The top things to see and do in Puglia: what to see in Apulia, Italy

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History and nature, art, cuisine, and breathtaking beaches: discover Apulia and all the wonders it has to offer!

Apulia is one of the most beautiful regions of Italy, rich in history, culture, and breathtaking natural areas. Apulia is famous for its beaches and its coastline that alternates wide beaches and rugged coastal areas.

If you’re wondering what to see in Puglia, Italy in 3 days or more, a tour of these historic towns is a top-notch choice.

puglia

Related articles: Facts & History of Puglia Italy

Here are some of the places you absolutely must visit in Puglia.

Monopoli & Castellana Caves

The caves are a fascinating karst complex of underground cavities of considerable speleological and natural importance. Monopoli is not far from the caves. It’s a beautiful town characterized by its medieval heritage.

Castellana Caves (author:ReMagio )

Castel del Monte, Andria

The octagonal-shaped castle is situated on a promontory and has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status for its incredible building proportions.

castel-del-monte
Castel del Monte

The beaches of Salento: Gallipoli, Otranto, Lecce & Santa Maria di Leuca

The Salento peninsula has some of the most beautiful beach areas in Italy. Gallipoli, Otranto, Lecce, and Santa Maria di Leuca are seaside resorts with beautiful beaches. Porto Cesareo, Torre Lapillo, Alimini are the most attractive places.

Gallipoli (source)

Gargano & Vieste

The Gargano is surrounded by the Adriatic Sea and is a region full of fabulous seaside resorts. The most beautiful is the town of Vieste, also known as the “Pearl of the Gargano”. The medieval town of San Giovanni Rotondo is famous for the Sanctuary of St. Michael the Archangel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Baia delle Zagare, Mattinata del Gargano, Foggia

Polignano a Mare

Polignano a Mare inspired the famous singer-songwriter Domenico Modugno to create “Volare”. In the center of this small seaside town south of Bari you can admire fabulous buildings from the medieval era. Polignano a mare is especially famous for its beaches and caves along the coast.

Polignano a Mare (source)

Gravina in Puglia and the National Park of Alta Murgia

Gravina di Puglia is a medieval town built next to one of the Gravine, or ravines, that embellish the geological landscape on the border between Puglia and Basilicata. There are several things to see: the Church of San Michele delle Grotte and the Cathedral Santa Maria Assunta, the underground route, and the headquarters of the Alta Murgia National Park.

Gravina in Puglia (author: Luigi Scorcia)

The historical center of Lecce

Piazza Sant’Oronzo is the central square of Lecce. Here there is an ancient Roman Amphitheater built in the Augustan Age. Not far from it is the Church of Santa Croce, one of the best southern examples of Baroque art. A few steps away is Piazza Duomo: here you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace, and the bell tower.

Cathedral of Lecce (author: Alessio Lojk)

Bari and the District of San Nicola

The San Nicola district, also known as Bari Vecchia, is the beating heart of the city. It is full of places to see, especially in terms of religious architecture. Among the most beautiful churches are the Cathedral of San Sabino and the Basilica of St. Nicholas, the latter located between the four squares known as “Corti del Catapano”, once the seat of the palace of the Byzantine governor. The center is quite contained and it can be visited on foot or by bicycle.

Saint Nicholas of Bari Cathedral (author: Berthold Werner)

Ostuni: la città Bianca

Ostuni is called the “White City” because of the houses entirely covered with lime in its city center. Ostuni is a tourist resort of great value several times awarded for the exceptional natural integrity of its beaches. In the historical center, there are numerous buildings of great artistic and historical value: the Church of San Vito Martire, the Co-cathedral, and the Column of St. Oronzo.

Ostuni (source)

Alberobello: the city of Trulli

In Alberobello there are the Trulli, the curious ancient cone-shaped houses presumably dating back to the seventeenth century. The best-preserved Trullis are located in the town of Alberobello, the “town of Trulli”, protected by UNESCO. Today they continue to be the focus of numerous debates and studies for their architecture and the original purpose of construction.

trulli-alberobello-what-to-see-in-puglia-italy
Alberobello (source)

Isole Tremiti

San Domino, San Nicola, Capraia, Cretaccio and Pianosa are the five small islands that make up the Tremiti. The Tremiti is a small archipelago surrounded by the Adriatic Sea and, precisely for this reason, they are a famous tourist destination for lovers of the sea and diving. The islands offer numerous coves and underwater caves surrounded by clear waters. The tourist season in the Tremiti Islands lasts from May to October, but a small number of small hotels and restaurants are open all year round.

San Domino as seen from San Nicola

Valle d’Itria

Itria Valley is located in the heart of Apulia. This fertile valley extends between the provinces of Bari, Brindisi, and Taranto. It is characterized by lush vegetation, includes one of the largest amounts of olive groves, from which you get one of the finest Italian olive oils. In Valle d’Itria there are also several Trulli, numerous farms, and vineyards from which are obtained renowned white wines.

Locorotondo (source)

Featured image: Polignano (source)

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