With over 600 miles of coastline, several historic towns and UNESCO heritage sites, and indulgent cuisine and wine, it’s no wonder that Puglia has become a popular destination for international travelers in the last few years.

Puglia is a great alternative to the increasingly touristy Amalfi Coast. While Puglia has grown in tourism, it retains much of its local Italian charm. If you can’t decide between the two, we’ve done a regional comparison here! Puglia is our pick for a more down-to-earth, rustic Southern Italian experience with fewer crowds. 

In this guide, we’ll give local insight on weather, when to visit, how to get there and get around, cuisine, and more. 

When Should You Visit Puglia? – Weather & Crowds

For most people, we recommend skipping the summer high season (early June – early September) to avoid the crowds and the surge pricing. Italian summers look great on Pinterest boards and in movies, but it’s typically hot and crowded on most beaches. Puglia is no exception to that. Temperatures are in the high 90s, making outdoor activities almost unbearable on bright, sunny days.

The best time to visit is during the months of April, May, October, and November. By during this time, the vast majority of seasonal tourism businesses are still open, so you won’t have to worry about services not being available, and the crowds are not at their peak. Most hotel swimming pools open up the 3rd week of May and stay open all the way into October. 

While there is a threat of rain if you opt for a Spring visit during March or April, that generally subsides by mid-late May. During the month of May, you can expect beautiful sunny weather and mild enough temperatures to enjoy many outdoor activities without overheating. The average temperature in the Spring is in the upper 60s and lower 70s. 

Visiting in September and October is truly the best of both worlds. Most children have gone back to school, which greatly reduces tourist crowds. Summer surge prices return to normal, and the weather is warm during the day and cooler in the evenings, with average temperatures in the 60s and 70s. 

Read more Puglia Travel Tips here. 

puglia weather how to get to puglia

Getting to Puglia

While direct flights from North America and other countries outside of Europe to Puglia’s main airports in Bari and Brindisi are rare, there are still options available, and many more now than even a few years ago. Many travelers opt to fly into major European hubs like Rome, Milan, London, or Frankfurt first. You can easily catch a connecting flight to Bari or Brindisi from these international airport hubs.

More on Italy’s International Airports here. 

During peak tourist season, some airlines or tour operators offer seasonal or charter flights from North American cities directly to Bari or Brindisi. These flights are not as frequent and might not operate year-round, so checking availability and schedules is essential.

Driving to Puglia can be a fantastic option for those who love road trips and want to explore at their own pace. If you’re coming from Rome, it’s approximately a 4-6 hour scenic drive to Puglia. The A1 highway connects Rome to the A14, which leads straight to the heart of Puglia. 

Read our 13 essential tips for driving in Italy. 

Italy’s extensive rail network offers another convenient way to reach Puglia. From Rome, you can hop on a high-speed train that will take you to Bari or Brindisi in just 4-5 hours. Trenitalia operates these trains, providing comfortable and efficient travel. If you’re coming from other European cities, European rail connections make reaching a major Italian city relatively straightforward, and then you can continue your journey to Puglia by train.

when to visit puglia italy

Getting Around Puglia

One of the best ways to explore Puglia – and the method we recommend – is by renting a car. Having your own vehicle allows you the freedom to visit remote villages, hidden beaches, and off-the-beaten-path attractions that might not be easily accessible by public transportation. The region’s well-maintained roads and scenic routes make driving a pretty good experience. Be prepared for some narrow streets in the historic towns!

Puglia has a decent public transportation system that connects major towns and cities. Buses and trains are reliable options for traveling between larger cities like Bari, Brindisi, Lecce, and Taranto. Trenitalia operates the train services, offering regional and high-speed trains connecting Puglia’s major cities. 

Meanwhile, local and regional bus services provide connections to smaller towns and villages. While public transportation can be a cost-effective way to travel, it might not always be the most convenient option for reaching remote areas or exploring the countryside in depth. We don’t recommend solely relying on public transportation. You don’t want to get stuck without a car or rendered unable to explore somewhere on your list! 

Don’t want to deal with the hassle of renting a car? That’s where The Italian on Tour steps in! We’ll not only provide transportation, but we can also translate the Italian experience for you and whisk you away to destinations you never would have thought to visit yourself. Join us on Passport to Puglia! 

Given Puglia’s long coastline and proximity to the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, boat and ferry services are available for those looking to explore the region’s islands or coastal towns from a different perspective. Ferries connect Puglia to destinations like Greece, Albania, and Croatia, while boat tours and excursions offer opportunities to explore the stunning sea caves, grottoes, and crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas.

PUGLIA WEATHER WINE

Cuisine & Wine

Puglia is a traveler’s dream for authentic cuisine. It produces more wine than any other Italian region and around 40% of Italy’s olive oil. 

With its fertile soil, lush land, and mild climate, Puglia’s foods and wines are exceptionally local—as fresh and flavorful as it gets! In addition to agriculture, the region is nestled between the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea, with a long stretch of coastline, making daily-caught seafood readily available year-round. 

From pasta orecchiette to locally produced olive oil to Primitivo wine, the Most Famous Food and Wine in Puglia has something to enjoy for beginner foodies and serious aficionados alike. Read our full guide to Puglia’s most famous food & wine here! 

Puglia is renowned for its delicious and authentic cuisine, and plenty of local restaurants offer a memorable dining experience.

  • Trattoria da Toto – Polignano a Mare: Perched on the cliffs overlooking the Adriatic Sea in Polignano a Mare, Trattoria da Toto offers not only spectacular views but also mouthwatering seafood dishes. This family-run trattoria is known for its fresh catch of the day, grilled octopus, and signature seafood pasta.
  • Il Poeta Contadino – Ceglie Messapica: Il Poeta Contadino, meaning “The Peasant Poet,” is a unique restaurant located in the countryside near Ceglie Messapica. This rustic eatery is set in a renovated farmhouse surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. Chef Angelo Sabatelli, a Michelin-starred chef, creates innovative dishes using organic ingredients sourced from the restaurant’s own farm and local producers.
  • Antichi Sapori – Montegrosso: Antichi Sapori, meaning “Ancient Flavors,” is a culinary gem tucked away in the small village of Montegrosso. From homemade bread and cheese to slow-cooked meats and foraged herbs, each dish is the essence of Puglia. The restaurant’s cozy atmosphere and warm hospitality make it a must-visit for food lovers.
  • La Locanda di Nonna Mena – Alberobello: La Locanda di Nonna Mena is a restaurant in Alberobello’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed trulli district. The charming eatery is housed in a historic trullo and serves classic Pugliese dishes, including handmade pasta and wood-fired meats, all made with locally sourced ingredients. The cozy interior, decorated with rustic furnishings and vintage photos, offers a glimpse into Puglia’s history.

Want to discover the most authentic cuisine and wine on your trip to Puglia? Click here to take the guesswork out of your Puglia trip and grab your spot on Passport to Puglia!

how to get to puglia

Where in Puglia Should You Visit? 

Puglia is truly the traveler’s triple threat, with gorgeous beaches, rustic towns, and historical landmarks—all relatively unspoiled in natural beauty. There’s something for everybody in Puglia, whether you want to take in the art and culture, uncover the region’s history, or explore the great outdoors. 

Read more about our must-visit locations in Puglia here! 

Where exactly in Puglia you spend your time will depend on the experiences that are most important to you. Is it the food, the culture, or the sandy beaches? Let’s explore each sub-region of Puglia to help you decide! 

Gargano Peninsula

The Gargano Peninsula is a nature lover’s paradise located in the northernmost part of Puglia. Known as the “Spur of Italy,” this area boasts a stunning coastline with sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, and hidden coves. Highlights include the Umbra Forest, the coastal town of Vieste with its picturesque old town, and the stunning Tremiti Islands, a great place for diving and snorkeling. 

Daunia (Foggia Province)

Moving south from the Gargano Peninsula, Daunia is a historical region in the province of Foggia, characterized by its rolling hills, olive groves, and agricultural landscapes. Towns like Lucera, with its Roman amphitheater and medieval castle, and San Giovanni Rotondo, known for the Sanctuary of Padre Pio, offer great experiences that highlight the cultural & spiritual significance of the province.

Murge Plateau

Central Puglia is dominated by the Murge Plateau, a vast limestone plateau dotted with vineyards, olive groves, and wheat fields. This area is home to many of Puglia’s iconic trulli houses, especially in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed town of Alberobello. Other notable towns in the Murge area include Martina Franca, Locorotondo, and Cisternino.

Itria Valley

Nestled between the Murge Plateau and the Salento Peninsula, the Itria Valley is one of Puglia’s most scenic regions. This picturesque valley is known for its whitewashed villages, ancient olive groves, and iconic trulli houses. Towns like Ostuni, the “White City,” with its medieval walls and panoramic views, and Ceglie Messapica, known for its culinary delights, are must-visit destinations.

Salento Peninsula

Stretching from Brindisi to Santa Maria di Leuca, the Salento Peninsula is Puglia’s southernmost region, known for its crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and vibrant culture. Lecce, the “Florence of the South,” is Salento’s cultural and architectural heart, with its Baroque architecture and rich history. Other highlights include the coastal towns of Otranto, Gallipoli, and Castro.

Tarantine Peninsula

The Tarantine Peninsula, located between the Murge Plateau and the Salento Peninsula, is named after the city of Taranto, one of Puglia’s largest and most industrialized cities. Despite its industrial character, the Tarantine Peninsula boasts beautiful coastal areas like the Ionian Coast, with its sandy beaches and clear waters, as well as historical sites like the Castello Aragonese in Taranto and the ancient ruins of Metaponto.

Puglia’s geographical diversity, from the rugged coastline of the Gargano Peninsula to the Baroque beauty of Lecce, offers a wealth of experiences. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, foodie, or culture enthusiast, Puglia’s regions have something for everyone!

But deciding where to go on your own can be quite an undertaking. The last thing you want is to end up in a tourist trap or leave Italy feeling there was more you could have seen and done. 

That’s exactly where Chantelle and Giovanni, Italian Travel Experts & Guides step in. Giovanni is an Italian local with family roots in Puglia, while Chantelle is a Canadian expat who understands both sides of the coin when it comes to international Italian travel. 

If you want to go beneath the surface of Puglia, connect with locals and cultural heritage, and feel like you got a backstage pass to Italy, Passport to Puglia is for you! 

Book now! 


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