The sea caves of Vieste

La coast of the Gargano, especially the stretch that goes from Vieste to Mattinata is one of the most evocative landscapes of Puglia: high white cliffs overhanging the sea, with pines, brooms and cistus jutting out over the blue waters, alternating with small creeks and white pebble beaches reachable only by sea.

Among the coves and small green oases, the realm of herring gulls and falcons, we find the sea caves: large cavities into which the sea creeps. In these tunnels with particular shapes, thanks to the filtering light and its reflections between rocks and Mediterranean scrub, the water acquires enchanting shades of color, giving us magnificent shows.

Centuries after centuries, millennia after millennia with methodical slowness, the waves of the sea have eroded the limestone coast of the Gargano modeling natural scenarios, of which no hand would have been capable, opening gashes, fissures and tunnels. The sun takes care of it with the amazing reflections on the water to complete the amazement.

There are about twenty sea caves, the discovery by two fishermen (the Trimigno brothers) took place in 1954, the year in which mass tourism had not yet learned of the wonders of the Gargano. After a few years in 1963 in Pugnochiuso, on behalf of the engineer. Enrico Mattei, begins the construction of the most famous holiday center in Vieste, which will give a decisive turning point to the economy of the town from agricultural-pastoral to tourist.

The Sea Caves of Vieste and Gargano for their beauty and their shape have inspired the old fishermen with the most singular and curious names:

the bell cave large that has the shape of a majestic bell 70 meters high and covered with velvety moss.
the smugglers cave with double exit which, once upon a time, facilitated the escape of smugglers.
the cave of the swallows inside which the nice birds have nested
the broken cave it is like an ancient castle that time has demolished the upper part from where the Aleppo pines are reflected in the emerald waters.
the Two Eyes Cave characterized by two small openings dug by the waves of the sea.
the Emerald Grotto where the sea and the light are reflected on the walls creating suggestive color effects.
the tomato cave on whose walls there are red molluscs in the shape of a tomato.
the Cave of the sirens where according to legend the sirens once lived.

According to legends, such as that of Pizzomunno, the sea caves are nothing more than the shelters of the sirens: it is here that the frightening figures with their bewitching song imprisoned the young girls they were jealous of with chains.

In the summer season the tour of the caves by motorboat is organized from Motorboat Desirèe departing from the port of Vieste both in the morning and in the afternoon, where you can also admire the sea from the San Felice bay with the famous “Architiello”, the bay of Campi, the stacks of Bay of Zagare and the beaches of Greek port, Vignanotica and Clenched Fist.

Tickets are also available online at

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Marc Hotel

4-star hotel 150 meters from the sea, near the centre