Puglia – Leisure, recreation & magic
The region Apulia (Puglia in Italian) is located in the south of Italy and forms the spur and heel on the Italy map. Rich in beautiful landscapes, coastline, history and culture, Puglia is now one of the most popular destinations for holiday rentals. Luxury self-catering villas with pool and apartments near the sea are spread along the region, offering plenty of choice to take a break from the everyday life and to explore the area.
Apulia is a land of pristine nature. It boasts vast and diverse natural landscapes, starting with the National Park of the Gargano and the Murge, the marine reserves of the Tremiti Islands and Torre Guaceto. The countryside is dominated by gentle, fertile land where tasty vegetables, grapes and olives are grown.
Apulia is a land of history and art. Many towns and villages are the expression of Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque eras and they are not short in museums, historical buildings, archaeological parks, and castles. The most famous among them is the Castel del Monte, the 13th-century castle constructed by the Emperor Frederick II and declared UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When is the best time to visit Puglia
Blessed with an average 300 days of sunshine per year, Apulia has a wonderful climate. The hilltop towns in the Itria Valley always offer a sweet breeze, even in the hottest months of the year and the humidity is generally minimal. It is a lovely dry heat that warms you, either whilst sitting in a piazza enjoying an ice cream, or on the beach soaking up some rays before taking a dip in the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea. Rainfall is scarce and generally concentrated in the winter months. Puglia weather in October is clement and often permits to swim in the sea.
How to get to Puglia
Puglia has airports in Bari and Brindisi. Nearest airport to Puglia is Bari’s airport, about 9km west of the city at Palese. Brindisi’s Casale airport is 4km north of the city. AIRLINES FROM THE UK Alitalia flies several times a day from Heathrow and Gatwick to Bari and Brindisi. Flights are via Rome or Milan. British Airways flies from Gatwick to Bari. Ryanair flies daily from Stansted to Bari and Brindisi.
Best places to visit in Puglia
Castel del Monte
Is a 13th-century citadel and castle situated on a hill in Andria in the Puglia region of southeast Italy.
From the village you have 360° views over the surrounding mountains adding to the beauty and drama of this medieval and Renaissance village. It is classified as one of the “borghi piu belli d’Italia” or “most beautiful villages of Italy”.
The Gargano Peninsula
The Gargano Peninsula, with its steep forested hills and beautiful coastline, is irresistible for holiday makers who relish its gorgeous weather and its unhurried, unspoilt way of life. Make sure you get your first close look at the Adriatic’s clear, turquoise waters and beautiful beaches of white sand and the harbourside where boats leave for the nearby Tremeti Islands, with several good restaurants specializing in seafood.
Polignano a Mare
Is one of Puglia’s most picturesque seaside towns, and one of the most important ancient settlements in Puglia. Spectacularly positioned on the Adriatic coast, it is built on the edge of a craggy ravine pockmarked with caves.
For a once in a lifetime experience, visit Grotta Palazzese, a luxury restaurant with a view over a magnificent blue-green sea, carved out of magnificent limestone rocks that lies in an unparalleled location. It has been enchanting visitors for centuries.
Best towns in Puglia
Bari and the Valle d’Itra
Bari is the main gateway to Puglia and the capital city. The nearby Valle d’Itria, a rustic valley of olive trees, vineyards, and hill towns, is one of the most popular destinations in the region, known for its iconic trulli, circular stone huts found dotted around the countryside
This is another enchanting place, unique and worth viewing for several hours. One side of the town is full of tourists and souvenir shop trulli, but head across the road to Aia Piccola and you’ll find trulli that are real homes without the crowds.
Best for: children aged around four to 12 are most likely to get excited about these fantastical houses.
Locorotondo is a labyrinth of whitewashed buildings; its quiet streets kept pristine by residents who decorate their balconies and staircases with pink geraniums. There are no major sights, but this means it doesn’t get many visitors, so it’s a delightful place to enjoy a leisurely lunch and stroll the streets.
The Salento is a hot, dry peninsula in southern part of Puglia, taking in the Lecce province as well as much of the Brindisi and Taranto provinces. Its geographical isolation made it develop as a strong identity with its own cuisine, traditions and music, influenced by its Greek past. Along with some of Italy’s best beaches, there are many fascinating towns to explore.
Lecce is known for its exuberant Baroque architecture in the golden Leccese stone of the area, having churches decorated with cherubs, gargoyles and griffins, and delicately carved columns and cornices.
Otranto has a very stunning coastal location where you can start your morning admiring the beautiful sunrise and ending with an afternoon swimming in the clean, turquoise sea.
Once you step in Puglia make sure you admire the historical and natural beauty that is going to capture your heart from the beginning. Explore the interesting architecture of the churches and of the countless cobblestone alleys. At the end of the day take your time to walk along the nice seaside promenade, admiring the sea and taking as many photos as you can.
Best things to do in Puglia
- Enjoy fresh marmalade, some olive oil and also the organic nuts.
- Take a walk along the beautiful beaches while admiring the unique coastline.
- Discover the magnificent tradition of the 13th century Castel del Monte.
- Explore the streets filled with Baroque buildings in Lecce.
- Drink a glass of prosecco in the medieval town of Trani.
- Take a ferry boat in order to explore the islands.
- Never miss a chance to sample on the local wines.
- Eat the local delicacy called burrata, a pouch of hot mozzarella cheese filled with cream.
- Walk through the strangely shaped network of underground caves known as the Grotte di Castellana.
- Explore the bustling fish market during one day spent in Taranto.
Experience Puglia by choosing a private tour
Street food walking tour in Bari
Once in Italy, one must explore the Italian cuisine. Discover the tastiest food in town on a 3-hour, private food tour to Bari. With your own personal guide, you’ll explore Bari’s enchanting Old Town while discovering the best places to eat and exciting food to try. Sample focaccia, gelato, and burrata; try the craft beer and of course the fine wine and don’t forget to explore the Basilica of St. Nicholas. The tour starts in the Old Town of Bari where you will meet your guide. Your first stop will be at a pastry bakery where you will first sample a very delicious focaccia. You will also learn a lot of things about the way they make cheese and salami, while you will sip a big glass of the local wine. The entire experience costs 49 Euros and it is the best way to get a feel of the Old Town in Bari.
Bari bike tour with a chance of experiencing a Pasta Making Class
Join a private and customizable tour, back to ancient times and far from stereotypes and then meet a local lady and have a pasta making class in a typical house of the old town. Cook and taste your own home-made pasta with a glass of local wine, in a family atmosphere and live a unique experience while you enjoy the real southern Italian home-stay. The tour begins by visiting the main attractions of the old town such as the Basilica of Saint Nicholas with its precious Crypt, the ancient Cathedral of Saint Sabinus and the millenarian Swabian Castle. The tour moves on with discovering the modern French part of the city along with the famous sea-side, with its fish market, opera theatres and luxury shopping streets. This tour ends at Signora Maria’s House where you will learn how to make orecchiette, the local home-made pasta, and you’ll find out the secrets of the Italian tomato sauce. Drink the genuine Primitivo red wine while you cook and taste the home-made pasta feeling like a native. The tour starts in Bari and it costs 44 Euros.
Boat tour for visits to St. Isidoro, Porto Selvaggio and Punta Lea
For the sea lovers, this is an excursion to one of the most beautiful regional parks of the Southern Italy. Take a boat trip from Porto Cesareo to Santa Caterina. Dive stops provided during the trip are Torre dell’Alto, Punta Lea and Bia di Uluzzo. Snorkeling masks, a fresh drink and a snack will be provided during your tour.
Enjoy a boat trip from St. Isidore up to Santa Caterina. Planned stops are located in Porto Selvaggio: – Uluzzo Bay: Bathroom and snorkeling (optional) in the beautiful bay, also famous for the importance of its archaeological sites. – High Tower: stop and swim with the possibility (unless adverse sea conditions) of a guided snorkeling in the caves that characterize this beautiful stretch of coast. – Punta Lea: third stop bath and snorkeling (optional) with the possibility to admire a rich and colorful marine life. Included in the price: a nature guide who will give information detailed along the route, masks for snorkeling, fresh drinks and an appetizer. Such a wonderful afternoon costs 35 Euros and the experience is absolutely fantastic
Yes, Puglia has an incredibly beautiful natural coastline, but the thrill of a splashy water park is hard to beat. There are several slide-and-pool complexes across Puglia, sure-fire winners for keeping kids of all ages delighted for a day. The best is the enormous Splash (adult/child €20/18;), close to Gallipoli, but there’s Acquapark Egnazia near to Monopoli as well,with plenty of slides and kids’ areas.
Events in Puglia
You’ll find food and music festivals to enjoy throughout the year in Puglia, though most fall in July and August. Younger children may enjoy following the brass bands that parade around town centers, and they’ll love the hustle and bustle in Italian towns after dark: the chance to browse street stalls of toys and jewelry, and to have an evening gelato.
Festival Metropolitano Bari in Jazz
The first of a series of jazz festivals in Puglia, Bari’s lasts a month and includes a good variety of concerts covering all facets of jazz. Where? Bari When? 15th June – 15th July 2017.
Sagra di paese- Salento
Sagra di paese is a village festival. Make sure you get there in the summer where you can eat traditional street food while listening to traditional music such as pizzica or tarantella.
The Historical parade in Oria
This event is a really fun way to learn about history, so it’s a good one to bring the kids along to. The Historical Parade of Frederick II and the Joust of the Boroughs captivates audiences with a huge street parade, where 800 people take part dressed up as nobles, knights and jesters. The following day, characters in medieval costumes compete to win the Palio, with stunning stagecraft and impressive stunts. When? 12 th August – 13th august.
Bif&st, Bari International Film Festival
Since 2010 is attracting both professionals and cinema lovers. At its 9th edition, this year it’s held from Saturday April 21 until April 28, 2018.
Organized by the Apulia Film Commission, the festival has a non-competitive section, dedicated to full-length film realized in 2017-18, possibly unpublished.