Apulia, Italy: the most beautiful and wheelchair friendly beaches
When we think about about vacation in Italy we immediately think about religious architecture, art and about that delightful pizzas and pastas that we are going to enjoy while looking at a vespa a few metres away… But Italy is also about sun, beaches, the relaxing lapping of the waves and the warm sea temperature. Talking about beaches, Apulia is quite a good destination to sunbathe on some of the most beautiful beaches of Italy and swim in crystal clear waters.
The Italian Adriatic and Ionan coasts are marvellous but it is not really easy to find wheelchair accessible beaches. As often, only a few beaches are fully accessible and equipped for people for reduced mobility. But no worries, even if sometimes we had some hard time finding one, there are wheelchair friendly beaches in Apulia and I must admit, there are more of them than what I thought. Eventually, the most difficult part is to find a free wheelchair accessible beach. Indeed, Italian seem to like private equipped beaches that they call “lidos”. But no worries, here is a list of many beaches I went to, sorted by accessibility grade. Only one is not free.
Wheelchair accessible and equipped beaches in Apulia:
Torre Guaceto, Carovigno
Located 25 minutes by car from Ostuni, Torre Guaceto beach is my favorite beach in Apulia. Not only it’s an astonishing beach with calm and clear waters but also this is a fully equipped and accessible beach for wheelchair users. Plus, it seems that it is a really good snorkeling spot to admire some fishes but unfortunately I can’t confirm as we didn’t have snorkel gears.
At Torre Guaceto beach, you will find many beach wheelchairs and even one you can use to go into the water. Those Italian beach wheelchairs are called “job chairs”. There is also an adapted restrooms for people with reduced mobility and a boardwalk to reach the sea easily. There are only about 3 to 4 metres (tide dependent) between the end of the boardwalk and the Adriatic sea.
Normally people have to park their cars a few hundred metres away in a parking that costs 5 euros per vehicle. However, disabled people can be dropped just in front of the beginning of the boardwalk and their carers can park the car a few metres away. This way we don’t even have to pay the parking.
If you would like to go for a dip between two churches visits without going too far away from the city historical centre, Otranto beach is perfect. This beach is very close to the old town and perfectly equipped and accessible for wheelchair users. A plastic pathway leads to the sea and beach wheelchairs and parasols are available for free for disabled people and their caregivers.
Lido Morelli, Ostuni
Lido Morelli is the only beach I listed that you have to pay to enjoy. It is a 15 minutes drive from Ostuni so it is a good location to enjoy a sunbath or a swim before or after visiting “the White City”. The lido is equipped with job chairs and a boardwalk leading to the sea (ending less than 10 metres away from it). When Franck and I went at this beach the lifeguard was paying close attention to the needs of disabled people and their caregivers. So feel free to ask the lifeguards for any help. At the lido entrance there is a disabled parking space (do not go in the main parking) and a restrooms for people with reduced mobility but there is 2cm edge which is quite annoying. Beeing in a wheelchair, we don’t have enough space to manoeuvre or build up momentum. Regarding the fees: whatever the time you will spend in Lido Morelli, a day costs 20 euros for two people with two deckchairs and a parasol.
Easily accessible but not equipped beaches in Apulia:
Porta Vecchia, Monopoli
There are no job chairs nor boarwalk at Porta Vechhia but, nonetheless, this beach may suit some disabled people needs since it is easy to access thanks to a small ramp leading directly to the beach. Plus, the beach is quite narrow so we are always close to the sea. This beach can be a good deal for people who can walk a bit as there are only a few metres between our towels and the sea.
Porta Vecchia is located in the centre of Monopoli so there is no need to take the car to reach it if you are visiting the town and want to go for a refreshing dip. Nonetheless, for car users, there are two disabled parking spaces at the entrance of the skate park which is only a few metres away. You only issue might be to find a spot to lay your beach towel as this beach is really narrow!
Seno della purità, Gallipoli
Torre dell’ Orso
Not wheelchair accessible beaches:
Located 10 minutes away by car from Polignano a Mare, San Vito is a tiny cove unknown by tourists. So that is the perfect place to enjoy a sunny chilling afternoon, sharing the beach with just 3 or 4 Italian families. There is no disabled car space around but it is still easy to park close to the beach. However the beach is not wheelchair accessible as there are four big steps to reach it.
Roca Vecchia and Grotta della poesia
If you would like to have more information about the architectural and historical treasures of this Italian region you can also read My wheelchair travel in Apulia, Italy: Terra di Bari and Itria Valley and discover our travel itinerary and budget in Apulia.
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