almost all from the prehistoric village of Capo Milazzese. The fumaroles, the breath of the ancient volcano Traces of the ancient volcanic activity can still be found in the vapours of a series of fumaroles, which emanate from the cracks between the rocks of the Calcara beach and from the sea, where the gas escaping from the seabed forms columns of bubbles visible on the surface. In contrada San Pietro, a thermal spring also gushes out at a temperature of 50°C, used by the island's inhabitants for therapeutic purposes. A single concrete strip crosses the island: no cars are allowed here, but scooters, bicycles and Piaggio Ape cars can be hired to get around. Everything is so cosy that you can reach the other two hamlets on the island, Drautto and Ditella, directly on foot or, if you are tired or laden, aboard the Aeolian taxis, charming little gigs on wheels designed to transport people and luggage. The beaches: beautiful and all to conquer Most of Panarea's coastline consists of high, jagged cliffs, from which it is difficult to access the sea. The beaches here are few and not all within walking distance; however, they are among the most beautiful in the entire archipelago. Only a couple are accessible by land: Cala Junco, along the southern coast of the island, an enchanting natural pool with crystal-clear turquoise waters, protected by high cliffs, also famous for the prehistoric village of Punta Milazzese behind it, consisting of the remains of 23 oval huts. Along the same path, you will also come across Cala degli Zimmari, in a bay backed by a cliff and Mediterranean scrub, the only sandy beach on the entire island, known for its characteristic red colour that, by contrast, gives the sea that washes it a unique cobalt blue hue. Sea excursions and romantic traditions In Panarea, the most popular sport is to rent a boat and head out to sea, to discover the many little-visited coves nestled between its cliffs, islets and seascapes. If you reach Panarea in sweet company, one destination is a must: just 3 kilometres from the east coast is the islet of Lisca Bianca. Formerly exploited as an alum quarry, it houses among its ravines the famous Lovers' Cave: according to legend, lovers who kiss under its rocky vault will remain united for life.
Nature
Salina - Isole Eolie, Sicilia

Salina

Salina, the greenest of the Aeolian Islands Thanks to its protected central position, Salina, the second largest of the Aeolian islands, is also the richest in vegetation and water of the entire Sicilian archipelago, and certainly the one where volcanic activity is at its quietest. Known as the Green Island, the ancient volcanic origins of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, testified by the extinct craters of Monte Fossa delle Felci and Monte Porri, two of the six volcanoes that once set it ablaze, are today nestled in a lush Nature Reserve that covers a large part of the territory and hosts several high-altitude routes for trekking enthusiasts. A scenic tour of the villages In another fascinating anomaly, Salina is the only Aeolian Island not administratively dependent on Lipari. It has three autonomous municipalities: Malfa, Leni and Santa Marina – well connected centres accessible by car, scooter or an excellent bus service that runs late into the night in summer. On the slopes of Monte Fossa delle Felci, lively and bustling especially in the evenings, Santa Marina is the place to be, criss-crossed by narrow streets full of bars and boutiques, with its iconic 18th-century church with twin bell towers. Perched on what remains of an ancient volcanic crater, the hamlet of Pollara is also a picture-perfect destination. It is guarded from the sea by an immense sea stack, probably a slab of its own rock that once fell off. Valdichiesa, an enchanted mountain village If you prefer the mountains to the sea, you will find cool respite from all the seaside shenanigans in the village of Valdichiesa, a small hamlet in the municipality of Leni, definitely the most “mountainous” on the island: it looks like an enchanted village, framed by mountains and vineyards. Here you will find the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Terzito, a pilgrimage destination, especially during the traditional celebrations on 23rd July: it is said that the Madonna has appeared in this area three times. A journey through the island's history Along Salina's historical-artistic itinerary it is worth visiting the Saracen caves, a series of interconnecting tunnels dug into the tuff and used as a refuge during the Saracen invasion in 650 AD. You can also reach them at the end of a rather long and demanding trekking route that starts in Santa Marina, among olive and fruit trees. Or why not take a journey back in time, visiting the beautiful, well-preserved archaeological site of Portella, between Santa Marina and Capo Faro? The ruins of the village here date back to the Bronze Age, and the Roman baths sit on the promenade from Santa Marina, now partially eroded by sea storms. An arch with a view If panoramic views are more your thing, keep an eye out for the “Castello” on the road between Pollara and Malfa, which will lead you to a small World War I fort. The square in front of it is a panoramic terrace overlooking the volcanic crater that houses Pollara, its beach and its private stretch of sea. Punta Perciato in Salina is undoubtedly the best place to admire the sunset, one of the most beautiful in the world, they say! This spectacular natural volcanic rock arch lets you watch the sun plunge into the sea next to Filicudi and Alicudi against a bright red sky. Stairway to the beach The best way to explore the sea of Salina is on board one of the many fishing boats that tour the island daily, though there are at least a couple of beaches accessible by land that are well worth a visit. The first is the beach at Pollara, the setting for many of the scenes in Il Postino, the last film starring Massimo Troisi: a gravel cove, dominated by an imposing cliff, creates a natural amphitheatre of tuff overlooking the sea. The nearby Punta Scario cove is also a wonderful place to spend a day in the sun. Immersed in the Mediterranean scrubland, at the bottom of another long flight of steps, it is a true paradise, though the pebbles can be a little uncomfortable under a towel after a while. Not to fear, the little cafe at the bottom of the slope is there to come to your rescue with airbeds for hire!
Nature

Marettimo

Marettimo, hiking and the sea in an unspoilt oasis The westernmost of the Egadi Islands, Marettimo is a wild, mountainous island covered in thick scrub, where human impact has been minimal. It has archaeological sites, a Spanish fort, plenty of sea caves, hiking trails and a few beaches that can be reached by land, where the colour of the sea is astonishing. There are no hotels in Marettimo, only rooms in residents' homes where hospitality is strictly island style. History, archaeology and emigration Marettimo welcomes you into a small port with turquoise waters and white houses. The name has nothing to do with the sea or seafaring; rather, the etymology refers to the thyme plant that grows wild here (with “timo” meaning “thyme”). To get to know the island and the locals, it’s worth visiting the Museo del mare, delle attività e tradizioni marinare e dell'emigrazione (Museum of the Sea, Maritime Activities and Traditions and Emigration), run by a local association, located in the centre of the village. In its display cases, amidst the seafaring tools and old photos of migrants with cardboard suitcases, is the historical memory of a community that had to leave the island to go and work in various countries around the world, and which is trying to protect its identity. Above the village, along the path leading up the mountain, you will find a small archaeological site, known as the Roman houses, with the remains of a building from the late Republican period. After defeating the Carthaginians in the First Punic War with the Battle of the Egadi Islands (241 B.C.), Rome made Marettimo a military stronghold and installed a garrison on the island, so it is not surprising to find Roman artefacts on this strip of land, however remote. Next to the Roman houses is a tiny Byzantine chapel dating back to the 11th century. The 400 caves of Marettimo From the harbour, you can board a boat to tour the caves of Marettimo, which are one of the highlights of the island. There are about 400 of them in total, all different in shape, colour, size and characteristics. In the Camel Cave there is a small pebble beach, the Nativity Cave has stalactites and stalagmites, the Bombard Cave is so called because of the hissing sound created inside it during sea storms, etc. Depending on where the wind is blowing, Marettimo always has a sheltered slope where one can enjoy the sea and the air that is scented with thyme. On the hiking trails overlooking the sea Bring your hiking boots if you are going to Marettimo: there are several paths on the island that are well-marked by the forestry service, that allow you to discover the unspoilt nature of the area. There are at least six routes, some very easy, others a little more challenging, which, from the port, allow you to reach the most extreme points of the island. Punta Troia, on the peninsula that can be seen from the port, can be reached in an hour and a half via a path that has stretches overhanging the sea. There, you can visit the Spanish fort, which was later used as a hard prison, and was recently restored and opened for visits. The next day you may wish to go to Cala Bianca, on the western side: on the way back you can pass by Pizzo Falcone, at 686 metres, the highest point on the island. Amidst forests of Aleppo pines, the typical types of Mediterranean scrub and many endemic species, you will see how many birds, even birds of prey, have chosen to make their nests in Marettimo.
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