Puglia is Italy’s rising hotspot destination. We personally did not know much about this part of Italy and there was not as much about it on the internet as other coastal destinations such as Amalfi and Cinque Terre. That is one of the main reasons that attracted us to this area. We were so pleasantly surprised with what we discovered there and that is why we are bringing you our Puglia travel guide!
The eastern coast of Italy has a very different feel than the western side. Compared to the busy and chaotic roads, towns, and beaches of the Amalfi coast, Puglia had a much slower pace and much less visited attraction. It has a very authentic feel, great food, beautiful beaches and unique towns. We had much less time in this region than we wish we had and also had some bad weather which cut our exploring time short. Nonetheless, we have some amazing highlights to share.
Bari is the main city in the Puglia region and this is where we picked for our homebase. It has an authentic feel, not many tourists and a very laid-back vibe. We didn’t spend much time in the city but there is a beautiful old town full of restaurants and artisanal shops to visit, as well as a beach that is easily and quickly accessible via public transit or even by foot depending on where you are staying. Bari and the Puglia area in general are very well-known for seafood, olives and eggplant amongst many other foods. Try to eat local meals as much as possible and you will not be disappointed. One night we ordered something without even knowing what it was since the menu was not translated in English and our waiter only spoke Italian. We ended up with an amazing meal and went back for seconds the following night! If you have a chance, try a mushroom and beef straccetti! Puglia is also the region where Focaccia and Calzone originated, making it another item to check off the “to eat” list.
The first daytrip we did was to a small town called Ostuni. It is known as the “ciatta bianca”, which means white city. It is almost entirely made up of whitewashed old buildings with a slight gothic charm. It was built on top of a hill to protect from invaders which always means incredible views. Ostuni is a white maze made for people who love exploring. It is houses built on top of houses, alleyways that may or may not lead anywhere, pretty churches, and a glimpse of the sea every other corner you turn. All that walking is bound to make you hungry, and our main advice for that is do not stop to eat in the main square. There is nothing wrong with the food there, but if you continue a little further you will fall upon so many small cute restaurants offering a wide variety of foods, some with pretty spectacular views. We had a pizza in the main square, and while we enjoyed it, we wish we had waited. The thing to try in the main square is the gelato! It is some of the best we have tasted during our entire Italy trip and believe me, we ate a lot of gelato. After walking through the town, make sure to find your way to the city walls. You will have a nice view of the surroundings since you are up on a hill.
Polignano a Mare
Polignano a Mare is an absolute gem. A stunning town built right alongside the Adriatic sea with something for everyone to enjoy. There is a small beach to sit on the sand and relax, many cliff jumping areas, notably one that was featured in the redbull cliff diving world series, as well as a multitude of restaurants and shops! It has a laid-back vacation atmosphere that we really loved. We actually went to Polignano a Mare on 2 different days because the first day we went we got caught in a pretty bad rain storm for the majority of the day. The second day we had nice blue skies and were able to enjoy everything it had to offer. If you love the ocean as much as we do, this is a destination where you could easily spend 3-4 days!
As we mentioned earlier, there are many other places on the eastern coastline that we wish we had time to see. We know we will make it back there one day, but until then, I will leave those destinations down below so that if you get there before us you can add them to your list and explore them for yourself!
- Torre sant’andrea
- Torre dell’Orso
- Grotta de la Poesia
Thanks for reading!
Lots of Love,
Ben and Bianca