This post has been updated on February 21st, 2021
Puglia has always been in our Italy Bucket list, and we couldn’t believe we had to wait so long before cutting it off. A guide to the 10 best day trips from Bari was necessary.
Even if we are Italian, we were amazed to discover Puglia and it’s incredible places. The Southern Region in the heel of Italy has got some of the most beautiful landscapes we have never seen. It’s easy to discover this Region, however many don’t know the true treasures it has to offer. In our ultimate guide, you will find the best day trips from Bari, Italy, the Capital of Puglia Region. You will understand how easy it is to travel to and from Bari.
Doesn’t matter if you want to travel by car from Bari, or choose a more sustainable way and use public transport. The below list will help you to plan well the most incredible day trips from Bari by train. Not only that, in this guide to Puglia it’s included some day tours from Bari, which will make your stay in Italy.
If you want to know more about Bari’s history, book a free walking tour of the city!
10 Amazing day trips from Bari, Italy
Suggested Day Tours from Bari, Italy
Above you have seen some suggestions you can start to look at for the next trip to Puglia. However, on top of these day trips, you can spot some interesting day tours from Bari, easy guides to some hidden gems of Italy.
Making a day tour is different to show you some locations for a day trip. A day tour will serve your experiences and unique adventures that just Puglia can give to you. Just outside Bari, you can immerse yourself in nature, visiting the beautiful and oldest olives trees in the world. Puglia is well known for two things, the production of prestigious olive oil and tasty wine.
Thanks to the climate conditions the Region can offer a huge variety of qualities. Why don’t go for a day tour in a winery outside of Bari? Enjoy a wine tasting in Italy. Check those which are suggested by us. You can book an entire day in a local “Masseria”, a rural house completely renowned and lost in nature.
Suggested day tours from Bari
Bari: Ruvo di Puglia Tour | £164 per group
Bari: Guided Alberobello Trip | £ 114
Most Suggestive day trips from Bari by train
You are already surprised about the numerous things you can plan while on holiday in Bari. This region has got ancient history and many Unesco World Heritage sites. The Greek heritage is still in the blood of the inhabitants which are always keen to welcome you. We were so pleased by the people, many offered to show us their town, for free, walking us around the narrow alleys telling stories and legends.
Below you will find a detailed guide about the best day trips from Bari. Remember that however, Bari Airport is the biggest in the Region, and so it’s just a place where land, the city itself is beautiful to visit. Check out some suggestions on what to do in Bari.
- Suggested day tours from Bari
- Monopoli | The hidden gem in Puglia
- Day trip from Bari to Polignano a Mare
- Trulli of Alberobello
- Day trips from Bari to Matera | The stone city
- Trani | Art and Culture
- Day trips from Bari to Lecce | Enjoy the Salentino Architecture
- Grotte di Castellana
- Ostuni | The gateway to the Salento Coast
- Martina Franca | Nestled in the beautiful olives trees valley
- Best Airports in Puglia
10 places to visit in Puglia from Bari
Monopoli | The hidden gem in Puglia
The seaside town is first in this list for a reason. This is the true gem that locals keep secret from travellers. The whitewashed coastal town is pretty and quiet, with a stunning seaport nestled between the old walls and castle. Monopoli is just half an hour away from Bari, which makes this town easy to reach by car and even easier by train.
We love Monopoli more than Polignano, this town is resisting the decay of modern times who want everything on social and instagrammable landscapes. Just 7 minutes by train and car divide the two coastal towns, which make it easy to plan both day trips from Bari in one go.
Some of the best beaches in Puglia are in Monopoli. Stroll around the narrow cobblestoned streets, hike up the city walls and watch the cannons pointed to the horizon. Enjoy the sea breeze and get tan on the gold-sand beaches.
DISTANCE FROM BARI | 36 minutes by car, 30 minutes by Train, 35 minutes by bus
HOW TO REACH MONOPOLI FROM BARI | Taking the train from Bari Centrale toward Lecce or Fasano. The train ride will take about 30 minutes. Reaching Monopoli from Bari will take approximately 36 minutes, taking the SS16 for about 50 KM.
READ ALSO | Best things to do in Monopoli, Italy
Day trip from Bari to Polignano a Mare
The high cliffs and white houses have become famous worldwide. Polignano was made famous by a song by Domenico Modugno, “Volare”, which was inspired by the landscape and the infinite blue sky.
Nowadays Polignano is the scenery of the Red Bull dive contest, where the participants jump from the cliffs. The spectacular sea basin it’s also today famous as one of the most beautiful Instagram spots in southern Italy with influencers running for the best shot from the cliffs or from the stone shore beach.
Polignano itself is very pretty, also whitewashed houses and narrow streets like in a dream. Walking through the alleys spotting the poetry and love messages the stairs. Check our comprehensive guide to Polignano.
DISTANCE FROM BARI | 29 minutes by car, 42 minutes by Train, 35 minutes by bus
HOW TO REACH POLIGNANO A MARE FROM BARI | The easiest way to reach Polignano a Mare starting from Bari is by train. It’s the same route from Bari to Monopoli, but you have to stop one station before. In summer it’s easy to recognize the train stop because many tourists go there. Take the train from Bari Centrale toward Fasano or Lecce, which runs every 20/30 minutes. Reaching Polignano a Mare by car from Bari, taking the SS16 for about 40Km.
READ ALSO | What to do in Polignano a Mare
Trulli of Alberobello
The cone-shaped houses of Puglia, Unesco World Heritage site that attract millions of tourists every year from all over the world. Alberobello it’s well known, but still, has the charm that attracts travellers in this part of the valley. The white town it’s not far away from Bari, reachable by car but also by public transport from the main train station of the Puglia Regional Capital.
If you want to know more about the history of Alberobello, make sure to read our guide about the best things to do in Alberobello. This is an enjoyable and easy day trip from Bari, discovering the nature surrounding the city. The cone-shaped house is concentrated in the Rione Monti, which is the touristy one, but make sure also to walk around the new city, with beautiful streets and friendly locals.
DISTANCE FROM BARI | 50 minutes by car, 3h 6 minutes by Train, 1h 5 minutes by bus
VISIT ALBEROBELLO FROM BARI | From Bari to Alberobello, you have to change the train in Putignano. Take the train from Bari Centrale which runs every 2 hours and change at Putignano direct for Alberobello. The ride will take about 2 hours which will be more depending on the trains. The route is slightly easier by car, with a drive of just 50 minutes through the best driving route in Italy. Take the SS100 and the SS172, quicker and beautiful.
TOUR SUGGESTED | Trulli of Alberobello Day-Trip from Bari with Sweets Tasting
READ ALSO | Things to do in Alberobello, Puglia
Day trips from Bari to Matera | The stone city
This is one of the best day trips from Bari, also one of the most popular. You are stepping into another Region of Italy, passing by Puglia to Basilicata. The city of precious stones is enchanting by day, but much more beautiful in the evening. Bari is the closest airport from the city, that’s why Matera it’s an easy day trip from Bari by train as well. The beautiful city is away just about an hour from the Puglia’s Capital by car, and easy to reach also by car.
In Matera, you can enjoy the traditional taste of Italy in a remote location. All the surroundings of Matera there are just valleys, vineyards, olive’s trees and fields. If you are planning to spend a week in Puglia, why don’t you include Matera in your itinerary?!
DISTANCE FROM BARI | 54 minutes by car, 1h 45 minutes by Train, 1h 5 minutes by bus
HOW TO GO FROM BARI TO MATERA | Driving from Bari to Matera you will meet Italy, in a rollercoaster of emotions through valleys and mountains. Take the SS96 for about 50 minutes at 65 Km toward Matera. There is also a train every hour in the direction of Matera sud. The train ride will take about 1 hour and 45 minutes with an awesome scenario on your side.
TOUR SUGGESTED | UNESCO’s Alberobello and Matera from Bari
Matera day tour from Bari | Reserve here your spot!
Trani | Art and Culture
We are treating you well with this amazing itinerary of the best day trips from Bari. Trani is another true hidden gem in Italy. The iconic seafront Cathedral is a stunning example of the finest romanesque style. Despite the others in this guide, Trani is the only one on the north of Bari. This city belongs to the Gargano Area, which is wild and ideal for nature lovers with many protected parks and sea areas.
Trani itself was in a strategic position for the commercial exchanges back in the 11th and 13th centuries. This city has also a Jewish past, with Italy’s largest Jewish community, testified by the impressive Scolanova synagogue.
Get lost in the maze of streets all heading to the stunning Cathedral dedicated to Saint Nicholas, patron Saint of Bari as well. This isn’t the only thing to see in Trani, like many other cities in Puglia, it has got a stunning castle too, to preserve the old town from the invasions. In 1233, Emperor Frederick II built a castle on the sea with four towers protecting the population also from the waves crashing against the walls.
DISTANCE FROM BARI | 38 minutes by car, 39 minutes by Train, 1h 20 minutes by bus
HOW TO REACH TRANI FROM BARI | This might be the easiest day trip from Bari. Trani is just half an hour away from Bari. Take the train from Bari Centrale toward Foggia and pass by Molfetta, Bisceglie and many other coastal towns. If you want to enjoy the area more, you might think to go along the seaside and visit Barletta too. Take the SS16 direction North, if you want to reach Trani by car, for about 45 minutes and 50 Km. There are many other ways and keep in mind to follow Barletta.
READ ALSO | Most beautiful cities in Italy
Day trips from Bari to Lecce | Enjoy the Salentino Architecture
By many called the Florence of Southern Italy for the architecture and the huge artistic heritage. The real Salentino city it’s unique, with the baroque architecture unmissable. Lecce is the very gateway to the Salento Coast, one of the most beautiful stretches of coast in Italy. From Lecce, you can easily visit enchanting places like Otranto and it’s a castle on the water, the Poetry Caves or the party place of Gallipoli.
DISTANCE FROM BARI | 1h 39 minutes by Car, 1h 53 minutes by Train, 2h 45 minutes by Bus
HOW TO REACH LECCE FROM BARI | Despite what you are thinking it’s easy to reach Lecce from Bari also by train, with the transport running till late at night. From Bari centrale, there is a direct and fast train toward Lecce, last stop for about less than 2 hours. From Bari to Lecce by car will take about 1 hour and 40 minutes, taking the highway E55 heading south, passing by Brindisi and continuing on the SS613 toward Lecce.
READ ALSO | Top places to visit in Puglia
To define Otranto we will say that, the generous sunshine, typical whitewashed houses, unique baroque architecture, wonderful sandy beaches in the deep crystal blue water. Otranto it’s not just that, it’s the best city I remember when as a kid was with my family around Puglia in the summertime, the delicious cuisine and the incredible landscape of the castle on the sea. The Castello Aragonese is a castle made of beautiful old stones and surrounded by a moat. Visit the very top Terrazza for a breathtaking view of the sea and the marina.
It might not be on many travellers guides, but Otranto it’s for sure a place to visit in Puglia. The trip using public transport might be a bit difficult, with a couple of changes along the way. If you are planning to visit Otranto, it’s better to stay in the city at least for the night in order to enjoy your trip.
DISTANCE FROM BARI | 2h 15 minutes by Car, 2h 45 minutes by Bus, Too many changes by Train.
FROM BARI TO OTRANTO | This is the farthest location on our guide. Taking the indication toward Otranto continuing on the SS16 which will take you directly to Otranto passing by Maglie. Using public transport and reaching Otranto by bus, which is the easiest way because of the many changes by train. You can take the Bus from Bari Centrale Bus Stop toward Otranto Stazione FSE, bus N573, N425, 573 and N436 running about 4 times a day. The ride will take about 2 hours and 45 minutes. Check all the routes.
Grotte di Castellana
Considering some day tours from Bari, The Caves of Castellana it’s the most obvious one, but you might don’t know yet. Explore the underground of Italy on this incredible trip to explore the heart of the earth. The Grotte di Castellana is in the middle between Alberobello and Bari, so you can plan both visits on the same day to optimize the movements. Limestone caves, totally natural made of a maze of subterranean passages. Enjoy the incredible and unique stalactite and stalagmite formations.
During your tour from Bari at Castellana Grotte don’t miss the “white cave” a so-called formation described as the most shining cave in the world because of the whiteness of the walls and formations.
DISTANCE FROM BARI | 40 minutes by car, No train, 1h 15 minutes by bus
SUGGESTED DAY TOUR AT GROTTE DI CASTELLANA |Guided tour from Bari to Grotte di Castellana
Ostuni | The gateway to the Salento Coast
Another stunning whitewashed town in Puglia. However, Ostuni is becoming nowadays for stunning landscapes and colourful doors. The town isn’t located by the coast side, but it’s’ in Valle d’Itria, within a distance from the seaside.
When we visited Ostuni we were a bit sceptical regarding the place. If you follow our blog, you might understand that we don’t like the popular places, but often you will find us off the beaten path. Ostuni was a good surprise. The white town has got a circular city centre, a maze of narrow alleys, many with staircases that get you lost.
We spend a lot of time strolling around the streets, taking a photo every now and then. The Terrazas of the city it’s something you have to experience. The view from the top of the city, looking at the horizon and the sea is just unbelievable. Check our itinerary of Ostuni.
DISTANCE FROM BARI | 1 hour by car, 1h 2 minutes by Train, 1h 35 minutes by bus
READ ALSO | Best things to do in Ostuni, Italy
Martina Franca | Nestled in the beautiful olives trees valley
More than Ostuni, it’s Martina Franca the city that has surprised us the most. We believe you have never heard about this town in Valle d’Itria. Martina Franca is a true hidden gem in Italy and took us off the beaten path in Puglia.
The white town is a little dot on the map of Puglia, away from the crowds, but very well known by locals. This was our middle point to explore the Puglia Rural area. From Martina Franca it’s easy to reach Alberobello, Locorotondo, Ostuni and Cisternino, using just public transport.
This location is ideal for every kind of traveller, couples looking for a great itinerary, backpackers on a budget for cheap locations, and even families looking for quiet and safe places where to stay.
DISTANCE FROM BARI | 58 minutes by car, 3h 28 minutes by Train, 1h 30 minutes by bus
SUGGESTED TOUR | Day Tour of Ostuni, Martina Franca, Alberobello from Bari
BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCES TO TRY WITH A DAY TRIP FROM BARI
Visit of a vineyard with wine tasting & lunch | Book your spot here
Day Tour of Bari, Alberobello, Matera | Check availability
Excursions in the Alta Murgia National Park | An amazing hike in Puglia – Book your spot
How to travel in Puglia
Some people took us as fools looking at our itinerary of Puglia by Public transport. However, it was the most amazing adventure. Even our Italian friends were sceptical about the chance to end the trip without problems, train delays or cancellations, wrong directions or whatsoever.
The reality’s that Puglia is possible by public transport, and it’s also cheapest. You can rent a car in Puglia for cheap if you plan in advance of your trip. At Bari’s Airport, there are many companies allowing us to rent a car, but you must have a valid driving licence, a credit card and be older than 25.
Check out the best options, and the cheapest one to rent a car in Bari’s Airport.
READ ALSO | Best places to visit in Puglia, Italy
Best Airports in Puglia
Puglia Region is served by two main airports. The biggest one is Bari, which is the Region Capital and main city. If you are willing to travel to southern Puglia, heading to the coast side of Lecce, Gallipoli, Santa Maria di Leuca or Otranto, the best option to you is instead land in Brindisi, which is even cheapest in some cases.
Both airports are served by low-cost companies such as EasyJet and Ryanair with daily flights. If you are visiting Puglia without taking the car, you can even take a bus from outside the terminal of Brindisi airport toward Lecce. The run is just about one hour and costs as little as 3.5 euro.
From Bari Airport it’s easy to reach the city centre and you have multiple options. The Train reaches the proximity of the airport and the run it’s just about 20 minutes to the main train station, this will cost you about 5 euro each way. However there is the cheapest solution, but also slower. The bus will take you to the same destination in Bari, but at 1,10 euro cost and 60 minutes drive.
HOW TO RENT A CAR IN BARI AIRPORT
There are two main spots to rent a car when you arrive at Bari International Airport Karol Wojtyla. At the arrival gateway, you will find the classic rent a car stands of the companies active in Bari, however, there is a bounce of other companies with different stands just at the entrance of the main parking lot.
Follow the guides. If you want to go ahead and plan your trip from the very beginning, we suggest you book your own car before arrival. The terminal is pretty busy, especially in the summertime when travellers land in Bari in order to reach the southern coast of Salento.
Renting a car you will cut half of the time from your travelling schedule, visiting more places in less time hassle-free. However, it’s expensive to rent a car in Bari compared to other places, in our experience. The period you are visiting Puglia might vary the price you get and more in advance you book, better will be the rate.
PUGLIA ROAD TRIP BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT
We planned our road trip in Puglia cautiously, every step and location were well outlined. In this way, we made sure to don’t get lost, waste time and see everything we had in our bucket list.
We made our plan thanks to two useful resources, Omio and Trainline. Both websites have given us the chance to book our important tickets in advance and change the route in order to reach the places safely and in a timely manner.
It’s been a long time since we have started to use those resources for every trip, helping us to discover new destinations along the way. Also, the tickets are straightforward and in many occasions saved us in many awkward situations, while trying to understand which tickets were the right for our destination.
Q&A DAY TRIPS FROM BARI
Best day trips from Bari by train
We found it easy to reach Polignano a Mare and Monopoli from Bari. From the main train station of the city in Piazza Aldo Moro, you can take a few trains toward the south. Check the direction for Fasano or Lecce. The trains are every 15/30 minutes. The cost of the ticket is about 3 euro each way and you can book it here or at the train station which is often busy.
What should I see during a visit to the Puglia Region in Italy?
This is a good question because Puglia is not well known among tourists. However, the Region is unique, offering a wide range of activities to every kind of traveller. You should plan a trip to Alberobello and Ostuni, especially in Spring and wintertime. If you are visiting Puglia in summer head south to the Salento Coast, Otranto, Gallipoli and Santa Maria di Leuca. If you want to stay closer to Bari and don’t travel as much, you can go to Polignano a Mare, Trani or Monopoli.