This gorgeous town with its picture-perfect blue waters, white buildings and diving rocks is part of the Lecce province and lies on Italy’s easternmost stretch of coast. We drove in to Otranto on a perfect June day where we stopped for several hours before heading on to Lecce. This striking coastline alternates between sandy beaches and sheer cliffs dropping into the sea.
Otranto is a popular beachside getaway especially for the Italians during the summer months. It is a small place with a lovely holiday atmosphere, and makes a good destination for a day trip or a longer stay. The beaches actually within the town are very small – pleasant on a sunny June weekday, but I believe are extremely crowded in the peak summer season. The coastline outside Otranto is renowned for its beauty, and there are more stretches of popular beaches to both the north and south which you would need a car to get to.
Within the town, the narrow, stone-paved streets pass the historic white-coloured houses and lead you to the heart of the old town centre. Simply roam these narrow streets where you will come across picturesque scenes and views. The centre is still enclosed within its defensive walls, which gives a real sense of history. The busiest streets are lined with restaurants and bars and with souvenir shops selling ceramics, sandals, handicrafts, etc
Although our stay here was short, it was long enough to see what a beautiful area this part of Italy is; as is most of the Adriatic Coastline. I have no doubt that it would be a wonderful place to stay for several days.
We stayed long enough for a swim in the vibrant turquoise waters of Castro Marina and a light lunch and a visit to the fascinating Grotto Zinsulusa. The tour of the grotto was fascinating and a highly enjoyable experience. Our tour guide was a geologist by profession and was extremely well versed in the geological composition of the cave as well as its history. The cave itself is stunning and really worth a visit with its spectacular stalactites and stalagmites and incredible rock formations. Once you exit the caves you walk a few hundred metres and you can have a cool dip in the electric blue waters of Castro dei Marini as there is a small platform with swimming pool steps into the sea. This is some of the most beautiful water I have ever swam in…simply divine…heavenly!!!
Visit the Zinsulusa caves and take a dip in the sea afterwards. It’s a spectacular combination!
If you want to get away from the crowded resorts with their umbrellas and recliner chairs, and swim alone… come to this little place. Very picturesque with beautiful waters to swim in.