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10 Things to do in Puglia

10 Things to do in Puglia

Exciting Activities along Italy’s Heel

Photo by Massimo Virgilio on Unsplash


Forming the heel of Italy’s Boot, Puglia is a stunning region that often flies under the radar formost travelers. It proudly boasts stunning white-washed hill towns, Baroque-style architecture, and a gorgeous stretch of coastline with fantastic beaches and hidden coves.

While it may not have big flashy landmarks like some neighboring regions, Puglia is a rather rewarding place to visit for a relaxed vacation. There are loads of exciting things to do in Puglia, so stick around to see what you can look forward to.

Tip: Look at these places to stay in Puglia to help you decide where to base yourself for your stay.

What to Do in Puglia

Here are 10 of the best places to visit in Puglia, and some fantastic activities await you.

Visit the Gorgeous Beaches of Polignano a Mare

Photo by Tommaso Scalera on Unsplash

If you’re wondering where to go in Puglia, Polignano a Mare is an excellent place to start. This stunning seaside town in Puglia sits atop a high cliff that overlooks the dreamy waters of the Adriatic Sea. Polignano a Mare is best known for its beaches, so if it’s a beach vacation you’re after, this is the place to be. Some of its most famous beaches include Lama Monachile – a secluded white pebble beach that sits within a rocky cove.

The town is one of the oldest places in Puglia, so you can also explore the old town and main square, where you can grab a gelato or pastry before or after visiting the beach.

Discover Bari’s Old Town

Photo by Cristian Macovei on Unsplash

Bari is the vibrant capital of Puglia. It’s the second-largest city in southern Italy and one of the oldest places in the region. Bari’s Old Town is steeped in history, so it’s one of the best places in Puglia to get a glimpse of the city’s past. You can stroll through the narrow walkways before going to Bari’s two main squares – Piazza del Ferrarese and Piazza Mercantile. You’ll find plenty of cafes, restaurants, and bars serving a range of tasty on-the-go treats and hearty meals.

After soaking up the lovely atmosphere of the Old Town, stop by the impressive Basilica di San Nicola toadmire its Romanesque-style architecture.

Take a Street Food Tour in Bari

Italy has 20 administrative regions, all of which have unique dishes. There are certain types of food that you’ll only find in Puglia, so a good way to taste as many of them as you can is through a food tour. Since Bari is the region’s capital, it’s the perfect place to sample as many of Puglia’s signature dishes. This will include panzerotti, cheeses, bread, pastries, and cold meats.

Marvel at Lecce’s Architecture

Photo by Davide Perrone on Unsplash

Lecce is a stunning destination, which many people compare to the Tuscan city of Florence. The city is famous for its many buildings that feature intricate Baroque architecture.

Lecce is filled with squares, chapels, palaces, and monuments featuring honey-colored limestone with ornate details. A few buildings worth checking out are the Lecce Cathedral, Piazza Duomo, and the Episcopal Palace, where you can appreciate Lecce’s Baroque-style buildings in all their glory.

Drive Down the Coastal Road from Otranto to Santa Maria di Leuca

If a scenic drive is what you’re after, the drive down the Coastal Road from Otranto to Santa Maria di Leuca makes for an excellent sightseeing adventure.

The route is only 37 miles (60 km), and as you descend this clifftop road, you’ll have the chance to take in unbelievable views of the Adriatic Sea. As dusk creeps in, make sure to be at the headland of Santa Maria di Leuca to witness an incredible sunset.

Explore the Castellana Caves

One of the more off-the-beaten-track things to do in Bari is to visit the Castellana Caves. It’s the largest cave system in the Puglia region, stretching 10 968 ft (3343 m) in length and 400 ft (122 m) in depth. Inside you’ll find a series of otherworldly stalactite and stalagmite formations.

Explore the Gargano National Park

Sticking with adventurous activities, if you’re a nature lover, you might appreciate visiting the Gargano National Park. It covers a massive 120 00 hectares (roughly 29650 acres) of land and features alpine forests, mountains, and a rugged coastline.

Numerous hiking and cycling trails are available, along with lovely pebble beaches that are worth exploring.

Learn How to Cook Puglian Food With a Maestro

If you enjoy cooking Italian food as much as you like eating it, then look into taking a cooking class with one of the locals.

There are several places where you can book an authentic Puglian cooking experience which will include a visit to a local market to collect fresh ingredients which you’ll use. You’ll learn how to make Puglian classics like panzerotti and orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe.

Visit the Castel del Monte

Image by Jacques Savoye from Pixabay

The Castel del Monte is a 13th-century citadel and castle built by Frederick II. It sits atop a hill in the city of Andria. What makes it stand out from other castles in Italy is that it features a geometric layout and is perfectly octagonal. It also has no moat or defensive features and is purely decorative. It’s a beautiful landmark to admire its unique architecture and buildings. You’ll also get to enjoy some lovely views over the city.

See the Trulli of Alberobello

Image by Jacques Savoye from Pixabay

One of the most unmissable places along the heel of Italy is the lovely commune of Alberobello in Bari. Alberobello translates to “beautiful tree,” The area is well known for its uniquely designed trullo buildings. These buildings are tiny limestone houses with conical roofs. There are many trullo buildings throughout Puglia, but Alberobello has the largest number in one area and was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1996. It’s a lovely area to visit to take in these unique architectural style buildings.

Final Thoughts on Puglia, Things to Do

Well, there you have it, a complete round-up of some of Puglia’s best things to see and do. There’s something for everyone to do in this southern Italian region, from food tasting and beach hopping to wandering around the area’s stunning ancient cities.

No matter what your preference is, something exciting awaits you in Puglia.

Tip: Heading back to Rome from Puglia? Consider a Colosseum experience to explore the secrets of one of Italy’s most famous landmarks.

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