The heel of Italy’s boot is a sun-soaked region famous for pristine beaches, architectural wonders, glorious national parks and a love for earthy comfort food.

Puglia, also called Apulia, blends the rustic beauty of Italian countryside with Baroque cities, medieval hilltop towns and elegant beach resorts. This delightful tourist region stretches along southeastern Italy. Its coastlines along the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea have about 300 days of sunshine. Puglia also has centuries of winemaking heritage and simple cucina povera cuisine.

Admire ancient churches and the Norman Castle while wandering along Bari’s cobblestone streets. Find innumerable churches, palaces and plazas in Foggia and explore the grandiose fortress of Lucera. View Baroque architectural masterpieces in Lecce. Tour the hilltop towns of the olive grove-covered Itria Valley, revered for medieval whitewashed trulli houses. Alberobello, Cisternino and Martina Franca are also worth visiting.

The white sandy beaches, crystalline water and rugged bays of Puglia’s coastlines showcase an infectious Mediterranean charm. Trani, Polignano a Mare and Monopoli decorate the Adriatic shoreline and are just a short drive from Bari. Go biking, snorkeling and scuba diving at Torre Guaceto Nature Reserve, near Marina di Ostuni. Secluded coves and sea caves characterize the Ionian shores of the Salento Peninsula. Enjoy the beauty of Santa Maria di Leuca, Marina di Ugento and the Gulf of Gallipoli.

Get active on bike, foot or horseback in Gargano National Park, where dense woodland spills down to lively beach resorts. Catch a ferry to the idyllic Tremiti Islands. Discover deep gorges, rocky villages and Byzantine-era relics in Terra delle Gravine Regional Park. Escape the crowds in Alta Murgia National Park.

Satisfy your appetite with hearty cucina povera meals, a concept based on age-old peasant principles of turning simple ingredients into culinary art. Popular dishes include melanzane ripiene (stuffed eggplant), polpi in umido (stewed octopus) and orecchiette pasta. Accompany it with Puglia’s fruity, full-bodied offerings from wineries such as the 17th-century Leone de Castris.

Reach Puglia by flying to Bari or Brindisi from major European cities. Rent a car and travel around this scenic region via meandering coastal and country roads.

Popular cities in Puglia

Bari showing a coastal town
Known for Historical, Cathedrals and Churches
Enter a charming old port town fortified by a medieval castle and discover the architectural gems of the legendary city of Santa Claus.

Reasons to visit

  • Basilica of San Nicola
  • Bari Cathedral
  • Piazza del Ferrarese
Gallipoli Port featuring general coastal views and a bay or harbour
Known for Historical, Cathedrals and Cafes
The Florence of the South is an eye-catching southern Italian city blessed with Baroque architecture, Roman ruins and manicured gardens.

Reasons to visit

  • Piazza Sant'Oronzo
  • Porta Napoli
  • Roman Amphitheater
Vieste showing rocky coastline, a gorge or canyon and a coastal town
Known for Historical, Swimming and Cheese
Perched on cliffs on Italy’s Adriatic coast, this town exudes a relaxed charm, reinforced by its picturesque Old Town and stunning sandy beaches.

Reasons to visit

  • Vieste Harbour
  • Baia di Campi
Brindisi featuring signage
Known for Ports, Historical and Monuments
Seaside fun, ancient history and beautiful old churches are the big draws of this picturesque city on the Adriatic coast in southeast Italy.
Monopoli featuring a coastal town
Known for Ports, Trendy and Secluded
Embark on guided tours of old churches, inspect artifacts on display in the museums and climb to the castle summit.