I've yet to find more beautiful beaches on the Italian mainland than those in Cilento. A couple of them are spectacularly stunning. It is those I wish to share with you...
The entire bay is part of a nature reserve and the best beach in the bay, Cala degli Infreschi, is regularly voted as the most pristine and beautiful in Italy.
The one that sometimes beats it is nearby Cala Bianca which we'll get to further on.
The Infreschi name refers to the fresh mountain streams that flow into the sea here, adding sparkling mountain spring water to the crystal clear sea.
Rising up behind the beach are cliffs covered with wild Mediterranean herbs. They add a fragrance to the air which, when combined with that of the sea, is a natural tonic to make anybody feel a whole lot better.
Along the north-eastern side of the beach you'll find a number of caves, used for centuries by the fisherman who once lived here to keep their catch fresh and cool.
The only down side is that the "sand" is more gravel than soft sand so flip flops are recommended.
There used to be a little restaurant called Il Pirata and their seafood was legendary. However, it has been closed in order to keep the beach as pristine as possible and it seems unlikely that it will reopen any time soon. So best bring a picnic lunch with you.
Of course, if you've arrived on the Pinelli boat, available for free if you stay at Il Rifugio, they will prepare a wonderful seafood lunch for you accompanied by copious amounts of the excellent local white wine.
A few years back, Cala Bianca was officially voted the most beautiful beach in Italy.
I wouldn't go that far and personally prefer some of the east coast beaches in Sardinia but that doesn't take anything away from this beach which is pristine and beautiful. The only negative is that the "sand" is more gravel and, being very narrow, it gets crowded in July and August.
Boat is by far the best way and if you're staying at Il Rifugio then boat trips to all the beaches on this page are included in the cost of the villa.
If not then you'll need to organize a boat trip from Marina di Camerota, Palinuro or Scario.
Trips cost anything from 15 to 20 Euros and most include a visit to nearby caves where the water is as blue as the famous Blue Grotto on the Isle of Capri. They then drop you off at the beach and pick you up three or four hours later.
Should you prefer to hike in then follow the trail from the western end of Marina di Camerota. The first half is pretty much all uphill before descending to the beaches with the first stop, after around 90 minutes of walking, being Cala Bianca. From Cala Bianca another 30 minutes will take you to Cala degli Infreschi.
A beautiful little beach of soft sand and gently lapping waves. The sort of beach to really relax and forget about the world beyond.
You can only get here by boat, unless you are staying at the King's Residence Hotel, which is just above the beach. Most people arrive on one of the boat trips from from Palinuro.
A cheaper and more fun way of getting to the beach is to take a pedallo from Marinella Beach or swim it if you are a fairly strong swimmer.
Except in July and August, there is seldom anywhere to buy a snack or drink so bring your own and please don't leave anything behind.
May, June or September is best. Being small, all these beaches get crowded in July and August.
The water is warmest in late summer, with the first hardy swimmers to be seen from early May. Even in October it can be warm enough to enjoy a swim.