If you seek crisp,white villages overlooking turquoise Adriatic seas, or days under the sun with your golf clubs, you’ll find it in Puglia, one of the top destinations in Italy. This is a place of dark ancient forests, fishing villages, dazzlingly white limestone cliffs, and sandy beaches.
Seaside Towns & Islands – The Apulian seaside towns of Peschici and Vieste have lovely sandy beaches. To the north, the Tremiti Islands have glorious rugged scenery with dozens of coves. Find exceptional diving in underwater caves and snorkelling over coral reefs sure to delight keen divers on holidays in Apulia.
Ostuni – The medieval towns around Ostuni feature carpets of silvery green olive groves and vineyards. This region produces much of Italy’s olive oil and full-bodied, lusty wines.
Castel del Monte – Standing proud on the summit of a rock, the 13th century UNESCO World Heritage Site is a masterpiece of medieval military architecture built by Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily.
Istria Valley – The lush valley is a World Heritage Site where you’ll find the famous Alberobello trulli that stand in rows like little white beehives. These tiny dry stone dwellings used to house seven or eight people from the 16th century. Many have now been turned into homes or hotels for hip Puglia holidays.
On a much more grand scale are the centuries-old fortified farmhouses, masserie, many of which have been restored into luxury hotels set amongst huge groves of ancient olive trees. This region produces more than half of Italy’s olive oil so many of Puglia holidays include tours of local olive presses where you can taste different varieties.
Lecce (the Tip of the Heel) – In Lecce, you’re in the tip of the heel, known as the ‘Florence of the South’. Lecce is known for its wonder architecture called ‘Lecce Baroque‘. The yellow, pink-tinged stone forms one of the most unified urban landscapes in Italy. The most perfect example is the 16th century Basilica della Santa Croce adorned with beauties and beasts – from cherubs, flowers and fruits to grotesque human shapes and fantasy allegorical animals.
Wine – This region was once known as ‘the wine cellar of Europe’. Near Alberobello, you’ll find local whites from Martina Franca and Locorotondo, and full-bodied reds, such as Malvasia Nera and Negromaro. Find a food and wine tour in Apulia.
Sports Holidays – As well as beach-hopping, swimming and sightseeing, Puglia holidays can be sporty, too. There’s cycling in the Apulian lowlands. The same lowland terrain is fast becoming a desirable golfing destination with four unique golf courses.
There’s no doubt that Puglia Holidays cover the diverse agendas of the active family! Now all you need to do is find your perfect spot.
Where to eat
North of Bari in Barletta there is a wonderful restaurant called Lupo di Mare. It is the perfect place to sample the best “Frittura mista” and “Spaghetti allo scoglio”
Eat at Maddalena Restaurant in Savelletri, ask for a table by the water. The outside tables are fantastic with the sea lapping just beneath your feet – the quintessential definition of all holidays in Puglia.
Tip by Essential Italy
We highly recommend having an aperitivo at wonderful Pescheria Due Mari in Savelletri, Fasano near Brindisi.
Tip by Essential Italy
Corteinfiore Restaurant has simply the best Italian sushi in the striking porto of Trani. Make sure you visit the stunning Norman Cathedral there too.
Tip by Italian Country Cottages
We always try to offer those who choose to spend their holidays in Puglia some off the beaten path culinary tips. For a truly mouth watering lunch or dinner that only the locals know about, head for Masseria Frantoio (Ostuni), which is home of an ancient oil mill in the basement, where they make a delicious olive leaves liqueur and combine a different olive oil with each recipe.
If you're a film buff you'll also be able to indulge your passion in Puglia. Holidays to Lecce, should include a visit to Tamborino Palace, a wonderful Baroque building with a secret garden and the film location of “Mine Vaganti” (Loose canons).
Tip by Discovery Puglia
The trulli take their name from the Greek tholo (cupola). Some say they can be traced to the end of the 9th century and the theory is that they were a tax dodge - a notorious Italian pastime - as they could be classified as 'unfinished'. When drawing up agendas for Puglia holidays, the trulli must be high on the priority list.
A foodie speciality of Apulia isorecchiette - pasta in the shape of little ears, often served with broccoli and anchovies or cime di rapa (turnip tops). Delicious too is the bounty of the sea, usually served simply and accompanied with lashings of home-grown extra-virgin olive oil. Holidays in Puglia would be incomplete without a couple of these regional dishes under your belt.