Welcome to the unique guide that will walk you through the best places to visit in Puglia, Italy. This amazing Region in the heel of the boot of Italy recently became one of our favourite parts of the Mediterranean peninsula. It has a lot to offer and it’s absolutely worth adding it to your Italian bucket list.
The region is huge, that’s why we put together a list of all the gorgeous places to visit in Puglia, Italy. Inl this guide, you will find all the most beautiful towns in Puglia worth visiting during your holidays in Italy.
Starting your tour from Bari, the Region capital, we will reach deep into the beautiful part of the South of Puglia, arriving at Gallipoli, the party place of the country. As mentioned before, Puglia offers so many experiences that you might never have thought about, so let’s discover together all these gorgeous places to visit in Puglia!
Top places to visit in Puglia, Italy
Our guide will start from the capital, Bari and reach the southern part of the region. The below is a shortlist of the top places to visit in Puglia, Italy! Besides the beautiful beaches, in Puglia, you will find a lot more.
From the wild landscapes to the vineyard on the hilltop, you will be amazed by the rich architecture, culture, food and great weather. Puglia is often an underestimated holiday location, but it’s a place where meet the proper Italian Style, less known as popular spots like the Amalfi Coast, but even more lively.
17 Best places to visit in Puglia, Italy
This list will be nothing without a few tips about every single place. If you are planning a road trip to Puglia, now it’s time to start about the single destinations you want to touch on your tour. The guide below will take you exploring the single locations, highlighting the places to visit each time.
Many skip Bari on a trip to Puglia, but I urge you to visit even just for a night! Bari is the capital city of the region with a mesmerising old town of winding narrow streets. Start your morning with a trip to a local panificio, for a slice of focaccia Pugliese for breakfast. Follow the crowd, where you see a line is always the best place to go!
After a filling breakfast, take a walk to the 11th-century Basilica di San Nicola. A beautiful building boasting Pugliese-Romanesque architecture, it was originally built to keep the relics of St Nicolas. Be sure not to miss the less famous Cathedral of Bari too on your trip.
Continue on your sightseeing tour with a stop at the Bari Castle, built in the 1100’s by King Roger II. Back to Bari Old Town, get lost through the maze until you reach Arco Basso where you can watch Pugliese women and nonne roll out fresh orecchiette at a lightning pace! Curious to try making orecchiette for yourself? Check out Livguine’s orecchiette recipe and video now.
When lunchtime calls, wander over to the lungomare (promenade) for a stroll. As a port city, there’s plenty of fresh fish to be found for seafood lovers and the best place to enjoy it right on the port at El Chiringuito. There you can nibble on fresh raw fish and wash it down with a cold Peroni beer. Sea urchins are a real hit here!
End your day with traditional Pugliese food at restaurant La Bul. It’s perfect for a romantic evening dinner date!
By Olivia Windsor of Livguine.com
READ ALSO | Top things to do in Bari, Italy
Situated between Bari and Taranto, Ginosa is a small town steeped in history and fun to explore. Ginosa developed on a spur of land that stood in a large bend in the river sheltered by a ravine.
When the square in front of the Town Hall was being built a series of ancient tombs were discovered, suggesting the area had been inhabited since the earliest times. A walk in the square will reveal these underground tombs that can be viewed through glass panels. Many of the inhabitants lived in rock-cut caves and there were still people living in these in the early 20th century. The Casa Grottos are cave churches with beautiful Byzantine frescoes.
Above the town stands a Norman Castle which was built to defend the area and has good views of the river in both directions. The town’s church Chiesa Madre Della Vergine Des Rosario (Mother Church) stands on the top of the ravine and was built in 1554 in the typical Italian Baroque. The history of Ginosa is fascinating and there are guided tours that are well worth joining.
The local restaurants are unpretentious and serve traditional local dishes.
By Chrysoula of Greece Travel Ideas
Known for being the Airport of Salento, Brindisi is usually left behind when planning a trip to Puglia. But not this time. Brindisi is worth adding to your list of most beautiful places to visit in Puglia.
Thanks to its amazing coastline, warm weather, stunning architecture and delicious food, Brindisi will be a perfect getaway from your usual routine.
It’s a very quiet city on the seaside, with lively nightlife around the harbour of the city. You can plan a couple of days in Brindisi to relax, or recharge before a great tour of Puglia.
READ ALSO | Puglia food guide
If you are looking to discover all the best towns to visit in Puglia, Cisternino is the right place for you. Located in the heart of Puglia, Cisternino is less known compared to other Puglian towns. This is to be considered a hidden gem in Italy.
For us, visiting Cisternino was a pleasant surprise. The historical city centre and the view over the Valley make this town one of the best places to visit in Puglia. We had the opportunity to stroll around Cisternino with a local who explained to us the history of each corner of the city.
Do you want to know more about our trip to Puglia? Read how to spend one week in Puglia?
Between all the best places to visit in Puglia, we couldn’t miss Vieste. Known as Pearl of Gargano Peninsula, Vieste is a gorgeous town located in the province of Foggia. Vieste has a lot to offer, from the delicious food to a stunning coastline and impressive caves.
While strolling around you will feel another atmosphere thanks to its characteristic narrow streets and historical city centre, which is known as Vieste Vecchia. Getting lost between stands and streets, make sure you visit Svevo Castle and the gorgeous Cathedral of Vieste.
The Castle will leave you speechless thanks to its stunning view over the sea and for being built on a cliff.
If you are imagining right now Vieste, you will understand why it’s one of the best places to visit in Puglia!
Known for its famous Trulli, Alberobello is a must-see in Puglia. With its particular cone-shaped house’s roof, the Trulli of Alberobello are today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are many incredible things to do in Alberobello in fact, make sure you visit the Trullo Sovrano which is a church with a cone-shaped roof and enjoy the narrow streets of the city.
Besides the cute and characteristic narrow streets, make sure you check Alberobello best Terrazas. You will be able to admire the entire city from a different point of view and enjoy the Trulli from above. Considered one of the most romantic cities in Italy, Alberobello is one of these destinations that you can’t miss visiting.
READ ALSO | A guide to Alberobello
You can reach Locorotondo from Alberobello in 10 minutes and it’s absolutely one of the best places to visit in Puglia. Less touristy than Alberobello, Locorotondo is known for its circular city centre. In fact, the name Locorotondo derives from that.
While walking around the old town, you will be inspired by the amazing details that this city has to offer. Don’t miss this opportunity and add Locorotondo to your Puglia itinerary.
You might know Ostuni, Puglia thanks to Instagram, if not, go and check our page to get inspired. Why do we consider Ostuni one of the most beautiful places to visit in Puglia? Definitely one of the most gorgeous white villages in Puglia, nowadays, Ostuni became really popular and absolutely worth visiting.
With its characteristic narrow streets, gorgeous landscapes, Ostuni will surprise you by its beauty.
Being on the East side of the “boot” Otranto by day or night is a spectacular place to visit in Puglia. Like many other cities in Puglia, Otranto is not just culture, it’s even nature. Toti keeps saying that this it’s his favourite landscape in Puglia, and it’s not wrong at all.
In fact, close by you will find some of the best beaches in Puglia like Torre dell’ Orso famous for the sea stack of the Two Sisters. Going more to the south you will reach a cliff and caves surrounded by wild nature like Porto Badisco and Santa Cesarea Terme.
In this itinerary, there are not only the most beautiful places in Puglia but even the hidden gems worth visiting. For us, Martina Franca was the typical off the beaten path palace discovered by mistake.
We spent one week in Puglia going from one city to another and realising that Martina Franca was the right place for us to stay. Cheaper than other cities around, Martina Franca is the ideal place to stay and travel from.
Well, not only that. The typical narrow street, the local food and the Basilica, make this city worth adding to your itinerary.
Polignano A Mare
Many of you might know Polignano for the famous song “Volare” written by Domenico Modugno. In fact, the city of Polignano inspired him to write this song and we can’t blame him. Polignano a Mare is gorgeous and every year, tourists are coming all over the world just to enjoy Polignano’s vibes and landscapes.
Thanks to Instagram and the famous spots, Polignano a Mare is becoming popular with the picture of the house hanging on the cliff with the immense sea surrounding.
For sure, thanks to these scenarios, Polignano a Mare is one of the best places to visit in Puglia but the city has a lot more to offer. The narrow streets, the panorama from Pietra Piatta, the charming Grotta Palazzese restaurant and the Fondazione Museo Pino Pascale, make Polignano a Mare worth visiting.
READ ALSO | Best things to do in Polignano a Mare, Italy
In our opinion, Monopoli was even better than Polignano A Mare. I know, it might sound crazy but it’s true. Less touristy than Polignano Mare, Monopoli will leave you speechless thanks to its breathtaking coastline.
While planning our week in Puglia, we didn’t consider Monopoli till our friend suggested we spend at least one day in Monopoli. As we had a spare day, we decided to take the train and head towards Monopoli.
It was the best decision ever. If you love the Amalfi Coast, you will adore Monopoli even more. For more inspiration about Monopoli and why we considered it one of the best places to visit in Puglia, read our full article!
READ ALSO | Things to do in Monopoli
San Vito dei Normanni
Located half an hour away from Brindisi, San Vito Dei Normanni is a small but cute town worth visiting.
It’s the perfect hidden gem in Puglia and you can easily visit the entire city in a couple of hours.
Remember that if you are planning a trip to Puglia in summer, San Vito Dei Normanni will be hotter than usual as located inside and not close to the sea.
Stroll around the incredible historical city centre and discover the cute narrow streets with iconic buildings. The Architecture of San Vito Dei Normanni will leave you speechless with a great mix match of local expertise.
READ ALSO | Where to stay in Puglia, Italy
One of the most underrated places to visit in Puglia is the gorgeous city of Trani, a short distance from Bari to the north. Trani hardly gets the attention it deserves as people flock to Polignano a Mare, Ostuni, and Monopoli to Bari’s south.
Trani is 40 kilometres from Bari and is easily reached by train. When you arrive, you should head immediately to the port where you can find the beautiful Trani Cathedral, 13th-century fort, and more.
After visiting the old history of the city, be sure to head to Lido Colonna Beach and sip on some cocktails under the sun. Use your afternoon to visit Palazzo Delle Art Beltrani Museum.
Another popular landmark in Trani is the park called Villa Comunale di Trani. It is not a far walk from the main harbour, where some of the most delicious restaurants in the city are located. Trani is a fantastic place to add to your Puglia itinerary!
By Megan of Megan Starr
Gallipoli is a very pretty, historic seaside town in the province of Lecce in Puglia, around an hour’s drive from Brindisi airport. Situated on the Ionian sea, Gallipoli is divided into two parts which makes it rather unique.
On one side is the new town, which even boasts a skyscraper, whilst on the other side is the old town, which is built on a limestone island and is linked to the new town by a 16th-century bridge.
A sight not to be missed is the Angevin-Aragonese Castle, built in the 13th century by the Byzantines, which sits in between the new and old town. Other notable sites include the Basilica Cattedrale di Sant’Agata, the Fontana Greca “Greek Fountain” (which was once thought to be the oldest fountain in Italy), the Church of St. Francis of Assisi (which has a nativity scene dating back to the 26th century) and Spiaggia la Puritate – the beach under the city walls.
If you love the beach then you’ll enjoy walking along the Galilei promenade in the new town where there are plenty of beaches to lay down your towel. Here you’ll also find many beach clubs, with DJs and restaurants to enjoy lunch or an aperitivo at night. We preferred the old town, with its historic charm and quieter beaches. If you enjoy exploring, hire a boat for the day! Gallipoli is a wonderful town to visit for a weekend or even a week!
By Kirsty of What Kirsty did next?
Thanks to its amazing beaches and gorgeous coastline, Lecce is considered another best places to visit in Puglia. Known as “Florence of the South” Lecce is a must-see in Puglia.
Founded by the Messapii before being conquered by Romans, Lecce is a real architectural gem absolutely worth visiting. Lecce is not only known for being the Florence of the South but thanks to its traditions, gastronomy and amazing family activities to do, Lecce will be your new favourite place to visit in Puglia.
Minervino di Lecce
One of the top places to visit in Puglia is Minervino di Lecce, located southwest of Otranto. The main attraction for most travellers is the Dolmen Li Scusi, an archaeological site featuring megalithic structures and stones dating to between the 5th and 3rd Millennium B.C., set within an olive grove on the outskirts of town.
But there are so many fascinating things to do in Minervino di Lecce it’s worth planning to stay several days to experience even more of the area. If possible try to time your visit for one of the local religious festivals such as the Tavole di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph’s Tables) in March or the Festival of St. Martin, the patron saint of wine-making in autumn, where you’ll have an opportunity to experience important traditions of Salento such as pizzica dance, illumination displays, live music and culinary specialities.
Other activities include visiting the atmospheric underground church of Chiesa Della Madonna Delle Grazie, floating in the clear blue waters of Marina Serra, a natural swimming pool on the Adriatic Coast or spending a relaxing day at Porto Badisco, one of Puglia’s best beaches.
For a truly unforgettable stay in Minervino di Lecce, overnight at Palazzo Ducale Venturi, a boutique hotel set within the 16th century fortified palace where you can unwind in a lemon-scented garden set around a pristine swimming pool or indulge in a spa therapy within a hidden pool set within the palazzo’s subterranean stone walls.
By Michele Peterson of A Taste for Travel
Santa Maria di Leuca
Poised at the southernmost point of Italy’s heel is Santa Maria di Leuca, often referred to as simply Leuca. Sitting on a promontory between the Ionian and Adriatic seas, the ancient Greeks called it Leukos, meaning “brilliant sun”. Nowadays, it is a popular upmarket beach destination for Italians and Europeans alike and should be a must-stop on a road trip to Puglia.
Until the end of the 19th century, Leuca was a simple local fishing village. Then came the tourists, attracted by the clear turquoise waters and stunning Mediterranean scenery. Wealthy southern Italians adopted Leuca as their summer home and built beautiful villas which still adorn the seafront today.
With a typical promenade, littered with pretty bars and restaurants and a family feel, this is a perfect spot to spend a few days. Head up the cliff road to see the beautiful yet straightforward Basilica Sanctuary of Santa Maria de Finibus Terrae (end of the land), built to commemorate the passage of St. Peter here during his journey to Italy, and a great place to see the sunset.
Or just meander along the seafront in the early evening, stopping for a glass of cold Prosecco or beer, and watch the surfers that congregate here in the late summer sun. To see the best of the surrounding area, take a boat trip to find the secret coves and caves of this really gorgeous coastline.
By Izzy & Phil of The Gab Decaders
Q&A about places to visit in Puglia
What is Puglia best known for?
The beautiful region of Puglia is known for its production of olive oil and for having the longest coastline of any Italian mainland region. Puglia is also known for the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Trulli of Alberobello, Castel Del Monte and many more. If you are looking for a summer escape, Puglia should be your destination. This region has got some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy.
Is Puglia safe for tourists?
YES. If you are asking yourself if Puglia is a safe destination, the answer is yes. The south of Italy usually has got a bad reputation for being unsafe, which is not true! We felt completely safe while strolling around Puglia and jumping from one side to another.
How many days do you need in Puglia?
If you are looking to enjoy every single corner of Puglia, you should consider spending one week in Puglia. Having seven days in Puglia will give you the opportunity to explore until the “heel of the boot”
What is the best time to visit Puglia?
Being in the South of Italy, Puglia can reach high temperatures in summer. The best time to visit Puglia is during the spring and in autumn. Avoid travelling to Puglia in July and August as temperatures can reach up to 40°C. This is also the time when the area got busier than usual. We went to Puglia in September and the climate was warm, but now extremely hot.