Best beaches and lidos around Monopoli – Puglia

Get insider tips on Italy's heel region of Puglia!

We were frankly happy to escape this past spring in Berlin. It felt more like winter and we truly were craving real sunrays. Puglia in Italy was a strong contender to deliver what we needed: beautiful sunny beaches, an escape from the city life (Puglia is dotted with quaint little villages), great olive oil, tomatoes and cheese. An overall peaceful and charming corner of Italy.

Once we landed it was clear that we had picked the perfect time to be there. Late Spring (May/June). We also heard that mid fall (October) is a great time to visit Puglia. A great combination of perfect weather and few tourists.

We picked the charming fishing port of Monopoli to stay (for a whole month!). Of course we explored the whole region, but establishing a strategically located home base was one of the best decisions we made. But more on that later.

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A short paragraph about Monopli. This most charming town (a surprise really!) sits on Puglia’s Adriatic coast about 30km south of Bari. Highlights to visit here are: the old harbour, old town and its narrow alleys, the Lungomare seafront promenade, the Charles V Castle and the stunning the Cathedral. Beyond the sights, we found it perfect to soak in the Puglia vibes and live a month of “Dolce Vita”!

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Old Harbour Monopoli

For my first Puglia post, I will focus on the best beaches around Monopoli.  Puglia has so much to offer and its beaches are definitely among the prettiest (and less explored) in Europe. There’s just so much to tell you, that it makes sense to do it in parts. I can’t wait to tell you the best places for drinks, food, etc…for now, if love a Negroni, like I do, check out Alchemico, our favorite bar in Monopoli! It became kind of a second home…hehe

South…all the best beaches in the stretch from Bari to Lecce are located south of Monopoli. Don’t even waste your time with the area between Bari and Monopoli, with the exception of the picturesque Polignano a Mare. But the tiny beach in Polignano, although very picturesque, is not reall ideal for a full beach day. It is too rocky and small. You know…I prefer a sandy stretch!

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Lido Santo Stefano.

Here are our favorite beaches and Lidos around Monopoli, Puglia! In pictures…you know what they say…”a picture is worth a 1000 words”.

Even though I am indicating the driving times between Monopoli and the beaches below, most are accessible by walking, biking or on a scooter. Feel free to pick the transportation mode you prefer! A tip, however. Scooters are too expensive to rent (about 40 euros a day). It is cheaper to rent a car for the day.


1. Picturesque “postcard-grade” rock/sand mix –  Polignano a Mare (15 minute drive from Monopoli)

Free access. Take your own sunshade and chair.

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Polignano a Mare

2. Public sandy stretch in Monopoli  – Cala Porta Vechia

Free access. Take your own sunshade and chair.

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Cala Porta Vechia

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Cala Porta Vechia

3. Charming Cove near town – Lido Colonia (5 minute drive from Monopoli)

Free access but pay for sunshade and chair.

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Cala Lido Colonia.

4. Private slice of paradise – Lido Santo Stefano (10 minute drive from Monopoli)

Pay for access,  parking, sunshade and chair.

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Lido Santo Stefano

5. Busy and “happening” – Porto Ghiacciolo (10 minute drive from Monopoli)

Free access, pay for sunshade and chair.

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Porto Ghiacciolo

6. Fancy loungy vibes – Coccaro Beach Club (20 minute drive from Monopoli)

Pay for access, parking, sunshade and chair.

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Coccaro Beach Club

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Coccaro Beach Club

7. Long sandy rustic stretch – Lido Morelli (30 minute drive from Monopoli)

Free access, pay for parking, sunshade and chair.

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Lido Morelli

If you have come this far South of Monopoli, spend a few hours walking through the streets of the stunning Ostuni. One of the prettiest villages in Puglia.

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4 Comments on Best beaches and lidos around Monopoli – Puglia

  1. You’ve just taken me back to 2016 and one of the most wonderful trips my husband and I made alone since we have kids;-) We visited all of the places you recommend here and I can only say: they are, indeed, amazing. A bit like being out of time, really. Which these days is a real boon.

  2. This article is so helpful for planning our trip (this June)!
    Do you recommend hiring a car, as you mention these are all driving distances from Monopoli. We are open to hiring a car but wanted to see if its basically a must-have? and is parking easy enough at these beaches?

    We are staying for 13 nights and looking at accommodation – do you have any recommendations? Initially we wanted a hotel with a pool, but as our search has developed, we realise this isn’t very common and maybe a self catered apartment is the best option!

    Anyway – great article and thank you for any help 🙂

    Thanks a lot


    • Hi, Thank you! A car is not a must-have, but it can be convenient as you travel further and explore other areas in Puglia. Parking in Monopoli can be a hassle though. Parking along the beaches and calas is super easy. If you decided to hire a car, hire it from the Bari airport (cheaper). It is quite easy to hire a vespa or a bike though for shorter distances. We stayed at an Airbnb apartment for a month…and loved it. Enjoy Puglia…it is enchanting!

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