I've been to Italy a few times now and every region is so different from the other, but everywhere is beautiful. Puglia is located in the 'heel' of the boot shaped country and is somewhere that had been on my list for a while, and it did not disappoint. I went with 3 of my friends in early June of 2019 and we all got so many questions about our trip - a blog post was definitely overdue.
We were there for 5ish days which was the perfect amount of time to balance a bit of sightseeing along with lounging by the pool at our beautiful villa. There are definitely a few more places I would've liked to see, but I guess now I've got a good reason to return to Puglia as soon as possible as I completely fell in love with it. The love affair began early on, at the airport in London. We had noticed all the passengers on our flight were senior citizens meaning they were fairly chilled. In other words, we knew Puglia was a destination where people went to unwind and relax, rather than party, which is exactly what we were looking for as we really wanted to take in the culture and explore the breathtaking surroundings.
We flew into Bari airport and were picked up by a driver who took us to our Airbnb, which was located in an area called Castellana grotte (this took around ~40 mins), a small town but centrally located between all the places we wanted to visit. For Puglia, car is pretty much the only way to get around. We didn't feel like driving or dealing with the hassle of renting a car though so luckily the Airbnb hosts kindly arranged a driver for the duration of our stay.
Now onto our incredible Airbnb. If you hadn't heard of Puglia before reading this post, you'd probably recognise it for it's enchanting trullo (traditional Puglian stone hut with cone roofs). We made sure we picked a place with a trullo as we felt that we just had to stay in one. There was no question. I could not recommend the Airbnb enough, or the hosts for that matter (I think they own multiple properties). They were easily the friendliest people we have ever met. We were greeted with fresh focaccia, cherries and wine - dreamy. The Airbnb slept 10 people and as we were only 4, there was plenty of room. Even as a smaller group, it was also great value for money.
As we'd arrived a little earlier than check-in time, the owners gladly offered to give us a lift to the supermarket so that we could stock up for our stay. They couldn't speak any English, but when we got to the shops and realised it was closed, they knocked on the doors and spoke to the owners, begging them to open just for us - my heart!!! They finally agreed (most likely as we were 4 tourists which were planning to spend €100+ in store lol) and thank goodness they did, as our Airbnb was truly in the middle of nowhere, although we probably could've lasted on the focaccia and wine.
The owners also picked up fresh bread from the bakery for us on the way back from the supermarket. I can't emphasise enough how sweet they were! The Airbnb is also home to a family of cats (don't worry, they live outdoors). There were little kittens too - so cute. They really made our stay so much more special. It's easily one of the most beautiful places I've ever stayed in. It was surrounded by nature, completely private, and had lots of nice touches throughout. The pool in particular was the highlight for me. You can read my full review on Airbnb.
As I mentioned, our place was ideally located between the towns we wanted to visit: Alberobello, Polignano a Mare and Ostuni. As we had our own driver, we were able to provide him with an itinerary for our stay. In total, including airport transfers, we spent €380 on this, but between the 4 of us, it worked out to be €95 each. I highly recommend trying to get a driver over hiring a car. I personally don't drive, but I know how time consuming car hire can be, how annoying it can be to find a parking space, and the price isn't that different for a private driver - if anything, you're paying extra for the convenience of it.
Our first stop was Alberobello, a charming small town famous for it's whitewashed stone trulli. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage site - a must on your trip to Puglia. We arrived around 4pm and enjoyed the town during golden hour, and luckily at this time it wasn't too hot or busy. We wondered, took lots of photos of course as we were in complete awe of it's beauty, stroked a few cats and looked in a few shops.
Dress is Realisation Par.
We had planned to stay for dinner and stumbled upon a restaurant called Pinnacolo - the reviews were good so we decided to give it a go and we we're glad we did as it was delicious! The food was traditional Italian so think lots of pizza, pasta, grilled fish, bread etc. I can highly recommend.
The sun set in Alberobello, just in time for our ride home. The next morning, we headed to Polignano a Mare around 9am before the crowds, and went straight to the beach. Not much to say here - I think the photos are self explanatory. Basically, you have to go here. Oh and Bella 'Mbriana for lunch (pizza) in the town was pretty great too.
We headed home after lunch and relaxed by the pool. We decided for our last full day, we'd do nothing and enjoy our villa.
On the morning of checkout, our flight wasn't until 4pm, so we made our final stop to Ostuni before heading to the airport. We wondered, with a mission of finding Hotel Relais La Sommità - a beautiful hotel we'd heard about. We finally found it and they kindly allowed us to have a look around. My goal in life is to stay here one day - it was a little piece of heaven in the middle of town.
Dress is Faithfull the Brand.
Here's a few more photos of Ostuni.
We stopped for lunch before the airport at Coffee & More, a cafe owned by friendly locals that make really good food. Their menu had lots of variety, serving everything from cheese & meat platters, paninis, salads, coffees, juices, cakes and more. It was delicious! A perfect last meal in Puglia.
It's safe to say I completely fell in love with Puglia and I can't wait to revisit. There's so many other places I would love to see, for example Lecce, Monopoli, Matera.. I guess I'll have to start planning! Let me know if you've been and if you have any tips!
Thanks so much for reading - I hope it's inspired you to see Puglia for yourself.