Ask the experts: a trip to Puglia

Our panel gives advice on a trip to the Southern Italian region of Puglia, including recommendations for hotels, sights and itinerary. Have a travel query? Email the team at

By National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Published 5 May 2014, 12:00 BST, Updated 1 Jul 2021, 11:16 BST

Q: My partner and I are planning to visit Puglia — with a focus on the coastal areas — this summer. We'd like some restful days along with sightseeing and want to make the most of the region's restaurants. We'll be hiring a car if needed. Can you give us recommendations for hotels, sights and itinerary?


Kate Simon, travel correspondent for The Independent on Sunday:

Head south to the Salento area of Puglia, the tip of Italy's heel, beyond the pastures of the dome-topped trulli houses. At first sight, these flatlands are monotonous. But penetrate the sun-scorched fields and you'll be rewarded with shimmering olive groves, pellucid seas, and baroque churches built from the local blond tufa stone. Check out Pescoluse Beach, near Santa Maria di Leuca (Salento's Land's End), known as 'the Maldives of Puglia'; when the clear waters wash over the sandbar they create tiny islands in the sea. Follow the winding alleyways into the heart of Nardó to admire its florid monuments and churches. And dine at the menu-less Gustavo Braceria (T: 00 39 345 6155711) in Galatone, where host Carmela serves what her chef-husband, Gigi, conjures up from the day's produce.

Helen Croft, Southern Italy, Sicily & Sardinia expert, Long Travel:

Puglia is full of interesting towns, beautiful countryside and great beaches. I suggest you stay in central Puglia — near the Itria Valley and towns such as Ostuni, Monopoli and Martina Franca — and in the south, near to Otranto, Lecce and Gallipoli. I recommend two of our smallest, most characterful B&Bs — Calcebianca, near Ostuni (just three rooms plus a lovely pool), and Palazzo Guglielmo in Vignacastrisi, near Otranto (seven rooms, a pool and stunning gardens). Both are close to the sea and offer great bases to explore from. Two weeks in June costs from £1,039 per person, B&B, including flights and car hire.

Viviana Neglia, Puglia Tourism:

Travelling through Puglia, you'll enjoy nearly 500 miles of coastline — steep and rugged along Gargano, low in the land of Bari; rocky on the Adriatic around Salento, and sandy in the Ionian areas. Protected areas dazzle with crystal-clear waters, as in Torre Guaceto, while vibrant cities such as Trani, Barletta, Bari, Brindisi, and Lecce are great for lovers of art and architecture. I advise renting a car, either from the airport at Bari or Brindisi, then driving to the Ionian or the Adriatic coast, where you can enjoy hiking, biking, horse riding, boating, kitesurfing and snorkelling. Or simply sample Puglia's traditional cuisine in affordable, family-run trattoria.


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