South Italy’s Puglia has always been a popular destination for Italians but it has been receiving international attention for the last 3-4 years. There are many reasons why one should visit Puglia, and the beaches are an important factor, especially THIS particular one. 

The stunning Sant’Andrea beach in Puglia, Italy

Looks familiar? Well, this is usually the cover picture for most of the Puglia travel articles on media. Good news – the pictures don’t lie at all, this place is simply mind-blowing.

If you are in touch with me on Instagram, then you surely know that I spent a month in Puglia, South Italy. Most of that time was spent in Salento. Wondering what’s Salento all about?

Puglia is often called the heel of Italy’s boot because that’s exactly how it looks on the map. Salento is the bottom-most point of that heel.

Out of that one entire month in Salento, if there’s one place that will forever stay etched in my mind as the most spectacular place in every way, it is Sant’Andrea – both the beach and the rock formations. I did visit a lot of beaches during my one month in Salento, and I think Sant’Andrea is the most beautiful beach in Puglia.

Sant’Andrea Puglia, Italy – Panorama

Before we go further, I’d like to tell you that this area can be divided into the following parts:

  • The Rock Formations of Sant’Andrea (I Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea) – 5-10 minutes from the parking place
  • The Sandy Beach (Spiaggia della Punticeddha) – 5-10 minutes from the parking place
  • The Rocky Beach (Torre Sant’Andrea) – Depends on which part you want to go to.

This isn’t official segregation, but something I have made to help you. I couldn’t find a lot of English articles before visiting and I didn’t realize that there’s so much to see and experience here before visiting. There is a lot more beyond these three segregations but I didn’t end up visiting further.

The Rock Formations of Sant’Andrea (I Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea)

If we talk about beaches with stunning arches and rock formations, what are the places that come to your mind? Most likely France’s Etretat, Portugal’s Lagos, Germany’s Rugen Island, Thailand’s Phra Nang Cave beach but somehow Puglia’s name never comes up. Maybe it is a good thing! 

The Arche and Rock Formations of Sant’Andrea – I Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea – Puglia

I have visited most of the places that I have listed above but for me Italy’s Sant’Andrea was beyond anything I had ever seen in terms of scale and magnificence. 

Expected to see massive arches, lagoons, towers, and crazy rock formations. There are also tower-like rocky islands that emerge out of the blue-green water.

The Sandy Beach (Spiaggia della Punticeddha)

The Sandy Beach at Sant’Andrea Puglia – Spiaggia della Punticeddha – Puglia, Italy

Sant’Andrea’s rock formations are famous, but the sandy beach will surprise you. It isn’t big but it is lovely since it has rock formations on all the sides. This beach is called Spiaggia della Punticeddha – that’s what you need to put on Google Maps to find it.

The sand on Punticeddha beach – Spiaggia della Punticeddha is very soft and light. The water is clear and very blue, so it feels unreal. The beauty of the rocks around will take your breath away but the best part of the rock formations can be viewed if you swim further away or climb towards the tower area.

The Rocky Island at Sant’Andrea Puglia – Spiaggia della Punticeddha

There is also a small island of rocky formation that you can swim to from Spiaggia della Punticeddha. If you are here with small children then get a floaty, so that you can take them with you till there.

Spiaggia della Punticeddha gets crowded with families in the summer, because that’s the only part of this entire area that’s safe for children. Try to reach here early if you want to have at least some area to yourself.

The Rocky Beach (Torre Sant’Andrea)

The Stunning Rocky beach at Torre Sant’Andrea Puglia

Just between the Sandy beach (Spiaggia della Punticeddha) and the rock formations (I Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea), there is a rocky beach. This Rocky beach isn’t just one beach but has several small segments and each is better than the other.

The Rocky beach at Torre Sant’Andrea Puglia

The parts that are easy to get to are obviously not so empty but not even half as crowded as the sandy beach that I talked about in the above section.

There are parts that are not very easy to get to, and for me the water looked much clearer there. You can climb, or you can try swimming to that area in order to reach it. 

Tips for visiting Sant’Andrea Puglia

Get Your Climbing Shoes 

In order to visit the most lovely spots here, you have to climb a little. The climb isn’t steep and was also done by my 2.5 year old girl. 

Make sure you wear proper shoes. If you lose balance and fall, you can seriously hurt yourself here because the rocks are hard and not smooth.

San’t Andrea – Puglia’s Coastline – South Italy

If you’re planning on cliff jumping, then waterproof shoes help. You will find “swimming shoes” for just 5 euros in most of the small beach towns in Puglia. Of course the price will rise as you move to more touristy areas.

EXPLORE Around

For me, the first spot of Sant’Andrea that we saw was gorgeous and I didn’t imagine that I’d want to leave that, but after an hour of being there, we decided to explore.

We realized that the more we explored, the better the landscape around us became. The shapes of the rock formations changed after every few steps. 

We visited Sant’Andrea wqith our 2.5 year old daughter so our climb was a bit limited. If you are adventurous and enjoy climbing, then you will surely see a lot more than we did. 

In order to reach a new spot, you won’t have to climb a lot or walk a lot. All the places are just 5-10 minutes away from each other.

Parking Gets Full Early in August

Parking Spot I Faraglioni Sant’Andrea Puglia

The peak travel month in Puglia is August. That’s the time when not just Italians but most of the Europeans are on their annual summer break.

The car rental prices go very high at this time and naturally, the parking spots fill out fast. Arrive early to find a good parking spot or be ready to spend some time driving in circles in order to find one. Or, you can arrive a little late at 4 or 5 pm when most of the people start to leave.

We arrived at 4 pm at Torre Sant’Andrea parking and found a spot after taking just one round, but we were lucky since many people were leaving at that time.

Arrive Early or Late in the Summer

The Sandy Part of Sant’Andrea gets crowded

Ever seen popular Italian beaches in the summer? They are usually fully jam-packed and one needs to hunt to find a place to put the mat.

The peak season crowds at Sant’Andrea,Puglia, Italy

The comfortable sandy part of the beach at Spiaggia della Punticeddha is small. It gets very full so if you want to spend even a little time here, then the best time to arrive at the beach is as early as 8 am or as late aa 4 pm.

The clear water near the rocks at Sant’Andrea beach, Puglia, Italy

Of course the rocky beach area near Torre Sant’ Andrea doesn’t get crowded because it isn’t uncomfortable to sit there unless you manage to get a thick rug or a chair. You have to climb with your stuff or swim with it to reach the rocky beach.

Cliff Jumping in Sant’ Andrea Puglia

The Many Cliff Jumping and Swimming Spots at Torre Sant’Andrea Puglia

What do you find on beaches with rock formations? Cliff Jumping spots!

If you want to do cliff jumping, then you will be happy to know that there are plenty of spots near Torre Sant’Andrea that vary in height. 

Stay Safe if you Cliff Jump

I have mentioned this before in my Puglia article but I feel it necessary to remind you to be safe if you choose to do cliff jumping. Don’t ever force yourself into an activity that you’re not comfortable doing.

If you want to cliff jump, then you have to make sure you jump straight or else you will injure yourself. My husband suffered from two fractures in his spine after cliff jumping in Puglia from Porto Selvaggio.

Visiting with Children? Get a Floatie

The view of the family beach at Sant’Andrea, Puglia, Italy

If you are visiting this beach with small children, then you will be able to explore much more with a floaty. You can put your child or children on the floaty and swim with them as you explore the different rock formations around.

We forgot to carry our floating hammock in our car and ended up buying a floaty here for Karma. We resisted buying it till the very end but realized we had to if we three were to swim together for a while instead of staying on the beach.

Shops Around the Beach are Expensive

The shops around the small sandy beach sell everything you’d need on the beach. Beach mats, sunglasses, floaties, sand toys, snacks, etc. But try to bring your stuff with you because the shops are expensive here.

Affordable Food Truck near the Parking

Taralli Pugliesi – the popular Puglian snack from the food truck at Torre Sant’Andrea parking

If you spend a few hours on the beach and swim, you will naturally get hungry. There is a food truck near the beach parking. It is actually near the small water fountain from where you can fill up your water bottles.

If you want snacks and beer, then you will be happy to know that you will get them at the food truck for an affordable price. You can get paninis, french fries, and similar small snacks.

Visit Grotta della Poesia – a Cave Pool that’s 5 KMs Away

I will be honest, I didn’t get to visit Grotta della Poesia but it doesn’t mean you should miss out. I didn’t even know of its existence. A day after visiting Sant’Andrea, I saw information for Grotta della Poesia and I kicked myself for not knowing before and missing out.

Grotto means cave in Italian, and Grotta della Poesia means “Cave of Poetry” – isn’t it romantic? The rock formations create a natural pool with a tunnel that goes into the sea, that’s Grotta della Poesia.

In order to see Grotta della Poesia, you need to pay an entrance fee of €3 per person, and must show a valid Green Pass.

Torre Sant’Andrea Puglia Corona Restrictions

Like most of the places in Italy, you need to show a valid Green Pass to enter busy public areas here. Italy has recently changed its Green Pass restrictions, it is now only for vaccinated people and not those who have just recovered from the illness. 

I didn’t see anyone checking for a green pass in the Torre Sant’Andrea area but my friends who visited Grotta della Poesia mentioned that it was checked there.

Where is Torre Sant’Andrea?

Sant’Andrea is on Salento’s East Coast. It is in Lecce province and is around 20-30 mins drive from Lecce city. Torre is an Italian word that means tower. Most of the beaches in Puglia have medieval towers that are sometimes photogenic.

How to Reach Torre Sant’Andrea

The best way to reach Sant’Andrea is by driving to it. This is how it works for most of the European destinations unless you’re visiting the main big cities like Lecce or Bari. If you’re arriving in Puglia by air, then rent a car so that you can drive to amazing places like Sant’Andrea instead of being restricted to just a handful of destinations that are accessible by public transport.

Where to Park for Visiting Sant’Andrea Beach & Rock Formations

There is a parking area near Torre Sant’Andrea which gets full very early during the high season. Most of the people park along the road that goes to Torre Sant’Andrea. This is the same road that has a van camping spot that’s called Area Camper I Faraglioni Sant’Andrea.

Honestly, the road itself gets full but if you have time or patience to look for a place to park, then you will find one. As mentioned before, arrive early or late in order to find a place for your car.

Final Thoughts about Torre Sant’Andrea, Puglia

Puglia is getting popularized every year and even more so in 2021 because of the Red Bull Cliff Diving event in Puglia. Of course the event took place on a very busy area of Puglia but if you want to see something special that’s not as busy as the rest of Italy, then make sure you don’t miss Sant’Andrea.

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