Everything you need to know before visiting Puglia

Find out what other travellers have to say to prepare your trip to Puglia like a pro’!

A sunset over buildings clinging to a cliff by the sea

Puglia, in south-east Italy, offers a captivating blend of culture, history and natural landscapes. This region, which forms the heel of the Italian boot, boasts picturesque villages, crystal-clear beaches and a rich heritage. Bordered by the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, it’s a paradise for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Italy’s big cities and immerse themselves in an authentically Italian experience, far off the beaten track.

Mylène, from the blog Un rêve un Voyage, fell under the spell of Puglia during her 8-day roadtrip in September 2021:

White-washed hilltop towns, Trulli villages, sumptuous baroque towns, harbours or medina-like cities, endless fields of olive trees and beaches with crystal-clear waters.

Profile picture of Mylène @unreveunvoyage
Mylène @unreveunvoyage

A view of Polignano a Mare by the sea

A sentiment shared by Aurélie, from the blog Lilifoodiestravel, which underlines the diversity and richness of this region:

A little paradise just a few hours from France. A real favourite for me, it really is the hidden treasure of southern Italy!

Profile picture of Aurelie @lilifoodiestravel
Aurelie @lilifoodiestravel

A cove in Porto Selvaggio along a hiking trail

When should you visit Puglia?

Puglia is often considered an ideal destination for those who want to discover a less touristy Italy that is just as rich in history, culture and natural beauty. Whether it’s for a romantic weekend or a family holiday, Puglia offers the perfect escape into authentic Italian dolce vita.

But like many destinations in Southern Europe, we can only advise you to plan your trip to Puglia outside the busy periods, typically during school holidays and in the summer. Puglia’s mild, temperate climate outside the summer months offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy the wonders of Puglia while avoiding the crowds, enjoying the weather and the warm welcome of the local people. Italians are renowned for being very hospitable and, outside the busy periods, you’ll be more likely to be able to take advantage of their hospitality to meet some incredible people.

And the little extra not to be overlooked: fares are very often more reasonable. Whether it’s for transport to Puglia, particularly by plane, or for accommodation.

Panorama of Roca Vecchia from a seaside footpath

How long will it take to visit Puglia?

Obviously, this depends on your interests and the pace you wish to adopt. The main highlights of the region can be visited in between 1 week and 10 days. If you want to explore the region in more detail, particularly the north of Puglia, which is less well known to travellers, you’ll need to allow a few extra days.

Find ideas for 7, 10 and 15-day itineraries in Puglia, thanks to Aurélie, Mylène and Lydia.

Must-sees and favourites in Puglia

By all accounts, this is THE city you must visit. Matera is famous for its Sassi, troglodytic dwellings dug into the rock and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town offers a captivating glimpse of Roman and Byzantine antiquity. For archaeology enthusiasts and the more curious among you, Matera reveals impressive remains that bear witness to Italy’s cultural wealth.

A panoramic view of a rock church in Matera and the surrounding area

Another city not to be missed on your trip to Puglia is Lecce. Renowned for its unique Baroque style and nicknamed the “Florence of the South”. Lydia and Catherine, from the blog La Croisée des Mondes fell under the region’s spell during their week-long roadtrip in autumn 2022:

The city is a real open-air museum, offering a delicious mix of different eras, from ancient Rome to the Renaissance.

Profile picture of Lydia et Catherine - La Croisée des Mondes
Lydia et Catherine - La Croisée des Mondes

Some Baroque buildings in Lecce

But there’s more to Puglia than its exceptional cultural heritage of archaeological remains, Renaissance and Baroque churches. It’s also a paradise of fine sandy beaches, seaside walks and hikes, caves and natural lagoons to explore, idleness, la dolce vita and pizza (of course!).

A refreshing break with an artisanal ice cream in the narrow streets of Alberobello

Discover our Top 10 Must-See places for your trip to Puglia, according to the bloggers in our community of travel enthusiasts.

How do I get to Puglia?

The easiest way to get to Puglia is by plane. While Bari and Brindisi are easily reached from most airports, it is advisable to land in Bari. Bari is the capital of Puglia and the largest city in the province. This will make it easier for you to arrive and explore the surrounding area.

And getting to Puglia via Bari Airport is also very convenient, as a train connects it to the city centre in around thirty minutes.

If you start looking at air fares to Puglia, this is another argument in favour of travelling outside the holiday season and the classic busy period, with fares easily doubling for equivalent journeys.

Tourists ready to jump into the Grotta della Poesia cove for a swim

Bari is the perfect place to start discovering Puglia and the surrounding area. It’s a big city, with a breathtaking historic centre formed by a maze of narrow streets to wander through, with its small traditional shops and restaurants. The city’s amazing historic walls and the Lungomare, Italy’s longest seafront promenade, are also among the best walks to start your trip to Puglia.

Discover all the spots recommended by our community in and around Bari.

How do you get around Puglia?

While the towns are accessible by public transport, most travellers prefer to hire a car, like Lydia and Catherine:

We advise you to hire a car to get around more freely. However, be careful as Italian driving can be sporty!

Profile picture of Lydia et Catherine - La Croisée des Mondes
Lydia et Catherine - La Croisée des Mondes

If you hire a car, you’ll be able to stop whenever a place, a beach, a small town or an imposing building in the distance catches your eye. Yes, Puglia is full of hidden discoveries and surprises, a giant maze of small, picturesque villages. Every kilometre you travel offers a new opportunity for exploration. Whether it’s a gourmet break to sample local produce or a photographic stop to take in the breathtaking panoramas of the Adriatic coast, the freedom of your own vehicle undeniably enriches your travel experience.

Panorama around Lake Bauxite

Above all, if you start to explore the possibilities that Puglia has to offer, you’ll soon realise that this is not a destination to be discovered in an all-inclusive format: the region can be explored according to your desires, and every turn holds a surprise waiting to be revealed.

We can’t warn you enough about the reputation of the drivers on Italy’s roads. As Aurélie puts it so simply:

Vigilance is the key word! Italians are real drivers on the roads. Day 2 of the Roadtrip and we had a minor accident (although I’ve never had one in 10 years of driving in France).

Profile picture of Aurelie @lilifoodiestravel
Aurelie @lilifoodiestravel

If you’re still unsure, our guide to the 6 mistakes to avoid when renting a car in Puglia will help you to see things more clearly and gain confidence.

What to see and do in Puglia?

Everyone has their own preferences, desires and favourites: we’ve put together all the recommendations from your favourite travel blogs on our interactive map. It’s the perfect tool for discovering all the best that Puglia has to offer, finding all the inspiration you need and the information you need to make the right choices.

And here’s an added bonus: all the tips and tricks from the passionate bloggers in our community are also included. Start exploring Puglia with Fleeps.

A panoramic view of the famous trullis of Alberobello

Exploring Puglia is an adventure that combines history, culture and natural beauty. Every village and every beach tells a story, and every meal shared with the locals is an invitation to immerse yourself in the Dolce Vita. Prepare to be captivated by the discreet yet powerful charm of Puglia.

And then there’s the simple, tasty cuisine!

Profile picture of Mylène @unreveunvoyage
Mylène @unreveunvoyage

With Fleeps, you can call on other passionate and expert travellers to help you plan your trip. With the help of our community, you can ask your questions and plan a trip that’s truly yours and that will leave a lasting impression on you!

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