The ultimate guide of all the top things to do in Polignano A Mare, Italy

Polignano is always a good idea, doesn’t matter if you are visiting the seaside in summer or in 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 to 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 for the gorgeous view from Terrazza Santo Stefano. The second reason why Polignano is famous might ring you 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. The gorgeous city of Polignano A Mare it’s 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 follow him.

Are you ready to walk around the beautiful streets of Polignano? Let’s discover together all the best things to do in Polignano A Mare, Italy. 

View from Ponte Borbonico - Top things to do in Polignano a Mare

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 popular 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.

Despite 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 full overview of your upcoming trip.

15 Things to do in Polignano a Mare

  • Enjoy the view from Terrazza Santo Stefano
  • Sunbathe at Lama Monachile beach
  • Admire Cala Porto beach from Ponte Borbonico
  • Eat Focaccia
  • Cliff jumping at Cala Porto 
  • Follow the poetry along Polignano’s narrow streets
  • Take a walking tour of Polignano
  • Discover Vicolo Della Poesia 
  • Visit Fondazione Museo Pino Pascali
  • Admire Domenico Modugno Statue
  • Enjoy the panorama from Pietra Piatta
  • Walk along the lungomare
  • Dine at Grotta Palazzese
  • Take a boat trip and explore the gorgeous caves
  • Eat a gelato while exploring the historic city centre
Terrazza Santo Stefano - Polignano a Mare things to do

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 this as the most beautiful viewpoints of Polignano. This is one of the most famous advantage point of Polignano, a place to enjoy the amazing view on 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 sea view of the city, and while strolling around you will incur in many enjoyable places. Just behind the Terrazza Santo Stefano, there is the Balconata Sul Mare, which literally 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 drink at the nearby restaurants or bars.

You are walking through the old walls of the city, the Bastione Santo Stefano, the fortress of Polignano a Mare.

Sunbathe at Lama Monachile - What to do in Polignano a MAre
Things to do in Polignano a Mare – Enjoy the sun at Lama Monachile beach

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 of every holidaymaker. Hang out at Polignano’s most picturesque beach, which is Lama Monachile (also known by locals as Cala Porto).

If you are heading to Polignano a Mare in summer, remember that this beach will be extremely busy, also 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 a sunbathe, but a must to see.

Remember to bring proper shoes if you wish to take a 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)
Best view in Polignano - Things to do in Polignano a Mare

Admire Cala Porto beach from Ponte Borbonico

If from Terrazza Santo Stefano you will have a view of 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 house on the cliffs on both sides.

This is the spot that 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 in your Polignano itinerary.

You can walk across the bridge in reach of the panoramic viewpoint of Pietra piatta.

Try a delicious Focaccia in Polignano a Mare

Eat the typical Focaccia

Polignano a Mare is home of amazing restaurants but, if you are in the city for a day or just a couple of hours, we recommend spending as much time as possible 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 this 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, mostly known by locals. The Panetteria in Italy offers great deals for quick food. 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 where to enjoy the panorama with a delicious lunch.

Cliff jumping at Cala Porto

If you are visiting 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 to be careful! Remember that Polignano is also famous for the Red Bull cliff diving, which experienced 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 poetry and discover the magical streets of Polignano a Mare. Those cute and narrow streets are there to tell you a story with the incredible phrases written all along.

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Souvenirs from Polignano - Discover the old town of Polignano

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 to get in the skin of a place. Actually, 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 gorgeous part of Puglia, book the guided walking tour here.  

Vicolo della Poesia Polignano a Mare
Beautiful narrow streets of Polignano a Mare - Things to do in POlignano a mare

Discover Vicolo Della Poesia

Considered one of Guido’s most popular 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 help to any locals around 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 here your loved one and enjoy the magic moment that only Polignano can give to 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 made a donation of his works. You can easily reach Pino Pascali Foundation from Arco Marchesale which will take you around 12 minutes walk. The entry costs €2 and it will be absolutely worth visiting it. 

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.

Polignano a Mare | Best beaches in Puglia | Weekend Puglia Low cost

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 but this one is without any debts, the most beautiful one for us. However, the rock is a bit windy and you have to be careful. There is an insane jump of over 30 metres into the sea.

Polignano a Mare landscape | A week in Puglia itinenrary

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 got 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 that 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 you want to end the night with a particular touch, remember that they got a hotel as well. Check the prices and book 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 leaving Positano without doing 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 ice cream while walking around Polignano old town
One of the best things to do in Polignano a Mare is to eat an ice cream while walking around

Eat a gelato while exploring the historic city centre

It’s not Italy without a gelato. In each place we’ve been, we tried the local ice cream or like we call it, gelato. When the temperature is going up, there is no better way to cool down with a fresh and delicious gelato. 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 a good gelato, the only thing that you need to do is to follow locals in the right place.

How to get to Polignano a Mare

BY TRAIN | Believe it or not, it’s very easy to reach Polignano a Mare by public transports. From Bari train station, there are so many trains departing for Polignano and the journey lasts about half an hour. (Depending which kind of train you are getting on) The tickets are so 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!

READ ALSO | Day trips from Bari Italy

Polignano a MAre train station
Polignano a Mare Train Station, about 15 minutes walking from the old town

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!

The ultimate guide of all the top things to do in Polignano A Mare, Italy 1

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.

Malu Bed & Breakfast - Polignano a Mare - Italy - Puglia

POLIGNANO A MARE AIRBNB

Authentic and Cosy Seaview Apartment
Authentic and Cosy Seaview Apartment

Have an amazing experience and enjoy this cosy apartment with one of the best views ever!

Seaview apartment with parking in Polignano
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!

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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