Puglia Travel Guide: Discovering Puglia in 7 days

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Hello, fellow wanderers! Exploring Italy has always been on my bucket list, and now that I live here, I’m thrilled to share with you the unforgettable journey I embarked on with my uni friends. We spent seven days exploring the enchanting region of Puglia, Italy, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it in this Puglia travel guide. So, grab a cup of coffee (or a glass of Italian wine), sit back, and let me take you on a virtual tour of our adventure in the South of Italy.

Day 1: Arrival in Brindisi and Journey to Torre Chianca

Our adventure began in Rome, where we hopped on a plane to Brindisi. Upon arrival, we took a train and then taxi to our home for the week – a stunning villa near Torre Chianca beach. The villa was the typical old Italian villa, very spacious, and complete with a pool plus a huge garden. After settling in, we spent the rest of the day unwinding by the pool, gearing up for the week ahead.

Day 2: A Day of Leisure and Exploring Lecce

We started our first full day in Puglia with a slow morning at the beach, soaking up the sun and enjoying the serene surroundings. In the afternoon, we hopped on a bus to Lecce, often referred to as the ‘Florence of the South’. This charming city is known for its Baroque architecture, and we spent the day wandering through its narrow streets, admiring the intricate facades of the buildings. Don’t miss the Basilica di Santa Croce and the Roman Amphitheatre. We ended the day with a delicious meal at a local trattoria, indulging in some traditional Puglian cuisine.

Pro tip: check the bus schedule beforehand so you won’t miss the last bus back! Purchase your bus ticket at the local tabacchi or even some local mini market.

Day 3: An Unexpected Turn in Bari

On the third day, we picked up our rental car (and yes, we got insurance – more on that later!) and set off for Bari. We spent the morning exploring the old town, Bari Vecchia, which is a maze of winding streets, charming piazzas, and beautiful churches. One of the highlights was the Strada delle Orecchiette, a charming street where local women traditionally hand-make orecchiette pasta right in their doorways. This age-old tradition brings the street to life and offers a taste of Bari’s rich culinary heritage. Another landmark worth visiting was the Basilica di San Nicola, a significant pilgrimage site. We also strolled along the Lungomare, Bari’s picturesque seafront promenade.

  • Bari Old Town
  • Shopping street in Bari
  • Strada delle orrechiette, Bari
  • Group foto in Bari
  • Accident spot in Bari

However, our plans to visit Alberobello the same day took an unexpected turn when we got into a minor accident. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but we spent the rest of the day filing a police report and figuring out how to inform the insurance company. Without the insurance, it could have put a serious damper on our trip because it would cost us around 1,000+ for repair. So, take it from me, get the insurance!

Day 4: Coastal Charm in Monopoli

With the previous day’s events behind us, Tamara and I decided to stay back at the villa to enjoy laid back morning. Then in the late afternoon, we headed to Monopoli. This charming coastal town won us over with its fortified walls, castle, and the beautiful Porta Vecchia beach. We spent the day exploring the old town, visiting (more like passing by) the Castle of Carlo V and the Cathedral Basilica of the Madonna della Madia.

  • Lungomare Monopoli
  • Cute house in Monopoli
  • Cafe in Monopoli
  • Cattedrale Maria Santissima della Madia seen from the narrow street
  • Cattedrale Maria Santissima della Madia
  • Colorful ceramics in Monopoli

Day 5: The Trulli of Alberobello and the White City of Ostuni

Day five was a busy one as we visited both Alberobello and Ostuni. We started with Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its unique trulli houses. We explored the Rione Monti district, home to over 1,000 trulli, and visited the Trullo Sovrano, the only two-story trullo.

Later, we headed to Ostuni, the ‘White City’. We wandered through the narrow streets, visited the Cathedral of Ostuni, and enjoyed the panoramic views of the surrounding olive groves from the hilltop old town.

Day 6: Beach Day at Torre Dell’Orso

Our final full day in Puglia was spent at Torre Dell’Orso beach. Known for its clear turquoise waters and soft white sand, it was the perfect place to relax and reflect on our incredible week. We also took a short hike to the Grotta della Poesia, a stunning natural pool nearby. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived, the Grotta was closed 🙁. Be sure to time your visit well so you won’t miss the Grotta like we did! If I remember correctly, there’s a small entrance fee for the Grotta, so be prepared to purchase a ticket.

Day 7: Farewell, Puglia!

On our last day, we returned the rental car and made our way back to Rome, bringing our unforgettable journey to a close.

Our week in Puglia was filled with beautiful landscapes, charming towns, delicious food, and a few unexpected adventures. It’s a region that I wholeheartedly recommend. So, when are you planning your trip to Puglia?

Puglia FAQs

Can I explore Puglia with public transport? What’s the best way to get around Puglia?

Sure, you can use public transport, but it doesn’t run often and is notoriously “unreliable”. Surprisingly, our bus to and from Torre Chianca always arrived on time. However, I would recommend renting a car renting a car. It is the best way to explore Puglia at your own pace. The region is quite spread out, and having a car gives you the freedom to visit the small towns and countryside. Just remember to get insurance – driving in the south can be a bit of an adventure!

How much should I expect to spend for one week in Puglia? Is it Expensive to visit Puglia?

Well, your budget will dictate your expenses. Since I traveled with a large group, I recall spending between 500 – 800 euros, which covered food, shopping, gas, car rental, and accommodation. We only ate out at restaurants for dinner. Most of the time, we cooked at home and had sandwiches for lunch. Compared to some other parts of Italy, Puglia can be quite affordable!

When’s the best time to visit Puglia?

I would say around late spring (May to June) or early fall (September to October). The weather is pleasant, and it’s less crowded than the peak summer months. Before Mid July is doable too! But if you can, avoid mid July – mid August, as you will be competing with the locals for a spot at the beach.

Do I need to know Italian to get around?

Many people in the tourist areas speak English. Italians are generally very friendly and will appreciate any attempt to speak Italian. You’ll get around just fine.

What local food or specialities should I try in Puglia?

Don’t miss the orecchiette pasta, burrata cheese, focaccia barese, panzerotti, and the local seafood. Try some Primitivo wine as well, it comes from the region ( I don’t drink alcohol so I didn’t try it, but if you do, you must!)

What are some must-see spots in Puglia?

Definitely visit Lecce, often called the “Florence of the South”, the unique trulli houses in Alberobello, and the beautiful coastal towns like Polignano a Mare and Ostuni. Of course, not forgetting the stunning beaches.

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