The shores of Polignano a Mare in Puglia, Italy

The 10 Best Things to Do in Puglia

Discover Puglia by hiking, biking, kayaking, cooking and eating your way along azure coastlines, into charming towns and through rolling olive groves
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Written by
Melania Siriu

Published on: June 17th, 2024

Last modified: July 4th, 2024

Forming the heel of Italy’s boot, Puglia encapsulates everything there is to love about Italy. The hundreds of kilometres (940 to be exact) of Mediterranean coastline, inspiring architecture, impossibly pretty towns and mouth-watering food mean you can discover a treasure trove of incredible things to do in Puglia.

Puglia is one of Italy’s most peaceful travel destinations with an abundance of open countryside to discover. Lecce’s Baroque churches and charming towns such as Ostuni and Monopoli provide a scenic backdrop to exclusive and intriguing city tours with expert guides. Whether you’re planning a romantic trip for two or a family adventure, there is no shortage of activities in Puglia.

For a true taste of la dolce vita, read on for our experts’ recommendations, including cycling, culinary classes, kayaking, national parks, city tours and more.

Cycling in Puglia, Italy

1. Cycle Puglia’s coastal pathways

Whether you’re a leisurely beginner or an accomplished  cyclist, getting out on two wheels is one of  the best ways to experience Puglia’s natural beauty with all of your senses. Cycle along as the landscape shifts from aged olive groves and fields thick with poppies to open hills rolling into the sea, where the startlingly emerald waters must be seen to be believed. Cool off with a refreshing swim to finish your journey.

A traditional orecchiette pasta making class in Puglia

2. A hands-on orecchiette cooking class

No trip to Italy is complete without a cooking class. Get your hands busy learning how to make Puglia’s orecchiette pasta from a sweet local nonna (Italian for grandma). It takes some practice but that’s half the fun. Once you’ve mastered it, a delicious homemade meal is the reward for your hard work.

Sea caves in Puglia

3. Kayak to Puglia’s coastal grottos

Puglia’s rugged coastline and staggering cliff faces are peppered with sea caves, where aqua ripples from the sea dance across the rocky cave ceilings, creating a magical atmosphere and a surreal spot to take a dip. The best way to visit these grottos is by sea kayaking along the coast or sailing on a private yacht with a cool glass of prosecco in hand.

Piazza del Duomo Square in Lecce, Puglia

4. Admire the Baroque architecture in Lecce

Referred to as the Florence of the south, Lecce is the buzzing hub of Puglia’s Salento peninsula.. Known for its intricate Baroque architecture, the churches here are a must-see. Let your private guide lead you under the facade of the Basilica Santa Croce where they’ll point out the many fantastical creatures among the detailed carvings.

Olive groves in Puglia, Italy

5. Picnic in an olive grove

Puglia produces 50% of Italy’s olive oil, which is no surprise upon exploring the abundant tapestry of olive groves that are the defining feature of its countryside. These gnarled and fragrant trees are the perfect spot to stop and sip some local wine with a gourmet picnic and sample some of the region’s most tempting produce.

The white town of Ostuni in Puglia

6. Marvel at the white town of Ostuni

Ostuni’s white outline cuts an awe-inspiring shape across the Puglian countryside. Rising from the olive groves, the mostly white buildings, crowned by a magnificent Gothic cathedral are what give it such distinctive charm. Get lost in its mediaeval streets and admire the views that stretch all the way to the Adriatic.

Making mozzarella in Puglia, Italy

7. Visit a mozzarella farm

It’s a heated contest for Italy’s most famous food, but cheese is certainly in the running. Delicious over crispy pizza or sandwiched between fresh tomato and basil, mozzarella is a supreme Italian cheese. In Puglia’s rolling countryside you can visit a family-run farm to learn the process of mozzarella making. The farmer will take you through the whole process, from introducing you to the dairy cows to tying your own mozzarella knots.

Traditional trulli houses in Alberobello, Puglia

8. See the trulli houses in Alberobello

Embark on a guided tour of the UNESCO-protected town of Alberobello, where the streets are lined with over 1000 trulli. Typical of Puglian architecture, each trullo is a white structure with a conical roof, which often bears mythological or religious markings painted in white ash to ward off evil or bad luck.

Gargano national park in Puglia, Italy

9. Hike in Gargano National Park

Situated on the Gargano peninsula, this UNESCO-protected national park boasts some of Italy’s most beautiful natural scenery. Ancient Aleppo pine trees, white cliffs and sandy beaches characterise the landscapes. Take a boat to explore from the water, finding hidden inlets and cliffside towns, or hike through verdant forests inland.

A scenic tour of Puglia in a classic car

10. Enjoy a scenic tour in a classic car

Navigate Puglia’s scenic winding roads in a chauffeur driven classic car and travel back, literally, to a bygone era. Motor past old stone walls, olive groves and vineyards as the roads twist and turn through hilltop towns. Stop along the way to stretch your legs and sample some regional delicacies such as orecchiette, burrata and fresh seafood.

Whatever your want from your adventure in Puglia, our travel designers are ready to help:

Luxury Accommodation

There are many incredible places to stay in Puglia. Here are some of our favourites, handpicked by our travel designers: