Summer bank holidays: organise a last minute escape to the Italian beaches

In 2019, the UK's late summer bank holiday falls on 27 August.

31 Jul 2019

Gruppo UNA

British sun-seekers are familiar with Greek, Portuguese, Spanish, and even Caribbean beach resorts, but Italy is a less common destination. At Gruppo UNA we want to put that right, because we know that how rewarding a summer holiday in Italy can be.

Our team runs luxury hotels near some of Italy's premier coastal attractions. From the UNAHOTELS Capotaormina in eastern Sicily to the Versilia Lido | UNA Esperienze in Tuscany, visitors can find a seaside refuge where fine food, pristine beaches, and plenty of attractions are within easy reach.

UNAHOTELS Capotaormina

To help you choose, here are some Italian coastal gems that won't disappoint this Bank Holiday.

Mix Art and Beach Relaxation in elegant Tuscany.

Let's start in northern Italy with Tuscany. Tuscany offers a lot more than beaches, with the artistic delights of Florence, operatic performances at Lucca, and historic cities like Siena to explore. But don't neglect the coast, because there's a lot to see, and plenty of wonderful beaches.

Forte dei Marmi (home to Gruppo UNA's UNAWAY Hotel Forte Dei Marmi or Versilia Lido | UNA Esperienze) is a great starting place, with its classy restaurants, long sandy beach, and vibrant, but not overpowering nightlife. If you want to try some Scuba diving, Quercianella is the place to head, while Maremma's Cala Violina is breathtakingly beautiful and won't be crammed with tourists.

Spend Bank Holiday in Taormina.

Much further south, visitors can expect scorching temperatures and outstanding cultural events in the Sicilian resort of Taormina. Famous as an upscale retreat for Europe's elites, Taormina is gorgeous, tumbling down from steep cliffs to the Ionian Sea.

It's also an extremely ancient place, having been inhabited for over 3,000 years, and the locals have put the Greek heritage to good use. There's nothing like watching global rock acts or opera companies perform at the Teatro Greco as the sun fades beneath the Mediterranean horizon.

And then there are beaches. Visitors can easily take boats to secluded Isola Bella, while a spectacular cable car connects Taormina with Mazzaro, which may have better beaches than the resort itself. In any case, Taormina never lets visitors down.

Blend Fine Food and Superb Beaches in Puglia.

Located on Italy's "heel", Puglia is another superb beach destination. In this case, visitors can base themselves at the UNAHOTELS Regina Bari, and be within easy reach of a cluster of incredible beaches (not to mention some of the finest seafood you will ever taste).

Gallipoli and Pescoluse enjoy dazzling white sands and pure blue water (hence the coast has earned the nickname "Italy's Maldives"), which makes them a great place to swim and sunbathe. And not far offshore, visitors can join nature cruises to the Tremiti Islands, which offer some of the best snorkelling conditions anywhere in Europe.

Cliff-diving and kayaking are popular at Otranto's Baia dei Turchi, while Polignano offers swimmable beaches and unique restaurants built into the Puglian cliffs. Wherever you go, Puglia's coast combines clean beaches, cuisine, and natural sights. It's a great low-stress alternative to more hectic beach resorts.

Stay in Naples and Bask on the Beaches on Capri or Ischia.

Finally, why not book some time in Italy's southern metropolis, Naples? It might seem like an unlikely beach destination but think again. Naples is a short ferry ride from the Amalfi Coast and the twin islands of Ischia and Capri, allowing visitors to balance urban attractions and beautiful coastline.

South of Naples, the Amalfi Coast is famous for picturesque cliff-side towns like Positano and Praiano, most of which don't have long sandy seafronts. But they are close to tucked away bays with beaches and fine swimming conditions. Join cruises, rent kayaks, or hike down to these beauty spots for peace, quiet, and fun in the sun.

Amalfi Coast

On the other hand, those staying in Naples can take boats to Capri and Ischia. In Capri, beaches can be found around Marina Grande (the main port) and the craggy coastline is studded with smaller coves, including the site of the extraordinary Blue Grotto. Ischia is probably even better suited to beach holidays. Spiaggia dei Maronti is the most spacious, but the thermal springs at Baia di Sorgeto are hard to resist.

Make the Summer Bank Holiday Special with Beach Breaks in Italy.

If you want to make the most of your late summer holiday the seaside in Italy has everything you could need.

At Gruppo UNA, we run several seafront hotels near the beaches we've been discussing. With premium hotels in Bari, Taormina, Versilia, and Naples, our guests can easily dedicate their stays to the beach.

So get in touch and book some beach-front accommodation. Our teams will point you towards local swimming spots, dive sites, hiking trails, beach bars, and water sports centres, leaving you with the task of soaking up the sunshine.