13 Best Places to visit in Puglia

Polignano a Mare at sunrise from Pietra Piatta - Puglia

13 Best Places to visit in Puglia

Puglia, aka Apulia in Italian, is one of the most beautiful regions in Italy! This article will provide you with absolutely unique places that you have to visit in Puglia to make your trip there unforgettable! You will find this region in the south-eastern tip of the country, literally in the heels of Italy’s boot, on the Adriatic Coast. This area is really amazing with a lot of beautiful towns and beaches! So, discover here 13 Best Places to visit in Puglia!

Puglia is not as famous as other places in Italy like the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre or Sicily. But it will get there, so you should visit Puglia as soon as possible! Puglia really has a lot to offer! Therefore you won’t have time to get bored between exploring the beautiful coastline, wandering in the cutest towns, being impressed by the stunning architecture, relaxing at one of the numerous beaches and discover breathtaking landscapes on your way!

Let me share with you all the best things to do and the best places to visit in Puglia, so that you can realize the gem that it is in southern Italy!

Puglia Travel Itinerary recommendations

Before I start to dig deeper in each one of the best places to visit in Puglia, I would like to give you some itinerary recommendations. As there is a lot of different activities and sites to visit in Puglia, it’s worth staying at least one week. Ten days would be ideal to have the time to visit properly all the places I have listed. And with two weeks you can take more time to lie down at one of the beautiful beaches or explore more.

I will give you a detailed itinerary below for one week and for ten days. In both, I recommend you arrive in Bari but leave asap and start with the first beach towns (Polignano a Mare and Monopoli) on the Adriatic coast south of Bari. Because you will be able to enjoy immediately some chill and laid-back vibes. And you can visit Bari at the end of your trip. But of course, you can decide to stay in Bari at the beginning if it’s more convenient for you.

How to get to Puglia

The best way to access Puglia by flight to Bari or Brindisi. Bari has international airport and Brindisi too (some low-cost airline companies are flying there). But you can also fly to Rome (or any other big cities in Italy) and take the train to Bari from there.

How to move around in Puglia

The best way to move around in Puglia is to rent a car. Although you can travel with the train from town to town, having a car will be more practical to access some remote places, especially on the coastline. Puglia is really perfect for a road trip!

It’s easy to find car rental companies (international ones and local ones) in Bari or Brindisi. You can rent a car from the airport or any cities.

One Week Itinerary in Puglia

Read below my recommendation for a one week itinerary to visit the best places in Puglia:

  • 1st Day: arrive in Bari and head to Polignano a Mare
  • 2nd Day: from Polignano a Mare to Monopoli
  • 3rd Day: from Monopoli to Alberobello
  • 4th Day: from Alberobello to Lecce
  • 5th Day: from Lecce to Torre dell’ Orso and Sant’Andrea
  • 6th Day: from Torre dell’ Orso and Sant’Andrea to Bari
  • 7th Day: explore Bari and leave

10 Days Itinerary in Puglia

If you are looking for a 10 days itinerary to visit the best places in Puglia, this is the one you can choose:

  • 1st Day: arrive in Bari and head to Polignano a Mare
  • 2nd Day: from Polignano a Mare to Monopoli
  • 3rd Day: from Monopoli to Alberobello
  • 4th Day: from Alberobello to Locorotondo then Ostuni
  • 5th Day: from Ostuni to Lecce
  • 6th Day: from Lecce to Torre dell’ Orso and Sant’Andrea
  • 7th Day: from Torre dell’ Orso to Otranto
  • 8th Day: from Otranto to Matera
  • 9th Day: from Matera to Bari
  • 10th Day: explore Bari and leave

Two Weeks Itinerary in Puglia

For a two weeks itinerary in Puglia, you can take the 10 days itinerary and add those 3 other best places to visit:

  • Santa Maria di Leuca, the town located at the top south of Puglia on the Ionian Sea
  • Gallipoli, a pretty town on the western coastline of Puglia on the Ionian Sea
  • And Galatina, a charming town about 20km south of Lecce

Polignano a Mare

Polignano a Mare is one of the most beautiful towns in Puglia on the Adriatic Coast. It’s only 35 km (22 mi) southeast of Bari so it can be your very first stop on a road trip in Puglia. It offers crystal clear waters, a scenic location with stunning cliffs and caves carved by the sea, and a charming historical center. Because of all of those reasons, Polignano a Mare is called “the Pearl of the Adriatic” and it’s very touristy. That’s why it’s part of the best places to see in Puglia! This area has actually been settled since prehistoric times.

Polignano a Mare is rather small so you can come here on a day trip or stay one day and one night.

The best things to do in Polignano a Mare

I am glad to share with you this great list of things to do in Polignano a Mare. Start by discovering the Old Town by foot. With its white stone houses and narrow streets, it’s quite lovely. Besides that a great quantity of cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops and other boutiques will welcome you in this area. But if you want to get the most out of Polignano a Mare, head to Pietra Piatta. This place offers photogenic views of the city perched on top of cliffs over the beautiful blue waters.

And another great viewpoint that I recommend is Terrazza Santo Stefano. This one is the best to get breathtaking views of Polignano a Mare from another perspective with the beach in the middle of the cliffs. This pebble beach named “Lama Monachile” or “Cala Porto” actually also deserves a visit. It’s a great place to chill, swim and even see some beach caves. As you go there, you cannot miss the bridge Ponte Lama Monachile which used to be part of an ancient Roman road. Not only it’s historical and picturesque but as you are on it you can admire the beach.

Where to stay in Polignano a Mare

Here are two recos for places to stay in Polignano a Mare.

One the one hand you can stay in SETTANNI Sea Suites for the opportunity to get a suite with a balcony and sea view in the Old Town. One of the suites even has a private pool!

And on the other hand, Dimora Anderì, a B&B located located in the heart of the old town, is another great pace to stay in Polignano al mare. This former palace of the 18th century has been restored to become a bed and breakfast.

Where to eat in Polignano a Mare

I am sharing with you my favorite places to eat in Polignano a Mare.

Le muse e il Mare is a nice restaurant serving local specialties. It’s located in via Roma, the street with the lyrics of “Volare”.

Also give a try to the ice creams in Martinucci Laboratory, not far from Ponte Lama Monachile. This brand has ice cream parlors in a few places in Puglia if you cannot try it here.

My secret tips for Polignano a Mare

I highly recommend you look at the sunset (or the sunrise) from Pietra Piatta! You will see a fabulous show!

And as a FYI, Domenico Modugno, the Italian singer author of the famous song “Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu” aka “Volare” was born in Polignano a Mare and has a statue here. You will find the lyrics of the song hanging in the air in one of the main streets in the Old Town. I am pretty sure that now you have the song in your head “Volare, oh-oh…”, sorry for that 😉 .

Monopoli

Monopoli is a town on the Adriatic Coast about 40 km (25 mi) southeast of Bari. It has many assets, amongst others a charming Old Town, an ideally located harbor and nice beaches, which makes it one of the best places to visit in Puglia! This area dates back around 500 BC: it was at this time a fortified city.

You recommend you stay here at least one day and one night, or on a day trip. It’s enough to visit as it’s rather small.

The best things to do in Monopoli

Here are some of the best things you will love to do in Monopoli.

Firstly, walk around in the Old Town. The houses are all built with white stones and used to be inhabited by fishermen. It’s quite pleasant to get lost here! In the heart of the historic center, you will find the old harbor: Porto Vecchio, with its typical blue boats. Many restaurants and cafes are available this area.

Secondly, take a look at the Basilica of the Madonna della Madia. Built in the 12th century, this Roman Catholic Cathedral has a beautiful façade. The interior is nicely decorated with marbles, paintings, precious stuccos, Corinthian capitals and sculptures.

Thirdly you can admire the Castle of Carlo V. This fortress was built on a promontory reaching into the sea in the 16th century. It used to be the residence of the city’s highest-ranking military personnel and then it became a prison.

Last but not least, you can go to the beach. With almost 15 km of turquoise clean water and stunning cliffs, you will have plenty of possibilities to swim or simply to lie down on one of beautiful sandy beaches.

Where to stay in Monopoli

I can recommend you two incredibly amazing places to stay in Monopoli!

You can stay in Bellavista Suite, a charming boutique hotel in the Old Town. It offers elegant rooms with balconies on the sea, and an amazing rooftop pool with breathtaking views.

You can also stay in Playa Del Mar, another boutique Bed and Breakfast close to the beach Cala Porto Rosso. It has some lovely boho style rooms, a terrace with a pool and a jacuzzi, and a fantastic panoramic view.

The best places to eat in Monopoli

Here are some restaurants and places to eat in Monopoli that I loved:

MedEat Monopoli: a lounge bar where you can enjoy pizzas, salads, pastries, coffee, wine and more. It’s ideally located just in front of the surprising church Chiesa del Purgatorio.

Ristorante Dal Ghiottone: this restaurant offers pasta, fish and seafood. It’s located on the main square of the Old Town.

Bella Blu Gelateria: for delicious Italian ice-creams in the Old Town.

My secrets tips for Monopoli

Here are two of the most instagrammable places to capture in the historical center in Monopoli. The first one is the cute Church of Saint Vitus the Martyr, in Italian Chiesetta Rettoria San Vito martire (you can see it in one of my photos here). And the second one is also a little church with a pastel blue door Chiesetta di San Giovanni secolo XVIII. I am sure you will love them!

Alberobello

Alberobello is definitely a gem and one of the best places to visit in Puglia! This cute small town is located in the Valle d’Itria and was set up in the 17th century. Alberobello is especially famous for its original houses named trulli (trullo in the singular form). These trulli are very simple: they are built with dry limestone walls without mortar, with a technique dating back to the pre-historic era. With their round form and their domed roof topped with decorative pinnacles, they look like fairy tale houses! In the historical center of Alberobello there are more than 1,500 trulli. They are actually very well-preserved and still inhabited. These trulli are listed as UNESCO World Heritage since 1996!

I recommend staying at least one day and one night in Alberobello so that you can experience a night in a trullo.

The best things to do in Alberobello

This town is adorable for many reasons, so here are the best things to do in Alberobello. You should start by simply strolling in the streets. For example, you can go to the neighborhood of Monti that features more than 1,000 trulli! It the most touristy one, but you can explore around to find more! I really enjoyed strolling in the middle of the trulli!

If you want to observe all of these trulli from above, you can head to the belvedere close to piazza Giangirolamo. It’s the best viewpoint to capture Alberobello from the top.

Then you can take a look at the picturesque church of Sant’Antonio. It was built at the beginning of the 20th century in the trullo style.

For those of you who want to know more about the regional history, culture and architecture of this area, you should visit the Museo del Territorio. This museum, housed in the trulli complex of Casa Pezzolla, will tell you everything about the building process of the trulli and how people lived there at the time.

Where to stay in Alberobello

Here are some great places to stay in Alberobello. The best way to visit a trullo is to actually stay in one! Many of them are welcoming guests as beds and breakfasts. In fact, spending the night in a trullo is an unforgettable experience!

I stayed in Grandi Trulli Bed & Breakfast and it was magical! Located at the entrance of Alberobello, this B&B offers two trulli that you can rent all for yourself. It’s really fun to spend the night in those little houses! They are well equipped, and the homemade cakes and biscuits left in the house for breakfast were yummy!

You can also stay in one of the trulli of Trulli Holiday Albergo Diffuso spread in different locations around the center of Alberobello. They also have a great service.

The best places to eat in Alberobello

Here are some best places to eat in Alberobello that you should experience for lunch or dinner.

I have tried the Ristorante Il Pannacolo in the heart of Alberobello. They have a very nice terrace located in the middle of several trulli and a good local cuisine.

You can also go to Il Ristorante La Cantina. In this welcoming restaurant the chef prepares the dishes in front of you.

My secret tips for Alberobello

Alberobello is such a magical city that it’s very popular! So, if you want to take pretty pictures here without the crowd, I recommend staying there for the night. This will allow you to have this enchanting town all to yourself early in the morning or late at night! It’s so romantic!

Locorotondo

Locorotondo is a lovely little town located not far from Alberobello (only 10 min drive) in the Itria Valley. It’s actually officially listed as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, hence one of the best places to visit in Puglia! Its name means “round place” (in latin locus rotondus), a term that was used to describe the specific circular structure of its historical center. The site of Locorotondo has been settled since between the 3rd and the 7th century BC.

I recommend visiting Locorotondo on a day trip.

The best things to do in Locorotondo

If you are visiting Locorotondo, take a look at the following list of best things to do here. Of course, you should walk around the Old Town. You will discover a labyrinth of pretty streets and charming houses with some beautifully carved balconies. All the buildings are painted in white to reflect sunlight and reduce heat accumulation. You will also notice that the roofs of the houses have two very steep slopes: they are called “Cummerse” and are typical from this place.

Locorotondo hosts some interesting churches that are worth to be seen. The Chiesa Madre di San Giorgio “St. George the Martyr” was built in the 18th century and features some 14th century bas-reliefs. Take a look also at the Santuario di San Rocco and at Chiesa Rettoria Madonna della Greca, which features a beautiful rosette made of stone on the façade.

Locorotondo is also famous for its excellent white wines. In this area the inhabitants have been cultivating grapes to produce wines since centuries. So, enjoy a glass of Bianco Locorotondo DOC before leaving this town!

The best places to stay in Locorotondo

Locorotondo being only 10 drive far from Alberobello, I recommend staying on a trullo in Alberobello.

Where to eat in Locorotondo

Take a look at those good places to eat in Locorotondo.

I have tried the restaurant La Braceria di De Pace Consiglia. They serve a good local cuisine in an authentic place.

And if you want a pizza, you can head to Pizzera Casa Pinto. They are located in a charming alley and have a little terrace.

My secret tip for Locorotondo

My favorite place to take photos in Locorotondo is Via Dura in the historic center. This narrow street is so pretty!

Ostuni

Ostuni - Photo by Daniel Corneschi on Unsplash
Ostuni - Photo by Daniel Corneschi on Unsplash

Ostuni is one of the most touristy places in Puglia. This hilltop city in the province of Brindisi is attracting many people thanks to its quaint historical center, its ideal location, and excellent restaurants. It’s so popular that its population is more than tripling in summer! Ostuni is also famous for its wine and high-quality olives. This area is settled since the prehistoric stone age, and it’s surrounded by olive groves. Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to visit Ostuni because of a car issue. I am quite sad about it as it’s one of the best places to visit in Puglia. But I gathered for you some information anyway!

The best things to do in Ostuni

Here are some best things to see in Ostuni. Like in all the other cities in Puglia, the old town is the best place to start your visit. Ostuni is actually called the “White City” because of its white walls and houses everywhere. Get lost in the narrow streets to enjoy all the beauty of this place! It’s simple but magical! The citadel that was once the historical center is still fortified by ancient walls.

You will admire the Duomo di Ostuni, aka Basilica concattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta. This Cathedral has a pretty rose window on the façade and frescoes inside. But Ostuni is also famous for its palaces. The Bishop’s Palace is one of the most interesting ones.

Last but not least, one of the most vibrant places in Ostuni is Piazza della Libertà. It’s filled with bars and restaurants and it’s highly recommended for a drink at the end of the day. Actually, Ostuni is taking the most beautiful colors at sunset when the white buildings are taking golden and pink hues.

Where to stay in Ostuni

If you are looking for a place to stay in Ostuni, here are some suggestions.

Have a look at White Luxury Suite in the old town. This boutique hotel provides suites with a spa bath or a private pool.

The 4-star hotel Rione Antico La Terra is another good option in the historical center. This elegant place will allow you to enjoy beautiful views over the town.

The best places to eat in Ostuni

Here are some great places to eat on Ostuni.

If you want to enjoy a great cocktail and a snack, you should try Monna Lisa Caffè, not far from Piazza della Libertà. The ambiance is nice, and the food is good too. The interior is actually carved in the rocks!

For a proper dinner, check out Osteria Ricanatti. This charming restaurant has a great service and a refined local cuisine.

Lecce

The city of Lecce is the second most important one in Puglia in terms of population. It’s also the main city of the Salentine Peninsula – basically the very end of the heel of the Italian boot. This historical place has been existing since over 2,000 years old! Lecce has a rich architecture mainly influenced by the Baroque style of the 17th century and is therefore called the “Florence of the South”. Now you know why you have to visit it as one of the best places in Puglia 😉 .

You can visit Lecce on a day trip or stay here one day and one night. You can stay longer if you are a culture buff.

The best things to do in Lecce

Let me give you some of the best places to see in Lecce. You can easily spend one day exploring this historic center. Take the time to admire the facades and the architecture around you. Some of the most interesting squares are Piazza Sant’Oronzo and Piazza del Duomo.

Do not miss the Basilica di Santa Croce with its beautiful ornaments or the Duomo di Lecce, the 12th century cathedral. One of the highlights of Lecce is the Roman amphitheater. Built between the 1st and the 2nd century AD, it could host up to 20,000 people for entertainment.

If you want to visit a museum, I recommend the Museo Archeologico Faggiano. It used to be a private home when the owner started to discover some archaeological evidence in his basement. Since then, around 5000 archaeological finds and other incredible things (2500 years old) have been brought to light.

Where to stay in Lecce

In case you want to stay in Lecce for the night, here are some recommendations.

If you fancy staying in a medieval fortress, have a look at Dimora Storica Torre Del Parco 1419. Here the rooms offer antique furniture and original frescoes.

If you prefer to stay in a palace (still without getting ruined) you can stay in Dimora Charleston SPA. This bed and breakfast has some rooms with spa tubs and free parking on site.

The best places to eat in Lecce

If you are hungry you can try one of these places to eat in Lecce.

For all the seafood lovers, go to l’Ostrica Ubriaca. This place serves fresh seafood and local fishes and has an interesting panoramic view from the rooftop.

If you prefer meat, go to Mamma Lupa. Located right close by the amphitheater, this friendly restaurant offers a local cuisine. Their meat and their bruschetta with fresh ingredients (and vegan options) are worthy.

Last but not least, for ice-creams you should go to Gelateria Pasticceria Natale, the best place in town for sweet treats!

My secret tip for Lecce

At the entrance of the historical center you will find a beautiful Triumphal Arch named Porta Napoli with an impressive obelisk. The alley leading to it is bordered with pretty trees blooming with pink flowers in summer. You should take a look at it!

Torre Dell’Orso

Torre dell’Orso is one of the best places to visit in Puglia because of its stunning 1,5km long beach with fine sand and crystalline water. The beautiful bay of Torre dell’Orso is divided in three beaches: L’Orsetta in the north, Li Tamari at the center and La Sorgente in the extreme south.

The stunning rocks of Le Due Sorelle and the impressive natural pool Grotta della Poesia are two other greats reasons to discover Torre dell’Orso. I am giving you more info about these places in the paragraphs below.

I recommend staying at least two days and one night in Torre dell’Orso so that you can enjoy all of the places around here.

Where to stay in Torre Dell’Orso

Here are some great places to stay in Torre dell’Orso.

Hotel Belvedere in Torre dell’Orso is ideally located at only 100 meters from some sandy beaches. This 4-star hotel also offers an outdoor swimming pool and spacious rooms.

If you like to stay in Bed and Breakfasts, take a look at Baia dell’Orso B&B. This place has a great value for money and a great location just a few minutes from the beach and restaurants.

Best places to eat in Torre Dell’Orso

Here are some places to eat in Torre dell’Orso.

If you are looking for a place offering value for money, you can try Modo Kitchen. This restaurant serves a good cuisine prepared with care and great cocktails. The staff is friendly which is always a plus, and the service is fast!

If you want a sweet snack in the afternoon, you can go to Pasticceria Dentoni. This pastry shop and café is a great place to enjoy a dessert or an ice-cream with a view.

The Cave of Poetry – Torre Dell’Orso

Grotta della Poesia, aka the Cave of Poetry, is considered as one of the ten most beautiful natural pools in the world! Therefore, I had to add it to the list of the best places to see in Puglia. Grotta della Poesia is located on the Adriatic coast near the town of Torre dell’Orso (between Lecce and Otranto).

This area is in fact an archeological site named Roca Vecchia. It has been occupied already from the II millennium BC. A team of archeologists found here some very well-preserved monumental architecture of the Bronze Age (2nd millennium BC) and a large set of Mycenaean pottery. The Cave of Poetry itself was apparently used for cult practices involving the writing of thousands of dedications to a local deity Madonna di Rocca Vecchia.

Things to do at the Cave of Poetry

Nowadays the Cave of Poetry is an impressive blue eye of about 150 square meters where you can swim. If you are a bit adventurous you can dive from the cliffs into the rock pool: you will have to jump from 3 to 6 meters. I was not brave enough to give it a try! In summer people are also gathering around the cave to soak up some sun. It’s very touristy!

Before or after admiring and experiencing the Cave of Poetry, you should walk around. You can have a look at the ruins of a medieval castle with a 16th century tower: Torre di Rocca Vecchia. It’s also possible to do an archeological tour. Last but not least there are some smaller caves connected together and directly to the sea by shafts and tunnels.

My secret tips for the Cave of Poetry

If you are wondering how to access the Cave of Poetry, a parking lot is located just close by so it’s easy to reach it.

Come early in the morning if you want to avoid the crowd. But if you want to enjoy the friendly ambiance and look at the people jumping (if you are too scared to jump yourself) you can come in the afternoon!

Le Due Sorelle – Torre Dell’Orso

Le Due Sorelle is the name given to two stunning rocks located in the Adriatic Sea in the area of Torre Dell’Orso. It means “The Two Sisters” in English.

Let me tell you the local tale behind this beautiful spot. Once upon a time, two young sisters living in the area were fascinated by the magnificent view of the sea. As the weather was hot in summer, one of them decided to dive from the cliff into the water to refresh herself. But quickly she started to drown. So, her sister jumped off the cliff to rescue her. Unfortunately, it was too late and both of them died. But the Gods looking at these two poor souls, decided to turn them into two beautiful rocky stacks in the middle of the sea!

Things to do at Le Due Sorelle

You can do a little walk to access a great viewpoint from the cliff to admire the two rocks sitting close to each other in the middle of the turquoise blue waters. Look for the spot named Scoglio Noglio on Google Map to find it.

I also highly recommend going to the beach in Torre dell’Orso. Spaggia di Torre dell’Orso is in fact a beautiful white sand beach from which you can admire le Due Sorelle. From here you can also enjoy the rest of the coastline and the crystal-clear waters.

The beach and the rocks of Le Due Sorelle are for sure part of the most beautiful and the best places in Puglia!

The best way to access Le Due Sorelle is to park your car in the dedicated parking lot (there is a fee of a few euros) and walk in the direction of the coast.

Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea and Torre Sant’Andrea

The village of Torre Sant’Andrea features one of the most beautiful places in Puglia! The coastline in Sant’Andrea is indeed breathtaking with a great quantity of big rocks and islets, named “Faraglioni”, standing in the turquoise Adriatic Sea. They are carved by the waves and the wind since hundreds of years! The cliffs in the area are also stunning with arches, caves and coves. Look at the photos and you will see why it’s one of the best places to visit in Puglia!

How to access Torre Sant’Andrea

Torre Sant’Andrea is part of the Marine Area of the Municipality of Melendugno. You can park nearby the coast. The parking cost 5 euros for the day. It will take you only a few minutes’ walk to access the most impressive views of the Faraglioni!

Where to stay and where to eat in Torre Sant’Andrea

Torre Sant’Andrea is located at only around 5 min drive of Torre dell’Orso and only around 17 min drive from Otranto. So, you can enjoy the restaurants and the hotels of both of these places.

My secret tip for Torre Sant’Andrea

Faraglioni di Torre Sant’Andrea is especially beautiful at sunset (or sunrise). So, I highly recommend you visit at this time! You can do like me and grab a pizza to enjoy the view!

Otranto

Otranto is a small port town part of the province of Lecce and located on the coastline of the Adriatic Sea. It’s actually the most easterly town in Italy! It was settled during Ancient Greece time and it used to be a Roman Port with a strategic location. Otranto is one of the best places to visit in Puglia not only because of the architecture and the history, but also for the sandy beaches and the scenic views!

You can stay in Otranto for the day or more if you want to enjoy the beaches.

The best things to do in Otranto

I am sharing here some of the best things you can do while you are in Otranto. First of all, you can visit the castle Castello Aragonese. This fortress dating back from the 11th century, was reinforced and rebuilt a few times along the year. It is the location of the first Gothic novel in history: “The castle of Otranto”, written by Horace Walpole in 1764.

Secondly you will be amazed in the cathedral Duomo di Otranto, aka Basilica Cattedrale di Santa Maria Annunziata. This Roman Catholic cathedral was consecrated in the 11th century. It’s famous for its 12th-century floor mosaic: covering the entire floor of the nave, the sanctuary and the apse, it is very well preserved! Then you can have a look at the Byzantine church of San Pietro with its unique frescoes.

But if you are more into nature and beaches, Otranto will please you as well! Baia dei Turchi and Baia del Mulino d’Acqua are two of the best sandy beaches near Otranto with crystal clear waters. Not only you can relax here but you can also wander around as the landscapes, beach caves and cliffs are quite amazing!

Where to stay in Otranto

Here are some great places to stay in the area of Otranto.

If you want to treat yourself, you can stay in Hotel Palazzo Papaleo. This 5-star boutique hotel located in an historic building in the heart of Otranto offers a rooftop terrace with a hot tub. You can even have breakfast and dinner on the rooftop terrace!

Otherwise I stayed in Vigne Vecchie, a lovely B&B located in the quiet village of Casamassella at only 8 min drive from Otranto. It offers a free parking and a swimming pool in the garden with everything you need to chill. The service is impeccable. I highly recommend it!

Where to eat in Otranto

Here are some great places to eat in the area of Otranto.

If you are looking for some good seafood, you should try Retro Gusto. This restaurant not far from the sea front proposes a high quality local cuisine in a lovely atmosphere.

If you want to try a real local experience, I recommend you eat in an agriturismo. This Italian word is a combination of agricoltura (agriculture) and turismo (tourism) to name a farm receiving guests for food (lunch and dinner) and/or holiday accommodation.

Therefore I recommend Agriturismo Agrodolce in Uggiano La Chiesa for example. It’s located in a beautiful garden with olive trees. I ate there and I found their local cuisine very good and the ambiance was amazing.

My secret tip for Otranto

I am giving you some info about a cool place that I wanted to see near Otranto. Laghetto Cava di Bauxite is an abandoned bauxite quarry located at only 7 min drive from Otranto. You can hike on the red rocks to access the turquoise blue eye of the bauxite cave. It’s highly photogenic!

Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to visit it. But I hope you can go there!

Bari

Bari - Photo by Kyrylo Balakleiets on Unsplash
Bari - Photo by Kyrylo Balakleiets on Unsplash

Bari is the capital city of the region of Puglia and the third most important economic centre of Southern Italy after Naples and Palermo. Located on the Adriatic Sea, it seems to have been founded by the Greeks but became Roman in the 3rd century BC. Its large port, pretty old town, historical sites, beautiful architecture and the proximity with amazing beaches are some of the good reasons to visit Bari! No doubt that it’s part of the best places to visit in Puglia!

The best things to do in Bari

Let’s dig into the best things to do in Bari. The historical center offering a labyrinth of alleys and some interesting landmarks, you can start by discovering it. It’s called Barivecchia, or Old Bari.

Here you can find two noticeable religious buildings. The first one is the Basilica San Nicola. It was built in the 11th century with an impressive architecture and also some stunning Romanesque sculptural works inside. The second one is the Basilica Cattedrale di San Sabino, aka Bari Cathedral. This one was built around the 13th century and features a beautiful rose window and a campanile, typical from the Romanesque architecture.

Then as you are in the area, head to Castello Normanno-Svevo, aka the Swabian Castle. This well-preserved castle was built in the 12th century. It’s a great viewpoint to observe the city from above.

Besides all of those landmarks, the Opera House of Bari, Teatro Petruzzelli, is worth the visit. And if you are into museums, you can visit the Pinecoteca metropolitina di Bari, it’s the most important art gallery in Puglia.

Where to stay in Bari

Here are some of the best places to stay in Bari.

If you want to treat yourself, you can book Dilman Luxury Stay. This Bed and Breakfast offers design and chic rooms and studios and is ideally located in the heart of Bari.

You can also stay in the B and B Palazzo Nicolaus. Some of their rooms are equipped with jacuzzi and it’s also located in the Old Town of Bari.

Where to eat in Bari

Here are some of the best places to eat in Bari

Gola Gourmet Kitchen is a cozy restaurant with a great ambiance. The food is delicious and the staff friendly. On the menu you have seafood, Italian and Mediterranean cuisines.

If you fancy a pizza, go to Lievito Pizza e Dintorni. They have some of the best pizzas in town! Even though it’s a bit further for the heart of the Old Town, it’s worth to try!

Matera

Matera is one of the main cities of the region of Basilicata. Although it’s not part of Puglia, Matera is located at the border with this region so it would be a shame to miss it if you are in this part of Italy!

Let me tell you why you have to go there. Matera is so ancient that it’s the one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world! Actually, the cave dwellings you will find there, named the Sassi di Matera, were already inhabited since the Paleolithic period in 7000 BC or even before! That’s why I am adding it to the list of the best places to visit in Puglia!

The best things to do in Matera

Here are some of the best things to do in Matera. Start by wandering in the Sassi (the historical center of Matera). You will be amazed at the architecture of those stone cave houses! They are so valuable that, with the park of the Rupestrian Churches in the same area, they are officially UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1993. If you want to get the best views of the city, you can head to Belvedere di Piazza Giovanni Pascoli in the south and Belvedere Luigi Guerricchio on the west side. Then take a look at the impressive Matera’s Cathedral. It was built in the 13th century in the typical Apulian Romanesque architectural style. This cathedral features a beautiful rose window and 52-meter-tall bell tower.

If you want to visit more churches, you can have a look at Chiesa San Pietro Caveoso, Chiesa San Pietro Barisano and Covento di Sant’Agostino.

Last but not least, if you want to know how it looks like inside a typical cave dwelling, you can visit Casa Grotta. It’s furnished with furniture and tools of the ancient time.

Where to stay in Matera

How about staying in a real Sassi di Matera as you are here?!

Thymus Residence nei Sassi is a great place to stay in Matera. In this 3-Star hotel you will be able to stay in a cave room! Some suites are equipped with Turkish bath or spa.

If you want to treat yourself in a 5-star hotel you can check Sant’Angelo Luxury Resort. Here you will also stay in a Sassi and enjoy stunning panoramic views.

Where to eat in Matera

As you are in Matera, eating in Sassi would be a great experience!

You can eat in the elegant Baccanti. This traditional restaurant provides a refined local cuisine and an excellent service. From here you have a great view of the mountains and the caves.

Or you can try Ristorante Francesca near the church of Chiesa Rupestre di Santa Maria di Idris. They offer some local specialties; the service is fast and the staff welcoming.

For all the ice-creams lovers, you should taste the ones in La Cremeria Dell’Angelo. They are delicious!

In Conclusion…

As you can see Puglia is no short of beautiful places! Therefore I can tell you will be amazed and I am already sure you will enjoy your trip there! I did my best to provide you with a lot of information about those 13 best places to visit in Puglia. But if you have any remaining questions, please send me an email or ask it in the comments section below!

I can also recommend you visit the Amalfi Coast in Italy. It’s actually not very far from Puglia: count around 300 km from Bari to Positano, around 3h50 of driving if you are on a road trip. I have written an Indispensable Travel Guide to the Amalfi Coast that you can check out!

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About Me

Hello! I am Ophélie, an avid traveller, photographer and foodista. I am French and I live in Paris.

This blog, will give you all my secrets: my best addresses (sightseeing and food) all around the world and in Paris, and my travel and lifestyle tips!

 

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4 Comments
  • Charu Goyal
    Posted at 14:20h, 28 March Reply

    What an insightful guide, Ophélie! I remember loving this trip of yours so much when you went and wishing I was there too. You’re absolutely right in saying that Puglia will soon get really popular- I mean, these pictures alone speak volumes for the beauty of the region. I really hope to get there someday soon!

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 15:24h, 28 March Reply

      It’s so nice to read your feedback about the photos Charu! For sure Puglia offers so much beauty that everyone should see it! I really hope you can wander here in the future!

  • Mirjam Mieserius
    Posted at 15:07h, 29 March Reply

    What a beautiful post, Ophélie! And the pictures make me wanna go there!

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 00:58h, 31 March Reply

      I am so glad to read that the article and photos are inspiring you to visit Puglia Mirjam! It’s truly an amazing region of Italy!

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