A week in Puglia: What to do and see?
You have chosen to make a tour in Puglia for your next vacation in Italy ?
Very good choice ! In order to help you prepare your stay, I have organized a one-week itinerary in Puglia , to avoid missing places of interest in this little-known region of Italy.
In this article, I give you all my best advice for visiting Puglia in 6, 7 or 8 days . And so that you can prepare your trip easily, I also offer my selection of the best accommodation for each stage.
So, what to do and see in 1 week in Puglia?
Let’s go for the discovery of Ostuni , Alberobello , Lecce , Matera and Bari !
Stop 1: Bari / Ostuni (2 days)
To visit Puglia in 1 week , the best is to land in Bari, the capital of the region.
In order to see the maximum of things and not waste time on public transport , I highly recommend renting a car. Personally I always go through rentalcars.com. This is for me the best car rental site!
3 good reasons for this:
- All car rental companies are listed on the website, so you can directly and easily compare the prices of a car rental for a week in Puglia.
- By taking the comprehensive insurance offered by rentalcars, you are sure to be protected and reimbursed in case of accident or theft, and even in case of small scratches.
- Cancellation is often free! Obliged to cancel your rental at the last moment, no problem, you will not pay anything.
Do you want to rent a car? If you know your dates of travel, I advise you to compare the rates and rent it now to get the best price. Click here to compare prices!
For the first leg of this week-long trip to Puglia , after picking up your rental car, I suggest you leave Bari directly . You will have time to visit the city before your return, at the end of your vacation.
Direction Polignano a Mare , located just 40 minutes drive from Bari. Polignano is known for its houses built on the cliffs, by the sea. You can walk in the many alleys of the historic center and discover multiple points of view on the terraces , quite impressive!
Do not miss to go down on the pebble beach surrounded by cliffs, at the entrance of the old town, to make the photo that can be found on all postcards. Count around 2 hours in Polignano.
Then take the car back to Monopoli, just 15 minutes from Polignano a Mare . In the same style as Polignano but the cliffs less, Monopoli has a nice historic center, very pleasant to walk. A walk of about 1 hour allows to see the main monuments like the Charles V castle, the cathedral and the Piazza XX Settembre.
Finally for the last leg of this day, join Ostuni, located 40 minutes from Monopoli. You will have a glimpse of the city well before reaching its historical center. As she is perched on a rocky promontory, she sees herself from far enough!
You will understand why she is nicknamed the “Citta Bianca”, the White City. The walls of the houses in the upper part of Ostuni , those located in the old town are in fact almost all whitewashed to bring a little light in the narrow streets.
After having admired it from a distance, I propose you to walk on foot to visit the historical center . At the very top you can visit Ostuni Cathedral, the main tourist attraction of the city. To see for its rather original facade. Next door you will also see the Episcopal Palace where the Diocesan Museum and its collection of documents relating to local events are located.
Then climb a little further to St. Mary’s Church . Here you can admire a 360 ° panorama of the countryside around Ostuni and the whole Itria Valley.
At the end of the day, visit Piazza della Liberta, a lively place in Ostuni, where people meet on the terraces of bars and cafes for the aperitivo. Take the opportunity to do the same!
If you want to eat a good pizza , I recommend the Impasto Napoletano , 200 meters from the Piazza. The pizzas are really hearty and delicious, we feasted!
Spend the night in Ostuni, in one of the accommodations we selected below.
The next day, for this second day of your tour of 6-7-8 days in Puglia, I recommend you to visit Alberobello, the most famous village in the Itria Valley.
Who says famous also means tourist! I recommend you to be in Alberobello early in the morning , to avoid the busload of tourists arriving from 10 am. From Ostuni, Alberobello is a 50-minute drive away.
In Alberobello you can admire hundreds of trulli . Its old houses, small stone houses with conical roofs, are now classified as World Heritage by UNESCO . The main activity in Alberobello is to walk through the streets to observe them. Most of them are converted into souvenir shops, restaurants and bed and breakfasts.
Continue the morning with 2 other very nice villages to visit during your week-long stay in Apulia:
- Locorotondo: 10 minutes from Alberobello, it is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. A one-hour walk through the historic center will allow you to discover the Cummerse . These rectangular houses with sloping roofs and flat tiles are typical Locorotondo habitats.
- Cisternino: 15 minutes from Lorotondo, it is also one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Cisternino has 3 panoramic terraces overlooking the entire Itria Valley. Allow about 1 hour for the historic center.
In the program of the afternoon, I propose you 2 choices according to your desires:
- Want to relax and swim? Direction Torre Guaceto Nature Reserve , 50 minutes from Cisternino and 30 minutes from Ostuni. You will find a beautiful sandy beach , ideal for swimming and spend a quiet afternoon by the sea.
- Want to walk a little, ride a bike or even horse in beautiful natural landscapes? Go to the Natural Park of the coastal dunes of Torre Canne and Torre San Leonardo. Along the coast for 8 km, it offers several types of landscapes such as dunes, pastures and olive groves where you can walk.
Spend a second night in Ostuni.
Accommodation in Ostuni
- Hotel Tropical: Located 5 minutes drive from Ostuni and 10 minutes from the beach. Comfortable and colorful double room from 75 € per night, breakfast included. Pros: the location to visit Ostuni, very nice staff, private parking.
- Grand Hotel masseria Santa Lucia: The hotel is located about 10 minutes drive from the center of Ostuni. It is both in the countryside, quiet and close to the seaside (direct access from the hotel). Double room comfortable, bright with private terrace from 150 € (low season) up to 250 € in high season, breakfast included. The most: the superb pool, the Spa, the solarium on the beach, the calm. It’s our choice for a relaxing and relaxing stay in Ostuni!
- Masseria Salinola: This masseria is located just 5 minutes drive from Ostuni. It is in the countryside, in a very quiet place. The rooms and apartments are housed in a beautiful, typical building, completely renovated but respecting the original style. Cozy double room, carefully decorated from 300 € per night in high season, breakfast included. The most: the decoration, the rustic and warm charm of the place, the gargantuan breakfast (and I do not exaggerate!), The outdoor pool, the staff very welcoming. This is our recommendation for a romantic luxury holiday in Ostuni!
Stop 2: Lecce (3 days)
The second leg of this week-long trip to Puglia takes you to Lecce.
On the road, you will necessarily pass by Brindisi , only half an hour from Ostuni. You can take the opportunity to stop and have a look.
Stroll through the historic center to admire the churches, pass by the harbor to see the monument of the marine and if you are interested, you can also visit the MAPRI, the provincial archaeological museum. This is not a must, but it will not take much time and at least you will have a glimpse of Brindisi, one of the most important cities in Puglia.
Then take the car back to Lecce. I advise you to park your car in the car park next to the cemetery. It costs only € 2 for the day and is located a hundred meters from Porta Napoli, the main gateway to the historic center.
Lecce being considered THE baroque city of Italy, it is extremely rich in historical monuments . Almost all of them were built with Lecce stone , a very soft limestone, which gives a nice harmony to the whole old town. It is one of the must see places in Puglia in 1 week.
To visit Lecce , start by going to Piazza Sant’Oronzo, the largest square in the city. You will find the tourist office, convenient to have a map of the city and not miss anything.
In Piazza, you can not miss the Roman Amphitheater . Discovered in the twentieth century, it is extremely well preserved. Shows are organized, find out about programming at the tourist office if you are interested.
Continue your visit to Lecce by visiting the other emblematic square, Piazza del Duomo. You will be impressed by its size and size.
I have seen a lot of Piazza del Duomo during my travels in Italy and Sicily , and that of Lecce is, for me, one of the most beautiful. On the Piazza you will of course find the Cathedral of Lecce which you can visit inside. See also the seminary palace, the episcopal palace and the campanile (one of the highest in Europe!).
And since we are in the list of tourist sites to see absolutely, continue your day by visiting the Basilica Santa Croce. Pure “Baroque de Lecce” style, adorned with hundreds of carved details and a very beautiful rose window: its facade is simply magnificent!
Nearly a century was needed for its construction, but it can be said that it was worth it. I also advise you to go inside to admire the 17 altars , which are also superb. In addition the entrance is free.
Then stroll freely through the streets of the historic center to discover the many palaces (more than 90 in total!) And churches.
The next day, we start the day in Lecce with a cultural visit. That of the MUST, the historical museum. In addition to being devoted in part to the history of the city , it presents a contemporary art gallery and a sculpture exhibition.
For history buffs, you can go on a visit to another museum, the Faggiano. It is in an old house , which when the owners decided to do some work there, discovered ruins and old objects in the walls and foundations .
The house is in fact more than 2000 years old and has been used as a dwelling at the time of the messapes, the Romans and the Templars until today ! In order not to lose all this historical wealth, the family decided to open a museum there.
Then go through the castle Charles V, to see its monumental walls. Inside is the Cartova Museum, where over a hundred papier mache works are grouped together.
This activity is very typical of Lecce , visiting the museum is the best way to discover it. In the old town, you will also find several shops practicing this art, if you want to leave with an original souvenir!
Last thing to see in Lecce for today, the cemetery! Yes you read well, I take you on a tour to discover the many Baroque tombs of Lecce .
Made in the same style as the other monuments of the city, the vaults have an impressive architecture . The visit is not at all creepy because the cemetery is well maintained and surrounded by cypresses. If you have already visited the monumental cemetery of Milan , it’s a bit the same kind.
For this third and last day in the city, I suggest you to visit the surroundings of Lecce and even to do some swimming breaks . Visiting Puglia in a week is also enjoying the sea and its benefits!
Take your car back to Torre dell Orso , the first stop of the day, 35 minutes south-east of Lecce . In Torre dell Orso you will find a very beautiful and large sandy beach. You can walk all the way to fariglioni , 2 rocks very photogenic and present on a majority of postcard Puglia.
I advise you to take the path that climbs the cliff to enjoy a better view and a plenary panorama of the surroundings. Going downhill, why not give yourself a refreshing swim?
Continue the morning by going to see the other famous faraglioni of Apulia , those located in Torre Sant Andrea . The city is only 5 minutes from Torre dell Orso. Here too the rocks in the middle of the turquoise and transparent water deserve some photos. And I think you can not resist doing a little splash in this heavenly place.
For the rest of the day, head towards Otranto, a 20-minute drive from Torre Sant Andrea.
Otranto and especially its historical center, is a nice little town to discover. Do not miss to visit the castle, its ramparts and the cathedral of Otranto . End the day in quiet mode at the edge of the beach of Otrantoor in the surroundings.
Come back to spend the night in Lecce.
To stay in Lecce
- Casa Balmes: Located just 100 meters from Santa Croce Basilica and 400 meters from the Duomo. Spacious and comfortable double room from 65 € per night but possible that you find cheaper. In March, we only paid 100 € for 3 nights in deluxe suite (breakfast included)! Most: the quiet, the location in the heart of the historic center, the comfort of the rooms, the excellent breakfast with fresh pastry in the morning and still hot! We highly recommend it for a cheap stay in Lecce.
- VicodellaCavallerizza: This B & B is located in an ancient palace in Lecce, just 200 meters from Piazza del Duomo. Double room completely renovated and melant old and modern from 140 € per night, breakfast included. The most: the exceptional setting, the friendliness of the staff, the delicious breakfast. This is our favorite for its benefit / price ratio.
- Risorgimento Resort – Vestas Hotels & Resorts: 5 * hotel located in the historic center of Lecce. Modern and comfortable double room from 180 € per night, breakfast included. Pros: the great location, a rooftop terrace with a view of the cathedral, the attentive staff. It is the best choice for a luxury stay in Lecce.
Stop 3: Matera (1 day)
For this third leg of your one week itinerary in Puglia, I suggest you to join Matera.
But before that, I recommend you to make some unavoidable stops located on the road between Lecce and Matera:
- In Taranto , 1h15 from Lecce. The historic center is worth visiting for its castle (free guided tour every 2 hours from 9.30am) and the National Archaeological Museum. Renovated recently, this is a visit that I strongly recommend because it is well organized and very interesting. It is dedicated to the history of Taranto and Puglia.
- In the villages crossed by the canyon of Puglia: Massafra, Castellaneta, Laterza and Ginosa all allow to have beautiful panoramas on the canyon. Do not hesitate to walk in the quiet streets and enjoy the calm.
Then join Matera for the afternoon. Small geographical precision, Matera is not part of the Apulia region but that of Basilicata. However, as you will have seen, it is close by and that is why I integrate it in things to do in Apulia in 7 days. It would be a shame to miss one of the oldest cities in the world !
Like Alberobello, Matera also has its very specific homes: the Sassi ! Listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites , the Sassi are troglodyte dwellings carved into the rock. Originally from the Paleothic for some, they have always been busy. Of course, over time, they turned into real homes with kitchenette, bed.
Some Sassi also served as a refuge for monks and turned into rock churches . Today there are nearly 3,000 caves and many rock churches.
The visit of Matera is only on foot. To miss anything of places of interests of the city, to pass by the tourist office to recover a map. You will find 3 different courses , more or less long. Whatever your choice, start by going to Piazza del Duomo to admire the cathedral of Matera. The piazza also has the advantage of offering you a first glimpse of Matera with its view of the Sassi.
Then head to the church of San Pietro Caveoso whose situation at the edge of the ravine of Matera is really impressive. Then climb to the Chiesa della Madonna de Idris , a magnificent rock church carved into the rock. Overlooking the ravine, the view is breathtaking.
Continue your visit, visiting the museum of Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario . Very small but exciting, he reconstructs the interior of a Sassi.
Your tour of Matera will then take you past the Convicinio di Sant Antonio, the Lafranchi Palace, the piazzetta Pascoli belvedere, the National Archaeological Museum and the Tramontano Castle.
At the end of your walk, the night will certainly fall and you can admire the Sassi from another angle when the city lights up.
To stay in Matera
- Matera in Vacanza: Located 3 minutes walk from the Sassi area. Spacious and very clean double room from 80 € per night, breakfast included. Most: the location to visit Matera on foot, the warm welcome and French.
- Thymus Residence nei Sassi: Located 5 minutes from Matera Cathedral. This hotel offers double rooms furnished in Sassi, from 160 € per night, breakfast included. The most: experience the experience of sleeping in a Sassi, the perfect location. This is our favorite for his report benefits / prices in Matera!
- Locanda Di San Martino Hotel & Thermae Romanae: The hotel is located in the heart of the Sassi. Double room with wooden furniture and vaulted ceilings located in Sassi from 260 € per night, breakfast included. Most: the indoor pool, valet parking, comfortable bedding, the charm of the place. It’s our choice for a romantic stay in Matera.
- Palazzo Gattini Luxury Hotel: Located in an ancient palace, a few meters from the Piazza del Duomo. This 5 * hotel offers tastefully decorated double rooms from € 480 including breakfast. Pros: excellent breakfast, lovely staff, location, spa.
Stop 4: Bari (1 day)
Fourth and last leg of your one-week itinerary in Puglia , return to Bari. If you visit Apulia in 7 days, you will have to think about getting closer to the airport.
Leaving Matera , I strongly advise you to stop at the Belvedere in Murgia, reachable in 10 minutes by car from the exit of Matera. It is here that you will have the most beautiful overview of the city! Many hiking trails also leave the Belvedere, which mark the entrance to the Park della Murgia Materana , to admire some rock churches.
To reach Bari from Matera, allow about 1 hour . If your flight is late in the evening or the next morning, I propose you the following program to visit Bari in 1 day:
- Start by strolling through Bari Vecchia, without a doubt the most interesting area to see in Bari. Particularity of the historic center, it even has a street dedicated exclusively to the typical pasta of Apulia, the Orecchiette. You can observe the women in full manufacturing work and of course bring a package in your suitcase!
- Admire the Basilica of San Nicola and its imposing facade
- Go through the Swabian castle , one of the largest Puglia and Italy
- Visit the San Sabino cathedral and its crypt
If you have time, you can also visit a museum like the Simi Palace or the Pinacoteca di Bari . If you prefer to walk outside, I recommend the lungomare walk . The opportunity also to have a last drink at the edge of the water!
[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]If you have an extra day and your stay in Apulia lasts 8 days:
- After Matera , go towards Gravina in Puglia to see the ravine and its old troglodyte dwellings. Less touristy than Matera, the historic center is charming.
- Take a walk in the Murgia dell’alta national park , a paradise for hikers
- Visit Trani : go see the famous cathedral by the sea
- Join Bari
To stay 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!
Budget for a week-long trip to Apulia
Because it’s always good to have an idea of what a trip can cost, here is what we spent to visit Apulia in 7 days:
- Accommodation for 2 for a week : 400 €
- Transportation for 2 (flight + car rental): 200 €
- Visits for 2 : 80 €
- Food for 2 : 250 €
Total budget for one week for 2 people : 930 €
Feel free to give us your opinion and suggestions on our weekly itinerary in Apulia!