Puglia Travel Guide
Almost all of these Puglia recommendations come from our recent feature, Leszek Golabek. He vacationed in the Puglia region in August 2016.
Puglia is a region in southern Italy that forms the country’s boot heel, which is equally famous for its hillside villages and azure coastlines. This region borders the Ionian and Adriatic Seas, making it the perfect place for both a historic and seaside vacation. Puglia has been populated for several millennia, making it one of the most archaeologically rich areas that Italy has to offer.
Puglia has a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and mild winters. As it’s more of a hidden gem than other regions in Italy, come during summer to enjoy the Italian sunshine and comfortable 80-degree weather. To get here, fly into Bari International Airport.
STAY: Borgo Egnazia, Puglia
Borgo Egnazia is a 5-star hotel in the seaside hamlet of Savelletri. This upscale resort is located next to the seaside and features stunning views of the Adriatic Sea. Equally known for their golf courses and amazing amenities, Borgo Egnazia is only an hour-long trip from Bari International Airport. Come between late spring and early fall to ensure some time at the beach.
Borgo Egnazia is a vast complex with numerous buildings and villas, and each one features the same whitewashed walls and Mediterranean design influences that Puglia is known for. The villas seem simultaneously cutting edge and ancient, and the understated elegance of the decor is marked by clean lines, unfinished wooden accents and plush ivory beds, chairs and couches.
The Vair Spa, the Due Camini restaurant and numerous rooms can be found within the La Corte building. The spa features various rejuvenating treatments, including an Abbel Bel herb-infused facial and a Mbatsch facial mask. Due Camini is the hotel’s main restaurant, which features simple and authentic Italian food.
The Il Borgo villa looks like a classic Puglian village, and it boasts La Frasca restaurant and several suites as well. La Frasca has a rustic décor and serves traditional Puglian cuisine. The chefs utilize the freshest ingredients from Puglia’s fertile farmlands to make hearty dishes like brasciole and eggplant parmigiana or mussels with potatoes and rice. The food tastes as if it came straight from a local nonna’s kitchen!
Guests can decide between staying in La Corte, Il Borgo or one of the hotel’s private villas. Prices for most accommodations range between $180 and $2,500 USD per night. Make a reservation to stay at Borgo Egnazia. Follow on Instagram.
Address: Localita’ Savelletri, 72015 Fasano BR, Italy
Phone: +39 080-225-5000
EAT: Masseria Il Frantoio
Masseria Il Frantoio is a hotel and restaurant found in the fertile region of Alto Salento in the heart of Puglia, Italy. The hotel was built into a medieval farmhouse and boasts 500 years of fascinating history. There are only six rooms and they all feel luxurious yet homelike, with cute knick-knacks lining the walls. Prices for each room range between $160 and $600 USD. Book online.
The restaurant at Masseria Il Frantoio serves authentic Puglian food, and the chefs use only the freshest seasonal ingredients from the region. Renowned for its tomatoes, olives, chickpeas and fresh herbs, Puglia has fertile farmlands and its cuisine benefits from this greatly. Masseria Il Frantoio’s fixed menu changes based on the season, but dishes could include smoked goat cheese with saffron and pear compote, baked lamb and potatoes with bitter herbs, and sheep cheese with green bean fricassee.
Masseria Il Frantoio’s décor is homelike and rustic, and it features Puglia’s famous whitewashed walls. Its interior has a homelike charm—it really looks like a centuries-old farmhouse. Ask to eat in their courtyard garden, it’s filled with winding trees and blooming flowers, making this the perfect place for a romantic date.
Address: Strada Statale 16, km 874, 72017 Ostuni BR, Italy
Phone: +39 0831-330276
EAT: Gelato in Lecce
Pasticceria Natale is a confectionery and gelato shop in Lecce, which is one of the most historic cities in Italy’s Puglia region. Pasticceria Natale may be a takeaway shop, but it still has a delightful décor. Owners Fernando and Lila create a welcoming atmosphere that’s comforting and homelike. A vast array of tasty treats lines the walls and sides of the store and there’s even a chandelier hanging from the ceiling.
Pasticceria Natale sells cakes, pastries, chocolate and gelato. The gelato available changes frequently, but flavors have included almond, fig and crisp rum. If it’s not warm enough outside for gelato, try out their pasticciotto (custard-filled pastries), semifreddo (semi-frozen desserts), biscotti or tartlets. Many of these sweets feature ingredients like mashed banana, dark chocolate and coffee beans. Most items cost between $8 and $16 USD. Follow Pasticceria Natale on Instagram.
Address: Via Salvatore Trinchese, 7, Lecce LE, Italy
Phone: +39 0832-256060
SEE: Trulli houses of Alberobello
The trulli houses of Alberobello are the most well-known historic landmarks in Puglia. These dry stone huts feature whitewashed walls and conical roofs, making them look both traditional and distinctive. They seem like they come from a fairy tale with their roofs featuring etched designs. Most were constructed in the 1800s as temporary storehouses or permanent dwellings for farmers. Many fell into disrepair until local artisan Guido Antoinette bought several dozen, restored them, and then rented them out at lower prices than local hotels. This type of construction is unique to the Puglia region and Alberobello has entire districts filled with trulli houses, making it the best place to see them.
What makes the trulli houses of Alberobello so fascinating is that most are actually occupied, either by local residents or visiting tourists. The interiors are simple and the furnishings are minimal, but staying in a trulli house is worth it to get an authentic experience!
Address: Strada Statale dei Trulli, 70011 Alberobello BA, Italy
SEE: Centro Storico, Ostuni
Centro Storico is the historic center of Ostuni, a picturesque town in Puglia. Combining the same whitewashed walls that are prominent throughout the region with a perfect hillside vantage point, Ostuni is an amazing destination for sightseeing. Start any trip to Ostuni’s Centro Storico by wandering through the winding streets and narrow passageways and then visit the various shops, cafes or gelato stands to meet the friendly local populace. Be sure to visit the Cathedral of Ostuni and the Church of Saint Vito Martire as well to see the best examples of Ostuni’s famous architecture.
Address: Centro Storico, 72017 Ostuni, Province of Brindisi, Italy