Best Places to Visit in Puglia

Puglia is situated in the south of Italy, right in the heel of Italy’s boot. The region is known for its historic towns, rich culture, excellent food and some of the most beautiful beaches in southern Italy. For me, visiting Puglia was love at first sight. It definitely is one of the most beautiful regions in Italy. In this travel guide, I’m sharing the best places to visit in Puglia, including the most beautiful towns in Puglia, my personal travel tips, where we stayed and the top things to do in Puglia.

Top Places to Visit in Puglia

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Puglia Travel Guide – Quick Tips

Best Places to Stay | Palazzo Lecce, Romantic Trulli, San Michele Suite

Best Time to Visit | May, June, September

How to Get Around | Rental Car

Top Places to Visit | Alberobello, Ostuni, Polignano a Mare, Lecce, Monopoli, Matera

Insider Tips | Locorotondo, Torre Sant’Andrea

Stay Connected | Get your Europe eSIM

Best Tours & Experiences:

🚤 Polignano a Mare Cave Boat Cruise

🫒 Alberobello Walking Tour with Olive Oil Tasting

Matera Guided Walking Tour

How to Get to Puglia & How to Get Around

The easiest way to reach Puglia if visiting by air is flying to Bari or Brindisi, the two main airports servicing this region. If you are arriving from another Italian city, you can also take a train to Bari.

Once you have arrived in Puglia, the best way to get around is by car. It gives you the best flexibility and allows you to explore some places that cannot be reached by public transport. Therefore, Puglia is the perfect place for a road trip! You can find many car rental companies in Bari.

🚘 BEST CAR RENTAL COMPANY: DISCOVER CARS

When booking a rental car online, I personally recommend and always use Discover Cars. They search not only for international car rental companies but also for small, local agencies to find the best deal for you. Plus, there are no hidden costs and they offer free cancellation. I always opt for full coverage because of their comepetitive rates!

Best Time to Visit Puglia

You can visit Puglia throughout the year, but the best time to visit is probably in the shoulder season (May/June/September) when the temperatures are pleasant and it’s less crowded than in peak season (July/August). We visited Puglia in September. The weather was perfect during our whole trip and the main sights weren’t crowded. Especially in the mornings, we had all of the places entirely to ourselves.

Best Time to Visit Puglia

Where to Stay in Puglia

Depending on which places in Puglia you want to see, you can either stay in one place and take day trips from there or stay in different locations to be able to see more of this beautiful region. I would recommend the second option. We stayed in different locations (Monopoli, Alberobello, Lecce, Matera) to make the most of our Puglia trip.

If you’re curious about my personal picks for the best places to stay, I’ve linked the hotels we stayed at during our visit right within this article. A great thing about this region is that you can easily visit Puglia on a budget compared to other regions in Italy, which are really expensive (like visiting the Amalfi Coast).

Are you ready for the best of Puglia?

Here are the top places to visit and the best things to do in Puglia…

BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN PUGLIA & TOP THINGS TO DO – OVERVIEW:


– Stay in an authentic Trullo in Alberobello
– Wander the streets of Locorotondo
– Visit the ‘White City’ of Ostuni
– Discover the beautiful town of Polignano a Mare
– Explore the town of Monopoli
– Get lost in the charming alleys of Lecce
– Swim in the natural pool of Grotta della Poesia
– Visit the spectacular rock formations of Torre Sant’Andrea
– Walk along the historic promenade in Otranto
– Visit the ancient city of Matera
– Wander around the old center of Bari, the capital of Puglia

Keep reading for my complete Puglia travel guide…

Best Places to Visit in Puglia & Top Things to Do:

Stay in an Authentic Trullo in Alberobello

The charming town of Alberobello is located in the heart of the Valle D’Itria (Itria Valley) which is also known as the ‘Trulli Valley’ because it’s the best region to see the authentic trulli houses. The traditional Apulian trulli are part of the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1996. If you are eager to learn more about the history and architecture of this enchanting place, I recommend doing a guided walking tour.

The white-washed trulli (plural for trullo) are made of local limestone and have unique conic roofs. In Alberobello, you can find around 1,500 of these cute traditional houses. Entering the old town of Alberobello felt like stepping right into a fairytale. I absolutely loved getting lost in the enchanting cobblestone alleys while admiring the architecture of the beautiful trulli. Alberobello certainly belongs to the most beautiful places in Puglia.

The best time to wander through the streets is early in the morning and late in the evening when the town isn’t as crowded as during the day. That’s why I would definitely recommend staying overnight in a trullo to make the most of your visit. Believe me, staying in an authentic trullo is such a unique and unforgettable experience – you have to try it!

We stayed in a cute, tiny trullo, Buona Notte nel Trulletto, located within walking distance to the old town and absolutely loved this magical experience.

Wander the Streets of Locorotondo

The picturesque hilltop town of Locorotondo is listed as one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. After wandering through the labyrinth of charming alleys of this lovely town, I can totally understand why. The old town of Locorotondo with its old white houses, narrow streets and flower baskets everywhere looks simply picture-perfect. The name of the town means ‘round place’ which derives from the circular shape of the town.

We stopped in Locorotondo for half a day coming from Alberobello, which is only a 10-minute drive. Compared to other towns in Puglia, Locorotondo is relatively uncrowded what I really loved. There are not many sights in Locorotondo, but you will find some beautiful churches and piazzas. Locorotondo is famous for its superb white wines, so make sure to taste a glass of vino in one of the cute restaurants and enjoy the charm of this beautiful town. Locorotondo is definitely one of the best places to visit in Puglia.

Other articles that you may enjoy reading: Tuscany Travel Guide

Visit the ‘White City’ of Ostuni

Ostuni, also known as the ‘White City’, belongs to the top places to visit in Puglia. Therefore, it’s a magnet for tourists. The ancient city is full of history and charming old buildings. The history of the old town even goes back to the Stone Ages. I really loved exploring the maze-like cobblestoned alleyways and staircases in-between the vibrant white houses. Every corner of this place looks so photogenic! For me, Ostuni is one of the best towns to visit in Puglia.

Make sure to stop by the cathedral Duomo di Ostuni (Basilica concattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta) and the Bishop’s Palace. One of the city’s most vibrant places is the Piazza della Libertà which is a great spot for an aperitivo and people watching. You can also join a guided walking tour to learn more about Ostuni from a local guide.

Next to the stunning architecture and the charm of this city, I absolutely loved the food in Ostuni. We tried different local food specialties and I felt like I’m in food heaven! Ostuni really has some of the best restaurants. If you love Italian food, you must try the food in Puglia – it’s next level! One place we really loved is called Borgo Antico Bistrot. Next to the food, the view from this restaurant was simply amazing!

Ostuni is also famous for its olives. The town sits on a hilltop surrounded by endless olive groves with thousand-year-old olive trees. Puglia, in fact, is the largest olive oil producer in Italy. Therefore, Ostuni, is the perfect place to do a Olive Oil Tasting Tour.

Looking for hotels and B&Bs in Ostuni? Click here!

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Discover the Beautiful Town of Polignano a Mare

Polignano a Mare belongs to my absolute favorite places in Puglia. The small, picturesque seaside town is spectacularly built on the edge of rocky cliffs and the beautiful white-washed houses of the old town overlook the crystal-clear Adriatic Sea.

I really loved the historic centre with its narrow streets and old houses. My favorite spot, however, was the small beach of Polignano a Mare called Lama Monachile or Cala Porto. The pebble beach is not only photogenic but also the perfect place for a swim in the unbelievably clear, emerald waters surrounded by the dramatic cliffs of Polignano a Mare. For a great viewpoint overlooking the beach, head to the Ponte Lama Monachile, an old Roman bridge located right behind the beach.

If you look for the best view of the town and the beach, don’t miss Pietra Piatta – here you can find the perfect angle for postcard-worthy pictures of Polignano a Mare. It’s also a great spot to enjoy the sunset while admiring the beauty of this stunning Italian seaside town. This place is a must-see!

We did a day trip to Polignano a Mare from Monopoli (see next section), which is enough when you visit Puglia for the first time. But, since I, personally, really fell in love with this beautiful place, I think I would stay overnight next time. For me, it’s one of the best places to visit in Puglia.

So, next time we plan to stay for at least two nights in Polignano a Mare and I also really want to do this boat cruise to the hidden caves next time because I heard it’s amazing.

Click here to search for hotels in Polignano a Mare.

Or check out our personal favorites we consider booking when visiting Poilignano a Mare the next time:

Are you planning to visit more places in Italy?

You may want to explore: Highlights of the Amalfi Coast in Italy

Explore the Town of Monopoli

Monopoli is a coastal town close to Polignano a Mare. Therefore, I would recommend visiting these two places in combination. We stayed in Monopoli for one night at B&B Verdearancio, which offers lovely, modern rooms within walking distance to the historic center.

For other accommodation options in Monopoli, click here.

The old town of Monopoli is full of charm. You can find cute alleys, beautiful old churches (make sure to stop at the Monopoli Cathedral, Basilica of the Madonna della Madia) and a rustic old fishermen harbor (Porto Vecchio). At the seafront of Monopoli, you can admire the impressive Castle of Monopoli (Castle of Carlo V) and the old defensive walls, or just walk along the beautiful seafront promenade and relax at one of the sandy beaches.

If you have enough time, you can also join a guided walking tour to explore this fascinating town like a local. Monopoli is one of the best places to go in Puglia and should definitely be included in your itinerary.

Get Lost in the Charming Alleys of Lecce

Lecce is one of the largest cities in Puglia and also called the ‘Florence of the South’. It’s probably one of the most underrated Puglia destinations. Lecce boasts some of the most impressive historical buildings from the Baroque era. Walking through the old town felt like traveling back in time. I loved getting lost in the charming alleyways while discovering beautifully decorated cathedrals and magnificent palazzi.

Some points of interest you shouldn’t miss are the Basilica di Santa Croce, the Duomo di Lecce including the Piazza del Duomo, the Roman amphitheater and the Porta Napoli. If you want to learn more about the historical wonders of Lecce, check out this Baroque Architecture and Underground Walking Tour. With its impressive architecture and rich history, Lecce absolutely deserves to be included as one of the best cities to visit in Puglia.

Lecce is also a great central starting point in Puglia to explore the heel of Italy. We did some day trips from Lecce to the Grotta della Poesia, Torre Sant’Andrea and Otranto (read more about these places in the following sections). You can also find some of the best beaches in the South of Puglia such as Pescoluse, Baia dei Turchi and Baia del Mulino d’Acqua.

We stayed at Demodé Luxury Wellness B&B, which is located only a short walk from the Duomo of Lecce. We booked a room with a private indoor pool and a shared outdoor pool. I absolutely loved the stone design of the room, the luxurious indoor pool and the breakfast in the garden. I can highly recommend staying here.

Swim in the Natural Pool of Grotta della Poesia

The famous Grotta della Poesia, also known as the Poetry Cave, is located on the Adriatic coast, only a 30-minute drive from Lecce. It’s one of the most beautiful natural pools in the world. If you dare, you can jump off the edge of the cliffs from a height of around 5 meters into the clear blue rock pool. The water looks incredible and has a stunning deep turquoise color.

Tip: This place isn’t a secret anymore, so make sure to arrive early if you want to enjoy it without the crowds. There is a parking lot just a few hundred meters from the Grotta della Poesia.

Grotta della Poesia in Puglia

Visit the Spectacular Rock Formations of Torre Sant’Andrea

Only a 10-minute drive from the Grotta della Poesia, you can find Torre Sant’Andrea. The highlight of this place are the Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea which are large impressive rocks, islets and arches in the sea sculptured by the waves. This spot not only makes for great pictures but is also the perfect place to relax and swim in the crystal-clear turquoise water. I really loved dipping into the refreshing water and sunbathing on the rocks with the most incredible view of this fantastic place.

You can park almost right at the spot and it costs 5 euros for the whole day.

Walk Along the Historic Promenade in Otranto

The coastal town of Otranto is Italy’s easternmost town. Otranto overlooks the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea and offers not only beautiful scenic views and white sandy beaches but also stunning architecture and rich history. The main sights of Otranto are the Duomo di Otranto (Basilica Cattedrale di Santa Maria Annunziata) with its impressive mosaic floor and the Aragonese Castle of Otranto (Castello Aragonese).

What I loved most about Otranto was the laidback vibe and the lovely seafront promenade with many cute restaurants. If you have time, you can also soak in the sun at one of the town’s beautiful beaches.

Visit the Ancient City of Matera

Technically, Matera is not part of Puglia as it is located on the border in the adjacent region of Basilicata. But since it’s so close to central Puglia, I highly recommend including Matera in your Puglia itinerary. You won’t regret it! The ancient city of Matera is over 9000 years old and, thus, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.

Matera is famous for its Sassi (ancient cave dwellings) in the historical center. The architecture of these old stone cave houses is very imposing. I really loved getting lost in the ancient streets of this charming town. In addition to exploring Matera on your own, it’s also worth doing a guided walking tour to learn more about this breathtaking place and to visit a typical cave house. Matera definitely belongs to the highlights of our Puglia trip.

Although Matera looks good from every angle, these are some of the city’s best viewpoints: Belvedere di Piazza Giovanni Pascoli, Belvedere Luigi Guerricchio, The Cathedral of Matera and the Church of Saint Mary of Idris.

Matera is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the European Capital of Culture 2019.

We stayed in Matera for one night at Limen Matera, a lovely B&B within walking distance to the Old Town. If you want to have a view of the old town, make sure to book the Deluxe Room.

Wander Around the Old Center of Bari, the Capital of Puglia

Bari is the capital city of Puglia and home to one of the most important ports in the region. We only stopped in Bari for half a day, so we didn’t have much time to thoroughly explore the city. We focused on the lovely Old Town of Bari (Bari Vecchia) which features narrow alleys, charming historical buildings, old churches (such as the Bari Cathedral, Cattedrale di San Sabino, and Basilica di San Nicola) and a mediaval castle (Castello Normanno-Svevo). I really loved the authentic atmosphere in the Old Town of Bari.

If we had had some more time I would have loved to try out one of these fun Bari city tours:

Tip: if you would like to skip a place in Puglia due to time reasons, I would probably recommend skipping Bari because I loved the charm of the smaller towns in Puglia a bit more.

If you have more time to explore the beautiful region of Puglia, here is a list with some inspiration of other places to visit in Puglia.

More places to visit in Puglia:

  • Gallipoli
  • Brindisi
  • Salento
  • Porto Cesareo
  • Martina Franca
  • Cisternino
  • Taranto
  • Trani
  • Vieste
  • Gargano Peninsula / National Park

I hope you enjoyed reading this Puglia travel guide and that I could convince you that Puglia is worth visiting! For me, Puglia is one of my favorite regions in Italy! If you have any other questions about visiting Puglia, just let me know in the comments below!

Looking for more Italy travel guides? Click HERE or select one of the articles below…

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2 Comments

  1. Love that blog post! Puglia is such a great region and I loved visiting all these places. Can’t wait to return one day!

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