Our road trip to Puglia was the best one, and Martina Franca was a surprise for us. We never expected to love this cute village so much. In our Martina Franca Puglia guide, we have highlighted all the best things to do and see useful information that will help you organise your next trip to Puglia. If you have never heard of Martina Franca before, don’t worry because, at the end of this post, you will imagine yourself drinking a Spritz in Piazza Plebiscito and tasting the delicious local food. Located at a strategic point not far from Alberobello and Locorotondo, Martina Franca is the ideal place to base yourself in Puglia. So, let’s discover all the fantastic things to do in Martina Franca.
Martina Franca Puglia Guide
This Martina Franca guide will introduce you to one of the most underrated locations in Puglia. We stayed in Martina Franca for a few days, using the white city as a base to explore nearby popular locations such as Locorotondo and the trulli of Alberobello.
Martina Franca is quiet but lively. Walking around the historical city centre, you can feel the essence of the Italian villages. Located on top of the hill, you will be amazed by the gorgeous panorama. As said, we spent some time in Martina Franca enjoying the local slow life, the tasty food and chatting with locals in the morning over a cappuccino, like a proper Italian Breakfast.
Continue reading to get helpful information through a complete guide about Martina Franca. From the best way to get to the village to things to do and see in Martina Franca, the best time to visit and a few other tips.
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How to get to Martina Franca
Believe it or not, our road trip to Puglia was made by using public transport. It might sound crazy and impossible, but we did it! It was the best and most sustainable way to go around Puglia.
We reach Martina Franca from Ostuni, passing by the small village of Cisternino, but you can reach Martina Franca either from Alberobello or Locorotondo.
Where is Martina Franca?
Martina Franca is located in the region of Puglia, in the beautiful Valle D’Itria. You might know Martina Franca for its production of olive oil and the delicious capocollo. From Martina Franca, you can easily reach Alberobello, Locorotondo and Matera, incredible sights to visit in Puglia and Basilicata region.
Best time to visit Martina Franca
Spring and late summer are the best times to visit Martina Franca. However, Puglia can be really hot or cold; therefore, make sure you pick the right time to visit this cute village. We visited Martina Franca Puglia the second week of September, and it was still warm, some days, the temperatures hit 30 degrees.
Is Martina Franca worth visiting?
Yes, yes and absolutely YES! Of all the places that we visited in Puglia, Martina Franca was our favourite. Less touristy than Locorotondo and Alberbello, Martina Franca is ideal to base yourself on and explore the surrounding areas of Valle D’Itria. Soak into the local culture, take it slow, roam around the white town, and wander about the fantastic scenery. Martina Franca is a short distance from some of the best beaches in Puglia and one of the white villages of Puglia with incredible heritage, history and culture.
Martina Franca Puglia Guide Map
10 + Amazing things to do in Martina Franca
Stroll around the cute narrow streets
We arrived in Martina Franca in the late afternoon, and the first thing we did was go around the city’s narrow streets. There was nothing better than exploring this village’s best hidden spots. Along the way, you will find many cute corners where you can take pictures.
Try the local Capocollo and wine
Puglia food was one of the best we have ever tried. From the delicious focaccia Barese to the local Capocollo from Martina Franca, you will taste the best food ever. Martina Franca is known for its Capocollo, a cured ham perfect for an appetiser or even a sandwich. If you really want to taste good Apulian food, step inside a local bakery, grab a fresh piece of bread, then go to “Salumeria” and grab 100 gr of Capocollo. Make yourself a sandwich, and you will be the happiest person in the world. Of course, with the delicious Capocollo, you must have a good glass of Primitivo wine.
Martina Franca Puglia Restaurants Recommendation
Grab a Spritz at Piazza Plebiscito
You should wait before getting your table for lunch or dinner during high seasons. Well, that’s an excellent excuse to grab a Spritz while waiting.
I still remember when we waited 30 minutes for the table, and Toti spotted a little bar doing Spritz for €3 (Check “Al Bacareto da Ivan“). You will find many places around Piazza Plebiscito where you can grab an aperitif or two. It doesn’t matter what time it is; it’s always Spritz o’clock!
Visit Palazzo Ducale
One of the most iconic buildings in Martina Franca Puglia is for sure Palazzo Ducale. Built-in 1668, when it was the residence of the Caracciolo family, today Palazzo Ducale is the office of the civic government, and part is a museum that overlooks the gorgeous Piazza Roma.
The exterior is pretty impressive, but we recommend you to step inside and admire the interior design, stone staircase and the stunning Baroque Martinese style.
Step inside San Martino Basilica
I still remember when we arrived in Martina Franca, the first sight we saw was San Martino Basilica. Unfortunately, it was late at night, and it was closed, but we returned the following day and stepped inside the basilica. It’s one of the most impressive and beautiful churches in Valle D’Itria. Built in 1747 and with a Baroque facade overlooking Piazza del Plebiscito, San Martino Church is a must in Martina Franca Puglia. Take a moment to visit the interior; you can admire the stunning architecture, artworks and paintings. Martina Franca’s Duomo is an iconic sight in the city as it’s dedicated to Martina Franca Patron Saint, San Martino.
Admire Saint Domenico Church
While walking around Martina Franca, passing San Martino Basilica, you will reach San Domenico church, considered another gorgeous church with prestigious decorations. This church is another example of the Baroque-facade style. Step inside the church and admire the frescos and gorgeous paintings.
Visit Martina Franca’s city walls and gates
Did you know that Martina Franca’s gates are named after Saints? Yes, the gates are named as follows: Porta San Nicola, Porta Santo Stefano, Porta Santa Maria and Porta San Pietro. Martina Franca Puglia was founded in 1310, and still today, you can find many traces of the mediaeval area. In fact, the city’s strategic location is on top of the hill for a reason. It was for defensive reasons, and the city walls and 24 watchtowers protected it. Today, you will find only the Baroque and Renaissance gates which separate the modern town from the old historic centre.
Watch our Puglia Road Trip Video
Walk through Santo Stefano Gate
Talking about the city’s gates, the most impressive and easier to find is Porta Santo Stefano, which gives you access to the old town centre. In fact, once you arrive in Martina Franca Puglia, Santo Stefano Gate will introduce you to this fantastic cute village in Puglia. The stunning Baroque arch leads tourists and locals from Piazza XX Settembre into the heart of the old town. Make sure you look around when walking, as you will spot some incredible places that you won’t find on the map!
Stroll around the historical centre “Lama”
We completely fell in love with Martina Franca. Our original one week in Puglia didn’t include Martina Franca. Still, after planning the best route to reach Locorotondo and Alberobello, we decided to stop for a few days in Martina Franca. It was the best decision ever!
Martina Franca has one of the most unique and beautiful city centres ever. With its Baroque style, iconic buildings, picturesque alleys, colourful doors and broad squares, the Martina Franca neighbourhood will amaze you. You might know Ostuni as one of the white villages in Puglia, but Martina Franca is also known for being Citta’ Bianca (White Town). The historic city centre of Martina Franca is known as Lama, in this part of the city cars are not allowed, which is amazing as it will allow you to freely walk around the city centre.
Roam around Piazza Maria Immacolata
One of the most beautiful squares in Martina Franca is, for sure, Piazza Maria Immacolata. This vast square is framed with semi-circular buildings with fantastic architecture that you will recognise from some of the churches you might have seen while wandering around. In addition, you have many restaurants and cafes under the porticos where you can relax and grab a delicious lunch or dinner.
Visit Martina Franca at Christmas
Christmas in Puglia is a must. All the villages in Puglia start to prepare for the festive seasons, and it’s just amazing to see all the decorations around. From the stunning Ostuni and Alberobello to Martina Franca, you will witness some of the best Christmas decorations ever. The vibes and the atmosphere in Martina Franca is just unique. The white village becomes a Christmas wonderland with stunning lights and decorations across the old town.
Other 5 perfect day trips from Martina Franca, Puglia
We have selected five things to do around Martina Franca. While exploring Puglia, we suggest staying in one place as a base, and the little village on top of the hills of Valle d’Itria is perfect for spending a few days soaking into the local culture. We say that Martina Franca is perfect because it is calm, cosy and with local vibes. However, this place is also perfect for organising a few day trips from Martina Franca, which is easy to reach by public transport or car.
Visit the Parco delle Querce | Trekking in Puglia
The wildlife reserve Parco delle Querce (Oak Park) is located 15 kilometres from Martina Franca. It is well-known for its lovely hiking routes in Puglia and picnic sites; you will enjoy staying in nature surrounded by a variety of plant and animal species. The park is about 600 hectares and is famous for its variety of oak trees which give the name. To reach the park from Martina Franca, you can take a car, bike or even public transport (bus) and get off at the stop near the park entrance. The park is open year-round, but hours may vary depending on the season. Better wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water, especially during summer.
Visit the Trulli of Alberobello
The town of Alberobello is well-known for its distinctive trulli houses and limestone buildings with conical roofs. Visit some of the trulli houses turned into museums and shops while strolling through the town. We wrote an extensive guide about Alberobello, filled with tips and things to do in the cone-shaped roofed white village of Puglia.
Visit the Castello di Conversano
The Castello di Conversano is a 12th-century castle located in the nearby town of Conversano. The stunning castle offers a perfect view of the surrounding countryside. It might not be one of the famous places in Puglia, and more treated as a hidden gem in the countryside. The castle is located around 20 km from Martina Franca. To reach the castle, you can take a car, bike or public transport (train or bus); the ride is about 30 minutes. The castle is open year-round, but hours may vary depending on the season.
Visit the Grotte di Castellana
The Grotte di Castellana (Castellana Caves) is a natural limestone cave about 30 kilometres north of Martina Franca. Stalactites and stalagmites are among the magnificent geological structures seen in the caves. You can book this guided tour through the caves, exploring the White Cave, Black Cave, and Grave. It’s easy to reach the Grotte di Castellana from Martina Franca on your own. You can either drive, cycle or take the local bus. The caverns are open all year; however, the hours change depending on the season and close during public holidays. Check out some great tours to Grotte di Castellana.
The Valle d’Itria is known for its delicious wines, particularly its red wines like Primitivo and Negroamaro. Primitivo is a full-bodied wine with a high alcohol content and a strong aroma, while Negroamaro is characterised by its intense ruby-red colour and notes of dark berries. These wines are often paired with meat and cheese dishes. Enjoy your holidays in Puglia, visiting local wineries and cellars.
Where to stay in Martina Franca
AFFORDABLE / GREAT VALUE
Located in the heart of Martina Franca, LamaMia accommodation is ideal if you’re looking for an exclusive stay. We absolutely loved this place, the interior is just incredible, and the wi-fi is good. Great value for money, and you can get a great deal if you book in advance!
ON A BUDGET / FAMILY FRIENDLY
A modern style accommodation not far from Piazza Roma and suitable for a family of 3. This accommodation is perfect for you if you travel to Martina Franca with the kids. The entire apartment is just what you need while in the village. Book in advance your stay here!
During our road trip in Puglia, we absolutely loved this accommodation. It was just perfect for us. We didn’t want to leave! The entire apartment was amazing, and every morning they provided breakfast. Amazing, isn’t it? We highly recommend you stay here!
TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR ITALY
Don’t travel anywhere without travel insurance, no matter your journey. We have learned that at our expense while travelling from Dubrovnik to Hvar, our ferry was cancelled because of rough sea weather.
Even though Italy is safe, the pandemic taught many people that things might go wrong everywhere in the world, and insurance is frequently the only option to mitigate any problems with the least cost or stress to you.
SafetyWing | COVID-19 coverage, comprehensive travel & medical, and insurance can be purchased while travelling for digital nomads.
Watch our Puglia Road Trip Video
Q&A Martina Franca Puglia guide
How far is Martina Franca from the beach?
Martina Franca is only 30 minutes drive from the Adriatic Coast, where the shoreline alternates between rocky coves and small sandy bays.
Where are the best beaches in Puglia?
Puglia is home of some of the best beaches in Italy; below you have some of the best beaches in Puglia:
Baia dei Turchi, Otranto
Lama Monachile, Polignano a Mare,
Spiaggia della Purita, Gallipoli
Torre dell’Orso, Lecce
Grotta della Poesia – Roca Vecchia
Pescoluse, The Maldives of Puglia
Santa Maria di Leuca
Torre San Giovanni
Punta della SuinaSanta Cesarea Terme
How to get from Martina Franca to Ostuni?
You can get from Martina Franca to Ostuni by car. It will take approximately 25 minutes. Additionally, there is a bus that connects Ostuni to Martina Franca.
What is the nicest part of Puglia?
Puglia is home to some of the best places ever; here are some of the most beautiful places worth visiting in Puglia:
What food is Puglia known for?
Puglia is known for its production of olive oil and its delicious bread and pasta. Of course, you might know Puglia for its Orecchiette Pasta, famous in Bari, but even for its Pettole, Panzerotti, Capocollo and Focaccia. Our Puglia food guide highlights all the best things you must try while in Puglia.
What region is Martina Franca?
Martina Franca is located in the Puglia (Apulia) region in Southern Italy. Located in the heel of the boot, on the east side of Italy.
Better Locorotondo or Martina Franca?
Both little towns are perfect for a quiet vacation in Italy. Located at a short distance from Alberobello, Locorotondo and Martina Franca are ideal places to stay as a base in Puglia and travel around. You need about 30 minutes from Martina Franca and 40 minutes from Locorotondo to reach the nearby beach and enjoy the crystal clear water.
WHERE TO GO NEXT?
Every time is good to travel and make new experiences. As London based travel bloggers, it’s easy to find cheap flights and explore new places even just at the weekend. From London, you can find cheap flights to Puglia and explore the best villages around. Read also our alternative guides:
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