Photo: ecstk22/Shutterstock

5 Towns You Need to Visit in Puglia, Italy

Travel Art + Architecture
by Matador Creators Apr 20, 2023

If Italy is a boot, then Puglia is its heel. A foodie haven, the southern Italian region prospers from a coastal Mediterranean clime and iron-rich soil that contributes to the production of quintessential Italian ingredients such as olive oil, calabrian chilis, wine grapes, mozzarella cheese, and durum wheat that’s used to make classic Puglian pasta types including orecchiette.

The scenery in Puglia is as delicious as the cuisine. The region has more than 500 miles of coastline and houses a stunning array of seaside resorts and fishing villages. Picturesque whitewashed buildings overlook ancient churches, and Puglia’s countryside has hills that roll as far as the eye can see. From exploring ancient human settlements to swimming in secret grottoes, there’s always something magical to see in Puglia.

Frankly, that’s a lot of pressure. To help you figure out where to go in Puglia first, here are five unforgettable towns to prioritize.

@visit We sent @visit #CreatorInResidence @ameliastraveldiaries to explore the stunning Italian region of #Puglia 🇮🇹 From the breathtaking coastline to ancient ruins, here are 5 must-see places in Puglia you won't want to miss out on! #traveltok #italytok #italytravel #visititaly #travelitinerary ♬ original sound – Visit

We hope you love the recommended Airbnbs in Puglia! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.



Photo: Fotokon/Shutterstock

Perched on the Adriatic Sea, Monopoli is a Puglian town of historic landmarks and archaeological treasures. Start your tour in the Old Town, starting with Largo Plebiscito and the baroque buildings that surround it. Cobblestone streets lined with artisan shops, cafes, and seafood restaurants unfurl from there, creating a beautiful pathway to historic sites like the 12th-century Monopoli Cathedral and the 16th-century Castello Carlo V seaside fort.

Stop for lunch at a traditional trattoria for dishes like frise (twice-baked bread) and focaccia barese, a type of focaccia from nearby Bari that uses mashed potatoes to make the dough, then head to the old port where red and blue “gozzo” boats dock between fishing trips. If the view has you craving a swim, there are hidden coves and beach clubs in Monopoli where you can cool off in the water when the sun’s at its highest point. Cala Porta Vecchia is a small, convenient beach near the Old Town while Sabbiadoro Beach is one of the longer stretches of coast that provides loungers, umbrellas, and food and drink spots.

Where to stay: La Chicca

Photo: Airbnb

Perfect for one or two travelers, this lovely one-bedroom apartment is located in Monopoli’s historic center, just 200 yards from the Porto Antico and 25o yards from the Cala Porta Vecchia beach. It’s small but equipped with all the essentials for a comfortable stay, including a fully functional kitchen and a washing machine, plus the location is ideal for accessing all of Monopoli’s restaurants and attractions.

One bedroom, two guests
Price per night: $56

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Alberobello & Locorotondo


Photo: essevu/Shutterstock

Slightly inland, Alberobello is a town composed of a unique form of architecture called trulli buildings. Trulli are traditional white stone houses with conical roofs. This type of building dates back centuries and led to the town’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Many of these trulli houses in the Centro Storico, or downtown core, have been repurposed as shops, restaurants, and bars. One of the largest trulli houses, Trullo Sovrano, now stands as a two-story museum preserving 19th-century home furnishings to give visitors a sense of what life in the town of Alberobello was historically like. It only costs a couple of euros to enter.

Where to stay: Trullo Artemis Alberobello

Photo: Airbnb

When in Alberobello, stay in a trullo. This two-bedroom guesthouse is centrally located and surprisingly spacious for a trulli house, with room for four guests. The superhost, Alessandro, is one of the Airbnb’s biggest selling points, offering plenty of recommendations and interesting facts about Alberobello to help guide your stay.

Two bedrooms, four guests
Price per night: $98

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Ten minutes southeast of Alberobello, Locorotondo has its own characteristic houses known as Le Cummerse, which are similarly whitewashed but have steeply sloping triangular roofs. Many of these traditional structures now operate as hotels, while Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II is the beating heart of the city center. Head there for memorable meals, then walk them off on adorable streets such as Via Morrelli. Locorotondo is also known for producing a specific white wine that’s been granted denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) status. In town or at nearby wineries, be sure to sample local wines from the Itria Valley, an area that marks the transition point from northern to southern Puglia and whose refreshing and vibrant white wines stand out in a region that’s otherwise known for its rustic reds.

Where to stay: Traditional Locorotondo Flat

Photo: Airbnb

Located in Locorotondo’s historic core, this chic one-bedroom apartment can fit up to four people if you make use of the sofa bed in the living room. Heating, air conditioning, and WiFi flow freely throughout the Airbnb, which brings contemporary design elements to an otherwise traditional space.

One bedroom, four guests
Price per night: $113

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Polignano a Mare


Photo: ecstk22/Shutterstock

Nicknamed the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” Polignano a Mare is a long-standing fishing village that’s become a magnet for beachgoers who flock to its pebbled shores. Lama Monachile is the most popular beach — and likely the most photogenic — with limestone cliffs on either side and vibrantly blue-green waters.

When you’re not lounging on the shore, go grotto-spotting along the waterfront, grab drink at Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, head to Santa Maria Assunta in Piazza Dell’Orologio to admire Stefano da Putignano’s 16th-century nativity sculpture, and spend some time the Museum of Contemporary Art Pino Pascali to appreciate even more artworks ranging from paintings, to sculptures, to fabric art. Throughout your visit, savor cups of Polignano’s caffe speziale (espresso with amaretto liqueur) and plates of fresh seafood. Fritto misto, a mixed plate of fried seafood, is a common menu item — or it as a sampler platter of the local offerings.

One event worth witnessing if you’re visiting Polignano a Mare in July is the Red Bull Cliff Diving Polignano extravaganza, which features professional divers plunging 65 feet into clear blue waters.

Where to stay: Casa Nadira

Photo: Airbnb

Casa Nadira is a two-level home with bedroom and single bed on the first floor and a kitchen and large double terrace on the second. The terrace is divided into an indoor area for dining in the shade or enjoying cool evenings, as well as a solarium area. The Airbnb is available for short, medium, and long stays.

Two bedrooms, three guests
Price per night: $273

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Photo: StevanZZ/Shutterstock

Yet another limestone town, Ostuni is sometimes called “the White City” for its impressively bright and cohesive color scheme. Whitewashed buildings trickle down the hillside on which the city sits, woven together by narrow alleys, arches, and stairways. Nearby, on the coast, save some time to explore the balmy waters and serene sand dunes of the Parco Naturale Regionale da Torre Canne e Torre S. Leonardo.

Like many small towns in Italy, your tour of Ostuni should start with Old Town landmarks like the Ostuni Cathedral and Corso Vittorio Emmanuel II viewpoint, which offers breathtaking views of the city. After, get your gelato fix at Piazza della Liberta. Ostuni is home to a handful of quaint museums, as well, including the Diocesan Museum, Museum of Preclassic Civilizations of the Southern Murgia, and Orizzonti Contemporary Art Gallery, but for a more interactive cultural experience, don’t forget to visit Ostuni’s Saturday market.

Where to stay: Townhouse with a Terrace

Photo: Airbnb

This one-bedroom Airbnb dates back to the 1800s and is located steps from the main square in Ostuni. Guests will enjoy traditional elements like stone walls and travertine tiles, modern amenities like heat and air conditioning, and perks like the private rooftop terrace where you can take in views of the Adriatic Sea, surrounding countryside, Ostuni’s historic center all at once.

One bedroom, two guests
Price per night: $180

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Photo: Massimo Todaro/Shutterstock

Trani is often called a hidden gem. Less touristy than some of the other towns in Puglia, Trani is a pretty town with interesting historic sites like Castello Svevo, a 12-century Swabian castle, and Trani Cathedral with its looming bell tower. To experience daily life in Trani, head to the bustling harbor to watch boats — both fishing vessels and yachts — sail in and out, then fill up at your pick of the many waterfront cafes, restaurants, and gelaterias.

Before you leave, take advantage of the many nearby beaches, such as Colonna Beach or Barletta Beach. And be sure to pick up some Puglian souvenirs from the Centro Storico craft market.

Where to stay: The Campanarium

Photo: Airbnb

Enjoy a romantic stay at this one-bedroom apartment on the second floor of the 18th-century Palazzo Bianchi palace. Admire breathtaking views of Trani’s famous Cathedral from the wide-open terrace and appreciate the Industry-Vintage decor.

One bedroom, three guests
Price per night: $120

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