13 Amazing things to do in Puglia in winter

Puglia is known for many things, its delicious food, incredible beaches, warm weather and spectacular architecture. Well, we all know that! This destination is not only perfect during summer but spending winter in Puglia allows you to discover the real essence of this region. If you ever visit Puglia in winter you will see how different this region can be. Instead of having people running on the beach, you will see families, couples and kids enjoying the Christmas atmosphere through Puglia’s streets.

Spending one week in Puglia in winter allows you to explore Puglia’s most famous cities without any crowds. Enjoy the warm weather during October and November and experience the incredible festivals that take place in Puglia in winter. If you’re thinking that Puglia is only a summer destination, this article will change your mind. We put together the best things to do in Puglia in winter, without missing a bit of fun, of course! 


All you should know about Puglia in winter

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Spiaggia della Purità of Gallipoli - Purity Beach Puglia

Where is Puglia in Italy

The Italian Region of Puglia often referred to in English as Apulia, is a Southern Region mainly attracting tourists in summer, thanks to some of the best beaches in Europe. But where exactly is Puglia?

Puglia boasts about 800 Km of coastline and is on the east side of Italy in the heel of the boot. The nearby regions are Campania, well known for the Amalfi Coast, Basilicata for the beautiful Matera and Molise, ideal for winter lovers.

Puglia has the best climate conditions in Italy all year round thanks to the geographic position. In the North of the Region, you can discover the Gargano, in the middle of the beautiful Itria Valley and the South of the Salento Coastline. Two main airports will connect you to the region, the Salento Airport in Brindisi and Bari International airport, the Capital city of the Region.

Weather in Puglia in winter

Puglia boasts one of the mildest weather in the whole of Europe, offering a shield to adventurers looking for sunny holidays in winter.

However, you can have a mix of climate conditions in Puglia passing by cities along the coast to more rural areas in the centre. It is true that the temperatures in winter in Puglia on the coast side of Salento, the part that faces Albania and the Adriatic Sea can even reach about 18/20 °C (65/68 °F), but it is also true that going inland, visiting Valle d’Itria the temperatures can fall a bit, going around 10 °C.

It is unusual to have snow in Puglia, but with the climate changes, you will never know. In recent years the weather in winter has been always relatively mild, and the temperatures never fall below 0 °C (32 °F)

Let’s now see how the weather in Puglia looks like in a single winter month.

Puglia in December

Considering visiting Puglia in the low season, it is advised to go in December. This is the right month as the temperatures are never too low and daytime to fall around 10 °C. December in Puglia is also the most unpredictable month, with some wintery sunshine that can surprise you, giving high temperatures that can reach about 15 °C/18 °C.

Puglia in January

Overall, the weather in Puglia in January remains generally mild. The temperatures are on average lower than December, but that stays still above freezing, maintaining higher compared to other parts of Europe.

However, January is one of the rainy months in Italy, and in Puglia too. The Region has the lowest rainfall in the whole country, and you might be lucky to don’t get wet at all.

The temperatures are around 7/10 °C which is great for a low season trip. In the rural areas of Puglia and main valleys, it is foggy and the hours of light are reduced drastically, with the sun going down at 4 or 5 PM.

Puglia in February

The temperatures start to be warmer compared to January, with an average of around 9 °C, and same as before, good chances of having sunny days overall.

February remains the coldest month in Puglia, and generally in Italy in winter, that’s why you should pack correctly, including a raincoat. The average rainfall during the period is about 57 mm.

What to do in Puglia in winter 

From the beautiful and less crowded Alberobello to the incredible Carnival in Putignano, Puglia in winter will offer you incredible experiences that will make you want to go back. Experience the incredible festivals, follow the Italian Christmas traditions, indulge in food and drinks, enjoy the beautiful landscape and explore Puglia’s hidden gems in winter! 

  • Enjoy Puglia’s famous places without the crowds
  • Taste the best Puglian food
  • Admire the beautiful Christmas decorations
  • Take part to Alba Dei Popoli in Otranto
  • Experience Fòcara Festival Fire
  • Attend Madonna Della Media festival in Monopoli
  • Experience Alberobello in Christmas and stay in a Trullo
  • Carnival in Putignano
  • Enjoy the beautiful and warmer weather
  • Explore Puglia’s hidden gems
  • Harvesting olives in Puglia
  • Walks in the forests and National Parks
  • Explore the Salentino Architecture in Lecce
Puglia Tour of the Region in 6 days - Discover Bari, Trani, Matera, Ostuni, Lecce, Otranto and many more

Puglia in winter things to do 

San Nicola Basilica Square

Enjoy Puglia’s famous places without the crowds

With its incredible beaches in Puglia and amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it’s almost impossible to don’t find crowds in this region. One of the main reasons why we love Puglia in winter is that during the “cold” months, not many tourists are around. 

It’s common thinking that Puglia is only a summer destination, but actually, there are so many things to do in Puglia in winter too. During the winter months, you will be able to wander around the cute and narrow streets stress-free and with only locals around. 

Imagine yourself walking around Alberobello’s cobbled alleys, having the opportunity to take pictures without people around, enjoying the unique experience of these ancient brick houses. Amazing isn’t it?! 

Well, the Trulli of Alberobello are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and even in winter, you will find tourists gathering around the cone-shaped houses. This is the whole all-year-round destination in Puglia that is usually packed. However, like many other Italian landmarks, the low season is the best if you don’t like crowds.

Winter is for sure a quiet season to visit Puglia so make sure you make the most of it.

Taste the best Puglian food

There is nothing better than popping into a restaurant, not having to queue and taste the delicious food from Puglia. Every time we’re talking about Puglia food our mouths start watering just thinking about it. In one week in Puglia we tried the best food ever, from the typical Capocollo to the yummy Puccia, in Puglia, you will taste the best food ever. Pop into a Masseria and a local restaurant and try the delicious products from the Apulian cuisine, from the field to the table. Don’t forget to try seafood as well, fried or not, any type of seafood product will be delicious.

Spending winter in Puglia is ideal to try fresh and typical organic products with 100% authenticity. Let’s be honest, when a restaurant is busy you rarely taste the real essence of the product but.

If you decide to spend your winter in Puglia, you will have the opportunity to experience this amazing and tasty food. Remember that together with the food, the Puglia region is popular for its production of wine which is recognized internationally. Explore some famous vineyards and taste a glass of Primitivo.

Puglia food guide - The best food to try in Apulia Italy

Alberobello Walking food tour

Book your food tour

Admire the beautiful Christmas decorations

After spring, the Christmas season is one of our favourite periods to travel in Europe (LNK) Talking about Christmas decorations and atmosphere you might think about London, Paris, Naples but not Puglia. As a very religious and Catholic place, Puglia is one of the best places to visit during the Christmas period. Recently, the cute city of Locorotondo and Ostuni became really popular on Instagram thanks to its gorgeous decorations. 

With its huge Christmas trees, festive events, Christmas markets and bright lights, Christmas in Puglia is just magical. Stroll around Monopoli and Polignano a Mare and admire the precious decorations along the streets.

Special events in Puglia in winter

Take part to Alba Dei Popoli in Otranto

There are so many festivals taking place in Puglia in winter, and Alba Dei Popoli in Otranto is one of those that you can’t miss. Alba Dei Popoli, known as Dawn of the People, is an annual festival taking place in Otranto, a city close to Lecce.

This celebration takes place the entire month of December where you will witness a typical Apulian style festival with live music, shows, and art exhibitions. Is called Alba Dei Popoli for a reason.

Otranto is the eastern town in Italy and therefore the first to see the dawn of the new year. Amazing, isn’t it? If you don’t have plans for the New Year yet, consider spending winter in Puglia and witness one of the most magical moments ever.

Experience Fòcara of Navoli Festival Fire

Held in the town of Novoli, Focora Festival is an annual celebration that takes place in honour of the Patron Saint Anthony the Abbot, the Saint of Fire. The word Fòcara in Apulian dialect means fire. This huge bonfire starts on the 16th of January, the eve of the day of Saint Anthony the Abbot. 

The organization of this important event begins on the 18th of December, and the actual celebration goes from the 7th till the 18th of January.

As it’s a popular event to attend in Puglia in winter, every year many pilgrims are witnessing this festival. The bonfire, the procession, and the blessing of the animals are taking place in Puglia for the Focora Festival and for sure it’s a moment that you can’t miss experiencing.

Monopoli-Cathedrtal-What-to-do-in-Monopoli-Italy

Attend Madonna Della Media festival in Monopoli

We mentioned before that winter in Puglia is exciting and with plenty of things to do. Another festival that you need to attend while in Puglia is the Feast of Madonna Della Media that takes place in the beautiful and charming Monopoli.

Considered one of the most important religious events, Madonna Della Media Festival is a unique celebration worth attending. The legend says that when they started the construction of Monopoli’s Cathedral, the works were stopped due to a lack of roof beams. Not long after, a raft appeared with 33 beams that were used to construct the roof of the Cathedral.

This raft had the image of the Madonna and that’s the reason today, Monopoli’s Cathedral is called Madonna Della Media. Every year, in December between the night of the 15th and 16th of December, the ritual of the beam takes place. Families, night-vigils and all locals head down to the water at dawn to witness the re-enactment of the image of the Madonna coming to the port and being blessed by the bishop. 

Experience Alberobello in Christmas and stay in a Trullo

The beautiful city of Alberobello is famous throughout the world for its Trulli of Alberobello which since 1996 has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The iconic Trulli are the symbols of Valle d’Itria and if you are looking to know more about it, read out our Alberobello guide.

If you’re looking to plan a road trip in Puglia in winter, Alberobello needs to be on the top of your list. At Christmas, the entire village is decorated with lights that highlight, even more, Alberobello is.

For a real experience, we suggest you stay in a local Trullo. We had this amazing opportunity to stay in a Trullo and live Apulian life like a local.

Trulli typical houses in Puglia

Carnival in Putignano

Puglia is known for many things and as we’re talking about spending winter in Italy, consider attending the famous Carnival event in Putignano. Located in the province of Bari, Putignano is the perfect place if you’re looking for a day trip from Bari.

This cute and small village is located in Valle d’Itria and every year hosts the longest-running carnivals in the entire world. 

Putignano Carnival dates back to 1394 and is the oldest carnival in Europe. Starting on December 26 with the Propaggini event and ending in February, Putignano Carnival is something that you need to experience while in Puglia in winter. After the Propaggini event, there are 7 carnivals Thursdays starting from January 17 where every Thursday is dedicated to all categories of the Putignano population that are called to celebrate the carnival.

There is Thursday Monsignori, priests, nuns, Pazzi, coruniti, married women and widows and windows.

The most important is the Coruniti, as it’s a reminder that the carnival is about to end. The Carnival of Putignano ends on Shrove Tuesday with the last parade and the carnival funeral. Every region has their traditions, make sure you make the most of it and always remember to have fun and respect other cultures.

A landscape view of Locorotondo, Puglia Italy from the fields

Enjoy the beautiful and warmer weather

One of the best things to enjoy in Puglia in winter is the beautiful and moderate Mediterranean weather. The winter weather in Puglia is just lovely, with temperatures going from 17 °C in November and between 10 °C and 16 °C in December. 

Spending winter in Puglia will still give you a beautiful sunshine evening during the coldest months. Winter weather in Puglia can be different depending on which months you are visiting the region, but overall you will always have mild temperatures and fewer rainy days. 

Martina Franca city centre | A week in Puglia

Explore Puglia’s hidden gems

There is nothing better than exploring Puglia’s hidden gems when no one is around. Strolling around Cisternino, Martina Franca or San Vito Dei Normanni is ideal if you’re planning a winter in Puglia. Popular locations like Alberobello, Ostuni or even Bari, are usually busy even in winter, but you should take the opportunity to visit Puglia in winter and admire the most incredible hidden villages around the region. 

Martina Franca for example is a cute small village that not many people consider visiting. We can assure you that it is the perfect off the beaten path destination you have to visit while on a trip to Puglia.

Well, if you’re spending one week in Puglia we highly recommend you use Martina Franca as your base to travel around Valle d’Itria and explore the white villages, incredible small towns like Cisternino, Locorotondo and many others.

Olive Groves Harvesting in Puglia in winter

Harvesting olives in Puglia

If you’re a countryside lover, winter in Puglia is the right period to explore the region alongside Autumn. When winter is approaching it means that it is harvest time for many varieties of local products. The most important and known in Puglia is the olive harvest that takes place every year from November to January

This means that spending winter in Italy, especially in Puglia you will be able to experience the harvest in full swing. For a real and local experience, stay in a Masseria where locals will be more than happy to show you how the olive oil is prepared and processed.

TIPS: Puglia is also known for its great wine production. Go for a wine tasting tour and discover the local tradition!

Moscato wine tasting in Trani
Itria Valley wine tasting

Walks in the forests and National Parks

Despite being an authentic summer escape for locals and recently for international travellers, Puglia is part of the off beaten path experience ideal for hiking lovers.

If this is your way to enjoy a winter escape, you should consider visiting the Gargano National Park. This part of Puglia is located around Foggia, one of the biggest cities in the Region, it is a wide isolated mountain massif mainly consisting of forests.

The whole National park starts inland on the eastern point of Puglia toward the coast side, including some summer destinations and some of the best beaches in Puglia.

The Gargano National Park includes also the Tremiti Island archipelago and the widest lake of the Region, the Salso Lake. Note down the Foresta Umbra, walking along a forest of Aleppo pines, oaks, and beech trees. An easy walk with many trails, taking you also around a tiny lake and a museum.

You can go around the Foresta Umbra also by bike, which is another great experience to do in Puglia.

Day-trip-from-Bari-to-Lecce

Explore the Salentino Architecture in Lecce

It was impossible to miss Lecce on our guide of things to do in Puglia in winter. The beautiful southern city of Puglia is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. The incredible artistic heritage is the main attraction for tourists, and it is like a magnet in winter too.

The city becomes more romantic in winter when there are fewer tourists around, and you can enjoy the churches, the high-profile buildings, the squares, and the neighbourhoods.

Lecce is often nicknamed “The Florence of the south”. The Greek influence with the Baroque architectural style gives the city and the whole Salento a unique touch unseen anywhere else.

Enjoy the religious buildings, monuments with a walk in the city by yourself, admiring the operas made with the renowned “Lecce stone”.

SUGGESTED TOUR: A walking tour of Lecce with a local guide! Discover the beautiful architecture and don’t miss to discover the secret Greek old town.

Book your Lecce Tour

 Where to stay in Puglia?

If you are looking where to stay in the Puglia, we have a full guide ready for you. Check out the best trendy and cool locations where to stay in Puglia in winter.

Borgo Egnazia - Fasano Puglia where to stay

Borgo Egnazia

$476 | £346 | €400

5-Star – Authentic Experience in Puglia
LOCATION | Fasano
Stay in a Trullo in Alberobello for a truly experience in Puglia in winter

Trulli Family

$137 | £100 | €118

Free Cancellation and historical location
LOCATION | Alberobello
Original Masseria in Puglia

La vigna masseria

$77 | £56 | €66

Traditional rural house with all comforts
LOCATION | Carovigno

Q&A Puglia in winter

What is the weather like in Puglia in winter?

Winter in Puglia is approximately mild. The temperature usually never goes below 0 degrees, while the highest can reach around 16 degrees.

Does it snow in Puglia, Italy?

Puglia is in the Southern part of Italy and with the temperate climate, it rarely snows. However, even in Puglia, a day of snow can happen where the hills can reach around 500/600 meters.

What is the best time to visit Puglia?

The best time to visit Puglia is in spring, early summer and autumn. In high seasons like July and August, the temperature can reach 30 degrees, and it’s often busy. Instead, visiting Puglia in winter, spring, or autumn can allow you to enjoy every single part of the region.

What is the temperature in Puglia in December?

December in Puglia is average with some rainfall over the days. The climate is wet and sometimes humid, with the lowest temperature touching 0 degrees and with a high of 21. The weather is unpredictable, but for sure your winter in Puglia will be pleasant.

What is there to do in Puglia in the winter?

Here you will find the article on the best things to do in Puglia in winter:
Enjoy Puglia’s famous places without the crowds
Taste the best Puglian food
Admire the beautiful Christmas decorations
Take part to Alba Dei Popoli in Otranto
Experience Fòcara Festival Fire
Attend Madonna Della Media festival in Monopoli
Experience Alberobello in Christmas and stay in a Trullo
Enjoy the beautiful and warmer weather
Explore Puglia’s hidden gems
Harvesting olives in Puglia 
Carnival in Putignano

Do you need a car in Puglia?

Yes and No! It depends on what kind of itinerary you’re looking to do around Puglia. We spent one week in Puglia without a car and using only public transports. If you’re planning everything and have a timeline, you’ll be able to explore the region without a car. However, if you want to explore the best beaches in Puglia then you might need to rent a car. The southwest part of Puglia, after Brindisi, it’s a bit more difficult to reach it by train or bus or at least it might take longer. Gallipoli, for example, is better if you reach it by car.

Is Puglia Italy safe?

Yes, absolutely yes!  We felt completely safe during our road trip in Puglia. Everyone was helping and welcoming us, and not just because we are Italian. Puglia itself it’s a safe region but of course, always watch out if something looks suspicious.

Is Puglia hot in October?

The first half of the month is actually warm in Puglia. The weather in Puglia in October is warm enough that some people are even going for a swim in the sea. I mean, you can’t say no to the best beaches in Puglia so make sure you jump in the crystal blue water.

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Puglia in winter things to do
Winter in Puglia Italy what to do

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