Welcome to my travel guide for Puglia, a region located in the southern part of Italy with picturesque landscapes, ancient history, and rich culinary traditions. In this post you will find everything you need to plan your trip to Puglia, including the best time to visit, what to do in the Puglia region, must-see sights and ultimate food and wine guides in Puglia.

Collage of photos of a trip to Puglia, Italy
Puglia, Southern Italy

I have travelled extensively throughout the Puglia region as a solo traveller, and my most recent visit was in April 2023. I have published lots of Puglia posts and I will include links for you throughout this travel guide. You will also find hotel recommendations and a map of the region below too.

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Your trip to Puglia: a travel guide.

In a hurry? Here are some quick Puglia links.

I have split my Puglia travel guide into 15 sections.

Here are some quick links which will take you to each specific section, or you can use the table of contents above.

Best time to visit Puglia | Climate in Puglia | Map of Puglia | Getting around in Puglia | Towns to visit in Puglia | Must-See Attractions in Puglia | Food and Drink in Puglia | Road trip itineraries | Culture and etiquette | Safety | Language | Currency | Where to stay in Puglia | Tours in Puglia | FAQs for your trip to Puglia | Related reading for the Puglia region.

Best time to visit Puglia.

In my opinion, the best time to book your trip to Puglia is from May to June, and September to October when the weather is mild and the crowds are fewer. July and August are peak tourist season with hot temperatures and large crowds.

Related reading: The Best Time to Visit Alberobello.

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

Climate and tourist seasons in Puglia.

Puglia has a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers. The summer months are typically the busiest time of year for tourists, while spring and autumn offer more pleasant temperatures and less crowds.

Puglia’s longest beach season runs from May to September. During these months, temperatures range from 18-25 degrees Celsius (64-77 Fahrenheit) during the day and 15-20 degrees Celsius (59-68 Fahrenheit) at night.

Winters in Puglia are mild, with temperatures ranging from 7-14 degrees Celsius (45 – 57 Fahrenheit). Snow is rare in Puglia, but can sometimes occur in higher areas of the region. Rainfall is moderate throughout the year, but heaviest during the autumn months.

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

Map of Puglia.

This Google map is from my post about the best towns to visit in Puglia. The map shows 15 of the main towns in Puglia (and one in Basilicata – Matera). 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 further down.

Getting around in Puglia.

Puglia is a great destination to explore by car. Renting a car and going on a Puglia road trip is the most popular option. You can get a car from Discover Cars at Bari airport and then explore the region from there. Check my guide to must-see attractions in Puglia to add to your road trip itinerary.

Train travel is also an affordable and convenient way to get around Puglia, although not always as accessible as travelling by car. The main railway from Lecce to Bari runs through most major towns, with stops at smaller towns in Puglia along the way. Bus travel is another good option for getting around Puglia, with regular services available between major cities and towns.

For those looking for an even more scenic journey, boat trips are also popular. You can take a boat ride through the stunning coastline of Puglia, stopping at little fishing villages or exploring the impressive harbour towns such as Gallipoli and Otranto.

Further reading:

Top towns to visit during your trip to Puglia.

There are so many beautiful towns to visit on your trip to Puglia that I wrote a separate post on them. But here are some of the most popular towns which you should definitely add to your Puglia itinerary.

  1. Alberobello: A UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its unique Trulli houses that are cone-shaped and built without mortar. Read more about the town of Alberobello.
  2. Lecce: Known as the ‘Florence of the South’, Lecce is a beautiful Baroque city with ornate churches and palaces. Read more about Lecce in my Puglia towns post.
  3. Polignano a Mare: A charming coastal town known for its stunning cliffside views and crystal-clear waters. Read more about Polignano a Mare in my Puglia towns post.
  4. Ostuni: Known as the ‘White City’, Ostuni is a beautiful hilltop town with winding streets, white-washed buildings, and panoramic views. Read more about Ostuni in my Puglia towns post.
  5. Bari: The capital city of Puglia, coastal Bari has a delightful old town, plenty of history and the best street food scene in Puglia. Read more about the town of Bari.
  6. Matera: While not technically in Puglia, Matera is located just over the border in the neighbouring region of Basilicata and is worth a visit for its ancient cave dwellings and stunning views. Read more about the town of Matera.

Further reading for Puglia:

Top places to visit and tourist attractions in Puglia.

The Puglia region of Italy is full of stunning natural wonders, baroque architecture, roman ruins and ancient castles. I have written a whole post on must-see sights in Puglia, but below are just some of the places you must see on your trip to Puglia:

  1. Castel Del Monte: a beautiful octagonal castle on a hilltop which remains a mystery to this day (no one knows why it was built!).
  2. Grotte Castellana: Explore the stunning underground world of Grotte Castellana, a network of caves featuring mesmerising stalactite and stalagmite formations.
  3. Gargano Peninsula: Explore the natural wonders of the Gargano Peninsula, a promontory characterised by rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and lush forests. Don’t miss the enchanting Tremiti Islands, a small archipelago off the coast.
  4. The Pizzomunno rock in Vieste: Admire the impressive Pizzomunno, a striking vertical limestone monolith rising from the sandy shores of Vieste. This natural landmark adds a touch of enchantment to the coastline.
  5. Roman ruins in Puglia: Discover the remnants of the ancient Roman Empire in Puglia, such as the Roman amphitheatre in Lecce or the archaeological site of Egnazia. Immerse yourself in history and marvel at the well-preserved artefacts and structures.
  6. Baroque architecture: Puglia is renowned for its exquisite Baroque architecture, particularly in cities like Lecce and Martina Franca. Explore the ornate churches, palaces, and squares adorned with intricate details and grand facades, showcasing the region’s artistic heritage.
  7. The UNESCO trulli houses: Step into a fairytale world in Alberobello, where you’ll find the unique trulli houses. These traditional Apulian dwellings with conical roofs have UNESCO World Heritage status and offer a captivating glimpse into the region’s architectural heritage. Stay in a trulli.

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

Food and drink in Puglia.

Puglia is known for its delicious cuisine, which is based on simple, fresh ingredients and relies heavily on seafood, vegetables, and olive oil. The cuisine reflects Puglia’s farming traditions and bountiful coast.

Olive oil is a highlight, adding flavour to salads, pasta, and grilled veggies. Orecchiette pasta with tasty sauces like broccoli rabe is popular. The coastal towns offer fresh seafood, from grilled fish to savoury stews. There is a great street food scene in Bari.

Cheese lovers can enjoy creamy burrata and local varieties like cacioricotta. Pair them with rustic pane di Altamura bread and Taralli snacks. Indulge in sweet treats like custard-filled pasticciotto and honey-drizzled cartellate.

Puglia is also famous for its wine, particularly the red Primitivo and the white Verdeca varieties.

Further reading on food and drink in Puglia:

Culture and etiquette during your trip to Puglia.

Culture and etiquette play an important role in Puglia, reflecting the region’s deep-rooted traditions and warm hospitality. Pugliese culture is known for its emphasis on family, community, and a relaxed pace of life. Family ties are strong, and respect for elders is highly valued.

Visitors can expect a warm welcome and genuine friendliness from the locals, who take pride in sharing their culture and traditions with others. It’s common to see families and friends gathering for long meals, enjoying lively conversations, and enjoying the local cuisine together.

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

Life moves at a slower pace in Puglia. It’s important to embrace the region’s relaxed and unhurried approach to life. Pugliese people appreciate taking the time to enjoy meals, engage in conversations, and savour the moment.

It’s customary to greet people with a warm “buongiorno” (good morning) or “buonasera” (good evening) and show politeness by using “per favore” (please) and “grazie” (thank you). When dining out, it’s common to linger at the table after the meal, enjoying a digestif or coffee. Engaging in conversations and showing genuine interest in the local culture and traditions will be warmly welcomed by the people of Puglia.

Tipping is not expected but appreciated, especially in restaurants and cafes.

It’s important to dress appropriately when visiting religious sites, and avoid wearing shorts or revealing clothing. I recommend taking a light scarf like this one or to cover your shoulders/knees.

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.

Language in Puglia.

The official language of Puglia is Italian, and English not as widely spoken in Puglia as it is in other Italian regions. I recommend taking an Italian phrase book with you, and it’s always helpful to learn a few key phrases like “Ciao” for hello and “Grazie” for thank you.

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

Safety during your trip to Puglia.

Puglia is generally a safe region, but it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded tourist areas.

If you are worried about safety during your trip to Puglia, here are some of my travel safety recommendations from Amazon:

Links for travel safety products on Amazon:

Currency in Italy.

The official currency in Italy is the Euro (€) which comes in paper notes and coins.

The official currency of Italy is the Euro (EUR). The Euro is used in 19 out of 28 countries in the European Union, including Italy. It has been the currency of Italy since 2002. Coins and notes for the Euro come in denominations from 5 cents to 500 euros. Merchants in Italy will accept payments in Euros, as well as other major currencies like US dollars and British pounds. Credit cards are widely accepted in Italy, too.

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

Are there ATMS in Puglia?

Yes there are ATMs throughout Italy. The ATMs are called ‘Bancomat’ and they work generally the same as in the UK or USA. The working hours for the banks in Italy are 08:30 – 13:00 and 15:00 – 16:00, Monday to Friday.

Cash is accepted everywhere and is sometimes preferred. For example, some taxis might accept card payment but they still prefer cash. It’s best to ask before getting in.

Where to stay in Puglia.

I recommend basing yourself in one of the larger towns in Puglia (such as 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 Booking.com to see your best options in the Puglia region.


Quick hotel links for your trip to Puglia.

Below are some hotel booking links for some of the most popular towns in Puglia. These links will get you the best rate on Booking.com today. Feel free to use them just to check prices, even if you don’t book.

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.

Staying in Alberobello

If you are thinking of staying in 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, but have your base somewhere else.

I generally find it very difficult to book tours and activities in Alberobello, as most tours start from the larger towns and then visit Alberobello as a short stop on their way to somewhere else. It’s also quite touristy and you might prefer to stay elsewhere. I recommend checking out my guide to towns in Puglia before making your decision.

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

Organised tours for your trip to Puglia.

Here I will list some of my favourite tours in Puglia, plus some which are very popular/highly rated. I always use Viator for my tour bookings, but you can probably find the same tours on Get Your Guide too.

1.Street food tour of Bari with Do Eat Better. Hands down my favourite food tour in Puglia. Read my full review first and make sure you arrive hungry!

2. 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.

3. 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!

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

collage of food items of bari street food
Bari Street Food on the Eat Do Better Food Tour.

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.

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

Related FAQs for your trip to Puglia.

Q: When is the best time to visit Puglia?

A: The best time to visit Puglia is from May to June and September to October when the weather is mild, and the crowds are fewer. July and August are the peak tourist season with hot temperatures and larger crowds.

Further reading: When is the Best Time to Visit Alberobello?

Related reading: The Best Time to Visit Alberobello.

Q: How do I get to Puglia?

A: Puglia is accessible by air, train, or car. The region has two main airports, Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport and Brindisi-Salento Airport, which offer domestic and international flights. You can also reach Puglia by train, with major cities like Bari and Lecce well-connected to other parts of Italy.

If you prefer to drive, renting a car is a convenient option to explore the region at your own pace. Your Puglia road trip itinerary can be as flexible as you like.

Further reading: How to Get to Bari by Plane, Boat, Bus, Train & Car.

Q: What are the must-visit places to see on a trip to Puglia?

A: Some must-visit places in Puglia include Alberobello with its unique Trulli houses, the Baroque city of Lecce, the coastal town of Polignano a Mare, and the breathtaking hilltop town of Ostuni. Other notable destinations include Matera, just over the border in Basilicata, and the scenic beaches of the Gargano Peninsula. There are many UNESCO heritage sites to visit in Puglia.

Further reading: 14 Beautiful Towns in Puglia, Italy.

Q: What is the local cuisine like in Puglia?

A: Puglia is known for its delicious and rustic cuisine. Local specialties include orecchiette pasta, made with broccoli rabe or tomato sauce, fresh seafood dishes, burrata cheese, and olive oil produced from the region’s abundant olive groves. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the famous Apulian wines, such as Primitivo and Negroamaro.

Q: Are there any cultural events or festivals in Puglia?

A: Puglia hosts a variety of cultural events and festivals throughout the year. The “Festival della Valle d’Itria” in Martina Franca celebrates opera and classical music, while the “Taranta” music festival in Salento showcases the region’s traditional folk music and dance. Additionally, various food and wine festivals take place, celebrating local culinary traditions.

A trip to Puglia, a sandy beach with a few trees on it.
Salento peninsula beaches

Q: What are some outdoor activities to enjoy during a trip to Puglia?

A: Puglia offers several outdoor activities to enjoy its natural beauty. You can explore the rugged coastline and swim in the crystal-clear waters like those at the grotte della poesia. You can go hiking or biking in the Gargano National Park or the Itria valley, or take boat trips to visit the stunning sea caves along the coast. The region also offers opportunities for golfing, horseback riding, and even hot air balloon rides.

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: What is the recommended duration for a trip to Puglia?

A: The recommended duration for a trip to Puglia depends on your interests and the places you wish to explore. A week-long trip would allow you to visit the main attractions and immerse yourself in the local culture. However, if you have more time, you can extend your stay to delve deeper into the region and discover its hidden gems. However just a few days would also give you an excellent introduction to Puglia.

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

Q: Is it necessary to speak Italian on a trip to Puglia?

A: While knowing some basic Italian phrases can enhance your trip to Puglia, it is not always necessary to speak Italian to visit Puglia. In popular tourist areas, English is generally spoken and understood. However, learning a few common Italian phrases can be helpful and appreciated, especially in smaller towns and when interacting with locals.

Pinterest – pins for your trip to Puglia.

If you have enjoyed this Puglia travel guide, feel free to use these images below to pin this post to your Pinterest account for reading later.

Below is a complete list of all of my Puglia posts:

Puglia travel guide: conclusion.

Thank you for reading my Puglia travel guide for southern Italy, I hope it has helped you to plan your trip to Puglia. This region is one of my favourite regions of Italy and I hope you love it too!

I will leave you with some helpful links for your trip to Puglia:

In a hurry? Here are some Puglia quick links.

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