Magazine

Boat trip in Salento? The destinations you cannot miss

There are places in Salento that you can only admire from the sea, with a boat trip and a dip right there… where the waters are deeper.

The entire coast of Salento, besides the stretches of fine sand and crystal-clear water, indeed, is characterized by stretches of majestic cliffs that recall the fjords and fascinating sea caves able to give, thanks to natural plays of light, breathtaking views.

The shades of the rocks corroded by the water, the lush green of the wild nature that intertwines with ancient stone monuments, the intense blue of the sea and the white of the fringes of the sea foam that break on the coast: besides feeling small in front of such a spectacle, you will spontaneously remain silent for a few moments to better catch – with your eyes – snapshots of that wonderful surface world that opens up to you. Then you will feel the burning desire to dive into that clear water, maybe to find out what lies under the sea or, simply, to watch everything from another perspective.

Well, this is it. Let us go back to the mainland and try to discover, among the many, what are the “obligatory” stops for those who want to enjoy a boat trip in Salento.

Salento by boat: from Ionian to Adriatic coasts

When we talk about boat trips in Salento, excursions, snorkeling and diving, we think of the numerous caves, coves and ravines that characterize the entire coast on both the Ionian and Adriatic sides.

Circumnavigating the coast from east to west and vice versa takes time, so we decided to show you two possible itineraries starting from Santa Maria di Leuca, the southernmost point in Apulia. This is for two reasons in particular: first, you can decide which side to move to; second, because we think this is the most picturesque area… it is in fact a stone’s throw from the lighthouse of Leuca that you can admire the point where the two seas meet!

Boat trip in Salento. Route to the West

Let us start from here and begin our exploratory boat tour sailing the coast along the Ionian side, the one that takes us from Leuca towards Gallipoli. But we will stop a little earlier, near the Marina of San Gregorio.

Among the first caves that you can admire, we must mention Grotta Porcinara (for centuries a Messapian, then Greek and Latin sanctuary, and therefore of great historical and archaeological value) and Grotta del Diavolo, that means Cave of the Devil (so called because the inhabitants of Leuca claimed to hear demonic rumbles coming from its cavities).

Continuing on the same route you will find Grotta Mesciu Gianni – or Master Gianni, a fisherman who had the hobby of collecting stones of various colours for his mosaics – and Grotta delle Tre Porte. Raise your hand if you have never even heard of Grotta delle Tre Porte. The most famous, the most majestic and perhaps even the most photographed of the caves of Leuca. Many say that being in front of its three large arches overlooking the sea, leaving a glimpse of a large chamber of stalactites and stalagmites, is in itself worth the price of the ticket. We also tell you that inside, on the north side, there is Grotta del Bambino, dating back to the Neanderthal era.

Following the route towards Marina di San Gregorio, we will find also Grotta del Presepe (with its limestone sculptures that recall the Nativity), Grotta degli Innamorati (for true romantics!) and Grotta del Drago.

Boat trip in Salento. Route to the East

Let us move now along the Adriatic side of the Cape of Leuca, the one that passes by Punta Meliso or the point where the two seas meet forming a chromatic boundary.

Here, there are several caves along the coast, as well. Many of these offer an unmissable spectacle of colours in the early hours of the morning. And this is not an insignificant detail for your boat trip in Salento…

Among the most beautiful caves, we must certainly mention Grotta dei Gabbiani (it seems that many seagulls are used to come here to nest) and Grotta Terradico. The latter – also known as the Cave of the Indians because of its characteristic triangular shape that recalls that of a tent – is actually not a single cave but a succession of three cavities that develop one after another in increasing order.

Another spectacle you cannot miss is the one given by Grotta del Soffio. Unlike other vertical caves, of which it is possible to admire their majesty, Grotta del Soffio is located at sea level, along with others present in the same inlet, and is accessible only by swimming. The particularity? Its continuous puffs of foam that give the impression that the cave breathes. A phenomenon created by the flow of the sea from the underwater cavity.

However, the most majestic and suggestive of the Levantine caves is the “Cathedral”. At a height of 60 meters there is the Vora – a large circular hole – which allows sunlight to enter the cave changing the colours of rocks and water depending on the inclination of the sun’s rays.

The boat trip in Salento along the Adriatic coast has then a final fundamental stage – at least in the restricted area of the Cape of Leuca – that is the inlet of Ciolo. Who has never heard of it? Who has not seen at least once panoramic photos about this location? Here you can enjoy a beautiful and surreal view from every corner… and we don’t want to spoil it any further.

23 July 2021