If you’re looking for an alternative to Italy’s private beaches or “lidos” full of sunbeds and umbrellas, then Porto Selvaggio near Nardò in Puglia could be the place for you.
Porto Selvaggio’s intimate beach is surrounded by pine forest. The sea here is incredible. It’s clear and packed with fish. And I mean packed – there are shoals of them, as well as octopi and starfish. Swimming aside, off-season it’s a great spot for walking, birdwatching or just getting away from it all.
Escape the heat
In the summer it’s the ideal place to escape the relentless Puglian sun. Find yourself a spot in the forest and chill-out under the trees. Even on the hottest of days the shade of the forest and the smell of the pines is refreshing. To one side of the beach there is a gentle incline and some lovely picnic spots with fantastic views of a traditional coastal watchtower.
Well worth the walk
You can only get to Porto Selvaggio on foot, and this is what’s kept it special. From the main entrance it’s about a 20-minute walk downhill to the beach. In high season there’s a small stand near the beach selling coffees, cold drinks and crisps, but apart from that you’re on your own. So pack a picnic and prepare to spend the whole day there.
Getting to Porto Selvaggio
Porto Selvaggio is on the coast road between Santa Caterina and Sant’Isidoro in Puglia. The main entrance is opposite Villa Tafuri.
This map will give you a general idea of where Porto Selvaggio is – use the + and – buttons to zoom in and out to find out where this is in Italy:
Other maps and other information can be found on this Italian language website.
From the entrance gate it’s about 20 minutes walk, downhill, to the beach (take the turning to the left when you reach the bottom of the hill). The hill is fairly steep and isn’t paved, so wear suitable shoes. Also bear in mind that you have to take carry back everything you bring here – so try not to take too much with you. Young children may also find the walk back in the afternoon tiring, so be prepared to carry them.
Don’t let the walk put you off! Porto Selvaggio is a rare chance to see a less-crowded and more natural side to beach life in Italy. If you’re planning a holiday in Puglia this year – don’t miss it.
Porto Selvaggio Puglia photo by Lupiae