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This beach with a strange name is one of the most beloved in the entire region of Puglia and subregion of Salento. If you have read any of our other articles on Salento, or perhaps visited, then you know that the competition is fierce. Crystal-clear waters in hues of blue and turquoise paired up against sheer white cliffs and powder-soft white sand are everywhere you turn.
Where is Punta Prosciutto?
Punta Prosciutto, which literally means the “tip of the ham”, was named for the shape of one of its rocky cliffs that resemble the country’s famous ham. We are in the Lecce province but actually closer to the coastal city of Taranto on the Ionian Sea. This approximately 20-kilometer stretch of coast between Punta Prosciutto and Porto Cesareo offers everything one could imagine for a perfect beach holiday.
What are the beaches like?
If you know much about Salento then you know that much of its coast is rocky and not always suitable for everyone, especially young children. Punta Prosciutto is just the opposite! It offers about 4 km of fine, white sand beaches with soft dunes and shallow water ideal for families.
There is a wide variety of possibilities as far as conveniences are concerned as well. Private bathing establishments abound in various price ranges where you can rent a beach umbrella, lounge chairs, and dine as well. Almost all of them offer entertainment throughout the day in the peak summer months from the famous pizzica folk dance to group dancing and aerobics in the water.
Boats and kayaks as well as kitesurfing on windy days are also widely available. Many people choose to bring their own snorkeling masks to get a glimpse of the local marine life or even choose to deep-sea dive with a professional. Don’t forget your underwater camera!
If you prefer bringing your own umbrella and chair, or if you travel lightly and only need your towel, then you will appreciate that this area also has ample “free beach” or spiaggia libera meaning that there is no cost to you. Just remember that if you want to find a spot, you will need to show up early in the morning in the months of July and August. These beaches are no longer a well-kept local secret and are assaulted with tourists from all over the world in the peak of the summer.
Have you already chosen this destination?
Off the Shore of Torre Chianca
Whatever you do, don’t miss the treasures that await you at Torre Chianca between Punta Prosciutto and Porto Cesareo. First, there is a heart-shaped island that was only just discovered in 2017 by drone footage! Yes, that’s right, it was only from up above that this tiny island’s amazing shape was revealed. The best part is that you can actually swim to it or if you prefer, boat to it.
Another attraction in the seabed here are the famous submerged Roman columns that are almost 2,000 years old! They are visible in the crystal clear water and lie at a depth of 80 meters from the surface. Again, don’t forget your underwater cam!
You can also visit the nature reserve (Riserva Naturale Palude del Conte e Duna Costiera in Porto Cesareo) a protected area that aims to preserve the native wildlife and plant species including marsh orchids and marine turtles.
You will definitely need your car here as many of Puglia’s most popular attractions are not serviced by train and buses are not frequent enough to rely upon. If you can possibly avoid the months of July and August, do so. A much more enjoyable time to visit is from mid-May, June, and again in September and even October when many days are still warm enough to enjoy a dip in the sea with the locals.
Continue reading about other beaches and sights to see in the Lecce province
For your overnight stay, we recommend…