Italiens Stiefelabsatz erfreut sich immer größerer Beliebtheit: Apulien lockt mit magischen Stränden, idyllischen Dörfchen und toller Cuisine. Diese 10 Dinge sollten auf keiner Puglia-Bucketlist fehlen!
© Tommaso Scalera

Puglia Bucket list: 10 things to do in the Southern Italian region

Miles and miles of beaches, charming old towns, wildly beautiful nature and so much more: Puglia is one our summer hotspots for a reason. We reveal 10 things that absolutely have to be on your bucket list!

July 17, 2022

Puglia, the heel of Italy's boot, is firmly on its way to becoming the country's next trend destination. It's not at all surprising, as the region has a lot to offer: On the one hand, its beaches stretch over 800 kilometers, both on the Adriatic as well as the Ionian Sea. On the other hand, the region attracts visitors with numerous cities and towns rich in history, both on the coast and inland. Not to mention the famous hospitality of the locals! In short: Puglia is worth a visit – and we've compiled the 10 things you shouldn't miss.

Take a trip to Bari


Bari is the capital of Puglia – and a perfect starting point for excursions in the region. © iStock

The capital of Puglia is not to be missed: The old town is charming and the Castello Normanno-Svevo di Bari (pictured) is a must-see for history buffs.

Visit the Trulli in Alberobello


The round houses of Alberobello are a must-see in Puglia. © iStock

The medieval round houses with their pointy stone roofs are a Puglian World Heritage Site that exists nowhere else in this form. The small town of Alberobello, which is part of the capital Bari, is famous for them – entire neighborhoods are made up of the white conical buildings.

Enter the underworld

Zinzulusa Grotte in Apulien

Grotta Zinzulusa, with its caves and rock formations, is located right on the coast – well worth the visit. © Shutterstock

The southeast of Italy is not just enchanting on the surface – it hides a world of wonder under the sea as well. For one, there is Grotte de Castellana, a collection of underground caves in – or rather below – Bari. The highlight of the three-kilometer-long cave is certainly the white grotto with its alabaster-colored rock formations. Also worth a visit are Grotta Zinzulusa, a water cave by the sea in Salento, and the small Grotta del Trullo in Putignano, where Italy's oldest carnival takes place every year. 

Spend a day in Polignano a Mare

Polignano a Mare, Bari, Italië

Polignano a Mare presents itself picture-perfect with its fabulous sandy beach. © Gianpaolo Antonucci

Whitewashed houses, dramatic cliffs and turquoise water: Polignano a Mare is probably one of the most beautiful places in Puglia. Sun-seekers lounge on the sandy beach during the day, and in the evening stroll around in search of the most beautiful vantage point – and there are many! – throughout the town. Dinner recommendation: Grotta Palazzese, a restaurant carved into the rock, promises a special dining experience.

Going inland

Sant'Agata di Puglia in Apulien

From Sant'Agata di Puglia, you can enjoy great panoramic views of the region. © Shutterstock

Fantastic beaches abound in Puglia, but there's plenty of beautiful spots further inland as well. For example, in Foggia, an idyllic region between mountains and hills, where the philosophy dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing) is a reality. A road trip through the towns and villages – first and foremost Bovino and Sant'Agata di Puglia – are hot items for your Puglia bucket list.

See the Città Bianca


Magical: In Ostuni, the white city of Apulia, only white wall paint may be used for house facades. © Daniel Corneschi

Up the hill, through narrow streets, along whitewashed cottages, some of them built into the rock, until you eventually reach the old town at the top of the hill: Ostuni, Puglia's white city, is located on three hills and is known as a particularly charming destination just a jump from the coast. In addition to visiting the Aragonese city walls with their turrets, the Bishop's Palace and the Cathedral, which combines Romanesque, Gothic and Venetian elements, it's also nice to sit down at a trattoria and sip some local wine.

Swimming at Torre Sant'Andrea

Torre Sant'Andrea

Probably the most beautiful place for a day of swimming: Torre Sant'Andrea. © Massimo Virgilio

Whether you're relaxing in the sun with a book or adventurously jumping off the cliffs into the crystal clear water, a summer day at Torre Sant'Andrea is a must on any bucket list. From the beach you look out over the iconic rock formations of Le Due Sorelle – simply magical!

Marvel at the red sand of Lecce

Lecce roter Sand

The Laghetto with its red sand has become a popular tourist spot. © Michael Martinelli

The Cava di Bauxite is actually a former construction pit, but it's not the site of an idyllic lake. All around, the deep red sand attracts visitors from all over the world – a real sight to behold! The visit is best combined with a trip to Otranto, a picturesque coastal town.

Stroll through the Florence of the South

Lecce, Puglia, Itly

Lecce, with its baroque buildings and charming old town streets, is a stunning example of southern Italy. © Shutterstock

Because of its many baroque buildings, such as the Basilica of Santa Croce, Lecce on the Salento peninsula is also known as the "Florence of the South." It's the perfect place to spend your time just hanging out, sipping iced almond milk coffee, strolling through the narrow streets or paying a visit to the Roman amphitheater, which dates back to the 2nd century.

Get to know Puglia's sporty side

San Felice Arch in Gargano national park, Italy

From Garganto National Park, you look down on Arco di San Felice. © Shutterstock

If you are in the mood for sports, you can pack your hiking boots or rent a mountain bike and head for Gargano National Park, which includes the Foresta Umbra nature reserve: walk or bike through fragrant pine and eucalyptus forests dwon to the coast and enjoy the white cliffs and caves. A special eye-catcher: Arco di San Felice.

Shopping tips

Bottega Egnazia

Puglia is a mecca for foodies and you can't leave without handmade pasta and flavorful sauces. © Borgo Egnazia

You can't leave Puglia without a taking a piece of it with you. Bottega Egnazia, the exclusive concept store of the Borgo Egnazia resort, is a loving tribute to regional art and traditional crafts. High-quality clothing, accessories and other objects are selected by the hotel owner herself.

Start your morning with Bialetti


Bialetti makes the iconic moka pot for the best Italian coffee at home. © Diego Fiore / Shutterstock

One of the highlights in Italy is really good coffee, which for many is considered the best in the world. With a traditional moka pot from Bialetti (we love the one in the colors of the Italian flag) you can take a piece of Italy back home with you.

Text: Christina M. Horn and Philipp Josef Rossmann


Related: Summer Hotspot Puglia

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