There are many interesting and wonderful towns in Puglia! In this post I will describe 14 of the best towns to visit in Puglia (plus one extra bonus town), to help you plan your trip to this region of southern Italy. You will also find travel advice, recommendations on where to stay and a map of the region at the bottom of the article.

a large group of white buildings with trees in the background.
Alberobello, Puglia

Puglia is renowned for its picturesque white-washed hill towns, rustic agricultural landscapes and miles upon miles of Mediterranean shoreline. I have travelled solo through this region of Italy several times; my most recent visit being in April 2023.

You can use the table of contents below to skip to individual towns, or go straight to the list of 14 best towns in Puglia here.

I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my affiliate links.

Where is Puglia?

Puglia is a beautiful and unspoilt region in the south east of Italy, also known as Apulia. It is located along the east coast of the country, stretching from the Adriatic coast to the Ionian Sea. This region is often referred to as the ‘heel’ of the ‘boot’ of Italy. You can see a map of Puglia at the bottom of this post.

Further reading: Must See Sights: The 30 Best Places to Visit in Puglia.

What are the main attractions and towns in Puglia?

The capital city of Puglia is Bari, and other major cities include Brindisi and Lecce. Puglia also encompasses several smaller towns, villages, and islands. The region is known for its beautiful coastline, traditional cuisine, and rich history.

Puglia is also home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites and beautiful places. You can explore ancient ruins, hike in nature reserves, and visit some of the most stunning beaches in Europe. Alberobello and the Itria Valley are blessed with unique ‘trulli’ houses – stone huts capped by signature conical roofs.

a view of a building with a clock tower in the background.

Further reading: My Stay in a Trulli House in Alberobello (Photos & Review).

14 of the best towns in Puglia, Italy

Read on to find out about 14 of the best and prettiest towns in Puglia. These towns are presented in alphabetical order, mainly because I couldn’t possibly put them in any order of favour! Every town on this list is beautiful.

I have included links for you to check hotel prices in each town, but do read on to the end, where I recommend which towns are the best to stay in.

1. Alberobello

Alberobello is a small town in the province of Bari. It is known for its distinctive trulli (traditional stone huts with conical roofs). The town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 and it is a popular tourist destination full of photo opportunities.

a row of thatched roof houses on a street.
Trullo in Alberobello

Must read: Your ultimate guide to Alberobello.

Alberobello has plenty to offer visitors, from churches and museums to restaurants and trulli shops. It is also home to some important historic attractions such as the Parrocchia Sant’Antonio di Padova, which is a unique trullo-style church. You can even stay in a trullo for the ultimate authentic experience.

While you’re exploring the beautifully unique trulli houses, you can head into some of the local museums to learn more about the area. You might also get a chance to sample some of the region’s local produce, such as bread, cheese, olive oil and wine. There are lots of great restaurants in Alberobello.

Check current prices of hotels and lodgings in Alberobello on here.

Further reading: Your Ultimate Guide to visiting Alberobello.

2. Bari

Bari is the capital of the region of Puglia. It is a vibrant port city, with a number of attractions, such as the 12th-century Basilica di San Nicola, the Castle of Charles V and the Norman-style Basilica of San Sabino.

Sea with boatds and buildings on the sea front
Bari, Puglia

Bari can be quite a busy city, so you can usually expect to find lively nightlife here. There is an eclectic assortment of bars, restaurants and clubs, plus an excellent street-food scene too.

Further reading: My street food tour of Bari.

Bari boasts an iconic maze-like old town, called Barivecchia, that lies between two harbours and features winding streets. Meanwhile, its charming Murat quarter contains stunning 19th century architecture as well as delightful promenades and shopping malls with no cars allowed.

Check current prices of hotels and lodgings in Bari on here.

Further reading: 24 wonderful things to do in Bari.

3. Brindisi

Many towns in Puglia are located next to the sea, and the city of Brindisi is a great place to visit if you want to explore Italy’s beautiful coastline. The city is located on the Adriatic Sea and has several beaches where you can relax or swim in the crystal clear waters.

a large body of water with a city in the background.
Brindisi city centre, Puglia

There are also plenty of historic monuments and sites worth visiting, such as the Aragonese Castle and the Fountain of Saint Ottavio.

If you’re into outdoor activities, there are plenty of hiking trails in the area that lead to breathtaking views of the sea and surrounding countryside. And of course, you can sample some delicious local cuisine, including fresh seafood and regional specialties like orecchiette alla barese.

Check current prices of hotels and lodgings in Brindisi on here.

4. Cisternino

Cisternino is a commune located in the province of Brindisi. The town has existed since at least the 9th century, and it has been ruled by various powers over time. Cisternino was given its current name in 1552, when it became part of the Kingdom of Naples. Today, it is the second largest municipality in Apulia.

a street light sitting on the side of a road.
Cisternino, Puglia

The town of Cisternino is known for its white-washed houses, which line the narrow streets and provide a unique charm to the cityscape. The area also features beautiful beaches along with archaeological sites that reveal the region’s history.

The town is also home to the beautiful Baroque-style Church of Saint John Evangelist, which dates back to the 16th century. The church features a bell tower, frescoes, and elaborate altars. It has been designated an Italian National Monument.

Check current prices of hotels and lodgings in Cisternino on here.

Further reading: Ultimate Puglia Travel Guide.

5. Gallipoli

Another of the towns in Puglia along the coastline, Gallipoli is a charming fishing town on the Adriatic Sea. It is known for its beautiful beaches and old town centre, where the cobblestone streets are lined with restaurants and bars. Gallipoli also houses some immaculate architecture, such as the 17th-century Torre del Castello and the 16th-century Palazzo del Governo.

a group of people standing on top of a beach next to the ocean.
Gallipoli, Puglia

St. Agatha’s Cathedral stands proudly within its historic centre on an island off the mainland, with a magnificent entrance adorned with decorations. Other churches like that of St Mary of Purity feature intricately tiled floors made out of Maiolica.

Adding even more grandeur is Gallipoli Castle ,whose watchful tower known as ‘Rivellino’ looms nearby and guards over both land and sea crossings alike.

Check current prices of hotels and lodgings in Gallipoli on here.

Further reading: 10 amazing day trips to take from Bari.

6. Lecce

The city of Lecce is known for its striking baroque architecture and beautiful aesthetics. In fact, some people believe Lecce is the most beautiful city in italy.

At the centre of town lies Piazza del Duomo which holds Cattedrale di Lecce, a two-faced church with an impressive bell tower. There is also the Basilica di Santa Croce, decorated with intricate sculptures and a rose window. Not far away stands Sant’Oronzo Column topped by a bronze statue of Lecce’s patron saint along with a sunken Roman amphitheatre.

a large building with a clock tower in the middle of it.
Roman amphitheatre at Lecce, Puglia

Lecce is one of the larger towns in Puglia and has lots to offer, including a busy nightlife and plenty of live music too.

Check current prices of hotels and lodgings in Lecce on here.

7. Locorotondo

Locorotondo is a picturesque town in Puglia nestled between Martina Franca and Alberobello. The town has plenty to see and do, including the Church of San Giorgio and the Church of San Rocco. The town itself has been around since Roman times and is home to several old churches, palaces and castles. There are also some interesting archeological sites nearby that are worth exploring.

a narrow city street with white buildings and green shutters.

Once you’ve spent some time exploring the various churches dotted around the town, you might like to quench your thirst by sampling some of the local wines found here. Locorotondo is famous for its Bianco Locorotondo DOC – a refreshing white wine.

Check current prices of hotels and lodgings in Locorotondo on here.

Further reading: Guide to wine in Puglia + best wineries in Puglia.

8. Martina Franca

Nestled in the province of Taranto, Martina Franca is a picturesque town known for its baroque architecture and attractive historic centre (pictured below).

Visitors can explore narrow cobbled streets lined with colourful buildings and admire beautiful churches such as Chiesa di San Domenico and Santuario della Madonna del Carmine.

a courtyard with tables and umbrellas in front of a building.
Martina Franca, Puglia

Martina Franca is renowned for hosting an annual summer opera festival since 1975, called Festival della Valle d’Itria. Every July, the festival is held in the Piazza Plebiscito and draws crowds from all over the country to experience classical concerts and opera performances

Check current prices of hotels and lodgings in Martina Franca on here.

9. Monopoli

Monopoli is another of the coastal towns in Puglia, in the province of Bari. It is known for its picturesque beaches as well as its historic centre, which is filled with cobblestone streets and 17th-century architecture. The city is also home to a number of attractions, such as the Castello di Carlo V.

a view of a city from the water.
Monopoli, Puglia

There are two big attractions that bring people to Monopoli – the beautiful architecture and the beaches. Architecture options include the Basilica Cattedrale Maria Santissima della Madia and Porto antico di Monopoli. Once you’re done, you can spend some time exploring the ever-inviting beaches of Monopoli and swimming in the crystal clear Adriatic sea.

Check current prices of hotels and lodgings in Monopoli on here.

Suggested beach reading: 10 excellent books and novels set in Puglia.

10. Monte Sant’Angelo

Monte Sant’Angelo is a small town located in the Gargano National Park. It is known for its ancient history, stunning views, and religious significance.

a view of a city with many white buildings.
Monte Sant’Angelo

The town is known for the Sanctuary of San Michele Archangelo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts pilgrims from all over the world. The sanctuary is located on the top of a hill and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

a large white building with a cross on top of it.
Famous Archangel Michael pilgrimage church

You can also visit the Castle of Monte Sant’Angelo, a medieval fortress that was built by the Normans in the 10th century. The castle offers a fantastic view of the town and the sea.

Organised tours and trips in Monte Sant’Angelo

  • The spiritual sanctuary of Archangel St Michael: Guided tour of the sanctuary which avoids all the street peddlers and queueing. Visit the castle, caves and museem. There is a local meeting point, but also an option to request Bari pickup.

Check current prices of hotels and lodgings in Monte Sant’Angelo on here

11. Ostuni

Ostuni is a town in the province of Brindisi. It is known for its unique whitewashed houses, which line the cobblestone streets. The town is also home to a number of historic attractions, such as the Cathedral of Ostuni, which has a combination of Gothic and Byzantine elements.

Getting there requires a leisurely hike to the top of the main hill at Ostuni. If you want to make the most of this journey, aim to be at the cathedral a little before dusk to see a breathtaking sunset.

a city with lots of white buildings on top of it.
Ostuni, Puglia

The Porta San Demetrio is one of two remaining medieval gates and it is a very popular tourist attraction, along with the Civic Museum and Archeological Park, which holds an incredible Palaeolithic era skeleton!

Check current prices of hotels and lodgings in Ostuni on here.

Holiday reading: 10 excellent books and novels set in Puglia, Italy.

12. Otranto

Otranto is a picturesque coastal town that boasts an Aragonese Castle from the fifteenth century, and the majestic eleventh-century Otranto Cathedral with its spectacular rose window and ornate mosaic flooring.

a person sitting on a ledge near a body of water.
Beachfront at Otranto, Puglia

At Torre Matta tower near the harbour, breathtaking views of both land and sea can be enjoyed. Alimini Beach is one among many nearby beaches for relaxation or exploration. There are also lots of activities to enjoy along the beach, such as swimming, snorkelling, and sailing.

Additionally, there are two lakes just inland from here (the saltwater Alimini Grande, and spring-fed Alimini Piccolo). Further south lies Punta Palascìa lighthouse, adding to the beautiful scenery.

Check current prices of hotels and lodgings in Otranto on here.

Further reading: 78 Delicious Dishes from Puglia, South Italy.

13. Polignano a Mare

Polignano a Mare is a coastal town in the province of Bari, and one of the most popular towns in Puglia. It is known for its dramatic cliffside views and beautiful beaches. The town is also home to the 16th-century Castello di Polignano and the Abbazia di San Vito.

The cliffs that pepper the coast of this town are beautiful, and they’ve become quite famous for cliff jumping. So if you’re feeling adventurous, take a leap of faith and dive into the cooling waters of Cala Porto.

White washed Italian town on the sea with people swimming
Polignano a Mare, Puglia

The old town centre is filled with traditional Italian buildings and churches, while the waterfront promenade is bustling with restaurants, cafes and shops.

Polignano a Mare is also home to some of the best beaches in Puglia, such as Cala Paura and Lama Monachile.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Pino Pascali showcases beautiful photography and artwork, while San Vito Abbey presents breathtaking views from its 16th century tower above a Romanesque church.

Check current prices of hotels and lodgings in Polignano a Mare on here.

14. Trani

Trani is a small port city in Puglia. It is situated on the Adriatic coast and has a long history as a trading hub, stretching back to ancient Roman times. Today, it remains an important fishing and shipping centre for the area. The town is known for its picturesque harbour, which features colourful boats and fishing vessels.

Trani is also home to a number of historic attractions, including the 12th-century Norman cathedral of San Nicola Pellegrino and the castle of Frederick II.

a harbor filled with lots of small blue boats.
Trani, Puglia

As one of the major cities in Barletta-Andria-Trani province, Trani is easily accessible by rail.

Check current prices of hotels and lodgings in Trani on here.


Not technically in Puglia, Matera is just over the border in Basilicata and well worth visiting.

Nestled on a rocky outcrop Matera is home to Sassi – a complex of cave dwellings which have been inhabited since the 8th century. As living conditions became increasingly dire during 1952, citizens were evacuated from these quarters and replaced by museums like Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario which contains antique furniture and artisan instruments.

Beautiful white/beige City with a clock tower and blue sky with clouds.
Matera, Basilicata

In the city, you’ll find the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista and the Church of Santa Maria della Grotta which are well worth a visit.

There are a lot of unique places to explore here, from the cave hotels to the Cripta del Peccato Originale, or ‘Crypt of Original Sin’. You’ll be able to see frescos that date back to the 8th century here, so if you enjoy art from the Byzantine era then this is one you won’t want to miss.

Check current prices of hotels and lodgings in Matera on here.

Map showing 14 towns in Puglia.

The Google map below shows all the towns in Puglia as listed in this post. Click the blue icons to see more information about each place, or click the star to add to your own Google Maps. I will also include a map showing hotels in Puglia in the next section.

Further reading: How to get to Bari and How to get to Alberobello.

Where to stay in Puglia.

I have included links for each town in the list above, but some of the towns are tiny and don’t have many options. I recommend basing yourself in one of the bigger towns in Puglia (think Bari or Lecce) and hiring a car to reach all the other towns. For car hire, I recommend the brilliant car-comparison site Discover Cars.

You can use this map from to see your best options in the Puglia region.

For Alberobello, whilst it is tempting to stay in a Trullo, I recommend basing yourself elsewhere. You could stay in a Trullo for one night perhaps. I found it very difficult to book tours and activities, as most tours start from the larger towns and then visit Alberobello as a short stop on their way to somewhere else. Trying to get tours which leave from Alberobello was almost impossible (more on tours below).

Tours in Puglia.

Here I will list some of my favourite tours in Puglia, plus some which are very popular/highly rated on Viator and Get Your Guide.

For solo travellers, be aware that many tours in Puglia seem to have a minimum two-person rule, which can be frustrating. However I found that by contacting tour operators directly, I was able to arrange bookings for one person, so always email them and check.

1.Boat tour of the Polignano a Mare caves – if you have the opportunity, you must see the caves of Polignano. This is a small group tour with a badge of excellence.

2.The Best of Lecce Walking Tour and Pasticciotto Tasting – Lecce is known as the Florence of the South and it is truly beautiful. See all the sights and try the local pastries!

3.Private walking tour of Bari with a professional guide – There is so much more to Bari than people think. Using a professional guide means you don’t miss anything.

4.Day tour of Bari, Alberobello and Matera – three towns in one day, which would be very difficult to do on public transport. Private tour with hotel pickup.

5.Ostuni, Alberobello and Polignano a Mare Independent Tour – Departing from Lecce, this tour provides transport to three towns and allows free time in each one. Perfect for those not renting a car but wanting to explore on their own.

FAQs about towns in Puglia.

Q. Which is the best town to visit in Puglia?

A. Lecce is a popular choice, with its abundance of Baroque architecture and art galleries. For beach-side relaxation, the coastal towns of Gallipoli and Polignano a Mare are good choices. To experience the rural charms of Puglia, consider Ostuni or Cisternino.

If you intend to explore the whole region, I recommend staying in Bari and renting a car from there.

Further reading: 24 wonderful things to do in Bari.

Q. What is the most beautiful seaside town in Puglia?

A. Many people agree the most beautiful seaside town in Puglia is Polignano a Mare. Located along the Adriatic Sea, this stunning town has breathtaking cliff-top views of the azure waters and winding cobblestone narrow streets. The old town centre is filled with traditional Italian buildings and churches, while the waterfront promenade is bustling with restaurants, cafes and shops.

Polignano a Mare is also home to some of the best beaches in Puglia, such as Cala Paura and Lama Monachile.

Other very close contenders for the most beautiful seaside towns in Puglia are: Otranto, Trani and Gallipoli.

Further reading: Ultimate Guide to Renting a Car in Puglia, Italy.

Q. What is the nicest area of Puglia?

A. Many people agree that the Salento Peninsula is one of the nicest areas of Puglia. It is known for its dramatic coastline, with white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. It is also home to some of Puglia’s most stunning landscapes, such as the trulli-dotted Valle d’Itria and the olive orchard-filled countryside.

The towns of Lecce, Otranto and Gallipoli are some of the highlights here, with their beautiful baroque architecture and stunning squares.

Another great area just next to Puglia is Matera, located in the Basilicata region. It is famous for its ancient cave dwellings and churches carved from stone – known as sassi – which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Matera also boasts some beautiful landscapes, including the Park of the Rupestrian Churches and the Gravina di Matera ravine.

Further reading: Must See Sights: The 30 Best Places to Visit in Puglia.

Q. What are the white towns of Puglia?

A. The White Towns of Puglia are a series of small towns nestled in the heel of Italy’s boot. These beautiful towns feature traditional white-washed houses and streets, giving them an idyllic Mediterranean atmosphere.

The most famous example is Ostuni, located just south of Bari. Other notable “White Towns” include Cisternino, Locorotondo, Alberobello, and Martina Franca.

Further reading: Day trips to take from Bari.

Q. Where do celebrities stay in Puglia?

A. Celebrity hotspots in Puglia include Borgo Egnazia and Masseria San Domenico, both with stunning views over the Adriatic Sea.

Borgo Egnazia is a 5-star resort located in the province of Brindisi. It offers luxurious accommodation and an array of activities such as golf courses, spa facilities, and several restaurants. The resort is situated near the town of Fasano and is surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. Click here to see photos of Borgo Egnazia.

Masseria San Domenico is a luxurious 5-star resort located in the Apulian countryside, about 10 km from Polignano a Mare. The hotel offers a range of amenities, including an onsite spa and wellness centre, swimming pools, tennis courts and two restaurants. Guests can also enjoy spectacular views of the nearby Adriatic Sea. Click here to see photos of Masseria San Domenico.

Q. What is the best time to visit Puglia?

A. The best time to visit Puglia depends on what type of activities you want to enjoy during your stay. For warm weather and plenty of sunshine, the months from July to early September are ideal. If you’re looking for fewer crowds and lower prices, late spring or autumn can be a great time to visit. Also, if you want to experience some of the local culture, festivals such as the Salento International Film Festival in April are worth adding to your itinerary.

Further reading: When is the best time to visit Alberobello?

a field with hay bales and trees.
Itria valley, with olive trees and olive fields

Quick hotel links for towns in Puglia.

Here are your hotel booking links again, all in one place for convenience. These links will get you best rate on today.

Book hotels in Alberobello | Book hotels in Bari | Book hotels in Brindisi | Book hotels in Cisternino | Book hotels in Gallipoli | Book hotels in Lecce | Book hotels in Locorotondo | Book hotels in Martina Franca | Book hotels in Matera | Book hotels in Monopoli | Book hotels in Ostuni | Book hotels in Otranto | Book hotels in Polignano a Mare | Book hotels in Trani | See all hotels in Puglia.

Travel advice for your trip to Puglia.

For more in depth travel advice for your trip to the Puglia region of Italy, please see my main Puglia Travel Guide. This guide contains information on things like currency, weather, best time to visit Puglia, tourist seasons, safety and general travel advice for the region.

It also contains a list of every Puglia post I have published, all in one place.

Further reading: Ultimate Puglia Travel Guide.

Climate and tourist seasons in Puglia

Puglia enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers. Tourist season peaks in summer, while spring and autumn offer pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds. The longest beach season lasts from May to September, with daytime temperatures ranging from 18-25°C (64-77°F) and nighttime temperatures around 15-20°C (59-68°F).

Winters are mild, ranging from 7-14°C (45-57°F), and snow is rare but possible in higher areas. Rainfall is moderate throughout the year, with autumn experiencing the heaviest precipitation. Many hotels in Puglia close during the winter months (November to February), and rates may be higher due to limited availability, so it’s best to check with individual hotels for winter hours of operation.

Getting around in Puglia

Puglia offers great opportunities for exploration by car, which is the preferred choice for many tourists. Renting a car from Discover Cars at Bari airport allows you to easily navigate the region and visit multiple destinations in a day. See my Ultimate Guide to Renting a Car in Puglia, Italy for more advice.

Further reading: Hazel’s Guide to Driving in Puglia, Italy.

Alternatively, train travel provides an affordable option, although it may not be as accessible as driving. The main railway connects major towns in Puglia, while buses offer regular services between cities and towns.

Boat trips along the picturesque coastline, visiting charming fishing villages and impressive harbor towns like Gallipoli and Otranto, offer an even more scenic experience.

Further reading: 14 Beautiful Towns in Puglia, Italy.

Currency in Italy

Currency in Italy is the Euro (€ EUR), available in both paper notes and coins. Coins range from 5 cents to 500 euros. Credit cards are widely used. Italy has ATMs called ‘Bancomat,’ similar to those in the UK or USA, providing convenient cash access. Cash is generally preferred, although some places accept card payments. Banks operate from 08:30 to 13:00 and 15:00 to 16:00, Monday to Friday.

Road trip itineraries in Puglia.

I have published a series of done-for-you road trip itineraries for Puglia, along with guides for driving in Puglia and how to rent a car in Puglia.

My itineraries come in 7 day, 10 day and 14 day versions, but of course you can amend them to suit your own preferences. They all contain driving instructions, maps and suggestions for things to do and places to stay.

a view of a parking lot next to the ocean.

Related reading for towns in Puglia.

14 best towns in Puglia – pin for later.

Enjoyed reading 14 of the best towns in Puglia? Feel free to use the below images to pin to your Pinterest for reading later.

Thank you for reading my travel guide on the 14 best towns in Puglia. I hope it has helped you to plan your trip to Italy. Feel free to leave your comments below.

Stuck on travel planning? Download your 10 free bucket lists.

Travelling soon? Check my 20 Must-Have Travel Essentials post before you go.

Found this post helpful? Buy Me a Coffee!

You are reading Hazel’s Travels – an online publication and travel blog which aims to provide advice and inspiration for travel in Europe, the UK and USA.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,