Things to Do in Puglia: Best Attractions and Activities

Melina Thalassinou
Table of Content
Table of Content
Our Tailor-Made Trip Planning
Hop on a quick call with a local expert from our team
Receive a tailor-made itinerary for your journey
Fine-tune the details and you're ready to go

Key Takeaways

  • The things to do in Puglia are plenty, diverse and cater to all tastes
  • Explore historic towns and unique cultural sites
  • Relax on pristine beaches and enjoy natural wonders
  • Immerse in local culture and savor delicious cuisine

cala paura gulfCala Paura Gulf - credits: /Shutterstock.com

Nestled in the picturesque south of Italy, Puglia offers a blend of historical allure, natural beauty, and vibrant local culture that enchants every traveler.

From exploring charming historic towns to basking on turquoise beaches, Puglia has something for everyone.

This diverse region, often referred to as the "heel" of Italy's boot, captivates visitors with its whitewashed villages, ancient olive groves, and pristine coastal landscapes.

Visitors can wander through the labyrinthine streets of medieval towns, uncovering centuries-old churches and castles.

Puglia also promises outdoor adventures for nature enthusiasts with its renowned natural parks and caves.

Whether it's tasting the famed local cuisine or attending one of the region's lively festivals, every experience in Puglia is unforgettable.

Explore the Historic Towns

ostuni pugliaOstuni, Puglia - credits: /Shutterstock.com

Puglia's historic towns offer a rich tapestry of architectural marvels and cultural heritage.

From the unique Trulli houses in Alberobello to the Baroque splendor of Lecce and the charming whitewashed buildings in Ostuni, these beautiful towns provide a unique glimpse into the region's past and present.

Alberobello and the Trulli Houses

Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is renowned for its Trulli houses. These ancient stone structures, with their distinctive conical roofs, are unique to this region.

Walking through the Rione Monti and Aia Piccola districts, visitors can see hundreds of these dwellings.

Many Trulli have been converted into shops, cafes, and museums, offering insights into their history and construction.

The Trullo Sovrano, the largest of its kind, houses a museum showcasing traditional Apulian life. This experience offers a fascinating journey through time and architectural ingenuity.


Lecce, often referred to as the "Florence of the South," is famous for its stunning Baroque architecture.

The town's historic center, or Centro Storico, is filled with intricately carved buildings and monuments.

Key highlights include the Basilica di Santa Croce, known for its detailed façade, and the Roman Amphitheater, which dates back to the 2nd century.

Wandering the narrow streets, visitors will discover ornate churches, palaces, and piazzas. Lecce's rich history and artistic heritage make it a must-visit for architecture and history enthusiasts.


Ostuni, the "White City," is characterized by its whitewashed buildings that glisten under the sun.

Situated on a hilltop, it offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the Adriatic Sea.

The town's Centro Storico is a maze of narrow streets, staircases, and arches, leading to the impressive Cattedrale di Ostuni.

Built in the late Gothic style, the cathedral is known for its beautiful rose window. Olive trees surround the beautiful town itself, adding to its picturesque setting.

Ostuni's combination of historical architecture and scenic beauty provides a captivating experience for any visitor.

Visit Stunning Beaches

pogliano a mare town pugliaPolignano A Mare - credits: /Shutterstock.com

Puglia is home to some of Italy's most beautiful beaches, offering pristine sands and crystal-clear waters. From dramatic cliffs to serene coves, these beaches provide perfect getaways for tourists seeking both relaxation and adventure.

Polignano a Mare

Polignano a Mare is a picturesque, lively town famous for its dramatic cliffs and clear waters. Situated on the Adriatic Sea, this coastal gem offers visitors a unique blend of natural beauty and historical charm.

Key Attractions:

  1. Lama Monachile Beach: Nestled between steep limestone cliffs, this beach is famed for its stunning backdrop and turquoise waters.
  2. Sea Caves: Take a boat tour to explore the various sea caves and grottos that dot the coastline.
  3. Historic Center: Wander through the narrow streets of the old town, which offer breathtaking views of the sea.

Roman Flair, Sicilian Splendors: Family Tales of Rome and Sicily

Tremiti Islands

The Tremiti Islands, an archipelago in the Adriatic Sea, are renowned for their untouched beaches and crystal-clear waters. These islands are part of a marine reserve, making the best beaches on them a haven for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts.

Key Attractions:

  1. Cala delle Arene: The only sandy beach in the archipelago, perfect for families and sunbathers.
  2. Diving Spots: Numerous diving centers offer tours to explore the rich marine life and underwater caves.
  3. Historical Sites: Visit the Abbey of Santa Maria a Mare on the island of San Nicola, which provides a glimpse into the region's past.

Porto Cesareo

Located on the Ionian Sea, Porto Cesareo is known for its long stretches of white sandy beaches and shallow, calm waters. It's an ideal destination for families and those looking for a tranquil beach experience.

Key Attractions:

  1. Spiaggia di Punta Prosciutto: One of the most famous beaches, known for its clear, shallow waters and fine sand.
  2. Marine Protected Area: Explore the protected marine area, which is rich in biodiversity, by snorkeling or taking a glass-bottom boat tour.
  3. Local Cuisine: Enjoy fresh seafood at the waterfront restaurants, offering a taste of local culinary delights.

These stunning beaches not only offer natural beauty but also a range of activities and experiences, making Puglia a prime destination for beach lovers.

Discover Natural Wonders

Gaegano national parkGargano National Park - credits: /Shutterstock.com

Puglia region boasts awe-inspiring natural landscapes, from stunning caves and coastal vistas to tranquil lakes surrounded by olive groves.

Each destination offers unique experiences that highlight Puglia's diverse geological beauty and serene environment.

Grotte di Castellana

The Grotte di Castellana, situated near Bari, is a fascinating cave system stretching over 3 kilometers. Visitors can explore impressive stalactites and stalagmites formations, with tours guiding them through underground passages and grand chambers.

The cave's highlight is the "White Cave," known for its dazzling beauty and intricate formations.

A visit offers a glimpse into the natural history of the region, making it a must-see for nature enthusiasts and geology buffs. Tours often last about an hour and provide substantial information about the cave’s formation and its historical significance.

Gargano National Park

Gargano National Park, located on the Gargano Promontory, features diverse ecosystems, from coastal cliffs and beaches to dense forests and olive groves.

The park's rich biodiversity includes various plant and animal species, making it a haven for wildlife lovers.

Key attractions within the park include the Foresta Umbra, a dense forest perfect for hiking, and the Tremiti Islands, offering stunning views and crystal-clear waters.

Visitors can also explore quaint villages, such as Vieste and Peschici, known for their picturesque settings and historical charm.

Alimini Lakes

The Alimini Lakes, near Otranto, consist of two connected lakes, Alimini Grande and Alimini Piccolo. These lakes are surrounded by lush vegetation and olive groves, creating a peaceful environment for visitors looking to relax and enjoy nature.

The lakes’ clear waters are perfect for activities such as bird watching, kayaking, and fishing.

The area is home to diverse bird species, making it a popular spot for ornithologists. Walking trails around the lakes provide excellent opportunities for photography and enjoying the scenic beauty of the region.

Experience the Local Culture

polignano a mare pugliaPoliganno A Mare - credits: /Shutterstock.com

Discovering the local culture of Puglia offers a captivating glimpse into its rich history and traditions.

From vibrant festivals to bustling markets and delicious culinary workshops, each experience provides insight into the heart of this stunning region.

Traditional Festivals

Puglia is renowned for its traditional festivals that celebrate local history and beliefs.

The Festa di San Nicola in Bari showcases religious processions, fireworks, and parades. Equally lively is the Carnevale di Putignano, one of Europe’s oldest carnivals.

In the small town of Monte Sant’Angelo, the annual Feast of the Archangels transforms the streets with music, dances, and traditional costumes.

These festivals bring together locals and visitors in joyous celebration, creating an unforgettable atmosphere. The celebrations typically feature local foods and crafts, adding to the authenticity and charm.

Local Markets

Local markets in Puglia are bustling hubs of activity where one can find fresh produce, handmade goods, and a variety of regional specialties.

Markets like those in Foggia and Grottaglie are known for their vibrant displays of fruits and vegetables, seafood, and artisan pottery.

Visitors to the markets can sample and purchase items such as orecchiette (a traditional pasta), local cheeses, and olive oil.

The market atmosphere is lively, with vendors eagerly showcasing their products.

The Gallipoli fish market, set by the sea, offers a unique glimpse into the daily life and cuisine of the region.

Culinary Experiences

Puglia’s culinary experiences are a highlight for many visitors.

Cooking classes allow tourists to learn the secrets behind making authentic Apulian dishes.

The region’s cuisine features orecchiette, Caffè Speciale, and fresh seafood.

Wine-tasting tours in the picturesque vineyards surrounding Brindisi and Foggia offer a deep dive into the local wine production, known for its quality and unique flavors.

Visitors can also enjoy culinary tours that include stops at historic sites and UNESCO World Heritage landmarks like the White City of Ostuni.

These experiences deepen appreciation for the region's culinary heritage and vibrant flavors.

Visit Historical Sites

Torre Sant Andrea Salento coast PugliaTorre Sant Andrea, Salento Coast, Puglia - credits: /Shutterstock.com

Puglia offers an array of fascinating historical sites that attract countless travelers each year.

Key highlights include the UNESCO-listed Castel del Monte, the Swabian Castle in Bari, and the Roman Amphitheatre in Lecce.

Castel del Monte

Castel del Monte stands as an extraordinary example of medieval architecture. Built by Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century, it is known for its unique octagonal shape.

The castle blends elements of classical antiquity, the Islamic Orient, and north European Cistercian Gothic.

The castle's design reflects astronomical and mathematical precision. Each side of the octagon measures precisely 16.5 meters.

Historians find it fascinating because it was arranged to align with the yearly cycle of the sun.

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, Castel del Monte is located near Andria.

It offers sweeping views of the Apulian countryside and continuously draws visitors interested in history, architecture, and breathtaking landscapes.

From Michelangelo to Pompeii: Family Adventure in Florence, Rome & Naples

Swabian Castle in Bari

The Swabian Castle in Bari, also known as Castello Normanno-Svevo, dates back to the Norman period in the 12th century.

Later, Frederick II fortified it, and it became an imposing fortress near the historic Old Town of Bari.

The castle boasts a combination of Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles with massive walls and a distinctive moat.

Inside, visitors will find a range of historical artifacts, including sculptures and tapestries, providing insight into the medieval era.

Located close to other landmarks like the Basilica di San Nicola and the bustling port area, the Swabian Castle is a must-see for tourists exploring Bari’s historical landscape.

Roman Amphitheatre in Lecce

In the heart of Lecce, the Roman Amphitheatre commands attention. They constructed it in the 2nd century AD, and it was once a grand venue for gladiatorial games and public spectacles. Today, it stands partially excavated, revealing its majestic arched corridors and seating areas that could accommodate up to 25,000 spectators.

Lecce, often referred to as the "Florence of the South," is renowned for its Baroque architecture, but the Amphitheatre offers a window into its ancient past. Located near the Piazza Sant'Oronzo, it sits amid modern-day shops and cafes, blending the ancient with the contemporary.

For history enthusiasts and casual visitors alike, the Roman Amphitheatre provides a striking contrast to Lecce’s baroque landmarks, offering a unique glimpse into the storied past of the city center.

Enjoy Outdoor Activities

Umbra ForestUmbra Forest - credits: /Shutterstock.com

Puglia offers an array of outdoor activities from scenic walking and cycling tours to exhilarating water sports and authentic agritourism experiences away from the major cities.

Each activity highlights the region's natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture.

Cycling And Walking Tours

Puglia's diverse landscapes make it a prime location for cycling and walking tours.

The Gargano National Park is a top destination, with walking and cycling trails that wind through the dense pine forest of Umbra, dramatic cliffs, and olive groves.

Visitors encounter stunning sea views and historical landmarks such as ancient churches and traditional trabucchi (old fishing machines).

Hiking in Puglia includes trails up to the hilltop town of Monte Sant'Angelo and coastal paths along the eastern coast of the peninsula.

Meanwhile, cyclists can enjoy routes like the Via Verde, which offers safe, scenic cycling along picturesque beaches and villages.

Organized tours often include stops at local trattorias, providing an opportunity to savor Puglia's renowned cuisine.

Water Sports

With its extensive coastline, Puglia is a haven for water sports. The azure waters surrounding the region's beaches are perfect for activities such as snorkeling, windsurfing, kitesurfing, and diving.

With its extensive coastline, Puglia is a haven for water sports. The azure waters surrounding the region's beaches are perfect for activities such as snorkeling, windsurfing, kitesurfing, and diving.

Key locations include the Gargano Peninsula, where intricate sea caves and the enchanting natural pool of Baia delle Zagare attract divers.

Porto Cesareo is known for its pristine waters and vibrant marine life, ideal for snorkeling.

Meanwhile, the Isole Tremiti, an archipelago off the east coast here, offers clear waters teeming with underwater flora and fauna, making it perfect for both beginner and expert divers.

For those interested in sailing, island hopping around the Tremiti Islands is a popular activity.


Agritourism in Puglia provides a unique glimpse into the region's agricultural heritage. Visitors can stay at traditional farmhouses (masserie) and participate in daily farming activities.

These experiences often involve olive harvests, winemaking, or cheese production.

The Puglia countryside is dotted with vineyards and olive groves, offering olive oil and wine-tasting tours.

Travelers may also visit local agriturismi (agritourism farms) to enjoy fresh, home-cooked meals made from locally sourced ingredients.

A visit to these farms often includes guided tours of the properties, showcasing the cycle of crop growth and harvest, and allows visitors to connect with local traditions and culinary practices.

Final Thoughts

trulli of alberobelloThe Trulli of Alberobello - credits: /Shutterstock.com

Puglia offers an incredible array of experiences for travelers seeking to explore Southern Italy.

From the striking limestone cliffs of the Gargano Peninsula to the picturesque town of Trani, when visiting Puglia people are bound to be captivated by the region's beauty.

Polignano al-Mare provides stunning coastal views that rival those of Tuscany, making it a must-visit.

The region's marine reserves present opportunities for snorkeling and diving, adding to the natural wonders.

Visitors should sample local delicacies like the pasticciotto, a delightful pastry, to truly savor the flavors of Puglia.

With historical sites and cultural festivals, there are numerous points of interest suitable for both adults and children.

Puglia's unique charm ensures an unforgettable journey for all who venture to this southern Italian gem.

Our Tailor-Made Trip Planning
Hop on a quick call with a local expert from our team
Receive a tailor-made itinerary for your journey
Fine-tune the details and you're ready to go

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some unique experiences one can have in Puglia?

What are the top attractions to visit in Puglia?

What are the best activities for families who visit Puglia?

What are the highlights of visiting Bari, the capital of Puglia?

What are Puglia's best destinations for travelers seeking authentic experiences?

How can one best enjoy the local culture and traditions in Puglia?

Share This Post
Take the first step of your next journey today.
Design a curated trip with the help of our local travel designers and make precious memories with your loved ones while we handle logistics and planning.
Let's Plan My Trip
We are rated Excellent
Back To Top