Rugged Cliffs & Crystal Clear Waters: This Hidden Gem In Italy Named Best Destination In Europe

Rugged Cliffs & Crystal Clear Waters: This Hidden Gem In Italy Named Best Destination In Europe

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While a summer in Europe might sound like a dream, depending on where you go, it’s not always all it’s cracked up to be.

I’ve spent the last ten years exploring some of the continent’s most gorgeous beach hubs, and though the views truly are to die for, some places have just gotten too crowded for their own good, and, frankly, I don’t know if traveling 10+ hours and paying thousands of dollars is worth it when you end up just sweating on an overcrowded beach.

With all of that said, there’s still a way for you to get that dream European vacation, especially if you take a look at the latest destination ranking released by Pompeii Tickets & Tours.

Woman overlooking Castello Aragonese, Taranto, ItalyWoman overlooking Castello Aragonese, Taranto, Italy

According to the travel guide company, the ultimate place to be this summer isn’t Mykonos, isn’t Amalfi, and it isn’t Barcelona – instead, you’ll want to head over to Taranto, one of Italy’s best-hidden gems.

One Of Italy’s Best-Kept Secrets

Even though Italy was just named the top European destination for U.S. travelers this year, few have actually heard of Taranto, a coastal city nestled right in the curvature of the boot’s heel.

And it’s a shame, really, since the views of the rugged cliffs that plunge into the crystal-clear waters of the Ionian Sea give the beaches of Capri and Palermo a run for their money – just take a look at Lido Azzurro or Marina di Pulsano, and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. 

Marina di Pulsano, Taranto, ItalyMarina di Pulsano, Taranto, Italy

Before we go on any further, though, I do quickly want to point out that the coastline is quite rocky, nothing like the sandy beaches of the Adriatic, so if you’re traveling with children, this might not be the best spot for you.

For the more adventurous souls, though, this is the ultimate Italian haven.

Rough sea in Marina di Pulsano, TarantoRough sea in Marina di Pulsano, Taranto

The beaches here are perfect for sailing, kayaking, and snorkeling – I especially recommend you go into Grotta del Monacone, a sea cave accessible only by water, where the light filters through the clear blue waters to create the most jaw-dropping effect.

Incredible Attractions With None Of The Crowds

Taranto is much more than just your run-of-the-mill resort town, though.

With a storied past that dates back to the 8th century BC and one-of-a-kind traditions that’ll fascinate you, this is also a cultural hub with lots to take in – this means that a long sightseeing excursion is in order.

Aerial view of Taranto, ItalyAerial view of Taranto, Italy

But where do you go?

According to the list compiled by Pompeii Tickets & Tours, Castello Aragonese is not only Taranto’s crown jewel but also Europe’s best attraction to visit this summer, so that should be right on top of your to-see list.

The Taranto National Archaeological Museum, Ponte Girevole, and Taranto’s Old Town should be up there, too – not only will you get to see some of Italy’s most incredible landmarks, but you’ll get to do it crowd-free.

Narrow street in the historic city center of Taranto, ItalyNarrow street in the historic city center of Taranto, Italy

A Budget-Friendly Haven

Raise your hand if you’re a sucker for a great-value destination; I’ll be the first one to go.

If you did, too, Taranto might just be one of the best places you can visit in Italy.

Most hotels and short-term rentals in the area usually charge anywhere between $50 and $80, while the average quick meal for one rarely costs over $10.

A man holding a wallet and 100-dollar billsA man holding a wallet and 100-dollar bills

Public transport and attractions are also reasonably priced, so all in all, the average traveler can expect to pay anywhere between $100 and $150 a day during their trip in Taranto – not bad at all, considering what you’ll be getting in return.

The Food Is On Another Level

OK, so by now, we’ve come to expect great food in Italy, but the culinary scene in Taranto is truly on another level, even by Mediterranean standards.

Granted, you’ll have to be a seafood lover to appreciate it all.

Plate of oystersPlate of oysters

Mar Piccolo mussels and raw oysters are local favorites, and raw fish, in general, is what most restaurants in the area are known for, so definitely consider ordering some form of it during your next night out in the city.

Of course, nobody does it better than traditional places like Rosaria Birreria Mediterranea and Al Borgo Antico, so definitely add them to your itinerary.

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