Explore Puglia, Italy’s enchanting region where history and pristine beaches blend with culinary excellence. Discover what makes this area a must-visit with our comprehensive guide.

Welcome to Puglia, the sun-kissed heel of Italy’s boot, where ancient history meets pristine beaches, and culinary delights abound. This comprehensive guide offers everything you need to know for an unforgettable visit to one of Italy’s most enchanting regions.

Discovering Puglia

Map of Puglia- Understanding Geography

Puglia, located in southeastern Italy, stretches from the spur to the heel of the country’s boot-shaped peninsula. It is bordered by the Adriatic Sea to the east and the Ionian Sea to the southeast, providing it with an extensive coastline that is a major draw for tourists.

A map of Puglia reveals its unique geographical layout, which comprises six provinces, each offering distinct landscapes and attractions. From the rolling hills of the Itria Valley to the rugged Gargano promontory, understanding this region’s geography will enhance your travel experience.

Planning Your Trip: Practical Tips for Travellers in Puglia

Getting to Puglia- Transport Options

Reaching Puglia is convenient thanks to a well-connected transportation network. Visitors can fly into one of the main airports in Bari or Brindisi, which offer both international and domestic flights. For a scenic journey, consider taking Italo train services that connect major Italian cities with Puglia hubs, providing a comfortable and efficient travel option. Additionally, road travellers can access Puglia via the A14 highway, which runs along the Adriatic coast.

Visit the beauties of Puglia with Italo

Seasonal Tips: When to Visit Puglia

Puglia’s Mediterranean climate makes it a year-round destination, but the best time to visit largely depends on your preferences.

For beach enthusiasts, the summer months offer sunny, hot days ideal for seaside activities. However, if you prefer milder weather and smaller crowds, consider visiting in May, September, or October. During these months, the weather in Puglia is pleasantly warm, perfect for exploring the countryside and historical sites.

Where to Base your Stay in Puglia

Choosing the right base for your stay in Puglia depends on your interests. Bari, the regional capital, offers vibrant city life and easy access to other parts of Italy. For a more tranquil retreat, consider staying in a masseria (a fortified farmhouse) in the countryside, where you can experience local traditions and cuisine firsthand.

Reach Bari with high-speed train tickets

The Best Things to Do in Puglia

Puglia’s Best Beaches

Mare in puglia

© Eduard Marmet via Flickr

Puglia’s coastline is a paradise for beachgoers, with each location offering a unique atmosphere.

Pescoluse, often dubbed the “Maldives of Italy”, features clear turquoise waters that are ideal for families.

Meanwhile, Polignano a Mare enchants with its dramatic cliffs and ancient caves that you can explore by kayak or swimming.

Torre Guaceto, a protected marine reserve, provides pristine conditions for wildlife observation, while the Tremiti Islands are renowned for their spectacular marine life and crystal-clear waters, perfect for advanced snorkelling and scuba diving adventures.

Puglia’s Food

Puglia’s culinary landscape is deeply rooted in its agricultural heritage, emphasising fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Seafood is a staple, with dishes like grilled octopus and seafood risotto showcasing the catch of the day from the nearby Adriatic and Ionian Seas.

Vegetables like artichokes, tomatoes, and fennel feature prominently in salads and side dishes, often dressed simply with local olive oil, known for its rich flavour and high quality.

Cheeses such as burrata and canestrato add depth to meals, while sweet treats like cartellate — honey-dipped pastries — provide a delightful finish. This emphasis on freshness and simplicity allows the natural flavours of the ingredients to shine, creating a truly immersive dining experience.

Visit the beauties of Puglia with Italo

Puglia’s Must-See Attractions


In addition to its well-known landmarks, Puglia offers a wealth of lesser-known but equally fascinating attractions.

The Sassi di Matera, although technically just outside Puglia in Basilicata, is easily accessible and features ancient cave dwellings that have been inhabited for thousands of years.

Matera Weekend

In Puglia proper, the Basilica di Santa Croce in Lecce is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture, with intricate facades that captivate art enthusiasts. For a touch of the Byzantine, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta in Otranto displays stunning mosaics that date back to the 12th century.

Moreover, the quiet beauty of the Gargano Peninsula offers lush forests and the serene sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo, a pilgrimage site dedicated to the Archangel Michael. Each of these sites encapsulates a piece of Puglia’s rich tapestry of history and culture, making them essential stops on any traveller’s itinerary.

Visit the beauties of Puglia with Italo

Accommodation in a Masseria or Trullo

Staying in a masseria or trullo offers more than just a place to sleep, it is an immersion in the rural culture of Puglia.

Masserie are typically located amidst olive groves and vineyards, offering guests a chance to participate in agricultural activities like olive picking or wine tasting.

Trulli, with their distinctive conical roofs, are unique to the Itria Valley and provide a cool retreat in summer months. Many of these accommodations have been thoughtfully restored to include luxurious amenities such as private pools and gourmet restaurants, while preserving their historic character.

Some offer cooking classes where you can learn to make regional dishes using ingredients sourced directly from the estate. This blend of history, culture, and comfort makes staying in a masseria or trullo a highlight of a visit to Puglia.

Cities Not to Be Missed

Bari: The Vibrant Gateway


Bari, Puglia, Italy

As the capital of the Puglia region, Bari offers a vibrant mix of modern urban life and rich historical heritage. The city’s old town, Barivecchia, is a bustling maze of narrow streets where visitors can explore the magnificent Basilica di San Nicola and the medieval Castello Svevo. The modern side of Bari includes a lively seafront promenade and stylish shopping districts. It’s a city that perfectly marries tradition with contemporary culture, making it a lively centre for events, dining, and nightlife.

Book your high-speed train tickets from and to Bari

Lecce: The Baroque Beauty

Lecce is renowned for its baroque architecture, with ornate churches and palaces that exhibit intricate facades sculpted from local Lecce stone. This city is often described as the “Florence of the South” due to its artistic and historical wealth. The Roman amphitheatre in the heart of the city provides a picturesque glimpse into the past, while the numerous cafes and bars offer a taste of the vibrant local life. Lecce’s cultural scene is active year-round with festivals and events that celebrate its heritage and innovation.

Ostuni: The White City


Amazing view of old white town Ostuni and cathedral at sunrise. Brindisi, Apulia southern Italy. Europe

Perched on a hilltop and painted in dazzling white, Ostuni is a striking visual spectacle. Known as “La Città Bianca” (The White City) for its whitewashed buildings, this town offers stunning views of the Adriatic Sea from its elevated vantage point. The charming, winding streets are filled with craft shops, quaint cafes, and trattorias, leading up to the majestic Cathedral that dominates the skyline. Ostuni’s serene atmosphere makes it a perfect spot for those seeking a picturesque retreat.

Travel from and to Brindisi with Italo’s High-Speed Train

Martina Franca: The Baroque and Rococo Gem

Martina Franca is a treasure in the Itria Valley, known for its beautiful baroque and rococo buildings. The town’s architecture is highlighted by the Basilica di San Martino and the elegant palazzos that line the charming streets.

Every summer, Martina Franca hosts the Festival della Valle d’Itria, a significant event on classical music and opera calendars. The festival, coupled with the town’s architectural beauty, creates a culturally rich atmosphere that’s inviting to both music lovers and history enthusiasts.

Travel from and to Taranto by high-speed train