In this article I will describe 30 of the best places in Puglia to add to your travel itinerary. You will also find travel advice, faqs, hotel booking links and a map of the region at the bottom of the article.

Best places in Puglia - Polignano a mare view from the beach
Polignano a Mare in Puglia Italy

Puglia, also known as Apulia, is a region located in the southern part of Italy. It is famous for its beautiful coastline, stunning architecture, rich history, and delicious cuisine. I have travelled solo through this region of Italy several times; my most recent visit being in April 2023.

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This list is presented in no particular order. It is a list of the must-see sights and best places in Puglia, including a couple of lesser-known places where you won’t find much tourism. There are specific places to visit, and broader entries too.

I have included links to relevant tours from, but you could probably find the same tours on Get Your Guide as well.

30 Must See Places in Puglia

1. The UNESCO listed Trulli houses.

The trulli houses of Puglia are a unique and fascinating architectural phenomenon that can be found in the region’s Itria Valley. These traditional dwellings are made of local limestone and are characterised by their conical rooftops, which are often decorated with intricate patterns. The town is full of wonderful photo opportunities.

They were built in the 19th century by farmers who needed a cheap and easily constructed shelter, and many of them have been preserved and restored over the years. In 1996, the trulli were recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, highlighting their cultural significance and importance.

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

Many of the trulli have been converted into homes, shops, and restaurants, providing visitors with an opportunity to experience the traditional way of life in Puglia. You can even stay overnight in one of these structures, which is an amazing experience, or take a guided tour.

Further reading: Your Ultimate Guide to visiting Alberobello.

2. The mysterious Castel del Monte.

The reason Castel del Monte is considered a mystery is because nobody knows why it was built, or what its intended purpose was. It has no defensive features, such as a moat, drawbridge or arrow slits. It is perfectly octagonal, which is strange for what appears to be a castle (which are usually round or square). The castle does not seem to have been built for any strategic purpose, and there are no towns or intersections nearby.

Castel del Monte is believed to have been built in the 13th century by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. It might have been a royal residence, a hunting lodge or even a sacred symbol of religious devotion. The octagon was considered a sacred shape during the middle ages.

a castle like building with a bell on top of it.
Castel del Monte

Whatever the intended purpose, its octagonal shape and geometry have led to recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s one of the best places to visit in Puglia, and you can learn more on a guided tour.

The castle is located high on a hilltop, surrounded with vineyards and olive groves. There are spectacular views from the top. The interior of the castle is just as impressive as its exterior, featuring elegant halls, intricate details, and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

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

3. The stunning Gargano National Park.

Gargano National Park is vast, covering around 121,000 acres. It boasts diverse landscapes like forests, cliffs, beaches, and wetlands. But it’s not just about natural beauty. The park is also a treasure trove of cultural and historical significance, hosting medieval towns and ancient sanctuaries.

a large rock formation in the middle of a body of water.
Gargano National Park – Arch of San Felice (Arco San Felice).

One of the best parts of Gargano National Park is its stunning coastline. It’s got jaw-dropping cliffs, secret coves, and incredibly clear waters. The park’s beaches are among Italy’s most beautiful, with long stretches of white sand and turquoise waves. Plus, there are walking trails all around the park, taking you to waterfalls, ancient forests, and amazing lookout points.

4. The natural marvel of the Grotte di Castellana.

This is one of the best places in Puglia if you like caves!

Grotte di Castellana is an incredible underground cave system in Puglia. The limestone caves took millions of years to form. There are actually several cave systems like this in Puglia, but this one is the most impressive.

Inside, you’ll find a mesmerising world of stalactites, stalagmites, and underground lakes. It is truly like stepping into another world.

a group of rock formations in a cave.
Castellana Grotte

The highlight of a visit to Grotte di Castellana is the incredible Grotta Bianca, or White Cave, which is the largest and most impressive cave in the complex. This massive chamber is filled with stunning formations of calcite and crystal, illuminated by dramatic lighting that highlights the caves’ natural beauty.

There are a number of excellent tours of the Castellana caves, including this one which leaves from Bari and includes a stop at Alberobello (and lunch).

5. The countryside of the Itria Valley.

The Itria Valley, located in the heart of Puglia, is a picturesque and historic region known for its charming towns, unique architecture, and beautiful countryside. The valley is named after the Itria River that flows through it, and it encompasses a large area in the provinces of Bari, Brindisi, and Taranto.

The most distinctive feature of the Itria Valley is the trulli, traditional cone-shaped houses made from limestone. These can be seen in the charming towns of Alberobello, Locorotondo, and Martina Franca.

In addition to the trulli, the Itria Valley is also known for its beautiful countryside, including olive groves, vineyards, and fields of sunflowers. I recommend spending a day hiking or biking through the rolling hills, stopping to sample some of the region’s delicious food and wine along the way. You can even do a hot air balloon experience in the Itria Valley too.

6. The Baroque architecture in Puglia.

Puglia boasts some of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Italy. Its towns and cities, such as Lecce, are filled with stunning churches, chapels and palaces.

Whilst Lecce is the most famous Pugliese town for baroque architecture, you can see baroque examples in most towns in Puglia. These photos below are from Alberobello.

Another town known for its baroque architecture in Puglia is Martina Franca. This small town in the Itria Valley is renowned for its elegant mansions, ornate churches, and charming narrow streets. The town’s baroque architecture dates back to the 18th century.

Check out this wonderful tour of Martina Franca, or consider wine tasting in Martina Franca.

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

Further reading: 14 Beautiful Towns in Puglia, Italy.

7. The famous rocky cliffs of Puglia.

The rocky cliffs of Puglia are one of the most striking features of the region’s coastline. Stretching for miles along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, the cliffs are a dramatic sight, with sheer drops that plunge down into the sparkling blue waters below.

I recommend heading to Polignano a Mare, which is one of the best places in Puglia to enjoy views of the stunning coastline.

White washed Italian town on the sea with people swimming
Lama Monachile bay at Polignano a Mare, Puglia

You’ll discover secret beaches and clear waters that are great for swimming and snorkeling. Bird lovers will enjoy watching gulls, cormorants, and shearwaters at the cliffs.

When the sun sets, the rocky cliffs of the Salento Peninsula become even more beautiful, as the golden light shines on them and creates a warm glow over the sea.

I recommend going on a small group boat tour to get the full experience.

8. The Salento Peninsula in the South of Puglia.

The Salento peninsula is a beautiful region located in the southernmost part of Puglia. Known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and picturesque towns, the Salento peninsula is a popular holiday destination for both Italians and international visitors.

The Salento peninsula has an amazing coastline that goes on for more than 200km, offering some of Italy’s most stunning beaches. And let’s not forget about the food! The region is known for being one of the best places in Puglia for seafood dishes, so you’ll find plenty of delicious fresh fish and seafood served in the local restaurants.

a beach with a body of water and buildings in the background.

Besides the beaches, the Salento peninsula also hosts several historic towns and cities. One notable city is Lecce, renowned as the ‘Florence of the South’ due to its magnificent architecture and cultural significance. You can also see the punta palascia lighthouse in this region.

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

9. The ancient Egnazia archaeological park.

This ancient archaeological park near the town of Fasano contains the ruins of a Roman city that dates back to the 4th century BC. The city was founded by the Messapians and later conquered by the Greeks and Romans.

the ruins of the ancient city of Egnazia (Gnatia in english)
Egnazia (Gnatia in english)

There are clear remains of ancient streets, buildings, and public spaces, including a forum, a temple, and a theatre. This is one of the best places in Puglia to see in Roman remains.

There’s a museum on the site with a great collection of ancient items like pottery, jewellery, and sculptures.

The park sits on a hill and offers jaw-dropping views of the Adriatic Sea, coastline, and countryside. It’s a typical Puglian countryside scene, complete with olive groves and vineyards that you can explore on foot or with a guided tour to delve into the region’s history and culture.

Further reading: Ultimate Puglia Travel Guide.

10. The striking Pizzomunno rock in Vieste.

The Vieste Pizzomunno is a striking natural rock formation located on the beach of the same name in the coastal town of Vieste. It is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Puglia, yet for some reason it doesn’t appear on many lists or travel guides. I only found out about it on my third visit to Puglia!

The rock stands at over 25 metres tall and towers over the beach below. The legend behind the formation says that Pizzomunno was a young man who fell in love with a nymph, but their love was forbidden by the gods. In despair, Pizzomunno turned to stone, and the formation we see today is said to be his petrified body.

a beach with a large rock formation next to it.
Beach of Pizzomunno rock, in Vieste, Gargano coast, Apulia, South of Italy

The area around the Pizzomunno is also known for its crystal-clear waters and is a popular spot for swimming and snorkelling. It’s one of the best places in Puglia for seeing stunning geological wonders.

11. The authentic Strada delle Orecchiette in Bari.

The Strada delle Orecchiette, or Orecchiette Street (or colloquially ‘Pasta Alley’) is a small alleyway in Bari. The road is named after the region’s most famous pasta, orecchiette, which is shaped like little ears and is a staple of the local cuisine.

Along the alley, you’ll find numerous women of Bari making fresh pasta by hand and selling it from their homes. It is one of the best things to see in Bari, a unique opportunity to witness the traditional methods used to make this beloved Italian pasta.

See my Bari posts for instructions on how to find this street.

You may also be interested in taking a Bari walking tour with pasta experience, which is ideal for foodies. Check out my Bari street food review if you like authentic street food.

Further reading: 24 Amazing Things to do in Bari.

12. The geological wonder of Grotta della Poesia.

This natural swimming pool is located near Roca Vecchia, on the Adriatic coast. It’s a favourite place for swimming, diving, and sunbathing. The water is super clear and turquoise, and there are stunning rock formations to admire.

Grotta della Poesia was formed by a sinkhole It is filled with crystal-clear turquoise water, and surrounded by dramatic rock formations and caves. Besides being incredibly beautiful, the site has a fascinating history full of culture and myths. Legend has it that the pool was once home to ancient Greek nymphs and gods.

a group of people standing on top of a cliff next to a body of water.
Grotta della Poesia

There are several diving platforms, both natural and artificial, for divers to jump from, with the highest at approximately 12 metres. This is one of the best places in Puglia for snorkelling and exploring the surrounding caves and rock formations.

13. Roman ruins in Puglia.

There are lots of Roman ruins and archaeological sites to explore in Puglia. The most famous is Egnazia, near Fasano, which is one of the largest and most important archaeological sites in southern Italy (this site is so significant it has its own entry in this list).

One of the other top spots in Puglia to see Roman architecture is the Lecce amphitheatre. It’s been around since the 2nd century AD and could hold up to 25,000 people. Back in the day, it was where they held exciting gladiatorial fights and other public shows. There is a good tour of Lecce here.

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

Another must-see is the Roman column in Brindisi. It’s an ancient granite column that was put up in the 2nd century AD. This column marks the end of the Appian Way, the famous Roman road linking Rome to Brindisi.

Another significant Roman site in Puglia is the Archaeological Park of San Giovanni which features the remains of a Roman theatre, a Roman villa, and a necropolis.

The city of Taranto has several Roman sites, including the remains of a Roman aqueduct and a section of the Via Appia.

Finally, don’t miss out on visiting the Roman amphitheatre in Canosa di Puglia. It’s one of the biggest and most well-preserved amphitheatres in the area, making it a must-visit attraction.

14. The white towns of Puglia.

When considering the best places in Puglia to visit, be sure to include at least one white town.

Ostuni is a famous white town in the region, perched on a hill with a stunning view of the Adriatic Sea. It’s often called the ‘White City’ due to its distinctive white buildings, and is the best-known example of a white town in Puglia.

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

Another white town worth visiting is Cisternino, located in the heart of the Itria Valley. Cisternino is known for its charming, narrow streets and its beautifully restored historic centre, which is filled with traditional restaurants, shops, and cafes.

Further white towns in Puglia include Locorotondo, Otranto and the seaside gem of Gallipoli.

Further reading: A Series of Planned Road Trip Itineraries around Puglia, Italy.

15. The incredible sea cave of La Grotta Zinzulusa.

Grotta Zinzulusa is an amazing cave located along the Adriatic coast in the Salento region of Puglia. The cave was formed over millions of years by the action of water on the limestone rock, and is now a popular tourist attraction in Puglia.

There are many chambers and passages to explore, with spectacular stalactites and stalagmites that have formed over thousands of years. There is a curiously serene vibe inside. The cave is also home to a variety of unique species of plants and animals, including rare bats and crustaceans.

a large rock formation with a blue body of water in front of it.
Grotta Zinzulusa

According to local stories, the cave was a hideout for pirates long ago and served as a shelter for Italian resistance fighters during World War II.

16. The glorious beaches of Puglia.

Puglia boasts some of the most stunning beaches in Italy, with miles of soft sand, crystal-clear waters, and picturesque rocky coves. One of the best places in Puglia for beaches is the Gargano Peninsula.

The long, sandy beach of Peschici has calm waters that are perfect for swimming and paddling. The secluded cove of Cala delle Zagare offers a quieter atmosphere, with crystal-clear waters and breathtaking views of the rocky cliffs.

a sandy beach with a few trees on it.
Salento peninsula beaches

The Salento Peninsula is another popular destination for beach lovers, with its long stretches of sandy coastline that are lapped by the turquoise waters of the Ionian and Adriatic Seas. The town of Gallipoli is particularly well-known for its beautiful beaches, including the stunning Baia Verde, which is a favourite among locals and tourists alike. Suggested beach reading.

17. Puglia churches, basilicas and cathedrals.

Puglia is filled with stunning churches and cathedrals. One of the most impressive examples is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Andria, which was built in the 12th century and features a beautiful Romanesque facade. Inside, there is an ornate marble floor and a stunning Baroque altar, which is adorned with gilded statues and intricate carvings.

Another of the best places in Puglia for fans of religious architecture is the Basilica di San Nicola, in Bari. This church was built in the 11th century and is dedicated to Saint Nicholas (also known as Father Christmas). Inside, there is a range of stunning mosaics, frescoes and paintings. The crypt of the church also houses the remains of Saint Nicholas, and is a major pilgrimage site for Catholics from all over the world.

Sunny view of St Nicholas Basilica in Bari, Italy.
St Nicholas Basilica in Bari

18. Open street cooking in Bari.

The local cuisine was the main reason I first visited Puglia, and I was not disappointed. Endless seafood, hand-made orecchiette pasta, and a myriad of street food options which kept me going back for more. Bari is one of the best places in Puglia for street food.

Look out for the locals cooking up a storm in the streets, from early morning till late at night. I’ve included this item in my list of the best places in Puglia, because it really is a great sight to see! Below is one of the grandmothers of Bari who works this spot in Piazza Mercantile from 7am till 11pm every day, and has done so for the past 53 years! The food being prepared here is sgagliozze (fried polenta).

Food like this is prepared in most squares/piazzas throughout Bari old town. You can also watch fresh fish being prepared and cooked in the open air at Bari fish market. Freshly caught and freshly cooked sea urchins straight off the boat are a local speciality.

Below is a collage of street food photos taken during my April 2023 visit to Bari. You can read all about my street food experience and book the same tour I went on here.

collage of food items of bari street food

Further reading: My street food tour of Bari (with photos).

19. The majestic castles of Puglia.

I mentioned the Castel del Monte earlier, but there are plenty more for you to see, if castles are your thing. Puglia is home to several other impressive castles, each with its own unique history and architecture.

The Castello di Otranto, located in the town of Otranto, is one of the most striking examples of Puglian castle architecture. The castle, constructed in the 11th century, showcases diverse architectural styles like Byzantine and Gothic. It has also served as a filming location for numerous movies and TV shows.

a large stone castle in Puglia.
De Monti Castle of Corigliano d’Otranto.

Another castle worth visiting in Puglia is the Castello di Conversano, located in the town of Conversano. This impressive fortress dates back to the 6th century, although the current castle was built in the 11th century. It features a range of architectural styles, including Gothic and Renaissance.

More popular castles in Puglia include the Castello Aragonese in Taranto, Castello Normanno Svevo in Bari, Castello Svevo di Barletta and Castello di Monte Sant’Angelo.

20. The famous vineyards of Puglia.

Puglia is one of the largest wine regions in Italy. It is known for its high-quality wines, such as Primitivo, Negroamaro, and Salice Salentino. The region has a rich winemaking history since ancient times, thanks to its favourable climate and fertile soil, making it perfect for vineyards.

The vineyards in Puglia are spread throughout the region, from the hills of the Itria Valley to the flat plains of the Salento peninsula. Many vineyards offer tours and tastings where visitors can learn about the winemaking process and sample some of the region’s best wines.

a field of vines in front of trulli buildings in Puglia.
Traditional white trulli houses surrounded with vineyards in Alberobello in Puglia, Italy.

One of the best ways to experience Puglia’s vineyards is through a wine tour. Several companies offer tours that take visitors to multiple wineries in a single day, allowing them to taste a variety of wines and learn about the region’s winemaking traditions.

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

21. The regional national park of Dune Costiere.

Dune Costiere regional park is located along the Adriatic coast and is home to a variety of plant and animal species, as well as a number of beautiful beaches and sand dunes. This is one of the best places in Puglia for birdwatchers; you can see flamingos and peregrine falcons here.

a sandy beach in Puglia next to the ocean under a blue sky.
Dune Costiere

One of the most impressive features of the Parco Naturale Regionale delle Dune Costiere is the Torre Guaceto, a medieval watchtower that dates back to the 16th century (see number 23 below). The tower was once used to guard against pirate attacks and is now a popular landmark in the reserve. If you climb to the top of the tower you can see breathtaking views of the coastline and surrounding countryside.

22. The two beautiful Alimini lakes connected by a canal.

Near Otranto, you’ll find two lovely lakes called the Alimini lakes. These lakes are connected by a small canal and are surrounded by gorgeous beaches, sand dunes, and pine forests. It’s a perfect spot for swimming, kayaking, or simply appreciating the breathtaking scenery.

Moreover, the area is dotted with bars and restaurants that offer delightful views along with their services.

a large body of water surrounded by trees.
Alimini Lakes

The Alimini Lakes not only possess natural beauty but also have a rich historical and cultural significance. People have inhabited the area since ancient times, and the lakes were vital trade hubs for the Greeks and RomansThere are ancient settlements and fortifications along the shoreline.

You can also take a boat trip to the nearby Byzantine cave churches that are carved into the rocky cliffs above the lakes.

23. The protected Torre Guaceto reserve.

This protected nature reserve is located on the Adriatic coast, between Brindisi and Bari. It features a long stretch of sandy beach, as well as wetlands, dunes, and Mediterranean scrub. It’s a great spot for hiking, birdwatching, and enjoying the beauty of Puglia’s coast.

The is one of the best places in Puglia for birdwatching, as it is home to a variety of migratory birds and rare species, such as the Audouin’s gull and the Mediterranean shearwater.

In addition to its natural beauty, Torre Guaceto has a rich history dating back to the Bronze Age. The site is home to the ruins of a 16th-century watchtower, which was used to defend the coastline from pirates and invaders.

a river running through a sandy area next to a building.
Torre Guaceto

24. The prominent lighthouse at Vieste.

The Vieste Lighthouse is a prominent landmark situated on the eastern coast of Puglia, Italy. It stands atop a rugged cliff overlooking the Adriatic Sea and is one of the oldest lighthouses in the region.

The tower, constructed in the early 19th century, was created to guide ships and boats to Vieste’s harbour safely. Visitors can explore the lighthouse, which provides magnificent panoramic views of the sea and the surrounding scenery. You can climb the spiral staircase to reach the tower’s top and enjoy stunning views of the coastline and the clear blue waters below.

a light house sitting on top of a cliff next to the ocean.
Lighthouse of Vieste

The Vieste Lighthouse holds both practical and cultural importance. Besides its navigational role, it has gained recognition in literature, art, and cinema, becoming a symbolic landmark for the town of Vieste.

25. The stunning Mediterranean islands of Tremiti.

The Tremiti Islands, or Isole Tremiti, are a cluster of small islands in the Adriatic Sea near the coast of Puglia. These islands include San Domino, San Nicola, Capraia, Cretaccio, and Pianosa. They are a beloved spot for tourists seeking a tranquil and serene getaway, away from the busyness of the mainland.

You can reach the Tremiti islands by getting a ferry from Vieste (there are other ports available as well, but Vieste is the most popular). You can enjoy crystal clear waters, stunning scenery and a relaxed way of life on these islands.

a view of a bay with boats in the water, islands of Puglia, Italy.
Tremiti Islands

San Domino is the biggest and most popular island in the group. It offers sandy beaches, secluded coves, and crystal-clear turquoise waters, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. On the other hand, San Nicola, the smallest island, houses the oldest lighthouse in the Adriatic and a medieval fortress.

Capraia, Cretaccio and Pianosa are uninhabited, but popular with visitors for their rugged landscapes and unique wildlife. The Tremiti islands are one of the best places in Puglia for tranquility and beautiful island landscapes.

26. The UNESCO Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo.

The Sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo is a significant religious site in Italy, recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Found in the town of Monte Sant’Angelo in Puglia’s Gargano Peninsula, the sanctuary sits atop a rocky outcrop, providing stunning views of the countryside.

This sanctuary is devoted to St. Michael the Archangel and has been a prominent pilgrimage destination since the medieval period. According to legend, St. Michael appeared here in 490 AD, and since then, the site has been a revered place of worship.

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

The sanctuary consists of different structures, including the main church constructed in the 11th century. It boasts stunning Byzantine-style frescoes and mosaics. Other buildings include the crypt, where the sacred cave of St. Michael is located, and the 9th-century chapel of St. Mary.

This site is one of the best places in Puglia for enthusiasts of religious history. It is also featured in my article about the top day trips from Bari.

Book a tour of Monte Sant’Angelo here.

27. The incredible mosaics in Otranto cathedral.

The Otranto Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata, is a stunning example of Romanesque architecture located in the town of Otranto in Puglia. One of its most impressive features are the beautiful mosaics that cover the entire floor of the nave, transept, and apse.

Created in the 12th century by a group of Greek artists, the mosaics depict a variety of religious scenes and figures, including Christ, the Apostles, and various saints.

The mosaics are made of thousands of tiny tiles in a variety of colours, and their intricate details and designs are really something.

a mosaic from a church - one of the best places to visit in Puglia.
(1163) Otranto Cathedral

One of the most striking features of the mosaics is the Tree of Life, which is located in the centre of the nave. The Tree of Life is a symbol of the interconnectedness of all living things, and its branches stretch out to cover the entire floor of the cathedral.

Surrounding the Tree of Life are various biblical scenes, such as the creation of Adam and Eve, the temptation of Adam and Eve by the serpent, and the expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

The mosaics also depict various saints and martyrs, including St. Peter and St. Paul, as well as scenes from the Book of Revelation, such as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

28. The Calvary sculpture in Manduria.

For context, Calvary is the hill where Jesus Christ was crucified, just outside the walls of Jerusalem. It has been depicted artistically in an array of works, including calvarios (or ‘calvary’ in English).

‘Il Calvario’ is a distinctive sculpture situated on one side of Piazza Vittorio Emanuele in Manduria, Puglia, enclosed by railings. Constructed in the 19th century, the artwork is made entirely of discarded materials, such as broken ceramics and other cast-offs. It features representations associated with Calvary. This type of art is known as ‘arte povera’ or ‘poor art’.

a wall covered in lots of different types of vases.
The Calvary of Manduria. Puglia. Italy.

The sculpture was created by ceramicist Giuseppe Renato Greco, who was born in Puglia. The artwork remains relatively unknown and unpopular, perhaps due to its slightly peculiar appearance.

It is listed on Google as a place of worship, rather than a sculpture or artwork.

29. The plentiful Pugliese olive groves.

Puglia is renowned for its production of olive oil, which is a staple of the region’s cuisine. The olive tree has been a vital part of Puglia’s landscape for centuries, with some of the oldest trees dating back to the Roman era.

There are over 60 million olive trees in Puglia!

a stone structure in the middle of a field.
Olive groves in the Salento area, with a traditional rural warehouse named Furnieddhu in local dialect.

The region produces several types of olive oil, including extra-virgin olive oil, which is considered the highest quality. Extra-virgin olive oil is made from the first pressing of the olives and is known for its rich flavour and intense aroma. Puglia’s extra-virgin olive oil is highly regarded and has won numerous awards for its quality.

There are many olive oil tastings and tours of local olive groves and mills available to learn more about the region’s olive oil production. Many farms also offer cooking classes and demonstrations, allowing visitors to experience the rich culinary traditions of Puglia firsthand.

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

30. The rugged Alta Murgia national park.

Alta Murgia National Park is an expanse of protected land in Puglia. Encompassing over 68,000 acres, the park is distinguished by a karst terrain marked by rocky outcrops, gorges, and undulating hills.

This national park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, some of which are exclusive to the region. There are birds of prey, such as eagles and hawks, as well as mammals like wild boar and foxes.

A highlight of Alta Murgia National Park is the impressive Castel del Monte, a medieval fortress erected in the 13th century by Emperor Frederick II. The castle has attained UNESCO World Heritage status and is celebrated for its outstanding medieval architecture.

a large castle sitting on top of a lush green field.
Castel Del Monte in Alta Murgia National Park

Additionally, the park offers numerous hiking and walking trails that meander through its rugged terrain. This is one of the best places in Puglia for hiking. You can hike from the train station to the castle as well – see my post about day trips from Bari for more details.

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

Map of the best places in Puglia.

The Google map below shows all the best places 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 hotels section below.

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.

FAQS about the best places in Puglia.

Q: What are some of the best towns to visit in Puglia?

A: Some of the best towns to visit in Puglia include Bari, Ostuni, Alberobello, Martina Franca, and Monopoli.

Further reading: 14 Beautiful Towns in Puglia, Italy.

Q: What are the top natural attractions in Puglia?

A: Some of the top natural attractions in Puglia include Gargano National Park, Parco Naturale Regionale delle Dune Costiere, and the Alimini Lakes.

Q: What are some of the best historical sites to visit in Puglia?

A: Some of the best historical places in Puglia include the Castel del Monte, the Roman Amphitheatre in Lecce, and the Egnazia Archaeological Park.

Q: What are some must-see coastal destinations in Puglia?

A: Some of the best coastal places in Puglia include Polignano a Mare, Torre Guaceto, and Otranto.

Q: What is the best way to get around Puglia to visit all these places?

A: The best way to get around Puglia to visit all these places is by car, as many of the attractions are spread out and not easily accessible by public transportation.

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

Q: Is it necessary to rent a car for a road trip in Puglia?

A: Renting a car is highly recommended for a Puglia trip in southern Italy, as it provides the flexibility to explore the region at your own pace and reach the more remote areas. It allows you to add multiple destinations to your Puglia trip itinerary and access the beautiful countryside and coastal areas with ease. I always use Discover Cars, which is a brilliant car comparison site.

It is possible to travel in Puglia using public transport, but it would take a lot longer.

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

Q: Is Puglia worth visiting?

Puglia is absolutely a destination worth visiting. Located in the southern part of Italy, this region offers an amazing combination of natural beauty, history, and culture.

Some of the best places in Puglia include its breathtaking beaches, charming hilltop towns, and countless olive groves and vineyards. Moreover, it has several UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Alberobello, which features unique trulli houses.

Further reading: Ultimate Puglia Travel Guide.

One of the things that makes Puglia so famous is its delicious cuisine, which is based on fresh seafood, locally grown fruits and vegetables, and, of course, olive oil. I recommend trying regional specialties, such as orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe, grilled octopus, and creamy burrata cheese.

In addition to the culinary aspect, Puglia has a rich cultural heritage that can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome. There are plenty of opportunities to discover the region’s many historic sites, such as castles, churches, and archaeological ruins.

Where to stay in Puglia

Some of the towns in Puglia are tiny. I recommend basing yourself in one of the larger 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.

These booking links will get you the best rates 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.

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.

Planned road trips in Puglia.

I have published a set of done-for-you road trip itineraries for Puglia, which I will list below.

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.

Puglia road trip itineraries:

Quick links for Puglia

Recommendations from me to you.

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.

Best places in Puglia – conclusion.

Whether you’re looking for spectacular views, historical monuments, or exciting attractions, Puglia has something for everyone. With so many places to visit and explore, this region will surely leave you with unforgettable memories.

Overall, Puglia is a beautiful region that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, authentic food or just soaking up the sun, you’re sure to find plenty of things to see and do in this stunning part of Italy.

Thank you for reading my list of the must-see sights and best places in Puglia. I hope it has helped you to plan your trip, and I hope you will enjoy visiting Puglia!

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