Puglia, or Apulia in English, can be identified as the heel of the ‘boot’ of Italy and is a beautiful coastal location full of history and charming architecture. Perhaps best known for its olive oil production, Puglia’s countryside is lush and fruitful, its towns are unique and its coastline is the longest of any of Italy’s mainland regions.
What makes Puglia such a popular part of Italy to visit is that it offers travellers everything you could want from a holiday to the country; historical towns and monuments left over from past civilisations, plenty of delicious local food and a perfect blend of natural beauty and classic Italian design. Visiting Puglia in April means that you’ll get to explore the area without the crowds of tourists that descend in the summer, but that you’ll also experience mild and sunny weather that is perfect for days spent sightseeing or relaxing on the coast.
Puglia has a classic coastal Italian climate; mild all year round with scorching summers and drizzly winters. April is the first month in the region where the weather starts to grow more consistently warm and sunny.
The average high temperature in Puglia in April is 18°C which is very pleasant and usually only requires a light jacket when you are out and about. It’s not quite warm enough to enjoy the many beaches that line the region’s shores, but it is an ideal temperature for outdoor sightseeing or hiking excursions.
There is an average of 7 hours of sunshine every day in Puglia in April, and around 13 hours of daylight overall. In the evening the temperature in Puglia drops down to 9°C on average, which can catch you by surprise with its chill.
April is one of the wettest months in Puglia, but this only means that there are around 10 days of rainfall throughout the whole month. Any showers are likely to be quite short-lived as well, so you shouldn’t find that any of your plans get cancelled because of the weather.
How to Get There
The majority of people travel to Puglia by plane, and there are two major airports in the area that have relatively frequent flights all year round. Bari Airport is the larger of the two and hosts more international flights, but Brindisi Airport in the south of the region does have flights to and from a lot of international countries, just at a less frequent rate.
Puglia is a relatively rural, coastal area, and so once you arrive your best bet is to get around by car. Good bus and train services connect some of the towns and villages in the region, but for more freedom and flexibility, hiring a car is your best bet.
Car hire in Puglia does not tend to be expensive in April, and it will allow you to set your own itinerary for your trip as well as accommodating any spontaneous changes of plans. A lot of the popular places in Puglia are quite tricky to reach if you’re relying on public transport, and it would be a shame to spend most of your holiday on slow-moving buses or trains when there is a much more efficient way of getting around.
Festivals and Events
The dates of Easter – the Christian religious holiday – are different every year, but parts of this festival such as Holy Week often fall in the month of April. Italy is a country with quite a large Christian population and so there are many big celebrations in Puglia that often occur in April.
One Easter tradition is a reenactment of the life of the religious figure Jesus Christ, with the town of Alberobello famously holding the most impressive performance of this. Numerous parades happen through the streets of many towns in the lead up to Easter Sunday, including the famous ‘Fracchie’ procession which takes place in San Marco in Lamis near Gargano. Huge tree trunks filled with smaller sticks and branches to form a ‘torch’ that is paraded through the streets, said to symbolise lighting the way for the Madonna to find the body of Jesus.
Italy also celebrates Easter Monday with a festival known as La Pasquetta, which literally translates to ‘Little Easter’. After the solemn and reflective time spent between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the national holiday is a time to relax and celebrate with family and friends to mark the end of the religious festival, usually with large gatherings and outdoor picnics.
European Film Festival
The European Film Festival in Lecce is another event that often takes place in April. It’s one of the biggest cultural events that the city hosts all year, and is dedicated to promoting the work of European film directors and producers.
This festival is not just about screening new films however, as there is also a strong emphasis on facilitating discussion around issues and developments in the film industry, as well as giving a platform to young, emerging filmmakers. Economic and social development is highlighted just as much as cultural importance, and many famous guests have attended over the years.
Things to See and Do
When planning what to see and do during a holiday to Puglia it can seem impossible trying to choose which of the towns and cities to visit or what Italian experiences you most want to enjoy whilst you are there. April is a time when all of the flowers in Puglia’s countryside are starting to bloom and the landscape is lit up with sunshine, so it’s one of the best months of the year to explore the historic streets of the region’s towns or enjoy a gentle walk along the coast.
Hike Through the Gargano National Park
Spring is one of the best possible times to enjoy hiking in Puglia, and the Parco Nazionale del Gargano offers an ideal location to witness the region’s wildlife come to life. Found on the east coast of Puglia, near Bari, the park stretches over 120,000 hectares and is a protected area that is full of unique species of plants and animals.
Gargano National Park has many different footpaths and hiking trails that offer a range of different length expeditions for those who want to enjoy Puglia’s beautiful landscape on foot. As well as miles of paths through the forest, the Marine Reserve of the Tremiti Islands is also part of the park and means that you can also explore several small islands and their fascinating sea caves during a visit.
Visit the Churches of the Murgia Plateau
The Murgia Plateau is another protected park in Puglia that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the ancient culture that has been preserved in the area and the unique qualities of the landscape. A rocky stretch of land that involves one side of a canyon, this park is found nearby to the city of Matera, and is worth visiting in April when there won’t be lots of other visitors around.
What makes this part of Puglia so fascinating are the numerous caves that have been carved into the rock and show traces of past civilisations. The real highlight however is over 100 cave churches that are dotted throughout the area and have been traced all the way back to the 8th century, featuring incredible ancient feats of architecture.
Enjoy Lecce’s Cafe Culture
The city of Lecce is frequently referred to as ‘the Florence of the South’ and is one of the most popular parts of Puglia for many travellers, making April an excellent time to visit to enjoy a much quieter atmosphere. As well as a huge range of beautiful buildings and a Roman amphitheatre, Lecce is known for its fantastic range of little cafes, restaurants and cocktail bars that can be found around almost every corner.
Once you’ve explored this popular city and admired some of its classic sightseeing attractions, why not find a little cafe and sit out in the April sunshine for a well deserved rest? You’ll be able to people watch to your heart’s content and enjoy the authentic atmosphere of Lecce during its low season for tourism.
Admire the Beaches at Polignano a Mare
Polignano a Mare is one of the most popular coastal towns in Puglia because of its picturesque white-washed houses, golden sand beaches and bright blue water. This seaside destination tends to be packed during the summer months, but in April you’ll be able to enjoy the town by yourself, which is a rare treat for tourists who visit in the spring.
Whilst the water temperature in Puglia in April is not the best for swimming (unless you’re really tough!) you can still enjoy a stroll along the beach in the spring sunshine, and even dip your toes in the waves if you’re visiting on a particularly warm day. Polignano a Mare is a brilliant place to snap some unforgettable holiday photos that will fill your friends with envy, and its beautiful beaches are definitely the highlight.
Spend a Morning in Alberobello
The unique town of Alberobello is one part of Puglia that is busy all year round, but equally is a destination that most travellers feel that they have to tick off their Italian bucket list. What makes Alberobello famous are the quirky ‘trulli’ huts that can be found across Puglia but are particularly concentrated here, with their iconic design of a grey stone roof and whitewashed walls.
The best time to explore Alberobello is first thing in the morning when there are only locals around, so you can snag that perfect photo opportunity and explore the streets at your own pace.
Explore the Countryside by Bike
Puglia is rapidly becoming known as a top European cycling destination, and the climate in April is ideal if you’re going to be spending days zipping along the roads between locations. Whilst perhaps not suitable for total beginners, any cycling enthusiast should definitely consider doing some or all of their holiday by bike, and enjoying the brilliant views that come with travelling through Puglia on two wheels.
There are not many designated cycle paths in the region, but all of the roads are suitable for bikes and provide ideal terrain for both long and short excursions. It might not be as fast as travelling by car, but with the scent of spring in the air and sunshine all around you, it’s an experience you’ll never forget.
As Puglia sets itself firmly on the map as one of the best regions in Italy to enjoy on holiday, more and more people are searching for tips to make the most out of their trip. We’ve got a few pieces of advice that will ensure you have the best possible time on your April holiday.
Visiting Puglia in the low season for tourism means that you’ll not only avoid having to share your holiday with hundreds of other travellers, but that you’ll also likely save money on travel and accommodation costs. This means that you’ll have a better chance of finding a fantastic place to stay in usually full places such as Lecce or Alberobello, and maybe even manage to book a night in a trulli!
Whilst temperatures are high during the day in Puglia, it can get quite chilly at night once the sun has set. It’s definitely worth packing a warm coat or jacket as well as your sunglasses before you travel to ensure that you stay warm even if you’re outdoors at night, enjoying an evening meal on a terrace somewhere along the coast or in the countryside.
It’s likely that you’ll experience good weather almost all of the time if you visit Puglia in April, but it’s a good idea to have some rainy-day backup plans just in case the weather does something unpredictable. Larger cities are home to museums and cathedrals that offer respite from any passing showers, and you can spend many a happy hour learning more about the area’s history whilst the rain comes down outside.
Finally, it’s a good idea to brush up on your Italian before you travel. Puglia is a much less modern part of Italy than tourist cities such as Rome or Venice, and when you’re out in the countryside you’re less likely to find someone who fully understands English.
When To Visit Puglia By Month
If you want to find out more about Puglia and how you can explore the region on an unforgettable Italian holiday, find out more about Italian Breaks and our recommendations for when to go, where to stay and what to do.