Apulia, Italy: travel guide and places to visit

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The many resorts and the scenery of the Gargano region to the north of Apulia make it a very popular attraction with visitors, along with many other seaside resorts along the Adriatic coast.

Apulia travel guide and places to visit

For a summary of the most popular sights in the region see also Puglia places to visit.

Trulli in LocorotondoThe Apulia region (also known as Puglia) is the 'heel' of Italy - that is, the south-eastern part of the country, facing the Adriatic Sea to the east and the Ionian Sea to the south.

Apulia is a relatively undiscovered region despite having some lovely beaches and impressive architecture. Highlights include its unusual trulli buildings with their conical roofs, some excellent baroque architecture and the Gargano peninsula.

Puglia is also famous for its excellent olive oils and wines and hearty cuisine. Though it is largely unknown to foreign tourists it is a popular spot with Italians in July and August.

Northern Puglia

At the northern tip of Puglia is the very attractive Garano Peninsula known as Gargano.

The lakes of Lesina and  Cagnano Varano are popular with nature lovers  and between them is the town of San Nicandro Garganico with its 15th century castle.

PeschiciContinuing along the peninsula are the pretty seaside towns of Rodi Garganico, Ischitella, and Peschici. Perhaps the best of all the coastal villages is Vieste with its whitewashed buildings hugging the white cliffs below. Visitors should also take a trip to the islands off the coast, the  Isole Tremiti which can be accessed from  Peschici and Vieste.

On the southern side of the peninsula popular coastal resorts include Mattinata and Manfredonia.

Inland on the Gargano Peninsula are popular pilgrim town of Monte Sant'Angelo  which enjoys a stunning hilltop location overlooking the sea, and  the towns of San Nicandro Garganico, San Marco in LamisRignano Garganico and Carpino. The shrine at San Giovanni Rotondo is the second most visited Catholic shrine in the world.

Other historical highlights of the region include the ancient ruins at Lucera and the town of Troia - above all for its cathedral. Nearby Alberona is classified as one of the "most beautiful villages of Italy".

Central Puglia

TraniFurther south on the coast Trani is a delightful seaside destination and there is also the resort of Barletta.

Inland are Ruvo di Puglia and especially the important town of Bari with its interesting old town. As well as its historic monuments Bari has some good shops and restaurants. Close to here is the intriguing castle of Castel del Monte. This is one of many built by Frederic II in the area but is a particularly fine example an has UNESCO World Heritage status.

The town of Bitonto (well known for its olives) has a very impressive range of museums and historical sites to explore.

Further inland the historically important town of Altamura, famous for its bread and home to "Altamura Man", a rare prehistoric skeleton of a Homo sapien man with some Neanderthal features.

Southern Puglia

AlberobelloContinue south into the 'heel' of Italy to discover the fascinating local architectural style - the 'trulli' villages - of Alberobello and Locorotondo, with their cone-shaped roofs and whitewashed walls.

Southern Puglia has the interesting geographical feature of having some towns on the Adriatic Sea and others on the Ionian Sea. Ostuni is a beautiful hill town on the Adriatic coast whilst Gallipoli is a popular resort on the Ionian Sea. The 'heel' of Italy is not very wide and so it is possible to visit both seas during your visit.

The main city is at Lecce, where there are lots of impressive 16th century buildings. It is known as the "Florence of the South" for its abundant Baroque architecture. The town of Galatina also has some excellent Baroque architecture.

Specchia in the very south of the 'heel' is one of Italy's most beautiful villages and you can visit some ancient underground olive mills.

There are some picturesque and interesting historical aspects to admire in Taranto, whose ancient city sits on an island in the Ionian Sea and linked to the mainland by a bridge.

Apulia highlights - a photo gallery

  • beach
  • cisternino
  • cliff-vieste
  • giovinazzo
  • lecce-coast
  • ostuni
  • peschici
  • taranto
  • vieste-cliffs

Most Beautiful Villages - Apulia

The following Italian towns and villages in Apulia are listed among the 'most beautiful villages in Italy':

Alberona, Bovino, Cisternino, Locorotondo, Otranto, Pietramontecorvino, Roseto Valfortore, Specchia, Vico del Gargano

Orange Flag Tourism towns in

The following Italian towns and villages in Puglia are listed among the 'Orange flag towns in Italy'(a national tourist award):

Alberona, Sant'Agata di Puglia

See also:

Map of Puglia and places to visit

Places to visit near Puglia

Alberobello

Alberobello

Alberobello is a beautiful little town full of incredible buildings called trullis with cone-shaped roofs

Alberobello

Alberona

Alberona

Alberona is a beautiful village in the Puglia region of Italy

Alberona

Altamura

Altamura

Altamura is a historical town with a fine cathedral and reputedly the beast bread in Italy.

Altamura

Bari

Bari

Bari is a coastal city with an interesting historic centre.

Bari

Barletta

Barletta

Barletta is a historic town with the largest bronze statue dating from Ancient Roman times.

Barletta

Bitonto

Bitonto

Bitonto is a pretty town with some important museums and archaeological sites.

Bitonto

Cagnano Varano

Cagnano Varano

Cagnano Varano is a pretty hilltop village close to Lake Varano.

Cagnano Varano

Carpino

Carpino

Carpino is a pretty village with fine views.

Carpino

Castel del Monte

Castel del Monte

Unusual octaganol shaped castle in southern Italy.

Castel del Monte

Galatina

Galatina

Galatina centre has some fine Baroque buildings.

Galatina

Gallipoli

Gallipoli

A popular seaside resort, Gallipoli's old centre is on an island accessed by a bridge.

Gallipoli

Ischitella

Ischitella

Ischitella is a popular resort with a pretty old town of narrow alleys and colourful houses.

Ischitella

Isole Tremiti

Isole Tremiti

Isole Tremiti is a beautiful group of Islands in the Adriatic sea near Italy. It is very popular for summer holidays.

Isole Tremiti

Lecce

Lecce

Lecce has an abundance of rich Baroque architecture

Lecce

Lesina

Lesina

A town on the edge of a lake, Lesina is popular for water-sports and nature-lovers.

Lesina

Locorotondo

Locorotondo

Not to be missed! Locorotondo is famous for its quaint cottages called 'trulli'.

Locorotondo

Lucera

Lucera

Lucera has a Roman ampitheatre and a Medieval castle amongst other historic buildings.

Lucera

Manfredonia

Manfredonia

Manfredonia's castle can be visited and is now the home of a National Archaeological museum.

Manfredonia

Mattinata

Mattinata

Mattinata has both a nice beach resort and an attractive village a little inland.

Mattinata

Monte Sant'Angelo

Monte Sant'Angelo

The Sanctuary of Monte Sant'Angelo along with its sacred cave is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Monte Sant'Angelo

Ostuni

Ostuni

Ostuni is known as the 'White City' for its lovely white-washed buildings.

Ostuni

Otranto

Otranto

Otranto is a lovely seaside town on the Adriatic sea of Italy

Otranto

Peschici

Peschici

Visit Peschici which is one of the prettiest resorts on the Gargano Peninsula.

Peschici

Rignano Garganico

Rignano Garganico

Visit the well preserved old town of Rignano Garganico and admire the views from its hilltop position.

Rignano Garganico

Rodi Garganico

Rodi Garganico

Visit Rodi Garganico whose pretty white houses rise up from its large sandy beach.

Rodi Garganico

Ruvo di Puglia

Ruvo di Puglia

Ruvo di Puglia has an attractive old centre and and attractive Romanesque cathedral.

Ruvo di Puglia

San Giovanni Rotondo

San Giovanni Rotondo

San Giovanni Rotondo is the second most visited pilgrim site in the world with visitors visiting the tomb of Padre Pio.

San Giovanni Rotondo

San Marco in Lamis

San Marco in Lamis

The Monastery at San Marco in Lamis is a popular pilgrim destination.

San Marco in Lamis

San Nicandro

San Nicandro

San Nicandro has a medieval centre surrounded by defensive walls and dominated by its castle.

San Nicandro

Specchia

Specchia

Beautiful village in the 'heel' of Italy.

Specchia

Taranto

Taranto

Sitting on the edge of the sea, Taranto's impressive castle dominates the old town.

Taranto

Trani

Trani

Trani is a delightful seaside port with an elegant centre.

Trani

Troia

Troia

Visit Troia for its beautiful cathedral.

Troia

Vieste

Vieste

Vieste is a beautiful fishing village set dramatically on top of a rocky promontory. It has some great beaches.

Vieste