Polignano is always a good idea; it doesn’t matter if you visit the seaside in summer or winter. The dramatic cliffs over the scenic panorama of hanging houses make it a must destination for every traveller visiting Puglia. If it’s your first time in this Region, this guide to the best things to do in Polignano a Mare will help you plan your trip smart and quick.
We will guide you through the best places to visit in Polignano beside the famous beach Lama Monachile.
You might know Polignano for two reasons: the first one is for the gorgeous view from Terrazza Santo Stefano. The second reason why Polignano is famous might ring a bell. This city was the inspiration for the song of Domenico Modugno, “Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu”.
However, the old town itself is almost unknown to tourists, who have seen a photo or two of the hanging houses over the cliffs. Polignano A Mare’s gorgeous city is a beautiful maze of streets, white houses, and infinite Terrazas looking at the blue sea. No guesses why Modugno was inspired to write the Italian success and many others followed him.
Are you ready to walk around the beautiful streets of Polignano? Let’s discover what to do in Polignano A Mare, Italy.
Where is Polignano
The charming town on Italy’s east coast is near Bari, the region’s capital. Although many tourists believe Polignano is in Sicily, it is actually in Puglia, one of the most magnificent regions in Southern Italy.
Polignano a Mare, a glittering beauty on the coast of the Valle d’Itria, built atop a 20-meter-high limestone cliff above the Adriatic’s crystal clear seas, certainly lives up to its name.
Some History behind a visit to Polignano a Mare
The city of Neapolis, founded by Greek settlers in the 4th century BC, is where this magical location got its start. It thrived under the Romans and was significant enough for Emperor Trajan to route his Via Traiana through the town, which was erected between 108 and 110 AD.
A bridge at Lama Monachile, just north of the old centre, is one of the few remaining remnants of this road.
What is Polignano famous for?
Polignano is famous for three things across the world. The first is cliff diving. In previous years, the town has hosted the Red Bull diving competition, reaching 45,000 spectators in 2010!
Second is the dramatic landscape, with the rocky beach and the high cliffs. The beach and seaside of Polignano are something you simply cannot pass up on a hot summer.
The third is the legendary Domenico Modugno. The famous composer has sung countless classic songs, including the big international smash Volare (originally titled Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu), which is Polignano a Mare’s third and arguably most famous export.
How to get to Polignano a Mare
BY TRAIN | Believe it or not, it’s very easy to reach Polignano a Mare by public transport. There are so many trains departing for Polignano from Bari train station, and the journey lasts about half an hour. (Depending on which kind of train you are getting on) The tickets are cheap, €2.60 each way, and you can check the timeline here.
BY CAR | If you are doing a road trip in Puglia by car, Polignano will be easy to reach as well. Remember to check where to park first as in the historic centre you are not allowed to drive otherwise, you will incur a fine. Car rentals are available at Brindisi and Bari airports and you can book yours here.
If you are landing in Bari and you want more information, check out our Bari city guide!
Polignano a Mare itinerary of things to do
In this itinerary, you will find all the top things to do in Polignano and not only. We will guide you through the old narrow alleys, letting you discover the gorgeous hidden spots that not everyone knows about.
Polignano a Mare is a picturesque city, thanks to the presence of the blue sea in contrast with the whitewashed houses. Recently you might have also seen Polignano on the TV thanks to the famous brand Red Bull. The white city was the scenario for the cliff diving experience with the Energy drink company, taking divers to leap from the famous terrace.
Although it’s a small town, made of small alleys and narrow passages, Polignano has got incredible places to visit. Follow our list of things to do in Polignano for a complete overview of your upcoming trip.
15 Things to do in Polignano a Mare
What to do in Polignano a Mare Italy
Enjoy the view from Terrazza Santo Stefano
If you scroll on Google or even on Instagram, you will see these as the most beautiful viewpoints of Polignano. This is one of the most famous advantage points of Polignano, a place to enjoy the fantastic view of Lama Monachile beach, the most famous beach in town.
You can’t leave Polignano a Mare without enjoying this view first. However, this is not the only spot with a sea view of the city, and while strolling around, you will incur many enjoyable places. Just behind the Terrazza Santo Stefano, there is the Balconata Sul Mare, which means “A balcony on the sea”. This spot will give you a full view of the horizon. Take a little break, and get some fresh drinks at the nearby restaurants or bars.
You are walking through the city’s old walls, the Bastione Santo Stefano, the fortress of Polignano a Mare.
Sunbathe at Lama Monachile beach
From the top of the cliff, you have just seen the most famous beach of Polignano and dreamed about a dive in the blue water.
Sunbathe at Lama Monachile is an unmissable place on the travel guide to Polignano for every holidaymaker. Hang out at Polignano’s most picturesque beach, Lama Monachile (also known by locals as Cala Porto).
If you are heading to Polignano a Mare in summer, remember that this beach will also be bustling; it’s impossible to walk barefoot. This is a shore beach with extreme sea conditions from time to time; not the best place to enjoy sunbathing, but it a is must-see. it is not the best place to enjoy sunbathing, but it is a
Remember to bring proper shoes if you wish to dip in the crystal water.
Even if you are visiting Polignano in winter, checking this gorgeous beach is a must!
Other beaches in Polignano to checkout
- CALA PAURA (Mostly visited by locals, it’s also a shingle beach but less crowded and more open sea)
- CALA PAGURO (Accessible and nearby to Cala Paura)
- GROTTE MARINE DI POLIGNANO A MARE (Not a beach, but worth to visit. Go on a boat tour of the caves and dive in the deep turquoise water)
Admire Cala Porto beach from Ponte Borbonico
If from Terrazza Santo Stefano you will view Lama Monachile beach, from Ponte Borbonico, you will have a different perspective of this beach. A stretch of land enclosed in two rocks, with hanging houses on the cliffs on both sides.
This spot made Polignano a Mare and the entire region of Puglia famous worldwide.
The view from this bridge may be better than actually being on the beach, so make sure you add this spot to your Polignano itinerary.
You can walk across the bridge in reach of the panoramic viewpoint of Pietra piatta.
Eat the typical Focaccia
Polignano a Mare is home to fabulous restaurants, but if you are in the city for a day or just a couple of hours, we recommend spending as much time outdoors. This means that you need to find a local bakery shop and grab some lunch from there.
If you have followed other guides of ours about Puglia, you should know how we love street food in Puglia Region. Check it out. Once arrived in Polignano, look for a bakery, which can be spotted as “Panetteria”, “Forno”, or whatsoever. Those places are hidden gems for tourists, known mainly by locals. The Panetteria in Italy offers excellent deals for quick bites.
Ask for a “Focaccia”, which is a kind of pizza with many toppings on top. Buy focaccia and head down to the beach. Here, it will be the best spot to enjoy the panorama with a delicious lunch.
Cliff jumping at Cala Porto
If you visit Polignano a Mare in summer, you will see how many people are testing their adventurous side while cliff jumping. Jumping in that blue water is something that everyone should do at least once in life.
There are so many spots where you can jump, but we highly recommend you be careful! Remember that Polignano is also famous for the Red Bull cliff diving, which experienced a divers jump from the famous terrace.
From May to late September, you can see locals, young and not only jumping from the rocky cliffs. It’s a spot you should point in your map of things to do in Polignano a Mare. However, Cala Porto is not only worth a visit in Summer. In winter, Polignano offers incredible scenarios, with sunset and sunrise breathless.
Follow the poetry along Polignano’s narrow streets
Along the streets, doors and walls of Polignano’s old town, you will find popular poetry which makes the Centro Storico unique. Hang out, walk around, follow Guido Il Flâneur’s poetry and discover the magical streets of Polignano a Mare. Those cute and narrow streets are there to tell you a story with great phrases written all along.
Take a walking tour of Polignano
The old town of Polignano is full of history and one of the best ways to get to know more about this city is to take a walking tour.
The first thing we usually do when we reach a new destination is to get to know the surroundings. Knowing a bit of history will always help you get in the skin of a place. A walking tour with a local will give you more insight than a simple guide or following our advice here.
So, what are you waiting for? Discover Polignano a Mare and get to know this beautiful part of Puglia; book the guided walking tour here.
Discover Vicolo Della Poesia
Considered one of Guido’s most famous works in his poetry steps, this is not just a photogenic stairway located not far from Balconata Sul Mare and Terrazza Santo Stefano.
If you feel lost, don’t worry! Remember to ask for help from locals as they will know exactly where to point you. Vicolo Della Poesia is the perfect Instagram spot in Polignano a Mare and is one of the things that you can’t miss. Take your loved one here and enjoy the magic moment that only Polignano can give you.
Visit Fondazione Museo Pino Pascali
Founded in 2010, this gorgeous building overlooking the sea hosts a contemporary art museum which was founded to honour one of Italy’s leading 20th-century artists.
In fact, Pascali is considered Puglia’s greatest artist and this museum was founded after its family donated his works. You can easily reach Pino Pascali Foundation from Arco Marchesale, which will take you around 12-minute walk. The entry costs €2, and it will be absolutely worth visiting it.
Are you looking for the right place to stay in Polignano a Mare? Read our ultimate guide to all the best places to stay in Puglia, Italy!
Admire Domenico Modugno Statue
If you remember, at the beginning of this guide we said that Polignano a Mare is famous for two reasons. One of those reasons is for the famous singer Domenico Modugno. You might know him for the legendary song “Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu”.
He wrote this song while being inspired by the gorgeous city of Polignano a Mare. Before reaching Pietra Piatta where you can enjoy a gorgeous view, you will see the huge statue of Domenico Modugno. With its arms open and the jacket flying, you’ll feel the breeze of the wind and of its song. Try to sing the famous song with him.
Enjoy the panorama from Pietra Piatta
Just behind Domenico Modugno’s statue you will find the magnificent Scalinata Volare.
Once you go down the steps, you will find Pietra Piatta, a huge flat rock with a gorgeous view from the old town of Polignano a Mare to the infinite blue sea.
You might know Terrazza Santo Stefano as a famous viewpoint in the city. However, the rock is windy, and you have to be careful. There is an insane jump of over 30 metres into the sea.
Walk along the lungomare
After strolling around and visiting the Centro Storico, head toward the most spending promenade, Lungomare Cristoforo Colombo. Enjoy the gorgeous view of the beautiful Adriatic sea while walking along the promenade.
TIPS | If you love photography and you wish to remember this moment forever, walk along the lungomare during sunset and be ready with your camera to shoot! It’s one of the most incredible times and you can’t forget your camera!
Dine at Grotta Palazzese
The high cliffs have secrets that you can’t imagine. If you want to end your trip to Polignano in a unique way, consider experiencing a delicious dinner at Grotta Palazzese. This hidden ancient cave has a spectacular restaurant with a terrace overlooking the sea. It won’t be an on a budget dinner, but it’s one of those experiences you have to try at least once in your life. You can access the restaurant in style, arriving on a boat from the sea.
If you feel fancy and want to end the night with a particular touch, remember that they got a hotel. Check the prices and book here.
Did you know that Polignano a Mare is considered one of the best places to visit in Puglia? if you want to discover more gorgeous places in Puglia, read our ultimate post here.
Take a boat trip and explore the gorgeous caves
Taking a boat and exploring the caves is a must-do in Polignano. You can’t leave Puglia without this tour; it’s like going to Positano without making a boat trip to Amalfi.
You will visit the main caves, from Grotta Palazzese to Cala Paura, Grotta Azzurra and many more. If you are visiting Polignano with your children, don’t worry that you can bring them with you and still have an incredible experience. Book here your spot and enjoy the beautiful caves!
Eat a gelato while exploring the historic city centre
It’s not Italy without gelato. In each place we’ve been, we tried the local ice cream, or, as we call it, gelato. There is no better way to cool down with fresh and delicious gelato when the temperature goes up. It’s one of the first things to do in Polignano, and you can’t miss that. There are so many places where you can taste good gelato, and the only thing you need to do is follow the locals in the right area.
Where to stay in Polignano a Mare
POLIGNANO A MARE HOTELS
Giovi Relais Polignano
Located close to Lama Monachile beach and with an incredible view, this hotel will be the right choice for your next trip to Polignano a Mare!
Covo Dei Saraceni
With its great location and gorgeous view, Covo Dei Saraceni can be your on a budget choice in your Polignano a Mare itinerary.
POLIGNANO A MARE APARTMENTS
NEL BLU DIPINTO DI BLU
Authentic and Cosy Seaview Apartment
Have a fantastic experience and enjoy this cosy apartment with one of the best views ever!
LA PERLA DEL MARE
Seaview apartment with parking in Polignano
If you are looking for the right place to stay and have the chance of a parking space, that’s the one for you!
TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR POLIGNANO A MARE
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.
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Q&A Things to do in Polignano
How do I get to Polignano a Mare?
From Bari airport, take the train/bus to reach the central train station in Bari. From Bari station, you take the train towards Polignano and the journey will take around 30 minutes. If you are in Brindisi instead, you can do the same in the opposite way, taking the train from Brindisi towards Polignano. Check properly before taking the train as from Brindisi, the majority of the time, you have to change at Monopoli station and take the train towards Polignano. Monopoli, it’s just a train stop away from Polignano. For more information, visit the website here.
How do you get to Alberobello from Polignano a Mare?
The best way to get from Polignano a Mare to Alberobello is by bus. Within 1h and 15 minutes, you can reach Alberobello without any problems. The tickets are always cheap, around €2.20 and you only need to change once at Turi station. However, if you are renting a car, you will enjoy a panoramic scenario across the Valle d’Itria and might stop on the way at Ostuni, Locorotondo, Cisternino or Martina Franca.
Is Polignano a Mare worth visiting?
Yes! Absolutely worth a dive! Together with Monopoli, Polignano is a lovely town worth visiting while in Puglia. Here, you can finally experience the south Italian breeze! Despite that, we have loved more Monopoli, because off the beaten path, compared to the more touristic Polignano.
How far is Bari from Polignano a Mare?
Around 33 km. From Bari to Polignano by train, the distance is around 21 miles. By car, it will take about 50 minutes because the Puglia Capital is crowded going out of the city and going back. If you are exploring Puglia for a few days, we advise you to take a more sustainable way to reach Polignano, taking the train, which makes you enjoy more time in town, hassle-free.
How long to stay in Polignano a Mare?
4 days! This will give you enough time to experience the real essence of Polignano. You won’t need to rush to see everything and you’ll be able to explore every corner of this gorgeous city in Puglia.
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