Defined by its picturesque coastline, sandy beaches lined with colourful umbrellas, gelato stands, crystal blue lidos and exclusive beach clubs, Italy characterized the jet set lifestyle of the 1950’s and 60’s. Back then, places like the Amalfi Coast, Portofino and Positano were sleepy towns just opening up to international travel.

Sorrento Italy

Sorrento Italy

Today, it’s just as popular a holiday destination as it was back then, with its unique coastal towns and the most romantic cuisine the world has to offer. Let’s take a look at the top 5 Italian coastlines that are sure to ignite a passion for Italy in your soul.

Taormina, Sicily

Founded in 392 BCE, Taormina is an incredibly historic town that’s nestled in Sicily’s coastline. Standing proud on the rock cliffs high above the Mediterranean, Taormina has long been a tourist destination with the likes of Alexander Dumas, Johannes Brahms, Federico Fellini, Cary Grant and Gregory Peck having all visited. In fact, Taormina was an iconic location on the Grand Tour; a European Tour which wealthy and educated people would take a couple of hundred years ago.

Today, Taormina remains unspoiled by the mass of visitors that grace its coastline, yet it’s become a bustling town with so much to offer. From the lively streets lined with unique stores selling limoncello and pistachio liquor, to the designer boutiques you’d expect from an Italian coastal retreat. Those looking for peace and tranquillity can head down to the beachfront where there’s a wealth of bars and restaurants serving beach goers, or head across to Isola Bella when the tide is low if you’re feeling adventurous.

As one of the most historic islands in Italy, Isola Bella is fondly known as the Pearl of the Ionian Sea and offers breath-taking views across the coastline. While privately owned until the 90’s, today the Island is managed by the World Wide Fund for Nature and serves as a picturesque nature reserve.

For those wanting a mix of tranquillity, picturesque drives and historic scenes, Taormina is the place to be. 

Vernazza, Cinque Terre

Featuring a traditional marina, brightly coloured houses, jagged red rock faces and a historic town with cliffside restaurants, Vernazza is one of the most picturesque villages to visit on the Italian coast. Pictured in many travel magazines, Vernazza is a well known beauty spot amongst Italians and tourists alike in which visitors in the height of summer can expect to fight for an umbrella spot on the beach.

However, if the beach is looking a little crowded, Vernazza is home to a secluded, crystal blue swimming hole that will have you lost in ore as you float on the crystal waters of the Ionian sea. Vernazza is also an excellent starting place for picturesque coastal hikes to other towns and villages along the Cinque Terre coastline.

What’s more, Vernazza is well connected by railway links in which visitors can venture down the Cinque Terre coastline by train with ease. Other picturesque towns along the route include  Corniglia and Monterosso, offering some of the best swimming beaches in the area. 


As one of the most popular resort towns on the Amalfi Coast, Positano is frequented by the rich and famous and has the price tag to match. While you may be burning a hole in your pocket while staying here, there’s no doubt it’s one of the best and most picturesque places to vacation in Italy.

For those looking to explore nearby secluded spots like  Capri, Ischia and the Grotta dello Smeraldo, it’s best done by hiring a boat. Boats can easily be hired from providers like Borrow A Boat who have a great selection of yachts and catamarans on offer for newbies and experienced sailors alike.

When you’re done sailing, head back to Positano for an evening stroll amongst the colourful buildings that line the cliffside and pick out a restaurant overlooking the sea to enjoy the world enviable Italian cuisine.


If you’re set on the Amalfi Coast but aren’t too keen on the tourist traps, Atrani is a much quieter village on the Amalfi Coast. While it features the same picturesque characteristics of the larger towns, Atrani offers a much quieter stay where you’ll get more chances to interact with the locals.


With colourful cliffside buildings, historic churches and a variety of charming piazzas, visitors can stroll through the streets and grab a bite to eat while checking out the historic buildings. When you’re done with the sightseeing, head on down to Atrani’s soft sandy beach with it’s crystal blue waters lapping at the shore. 


As one of the most famous towns to visit in Italy, visitors cannot leave without a trip to Sorrento. Lying at the foot of the mountains and the crystal blue waters of the ocean, this town is known for its history and idyllic distance to famous sites like Pompei.

While it’s not the best town to visit if all you’re looking to do is lie on a sandy beach, Sorrento offers some unique experiences from visiting some of the famous piazzas to touring the nearby citrus plantations. The town is also famous for its production of lace and ceramics and makes for an interesting wonder around the quaint local stores.

Overall, Italy is one of the most picturesque places to visit in Southern Europe, providing a wealth of culture, sandy beaches and turquoise waters that are perfect for sailing for iconic town to town along the Italian coastline. 

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