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Lama Monachile Beach, Polignano a Mare, Puglia


A sun-soaked, laid-back microcosm of Italy

Puglia tailor-made holidays


While the likes of Tuscany and Rome grab the headlines, sun-kissed Puglia, at the heel of the boot, offers a more understated and – some say – more authentic alternative to the crowds. And, while it's a region host to arguably some of Italy's finest coastal stretches, there's plenty more to enjoy here, too, from standout food and wine to the cultural gems of Bari, Lecce and Alberobello. Trips here also offer the ideal opportunity to hop across the border into lesser-known Basilicata, whose headline act, Matera, was named European Capital of Culture for 2019

Puglia’s natural beauty

But that’s not to say that Puglia is without its dramatic beauty. With the longest coastline of any region in mainland Italy, you’ll be spoilt for choice for white sands, cerulean waters and charming seaside towns, including pretty Gallipoli and Polignano a Mare whose historic whitewash lines 20-metre-high limestone cliffs.

View of Gargano on the coast of Puglia, Italy
Gargano, Puglia

It’s all the front to rolling hills of olive groves, orchards and vineyards. It won’t surprise, then, that Puglia is especially known for its cuisine with locals eating exclusively, well, locally. It’s all predicated on a strong agricultural history; farmers’ recipes have been honed over the centuries to get the very best out of simple, fresh ingredients

Puglia’s grand cities & ancient traditions

The Baroque grandeur of Puglia’s cities owe a great something to the Spanish – Lecce’s amphitheatre is distinctly Roman and the Normans brought ornate cathedrals, not least Trani’s grand seaside offering. Perhaps most impressive are the medieval citadel-like quarters, built by feudal lords in reaction to this warmongery. Bari’s is particularly impressive.

A pretty backstreet in the city of Bari, Puglia, Italy
Bari, Puglia

However, there’s also plenty of beauty of the region’s own. Alberobello’s jigsaw of unique stone huts map its valley contours and, just across the border in Basilicata, Matera’s ancient houses are carved directly from the rock hillside. Many were inhabited by troglodytes some 9,000 years ago. You’ll even be able to stay in converted 16th century farms, fortified with watchtowers and walls to repel would-be conquerors.


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Puglia holiday ideas


Best of Puglia

10-day tailor-made self-drive from £1,105 pp incl. flights

Swap the crowds of Italy's headlines for southeast Italy's off-the-beaten-track charms. Quietly scenic coastal drives will bring you between palace stays in medieval towns and beach-side getaways in remote settings.

Puglian Taralli

Gastronomy of Puglia

12-day tailor-made self-drive from £1,315 pp incl. flights

Discover Puglia’s rich culture, idyllic coastline and unique gastronomy on this fly-drive tour. Throughout your weeklong journey, you'll pair guided tours of the region’s heritage towns and cities with included wine tastings and indulgent gourmet experiences.

Pentedattilo, Aspromonte, Calabria

Calabria & Basilicata Self-Drive

12-day self-drive from £3,645 pp incl. flights

Let scenic coastal drives knit together everything from medieval castles and ruins to golden beaches and Matera’s ancient cave dwellings. It’s all brought to life by luxury stays and included guided tours.

Top places to stay in Puglia

Massaria Torre Coccaro

Masseria Torre Coccaro, Fasano, Puglia

Small & intimate hotel

A 16th century country house set within a large estate, immersed in olive groves. Experience the heritage of the most authentic Masseria in the area overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Masseria Torre Maizza Pool

Masseria Torre Maizza, Fasano

Historic hotel

This fortified country house dates back to the early 18th century. Once a watchtower, it’s now a bijou Rocco Forte resort, although the charm of its original chapel and mulberry trees remain.

CalaPonte, Polignano a Mare

CalaPonte, Polignano a Mare

Historic hotel

Set amid ancient olive trees close to the port of Polignnano a Mare in Puglia, this boutique hotel pairs 17th-century architecture with fabulous food and a first-rate spa.

La Peschiera, Monopoli

La Peschiera, Monopoli

Small & intimate hotel

La Peschiera is among the best of boutique in Puglia. Expect stunning sea views, impeccable service and the very best in regional dining.

See all places to stay

When to go to Puglia

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Puglia articles

Tuscan countryside

Italy’s best self-drive holidays

Italy specialist Charlie Pritchard has collated this list of Italy’s ultimate driving holidays. And, along with the highlights of Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast, there are plenty of secrets to discover, too.

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Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0796 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

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