Did you know that Puglia is the largest olive oil producer in Italy? This beautiful region that you find in the south, the heel of Italy, has completely enchanted us.
You can spend the night there in a fairytale trulli. And enjoy the cliffs and the azure blue water of the Adriatic coast. All the more reason to go on a road trip deep into Italy.
In Puglia, you will also find a lot of Masseria’s where you can spend the night. A Masseria is a traditional farmhouse that is found throughout the Puglia region of Italy. These structures were originally built as fortified farmhouses to protect the farmers and their families from invaders.
Today, many of these farmhouses have been restored and converted into stunning rural retreats that offer a unique and authentic Italian experience. We also wrote an article about the best masseria’s in Puglia.
In this article, you’ll find a day-to-day itinerary for your road trip in Puglia. We also recommend some places to sleep and eat and describe the most beautiful places in Puglia during your road trip in Puglia..
How do you get around in Puglia?
There are several ways to get around in Puglia, depending on your preferences and budget. We advise you to rent a car on your road trip to Puglia.
Renting a car is the best way to explore Puglia, as it gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace and visit remote areas that may not be accessible by public transportation. There are several car rental companies located in the major cities and airports of Puglia such as Bari or Lecce.
If you have kids, we created a printable activity pack with games, fun facts about Italy, and more. You can buy the activity pack Italy for kids on Etsy.
When you rent a car in Italy you’ll need:
- a driver’s license from your home country
- you must be at least 21y old (sometimes 25y depending on the rental company)
- your passport (or ID)
- a credit card in your name (the main driver)
You can check Rentalcars.com for the best prices. When we go to Italy, we prefer SunnyCars. Cancellation is possible 1 hour before the start and the price is very transparent. No hidden fees and everything is included.
Check the best prices in Bari for a rental car
What is the best time to visit Puglia?
Puglia has a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and mild winters. The peak tourist season is from June to September when the weather is warm and sunny, and the beaches are at their best. However, temperatures can be very high, especially in July and August, which may not be ideal for everyone.
The spring and fall months (April to May and October to November) are also good times to visit, with milder temperatures and fewer crowds. Those are our favorite months.
But earlier or later in the year many restaurants or bars might be closed. So it is best to check in advance when you go out for dinner.
Puglia is also known for its many festivals and events, which take place throughout the year. The summer months are particularly busy, with many music, food, and cultural festivals taking place. The spring and fall months also have their share of events, such as the Alberobello Light Festival in October.
Is Puglia worth visiting?
Absolutely! Puglia is a beautiful and unique region of Italy that is definitely worth visiting.
One of the main attractions of Puglia is its beautiful beaches, some of the best in Italy. The crystal-clear waters, white sand, and rocky coves make it a paradise for beach lovers. In addition to the beaches, Puglia is also home to many charming towns and villages, each with its own character and history.
Puglia is also known for its unique architecture, such as the Trulli of Alberobello, which are traditional stone houses with conical roofs. These structures have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are a must-see during your road trip to Puglia.
Another reason for us to visit Puglia is its delicious cuisine, which is based on fresh, local ingredients such as olive oil, seafood, and vegetables. The world-famous burrata also comes from here.
We have put together a tour in Puglia for you based on our experiences. You can of course customize this tour yourself.
The perfect 10-day itinerary for Puglia
Day 1: Bari
Bari, the capital city of the Puglia region, welcomes travelers with its charming old town, lively harbor, and bustling shopping streets. After your flight is it time to check into your chosen accommodation and take some time before venturing out to explore the city. The center of Bari can be very busy as it is also a stop for cruise ships.
Suggested activities in Bari
Old Town: Spend the afternoon exploring the narrow streets of Bari’s picturesque old town. Key sights to visit include the Basilica di San Nicola, home to the relics of St. Nicholas, and the impressive Bari Cathedral. You can also book a guided tour to find some secret streets in Bari where the old ladies are still rolling pasta.
Murat District: For shopping enthusiasts, head to the Murat District. Indulge in window shopping or purchase souvenirs in the area’s Via Sparano and Corso Cavour streets.
As evening approaches, consider indulging in a delicious seafood meal at one of Bari’s numerous establishments. After dinner, join the locals in a walk along the scenic Lungomare Nazario Sauro, a lovely promenade stretching along the coast.
Best places to sleep in Bari
Budget: B&B La Muraglia – This charming bed and breakfast is located in the heart of the historic center of Bari, just a few steps from the Basilica of San Nicola and the Castello Svevo. The rooms are cozy and comfortable, and the breakfast is delicious. Prices start at around €50 per night.
Mid-range: Dream Palace Hotel – This elegant hotel is located in the center of Bari, just a short walk from the shopping district and the seafront promenade. The rooms are spacious and well-appointed. Prices start at around €100 per night.
Luxury: Grande Albergo delle Nazioni – This historic hotel is located on the seafront promenade of Bari, with stunning views of the Adriatic Sea. The rooms are luxurious and elegant, with high ceilings and marble bathrooms. The hotel also features a spa, fitness center, rooftop terrace, and gourmet restaurant. Prices start at around €200 per night.
Look here for more hotels or places to sleep in Bari.
Day 2: Bari – Trani – Vieste
On the second day of this Puglia itinerary, we drive to Trani (50min), by following the coast. After we have lunch in Trani we drive further up north to the Gargano National Park. We end our day in Vieste.
Trani is a picturesque coastal town with a rich history. In Trani, you will find medieval streets, a vibrant fishing harbor, and the stunning Cathedral of San Nicola Pellegrino founded in the 11th century. Highlights of the cathedral include its Romanesque architectural style, well-preserved crypt, and impressive bronze doors. The entrance is free.
Lunch in Trani: Enjoy a delicious meal at one of Trani’s seafood restaurants. Gallo restaurant is very nice and located in the harbor.
After lunch, we’re driving to Vieste, located in the Gargano National Park. Gargano National Park is a stunning natural reserve with over 120,000 acres of rugged coastline, dense forests, and rolling hills.
The city of Vieste sits on a rocky promontory overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Vieste is known for its picturesque old town, which features narrow, winding streets, whitewashed buildings, and stunning sea views.
In Vieste, you will find the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. You can also walk to the Norman castle to reach the viewpoint overlooking Castello Beach and the iconic Pizzomunno rock formation.
For dinner, go to Via Pola. There are some restaurants and bars with beautiful sea views. Along the way, you’ll pass Museo Malacologico, a museum of shells. It’s also possible to book a guided walk in Vieste.
Another popular thing to do in Vieste is a boat trip to the Tremiti islands, but we would recommend doing this the next day from Peschici. You can book a boat trip to Baia delle Zagare in Vieste, and see some nice caves.
Best places to sleep in Vieste
Budget: Hotel Sciali – This cozy hotel is located in the heart of Vieste, just a few minutes walk from the beach and the historic center. The rooms are simple and comfortable, and the hotel offers a rooftop terrace with panoramic views. Prices start at around €50 per night.
Mid-range: Hotel Pellegrino Palace – This modern hotel is located on a hilltop overlooking Vieste and the Adriatic Sea. The rooms are spacious and stylish, with balconies and sea views. The hotel also features a pool, spa, and restaurant serving traditional Puglian cuisine. Prices start at around €100 per night.
Luxury: Hotel Palace Vieste – This luxurious hotel is located on a private beach just outside of Vieste. The rooms are elegant and spacious, with balconies and sea views. The hotel also features a pool, spa, fitness center, and gourmet restaurant. Prices start at around €200 per night.
Day 3: Gargano Peninsula – Tremiti islands – Foggia
Gargano National Park
In this park, you can choose to go hiking or you can take the boat to the Tremiti Islands. After your activities, you can drive to Foggia to spend the night there. Or you can also stay in Peschici but then is the drive a bit longer the next day.
- Hiking: Gargano National Park boasts an extensive network of hiking trails suitable for all levels of experience. Explore the picturesque Foresta Umbra, hike up to Monte Sant’Angelo to enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding areas, or follow the coastal trails for breathtaking sea views.
- Boat tour to the Tremiti islands: Discover the island’s stunning coastline and hidden coves aboard a guided boat tour. You’ll have the opportunity to visit marine caves, and secluded beaches, and admire the impressive limestone cliffs.
- Wildlife Watching: Gargano National Park is known for its diverse flora and fauna. Discover an array of plant species in the Foresta Umbra or dive into the world of birdwatching and try to spot some of the park’s resident avian species.
- Wine tasting in the hills of the Gargano National Park.
After all these activities we drive to Foggia, a not to touristic place in Puglia but perfect to spend the night.
Best places to sleep in Foggia
Budget: B&B La Dimora – This cozy bed and breakfast is located in the heart of Foggia, just a few minutes’ walk from the train station and the historic center. The rooms are simple and comfortable, and the breakfast is delicious. Prices start at around €40 per night.
Mid-range: La Magione – La Magione is a charming hotel located just outside of Foggia, offering a peaceful retreat just 3 km from the town center. With easy access to Fiera di Foggia and Pino Zaccheria Stadium, guests can enjoy the best of both worlds. The staff provides exceptional room service, while free WiFi and private parking ensure a stress-free stay. Prices start at €75 per night.
Luxury: Hotel Up Wellness & Spa– Set in Foggia, 1.5 km from Pino Zaccheria Stadium, Hotel Up Wellness & Spa provides accommodation with a bar and private parking.
Day 4: Foggia – Gravina in Puglia – Matera
On the 4th day of our Puglia itinerary, we drive from Foggia to Matera. On our way to Matera, we stop in Gravina in Puglia. In total, it’s about 2h15min drive.
Gravina in Puglia
In Gravina in Puglia you can visit the Castello Svevo. The Castello Svevo is a medieval castle that overlooks the town. Take a tour of the castle and enjoy the panoramic views of Gravina in Puglia from the top. After that, you can explore the rest of the city. There is even a James Bond tour which takes you around the city and the places where the movie was filmed.
You can choose to have lunch in Gravina or Matera as Matera is only 30 minutes away.
Matera was for us one of the highlights of our road trip in Puglia. You will probably spend most of your time in the Sassi. This is the area where all the cave houses and cliffside buildings are. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a guided walk through the narrow streets and soak up the unique atmosphere of this historic neighborhood.
Visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria Della Bruna is an impressive example of Apulian Romanesque architecture. Take a tour of the interior and admire the beautiful frescoes and intricate carvings.
If you have more time you can also discover the MUSMA. The Museum of Contemporary Sculpture Matera (MUSMA) is housed in a 16th-century palace and features a collection of modern and contemporary art.
For dinner, you definitely try some local dishes such as orecchiette pasta, lamb, and bread made with durum wheat. One of our favorite places in Matera for dinner is the Osteria al Casale.
Sleeping in Matera is no problem, and if budget isn’t an issue, we suggest a night in one of the cave hotels!
Best places to sleep in Matera
La Casa di Lucio – Located inside the Matera Sassi UNESCO World Heritage site, Hotel La Casa di Lucio offers rooms built into the rock and a restaurant. Prices start at around €350 per night.
Palazzo Gattini Luxury Hotel – This elegant hotel is located in a restored 18th-century palace in the heart of the Sassi di Matera. The rooms are spacious and luxurious, with vaulted ceilings and stone walls. The hotel also features a spa, rooftop terrace, and gourmet restaurant serving traditional Italian cuisine. Prices start at around €750 per night.
Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita – This unique hotel is located in a series of ancient caves in the Sassi di Matera. The rooms are beautifully restored and decorated with antique furnishings, and the hotel offers a spa, restaurant, and panoramic terrace with views of the city. Prices start at around €700 per night.
Day 5: Matera – Taranto – Galipoli
It’s time to head back to the coast, to Taranto. You can choose to stop in Nando or drive straight to Gallipoli. In total, it’s a 3h drive to the south region of Puglia.
In Taranto, you can visit the Castello Aragonese, a beautiful military castle with remains which are almost 3000 years old… It is located on one of the islands that all are connected. More info about how to visit the castle can be found here. The visit is free (with a guide) but you have to reserve in advance.
You can choose to have lunch in Taranto or in Nardo. In Nardo, you have the Piazza Salandra, a square with some beautiful buildings. Also, you can visit the Church of San Domenico and the Sedile.
Don’t forget the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Basilica di Santa Maria al Bagno, both showcasing remarkable frescoes. If you like to visit museums, Nardo is the place to be. On this website, you can find a list of all museums in Puglia.
Gallipoli is a charming fishing village with a rich history. Wander through the narrow alleys of the old town, discovering its mix of Baroque and medieval architecture. Visit the Gallipoli Castle and the Cathedral of Sant’Agata to appreciate the beauty of their intricate designs.
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Basilica di Santa Maria al Bagno, both showcase remarkable frescoes. While staying in Gallipoli you can do some nice activities such as:
- Beach hopping: Enjoy the sun and sea on famous nearby beaches such as Baia Verde, Punta della Suina, and Porto Selvaggio.
- Boat tour: Experience the breathtaking beauty of Puglia’s coast from the water, taking a scenic boat tour around the shores of Gallipoli and Nardò.
- Nature walks: Get in touch with nature as you stroll through the nearby Porto Selvaggio Natural Park, discovering diverse flora and fauna.
Best places to sleep in Gallipoli
Budget: B&B Palazzo Senape De Pace – This charming bed and breakfast is located in the heart of Gallipoli’s historic center, just a few minutes walk from the beach. The rooms are cozy and comfortable, and the breakfast is delicious. Prices start at around €75 per night.
Mid-range: Hotel 33 Baroni – Guests of Hotel 33 Baroni have access to a rooftop terrace with stunning views of the sea and the city, as well as a lounge area where they can relax and unwind after a day of exploring. It’s a bit further from the sea (1km).
Luxury: Palazzo del Corso – This elegant hotel is located in a historic building in the center of Gallipoli, just a short walk from the beach and the old town. The rooms are spacious and stylish, with balconies and sea views. The hotel also features a rooftop terrace, spa, and restaurant serving traditional Puglian cuisine. Prices start at around €350 per night.:
Day 6: Galipoli – Santa Maria di Leuca – Otranto
After breakfast, we’re heading further south to the most southern point of our itinerary Puglia. It’s about 2u driving today, depending on how many stops at the beach for a good swim!
Otranto and Santa Maria di Leuca
On day 6, we will explore the enchanting coastal towns of Otranto and Santa Maria di Leuca.
Head south to Santa Maria di Leuca, known as the “Land’s End” of Italy. This charming town is where the Adriatic and Ionian seas meet. Witness the monumental lighthouse, the 19th-century Basilica di Santa Maria de Finibus Terrae, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding coastline.
After lunch in Santa Maria di Leuca, head to Otranto, famous for its turquoise waters and stunning sights. This is an ancient town with a rich history and impressive architecture. Stroll along the picturesque harbor, visit the Otranto Cathedral, and see the Castle of Otranto.
Best places to sleep in Otranto
Budget: La Plancia – This hotel offers affordable rates, clean and comfortable rooms, and a good location in the historic center of Otranto, just a short walk from the beach and the main attractions of the city. Prices start from €75 per night.
Mid-range: Hotel Palazzo Papaleo – This elegant hotel is located in a restored 18th-century building in the heart of Otranto’s old town. The rooms are spacious and stylish, with balconies and sea views. The hotel also features a spa, rooftop terrace, and restaurant serving traditional Puglian cuisine. Prices start at around €150 per night.
Luxury: Masseria Montelauro – This luxurious hotel is located just outside of Otranto, surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. The rooms are elegant and spacious, with private terraces and sea views. The hotel also features a pool, spa, and restaurant serving gourmet cuisine made with local ingredients. Prices start at around €245 per night.
Day 7: Otranto – Lecce – Ostuni
On day 7 of our road trip in Puglia we’re heading back inland to one of the biggest towns in Puglia, Lecce. After a full day off visiting Lecce, we drive more north to the “white city” Ostuni.
Lecce, often referred to as the “Florence of the South,” is a Baroque masterpiece boasting an impressive array of architectural wonders.
Start your day with a leisurely stroll through the enchanting streets of the historic center. Make sure to visit the Piazza del Duomo, a beautiful square where you’ll find the stunning Lecce Cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace, and the Seminary. Continue your exploration by visiting the impressive Church of Santa Croce and the adjacent Palazzo dei Celestini, both displaying prime examples of Baroque architecture
After that, you can discover the ancient Roman history of Lecce by visiting this remarkable archeological site. The amphitheater is located in Sant’Oronzo Square, and dates back to the 2nd century AD and could once accommodate up to 25,000 spectators.
Lecce Food Tour: Indulge in the flavors of Puglia by joining a guided food tour through the streets of Lecce. Sample local specialties such as orecchiette pasta, taralli, and pasticciotto, learning about their history and the Lecce culinary scene from an expert guide.
Traditional Paper Mache Workshop: Get hands-on experience with the local artisanal craft by participating in a paper mache workshop. Learn the techniques used to create stunning paper mache sculptures, masks, and other objects, and take home a memorable handmade souvenir.
Ostuni, the “White City”
Ostuni, also known as the “White City,” is famous for its whitewashed stone buildings that shimmer in the sunlight. It is time to get lost in the labyrinthine alleys, stunning churches, and the striking 15th-century Gothic-style Cathedral of Ostuni.
This impressive cathedral features a stunning rose window and the Museum of Sacred Art. Entry is free, but a small donation is recommended.
If you have more time you can also visit Ceglie Messapica. It is a lesser-known destination, but it offers a truly authentic experience of Puglian culture. This historic town is a foodie paradise with its exceptional local cuisine, traditional trattorias, and celebrated fine-dining restaurants.
Best places to sleep in Ostuni
Budget: Il Girasolle – it is located in the centre of Ostuni, Il Girasole offers a classic-style apartment, a 5-minute walk from Ostuni’s White City. Prices start from €60 per night.
Mid-range: Suite Le Grotte – This suite is located in the heart of Ostuni’s historic center, just a few minutes walk from the city’s main attractions. The rooms are cozy and comfortable, and the breakfast is delicious. Prices start at around €180 per night.
Luxury: Masseria Salinola – This luxurious Masseria is located just outside of Ostuni, surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. The rooms are elegantly decorated, with vaulted ceilings and antique furnishings. The Masseria also features a pool, spa, and restaurant serving gourmet cuisine made with local ingredients. Prices start at around €210 per night.
Day 8: Ostuni – Cisternino- Locorondo – Alberobello
If you look up Pugliea on the Internet you will undoubtedly see a photo of one of the many trullis. These are the stone huts with a conical roof. These are now mainly found and restored in Alberobello and Locorotondo.
Alberobello and Locorotondo
On the 8th day of our 10-day Puglia itinerary, we will explore the enchanting towns of Alberobello and Locorotondo. You can also do a small detour to Cisternino.
As we said before, Alberobello is famous for its distinct whitewashed stone huts called trulli, which have conical roofs. This unique architectural style, dating back to the late 17th century, has earned the town UNESCO World Heritage status.
In Alberobello, visit the Trullo Sovrano, a two-story trullo converted into a museum where you can learn about the history and construction of these unique dwellings. Also, pay a visit to the Chiesa di Sant’Antonio, an interesting trullo-shaped church.
After Alberobello, you can drive to Locorotondo which is only 15min away.
Wander through the narrow streets of Locorotondo, exploring the charming piazzas and admiring the panoramic views. Don’t miss the historic Centro Storico, where you can admire beautifully preserved examples of Baroque and Rococo architecture.
Best places to sleep in Alberobello
Of course, we will spend the night in a Trulli. We made a selection.
Trulli Holiday Albergo Diffuso – This family – trullo is located in the heart of Alberobello’s historic district, in a traditional trullo. Breakfast is included. Prices start from €190 per night.
Trulli Suite Curcuma – Suite Curcuma is situated in the Trulli Zone district of Alberobello. You can also rent bicycles. Prices start from €142 per night.
Le Dieci Porte – Stella and Christophe will welcome you in their beautifully renovated trulli close to Alberobello. Extra is the swimming pool. Prices start from €130.
Day 9: Alberobello – Monopoli – Polignano A Mare – San Vito
On the 9th day of this amazing road trip through Puglia, we will visit some nice towns at the sea. The total driving today will take us about 1 hour.
Monopoli’s old town is a maze of narrow streets and alleys lined with whitewashed houses, historic churches, and charming piazzas. Monopoli has several beautiful beaches with crystal-clear waters and stunning scenery. Some of the popular beaches include Cala Porta Vecchia, Cala Cozze, and Porto Bianco.
Another possibility is taking a boat tour. It is a great way to explore the coastline and nearby caves. You can also go snorkeling or swimming in the crystal-clear waters.
Polignano a Mare
A bit further is Polignano a Mare. For us, this was a bit too touristy but still, it’s worth visiting. The most famous place is probably the stunning Lama Monachile beach. The crystal-clear turquoise waters make it perfect for a refreshing dip.
While in Polignano a Mare, don’t miss visiting the Grotta Palazzese, a natural cave eroded by the sea, which hosts a unique and elegant restaurant inside. It’s a remarkable dining experience you won’t forget.
If you like Musea, you can have a look at the Pino Pascali Museum, dedicated to the famous Italian sculptor and painter, this museum showcases Pascali’s works along with other contemporary art exhibitions.
The San Vito Abbey is a Benedictine abbey. It was designed in the 10th century and is still inhabited. There are currently 88 monks living there. There is a beautiful small beach in front of the abbey, which is a popular spot for local Italians in the summer. Unfortunately, you cannot visit the abbey from the inside.
We spent our last night of this road trip in Puglia before heading back to Bari. In Puglia, you have a lot of nice Masseria where you can spend the night. We wrote a complete article with the best Masseria in Puglia.
Best places to sleep
Masseria Torre Coccaro – This beautiful Masseria is located just outside Monopoli in Savelletri. The rooms are spacious and luxurious. They have a lovely swimming pool and a nice playground for the kids (with water). They have a shuttle service to the beach where they have their own private beach with a restaurant!
The restaurant is amazing and serves the best food we had during our stay in Puglia. The perfect ending for your vacation in Puglia. From here to Bari it is about 1h.
Day 10: San Vito – Bari
Today we are heading back to Bari. Depending on your flight you could still visit some places along the way or just chill at the beach close to the Masseria Torre Coccaro.
We hope you enjoy your vacation in Puglia Italy!