The Neapolitan Riviera is Italy’s most beautiful stretch of coast, famously home to stunning scenery, colourful towns and fishermen’s ports. The beaches have their own brand of charm; tiny coves, pebbly shores and impossibly pure waters are hidden along the coast, and half the fun is discovering them. Here are five of the best…
Arienzo Beach, Positano
Positano is undoubtedly one of the prettiest spots on the Neapolitan Riviera. It’s got its fair share of beaches, too, but the one to visit is just outside the town. You can walk – the views along the coast are worth it – or you can visit Positano port to catch a boat. Arienzo beach is south-west facing, which means it’s the only one around that gets the sun all day. Its protective cliffs are thick with greenery, with deep turquoise waters and the views of colourful gardens spilling out from the Amalfi Coast’s most glamorous beachfront villas.
Citara Beach, Ischia
If traditional bucket-and-spade beaches are more your thing, head to the picturesque island of Ischia, adrift in the Bay of Naples. Citara beaches is its biggest, near the town of Forio; a stretch of soft butterscotch sand melting in clean, clear waters. One of the best sun traps on the island, it’s big enough that it rarely feels crowded, and the line-up of cafes and restaurants means you can stay all day. Another attraction of Citara beach is the Poseidon Thermal Gardens next door – a thermal park that harnesses Ischia’s volcanic hot springs to form beautiful thermal pools of different temperatures.
Ernest Hemingway put Acciaroli on the map when he stayed in the 1960s, but its other poster child is the huge sandy beach – something of a rarity in the Neapolitan Riviera. A couple of hours outside Amalfi, the beach’s pale sand and clear waters are truly pristine, fringed with fishermen’s houses, a bustling port and lovely seafront promenade for your passeggiata. Quieter than much of the Neapolitan Riviera, particularly the Amalfi Coast, Cilento is the sort of place Italians visit; popular with locals and incredibly laid-back.
“Further south from the Amalfi Coast, is the quieter, lesser known stretch of coastline known as Il Cilento, frequented mostly by southern Italian families who want to enjoy the same sea and beach at much better value. Resorts such as Palinuro, Santa Maria di Castellabate, Agropoli, Acciaroli, Marina di Ascea and Pisciotta are popular holiday destinations with Italians returning year after year. We have been there a couple of times as a family when the girls were younger and enjoyed the safe bathing and lovely beaches, as well as the pretty medieval villages inland.” – Gennaro Contaldo
You can read more about Cilento in our expert guide.
Halfway between Amalfi and Positano, Furore Beach is one of the most unique in Italy. It’s nestled within one of the country’s only fjords; a narrow gorge between towering rocks that lets the turquoise sea spill in to form a little beach. At around 25 metres wide, it’s tiny – but you won’t find a beach like this anywhere else. It’s fringed with colourful fishermen’s cottages and straddled by a bridge that offers spectacular views down to the waters. Cars can’t come near, fortunately, but there’s a regular bus from nearby towns.
Duoglio Beach, Amalfi
Amalfi itself has a few small beaches closest to the town, but if you want to sample its best, you have to venture a little further out. Duoglio is around half a mile from the centre of town, and if you walk it, you’ll have to face the 400-step descent from the breathtaking cliffs – but you’ll be greeted with one of the prettiest beaches on the whole coast, with indigo waters that turn impossibly clear the closer you get. Unsurprisingly, it’s a popular diving spot. If you don’t fancy the walk, there’s good news: it’s possible to get a boat from Amalfi.
Raring to go? Read more about our Neapolitan Riviera holidays here, or for more of our top beach recommendations, take a look at our series of Italy beach guides.