You have decided to spend your summer holidays in the heel of Italy and you too are curious to discover the beautiful places that you may have heard of following some of your friends’ holidays. Well, today it’s your turn, we’re finally off!
But what to see in Puglia? The days you have are not that many, but the desire for Puglia is great.
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What to see in Puglia: let’s get oriented
Before understanding what to see in Puglia, let’s try to understand where we are. As you know, Puglia is a very large region. In addition to its division into provinces, there is also a division into geographical areas. Depending on the geographical area you are in, you will be able to understand and decide what to go and see. So let’s discover, first of all, the areas of Puglia .
As you can see the areas are different and you will find:
- the Gargano
- the Apulian tableland
- the Daunian Sub -Apennine
- the Land of Bari
- the Itria Valley
- the Ionian Arch of Tarantino
- the Salento
Some of these areas are very extensive, therefore you will hardly be able to visit others, unless you organize a multi-stage holiday or an itinerant holiday. However, if your holiday is more “sedentary”, some areas are smaller, so you will be able to visit the neighboring ones as well. But let’s go by topic and see what to see in Puglia.
The cities of Puglia
Surely if you leave from far away in the middle of summer to go to Puglia, you will have the idea of spending most of your time at the seaside. If, on the other hand, you travel to Puglia in autumn, winter or spring, know that the climate is very mild and you can also go inland. Having said that, even if you are in Puglia for a beach holiday, we recommend that you visit some of the beautiful Apulian cities that we are now going to mention.
First of all the Apulian capitals , which are one more beautiful than the other, rich in history, culture, with sublime architecture that will make you dive into the past and into the most authentic Mediterranean. Lecce is called the Florence of the South or Capital of the Baroque, Bari which with its old area knows how to enchant even the most disenchanted tourist, and then again Taranto , the pearl of Magna Graecia, with its MarTA (archaeological museum), and then again Barletta , Andria a Trani (the latter enchanting with its cathedral almost jutting out into the sea, and going up the unmissable Foggia with its enchanting cathedral and much more, and Brindisi, delightfully stretched along a crystalline sea.
The seaside towns of Puglia
The seaside towns of Puglia that we recommend you visit are different. They have the advantage of not being chaotic as capital cities can sometimes be, and of being on a human and tourist scale. Convenient for parking, relaxing, welcoming, they are full of things to do and offer truly beautiful landscapes. Let’s list a few:
Polignano a Mare with its Lama Monachile where you can also take a nice swim in the city, Monopoli as romantic as ever for a walk for two , splendid Otranto with its historic center full of small shops perched around the cathedral and castle, Gallipoli for lovers of nightlife and shopping, Peschiciwith its historic center of whitewashed houses, Rodi Garganico , a splendid fishing village, gently nestled on the sea, Bisceglie with its sandy and rocky beach at the same time, Vieste for those looking for the perfect combination of beach and city holidays, Mattinata with its bay of orange blossoms, Manfredonia with its perfect mix of seafaring tradition and modernity.
They are seaside towns that are not the capital, therefore of small to medium size, where you can find shops, restaurants, but also enchanting walks where you can breathe the sea air and see truly unique landscapes.
The seaside resorts of the Salento peninsula
If you are in Salento, you cannot fail to go and discover its seaside resorts: Torre Lapillo, Torre Pali, Punta Prosciutto, and then again Punta della Suina, Porto Selvaggio are just some of the most beautiful beaches in Salento. Among the places to see, unmissable Otranto already mentioned above, as well as Gallipoli, but also the beautiful Nardò rich in history, Maglie for shopping, Galatina for a bite of the famous Lecce pasticciotto.
From Salento going north: Ostuni and the Valle d’Itria
From Salento going north you cannot fail to stop in Ostuni, the white city, suspended on the Murge of Salento, immaculate and relaxing.
A real postcard city!
Still, continuing further north, you will meet the Valle d’Itria, with the splendid towns of Locorotondo, Alberobello with its trulli (Unesco heritage, impossible not to go and see them), Cisternino with its renowned butchers where you can eat knife-roasted sausage at the moment, and then again Ceglie Messapica and Martina Franca , splendid and always fresh even on the hottest days, as well as home to the famous Capocollo.
On the Eastern Murge, going north after Ostuni in the direction of Bari, you will meet Castellana Grotte, a unique place of its kind, where you can give yourself a unique speleological experience and take a walk into the bowels of the earth. Puglia has always been a land of impressive underground rivers, which have shaped the subsoil in a truly incredible way. Not to be missed. Don’t forget a sneaker and a jacket!
The Gargano National Park
If you are on the Gargano, we advise you to visit the towns of Monte Sant’Angelo and San Giovanni Rotondo . For a trek in nature, the Umbra Forest will be right for you (the Umbria region has nothing to do with it, Umbra means Shady), or take a ferry and go to the Tremiti Islands.
What to do in the Land of Bari
In the land of Bari, in the municipality of Andria (BAT) a visit (preferably guided) to Castel del Monte (also a Unesco heritage) is absolutely recommended. If you love history, know that almost all of Puglia is dotted with the beautiful Frederick castles (commissioned by Frederick II of Swabia, also known as Puer Apuliae).
Among these, Castel del Monte is truly an important architectural work. With a guided tour you will discover all the secrets of this castle and get to know the personality of this ruler so closely linked to Puglia. We are, here, in the Murge Baresi.
Plateau of the Murgia and Parco delle Gravine
Let’s then move to the westernmost part of Puglia and discover the Murge (small limestone reliefs) and the ravines (natural sinkholes in the ground). Here, nature is the star of the show. Among the towns that we recommend you visit we find Altamura (which every year in May dedicates a week to the historical re-enactment of the times of Frederick II), and Gravina di Puglia.
Things to do in Puglia before leaving
We talked about what to see in Puglia and where to go to the beach in Puglia and the seaside towns of Puglia. Now let’s see what to do in Puglia before starting again with a short list that we hope will give you some interesting ideas:
- sleep in a trullo
- take part in a boat excursion
- go to see a historical re-enactment (Altamura, but also Barletta, Nardò and other towns stage historical re-enactments every year)
- go to a patronal feast, with its incredible Apulian lights
- go to dinner in a typical farmhouse
- try to make orecchiette by hand (in old Bari you will surely find this possibility)