Among all the beautiful beaches in Salento, Monaco Mirante beach is the most impressive because of its unique and rare beauty. It’s a beach which very few people know, so it’s one of those beautiful, secret beaches which I suggest that you discover as soon as possible – a little piece of California. Monaco Mirante beach is located between Campomarino and San Pietro in Bevagna, a few kilometres north of Porto Cesareo. I’ll show you it in one of my short videos so you can delve into the atmosphere of the area.
You may be asking yourself, “Why is it a little piece of California?”. Actually, I stole the name from my guest who was on vacation in Porto Cesareo last year, I can’t claim the credit! One morning, Oscar stopped by my office in Torre Lapillo Bay to have a coffee with me and said, “Yesterday we were in Little California”. At first I tried to imagine where this exotic place was, then I had to ask: “Where’s that?”. “Monaco Mirante”, just north of San Pietro in Bevagna. We had been to that beach several times and it had never occurred to me to compare that little piece of paradise to the Californian coast, perhaps because I have never been to California.
Therefore, I set myself the task of writing a post on the little piece of California in Monaco Mirante and here it is. First of all, I went to Google Street View to see the coast of California – and suddenly it all made sense! The coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco is absolutely magnificent, I want to go there one day. The coastal road passes right by the sea, just like in Monaco Mirante. That comparison aside and with all due caution, Mirante really does seem to be in a different place than everyday Salento. Don’t think of it as being a place of white, powdery beaches like Torre Lapillo or Pesculuse. Here, it’s different, there are several kilometres of sand interspersed with low cliffs. I really mean kilometres. The queens of the coast are the dunes here, in my opinion, these are the best there are. You will not find any as equally impressive and wild anywhere in Salento. The dunes are high, in some places they reach more than 12 or 13 metres, and they are full of Mediterranean scrub with lush vegetation including juniper, thyme and helichrysum. In the cliffs above the sea there is also sea lavender and samphire. The area is part of the Dunes of Campomarino, which stretch for 41 hectares and which originated around 7500 to 3300 years ago. We are talking about millenia! The sea water is always the same colour and crystal clear. Here are three reasons to see Monaco Mirante beach in Salento.
1) The dunes
One reason for visiting the beach is definitely its dunes. It is not easy to see any others so tall and thick. To get to the sea you have to descend the dunes and feel all the scents of the Mediterranean. NB: I do not think that this is a beach for small children, if you have small children in tow it’s better to opt for the flat beaches without rocks, whereas here you will find cliffs and dune slopes which are both sandy and rocky.
2) The coast
Another reason to come here is the coast. I have spoken many times about the beautiful coast which stretches from Otranto to Santa Maria di Leuca and the road which lets you see the sea and the cliffs for tens of kilometres. Well, the coastal road that leads from San Pietro in Bevagna to Campomarino is equally beautiful, albeit for only 5 or 6 kilometres. The road is on the dunes and following it undoubtedly recalls the atmosphere of California or the deserts of Mexico. You always see the sea, the road is about 10 metres above sea level and has several break points for you to go down to the beach below. I like it a lot.
3) The tranquility
It’s a quiet beach, little touched by mass tourism, even in August. As for myself, sometimes I go in September and I guarantee you that here it will really be just you and the sea. Do not expect amenities like beach houses, bars or restaurants, there are none. You need to go to Campomarino for all that. I’ll leave you with these photos, they’re worth a thousand words …