What to do for 1 day in Bari
Visit Bari, in Italy, is to discover the capital of the Puglia region.
Generally the first and last leg of your trip to Puglia (the majority of flights arrive here), the city is particularly known for its historic center, Bari Vecchia, which concentrates all the places of interest unmissable Bari.
A little less popular than Lecce, it deserves that we spend at least a day there. And thanks to our Top 12 things to do and see in Bari, and our suggested itineraries to visit the city in 1 or 2 days, you will be able to enjoy!
As usual, you will also find at the end of the article, our selection of the best hotels in Bari for all budgets. Ideal to know where to sleep in Bari!
So, what to see in Bari?
Visit Bari: the must-sees
1. The Bari Vecchia district
The historic center (Bari Vecchia) is undoubtedly the most interesting part of the city. It includes most of the sights to see in Bari, such as the Basilica of San Nicola, or the Swabian Castle. Its narrow medieval streets, palaces, churches and whitewashed houses that can be seen on every street corner make it a really pleasant place to walk.
The old town of Bari is located between the 2 ports, the old and the new. During your walk, do not miss one of the specificities of Bari, rue des orecchiette.
Orecchiette are the typical pasta of Puglia. In the street Via Arco Basso, you can observe the women in the middle of manufacturing work, sometimes directly in the street or squarely at home. You can of course, buy them their pasta: homemade crafting guaranteed!
A street of pasta, I confirm you that you are well in Italy! 🙂
2. The Basilica of San Nicola
The Basilica of San Nicola is the emblematic place of interest of Bari.
In Roman style, the basilica was built between the XI and XII century on the ruins of a Byzantine palace. Today it is one of the highest pilgrimage sites in Italy and Europe, for both Catholics and Orthodox.
From the outside, its architecture, particularly imposing, is characterized by a facade closed on its sides by two towers.
On its flanks, do not forget to admire the carved arcades and portals including the “Porte des Lions”, on the North façade.
The interior of the Basilica of San Nicola is renowned for its beautiful Baroque ceiling and some beautiful works of art, but especially for the tomb and relics of Saint Nicholas. It is said that sailors from Bari who would have stolen in Turkey in the eleventh century to shelter them in Christian land.
Legend has it that Saint Nicholas himself, who by passing through Bari to Rome, chose the place of his burial.
For the opening hours of the basilica, check the official website (in Italian and English).
It is this same Saint Nicolas, who passes in some parts of Europe, in December, to distribute presents and sweets to the children!
3. The Petruzzelli Theater
Another historical monument to see in Bari, the Petruzzelli Theater.
Located at the Corso Cavour, it is the largest private theater in Europe and the fourth in Italy (behind the Palermo, the Scala of Milan and the Opera of Naples) because of its size.
Built in 1903 for an astronomical sum at the time, it has belonged to the Messeni Nemagna family for generations. Very modern for the time, it had heating and electricity. He has hosted international artists such as Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra or Luciano Pavarotti.
Destroyed by a fire in 1991, it had to be completely rebuilt but has lost nothing of its splendor. You can of course enjoy your stay in Bari to attend one of the performances of the moment. The opportunity to contemplate its interior while gilding and see a show of quality.
And contrary to popular belief, prices are not so high with prices starting from € 10 for places with poor visibility.
All information about upcoming performances, schedules and prices can be found on the official website (in Italian and English).
If you are not a fan of theater or opera, I advise you to take a walk, if only to make a photo of its facade.
4. The Swabian castle
Among the must-see sights of Bari, I recommend you to visit the Swabian castle. Or at least to go see it to admire the outside! It is also called “Norman Castle” or Castello Svevo in Italian.
Built in 1131 by King Norman Roger II of Sicily, it was partly destroyed in 1156, then rebuilt under the orders of Frederick II.
But it is in the sixteenth century, with the arrival of Isabella of Aragon in the region, that it takes its present appearance with its square towers, its wide moat, an internal courtyard and a sumptuous staircase with double wings in the style of renaissance residences.
It is today one of the largest fortifications of Puglia and Italy.
The castle houses a gypsotheque with many carved plaster reproducing other tourist attractions to see in Puglia. It also organizes temporary exhibitions in some rooms .
It is open every day, except Wednesday, from 8:30 to 19h, count about 3 € for the entrance fee. Free for under 18s and over 65s.
5. San Sabino Cathedral
Near the Swabian castle you will find the other church to see in Bari: San Sabino Cathedral.
Built between the twelfth and twelfth century, on the remains of the old Byzantine church destroyed in 1156 by William I of Sicily (“William the Bad”, the same who had already attacked the castle), the cathedral is a very beautiful example of the Puglian Romanesque style, the Puglian style.
It is dedicated to the worship of Sabin de Canosa, a bishop of the VIth you can find the relics preserved in the crypt.
From the outside you can admire its white stone facade adorned with a large rose window, and on the outlines of which there are strange fantastic beings and animals.
The interior, rather bare, is worth seeing for the crypt and the famous painting of the “Virgin of the Odigitria”, attributed to Saint-Luc.
Outside of mass hours or special ceremonies such as weddings, you can freely visit the San Sabino Cathedral.
6. The Simi Palace
If you are looking for something to do in Bari, I recommend a visit to the Simi Palace, located just behind San Sabino Cathedral.
The palace houses the headquarters of the “Operational Center for Archeology” and a museum on this theme. Although quite small, the museum is interesting to learn more about the history of Bari. You can admire the remains of the city including the ruins of the small Byzantine church on which were built the current palace.
It will not cost you to go take a look, admission is free. Simi Palace is open daily from 9:30 to 18:30.
7. The diocesan museum
Adjacent to San Sabino Cathedral, you can also visit the Diocesan Museum of Bari.
It is located in the Archbishop’s Palace, allowing you to admire its monumental Baroque façade.
The museum is not very large but is one of the most beautiful in the city with rich collections and well presented. It includes 5 rooms where you can discover Exultet, illuminated parchments of the X and XI century used by the priests during certain masses.
To see also: the treasure room for its reliquary of San Donato and the room of the sacred facings.
The opening hours of the museum are right here.
8. The Provincial Pinacoteca Corrado Giaquinto
If you like painting and sculpture, one of the things to do in Bari is to go to the Corrado Giaquinto Provincial Art Gallery. It is the main museum of the city.
You will find many paintings and sculptures representative of the art of Puglia but also of all Italy: Venetian paintings of Tintoretto and Vivarini or even Neapolitan with works by Finoglio or Giordano.
If you wish to visit the Pinacoteca, you will find the access information, the price and the schedules on the official website (in Italian).
9. Underground Bari
“Bari Souterraine” is an original way to discover the city.
This archeological journey lasting about 1h30 takes you to the undergrounds of Bari. You start the visit to the Swabian castle, then continue through the crypt of the Cathedral of San Sabino and finish with the Simi Palace.
A good way to visit 3 sights of Bari in being accompanied by a guide, and thus to benefit from explanations and detailed.
These visits are usually organized for large groups (about 25 people), but there is the possibility to be in smaller committee. Do not hesitate to inquire at the tourist office of Bari, located in Piazza Aldo Moro.
10. The lungomare of Bari
The Lungomare is the trendy place to walk in Bari, a bit like the famous Promenade des Anglais in Nice.
This long promenade by the sea, which seems the longest in Italy, starts from the historic district of Bari Vecchia and joins the commercial district, more modern.
It allows to admire magnificent panoramas, as much on the city as on the sea and to stroll on a bench while listening to the sound of the waves.
To do day and night, to contemplate the illuminated city!
What to do around Bari?
11. Polignano a Mare
Your visit to the city of Bari is over and you want to continue your tour in Puglia by visiting the surroundings?
So I recommend you to go to Polignano a Mare, only about thirty kilometers south of Bari. Famous for its white houses clinging to the cliffs, Polignano is one of my favorite cities to see around Bari.
You can stroll through its labyrinth of small streets, admire beautiful views from panoramic terraces, but also enjoy swimming on the small pebble beach surrounded by cliffs. That same one that you will find on all the postcards on sale in the shops!
It is one of the most beautiful places to see around Bari.
In the pretty little town of Puglia to visit around Bari, go to Monopoli, just after Polignano a Mare.
Here, a stroll through the historic center is required to discover all the ancient monuments of the city.
Go through the Charles V Castle, the Cathedral of Santa Maria della Madia or Piazza XX Settembre. And if you like history, you can visit the archaeological museum of Monopoli.
A place not to miss in the vicinity of Bari.
Visit Bari in 1 day
If you only have one day in Bari, I recommend the following route:
- Walk in Bari Vecchia to soak up the atmosphere of the city
- Visit of the Basilica of San Nicola, the patron saint of Bari
- Passage through Norman Castle
- Discovery of San Sabino Cathedral
- Lunch break
- Afternoon dedicated to museums (you do not have to do all of them, choose according to your interests): the Simi Palace, the Diocesan Museum and the Pinacoteca di Bari
- Walk along the lungomare before the aperitif and dinner
- Why not go and see one of the performances in the Petruzzelli Theater?
And here is a busy day in Bari!
Visit Bari and surroundings in 2 days
In 2 days in Bari, take the route for a day and for the second day add:
- A morning in Polignano a Mare
- Lunch break
- An afternoon in Monopoli
Accommodation in Bari
- Magdas House on the sea: Ideally located 3 minutes walk from the beach and 1.5 km from the Basilica of San Nicola. Modern and equipped apartment from 50 € per night. Most: location, air conditioning, price.
- Seven Maze Charming House: Located outside the center of Bari, about ten minutes by car, the hotel is part of a botanical garden of 50 hectares. Spacious double room with Indonesian decoration from 90 € per night, breakfast included. The most: the original decor, the comfort of the rooms, the opportunity to walk in the garden, the outdoor pool and the varied breakfast served in the greenhouse. This is our heart stroke for its benefit / price ratio.
- Grande Albergo Delle Nazioni: Located 10 minutes walk from the historic center. Double room with decoration type 70 year modernized version from 180 € per night, breakfast 20 €. Most: the location to visit Bari on foot, the roof terrace with pool, the view. This is our recommendation for a luxury stay in Bari!
Where to eat in Bari
- Mastro Ciccio: Located on the Corso Emanuele. Mastro Ciccio is the perfect place to eat on the run and offers a wide selection of paninis and sandwiches with original and super-presented flavors. Fresh products, fast service, affordable prices complete the whole!
- Il Grottino: Located via Francesco Rismondi. Small typical pizzeria very busy with locals, always a good sign! Delicious pizzas cooked in the wood oven for just € 6, at this price you can even eat 2! One of the best pizzas in Puglia.
- Braceria Signorile: Located via Giulio Petroni. Family restaurant specializing in meat. Original concept, you choose your piece of meat directly in the adjoining butchery and held by the family. Extra quality and great value for money. In addition, the desserts are also delicious!
Tourist map of Bari
To help you visualize the city a little better, I made you a tourist map of Bari listing the places to visit I’m talking about in this top 12 things to do in Bari. You can display the legend of the map by clicking on the button at the top left with a small arrow.
And you, what did you plan to visit during your stay in Bari?
Are you going to Puglia? To read also
Check out all our articles about Puglia : All BonAdvisor’s articles about Puglia are listed here.
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- Itinerary: 10 days in Puglia – How to visit Puglia in 10 days and not miss anything!
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