The quaint and ancient fishing village of Monopoli, with its white-washed stone buildings and sculptured churches, is around 30km south of Bari in Puglia in Italy’s famous Apulia region – on a map you will find it in Italy’s heel.
“Monos Polis” means singularly unique and what makes it so even today is its sensational coast line that hems the Apulian coast because hidden within are ribbons of sand that can be found hidden in small coves and the low limestone rocks.
Some are right in the city, others a little further out. Some have a beach club with umbrellas and sunbeds to rent, others are hidden and satisfyingly difficult to reach. The further away you move from the town the more the coves alternate between beautiful low cliffs and spectacular caves.
Here is a list of the 11 most beautiful beaches near Monopoli.
Monopoli Town: Cala Porta Vecchia
Cala Porta Vecchia is a small cove at the foot of the town’s sixteenth century fortified walls and from the historic centre it is the easiest beach to find. It is a strip of sand that flows under the ancient walls and has free access. It’s a very scenic location that has a lovely promenade too.
Monopoli Town: Cala Porto Bianco
The cove of Cala Porto Bianco is easily accessible from the road and from the cycle path. It is a small patch of sand hidden among the low rocks, with restaurants on both headlands. There is a bar is on the road facing the bay to satisfy your thirst.
Monopoli Town: Cala Porto Rosso
Cala Porto Rosso is a small free beach in south Monopoli, just after Cala Porto Bianco. Along the southern edge of the beach, there are large rock walls and a lawn where it is possible to stay and from where there is direct access to the sea. The water is high and cold and is served by is a nice little bar with music. The place is definitely cool.
Northern Monopoli: Carla Susca
Cala Susca is a very small but easily accessible cove. Around there is a long low rocky stretch where you can relax and sunbathe or go into the water.
Tip: The seabed is rocky so it is advisable to wear water shoes.
Northern Monopoli: Carla Monaci
Cala Monaci and the Green Cave – another inlet accessible from the car park, this time from the north. The small beach is very easy to reach and there are several covered picnic tables above.
TOP TIP: North of Monopoli, just past Lido Pantano, there is a large car park from where you can access several small coves. The parking lot has some maps of the area to help you find the way.
Planning where to stay in Monopoli?
Our sponsor, Puglia Paradise, have three villas near Monopoli available to rent: Villa Incanto nel Blu, Villa Incanto a Mare and Trullo Due Ulivi.
All three villas have stunning private pools. Villa Incanto nel Blu and Villa Incanto a Mare are both stunning modern properties both less than 2km from the sea. Trullo Due Ulivi is a traditional villa encircled by stone walls and ancient olive trees and is 16km from the nearest beach.
Southern Monopoli: Calamarena
Calamarena is probably one of the best beaches on the southern coast of Monopoli, and the locals love it. Some describe this stretch of coastline are “intact” and “wild”.
Here you can enjoy crystal clear blue water, the sound of the sea away from the crowd, a spectacular view of the historical center of Monopoli but there are also sunbeds and umbrellas to rent and a bar with a menu of typical Apulian dishes. If you love simplicity and nature, this beach is for you.
Southern Monopoli: Cala Paradiso
Cala Paradiso is a beach club that offers services, umbrellas and sunbeds and a small portion of free beach (even if you have to pay for parking). There is a restaurant with pizzeria and bar with some snacks with an evening disco under the stars.
Southern Monopoli: Spiaggia di Porto Marzano
Set in a narrow and deep cove, Spiaggia di Porto Marzano is a real hidden gem for those who love to perch on a sandy beach while admiring the natural landscape of the Mediterranean scrub.
Tip: If it’s a windy day this beach is recommended as it is protected by two rocky ridges. A private area offers sun loungers and a bar is also available for a fresh snack.
Southern Monopoli: Spiaggia di Porto Ghiacciolo
Located at the foot of the ancient abbey of Santo Stefano, Spiaggia di Porto Ghiacciolo is slightly off the beaten track, but looks dazzling as the turquoise waters ebb and flow over its soft sand. It’s a good spot for young families as the sea around here has a soft sandy bottom. It has its own car park and beach chairs are available to hire.
At the weekend the beach dubbed “beach of the wealthy Monopoli” attracts crowds of young people who enjoy cocktails at the bar and good seafood at the restaurant while enjoying the glorious views.
Tip: The name “Ghiacciolo” (literally “icicle”) comes from the water being always very cold.
Southern Monopoli: Capitolo
Cala Verde begins the part of the coast called Capitolo. In the long stretch of soft sandy beach alternating with rockier parts. Along the way there are several beach clubs for all budgets and restaurants where seafood has been freshly caught.
At the southern end of Capitolo beach, there is the Archaeological Park of Egnazia.
Southern Monopoli: Spiaggia di Santo Stefano
Set between two rocky ridges, with a medieval castle overlooking the natural bay, Spiaggia di Santo Stefano is a magical place.
The water is crystal clear thanks to its natural springs that flow from the ground. The water was used by Benedictine monks in the 14th century. The camping area allows adventurous travellers to access the public beach, while the privately-owned area guarantees all comforts.
Disclaimer: this article was sponsored by Puglia Paradise