Otranto – beach paradise with vivid history

Sandra Marx | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Otranto is a picturesque town located on the Adriatic side of the Salento peninsula. It is a popular destination for summer tourism but almost empty during the colder months. Even though the town is perfect for a beach vacation, it is worth including it in your Apulia trip throughout the year. 

The town of Otranto has only around 6000 inhabitants but becomes incredibly crowded during the summer months. The popularity is because of the beautiful city beach, that got named one of the cleanest and nicest ones throughout Italy, and the charming historical center. The town is so picturesque and interesting that it is part of the organization “The most beautiful villages in Italy” (I Borghi più Belli d’Italia). The goal of this non-profit organization is to maintain and preserve smaller, less-known places with great historical heritage.

© istock/AND-ONE

During the summer months, Otranto is a vivid place, full of cafés, restaurants, and bars. Visitors enjoy the crystal-clear water of the town and the beautiful sea promenade. It is also the perfect location to start further beach explorations. Just a few minutes by car are some of the best beaches in Salento like Torre dell’ Orso and Baia dei Turchi. The town is not just an excellent destination for beach lovers but also hiking and nature enthusiasts. Whenever you stay in Otranto, you should use the proximity to the probably most colorful hiking spot in Apulia, Cave di Bauxite. Two other must-visit destinations are Torre Sant’Andrea, which reminds of the Algarve, and Grotta della Poesia, a stunning natural pool. 

The town itself has an eventful history and was under siege from many different imperators. Due to the diverse history, there are different architectural styles of the major historical sights in Otranto. The most famous ones are the cathedral of Otranto, the impressive fortress at the sea Castello Aragonese and the Byzantine church San Pietro.  

As most of the towns in Apulia also Otranto has a beautiful and charming historical center. Small, narrow, and whitewashed streets with colorful balconies and cute shops. What makes the city center particularly appealing is that it is overlooking the sea in many parts. 

© istock/e55evu

Whether you spend a day in Otranto or use it as your base for discovering Salento – it is definitely worth a visit. A beautiful beach, countless restaurant options, amazing viewing points, and fascinating history make it a destination you don't want to miss.

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