It’s unlikely you’ll be disappointed with a holiday in Puglia. This southern Italian region is lousy with beaches, caves, castles and a certain undeniable charm that stays with visitors long after returning home.
Read on to find out all about this southern belle of Italy, including what to eat (from ‘orecchiette’ pasta to fluffy ‘friselle’ bread) and what to do in Puglia.
Where is Puglia?
Puglia (also known as Apulia) sits in the southeast in Italy’s ‘heel’– in reference to the country’s boot-like shape. The area boasts approximately 800km of coastline and enjoys a relatively dry climate, making it the perfect destination for sun-seekers.It is touched by the Adriatic Sea in the north and the Ionio in the south.
Things to do in Puglia
There are so many beautiful pockets of Puglia, it’s hard to know where to begin. The towns of Ostuni and Otranto are spellbinding –like windows into the past – and there’s plenty of nature to discover, including cave complexes and national parks.
We’ve outlined some of our favourite things to do in Puglia below. Whether you’rea thrill seeker or beach bum, we hope this’ll give you plenty of food for thought when it comes to crafting your to-do list.
- A trip to Puglia isn’t complete without a visit to the ‘trulli’ in Alberobello. A ‘trullo’ is a dry stone hut with a conical roof, native to the Puglia region. Listed as UNESCO sites, some of them date all the way back to the 14th century.
- Venture to Castel del Monte. This is a 13th-century citadel and castle built by Emperor Frederick II. It sits atop a hill in Andria and is made up of mighty beige blocks.
- Discover the Basilica San Nicola, a church located in Bari and an important pilgrimage destination for Catholics and Christians.
- Go to the historical Castello Normanno-Svevo, another beautiful castle in Bari with origins in the 12th century.
Towns and villages
- Discover the historic city of Ostuni and its whitewashed old town. Marvel at Ostuni Cathedral and step back in time at the Civic Museum.
- See beautiful Otranto, a coastal town that’s home to a 15th century Aragonese Castle and 11th century cathedral with mosaic flooring. There are also a range of beaches and two inland lakes.
- Visit Monte Sant’Angelo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This town and ‘comune’ is home to the Sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo, the Giants’ Tower and the Tomb of Rothari.
- Visit the small fisherman’s village of Santa Maria Al Bagno. Boasting unspoiled beaches dotted along the coastline, it’s a great place to soak up the sun. You’ll also find restaurants, pubs, bars and dinky little shops and boutiques, allowing you to experience traditional Italian life at the fullest.
- Head deep into the stunning Grotte di Castellana, a karst cave complex in Bari.
- Visit the awe-inspiring Gargano Peninsula, jutting out into the Adriatic and forming the ‘spur’ in the heel of Italy’s ‘boot’. It’s also home to Gargano National Park.
- Torre Guaceto, Brindisi – this is a protected marine area and nature reserve. A paradise for snorkelers, the waters are brimming with coral reefs and seagrass.
- BaiadeiTurchi, Otranto – characterised by pearly-white sand and azure waters, you can reach ‘the bay of the Turks’ by travelling on foot through a pine forest.
- Polignano a Mare, Bari – this popular beach has crystal-clear waters and acres of golden sand.
- Torre Pozzelle, Ostuni – this beach is rocky, wild and unspoiled. There’s plenty of lush vegetation and dramatic cliffs and coves.
- Torre dell’ Orso, Melendugno – overlooked by a 16th-century coastal tower, Torre dell’ Orsoboasts rolling sand dunes, sparkling sea and two twin rocks a few metres offshore, named the Two Sisters.
Food in Puglia
Puglia boasts a wide variety of different cuisines and delicacies. As with most parts of Italy, pasta is the centrepiece of most meals (particularly ‘orecchiette’ which translates to ‘little ears’). Fish and seafood are also very popular here – which is unsurprising given the region’s proximity to two seas.
Here are some examples of local food in Puglia:
- Orecchiette al ragu di carne –‘orecchiette’ is a type of typical Puglian pasta. This dish is with a meat-based sauce.
- Orecchiette allecime di rapa – a type of vegetarian pasta dish with turnip tops and other greens.
- Calzone – a popular street food that’s baked or deep-fried. It looks like a pizza that has been folded over.
- Cavatelli con le cozze –a pastadishwithmussels.
- Risotto aifrutti di mare – seafood risotto.
- Friselle– a type of Puglian bread with tomatoes, basil and oil.
Package holidays to Puglia
Many of our Italy holiday offers include flights, accommodation and transfers – taking the hassle out of booking and leaving you to focus on how you want to spend your time at your destination.
When it comes to package holidays to Puglia, choose from one of the following deals:
- A full-board Southern Italy break at a four-star hotel
- A seven-night all-inclusive stay in Puglia
- In Puglia, the language spoken is Italian.
- The currency is euros.
- The time difference is GMT+1.
- The power plugs and sockets are type L with two or three round prongs. You’ll need an adapter.
- 113 is the national emergency number.
At Citrus Holidays, we not only offer package holidays to Puglia but also plenty of other jam-packed tours and trips too. Fuel your wanderlust and have a look at our other European city breaks here.