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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Otranto

Otranto Holidays

The seaside town of Otranto is located on Italy's southeast coast. Its rich cultural past bring visitors from all over who want to explore its charming streets and picturesque scenes. A holiday here encompasses the very best of Italy – history, beaches and fantastic food.

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A seaside town drenched in history

Otranto may be a small seaside town but it has plenty going on to make it an ideal holiday destination. Its unspoilt beaches lead out to the deep blue Adriatic Sea, with rocks perfect for diving from dotted throughout the water.

Behind the beach, the houses, buildings and hotels in Otranto are painted in a classic whitewash, reminiscent of its nearby neighbour Greece. On a clear day you can look across the Straight of Otranto all the way to Albania.

Otranto may be a familiar word to some, thanks to the popular Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto, based at the town's historic 15th-century castle. But its not just the castle that dominates Otranto's skyline, this small town is also the home of numerous historic buildings, churches and fortifications, all waiting to be explored.

Quick Tips

  • Roman Catholic
  • Euro
  • Italian
  • GMT +1

Stepping back in time

Otranto's winding alleys and idyllic streets all tell a story of the town's rich historic past. For history buffs, Otranto Italy is a treasure chest full of places to explore and a past to uncover. Otranto's castle, The Castello Aragonese, has an unusual five sides, with a moat running along the entire perimeter. This castle is open to the public and holds temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

Otranto's biggest sightseeing spot is the town's Romanesque cathedral. The cathedral has a stunning mosaic floor from the 12th century, with pictures of religious stories including Noah's Ark found within. The cathedral opens at 7am, and on your way out you can stop off at its adjoining museum, containing local artefacts.

Even just walking through the town itself you'll be transported to a simpler time. The town centre is enclosed by large defensive walls, which you can walk along high above the sea for spectacular views.

A buzzing holiday atmosphere

Especially during the summer months, Otranto transforms into a holiday hotspot, gathering visitors from far and wide. Inside the old town centre the shops are bustling with tourists and locals browsing through ceramics, pottery, clothing, shoes and more.

Otranto's atmospheric alleys are also where you'll find traditional and international restaurants, cafes and ice cream parlours. For an epic view over the sea and town head up onto the fortress walls, where you'll find idyllic bars serving cold drinks and light Italian lunches.

Beach days

Ortanto's coastline is renowned for its beauty and is home to numerous beaches of varying sizes. The smaller strips of sand can be found right beside the town, an easy walking distance from the restaurants and cafes. Further out is Baia dei Turchi which translates to Bay of the Turks. This stretch of white sand is a peaceful haven found in a sheltered cove. Beautiful sail boats and yachts can be seen docked in this bay.

Out of all the Otranto beaches, Porto Badisco is by far the most mystical. That's because, according to myth this is a magical beach that the Goddess Venus' son stayed on. Today, this pebble beach is an ideal spot for a picnic or a quiet place to lay your sun towel. The water is shallow and clear, perfect conditions for splashing in the shallows.

Looking eastward

Just five kilometres southeast of Otranto is the most eastern point in all of mainland Italy, known as Capo d'Otranto. A lighthouse was built on this spot in 1867 to mark the eastern point, as well as where the Ionian Sea and Adriatic Sea meet.

In 2008 this large lighthouse was opened to the public for tours and currently hosts the Centre of Environment and Health in the Mediterranean and a multimedia museum of the sea. This tourist destination is a popular spot for New Year's Eve, as it's the first place in Italy to see midnight.