Apulia, also known as Puglia, is a beautiful and diverse region in the southern part of Italy, with a rich cultural heritage and stunning natural beauty. From the trulli houses of Alberobello, to the baroque architecture of Lecce and the pristine beaches of the Adriatic coast, Apulia has something to offer for everyone. The best way to explore this region is by road tripping with a campervan, van, caravan or by going camping with a tent, allowing visitors to experience the region's picturesque landscapes, charming towns, and rich culture at their own pace. In this guide, we'll be highlighting some of the must-see and underrated places to visit in Apulia, from charming seaside towns to historic landmarks, and natural wonders that will leave you speechless. Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a relaxing holiday, these destinations are sure to leave a lasting impression.
Alberobello: This charming town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is located in the heart of the Valle d’Itria. The town is known for its trulli houses, which are traditional limestone houses with conical roofs. The trulli houses were originally used as temporary shelters by farmers and shepherds, but today they are used as homes, shops, and restaurants. Visitors can take a tour of the town and learn about the history and culture of the trulli houses, and enjoy the picturesque narrow streets lined with these unique houses.
Polignano a Mare: This coastal town is located on the Adriatic Sea and is known for its stunning cliff-top views, beautiful beaches, and traditional old town. The old town of Polignano a Mare is built on top of high cliffs overlooking the sea and is a maze of narrow streets, alleys, and stairways lined with white-washed houses. Visitors can enjoy a swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea at one of the town's many beaches, or take a walk along the waterfront to enjoy the views of the sea and the surrounding cliffs.
Lecce: Known as the "Florence of the South," this baroque city is located in the heel of Italy's "boot" and is famous for its stunning architecture. The city's most famous monument is the Cathedral of Santa Croce, which is an ornate baroque church that was built in the 17th century. Visitors can also explore the many other baroque churches, palaces, and mansions that dot the city's historic center, or take a walk through the beautiful Piazza del Duomo, which is one of the most famous squares in the city.
Otranto: This charming coastal town is located on the Adriatic Sea and is known for its beautiful beaches, medieval castle, and the impressive Cathedral of Otranto. Visitors can take a stroll around the town's charming old town, which is lined with narrow streets and white-washed houses, or visit the castle to learn about the town's history. The Cathedral of Otranto is also a must-see, as it is one of the most important examples of Romanesque architecture in Italy.
Grotta della Poesia: This sea cave is located near the town of Roca Vecchia and is a must-see for nature lovers. The cave can be reached by boat, and the trip to the cave is an incredible experience. The cave features a natural sea pool and is surrounded by towering cliffs, which make it a truly magical place to visit.
Salento: This southern part of Puglia is known for its beautiful countryside, historic towns, and traditional culture. The towns of Gallipoli, Otranto, and Santa Maria di Leuca are all worth visiting, as they offer a glimpse into the traditional way of life in Puglia. Visitors can also take a drive through the countryside to explore the region's beautiful landscapes, which are characterized by rolling hills, olive groves, and vineyards.
Parco Nazionale del Gargano: This national park is located in the northern part of Puglia and is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the region. The park is also a great place for hiking and bird-watching, with a wide variety of birds to spot. The most famous hiking trail in the park is the Sentiero degli Dei (the Trail of the Gods), which offers panoramic views of the coast and the surrounding countryside. The park is also home to the historic town of Vieste, which is known for its beautiful beaches and traditional old town.
Castel del Monte: This 13th-century castle is located in the province of Barletta-Andria-Trani and is one of the most significant examples of the military architecture of the Middle Ages. The castle is an octagonal building and is known for its eight towers, which are an architectural masterpiece. The castle has a rich history and visitors can take a tour of the castle and learn about its past.
Torre Guaceto: This protected marine reserve located on the Adriatic coast, is a unique place to visit for those who want to discover the Mediterranean flora and fauna. The area is home to a variety of fish, sea turtles and birds. Visitors can take a hike or bike ride along the coast to enjoy the beautiful sea views or participate in a guided tour of the reserve, which will take you through the unique ecosystem of the area, You can also take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea and enjoy the sandy beaches.
Ostuni: Known as the "white city" Ostuni is located on a hilltop and is one of the most beautiful towns in Puglia. The town's old town is characterized by white-washed houses and narrow streets, which makes it a picturesque place to explore. Visitors can also take a walk through the town's historic center, which is home to a number of churches, palaces, and other historic buildings. The town's Cathedral is also worth visiting, as it is one of the most important examples of baroque architecture in the region.
All these destinations are worth visiting while road tripping or camping in the region, known for its rich cultural heritage and stunning natural beauty, there's no doubt that Apulia will leave a lasting impression on visitors. It's a perfect place for those who are looking for a mix of cultural and natural experiences!