It’s not that often you find a place that has so much to offer and yet is almost completely untouched by tourism. Puglia also knows as Apulia has so much to offer and should be a destination on everybody’s wishlist. These 8 spots will make sure that you want to visit Puglia right away.
Puglia is the most southeastern region in Italy, located on the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea. Puglia has the longest coastline of any Italian mainland region. Stunning beaches with amazing crystal clear waters are almost guaranteed. Besides white sandy beaches, you’ll find greenish-brown hills, olive groves, historic towns with impressive architecture.
Puglia is one of Italy’s poorest regions which makes a holiday quite affordable compared to the north. The area is famous for unique Italian food, made of fresh products and ingredients. Furthermore, it’s one of the largest wine-making regions in Italy and also one of the main producers of olive oil and dried pasta. And the best of all: Puglia is not full of mass tourism. Reason enough to visit this area, right? Make sure you don’t miss the following spots:
Bari is the capital of Puglia. The old center lies at the harbor and outside the gates of the old center, you’ll find a boulevard by the sea. You can settle down for an Italian coffee or dinner with some fresh fish, which is really affordable. The old city center has a great atmosphere. The old center is full of cozy and small streets, small houses with cute balconies and hidden churches. For a capital, Bari is not that big but definitely worth paying a visit.
One of my favorite spots is Ostuni, also known as ‘The White City’. Ostuni is built between three hills which give you a beautiful view over the surrounding landscape with the turquoise colors of the sea in the distance. The historic center is full of small streets, stairs, and arches. A must do is to visit the cathedral with its beautiful facade, with a large rosette window. Every second Sunday of the month there is an antique market around the Villa Comunale. You can also pay a visit to the Ostuni coast. The beaches are beautiful. Settle down at one of the bars, restaurants or terraces and taste the delicious regional dishes with the excellent olive oil of the region.
Alberobello is unique and you can’t compare it with any other place. This town in the heel of Italy is famous because of the whitewashed stone houses with gray pointed roofs with fairytale characters on it, also known as Trulli. Alberobello. is a town that cannot be compared to anything. Wander around in the narrow streets, sit down for a cup of coffee and if you really want to enjoy the tiny houses, spend your night in a real Trulli.
Locorotondo is one of the prettiest villages in Puglia. The center is only accessible by foot. You can easily spend your day here strolling around the narrow streets, the white houses and the colored flowers. Settle down at Docks101 for a coffee or cocktail while you enjoy an incredible view over the countryside. Locorotondo is a small town, but if you look around you’ll pass beautiful buildings and churches, such as San Giorgio and San Rocco.
Lecce is known for its beautiful 17th-century baroque architecture. A must see is the city’s main square, Piazza Sant’Oronzo, where you can find the Roman amphitheater. Lecce’s Cathedral is located on Piazza del Duomo, which is especially beautiful at night. Traffic is limited in the center so it’s a pleasure to wander around the narrow streets of golden sandstone, for exploring all the extravagantly and historical building and finding all the hidden hotspots to enjoy the local food and wine.
Polignano a Mare
Polignano a Mare is a true pearl. The city lies on a limestone cliff at a height of about 20 meters above the clear blue waters of the Adriatic Sea. In the cliff there are quite a few caves that were created millennia ago by the power of the sea water and in which even prehistoric people have lived. One of these caves is the Palazzesse cave which is known as the most beautiful of the caves. There are also some restaurants where you can have dinner in one of the caves. Around the Santo Stefano, a small medieval church on the Via Porto, you will find lines of poetry or complete poems on the wall and on the stairs.
Around a fifteen minute drive from Polignano a Mare you’ll find Monopoli. Monopoli is a traditional coastal town and mainly has rocks along this coast where you can walk at the beach. In addition to the large olive groves that the town knows, the town exudes typical southern Italian charms. Monopoli has a beautiful historic center and is best known for its cathedral Maria Santisima della Madia. Stroll around the historical city center. Every week there is a market in Monopoli, like a real Italian one. You can find local products like fruit and vegetables, but also clothing and accessories.
Last but not least: Otranto, a picturesque and charming town with its small harbor on the Adriatic Sea. A must see is a cathedral with its special mosaic floor which is around 700 square meters. Also, Otranto has an old city center with narrow streets, historical buildings and hidden restaurants. Climb the tower of Torre Matta for an incredible view and walk through the castle of Otranto.
The best way to explore Puglia is by car. The area is small enough to stay at one place and plan day trips to other towns and cities. You can also choose to make a road trip and stay in different places. Puglia has so much to offer if it comes to nice cities, sights, culture and great food. Enjoy!