What is Puglia?

Puglia is one of the most beautiful and visited regions in Italy. Located at the south-eastern end of the peninsula and bathed by the Adriatic and Ionian Seas , it offers many attractions to its visitor.

Therefore the things to see during a Viaggio in Puglia are really many. So, in this article we will try to recommend a list of what to see in Puglia .

Furthermore, we will suggest what to visit in Puglia in 7 or 10 days and we will provide you with a list of what to do in Puglia.

What is Puglia?

Puglia is a very vast region, able to combine settings of all kinds. In fact, it is very easy to go from the splendid beaches of Salento to the wild hills of Val d’Itria.

Or you can find yourself in the green Umbra Forest of the Gargano or in the rocky scenery of the Parco Delle Gravine.

Finally, in Puglia, history, and architecture present themselves with a thousand different facets.

Therefore you will pass from the splendid baroque of Lecce to the trulli of Alberobello , from the archaeological finds of Taranto to the medieval art of Altamura and Castel del Monte .

Top 10 things you must watch in Puglia

So, let’s now see together what to see in Puglia. In fact, whether you want a seaside holiday or a cultural trip, in Puglia you will find what is right for you.

Below you will find the map of the region with all the most significant places not to be missed during your trip to Puglia. Later we will show them in detail in the guide ” What to see in Puglia “.

  1. Bari
  2. Lecce
  3. Salentine Peninsula
  4. Ostuni
  5. National Park of the Gargano
  6. Valle d’Itria
  7. Castel del Monte
  8. Park of the Gravine
  9. Monopoli and Polignano a Mare
  10. Taranto

1. Bari

At the top of the list of what to see in Puglia, its capital could not be missing. Indeed Bari is an extraordinary city, which offers numerous attractions and experiences.

First of all, you cannot fail to visit Bari Vecchia, the historic center of the city. Also known as the district of San Nicola, Bari Vecchia is enclosed within medieval walls and dominated by the Norman-Swabian Castle .

But here, what is most striking is its great authenticity. In fact, it will be usual to meet local women intent on preparing the typical orecchiette in front of their homes.

The locals are indeed very friendly and welcoming. An experience not to be missed to get in touch with the daily reality of Bari Vecchia.

But the real symbol of Bari is undoubtedly the Basilica of San Nicola. This is one of the few sacred places in the world for both the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches.

In fact, the saint’s remains are buried right under this imposing basilica, built-in 1089.

Finally, in addition to the medieval remains of Bari Vecchia, the Bari seafront is absolutely not to be missed.

Opened in 1927, this elegant area of ​​the city features Art Nouveau buildings such as the Kursaal Santa Lucia Theater and elegant streets such as Via Imperatore Augusto.

2. Lecce

Another city that falls on the list of what to visit in Puglia is undoubtedly Lecce. The main center of Salento is in fact full of squares, churches, monuments and buildings in the Baroque style that make the city an authentic masterpiece.

To begin, you enter from Porta Napoli, an imposing triumphal arch built-in 1548 in honor of Charles V.

It represents the entrance to the historic city center. But what to visit in Lecce? First of all, Piazza Sant’Oronzo , the oldest public space in the city surrounded by buildings from various eras.

Not to be missed, in the center of the square, the extraordinary mosaic depicting the coat of arms of Lecce.

But other city symbols are the magnificent Cathedral of Lecce , which stands on the homonymous square, and the basilica of Santa Croce .

In fact, both buildings represent the highest level of Lecce Baroque in the city.

Furthermore, a stone’s throw from Piazza Sant’Oronzo, do not miss the ancient Roman Amphitheater.

Built-in the 2nd century AD, it could accommodate over 20,000 spectators. Finally, the Castle of Charles V is an important manor, strongly desired by the Habsburg ruler. Don’t miss its impressive interior, in typical medieval style!

3. Salentine Peninsula

If you are looking for what to see in Puglia, it is impossible not to come across the paradise of Salento.

The Salento Peninsula is the extreme tip of the region and includes the provinces of Brindisi, Lecce and Taranto.

The things to see and experiences to live in Salento are endless. First of all, the waters of Porto Cesareo and its surroundings are so clear that they deserve the nickname of the Maldives of Italy.

In fact, in the localities of Porto Selvaggio , Punta Prosciutto , Torre Lapillo and Torre Pali you will find a fabulous sea.

But Salento is not just the sea. In fact, this land is made up of ancient villages and is full of interesting places to visit.

You could start from the enchanting Otranto, the easternmost town in Italy located in a panoramic position on the Ionian Sea. But also Gallipoli , a splendid village that has its historic center on an island dominated by the castle of the same name.

Also, don’t miss Santa Maria di Leuca. Located on the tip of Puglia, it preserves an interesting historic center and the spectacular Sea Caves of Leuca.

In short, between crystalline sea, villages and ancient traditions, in Salento you never get bored!

4. Ostuni

Among the 10 things to see in Puglia, the famous white city of Ostuni should never be missing.

It is one of the oldest urban centers in the region. In fact, the human presence in Ostuni seems to date back to the Paleolithic.

However, the current splendor of Ostuni is due to the Renaissance period. In fact, the main squares and the most beautiful buildings in the city date back to this period.

Among streets surrounded by whitewashed buildings, you can discover ancient Apulian traditions.

Ostuni is full of shops where the pasta is still made by hand. But among the things to see in Ostuni we mention the Aragonese Walls, built in the late Middle Ages, the splendid Cathedral of Ostuni, and the central Piazza Della Libertà.

Finally, the surroundings of Ostuni are a true paradise for nature lovers. You will therefore find authentic farms surrounded by expanses of olive trees, but also a splendid coastal strip.

In fact, Marina di Ostuni offers beaches and coves that are nothing short of stupendous. Don’t miss the splendid beaches of Cala Quarto di Monte , Rosa Marina and the spectacular Torre Pezzella!

If, on the other hand, what you are looking for is uncontaminated nature, the fabulous Parco delle Dune Costiere and the adjacent beach of Lido Morelli is what you are looking for.

5. National Park of the Gargano

Have you decided to organize a trip to Puglia and are you looking for what to visit in the Gargano? Then know that the choice is huge!

The spur of the heel of Italy is in fact a very large area and has an enormous variety of attractions. To start, the fabulous villages of the coast.

In fact, do not miss the wonderful places of ViestePeschici, and Rodi Garganico. These villages offer splendid historic centers but also beaches with a postcard sea.

Inland, however, you cannot fail to visit the splendid Monte Sant’Angelo and San Giovanni Rotondo , inextricably linked to the figure of Padre Pio.

If, on the other hand, you are a lover of wild nature, the Umbra Forest will satisfy even the most demanding of hikers.

Among secular beech woods and splendid paths, you can enjoy the most authentic Apulian landscapes.

But in addition to the villages, forests, and city beaches, you can also find yourself among pristine seascapes.

In the surroundings of Mattinata you will admire cliffs overlooking the sea and paradisiacal beaches.

For example Baia delle Zagare , Pugnochiuso or Baia di Campi . Finally, absolutely mandatory is a visit to the splendid Tremiti Islands.

You can reach the terrestrial paradises of San DominoSan Nicola, and Capraia from Vieste or Peschici and enjoy the wonders of this incredible archipelago.

6. Valle d’Itria

Located in the heart of central Puglia, the Itria Valley is rightfully included in the list of what to see in Puglia.

This vast valley of karst origin is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque places in the whole region.

The area presents itself with a reddish-colored land, which in fact made the Itria Valley the most fertile region of Puglia.

In fact, you will find vast olive groves, vineyards and orchards, as well as pastures of all kinds and dense woods.

But above all, in addition to its extraordinary morphological conformation, the Valle d’Itria owes its fame to the incredible Trulli of Alberobello.

This pretty town is in fact the place where most of these curious conical houses stand. The oldest trulli date back to the 14th century and are dry built without the use of mortar or glue material.

But another municipality not to be missed in the Itria Valley is certainly Martina Franca.

Here, the extraordinary elegance of the baroque style of its palaces, among which its churches and the spectacular Palazzo Ducale, stand out.

Finally, Locorotondo and Cisterninothey represent the heart of the valley and are included in the list of the most beautiful villages in Italy.

7. Castel del Monte

If you are looking for what to visit in Puglia, you will undoubtedly find Castel del Monte . In fact, this mighty octagonal castle, strongly desired by Frederick II, was rightly included in the list of Unesco Heritage.

With its 540 meters of height it dominates the whole surrounding area, in the municipality of Andria , on the Western Murgia Plateau .

The fortress dates back to the 13th century and today it is not yet clear what function it had for the great enlightened emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

However, its spectacular location, on top of a hill and nestled within a lush forest, and its great grandeur, will leave you breathless!

8. Park of the Gravine

Continuing our journey along the heel of the boot, between what to visit in Puglia, here we are in the spectacular Parco Delle Gravine.

Located in the western portion of the region, it is a more unknown place, especially when compared to other far more famous attractions.

But actually this place is really worth visiting. It is a set of canyons carved into the rock of the Murgia plateau , which extends from here to Basilicata .

In fact, the setting of the town of Gravina in Puglia is very similar to what can be seen among the characteristic Sassi of Matera.

In fact, even here you will find suggestive caves and rock churches, such as theRock Church of San Michele .

Furthermore, you will reach the historic center of the town along the eighteenth-century bridge, from which you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Murgia and its plateau.

Finally, another place not to be missed in the Gravine area is undoubtedly Altamura. This city was the symbol of imperial Puglia and is rich in historical evidence from the medieval era.

Its historic center is in fact an authentic jewel, where the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta , built at the behest of Frederick II, stands out.

But above all, the enigma of Altamura are the characteristic cloisters , narrow closed alleys that represent a unicum in medieval town planning.

9.Monopoli and Polignano a Mare

On the central Adriatic coast, south of Bari, there are some historic places absolutely to visit in Puglia.

Starting from Bari you will first meet Polignano a Mare. This village, which has always been considered among the most beautiful in Italy, is also characterized by the white color of its houses, built on the steep cliffs that stand out against the sea.

Furthermore, Polignano is full of caves, the most famous of which houses the famous and romantic Grotta Palazzese restaurant.

You will find yourself eating inside a sea cave, with a breathtaking view of the sea and its cliffs.

But in Polignano a Mare, the birthplace of Domenico Modugno, you will also find two beaches considered among the most beautiful in the region: Baia Monachile and Cala Paura.

Furthermore, another place not to be missed during a trip to Puglia is Monopoli. Located a few kilometers further south, this city has a historic center of great artistic value.

Made up of very narrow alleys and airy squares, the center of Monopoli hosts a large number of churches.

Absolutely not to be missed is the Cathedral of Maria Santissima della Madia, in Baroque style.

But what is striking about Monopoli is its extraordinary view from the city port, with the ancient medieval walls that protect this little Apulian jewel.

Finally, a few kilometers from Monopoli you will find the amazing Castellana Caves , an authentic natural wonder.

While if you continue along the coast you will be able to visit the incredible excavations of Egnazia, an ancient Roman city.

10. Taranto

Finally, last but not least, here we are in Taranto. Indeed, due to external events, this city has not yet received due credit.

But in reality, Taranto preserves an inestimable historical heritage. Therefore, we have decided to include it in the list of what to visit in Puglia.

First of all we are talking about the first colony of Magna Graecia. In fact, Taranto was founded by Spartan colonists in 706 BC and was the city that gave impetus to the Hellenistic colonization of Southern Italy.

In this regard, do not miss the ancient columns of the Temple of Poseidon , at the entrance to the historic center.

But above all, we recommend that you visit the extraordinary Archaeological Museum, which houses the most important artifacts of Magna Graecia, including the famous Ori di Taranto .

Finally, after appreciating Greek archeology and rediscovering the ancient history of the Mediterranean, you can stop along the large city port .

Here stands the spectacular Aragonese Castle, an authentic symbol of the city.

5 Things to do in Puglia

A trip to Puglia is above all a sensory experience. Indeed, visiting Puglia does not only mean discovering the historical and naturalistic wonders, but also actively participating in local traditions.

In fact, Puglia manages to be appreciated with all 5 senses! So, we decided to tell you about the best activities and experiences to do in Puglia.

You can therefore stay in authentic Trulli and farms, to get to know the Apulian soul in depth. Or how about becoming part of the regional folklore?

In fact, you can participate in the heartfelt historical re-enactments, or take part in a traditional cooking class.

Finally, you cannot fail to take boat trips, discovering the marine paradise of Puglia!

  1. Sleeping in a trullo in Alberobello
  2. Go for Masserie
  3. Take part in a cooking class in the narrow streets of Bari Vecchia
  4. Boat excursions in Salento and the Tremiti Islands
  5. Take part in a historical re-enactment

1. Sleeping in a trullo in Alberobello

As we have said, the Valle d’Itria is the paradise of the Trulli. The valley is in fact dotted with these curious conical buildings.

And in the town of Alberobello, you will find more than 700! Therefore, why not spend a night inside a typical Apulian trullo? In fact, some of them have been used as accommodation facilities.

You will find all kinds of them, from the most luxurious to the cheapest ones. So what are you waiting for? Book a night in a trullo in Alberobello, absolutely something to do in Puglia!

2. Go for Masserie

Another thing to do in Puglia is to discover the universe of the farms. But what are the farms? It is a set of rural buildings used as homes, which very often have been transformed into high-level accommodation facilities.

You can therefore stay in a typical farm in the Apulian countryside, taste the typical products , taste locally produced olive oil , assist and help local farmers in their business , with livestock and olive groves. In short, an authentic Apulian experience is not to be missed!

3. Take part in a cooking class in the narrow streets of Bari Vecchia

Among what to do in Puglia, we could not forget the exquisite local cuisine. In fact, Apulian cuisine is characterized by the highest quality ingredients and family recipes that have been handed down for generations.

Therefore, in the alleys of Bari Vecchia, you will happen to meet local ladies outside the front door, intent on preparing the typical Apulian orecchiette.

This great city authenticity is in itself an attraction to be proud of. But why not get into the spirit of Bari Vecchia and take part in a cooking class with the locals? We guarantee it will be an unforgettable experience!

4. Boat excursions in Salento and the Tremiti Islands

We have seen that Puglia is also a renowned seaside destination. Its paradisiacal beaches and crystal clear water attract thousands of tourists from all over the world.

But if you want to discover its wonderful backdrops , the most secret coves and beaches , you cannot give up a boat excursion .

In fact, you can swim in the pristine waters of Punta Prosciutto , Porto Selvaggio or the incredible Isola dei Conigli , far from the crowds of the main beaches.

In the Gargano, on the other hand, among the things to do in Puglia, you can reach the terrestrial paradises of the Tremiti Islands and discover the extraordinary depths of the archipelago.

5. Take part in a historical re-enactment

Finally, among what to do in Puglia we recommend a particular activity but very much felt by the local population.

In fact, historical re-enactments in ancient Imperial Puglia are events in which the entire population takes part.

In places like AltamuraTraniAndria, or Manfredonia these types of events are part of the tradition.

But above all, we recommend the interesting and funny historical re-enactment of the challenge of Barletta.

Among figures in period costumes, riders on horseback, music, and gastronomy, you can relive this famous historical event!