Vignanotica is considered as one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful, beaches in Gargano, Puglia.
The contrast of the water and cliffs helps maintain this reputation. Vignanotica is over 500m long gravel and pebbles beach, with very blue shade of the turquoise water and white cliffs and caves. Additionally, the water is almost always clear, even if is windy, and as a result, the beach is popular among locals and Italian tourists. And it’s a great solution to a problem ‘what to do in Gargano’.
Of course, Vignanotica, as all Italian beaches provides organized ‘lido’ where you can rent a sunbed or use a shower itp. In addition there is also a piece of ‘spiaggia’ that is free to use, so you can bring your own beach equipment.
The beach is easy to reach by car.
Vignanotica is more or less in the middle between Mattinata and Vieste. You can drive to the beach enjoying the views along the way, then leave a car in one of the paid parks. One of it includes in the price also a minibus shuttle service to the beach. In theory it runs every 10 minutes,but not necessarily in practice. The road down is crooked and bumpy, but don’t panic if the minibus jumps up a time or two, as the drivers are experienced. Lots of people use the shuttle to the beach so it may happen that have to wait for the next turn.
You can also walk to the beach via a path.
The path is called ‘a path of love’ and received this name not because it’s a favourite path of lovers, but because of the beauty of the landscape and panoramic view of the Adriatic. To set off your 30-40 min hiking you have to find a barrier and a big wooden board ‘Welcome to Gargano park’. They’re right on the road, next to a small parking, so easy to spot. It is hard to find room in the parking in season, hence many people park cars on the road. That is okay in summer, but it’s not the best idea if it comes to off seasons. You may be unpleasantly surprised that something happened to the car.
The ‘Path of love’ is an undemanding track, but even so, I wouldn’t wear flip-flops. It starts with olive groves , then continues through Aleppo pine forest. Of course the trees give shade, what I love during Italian summer.
Additionally, you have the blue sea in the background all the way long as the path runs along the coast. There are benches to sit, relax and admire the view. You can also find a small picnic site with a table and benches, so you can have lunch with sea view.
Avoid August if you want to visit Vignanotica.
Because Italians traditionally are on holidays this month, so the beach is full of people, umbrellas, sunbeds, shouting kids and teenagers listening to loud music. Consequently you can hardly find a place, even in lido, since people book sunbeds and tables for lunch in the beach restaurants and bars. Of course everyone has different preferences, and many people like very busy seasides. But I prefer beaches that are not packed with people.
In summer the beach is always crowded at weekneds, especially on Sundays. However, it’s pretty tranquil during weekdays. Naturally during summer parks, restaurants, bars, kayak rentals at the beach are open. More or less in the middle of September everything is closed. Yet, we really love Vinganotica off-season, when the water is still clear and warm, the weather is still lovely and there are just a few people.
As the sun goes down, the beach is changing.
Finally, one thing I like very much on this beach. In short, it is when the sun is setting behind the cliffs and the shadow slowly extends over the beach. Some sunbathers are moving around trying to catch last sunlight, some are going home. The beach is slowly getting empty. The atmosphere is changing from buzzing to more relaxing and serene. You can hear only birds and the sea. I believe such moments are magical.