Puglia is hidden in the southern part of Italy’s heel surrounded by the Adriatic and the Ionian coast. The famous trulli houses with their conical roofs are characteristic for Puglia’s landscape but you also find white towns and fragrant fields of lavender, rosemary or figs, as well as beautiful thousand years old olive trees. At the same time the region is also surrounded by bright, turquoise blue sea with historical fishing towns and rocky beaches.
Ostuni might be one of the prettiest white towns in Puglia, you can see the whitewashed houses of the old town from afar. Get lost in the small streets, admire the beautiful cathedral Concattedragle di Santa Maria Assunta or drink an Aperol in the Borgo Antico Bistrot. From the old city wall you see the sea and the fields of olive trees. But not only the centro storico is worth a visit. You find the typical Italian life in the new town, for example at Caffe Diana, where you can sip an espresso and eat a delicious warm cream croissant for breakfast. Afterwards, you can shop some bright summer fashion at Qwerty or walk along Via Pola for more shops. Close by you also find the most delicious bakery Panificio Greco for cakes and local specialties. When driving from Ostuni straight to the sea you arrive at Villanova a tiny but atmospheric laid-back fishing village. You can walk along the small marina in the evening sun or eat a mouthwatering slice of focaccia from Panificio Boutique della Focaccia.
Polignano a Mare is a great beach town on the Adriatic sea. It’s a lively place with many tourists, pretty whitewashed houses and small hidden beaches between the rocky cliffs that form the coastline. Even the main beach in town looks dramatic right between the rocks and the walls of the old town. Try the delicious icecream at crowded San Giorgio right outside the old town. Also don’t miss the squid burger and fish dishes at Pescaria, where it’s also usually packed. For a chic lunch or dinner there is Antiche Mura where you sit in an elegant cosy cave-like room. The food is good especially the fresh fish and the service is excellent and very friendly even though it gets very busy.
Monopoli can be crowded with tourists, but it’s also a nice beach town with small alleys and lots of bars and restaurants.
The coast around Monopoli is also where the most amazing beaches can be found. Try for example around Lido Porto Marzano or beautiful Porto Ghiacciolo. At most places you have to pay about three euros in cash for parking.
Torre A Mare is close to Bari and one of the most beautiful simple, local villages, here you can take a leisurely evening walk at the waterfront or on the pier and eat delicious food. For example at Quanto Basta Pizzeria where you sit on an unexpected, beautiful patio. Order the pizza but also the crudo di parma and mozzarella di bufala.
Miramare is great all day long, for croissants, coffee or aperitivo with a view. At Mode Sushi you get fantastic sushi, especially during their all you can eat lunch special. At the small shop Montecristo you get the best panzerotti. The best icecream can be found at Gelateria Las Vegas.
Alberobello is a picturesque trulli village. The houses with the conical roofs really look funny and it’s a joy walking the streets with the little shops and cafes. The ice cream at Gentile Gelateria is delicious, for example. Or go up to the church Parrocchia di Santa Lucia for the best view on the trulli roofs. Also, visit the only trullo with two floors the Trullo Sovrano.
Stay: There are several pretty boutique hotels in the region but we preferred to stay in a house. Staying in the area around Ostuni is a good choice because the sea, the trulli villages and other cities to explore are easy to reach by car. Pascarosa is a small village between Ostuni and Martina Franca and a great place to stay because it is calm and relaxing and you feel far from the bustling towns but at the same time everything is within reach.
Getting around: In Puglia you definitely need a car, otherwise it’s a hustle figuring out trains and buses. It’s fast and easy to rent a car at the airport.
There are so many more amazing destinations in Puglia and in Italy, find more tips and places in Puglia here, or see posts about the beautiful Amalfi Coast, Capri, Sicily and the Aeolian Islands of Stromboli with its volcano and the chick jet set island Panarea.