19 Best Places to Visit in Puglia Italy

Best places to visit in Puglia Italy

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Are you interested in visiting Puglia Italy? No wonder, Puglia is one of the most authentic and beautiful regions in Italy! And here are the best places to visit in Puglia Italy!

Milijana Gabrić in Alberobello in Puglia Italy
Me in Alberobello in Puglia

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN COMPENSATED LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLAIMER FOR MORE INFO. 

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE BEST PLACES IN PUGLIA ITALY

Puglia in the southeast of Italy is a fascinating coastal region of dramatic white cliffs, crystal clear azure and turquoise seas, impressive white and golden sandy beaches, majestic pebble beaches, rocky mountains, green forests, stunning whitewashed towns, ancient ruins, Romanesque and Baroque architecture, hundreds-years old olive groves, extensive vineyards, incredible fortified farmhouses, unique stone huts, and four World Heritage sites. 

Impressive Puglia is one of the most beautiful and authentic regions in Italy.

Recently I took a fabulous Puglia road trip.

My Puglia road trip was one of the best road trips I’ve ever taken! And, I fell in love with this amazing sun-kissed region in southern Italy!

Check out my guide to the best places to visit in Puglia if you are interested in traveling and planning to visit Puglia!

My collection of the best places in Puglia includes UNESCO World Heritage sites in Puglia, the most beautiful seaside towns in Puglia, a national park in Puglia, the spectacular natural attractions in Puglia, impressive sacred sites in Puglia, and the prettiest beach destinations in Puglia.

WHAT IS PUGLIA

Gallipoli is one of the best places to visit in Puglia Itay
Gallipoli is one of the most popular beach destinations in Puglia

Puglia in Italian, or Apulia in English, is a region in southern-eastern Italy.

Magical Puglia is known as the geographical ‘heel of Italy’s boot’.  

It is one of the most beautiful regions in Italy, if not the most beautiful. 
The region of Puglia is one of the eight southern Italian regions, called Mezzogiorno. Puglia with seven other mainland regions (Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, Basilicata, Calabria) and two island regions (Sardinia and Sicily) make Mezzogiorno, or the southern part of Italy.

Gorgeous Puglia in southern Italy might have been lesser known than other Italian regions in the past. However, it has been getting stellar recognition as a top destination in Italy over the past decade.
The visitors rave about the superb beaches, transparent turquoise seas, unseen vast vineyards, extensive olive fields, authentic whitewashed towns, the Apulian Romanesque and Baroque architecture, and tasty traditional food of Puglia

After visiting Puglia, I am one of those who got bewitched by the region. And, I am adding myself to the admirers of the incredible Puglia Italy!
In that respect, I made the following list of the best places to visit in Puglia that I believe anyone needs to have on their travel bucket list.

WHERE IS PUGLIA 

the region of Puglia in southern Italy
Puglia is the heel of italy’s boot

In a nutshell, Puglia makes the heel of the Italian boot.

Puglia is the Italian mainland region with the longest coastline. Puglia covers about 800 km of the Italian coast.

Two seas (the Adriatic Sea on the east and the Ionian Sea on the west), one gulf (the Gulf of Otranto), and a water passage (the Strait of Otranto) surround Puglia.

The Italian regions of Molise, Campania, and Basilicata are neighboring regions to Puglia.

The city of Bari is the capital of Puglia. And Bari, Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce, and Taranto are the major cities in Puglia, Italy.

Today about 4 million people live in Puglia, out of which 320 thousand live in Bari.

HOW TO GET TO PUGLIA ITALY

There are two main airports in Puglia: the Karol Wojtyla International Airport (BRI) in Bari and the Salento International Airport (BDS) in Brindisi. 

Bari is a great starting point for exploring the entire region, while Brindisi is great for exploring the Salento peninsula (the southernmost part of Puglia). 

Alitalia, AirFrance, British Airways, Iberia, EasyJet, Ryanair, and Wizz Air fly Puglia. There are direct flights to Puglia from many European countries (like Spain, Portugal, France, the UK, Germany, Malta, Hungary, Austria, Croatia, and Greece… ) and Israel.

The best is to fly to one of the airports in Puglia, hire a car at the airport and take a Puglia road trip.
I rented a car online via DiscoverCar Hire before my flight to Puglia, flew to Brindisi airport, picked up my rental car at the airport, and ventured into exploring Puglia by car.

Puglia is also easily reachable from Naples and Rome. 

Bari, the capital of Puglia, is about 136 mi (220 km) from Naples. Bari is only one hour and ten min-drive away from Naples International Airport by the fastest airport shuttle. 

Bari is about 267 mi (430 km) away from Rome.
The fastest and most comfortable way to travel from Rome to Bari is by train. Seven trains run from Rome to Bari a day. An average train ride from Rome to Bari takes 4 hours. 
Alternatively, renting a car at the Rome Airport, driving to Puglia, and exploring the region on your own is the best way to see every corner of Puglia.

HOW TO TRAVEL PUGLIA – THE BEST WAY TO TRAVEL PUGLIA ITAY 

The best way to travel Puglia is by car. Affordable car rentals are available at all airports. 

I love checking and renting cars via DiscoverCarRentals. The site provides rental cars from multiple companies.
You can quickly check the offer of rental cars and their prices online from the chair of your home. And, once when you pick a car, the chosen rental car will wait for you at the airport. The entire process of renting a car and picking it up at the airport is quick and smooth.

The best is to fly to one of the airports in Puglia, hire a car at the airport and take a Puglia road trip.

There are two main airports in Puglia: the Karol Wojtyla International Airport (BRI) in Bari and the Salento International Airport (BDS) in Brindisi.

I flew to Brindisi International Airport. I rented online a car at the Brindisi Airport via DiscoverCarRentals before my departure to Puglia, landed at the airport, and took my rental car.

The best way to travel to Puglia is to embark on an incredible Puglia road trip! 
Check out car rentals at Bari Airport
Check out car rentals at Brindisi Airport

WHAT IS PUGLIA FAMOUS FOR

Vieste is one of the best places to visit in Puglia Italy
Vieste in Puglia

Puglia is famous for its impressive coastline, delicious cuisine, outstanding olive oil, and rich archeological and cultural heritage. 

Puglia is famous for its top-quality olives and first-rate olive oil. Puglia is the number 1 Italian region for olive oil production. The Puglia region produces 40% of olive oil in Italy and makes 12% of the olive oil of the entire world. 

Olive oil from Puligia (Apulian olive oil) enjoys the status of the best olive oil in Italy. 

FACTS ABOUT PUGLIA ITALY

Puglia is the largest olive oil-producing region in Italy. It produces about 40% of Italian olive oil. About 50 million olive trees grow in Puglia. The 50 million trees, wow!! And some of the olive trees in Puglia are estimated to be around 3000 years old!!

Puglia is the largest grape-growing region in Italy. The vineyards cover about 80 ha in Puglia. (Just to mention here, Veneto is the largest wine-producing region in Italy. But, Puglia is the largest grape-producing region in Italy!)

Puglia is home to a city with the highest production of farmed mussels in the world. Namely, the town of Taranto in Puglia produces about 30.000 t of mussels a year. 

Puglia is the Italian mainland region with the longest coastline. Puglia holds about 800 km of the coast in Italy. 

Puglia is home to Capo the Otranto, the easternmost point of Italy. 

Puglia is home to the largest pink flamingo colony in Europe. 

Puglia is home hospitable, kind, welcoming, and English-speaking friendly people. (This is my addition to this list. I was suprised by the kindness of Pugliesi and their level of English speaking and willingness to speak English!) 

BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN PUGLIA ITALY 

Where to go in Puglia

The region of Puglia consists of the Gargano peninsula (with Tremiti islands) in the north, the Salento peninsula in the south, the Bari area, and the Itria Valley in the central part. 

Best places in Puglia:

1. ALBEROBELLO

Alberobello is one of the best places to visit in Puglia Italy
Alberobello (Photo by ⒸWorldTravelConnector)

Alberobello is a top tourist destination in Puglia. 

Charming Alberobello is a small town in Puglia known for 1400 ‘trulis’, the traditional dry stone cone-shaped huts. The unique truli (truli is plural, trulo is singular) have a UNESCO World Heritage status and are a top tourist attraction in Puglia. 

Alberobello is in the Itria Valley and is a one-hour drive from Bari (the capital city of the region).

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Alberobello: History Walking Tour with Olive Oil Tasting

2. OSTUNI

Ostuni is one of the best places to visit in Puglia Italy
Ostuni (Photo by ⒸWorldTravelConnector)

Picturesque Ostuni is a hilltop town with a 15th-century Gothic cathedral and whitewashed houses. It is nicknamed the ‘White Town’, or the ‘Citta Bianca’. 

Ostuni is one of the most beautiful small towns in Puglia and Italy. As expected, beautiful Ostuni is one of the most visited places in Puglia. It is a must-see in Puglia, Italy.

Ostuni is a 40ish-minute drive from Alberobello. It is also about 1 hour and 10 min drive from Bari.

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Ostuni: Walking Tour

3. LECCE  

Lecce is one of the best places to visit in Puglia Italy
Basilica di Santa Croce in Lecce (Photo by ⒸWorldTravelConnector)

The city of Lecce is known for its Baroque architecture. It is called ‘Florence of the south of Italy’. The city has some of the most beautiful 17th-century buildings in Italy. Lecce is one of the main cities in Puglia and one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. 

It is in the Salento peninsula. Lecce is the central city of the Peninsula. 

Lecce is less than a 2-hour drive from Bari. It is only 30 min drive from Brindisi as well.
RECOMMENDED TOURS:
Lecce: Baroque Architecture and Underground Walking Tour
Lecce: Guided Rickshaw Tour

4. POLIGNANO A MARE

Polignano a Mare is one of the best places to visit in Puglia Italy
Polignano a Mare (Photo by ⒸWorldTravelConnector)

Polignano a Mare is a favorite seaside resort of Pugliesi (people from Puglia). 

It is a romantic cliff-standing small town on the crystal-blue Adriatic Sea and one of the most photographed towns in Italy. 

The famous Lama Monachile beach between cliffs is one of the most Instagrammable beaches in Italy. Besides that, the town has been hosting the incredible Red Bull Cliff Diving Competition since 2009. 

Polignano a Mare is a top seaside destination in Puglia for couples who seek romance. Polignano a Mare is one of the best destinations in Puglia for seafood gourmands.

Polignano a Mare is a 40 min drive from Bari in Puglia Italy.
RECOMMENDED TOUR: Polignano a Mare: Boat Cave Tour with Aperitif

5. MONOPOLI

Monopoli is one of the best places to visit in Puglia Italy
Monopoli (Photo by ⒸWorldTravelConnector)

The town of Monopoli is one of the most popular whitewashed seaside towns in Puglia. 

Whitewashed buildings (of houses, restaurants, and shops) and cobbled narrow alleys and streets dominate the historic center.  
Monopoli is a bigger town than above mentioned Polignano a Mare. It has all the facilities of one town. Thus, Monopoli is a more vibrant town than Polignano a Mare.

Monopoli is a 40 min drive from Bari and a 20 min drive from Polignano a Mare.

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Monopoli: Legends and Gastronomy Tour

6. SAN GIOVANI ROTONDO

The Shrine of Padre Pio is one of the best places to visit in Puglia Italy
The Shrine of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo (Photo by ⒸWorldTravelConnector)

San Giovanni Rotondo is a popular religious destination for Catholics.

The small town of San Giovani Rotondo is home to the Sanctuary of St Padre Pio, a Catholic priest, mystic, stigmata, and one of the most beloved saints in Italy and beyond. The Shrine of St Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo is the second-largest church in Italy and one of the most magnificent churches in Europe.
The Sanctuary of St Padre Pio is the third most visited Catholic pilgrimage site (after the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City and the Sanctuary of Our Lady in Lourdes in France). The Shrine of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo receives 6 million visitors a year.

San Giovanni Rotondo is less than a 2-hour drive from Bari and a 3-hour drive from Brindisi. 

RECOMMENDED TOUR: San Giovanni Rotondo: Guided Walking Tour

7. SANCTUARY OF MONTE SANT’ANGELO

Monte Sant'Angelo is one of the best places to visit in Puglia Italy
Monte Sant’Angelo basilica in Mount Gargano in Puglia italy

Monte Sant’Angelo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Basilica of San Michele holds a cave where St Micheal Archangel appeared for the first time on earth. The 5th-century sanctuary is a part of the mystical St Michael Line that connects seven shrines dedicated to St Micheal Archangel across Europe (from Ireland, England, France, Italy, and Greece) to Israel in one straight line.
The Sanctuary of Saint Michael the Archangel on Mount Gargano has been one of the most famous pilgrimage sites from the Middle Ages to modern times. 

Monte Sant’Angelo is a 30 min drive from San Giovanni Rotondo. 

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Monte Sant’Angelo: Guided Walking Tour

8. GARGANO PENINSULA AND GARGANO NATIONAL PARK

Gargano NP is one of the must-see places in Puglia Italy
The Arch of San Felice in Gargano

Gargano peninsula and Gargano National Park are in the northern part of Puglia. The Gargano peninsula is called the ‘spur of the Italian heel’ or ‘Sperone d’Italia’. 

The area features impressive scenery of hills, mountains, ancient forest (Forest Umbra), cliffs, beaches, coves, and resorts. 

It is a must-visit in Puglia for nature lovers who enjoy greenery beside the sea landscapes.
The Foresta Umbra of Gargano NP in Puglia has Aleppo pine trees older than 700 years. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Puglia Italy. 

9. TREMITI ISLANDS

Tremiti islands on the Adriatic sea are some of the best places in Puglia Italy
San Nicola island belongs to Tremiti islands archipleago

Isole Tremiti is an isolated and beautiful archipelago of five islands in the Adriatic Sea. The archipelago is a part of the Gargano Natural Park. 

The Tremiti archipelago includes five islands: the tourist-friendly San Domino island, the most populated San Nicola island, the abandoned Capraia island, and two uninhabited islands (Piantosa and Cretaccio). 

The remote islands served as a prison during the Fascist regime of Benedetto Mussolini. Today Terimiti islands are a top tourist attraction in Puglia and a top destination for their clear water and unspoiled nature.

Tremiti islands are connected to Vieste by ferry lines.  

10. VIESTE

Vieste is one of the best places to visit in Puglia Italy
Vieste in Puglia

The town of Vieste is a popular resort destination in the Gargano peninsula on the Adriatic Coast. The ‘Pearl of Gargano’ is the nickname of Vieste.

The town of Vieste is a stunning cliff-standing whitewashed fishing town. The contrast between the turquoise Adriatic Sea and the whitewashed buildings is breathtaking. In addition, Vieste has mesmerizing pale golden sandy beaches. Touring the sea caves of Vieste in the nighttime is one of the most popular things to do in Vieste. 

Vieste is only 30 min from the Gargano National Park.

11. BARI

Bari is one of the best places to visit in Puglia
Bari

The city of Bari is the capital city of Puglia and the second largest city in southern Italy (after Naples). 

Bari is the most popular starting point for a trip to Puglia. Bari airport Karol Woytila is the main airport in Puglia, while the Bari port is connected to neighboring Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, and Greece by ferry lines.
The main parts of the city of Bari are the Old Town of Bari (Bari Vecchia) and the Murat Quarter (the heart of modern Bari). The city of Bari, with its Old Town, the 19th century Murat Quarter, the 11-century St Nicholas Basilica, and several miles-long seafront promenades, is one of the most attractive cities in Italy. 

RECOMMENDED TOURS:
Bari: Bike-Rickshaw City Tour
Bari: Pasta Experience Walking Tour

12. TORRE GUACETO NATURE RESERVE

Torre Guaceto Nature Reserve is one of the best places to visit in Puglia Italy
Pink flamingos

Torre Guaceto Nature Reserve in Puglia is home to the largest pink flamingo colony in Europe. 

Its marine reserve, sandy beach, and unspoiled forest are a paradise for nature and outdoor enthusiasts.

The reserve is between Ostuni and Brindisi. 

Torre Guaceto Nature is a 30 min drive from Ostuni and a 30 min drive from Brindisi.

13. OTRANTO

Otranto is one of the best places to visit in Puglia Italy
Otranto

Otranto is the easternmost town in Italy. 

This beautiful town on the Adriatic coast in the Salento peninsula with its beautiful architecture, a captivating castle, the 11th-century Cathedral, the turquoise Adriatic Sea, and a white sand beach is one o the most picturesque towns in Italy.
Several beautiful sandy beaches in the Otranto area make the Otranto town and Otranto area a popular destination in Puglia. 

Otranto is a 40 min drive from Lecce in the Salento peninsula in Puglia Italy.

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Otranto: 1.5-Hour Guided Walking Tour

14. GALLIPOLI

Gallipoli is one of the best places to visit in Puglia Itay
Gallipoli is one of the most popular beach destinations in Puglia

The town of Gallipoli is a fashionable summer destination on the Ionian coast in the Salento peninsula. 

It is known as the ‘Ibiza of Italy’. The historic center sits on an island, connected to the mainland by a bridge. The 13th-century Castle, the 14th-century defensive walls of the town, the Baroque Cathedral of St Agata, Baroque churches and palaces, the superb beaches, and the crystal clear sea make Gallipoli one of the most popular summer destinations in Italy. The Beach of Purity (La Spiaggia della Purita) is the most popular in the old town of Gallipoli. 

Gallipoli is less than 40 min drive from Lecce. Visiting Gallipoli is a great day trip from Lecce.

15. GROTTE DI CASTELLANA

Grotte de Castellana caves belong to the most spectacular tourist attractions in Italy. 

The Grotte complex is a net of underground caves. The cave system is about 3.5 km long and goes 120 m below the ground. The caves display a spectacular world of stalactites, stalagmites, and fossils. Touring the cave is one of the fascinating things to do in Puglia.  

The caves are near the town of Castellana in the Bari province. Grotte di Castellana caves are 45 min drive from Bari. 

16. LOCOROTONDO

Locorotondo is one of the best places to visit in Puglia Italy
Locorotondo

Awe-inspiring Locorotondo is a picturesque hilltop village with whitewashed roundhouses and stunning flowered balconies in the Itria Valley near Alberobello in Puglia. 

Locorotondo means ‘the Round Place’ because of the circular shape of the town. Locorotando is one of the best wine-tasting places in Puglia for the superb local wine made of Verdeca grapes.

An average visit to Locorotondo takes one hour or two hours at the most. A visit to Locotorando is a must-stop from Alberobello to Martina Franca. 

Locotorando is only a 10ish minute-drive from Alberobello and a 10ish minute-drive from Martina Franca. 

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Locorotondo: 1.5-Hour Walking Tour

17. MARTINA FRANCA

Martina Franca is a small hilltop town in the Itria Valley in the heart of Puglia. 

The historic center of Martina Franca (Centro Storico) and its whitewashed houses and Baroque churches (built in the unique Barocco Martinese style) makes Martina Franca one o the prettiest places in Puglia. Martina Franca is another must-see Citta Bianca in Puglia. 

Martina Franca is the Itria Valley and a 30 min drive from Ostuni.

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Martina Franca: Wine & Local Products Tasting

18. TRANI

Trani is one of the best places to visit in Puglia Italy
Trani on the Adriatic Sea

The beautiful town of Trani is a seaside town and a port on the Adriatic Coast in Puglia. 

It is called the ‘Pearl of Puglia’. The historic center of Trani, with its medieval churches, palaces, historic Jewish Quarter, and creamy white limestone streets, is one of the most beautiful places in Puglia. The seafront 12th-century St Nicholas the Pilgrim Cathedral dominates the town, while the 13th-century Castle of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederic II seemingly rises from the turquoise Adriatic Sea.

Trani is a great day trip from Bari. Trani is a 40ish min drive from Bari.

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Trani: Walking Tour with Olive Oil Tasting

19. CASTEL DEL MONTE 

Castel del Monte is one of the best places in Puglia Italy to visit
Castel del Monte

Castel del Monte is a famous hilltop castle in Puglia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

It is one of many castles of Frederic II, the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily. However, the 13th-century Castel del Monte in Puglia is the most fascinating of his castles.

The unusual octagonal-shaped castle-fortress has eight corner towers and eight rooms on each floor, centered around the central courtyard. The crown-like castle-fortress is a symbol of Puglia. An average visit to Castel del Monte takes only one hour. 

Castle del Monte is near the town of Adria in Bari province. Castle del Monte is one hour drive from Bari. 

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Castel del Monte 1-Hour Guided Tour

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT PUGLIA ITALY

Puglia has a Mediterranean climate. Summer in Puglia is sunny, hot, and dry. Winters in Puglia are mild and rainy (and rarely ever snowy). 

The summer months of July and August are super hot in Puglia, and the temperatures reach above 40 °C/104 °F. The high season in Puglia is the summer months of June, July and August. Puglia sees high temperatures and crowds in July and August. The busy high season comes with inflated prices too. 

So, the best time to travel to Puglia is spring, early summer, and autumn. The best months to travel to Puglia are May, June, and September. October is also a good month for traveling to Puglia for lesser crowds, sunny weather, and pleasant temperatures for sightseeing, sunbathing, and even swimming. 

MAP OF THE BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN PUGLIA ITALY

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN COMPENSATED LINKS. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ MY DISCLAIMER FOR MORE INFO.

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