If you seek crisp white villages overlooking turquoise adriatic seas or days under the sun with your golf clubs Puglia holidays have something for you.
Begin your search for the perfect Italian holiday in Apulia here
Your search for Puglia Holidays might begin at the ‘spur’ of what’s know as the Italian boot, the beautiful Gargano Promontory on the south east corner of Italy, in the northern Apulia straddling the sea and plains.
This is a place of dark ancient forests, fishing villages, coastal watchtowers, dazzlingly white limestone cliffs, caves and long, sandy beaches, all of which help make it one of the top Italian destination. Most of this mountainous land jutting into the Adriatic Sea is a National Park – the Parco Nazionale del Gargano. It is cloaked with coastal forests of pine and ilex and orchards where almonds, oranges and olives grow.
The Apulian seaside towns of Peschici and Vieste have lovely sandy beaches. To the north, the offshore 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.
Inland, white medieval towns such as Ostuni, dazzle against the rich red soil and carpets of silvery green olive groves and vineyards in this, the region that produces much of Italy’s olive oil and full-bodied, lusty wines. Elsewhere standing proud and solitary on the summit of a rock, the 13th century Castel del Monte surveys the vast plains of Apulia. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a masterpiece of medieval military architecture built by Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily, and well worth a visit by those spending their holidays in Apulia. Such is the castle’s fame that it even appears on the obverse side of the Italian euro one cent coin!
But perhaps most famous are the trulli around Alberobello. They stand in rows like little white beehives reaching towards azure skies, with pinnacles or crosses and strange stone markers that are said to have magical significance. The lush Istria Valley, a World Heritage Site, has these unique ‘hobbit’ houses, scattered throughout the countryside. At one time seven or eight people would have lived in these tiny dry stone dwellings, the children upstairs and the horse with his manger and the adults below. Nowadays, many have been restored and made into homes for hip Puglia holidays. Others have been extended to become hotels, excellent bases for holidays exploring Apulia.
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 plenty of Puglia holidays include tours of local olive presses where you can taste different olive varieties.
Wine buffs will be spoiled for choice in this region once known as ‘the wine cellar of Europe’. Near Alberobello there are good local whites from Martina Franca and Locorotondo while the full-bodied reds from the south such as Malvasia Nera and Negromaro are very popular.
Search for a food and wine tour in Apulia here
Holidays in Apulia are an ideal opportunity to visit the tip of the heel known as the ‘Florence of the South’ where Lecce is known for its exuberantly voluptuous architecture called ‘Lecce Baroque‘. The local yellow pink-tinged stone carved by skilled craftsmen has etched out this lovely city’s proud boast as 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.
As well as beach-hopping, swimming and sightseeing Puglia holidays can be sporty. There’s cycling country for those who prefer the gentle roll of the Apulian lowlands. Bring your irons if you’re a keen golfer as that same lowland terrain is fast becoming a desirable golfing destination with no less than four uniquely different 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…
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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.