10 Things to do in Ostuni, Italy in 2024 | A guide to Ostuni, the white city of Puglia

Looking for things to do in Ostuni? This guide will take you around the cute alleyways of Ostuni, the white town of Valley d'Itria. Discover Ostuni, Italy with us.

Last Update: May 15, 2024

Are you looking for the best things to do in Ostuni? This is the right place, written by locals, with clear instructions on how to reach the main sights, where to stay, eat and get a traditional aperitif.

This guide will drive through one of the most beautiful towns in southern Italy. Discover the great hallways, gorgeous landscapes, and the warmest locals through our itinerary.

If you want to know where to stay in Ostuni, where to eat or have an idea of what to do in Ostuni, this is the right place. We have been travelling through Puglia for a great itinerary of over 10 days, discovering main landmarks and hidden gems, spending sometimes in Ostuni.

Landscape from Ostuni - Enjoy the incredible view from the hilltop - Things to do in Ostuni

What to do in Ostuni? 10 Pratical highlights of Ostuni

  • Get lost in the maze of Ostuni
  • Wander around Piazzetta Cattedrale
  • Stay at a Masseria outside of the town
  • Tour of Ostuni on an Ape
  • Harvest season in Puglia
  • Wander around the old town
  • Photos of the doors of Ostuni
  • Dinner at a local Masseria
  • Day Trip to Alberobello and Locorotondo
  • Meet locals at Piazza Libertà

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Where is Ostuni?

On its prominent mountaintop overlooking the olive trees of the trulli valley and the azure sea where the Salento region begins, Ostuni gleams like a spotlight. One of Puglia’s most attractive villages, it is known as “the white city.” It preserves its mediaeval appearance and appears to spiral around the hill in a circular fairyland. Ostuni, Italy is in the region of lower Murgia on a hilltop 200 metres above sea level. The city is in the province of Brindisi, which is the nearest airport to Ostuni. There are about 90 Kilometres between Ostuni and Bari, the Region’s Capital. The nearest beaches of Ostuni are in the “Costa Merlata“, which is only 20 minutes by car from the white town.

Why visit Ostuni?

Ostuni was just a stop in our excellent itinerary of Puglia, but we have left a piece of our heart there. The cute streets are insanely beautiful, and you will never feel lost. Locals are so proud of their cosy town and happy to show you around or leave space to take the most incredible instagrammable shot of Puglia. We have taken some, and are now our best memories.

Ostuni is also well known as the “white city” because it is the biggest town in the valley of the famous whitewashed villages. Sometimes locals refer to that as the gateway of Salento because, from the hilltop, you can see where the land ends and meets the seaside.

Things to do in Ostuni, Puglia

Despite being a small town in the middle of nowhere, Ostuni has a lot to offer to every traveller. The “Città Bianca” white city is ideal for spending about one to three days in total relaxation. Going around the tiny alleyways discovering incredible places, and taking photos on the floral and cute staircase will take off an entire day. Ostuni is not just cute but is rich in history and architecture.

The Historic Centre has got many beautiful churches magnificent with centuries to tell you. The impressive 15th Century Gothic Cathedral is the centre of the old town, gorgeous outside and stunning inside. If you are more interested in landscapes and incredible views, Corso Vittorio Emanuele 2nd, is the place to visit. This is the ideal spot to relax and enjoy an aperitif with a view.

Being built on a hilltop, Ostuni was a defensive town overlooking the valley. Like many cities in Puglia, walking on the city walls is a top thing to do in Ostuni for tourists. Part of the old construction, made to keep invaders outside of the town is still up and visitable.

Rich in Traditions, you will also love Ostuni for the food and the many little restaurants for a reasonable price. The short distance from the other famous towns of Locorotondo and Alberobello makes Ostuni an excellent solution for a few days of exploring Valle d’Itria.

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No time to go through? These are our quick suggestions for Ostuni!

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You can quickly go up and down the streets or take a classic ape car to get to the most secluded spots, like the Porta San Demetrio, the access point in the Aragonese Age.

How to get to Ostuni

There are many ways to reach Ostuni, obviously by car is the quickest and easiest. If this is your case and you are coming from Bari, with the motorway E55 Brindisi-Lecce will take about 1 hour for 60 Km.

There is also the easiest way to reach Ostuni by car; this is from Brindisi. The main airport of Salento is just 30 km from Ostuni, taking the E55 toward Bari.

Check the easiest way to reach Ostuni from Bari and Brindisi. From Bari Centrale to Ostuni is costing about 8$ | 6£ | 6€, check the prices here! Instead, if you are travelling from Brindisi to Ostuni, the transport will cost you 4$ | 3£ | 3€. Book your ticket here.



Reach Ostuni by Public Transport

We don’t like the easiest way if the meaning of the trip is to get completely into local life. Our Puglia Itinerary was in this mood, so we reached Ostuni by Public transport from Brindisi. From Brindisi to Ostuni by train will take about one hour, and you can take any REGULAR train toward Bari. The ticket will cost you less than 3 euros.

Arriving at the train station of Ostuni, you have to take a bus right in front of the exit in the direction of the old town. Bear in mind that the train station is located outside of the city, within 2 Km of it.

If you are going from Bari to Ostuni, there is also a train to the white city. From the main train station of Bari, you have to take any Regular train in the direction of Brindisi and Lecce. The ticket will cost about 4 euros.

Ostuni places to photograph

10 Incredible things to do in Ostuni, Puglia

Get lost in the maze of Ostuni

Ostuni is a maze and is well known before arriving in town, but don’t be scared, it’s a beautiful intricate mix of hallways following each other.

We walked around Ostuni for a few hours while going from Brindisi to our final destination for the night, Martina FrancaSince stepping into Ostuni, we understood how it was magical, the cosy streets and incredible staircases all adorned with flowers and objects in the middle way between the farm life and the sea style. 

The Old town of Ostuni, Città Vecchia in Italia, reflects the locals, open and enchanting. What surprised us the most was the countless arches that connected the building, creating some street-perfect geometric figures.

All the whitewashed houses look the same, and a visitor can lose the compass, ending up going round and round. If Ostuni is not like that, you will lose the conception of time but never a sense of direction. Get lost in Ostuni and try to feel the town and the history on your skin.

What to do in Ostuni - Sip a spritz like a local

Enjoy the cute old town of Ostuni

Wander around the old town

As said many times before, wandering around the old town is the best thing to do in Ostuni. The white town of Puglia has got one of the biggest “centro storico” in the valley. The concentration of architecture and treasure in such a small portion is incredible.

Starting from the main square with the Church dedicated to San Francesco D’Assisi, toward the Cathedral of Ostuni, this whitewashed city will surprise you at every corner.

READ ALSO | Things to eat in Puglia, Italy

Roam around Piazzetta Cattedrale

Piazzetta Cattedrale is, for many, the oldest part of the town. This place hosts the beautiful Cathedral of Ostuni, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. However, what will take your breath is the stone, simple but elegant facade made of a different style. 

The fascinating architecture takes elements of Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic styles, making a unique impact on every visitor.

The fascinating architecture takes Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic elements, making an extraordinary impact on every visitor.

Did you know that Ostuni is considered one of the best places in Puglia to visit? Well, now you know! To discover more places around this region, check our ultimate guide here.

You can clearly understand how this place was essential for life in the city by the presence of the other two buildings in the same square. On the side, in front of the Cathedral, you can see the Bishop’s Palace and the Seminar’s Palace. Both buildings were and are still connected to each other by the beautiful Arco di Scoppa.

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Ostuni White city | Reasons why Puglia is worth to visit

Photos of the doors of Ostuni

Ostuni can be called the city of the cutest doors. Those are for sure critical players in attracting tourists. However, the most popular door in Ostuni is the so-called “gateway to Salento”. This particular steel door, painted with the colours of this beautiful land, is metaphorically the access to the seaside of the Region. At the back, there is just the valley flowing into the sea.

The photo above can give you an idea of why it is called in this way. However, this is not the only door worth checking in Ostuni. Many other adorned doors painted with vivid colours will attract your attention, like the staircases to the flats.

Ostuni, Italy, is buzzing with shops on the ground floor and houses on the first floor, with a staircase often placed on the outside, like a secondary house. Like in many other towns in the Valley, also Ostuni is often running a contest between villagers for the most beautiful staircase or balcony.

READ ALSO | Top places to visit in Puglia, Italy


More itineraries about Puglia

Stay at a Masseria outside of the town

Suppose you have been reading our post about things to do in Alberobello. In that case, you might know how locals have turned the ancient and folkloristic “Trulli” into awesome Masseria and holiday places.

The imagination is vast, with locals turning ancient and crumbling buildings once used by farmers into unique villas with pools and gorgeous gardens. Not only, but the Masseria is also a location where to find local products, organic food and honourable traditions. In fact, in your Puglia food tour itinerary, make sure you eat in a local Masseria.

There are many Masserie around the Ostuni area, most of them outside of the city centre, away from the chaos for an incredibly relaxing holiday.

Traditional Italian food in Puglia, Italy

Dinner at a local Masseria

As we say, spending a few nights in a Masseria can be pricey, but there is a way to enjoy this relaxing cheapest.

The Masseria are not just bed and breakfast or luxury hotels, but also fine restaurants or local trattoria. Some of them also have got a local shop with their organic products. You can eat at a Masseria enjoying the tasty local food and the atmosphere. Usually, the service at a Masseria is the top. If you are planning a visit to Puglia, even if it is not Ostuni, you should consider booking a table at a Masseria at once.

Make sure you book your seat in advance; the Masseria keeps the seats for their residents before the guests. Check out if they have a Frantoio; the Masseria is usually a place surrounded by olive groves; the Frantoio is the old way to produce olive oil. Check if they offer a tour; it could be a suggestive activity to add to your list of things to do in Ostuni.

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Tour of Ostuni in Ape Car

Tour of Ostuni on an Ape

However, we always love to walk around the city; more than taking shortcuts, catching the typical Ape Calessino is an incredible experience to do in Ostuni. The old town is uphill, so it’s hard to reach the hot point of the white village; instead, for a small fee, you can go onboard the traditional vehicle.

If you don’t know the Ape, it’s the folkloristic vehicle used on farms to transport goods. In Ostuni, the Ape has been renowned as a modern tourist attraction. The driver will take you around the white city, becoming your guide and giving you a bit of the history of this incredible place.

Although it’s a fun way to discover Ostuni, this tour is quite expensive, with quotes starting from 15€ per person in high season, not open to trade and for just a 30 minutes tour.

The alternative and cheapest way to explore Ostuni is a walking tour; check the 1.5h guided itinerary through the city.

View from the top of the Souvenir Shop Terrazza in Alberobello

Day Trip to Alberobello and Locorotondo

Ostuni is an excellent base to discover all of Puglia’s hidden gemsConveniently located between the famous trulli area and Salento, Ostuni offers the opportunity for easy day trips to some of the Region’s prettiest towns, such as Alberobello and Martina Franca in Valle d’Itria or the lost-in-time and super quaint Greek cities of Salento.

From Ostuni, you can’t only reach famous places like Alberobello and Locorotondo, but it is also easy to discover hidden gems of Italy and less popular little cute towns. In this blog, you will find many places to visit in Puglia while we explore the Region wisely. First, check out our Tour in Puglia. Then, visit Cisternino, an authentic Italian Village in the heart of Valle d’Itria, where life moves slowly.

Check the incredible bargain all in one, hassle-free.
If you want to go for a Tour around Itria Valley, you should check this day trip tour.

Read Also…

What to do in Locorotondo

Harvest season in Puglia

It’s time that you know what Puglia is famous for, over gorgeous landscapes and dreaming seaside. The Puglia Region is a fantastic part of Italy, famous for producing fine olive oil and wine. If you are willing to visit Ostuni in October, you should consider an incredible adventure among the surrounding hills over the summer months.

Discover the traditions of the locals; going deep inside their culture it’s a lifetime experience. There are many ways to participate in the local harvest season, giving help and taking back good memories from Italy.
You will find yourself surrounded by nature, picking grapes and participating in memorable harvesting.

READ ALSO | Best day trips from Bari Italy

What to do in Ostuni - Sip a spritz like a local

Meet locals at Piazza Libertà

If you are interested more in how locals live in a town, visiting Piazza della Libertà will give you an idea of the vibes of this part of Italy. The vast open square is next to the Church of San Francesco d’Assisi and the Palazzo San Francesco, once in one as a Convent and today’s house of the Ostuni’s Town Hall. Many bars and restaurants insist on the square, which is the entry point to the old town.

Piazza della Libertà is the biggest square in town; Consider unwinding here, enjoying the sunshine and sipping a spritz like a local.

Just a staircase and a Terrazza divide the huge square from a fantastic spot. In front of the Column of Sant’Oronzo, there is a beautiful Terrazza with a view over the Cathedral and below a few bars and restaurants with outside spaces. This spot below Piazza Libertà, adjacent to Via Giosuè Pinto, is the buzzing social hub of the little white town.

If you are not ready to leave Puglia, check out all the best things to do on Polignano a Mare.

How to spend one day in Ostuni at glance

  • Walk around Ostuni old Town
  • Ostuni city walls
  • Visit Ostuni Cathedral
  • Enjoy a drink in Piazza della Libertà
  • Visit a museum in Ostuni
  • Explore the surrounding towns
  • View of the sea from the terrazzas
  • Enjoy a gelato
  • Get a photo with the doors of Ostuni
  • Ostuni Shopping
  • Get a tour in Ape Car
  • Stay overnight in Ostuni
  • Hit the beach near Ostuni

Best places to stay in Ostuni

Where to stay in Ostuni

BUDGET ACCOMMODATION

La Piana degli Ulivi is an excellent choice for travellers visiting Ostuni. A family-friendly accommodation, cheap and full of amenities to let you enjoy your stay in Ostuni.

Guests of La Piana degli Ulivi are also welcome to enjoy a pool and free breakfast located on site

Rooms at Miravalle Hotel in Val Gardena
Rooms at Miravalle Hotel in Val Gardena
Miravalle Hotel Val Gardena Dolomites background hotel in Italy
Hotel Miravalle Val Gardena - Dolomites, Italy

Mid-Range Hotel

A 4-star hotel in the earth of Ostuni, with a beautiful view over the città Vecchia, incredible at night. Enjoy the huge Terrazza, the restaurant and the lounge to work on the go.

Best time to visit Ostuni

Winter | If it’s your first time in Italy, winter in Puglia could be the best. Despite many cities in Italy being affected by the cold weather, the landscape becomes grey and foggy, and the southern part of the country shines even with the cold. Spending winter in Naples visiting Bari or Ostuni while chilling will be the best time to explore the city without dealing with crowds.

If you are willing to visit Ostuni in winter, you might be interested in spending more time within the Region, taking it slow. You might be impressed by the numerous activities in the countryside, and take some time off from your regular life. Remember to consider visiting Ostuni at Christmas. It’s the most amazing time of the year!

Spring in Ostuni | This is considered the best time to visit Ostuni. Spring is usually dry, and Puglia is the driest region in Italy. Not only weather-wise. For Springtime in Ostuni, we suggest you visit in late April or early May. Check our guide about the best places to visit in Italy in Spring.

Ostuni in Autumn | If you plan to visit Ostuni in Autumn, the suggested month is October, especially the first part. Like Spring, in Autumn the town is less crowded, and you can enjoy better the cosy corners. Despite what you think, even Autumn in Ostuni is buzzing with locals out, drinking in the locals’ bars till late at night.

Cavalcata di Sant’Oronzo – 24th and 27th of August | The festival of the town’s patron saint, takes place at the end of Summer. On the 26th of August, the highlight is a knightly, dressed parade on horseback

Sagra dei Vecchi Tempi – August 15th | This festival is a local tradition that attracts locals and visitors. The Sagra dei Vecchi allows visitors to sample some of the region’s most traditional foods.

Don’t visit Ostuni in Summer

Puglia itself is a Region that becomes more lively in summer, when the seaside and the farthest location in the southern part, the Salento, turn the idyllic locations into the Ibiza of Italy. Ostuni is the same; with the seaside, a few kilometres away is the ideal place to spend a few days surrounded by hills and olive trees. Ostuni is an incredible destination for your summer holidays in Italy.

Enjoy the corners of the White City, take part in the local traditions, and explore the beaches nearby. However everything looks impressive, the other side of the medal is that you must deal with crowded places. Despite June being an excellent month to visit Ostuni because it is not so hot, July and August are best to avoid. Even locals love to travel during this timeframe, and Ostuni became intolerably overcrowded.

Our tips are just suggestions to enjoy a better place. However, we visited Ostuni at the end of the summer. In September, we found fewer visitors to the city, or we might be lucky.

If you want a gorgeous place to spend your summer, check out our ultimate guide to Monopoli!

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FAQ | Things to do in Ostuni

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