Cute new swimsuit … check.

Great summer beach read … check.

SPF … check. (Hey, we can’t all be tanned and beautiful the moment we hit the beach!)

Summer holiday to southern Italy … check!

So you’re ready to do some serious relaxing along one of Italy’s beautiful beaches this summer? Before you head out the door with your beach bag, here are some tips so you’ll be a natural when you hit the beaches in southern Italy this summer.

Private vs. Public

One of the first things you’ll spot on the beach in Italy are rows of colorful beach umbrellas and sunbeds. This is the first giveaway that you’re looking at a private beach. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you can’t go! Most beaches have private areas where you can rent a sunbed and/or umbrella. If you want as much sun as possible you can often skip paying for the umbrella. But it sure is handy to have if you’re spending a long day or will be having a picnic on the beach for lunch.

Amalfi Coast Beach Vacation

Besides the comfort of the sunbeds, paying to spend the day at a private beach usually comes with some other perks. You’ll be able to take a shower, sometimes warm, and there are often changing facilities and bathrooms available. This can be super handy if you’re spending the day on the beach with young kids.

If you look just outside the nicely lined up rows of beach umbrellas you’ll generally spot an area where beach goers have just thrown down their towels or perhaps even set up their own little camps with umbrellas, chairs, coolers and the whole works. That’s the public beach! There you can often mingle with the locals and enjoy a free day at the beach.

The downsides of the public beach are that there aren’t always shower facilities or changing areas nearby and you’ll have to buy something at a bar to use the restroom. Also, take a close look at the beach before making up your mind since some beaches, especially those along the Amalfi Coast in Campania, can be very rocky. It’s much more comfortable to take the private route in that case, unless you’re just taking a quick dip in the sea.

Crema Solare

Italians do use sunblock, especially for children, but it’s often not as high of protection as many travelers are used to at home. Let’s be honest … with dark hair and olive complexions, Italians just don’t burn as fast as us fairer folks! If you require higher protection sunscreen than 25 or 30 SPF, definitely pack enough for your trip to Italy. Not only is crema solare expensive here, it can be very costly to find anything over 30 SPF. Especially if you’re looking to keep your whole family safe in the sun!

The Right Beach for You

There are beautiful beaches seemingly around every corner in southern Italy and Sicily. Perhaps you like the fun of the summer crowd on a big beach, which is a truly Italian experience, or maybe you prefer the romance of a small cove or hidden beach. With some planning you can avoid being trampled by kids playing with beach balls when you’re looking for relaxation or a day in a silent spot when you’d really prefer a bit of music and excitement. And with so many beaches to choose from nearby … you’ll definitely find the one that’s right for your holiday in southern Italy.

Happy summer!

Are you planning a summer vacation to southern Italy? Click here to see how I can help you plan your trip.