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  >  Destination   >  Discovering Puglia: Flavors, Landscapes, and Architectures

In my experience discovering Puglia and other Italian regions, one of the things that I appreciate the most is the capacity of Italy to transform itself when you visit one region to another. Each one of them is like visiting another country; you can find different cultures, flavors, personalities, landscapes, architectures, and dialects. Italy is a world within a single country.

Due to some historical events, Puglia has a strong Greek influence that you can notice in its architecture, one of the things that distinguish it from the rest of Italy.

Now visiting the most suggestive destinations, tasting the flavors of Puglia, admiring its particular architecture, and enjoying its beautiful culture, we are ready to start our itinerary.

Discovering Puglia

Bari

The first destination of our Puglia’s tour is Bari, its capital, a beautiful city with a combination of ancient and modern essence.

Strolling through the old and magical Bari is one of the things you have to do on your trip to Puglia. Old Bari is inhabited by residences, restaurants, food stores, and markets. Despite being a tourist attraction, you can see in the foreground the daily life of the people who live there and feel like one of them when you shop at the food market, or when you pass by the front of the houses and see the neighbors in their conversations and doing their housework.

Visiting Bari is like taking an intensive food advisor course. For them, food is an essential part of its culture, and one of the places where you can see it is in Orecchiette street, a street in which women in front of their houses are making orecchiette (typical pasta of Puglia in the shape of a small ear). Here you can see and learn how to make this curious pasta, but the most important thing is that you can reserve the experience of eating typical Bari dishes based on orecchiette cooked by these women.

Restaurants treated in Bari:

  • Venezia 40 Traditional Panzerotti with a Peroni beer. 
  • Gola Bistrot Orecchiette con ragù di braciole (it’s far from the center).

Unmissable places in Bari:

  • Basilica San Nicola
  • Church of San Sabino
  • The Castello
  • The Lungomare Augusto Imperatore
  • Piazza Mercantile

Our accommodation’s choice:

B&B Sant’Anna in the story center (Recommended).

Polignano a Mare

While we were in Bari, Polignano a Mare had to be a must-see destination. I think that an itinerary in Puglia is not complete without this marvelous place. The reason for this is because this coastal town is one of the most beautiful in the region. Its particular beaches, the aesthetic design of the city center with the combination of the white houses, the blue sea, and the flowers that adorned the buildings, made it perfect.

What to do in Polignano a Mare

  • Get lost in the town and find the lyrics of the song “Volare” by Domenico Modugno and sing while walking down the street.
  • Take the most beautiful photos in the instagrammable spots.
  • Go to the Lama Monachile beach.
  • Visit Domenico Modugno monument since this is his hometown.
  • Go for a delicious aperitif or dinner in a particular restaurant inside a cave.
  • Admire the panoramic from Belvedere Terrazza.
  • Discover the wise phrases on the stairs of the town.

Monopoli

Its charm, beaches, and gastronomic offer are the things that will undoubtedly make you fall in love with Monopoli. The location of this town is just a few minutes from Polignano a Mare, so you can make a perfect combination to visit both on the same day. Although its tourism development is not as advanced as its neighboring town, it should be on the list when planning your visit to Puglia.

On our second day in Puglia for lunch, Monopoli was our choice, as it has an attractive offer of sea view restaurants and seafood specialties. This time we chose the Porto Rosso ristorante, a beautiful place on the coast. The atmosphere, the decoration style, the view and of course the food left us enchanted. Among our gastronomic selection were: 

  • Grigliatta di Mare “Polpo, Pesce spada e gaberone”
  • Mixed fried fish
  • Polpo al Profumo di menta (Mint seasoned octopus)
  • To pair, of course, with a delicious white wine.

What to do in Monopoli:

  • Visit its historic center, get lost in its streets and beautiful squares.
  • Discover a delicious gelateria to beat the heat.
  • Visit the Cathedral Maria Santissima della Madia
  • Walk through the old port and watch the beautiful panorama with the boats.
  • Cool off on the beach of Cala porta Vecchia.

Alberobello

One of the most representative places of Puglia in the world is Alberobello, also known as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. This town is difficult to go unnoticed since its particular architecture is very special.

Some sections of the town of Alberobello are populated by the Trulli (dry-stone houses with removable roofs). According to the story, build Trulli was a method that the inhabitants of this city used to avoid paying taxes since a house without a roof was not considered a house and was not suitable to pay certain taxes. When they learned that the inspectors were nearby, they proceeded to remove the rooftops of the Trulli. 

Today, the Trulli community is the city’s symbol and an undoubted attraction when visiting the beautiful region of Puglia. Trulli are used as souvenir shops, lodgings, bars, and more.

Ostuni

We arrived in the white city of Salento. Ostuni is one of the most beautiful cities in Puglia. Even though its historical center is not located on the coast like other well-known cities in Puglia, it is still a stopping point for those who take a road trip through this area.

One of the most striking attributes of Ostuni is the shape of its city and its particular white color in almost all its buildings. Its historic center is endowed with various types of restaurants, bars, churches, museums, and streets that have become icons of the city for their authentic decoration.

What to do in Ostuni

  • Ostuni is the ideal place to spend the night.
  • Enjoy a beautiful sunset having an aperitif in Borgo Antico Bistrot, one of the most famous places in the city.
  • Take photos everywhere since naturally it is designed as an instagrammable place.
  • Enjoy the night lights that make it magical and unique.

Restaurants treated in Ostuni:

Our accommodation’s choice:

  • Casa Enza 0.4 km from the city center (Recommended).

Otranto

The calm and crystalline beaches of Otranto invite you to choose it as the ideal place to spend a few days relaxing in tranquility. 

Otranto is one of the most touristic places in Puglia and is famous for being the easternmost city in Italy. Strolling through the alleys of its fortified old town, you will find its buildings, places, and monuments that tell stories by themselves. The perfect ideas to spend your days in Otranto are:

  • Take a city tour. If you love history, this is the best way to get to know this city.
  • Spend a relaxing day on one of its beaches.
  • Enjoy its wide gastronomic offer of seafood and fish.
  • Observe its beautiful port from its large terrace or the fortress.
  • Visit its souvenir shops.

Restaurants treated in Otranto:

  • White Restaurant Fresh fish
  • Retrogusto Pappardelle mandorle e gamberi su crema di buffala allo zafferano and Carnaroli ai frutti di mare. 

Our accommodation’s choice:

Gallipoli

Gallipoli is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque and exotic destinations in Puglia. Its peculiar walled historical center within an island makes it unique and special within the region.

Among the things that we can appreciate the most in Gallipoli are its beautiful and paradisiacal beaches, its beautiful historic center, its exquisite gastronomic offer, and its nightlife. It is a city that surrounds you and traps you until you think you are inside a dream.

Unmissable places in Gallipoli:

  • The historic center
  • Gallipoli Castle
  • Church of Saint Agatha Virgin and Martyr
  • Beach of Purity

Restaurants treated in Gallipoli:

  • Grotta Marinara Insalata di polpo, Tagliolino all’uovo con frutti di mare, and Linguine agli scampi.
  • Osteria Briganti Gnocchi, Gamberi e Scamorza and fresh fish.

Our accommodation’s choice:

If you are looking for beautiful and crystalline beaches this summer, warm climate, excellent gastronomy, reasonable prices, dream landscapes, and very particular places, Puglia will always be an excellent idea.

 

Hi! I'm Yareli, Dominican travel and food writer living in the beautiful and welcoming Tuscany region of Italy. I am passionate about tourism and travel, so I always look for new places to learn about its stories, culture and, above all, its gastronomy.