The next time you visit Italy, think past the popular hot spots of Rome, Florence, and Venice and head to the Puglia region in the boot of Italy. ou will know it’s worth it when you realize that this is the place where all the Italians go on vacation, and that’s exactly why it should be the first stop on your Italy tour.
An underrated destination that holds so much charm and beauty, if you love seeing beautiful coastlines and quaint villages (and eating the most delicious food ever) then don’t miss Puglia; Italy’s best-kept secret.
How to get there
There are two airports Bari Airport (BRI) and Brindisi Airport (BDS). If you want to explore the area closer to Polignano a Mare and Locorotondo then Bari might be the easier option. Brindisi is closer to Lecce, a major town.
When visiting Puglia, it’s best to rent a car as it can be hard to get around all the towns otherwise. Driving is not super difficult either – the only thing to watch out for is roundabouts if you’re not used to them and some streets can be on the smaller side. There are some buses taking you between the major towns but if you want the freedom to see as much as you want, a car rental is the best option. Many of the towns are super close to each other too so you can pop in and out of them quite easily this way.
Where to stay
Puglia is known for trullo, a cone-shaped stone home. You will see them throughout the Itria Valley and for an unforgettable experience, definitely stay in one! Locorotondo is a great central place to base yourself as it is centered amongst the various towns. You can stay in a trullo at a family farm like Masseria Aprile with the kindest hosts welcoming you as if you were their family. There is also free parking if you drive and Anna bakes the best cakes for breakfast.
How long to stay
Puglia has so much to offer and there are so many beautiful towns to explore. You can see them pretty quickly too as some can be visited in under 3 hours. If you want to really explore the region, at least a week would be perfect! That way you can get a taste of the pretty villages and also the coastal areas where you can spend more time relaxing at the beach.
5 insider towns
A great base for your trip, situated between Martina Franca and Alberobello. It is a small quiet town that is so lovely to explore on foot with no agenda.ALBEROBELLO
Alberobello is a magical town full of over 1,000 beautiful trulli dotted along the town. Insider tip: many of the shops allow you to go to the top of the trullo for a view – all you need to do is purchase a small item to go up.
POLIGNANO A MARE
Along the Adriatic Sea, you will find the famous beach in Polignano a Mare. It’s perched on a cliff and is simply breathtaking. A fun activity would be to take a boat tour as it will allow you to see incredible views of the town and it takes you inside caves! Also, be sure to try the tastiest foccacia bread at La Focacceria.
Ostuni is known as the white city. As you walk into the city, be sure to catch the view of the white buildings on a hilltop on Corso Vittorio Emanuelle II. Have the perfect lunch at Pastasciutto, an extremely affordable yet delicious place for pasta.
Monopoli is another town nearby with many white buildings as well which is common in the Puglia region. Just wander the town and admire the different cobblestone pathways in this village.
Of course, there is so much more to explore, and if you extend your trip be sure to see Cisternino, Martina Franca, Lecce, Gallipoli, among other amazing places!