Hi fellow traveller,
Wow, it’s been a really long time since I wrote a new blogpost. You are probably asking why? Well I noticed that my Instagram is more popular than my website www.anewjacket.com. You all know a picture is worth a thousand words, right?
But I’m making an exception right now. Since a few days now, we are back from a really cool road trip through a beautiful region in the south of Italy: Puglia!
I noticed that lots of people send me personal messages on Instagram, asking me if I wanted to show them our travel route through this cute region in Italy.
We spent 2 wonderful weeks driving around its gorgeous coastline and sumptuous countryside sampling the best of this relatively undiscovered region in southern Italy.
After many evenings of research, planning and mapping, we decided that this route would bring us to all the highlights we wanted to visit, at a pace which gave us freedom to experience lesser known villages, some of the best beaches in Puglia and its coastal hideaways.
So, if you’re in the planning stage for your own road trip and looking for some ideas, information and inspiration on where to visit and where to stay in Puglia, then this is the post for you!
Before you go, these are the essentials you have to take with you:
- Goggles (It looks really childish, but I used this one every day haha)
- Water shoes (Puglia has lots of pebbles beaches)
- Underwater camera (for lots of hours underwater fun)
We divided our trip in 3 parts:
Brussels-Brindisi (you can fly to Bari as well)
Part 1: region Gargano
Hotel: Hotel Torre Santamaria Resort
The village is perched on a rocky promontory between two long sandy beaches are just a few kilometers to the east of Lake Varano. For us it was cute to see but if you don’t have enough time, it’s not a problem if you skip it.
Peschici, an evocative fishing village which is part of the Gargano National Park, is a popular destination for tourists on holiday in the Gargano. And we noticed that! We couldn’t even find a parking spot for our car. But driving through this village, was beautiful to see!
By the way, in Peschici boat excursions are organized from the port to visit the sea caves of the coast and ferry trips to the Tremiti Islands, about 15 km from the Gargano coast.
This beautiful city, also known for “the Gargano Pearl”, is a must visit if you are in Gargano. Vieste is a pretty seaside town that sits on a white cliffed promontory jutting into the sea. It has a picturesque old town and a long sandy beach on each side. The best photo spot, right?
Baia di Vignanotica
On the internet I’ve read Baia delle Zagare is one of the most beautiful beaches in Gargano. After driving towards it, we figured out it was a private beach and you had to pay a quite big amount for a lounger. That’s why we drove to its neighbor: Baia di Vignanotica. Vignanotica Beach offers a pebble beach with many caves carved by the sea. It has the prettiest clear blue water!
Part 2: Polignano a Mare
Hotel: Echi Di Puglia Resort
Walking through the old town of Bari, seeing the women roll pasta, families have dinners, neighbors talk to each other was just the best (typical Italian) thing! We did some shopping there and one day to explore Bari was just enough!
For shopping by the way, cross Corso Vittorio Emanuelle and walk around the central Bari. Try the small boutiques instead of bigger brand for true Italian style shopping!
Polignano a Mare
This place was one of the most beautiful towns I haeve ever seen! Polignano a Mare is located on a cliff and has the best viewpoints to check out the sea or other parts of this cute city center! We stayed here for 5 nights and that was just perfect. We explored its beaches, restaurants and of course its delicious ice cream places.
If you want to go to the beach at this magical place, you should visit Cala Porto, situated between cliffs with amazing views and clear blue water! It’s quite busy during Summer but don’t forget to bring water shoes.
Situated just 10 kilometers from Polignano a Mare, this was also a cute little town I fell in love with. Monopoli has a charming historic center and a fishing tradition. We did some shopping here (you just have to search for some cool fashion boutiques, but it’s worth it) and went to the beach nearby the old city wall. There were only a few locals here and no tourists. Lucky us!
From our hotel in Polignano a Mare, the little town Ostuni was one hour driving but definitely worth it. Cute little streets to get lost in and lots of cute shops to shop local products! We were here during daytime, but I think at night this little city has a lot to offer. I saw cute restaurants and bars to drink some cocktails!
We visited Locorotondo at the same day as we went to Ostuni. Locorotondo is smaller (but also a beautiful little town) than Ostuni and we thought it was quite similar as well. If you don’t have lots of time and have to make some choices in your travel plan, it’s not a problem to skip this one!
Matera is located in a remote corner in the small region Basilicata. It’s not the easiest place to reach which is why it has managed to remain relatively unknown, especially to foreign tourists, although since it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 visitor numbers are slowly growing and many of its caves have been transformed into stylish hotels and restaurants. For us this town was about 1-hour driving, but definitely a must see! You could feel the ancientness and it was lovely to get lost in its small streets!
Part 3: region Salento
Hotel: A Casa Tu Martinu
Lecce, sometimes called the Florence of the South, is the main city on southern Puglia’s Salento and one of the top places to go in Puglia. Because of the soft limestone, Lecce became the center for the ornate architecture called the Barocco Leccese and the city is filled with Baroque monuments. The historic center of Lecce is compact, making it a great place for walking and its restaurants offer fine food typical of Puglia.
Otranto is a charming town and small port on the Adriatic Sea! This place is definitely worth seeing because of its old town and clear blue water!
Don’t forget to bring your bikini or swimsuit. There’s a clear blue beach nearby the old city wall! (check picture)
Grotta della Poesia
There are breathtaking places in the world, you won’t have any words to describe the feeling you’ll have being in. The Poetry Cave, also known as Grotta della Poesia, is a place like so, definitely!
We were speechless in front of this stunning sight of nature. And of course, I had to take a dive here!
One tip: it’s better to visit Grotta Della Poesia in the morning or in the evening. During the day it can be quite crowded.
Roca Vecchia is situated next to Grotta della Poesia. It’s an architectural site from the 4th century BC and it offers stunning sea views.
We found a photo of a cave facing the sea on Pinterest and we went looking for it at Roca Vecchia. After searching for 1 hour at the wrong location, we finally found it. What an experience!
You want to know the location of this cave? We have parked our car at Parcheggio Roca Vecchia and walked towards the architectural site (it’s a pretty small hiking way, don’t be scared). Behind the architectural site, you can find this beautiful cave located next to the sea.
Spiaggia di Pescoluse (Maldive del Salento)
Another day we drove towards the beach: Spiaggia di Pescoluse, also known as the Maldives of Salento. Google images had raised our hopes a little too high (it was quite crowded, the beach had a bit of litter, and the wind meant the sea was never calm) but it was still the right choice for a few hours of free sunbathing. There are a few simple restaurants offering typical Italian food and lots of car parks by the beach charging as little as 3 or 4 euros per day.
Piscina Naturale di Marina Serra
I found this natural pool on Pinterest and never read it on any travel website or book before. It’s a natural cut into the rocky coast that wends between the reef walls and into a couple of grottoes. It’s truly an enchanting spot!
Gallipoli is located on the western coast of the Salentina peninsula, in the province of Lecce. When viewed from the sea, Gallipoli white skyline reveals itself in all of its oriental beauty. The old city center is located on an ‘island’ and only accessible via an old bridge.
Spiaggia G Beach Gallipoli
If you want to relax a bit and listen to some lounge music, this is the beach club you should go to when you are nearby Gallipoli.
(the last night we spend our night at a small bed&breakfast close to Brindisi airport)
So, if you have read through here, you definitely want to go to Puglia by now!
Hope you enjoyed reading this Puglia blogpost and of course I hope one day you will get to visit this lovely and beautiful region too!
If you have any questions, feel free to send me a Direct Message on my Instagram page! (www.instagram.com/anewjacket)