Home DestinationsDestination: Italy Best beaches in Salento? It depends on the wind.

Best beaches in Salento? It depends on the wind.

by Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande

How to choose where to swim in Salento depending on the winds.

The Salento region of Puglia is kissed by not one but two Seas. The Ionian Sea on the west coast, best for sunsets, and the Adriatic Sea on the east coast, best for sunrises.
A narrow peninsula , you can drive from one coast to the other one in just over an hour. But deciding which beach to sunbathe depends less on your inclination and more on which wind is blowing. Salento is known for its sun, sea and winds (yes, plural).

“Va’ dove ti porta il vento” – “Go where the wind takes you”, is what they say in Salento.
Learn your Salento winds, I would say. There are 4 winds blowing, Tramontana and Scirocco, the two main ones, the Ponente and the Levante.



Tramontana is the wind which you will most likely experience and easily recognize. It’s a fresh, almost cold wind blowing from the north and literally means ‘across the mountains’. It blows down from the Alps along the Adriatic coast.
During the summer, if the fresh Tramontana blows, head to the ionian coast where the sea will be flat and calm. Perfect to rent a boat and sail to Punta Prosciutto if you don’t like rough waters. Gallipoli, Porto Selvaggio and Punta della Suina offer wonderful Blue Flag beaches, comfortable beach clubs, Maldivian blue waters and stretches of unspoilt nature.
If you cannot drive to the Ionian Coast during Tramontana, head to the inlets of Porto Miggiano and Porto Badisco, both of which are mesmerizingly beautiful and likely to have inviting waters.

Lovers of water sports will be waiting for the Tramontana winds to surf, kitesurf or sail on the Adriatic. Some of the best spots for water sports are located in Frigole Torre dell’Orso, Torre Specchie and Le Cesine, south of Lecce.


If the Scirocco wind is blowing from North Africa in the summer months, the air will be warm and unpleasantly humid. This is the time you should head to the Adriatic coast , from Lecce until Otranto and don’t be alarmed if suddenly your car is covered by a thin layer of Sahara sand. Scirocco usually lasts luckily only a few days and is more frequent in spring and autumn when it can reach a speed of up to 100km/hour and cause damages.

Ponente, Grecale, Levante

The other three and less known winds are the Ponente, a warm and dry wind blowing from the west, the not so frequent Levante, which blows from the east and lastly the Grecale, a wind very similar to the Tramontana one blowing from North-East.. If Ponente is blowing, head to the tip of the heel and swim at Santa Maria di Leuca or the Maldives of Salento, instead when Levante is blowing the Ionian Coast along Gallipoli, Nardo and Porto Selvaggio is the place to be.

Cheat Sheet:
Tramontana – from North to South – Ionian Sea is calm
Scirocco – from the South – Adriatic Sea is calm
Grecale– from Northeast – Ionian Sea is calm and calmer from Otranto to Leuca
Levante – from East – Ionian coast from Gallipoli towards Taranto
Libeccio – from Southwest – Adriatic Sea is calm
Ponente – from West – Adriatic Coast is calm especially the beaches at the Alimini Lakes, Baia dei Turchi and the Ciolo inlet

Our suggestions

° Porto Cesareo (Togo Bay Beach Club)
° Torre Vado
° Castro
° Santa Cesarea Terme

° Otranto (Le Capase Beach Club)
° Laghi Alimini (Lido Tropea Beach Club)
° Torre dell’Orso (Mora Mota Beach Club)
° San Foca
° Cesine (Ultima Spiaggia delle Cesine Beach Club)
° Frigole (Lido Gold Beach Club)

Recognizing the directions of the winds is no easy task. Luckily if you consult websites such as www.meteo.it, besides giving you weather forecasts, you will be able to check the direction and speed of the winds. Alternatively, you can download Windy.app, wind, waves and weather forecast app for surfers, kitesurfers, windsurfers, sailors, fishermen and other wind sport.

Need advise on the best beaches and beach clubs in Salento? Just give our Concierge team a call, and they’ll be able make suggestions and reservations on best places to visit.

(Salento the sun, the sea and the wind)