Recommended itinerary: Visit Puglia by car in 9 or 10 days
In order to help you plan your itinerary in the South of Italy, we have prepared a 10 days road trip that will allow you to discover all the places of interest in Puglia.
So what to do and see in Puglia in 10 days ?
Program: The pretty villages of Ostuni , of Alberobello or Matera, the baroque city of Lecce and nature getaway in the National Park Gargano. All accompanied by our tips and tricks to make the most of your stay. And of course our selection of the best accommodations for each stage!
Discover now our itinerary to visit Puglia by rental car in 9-10 days!
Day 1-2: Bari / Ostuni
For this 10-day road trip in Puglia, I propose to land in Bari , the main airport of the region.
As a road trip obviously can not be done without a car, you will have to go and pick up your car at the rental counter. If I can advise you to book your car in advance, go through the rentalcars.com.
After these practical considerations, get your car back and start your 10-day trip to Puglia by leaving Bari. Do not worry, I include Bari’s visit, but at the end of the program!
Join the first typical village of Puglia to visit: Polignano a Mare. It is about 40 minutes south of Bari. In Polignano you can discover the historic center known for its houses clinging to cliffs. Many points of view,impressive enough to admire.
You can also go down to the pebble beach, at the entrance of Polignano, to make the souvenir photo that we see on all the postcards of the city. Allow 2 hours to visit Polignano a Mare.
Continue this first day of your 10-day trip to Puglia, with a visit to Monopoli, just 15 minutes drive from Polignano. Here too, it is the historic center that is worth seeing. It is very pleasant to walk there to admire the emblematic monuments such as Charles V Castle, Piazza XX Settembre and the Cathedral. Plan an hour visit.
And to finish the day, go to Ostuni, stage of the next 2 nights. The city is on a promontory located 40 minutes from Monopoli: with its houses with whitewashed facades, it is visible from afar! We understand immediately why Ostuni is nicknamed the “Citta Bianca”, the white city. The goal here is to bring a little light in the narrow streets.
To visit Ostuni, no choice, it will be on foot. You can start by going to see the cathedral of Ostuni and the episcopal palace located next door, these are the 2 main places of interest of the city. If this interests you, know that the palace houses a diocesan museum containing many documents referring to local history.
I then propose to climb a little more, to the church Sainte-Marie. The place allows to admire a very beautiful panorama on all the valley of Itria and the surrounding countryside.
I think it will be time to have a little snack and dinner. There are many bars and restaurants in Piazza della Liberta, Ostuni’s main square where everyone meets in the evening. For the meal, if you want to eat a good pizza and not too expensive, I recommend the pizzeria “L’Impasto Napoletano”, 200 m from the piazza.
And if you want to discover all things to do in Ostuni, check out our article: Visit Ostuni, Puglia.
Then join your accommodation in Ostuni for the night, I give you a selection just below.
The next day, for this second day of your 10-day itinerary in Puglia, visit Alberobello, certainly the best-known village in the region! This means nothing to you ? And yet I’m sure you have seen at least one picture of the village.
And yes, Alberobello is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its rather original habitats: trulli, small houses with a circular base and conical roof. There are hundreds in Alberobello.
Walk around the village at random to take a closer look. Most are now converted into hotels, souvenir shops and cafes / restaurants.
A tip: visit Alberobello early in the morning because it is ultra tourist and many buses arrive from 10 am. The car parks are quickly complete and the streets a little crowded.
For all the tips to organize your visit, see our article: How to visit Alberobello?
We continue the morning by 2 other villages not to be missed during your stay of 10 days in Puglia:
- Locorotondo: only 10 minutes from Alberobello by car. One of the most beautiful villages in Italy, it has a pleasant historic center where you can see the Cummers. With their steep roofs with flat tiles, these rectangular houses are typical of Locorotondo.
- Cisternino: this village is 15 minutes from Locorotondo. A walk of about 1 hour to discover the old town and panoramic terraces with views of the Itria Valley.
After a morning spent visiting villages, I propose a program a little more nature for the afternoon, with 2 possible options:
- The Torre Guaceto Nature Reserve, a 50-minute drive from Cisternino and 30 minutes from Ostuni. It is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon by the water and swim.
- The Natural Park of the coastal dunes of Torre Canne and Torre San Leonardo. Here are several possibilities for walking: on horseback, by bike or on foot.
Return to sleep in Ostuni.
[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””] You have seen, this 10-day trip to Puglia by car, included quite a visit to the historic center.Access to these is generally reserved for residents or a real maze of narrow and one-way streets. I advise you not to enter by car and always try to park a little before. This will prevent you from getting mad at the wheel and especially a fine! [/box]
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!
Day 3-5: Lecce
For the second leg of this 10-day holiday in Puglia, I suggest you to join Lecce.
The road from Ostuni to Lecce goes through Brindisi, so I recommend you stop there for a quick tour. This is not necessarily a must visit of Puglia but as you will necessarily go there, so much to take a look. You can stroll through the historic center, by the harbor and also visit the Provincial Archaeological Museum, MAPRI.
Then head to Lecce. The best is to park your car at the car park next to the Lecce cemetery. The rate is only € 2 for the day and it is located just a hundred meters from the entrance to the old town symbolized by the Porta Napoli. It is the most practical and the cheapest.
Lecce being considered THE baroque city of Italy, there is a multitude of historical monuments to see. The city is in addition super harmonious thanks to the use of the stone of Lecce, a very soft limestone, for the construction of all the buildings. It really is one of the cities to visit during a road trip in the Puglia!
I recommend you go first to Piazza Sant Oronzo, the huge main square in Lecce. This is where you will find the tourist office where I advise you to go to get the map of the city, always very useful to find your bearings.
In the Piazza you can admire the Roman amphitheater in excellent condition. There are also a lot of cafes and restaurants if you have a dip.
For the rest of the walk, go to Piazza del Duomo, one of the largest and most impressive in Puglia. Who says Piazza del Duomo, says cathedral. This is where the cathedral of Lecce is, which you can visit if you wish. On the square, are also to see: the campanile, the episcopal palace and the palace of the seminary.
Continue the day with another must-visit tourist attraction in Lecce: the famous Santa Croce Basilica and its facade adorned with a magnificent rose window and hundreds of carved details. More than a century has been needed for its construction! The interior is also worth seeing for the 17 altars and it’s free!
Finish the afternoon according to your desires, to discover the palaces and churches of Lecce, present throughout the city.
The next day, second day in Lecce and a more cultural program with the visit of 2 museums:
- The MUST: the historical museum of Lecce dedicated to its history but which also presents an exhibition of paintings and a gallery of contemporary art
- The Faggiano Museum: an old house of more than 2000 years where lived Messapes, Romans, Templars. It was during work done by the owners that they discovered the historical richness of their house and decided to display the objects found in the foundations in a small museum.
And if you do not mind to visit another museum, you can then visit the castle Charles V and its monumental walls. It houses the museum of the cartapesta or paper mache museum, a typical activity of Lecce.
And to close this day, I propose a visit a little atypical: that of the cemetery of Lecce. The place is famous for hosting many Baroque tombs, also made of Lecce stone. Their architecture is really impressive, a little in the style of the monumental cemetery of Milan (if you know). The atmosphere is peaceful and really not creepy.
After a second night in the city, it’s time to see the surroundings of Lecce. And good news, after 2 days spent walking around the city, it is that today I propose you some bathing breaks and stroll by the sea.
First stop of the day in Torre dell Orso, 35 minutes from Lecce by car. A large sandy beach and clear water are waiting for you! At the end of the beach, you will find the Due Sorelles, 2 faraglioni very photogenic and found on all the postcards of the city. To better admire them, I advise you to climb by the path to the right of the beach, at the top of the cliff.
Only 5 minutes from Torre dell Orso, then stop at Torre Sant Andrea. Here too, there are beautiful pictures to make faraglioni. Do not hesitate to give yourself time to swim, this is the place!
Finally, join the last stop of the day, Otranto, 20 minutes from Torre Sant Andrea. Explore its historic center to discover the castle and its ramparts and Otranto Cathedral. Finish the day by the sea, in quiet mode at the beach of Otranto and one of those located nearby.
Return to spend a last night in Lecce.
If you want to know more about things to do in Lecce, check out our article: What to see 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.
Day 6: Matera (1 day)
For this third leg of this 10-day trip to Puglia, this morning depart for Matera.
But before arriving in Matera, on the road, there are some unavoidable stops to do:
- In the city of Taranto, famous for 2 places – Its castle (free guided tour every 2 hours from 9:30) and the National Archaeological Museum. The latter is really interesting, modern and well arranged. You will discover the history of Taranto and Puglia.
- In Puglia canyon that cross several villages, cutting in 2 for some. Massafra, Castellaneta, Laterza and Ginosa offer the most beautiful views of the canyon. These are very quiet villages and it is good to walk there.
Take the car back to Matera. In fact, the city is not part of the region of Puglia but that of Basilicata, located next door. However, as it is near Taranto and Bari, it would be a shame not to integrate it in places to see in Puglia in 10 days and not to stop in one of the oldest cities in the world.
Matera is world renowned for its Sassi of cave dwellings dug into the rock that the first inhabitants date back to Paléothique! Since that time, homes have certainly evolved but have always been occupied. Some of its caves were even turned into rock churches by monks who took refuge there. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the site has nearly 3,000 caves and churches.
To visit Matera on foot and do not miss out on places of interest, go first to the tourist office to get a map of the city. It also offers 3 different routes (more or less long). In any case, I advise you to start your visit by the Piazza del Duomo, common starting point of the 3 walks.
Here is the itinerary that I recommend for the afternoon:
- Piazza del Duomo and the cathedral where you can enjoy a first view of the Sassi from the forecourt
- The church of San Pietro Caveoso perched on the edge of the ravine
- The chiesa della Madonna de Idris, a perfect example of a rock church, directly carved into the rocks
- Visit the museum of Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario to discover the interior of a traditional Sassi
- The Convincinio di Sant Antonio
- The Lafranchi Palace
- The belvedere of the piazzeta Pascoli
- The National Archaeological Museum
- Tramontano Castle
At the end of the walk, the city will certainly be illuminated and you can make other sublime photos.
To discover Matera in detail, I invite you to consult our article: Visit the Sassi of Matera.
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.
Day 7-9: The Gargano
For the fourth leg of this 10-day stay in Puglia, I take you on a tour of the Gargano and its national park, the largest in Italy.
But do not burn the steps, before joining the Gargano, leaving Matera, I strongly recommend you to go through the Belvedere Murgia. From the exit of the city, it takes about 10 minutes by car. It is at the Belvedere that you will have the most beautiful overview of the Sassi of Matera.
To reach the Gargano from Matera, it’s a bit of road waiting for you because it takes about 2 hours to reach Manfredonia, gateway to the Gargano. Then add 1h15 to reach Vieste, place where I advise you to sleep.
The road connecting Manfredonia to Vieste is sublime because you will go along the sea and enjoy magnificent panoramas all along. This was my favorite route during my road trip in Puglia! Take your time to browse it, there are many photo stops to make. And if it is warm enough, you will also find beautiful covesfor swimming.
When you arrive in Vieste, spend the afternoon exploring the historic center. And why not opt for a boat trip to discover the nearby marine caves ? These boat trips are part of the activities to do absolutely during your trip in Puglia.
After a restful night in or near Vieste, today I also recommend a nice panoramic road, which connects Vieste to Peschici. You can admire strange constructions by the sea, trabucchi. This very ingenious system of ropes and nets allowed fishing. Some still serve and some have been converted into a restaurant serving delicious fresh fish.
Peschici is a small village whose main interest lies in its historic center and the castle offering a view of the beach and the entire coast.
After Peschici, take the road that goes up to Vico del Gargano. With its narrow streets and charming stone houses, the medieval village is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
And if you visit Puglia in love, know that Valentine is the protector of the city and there is even a kiss alley in Vico ! During your walk, I advise you to go through Bella’s palace, the castle and the many churches including that of Santa Maria Pura or San Giuseppe.
For the end of the day, go to Lake Varano, one of the largest in southern Italy. In this bucolic and soothing place, you can observe many birds like herons or flamingos. Of boat trips are also organized. If that tells you, you can stay there until sunset, because that’s when Lake Varano is the most beautiful.
Return to spend a second night in Vieste or in the surroundings.
Today, in the morning program, a short hike in the Foresta Umbra, a protected nature reserve in the heart of the Gargano Natural Park .
There are several trails to discover the fauna and flora typical of this forest, including the famous wild orchids that many botanists come to admire. The trails are not necessarily well marked, get a map in the visitor center.
After the ride, take your car rental for about 50 minutes, time to reach the village of Sant Angelo. It is known to be one of the most important religious centers of Gargano and Puglia. The Via dei Longabardi,which runs through the village, was indeed a sacred route from Spain to Jerusalem and was used by many pilgrims.
They also stopped at the sanctuary of Archangel Michael, a church in a cave and you can go see. Located in the Rione Junno district, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In Monte Sant Angelo, I also advise you to go see:
- the Norman-Swabian castle for the panorama of the whole Gargano to the Gulf of Manfredonia
- the church of Santa Maria Maggiore
- the museum of arts and popular traditions of Gargano
- the baptistery of San Giovanni in Tumba or tomb of the Rothari
- the Antico Forno Frisoli bakery to stock up on delicious biscuits typical of the region! 🙂
If you want to organize your own Gargano tour program, check out our article: How to visit the Gargano Park.
From Monte Sant Angelo, then join Bari for the night. It takes at least 1h50 of road.
Depending on the length of your morning hike in Foresta Umbra, you may have time to stop in Trani. The city is located on the way and this will give you the opportunity to admire its beautiful and very photogenic cathedral by the sea.
To stay in the Gargano
To stay in an apartment in Gargano
For a family holiday with your children or friends for your holidays in Gargano, I recommend you to choose an apartment. You can eat and there is more space for everyone. They are also located in residences with swimming pool, which is nice to cool off!
- Villagio Idra: Located 5 minutes drive from Vieste, in the countryside. This property offers several small duplex houses. Fully equipped apartment with 2 bedrooms, sitting area, kitchen and large private terrace with garden furniture from 60 € per night. Most: the sea view, pool and jacuzzi, barbecue available, free private parking. Ideal for a family holiday in Gargano!
- Residence Torre del Porto: Located in Mattinata, a 5-minute walk from the beach. The residence offers well equipped and spacious studios and apartments with terrace or balcony from 80 € per night, breakfast included. Most: quiet location, warm welcome, beautiful and large pool.
- Residence Montelci: Located between Mattinata and Vieste. This residence offers 1 to 3 bedroom apartments for up to 6 people. The units are equipped with a kitchen and have a patio. From 90 € per night, breakfast at 5 €. The most: the magnificent view of the sea and the mountains, the pool, the welcome smiling.
The best hotels to stay in Gargano
If you are traveling as a couple, here is my selection of hotels for a romantic stay in Gargano. Most of them even offer free access to the private beach with deckchairs and parasols available.
- Isola dei Sapori Boutique hotel Restaurant: Located right by Lake Varano and a 3-minute walk from the beach. This hotel is brand new, the double rooms are comfortable and bright. From 65 € per night, breakfast included. Most: free beach umbrella and sunbeds on the private beach, the location in the natural area, excellent service.
- Hotel Boutique Il Castellino Relais: Located 1 minute walk from the beach and 15 minutes from the center of Vieste. Spacious and bright double room from 80 € per night, breakfast included. For this price, you will even get 2 sunbeds and a free umbrella every day on the private beach! Most: swimming pool, tennis court, hearty breakfast. This is our favorite for its benefit / price ratio!
- Relais Viesti: 5 minutes walk from the beach and 5 minutes from Vieste Castle. Double room design and refined with a huge shower from 100 € per night, breakfast included. The most: the availability of the owners, the excellent breakfast, the setting and the decor of the rooms.
The best holiday villages in Gargano
For lovers of holiday villages with swimming pool, playground, entertainment and restaurant, I have selected the best.
- Club Vacanze Viestemare: Located in Vieste, a 10-minute walk from the beach. Studio with kitchenette from 45 € per night, breakfast included. The most: the beautiful swimming pool, access to the private beach, free transfer to the beach, the SPA, ping-pong table, free bicycles available.
- Village Baia Turchese: Located in Vieste, right in front of the beach. Double room or bright and comfortable apartment from 50 € per night, breakfast included. Most: football field, basketball court, tennis court, swimming pool.
- Villaggio Club Degli Ulivi: Located between Vieste and Peschici, 300 m from the beach. All units feature a kitchenette, terrace with outdoor furniture and BBQ facilities. From 60 € the night. The most: the playground for children, the animation team, shuttle to the beach.
- Villaggio San Matteo Resort: Located 200 meters from the beach, in Mattinata. Double room or apartment with balcony or private terrace from 70 € per night, breakfast at 12 €. Most: the pool, entertainment, 2 restaurants, attentive staff.
Day 10: Bari
The next day, and unfortunately for you the fifth leg means the end of this road trip of 10 days in Puglia.
Depending on the departure time of your plane or if you have the chance to take off the next day, here is an example of a route to visit Bari in 1 day:
- Walk in the district of the historic center: Bari Vecchia. Do not miss the Orecchiette street where you can see the women in the process of preparing and making these pasta typical of Bari.
- Admire the facade of the Basilica of San Nicola
- Pass the Swabian castle to see one of the greatest castles of Puglia
- Visit the San Sabino Cathedral
- Finish with a stroll on the lungomare to conclude in beauty the holidays in Puglia with a good cocktail at the edge of the water.
For more details on Bari, it’s in our article: Top 12 things to do in 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!
Feel free to give us your opinion and suggestions on our road trip in Puglia!
2 weeks in Puglia
If you have the chance to visit Puglia in 2 weeks, I advise you to spend more time in the Gargano .
You can go hiking and really enjoy the beautiful coves and beaches. By planning a 15-day stay in Puglia, you can take a trip to the Tremiti Islands or even spend two full days there. They are known for their beautiful natural landscapes.
If you have any questions about organizing your 2 weeks road trip in Puglia , do not hesitate to ask me about it.
Budget: 10 days of road trip in Puglia
To visit Puglia in 10 days by car, here are the expenses to plan:
- Accommodation for 2 for a week : 560 €
- Transport for 2 (flight + car rental): 250 €
- Visits for 2 : 90 €
- Food for 2 : 360 €
Total budget for 10 days for 2 people : 1,260 €
Are you going to Puglia? To read also
Check out all our articles about Puglia : All BonAdvisor’s articles about Puglia are listed here.
- What to do in Puglia: TOP 20 places to see in this region of Italy
- Itinerary: A Week in Puglia – The Ultimate Route to Visit Puglia in 7-8 Days
- Itinerary: 10 days in Puglia – How to visit Puglia in 10 days and not miss anything!
- Alberobello: Visit the village of trulli thanks to our complete guide
- Lecce: The top 12 things to see absolutely
- Ostuni: Top 10 things to do absolutely