Porto Cesareo: beaches, sea, dunes, what to do and see

Updated at: 25-03-2024

Porto Cesareo: beaches, sea, dunes, what to do and see

If you are wondering where to spend your summer 2022 in Puglia, our advice is to visit the town of Porto Cesareo with its beautiful beaches.

Porto Cesareo is a town in the province of Lecce and is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Puglia. Porto Cesareo is located on the Ionian coast and is about 27 kilometers from the city of Lecce. The town of Porto Cesareo in Puglia is known for its beautiful beaches that attract many tourists every year.

Do you want to spend the summer holidays in Puglia? Then we advise you to visit the city and the beaches of Porto Cesareo.

Porto Cesareo is a town on the Ionian coast of Salento, in the province of Lecce. Porto Cesareo is famous for its beaches, dunes, nature reserves and crystal clear sea. In ancient times it was a thriving Roman commercial port. Today it is a tourist city where you can relive history, gastronomy and one of the most beautiful coasts of Puglia.

Find the protected marine area of Porto Cesareo and the Palude del Conte and Duna Costiera nature reserve. Two places absolutely to visit if you are on holiday in Porto Cesareo and you love nature and the sea.

Lecce, the Apulian city of Baroque art, is less than 30 km from Porto Cesareo. If you are on holiday in Porto Cesareo, visiting Lecce and its marvelous works of art will be a fantastic surprise.

Porto Cesareo

Porto Cesareo is a renowned destination in the Salento peninsula with just under 7000 inhabitants. It attracts visitors with its wonderful paradise beaches.

Located on the Ionian Sea, the coast of this resort is distinguished by wild nature.

In Porto Cesareo there are long beaches of fine sand surrounded by lush Mediterranean vegetation. But it has more rocky and wild stretches of coastline.

Porto Cesareo was already inhabited since the Bronze Age. The city was an important commercial center in Roman times, with the name of 'Portus Sasinae'.

After the Roman era the city faced a period of decline. The area was the victim of frequent pirate raids. It was also devastated by the silting up of the area.

In the 15th century Porto Cesareo regained momentum as a commercial center and port. Watchtowers were erected during this period. The Towers were part of the defensive system along the coast of the Kingdom of Naples.

In the 1930s Porto Cesareo began to grow in importance. In addition to the port, other economies have developed. Thanks to the reclamation of the Tavoliere di Lecce it also becomes a renowned seaside resort.

Porto Cesareo hosts two precious natural heritages. One is the Porto Cesareo Marine Protected Area. The other is the Palude del Conte and Duna Costiera Regional Nature Reserve.

Beaches of Porto Cesareo

Porto Cesareo: wild beach on Isola Grande

Porto Cesareo has a coastline of about 17 km with a great variety of beaches and coastal landscapes. There are sandy and rocky stretches, including charming secluded coves.

The beaches of Porto Cesareo attract many tourists every year for their white sand and dunes. Fun on holiday in Porto Cesareo beaches is guaranteed. You will have all the services at your fingertips thanks to the numerous quality beaches found in Porto Cesareo.

The coast of Porto Cesareo is renowned for its rich marine biodiversity. The sea is ideal for snorkelling and diving enthusiasts. You will be able to explore a fascinating underwater world, inhabited by numerous marine species.

The coast is mainly divided into two distinct sections. The east coast, which also includes the city beach, and the west coast.

The east coast of Porto Cesareo

The east coast of Porto Cesareo is famous for the city beach, or Porto Cesareo beach, with crystal clear sea. In front of the coast, a hundred meters away, you will find the rabbits beach.

The east coast is characterized by the long beaches of fine sand and the shallow and crystalline sea.

The east coast continues outside Porto Cesareo with several stretches of beaches. Outside Porto Cesareo it is also possible to find bathing establishments and lidos where you can relax and refresh yourself.

The western coast of Porto Cesareo

The western coast offers a wilder and more suggestive panorama. The coast is sometimes rocky with small coves with crystal clear sea. It is the perfect place for lovers of untouched nature. There are quiet coves where you can enjoy moments of peace and relaxation.

Following the west coast to Porto Cesareo you can discover two splendid beaches: the Dunes beach and the Torre Chianca beach. These beaches are characterized by fine and soft sand, crystal clear waters and gradually sloping seabed.

Continuing a little further north you will find Torre Lapillo, with its beaches full of activities, and Punta Prosciutto.

Porto Cesareo beach

Porto Cesareo: Porto Cesareo beach seen from the port, sea, bathers, beach and promenade in the distance

The east coast of Porto Cesareo is famous for the city beach with crystal clear sea. Porto Cesareo beach is in the center of Porto Cesareo, near the port. The white sand beach is ideal for relaxing in the sun or walking on the beach.

This part of the beach is very popular. In fact, it is very popular with families and children because it is easily accessible. On the beach there are many bathing establishments. You will find every service on the beach to enjoy a day at the beach.

White sand, clear sea and Mediterranean scrub as a background. In all the beaches of Porto Cesareo you have the privilege of this panorama. Even in the city center, on the beach of Porto Cesareo.

It doesn't matter if you stay in apartments, hotels or B&Bs, in Porto Cesareo many look for the beach close to where they sleep. Porto Cesareo beach is the most comfortable for families staying in the city.

Rabbit Beach (Island of Rabbits)

Rabbit beach in Porto Cesareo: aerial view of the beach on Isola Grande in front of the coast of Porto Cesareo

From Porto Cesareo you will be able to observe several small islands in front of the coast. About one hundred meters from the coast of Porto Cesareo stands the Isola Grande. Isola Grande is also known as Isola dei Conigli. The island is named after a rabbit farm that was located here in the 1950s.

On the Isola dei Conigli you will find the Spiaggia dei Conigli. It is a free beach surrounded by dunes and Mediterranean scrub, a hundred meters from the coast. The Spiaggia dei Conigli is characterized by its wild and uncontaminated nature. There are no bathing establishments. This makes it perfect for those who wish to spend days of pure relaxation.

During low tide the rabbit beach becomes easily accessible on foot from the coast. During high tide it is possible to reach it by swimming or by taking advantage of the available taxi-boat services.

Isola dei Conigli is also an important nesting site for sea turtles. It actively contributes to the conservation of these fascinating creatures. While visiting the island it is extremely important to respect the environment. Once on the island, the indications for the protection of fauna and flora must be followed.

Why is it called Rabbit Island?

The island is called rabbit island because rabbit breeding was practiced in the past. The official name is Isola Grande, as it is the largest island compared to the others around it. The island is part of the Porto Cesareo Marine Protected Area.

How to reach the rabbit island from Porto Cesareo?

Reaching the rabbit island is very simple: on the shore of Porto Cesareo there are several boats that you can rent or there are small boats that ferry tourists to the beach of the rabbit island for a few euros.

Dunes beach

The beach of the dunes is characterized by soft white sand and a long coastline with a few stretches of rocks. It is part of the east coast of Porto Cesareo. It can be easily reached by proceeding north from the city centre, or from the beach of Porto Cesareo.

The name is given by the presence of sand dunes and vegetation that create a wonderful natural background.

The sea of this beach of Porto Cesareo is clear, crystalline, transparent with shallow waters.

You will find both free beaches and lidos equipped to rent sunbeds and umbrellas.

Torre Chianca beach

Torre Chianca beach takes its name from the historic 16th century defense tower. The tower was built by Charles V to protect the town from Turkish incursions.

The beautiful beach is characterized by a wide and low coastline with sand dunes. The candid dunes follow one another with aromatic herbs and typical Mediterranean vegetation.

There are no rocks on the beach of Torre Chianca. The seabed gradually degrades, sometimes reaching shallows. The shallow water of the beach makes it particularly suitable for families.

Torre Chianca offers an uncontaminated and peaceful natural environment. Perfect for relaxing and enjoying the beauty of the Salento coast. The crystal clear water invites you to swim and water activities. The presence of the historic tower gives a suggestive charm to the whole area.

Nearby you can find services and facilities to meet the needs of visitors. There are equipped bathing establishments and refreshment points where you can taste local delicacies.

Torre Lapillo beach

Torre Lapillo beach: beach view with bathers and transparent water

Just north of Porto Cesareo you will find the seaside resort of Torre Lapillo, a lively coastal area with numerous well-equipped bathing establishments.

This area is ideal for those wishing to spend days by the sea and also enjoy entertainment activities, thanks to the sports equipment rental opportunities and various entertainment activities available.

Torre Lapillo beach is the most popular with young people. For them, the various equipped lidos offer entertainment and live music.

The beaches closest to the center of Torre Lapillo are busier and busier, while those slightly further away offer a more peaceful and serene atmosphere.

Tourists visiting Torre Lapillo usually rent accommodation or B&Bs near the beaches. So they can have the sea nearby during the day. And in the evening they can move for a walk to nearby resorts.

The beach of Torre Lapillo consists of an alternation of equipped beaches and free beaches. The sea of Torre Lapillo is transparent and clean, a true paradise.

Punta Prosciutto beach

Punta Prosciutto is one of the most famous beaches near Porto Cesareo. Located north of Porto Cesareo, it is famous for its enchanting landscape.

The crystal clear sea extends with shallow waters for long stretches. The fine sand of Punta Prosciutto beach evokes an exotic atmosphere.

The bathing establishments on the beach offer many services. You will also find jet ski rentals and sailing or kitesurfing lessons.

Punta Prosciutto beach is considered one of the most beautiful in Porto Cesareo by the inhabitants, like a true paradise.

Fine sand and sea so transparent that it will allow you to see the seabed clearly. Punta Prosciutto is certainly one of the best beaches in which to spend a pleasant day.

What are the most beautiful beaches in Porto Cesareo?

Porto Cesareo: transparent sea, beach and historic tower in the background

The most beautiful beaches in Porto Cesareo are:

What to see in Porto Cesareo

Porto Cesareo is world famous for its enchanting beaches. There are also important historical sites in the city. These deserve to be visited to learn more about the history of these lands.

Among the things to see in Porto Cesareo there are:

  • Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
  • Marine Biology Museum
  • Coastal towers

Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

The Church of the Madonna del Perpetuo Soccorso was built in 1880 on the recommendation of the bishop of Nardò.

The church has a neoclassical facade. It has an interior with a single rectangular nave and a star vault.

The church stands next to a small 17th century chapel. The church was built when the chapel became insufficient to accommodate the faithful.

Marine Biology Museum

The interesting Museum of Marine Biology is located in the center of Porto Cesareo. The museum houses a collection of 900 exhibits and explanatory panels.

The museum tells the story of the marine flora and fauna of this part of the Apulian coast.

Coastal towers

Among the things to see in the city, a visit to the four watchtowers along the coast stands out. The Towers were built in the 16th century to defend the city from possible invaders.

The four towers are Torre Cesarea, Torre Lapillo, Torre Chianca and Torre Castiglione. Unfortunately, only a few remains of the latter remain. In fact Torre Castiglione was destroyed during the Second World War.

The name of the city derives from the Torre Cesarea. The majestic structure with a square base houses the offices of the Guardia di Finanza.

What to do in the evening in Porto Cesareo?

Porto Cesareo is a popular destination for its splendid daytime beaches, but the fun doesn't end there. Even in the evening, the city offers a lively nightlife.

The center and the seafront are animated by restaurants that delight visitors with delicious Salento dishes.

During the summer, food and wine festivals, popular festivals and events are organized in the square.

For lovers of parties and discos, the Torre Lapillo area is the ideal choice. There are places that offer various events, from aperitifs to music, until late at night.

The city and the seafront of Porto Cesareo are crowded with people in the evening. You can enjoy a beautiful walk or dine in one of the many places that offer typical cuisine. There are many restaurants that prepare typical fish-based dishes or you can find simple pizzerias.

If you prefer, you can enjoy an aperitif in one of the bars overlooking the sea. There are also many clubs and discos where you can dance until late.

Where to sleep in Porto Cesareo

In Porto Cesareo and nearby you will find numerous apartments and holiday homes for rent. There are also many hotels and B&Bs, ready to welcome visitors from all over the world.

You can choose an apartment that directly overlooks the sea of Porto Cesareo. You can book a structure within the city streets. Or you can rent accommodation in one of the nearby towns.

Our advice is to hurry up and book a structure as soon as possible. Most of them sell out in no time!

Book your holiday in Porto Cesareo and come and discover the beautiful sea of Puglia!