The Road Tripper's Guide
The Road Tripper’s 3 Day Itinerary to Puglia
There’s nothing like hitting the open road — windows down as you cruise along Adriatic highways, blasting your favorite playlist while you maneuver through tight cobbled streets, relishing in the absolute freedom that comes from sitting behind the wheel. Here, THE STELLA brings you a three-day Puglia road trip to make the most of your travels!
Click on our map below for a detailed view!
PUGLIA ROAD TRIP ITINERARY – DAY 1
If you’re flying into Puglia, you’ll probably land at Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport and so our list begins here. Bari is the capital of Italy’s Puglia region and home to more than 300,000 people. The vibe is decidedly urban, largely due to the many students (grace à la University of Bari Aldo Moro), as well as a diverse multicultural population.
But while the mood may be 21st-century modern, the landscape is considerably older. You can visit the bones of the real Santa Claus at the Basilica di San Nicola (I guess that settles that childhood debate), or explore the courtyard of the Bari Castle, built by Norman rulers nearly a thousand years ago.
And, if you’re looking for the best nightlife in southern Italy — look no further than Bari. Start your evening with a highly acclaimed ice cream cone from the notorious Che Gusto C’e; eat a scrumptious lunch at the beautiful Caffe Vergnano; unwind with a cold drink at the rustic La Ciclatera; and dance the night away at the always-bumping Demodè Club!
PUGLIA ROAD TRIP ITINERARY – DAY 2
Polignano a Mare
You may not know the name, but you’ve definitely seen the image. In fact, if you were an advertiser looking to increase Puglia’s tourism, Polignano a Mare would be your Holy Grail. This charming town is home to the famous Lama Monachile beach. While it can get pretty crowded during the summer months, mornings are a good time to avoid the crowds. Sunbathe on the sandy shore, take a few selfies on the rocks, and go for a swim; the water is brilliant blue, warm, and clean. It’s the perfect way to refresh yourself before hitting the road again.
Known as La Città Bianca, we don’t blame you for wondering why it’s nicknamed The White City in a region filled with white cities… Well, Ostuni happens to be one of the oldest, best maintained, and eye-catching of them all. The city is poised dramatically over three hilltops as the dense hodgepodge of white buildings shine in brilliant relief against the blue, Mediterranean sky.
While archaeological evidence suggests that Ostuni has been settled since the Stone Age, it’s its later influences that attract visitors today; Greek, Roman, and Baroque styles converge through the labyrinth of cobblestone streets.
The city’s Old Town is an especially interesting place for history buffs: The main historical sites include the Bishop’s Palace and Ostuni Cathedral, which is nearly a millennium old.
PUGLIA ROAD TRIP ITINERARY – DAY 3
Colloquially referred to as, “the Florence of the South,” Lecce is easily one of the most striking towns in southern Italy. Its spectacular Baroque architecture gives it a Florentine vibe, while its proximity to beautiful beaches make it an excellent basecamp for beach-dwellers-on-wheels.
The city’s dense historic centre converges around the expansive Piazza del Duomo. Here, you’ll immediately be greeted by the Duomo of Lecce, the Bell Tower, the Bishop’s Palace, and the Seminary Palace. Before long, you’ll have happily lost yourself in a maze of cobblestone alleys and ornate structures.
Need a coffee break? Grab an espresso and chill out by the 2nd century Roman amphitheatre at Piazza Sant’Oronzo. You may even be able to catch a concert here if you time it right.
Otranto has something for everyone. Cerulean seas, medieval stone walls, ominous castles, and tie-dye grottos — enough said. It lies near the very tip of Italy’s boot, where the Strait of Otranto joins together the Adriatic and Ionian Seas.
Amble through the Centro Storico, or walk along the lovely seafront promenade. Enjoy the eclectic shops, delicious restaurants, striking architecture, and authentic cafes.
You’ll want to check out the Otranto Cathedral, a Roman Catholic church consecrated in 1088, and the epic Aragonese Castle, formerly Otranto’s defensive stronghold and now a tourist attraction that hosts summer events and festivities.
Drive a few minutes outside Otranto to visit Laghetto Cave di Bauxite. This old mining reservoir boasts colours that span the entire visible spectrum. For a few euros, you can also hike the trail surrounding the lake.
As a road tripper, your possibilities for exploration are practically endless. And while these five towns are definite must-sees, the open-spirited adventurer is sure to stumble upon many more hidden gems along the way. If you have more time, be sure to check out Gallipoli, Alberobello, and Martina Franca.
If you still haven’t booked your Italian vacation getaway, check out THE STELLA’s curated collection of Italian vacation rentals and book yours today!