When thinking about Italy (if you are not Italian or never visited the country) the first places that most probably come to your mind are the classic Rome, Venice and Florence. However, Italy has a lot more to offer than that!
Puglia is a beautiful region in Southern Italy, which is geographically located on the “heel of the boot”: Touristically, it is one of Italy’s most popular holiday destination and the numbers of visitors is actually rising every year. The sea is amazing and the region itself is just stunningly beautiful. Puglia is full of little and unique towns and villages and an amazing and welcoming culture. Not to talk about the simply delicious food that you can find here.
Puglia is pretty unique in the sense that is definitely completely apart from destinations like Rome or Venice and is very different from the Northern parts of the country. Not only in terms of scenery but also in terms of food and architecture. Here, you might actually experience a more authentic Italy.
There are a wide variety of things to do in Puglia and to make things easier, here is a list of some things you should definitely not miss during your visit.
Get a sense of Puglia in Bari
Many visitors arrive in Bari but quickly move to their next destination in Puglia. However, Bari deserves a couple of days just to get a sense of the atmosphere in Puglia. It is great to walk around and “genuine” than other famous cities in Italy. You can see local markets and taste the local home made food like the popular “orecchiette”, the typical pasta shape from Puglia.
Get struck by the view in Polignano a Mare
Puglia is home of beautiful, strikingly blue beaches and breath-taking coastlines. Polignano a Mare seems to be taken out of a postcard.
It is home of the pretty expensive and famous restaurant built into the cliff but itt is also the most popular destination in Puglia, chosen both by locals and from internationals travellers.
The beaches might get pretty crowded during the summer but the views the town offers are worth the visit.There are many places where you can walk to and get wonderful views of the town, whose light-colored buildings contrast with the blue-green color of the water of the sea. Simply amazing!
Ostuni is a charming city built on a hilltop which is home to some of Puglia’s most exclusive resorts and
beaches. It is located in the area of Valle d’Itria, a rustic part of the region known for its hilltops. The area itself is very iconic and full of other wonderful villages.
Regarding Ostuni, it is wonderful to stroll down its narrow and beautiful streets, climbing the staircases and feel like you are travelling back in time. Even if pretty touristic, Ostuni’s charm is unrivalled and is definitely worth a visit.
Locorotondo and Martina Franca are other villages you might want to visit when in the area as well. They
are less touristic and offer the same (if not better) authenticity than Ostuni.
Discover the beautiful Trulli in Alberobello
Alberobello is another pretty common destination in Puglia. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the
small village can also get very crowded, especially during high seasons. A little tip is to get up a bit earlies
to avoid the many visitors coming to Aberobello to admire the wonderful Trulli Houses.
These white buildings with conical roofs are very special of Puglia and Alberobello is unique in terms of the concentration of them. The city center is of course pretty touristic, with many shops and restaurants but there are also more residential parts of the city.
Visit Puglia’s Most Southern Part in Salento
The Salento Peninsula offers the best beaches in Puglia, lively nightlife and iconic towns like Otranto and Gallipoli. It is also an area coved with olive trees from where the famous and delicious olive oil is produced and several vineyards.
Gallipoli and Otranto are also renowned for the cultural and historical value they have.
There are several famous churches and buildings with beautiful architecture which are definitely worth a visit.
Some of the best beaches in the southern part of Puglia include Torre dell’Orso, Maldive del Salento and
Explore the art and history in Lecce
Lecce is sometimes called “The Florence of the South” for the Baroque architecture which permeates the
whole city. Lecce is a very ancient city and it includes a well-preserved Roman amphitheatre, a beautiful
Duomo and the impressive Basilica di Santa Croce. If you are looking for something different than beautiful beaches and relaxed strolls overlooking the sea, look no further than Lecce! Being the biggest city in Puglia makes Lecce a lively city both during the day and at night.
Explore the area of the Gargano
The Gargano Peninsula is located in the northern part of Puglia and overlooks the Adriatic sea. It is an exceptionally beautiful area occupied by the wonderful and lush-green Gargano National Park which is also the most-extensive national parks in Italy. The contrast of the green with the blue of the sea is absolutely wonderful. In the park you can enjoy several different hikes. Or you can go to some of the numerous sandy beaches characterised by crystaline waters and surrounded by cliffs which make the scenery very beautiful.
The variety of activities offered by this area of the region make it a pretty good destination in Puglia.
Pay a visit to Castel del Monte
Castel del Monte is a beautiful 13th century citadel situated on a hill on the sourthern east part of Puglia. The view and the setting are simply amazing. If you have time, make sure you pay a visit to this place which has gained the title of one of the most beautiful “borghi” (or small villages) of Italy.
Overall, Puglia is a destination in Italy packed with a variety of things to do and a wonderful atmosphere.
The people in Puglia are well-known for their friendliness and welcoming manners. You won’t be
disappointed by Puglia!