The heel of the Italian boot is often overlooked when holidaymakers flock to Italy. But in recent years, the region’s popularity with tourists has skyrocketed, and it’s easy to see why. Puglia has crystal-clear beaches, a wealth of history, and mouthwatering Italian delicacies. To explore the region, you’ll need to spend at least 7 to 10 Days in Puglia. It’ll be a whistle-stop tour through a region that has a lot to offer, so you’ll need to read our Puglia itinerary to make the most of your trip.
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How Many Days in Puglia?
The Puglia region of Southern Italy has a unique history with plenty of sites, coves and beaches to discover. While one could easily spend weeks exploring this incredible area, that isn’t always practical for many people. If you have one week off from work, 7 days in Puglia will allow you to see the region’s most popular locations.
With 7 days, you’ll be able to spend some time in Bari, see charming villages like Alberobello and even hop over to Basilicata and see the incredible cave city of Matera.
If you have three more days, 10 days will give you a little more time to explore the region and wander off the beaten path. You can enjoy even more time enjoying time along the coast and relax on the beautiful Termiti Islands.
No matter how long you have to spend on your Puglia trip, you’re sure to fall hard for this dynamic region.
Getting To & Around Puglia
There are two main airports in Puglia. The first one is in the region’s capital city of Bari. Officially known as the Karol Wojtyla Airport, the airport lies 8km north of the city.
It’s serviced by several public transport links including: a public bus which take a bit over an hour, a private bus operated by Tempesta which takes 30 minutes) and a train that takes 17 minutes).
The second airport in the region is located in Brindisi. Also known as Papola Casale Airport, or Aeroporto del Salento, this airport is 6km from the city centre. Brindisi airport is serviced by a local bus route.
If you’re arriving from elsewhere in Italy (or other parts of mainland Europe), the easiest way to arrive into the region is via the country’s extensive railway network.
Bari Centrale (the central station) has direct transport links to both Rome and Naples. There are also reliable bus links to other regions such as Campania and Sicily, as well as ferries to Croatia that arrive into the Porto di Bari. You can browse train and bus schedules here.
While Puglia boasts robust public transport links, buses and trains can be infrequent and late. To explore the region well (and without delays), renting a car and setting out on a road trip in Puglia is the way to go. If you do decide to rent a car, make sure to check parking before your journey as finding parking can be a bit tricky in Italy.
If you want to hire a car for your trip to Puglia, have a look at Rentalcars.com to compare prices across a number of different companies.
7 to 10-Day Puglia Itinerary
By now, we know you’re itching to explore Puglia’s historical centres, walking routes and its protected beaches. Though it’s certainly very different to a visit to cities like Venice or Florence, Puglia is an incredible and dynamic region that is a joy to explore.
Day 1 – Bari
Spend the first day of your holiday getting a feel for the region in its capital city of Bari. Bari is a port city situated on the Adriatic Sea and is a great place to set up shop for exploring the bulk of the region.
When you’ve arrived in Bari, make a beeline for the historical centre (the centro storico). In the heart of this cobbled labyrinth is the Basilica of San Nicola. Constructed in 1197, this church is known for its striking exterior, including the front facade, which boasts intricate stonework. Head inside to explore the tomb of Saint Nicholas.
Once you’ve explored the Basilica, take a stroll through the narrow alleyways that surround the old town. As you walk down cobbled lanes, keep your eyes peeled for an Italian grandmother (nonna) who might be making fresh pasta in the street.
Around the corner from the Basilica, you’ll find the church of San Sabino. The church stands tall on the Bari skyline. While it’s stunning to see during the day, to see its true effect make sure to approach the church during the evening too.
As well as a walk along the promenade, Bari Castle is well worth a visit too. The 13th Century Castle is now a museum and home to ruins and other artefacts. Entry into the museum costs €6.
If you’ve been exploring Bari at a leisurely pace, save yourself some time by grabbing a slice of focaccia Barese, a panzerotti or a gelato from a gelateria.
Where to Stay in Bari
B&B Dolce Incanto – For mid-range travellers looking for a comfortable and central place to stay in Bari, this bed and breakfast is an excellent option. Centrally located, there are a number of lovely rooms to choose from, friendly owners and breakfast included in the morning.
Fourooms Bari – If you’re looking for a bit of luxury when staying in Bari, then this hotel is an excellent option. They have a number of luxe rooms available, a great location and plenty of other amenities to ensure your stay is a great one.
Olive Tree, Bari – This hostel is a fantastic option if you’re travelling solo or on a tight budget while in Puglia. They have a range of both dorm beds and private rooms available, a central location and good common areas that make it easy to meet other people.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Bari hotels!
Day 2 – Polignano a Mare & Monopoli
Spend your second day visiting the seaside cities of Polignano a Mare and Monopoli. From Bari, Polignano a Mare is a 40-minute drive away or a 30-minute train journey.
Start your day in picture-perfect Polignano a Mare. Head through the maze-like historical centre where winding pathways are lined with whitewashed stone buildings. As you wander around, look for poetry in the streets. Throughout the city, poems are adorned on doors and steps. Visit Vitolo della Poesia for an Instagram-worthy snap of yourself with some of the poetry.
As well as the town’s love of literature, there are many breathtaking viewing points. If you’d like a view of the beach, head to Terrazzo Santo Stefano for a view of the beach nestled between two cliffs. If you choose to head down to the beach, make sure to admire the magnificent bridge on your way.
If you end your morning at the beach, grab a plate of seafood and a cocktail at a seafront restaurant or an eatery with a view.
From Polignano, drive down the coast to Monopoli. It’ll take you 15 minutes by car or train (but the train station is a slight walk from the centre).
As you walk through Monopoli’s old town, you’ll need to navigate your way through a charming maze of stone buildings. Because Monopoli is a port town, the harbour is lined with blue picturesque fishing boats.
While you could easily spend an entire afternoon relaxing at one of Monopoli’s beaches, there are also a few local attractions to see. Head to Monopoli’s baroque cathedral, Madonna della Madia, which has an impressive bell tower.
If you want to understand some of Monopoli’s history, visit the il Bastione del Molino ruins. These are the remains of an old defensive wall that now act as splendid viewing points. You can also book a walking tour of the Old Town.
Day 3 – Ostuni
Head further south to the city of Ostuni. Known by many as the white city, Ostuni gleams under the Italian sun. The largest town in a valley packed full of other whitewashed villages, Ostuni is one of Puglia’s dazzling gems, and a must for many.
When you arrive in Ostuni make a beeline for the centre of the old town where you’ll find an impressive Gothic-Romanesque-Byzantine cathedral. The cathedral dates back to the 15th Century and contains three naves and several paintings.
After you’ve explored the cathedral, make sure to walk under the Arco di Scoppa. This bridge was modelled after the Bridge of Sighs in Venice. It was originally built from wood but has since been replaced. The bridge connects the Bishop’s palace to the Seminarian’s Palace. It is also possible to organise a walking tour here.
Where to Stay in Ostuni
Casa d’Autore – This bed and breakfast is an excellent place to base yourself in Ostuni if you’re looking for something small and intimate. Centrally located for exploring this beautiful town, there are plenty of rooms to choose from, a beautiful location and breakfast available each morning.
Hotel La Terra – For those looking for a bit of luxury in Ostuni, then this four-star hotel is a perfect choice. They have a number of luxe rooms available, a historic location and there is even an on-site restaurant and bar.
Caterina’s Suites & Apartament – If you’re looking for your own apartment while visiting Puglia, then there are plenty to choose from at this place. Centrally located close to everything Ostuni has to offer, they have a number of suites and fully-furnished apartments to choose from.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Ostuni hotels!
Day 4 – Alberobello
On your fourth day, head back north to the whimsical town of Alberobello. Famous for the small conical-shaped huts called the trulli, Alberobello looks like it’s been plucked from a fairytale and is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
When you arrive in Alberobello give yourself plenty of time to wander through the streets and alleyways. You’ll notice that some trulli have been transformed into tiny shops, while others still function as homes.
As well as exploring the trulli and taking plenty of photos, you’ll want to visit Alberobello’s church, the Chiesa dei Santi Medici Cosma e Damiano. The church stands tall in the town square and offers an architectural contrast to the trulli. You can also organise a walking tour here.
If you find yourself left with a bit more time on your hands, then you can also visit the neighbouring city of Martina France (a 20-minute drive away), or visit the caves of Castellana that are situated just outside of Castellana Grotte (an 18-minute drive away).
Day 5 – Matera
For your fifth day, head out of the region entirely and hop across the border to the neighbouring region of Basilicata where you’ll find the city of Matera.
Though it is not part of Puglia, Matera is one of the oldest constantly inhabited cities in the world and very much worth adding onto your itinerary. It’s been made famous by films such as Ben Hur and James Bond’s No Time to Die, but you can experience some of the movie magic too.
From Alberobello, Matera is just over an hour’s drive away. If you’re arriving from Bari, it’s a 50-minute drive. It can also be reached by train from Bari North station. The train takes one hour, but they run rather infrequently.
Once you’ve arrived, make a beeline for the oldest part of Matera, the Sassi area. Start your day by wandering through the cobbled streets, and get lost among the ancient buildings. The stone buildings have been carved out of the twin ravines that divide the town.
However, if you’d like to walk with some purpose, head to the church of Saint Agostino. Perched high above the other buildings, the church gives incredible views of the whole of Matera. You can also go on a guided walking tour to learn more about the history of this city.
Spend the night at one of the stone hotels. There you’ll be able to experience life like a local – especially if you opt to stay in one of the Sassi areas.
Because you’re spending two days out of your itinerary in Matera, you’re going to need to find a great place to stay. If you’re only spending 7 days, plan to spend 2 nights in Matera, however, if you’ve planned a 10-day itinerary, you’ll want to spend 3 nights in this historic city.
Where to Stay in Matera
Palazzotto Residence & Winery – If you’re looking for an interesting place to stay in Matera, then this hotel and winery is a great option. Located in the heart of Matera, they have a number of lovely rooms available, are pet friendly and even have breakfast available each morning.
Casa Blanca Matera – For those after a luxury stay in beautiful Matera, you cannot go wrong with this four-star hotel. Situated in the centre of the city, they have countless amenities and a number of plush rooms to choose from.
L’Ostello Dei Sassi – Perfect for solo travellers or those who are sticking to a tight budget, this hostel is a great option in Matera. Located in the city centre, there are both dorms and private rooms to choose from and good common areas to enjoy.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Matera hotels!
Day 6 – Matera
On your second day in Matera, spend the day ticking off your Matera bucket list.
There are plenty of sites to visit, including: the church of Saint Mary of Idris, the church of S Pietro Caveso, the church of Santa Lucia alle Malve as well as the Duomo of Matera. As well as churches, you’ll walk through stunning piazzas or pop into a museum or two.
However, if you’ve had your fill of historical centres, you can also take a hike along the gorge. A hike will take in the region of two hours and you’ll walk past abandoned churches and caves.
Day 7 – Altamura
If you’re spending 7 days in Puglia, you’ll want to start heading back to Bari airport on your final day. Instead of driving directly back to Bari, stop off in Altamura.
Although it’s small, it’s very picturesque. Head to the cathedral square, and dive into Altamura’s cathedral.
A walk around Altamura will be quick, so get outdoors and walk one of the trails in Parco Nazionale dell’Alta Murgia.
There are cycling routes, slow walking routes and plenty of wildlife to discover. It’s a break from the whitewashed towns, cathedrals and usual architecture and another reminder that Puglia has a little bit of something for everyone.
Day 8 – Monte Sant’Angelo & Vieste
If you’re spending 10 days in the region and need more ideas for your Puglia road trip itinerary, then spend more time exploring Gargano in the north of the region.
From Matera, take the two-hour drive to Mote Sant’Angelo. As the name suggests, Monte Sant’Angelo, sits around 800m above sea level. This means its buildings are perched among the hilltops and the blue skies.
When you’re there, head to the Sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo, the castle and the church of Saint Peter.
A visit to Monte Sant’Angelo won’t take you all day (or even a few hours). Instead, drive one hour along the coast to Vieste.
Vieste is a small, picturesque, coastal town. Standing proud on top of a hill, where you’ll want to soak up some of those views. After you’ve looked out at the coast, head to the Swabian castle, Vieste cathedral, Vieste lighthouse and finish your day at the beach.
Where to Stay in Vieste
Casa Giulia – This bed and breakfast located in the historic centre of Vieste is the perfect base for mid-range visitors. They have a number of great rooms available (some with sea views!), they are pet friendly and have breakfast available each morning.
Dimora Del Dragone – For those looking for luxury in Vieste, then this hotel is an excellent choice. They have a great location within easy walking distance of all the town has to offer and countless wonderful rooms to choose from to ensure that your stay is incredible.
Casa Frida – If you’d like to have your own apartment or holiday home in Vieste, then this place has a few great properties to choose from. Centrally located, there are plenty of fully furnished places available that can suit both families and couples.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Vieste hotels!
Day 9 – Tremiti Islands
Spend your final 2 days holidaying with the Italians on the Tremiti Islands. This archipelago consists of five small islands including San Nicola, San Domino, Capraia, Cretaccio and Pianosa.
They’re located 20km north from Gargano, and accessible from four ports: Rodi Garganico, Peschici, Vieste and Manfredonia. Ferries onto the islands take around an hour, but it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy the stunning scenery.
Hop on a ferry from Vieste to San Domino. As one of the larger islands, San Domino has hotels, B&Bs and overnight accommodation for tourists. If you do choose to stay on the island overnight, expect to pay a little more.
The island of San Domino is covered in a refreshing pine forest. There’s also a rural and rustic village with a chapel too. Make sure to explore the coves that run along the coastline before spending an afternoon jumping in the waters at the beach.
Where to Stay in San Domino
Relais Al Faro Bed&Breakfast – An excellent option on San Domino, this bed and breakfast is perfect for those who are visiting Puglia on a mid-range budget. They have a great location, plenty of clean and comfortable rooms to choose from and breakfast on offer in the morning.
Hotel Kyrie Isole Tremiti – This four-star hotel is the perfect place to stay if you want a bit of luxury while exploring the Tremiti Islands. Boasting an inviting swimming pool, a private beach and its own restaurant, there are also a number of great rooms to choose from.
Cottage Mare e Stelle – If you’re looking for a slice of home while visiting the Tremiti Islands, then this fully-furnished one-bedroom is a lovely choice for you. It is centrally located for exploring the island and also has a wonderful outdoor seating area for you to enjoy.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Tremiti Islands hotels!
Day 10 – Tremiti Islands
If you want to see more of the islands, you can hop on a ferry to the island of San Nicola. This island has a little more history and precious buildings such as the Sanctuary of Santa Maria a Mare and the castle of Badiali have been well preserved.
The best way to catch a glimpse of all five islands is by jumping on a boat tour. Tours of the island take a few hours, and many will take you to the perfect spot for a dip in the sun as well as other key sites such as the Grotta del Bue Marino.
Have More Time?
Puglia is a region packed with incredible towns and villages. If you have more than 10 days on your itinerary for Puglia or plan on returning then there is so much more you can see and do.
Why not head further south to explore Brindisi, Lecce and Otranto? You might want to visit the fort-town of Gallipoli or visit the charming towns of Barletta, Bitonto or Locorotondo.
You might want to spend more time at the beach, if you do we recommend Torre Guaceto, Baia dei Turchi or the Grotta della Poesia
There are also other incredible sites that you can explore such as the UNESCO-listed Castel del Monte or alternatively, you can head to nearby regions such as the Amalfi Coast. Like with any region in Italy, you’ll never have enough time to explore every nook and cranny.
There is so much to see in this dynamic region that planning a visit to Puglia is truly a dream. Whether you have 7 days, 10 days or more, you’re sure to fall in love with the heel of Italy’s boot.
Are you planning a trip to Puglia? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!