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Vieste in Apulien, Bild: StevanZZ / shutterstock

Puglia – a jewel steeped in history under the Italian sun

Puglia is a region in southeastern Italy that is home to both the heel and spurs of the Italian boot. Here, visitors can expect a diverse landscape of rolling hills, picturesque plains and rocky coasts as well as beautiful sandy beaches with deep blue water. Those interested in culture can explore the eventful history of Puglia on a stroll through medieval old towns and visit imposing churches and castles, while art lovers visit interesting museums and traditional shops. With its modern leisure attractions such as zoos and amusement parks, Puglia offers the perfect programme for young and old holidaymakers.

Historical landmarks and cultural treasures in Puglia

Puglia is full of traces of past civilizations. Lovers of medieval castles should not miss the Castel del Monte in the north of Puglia. The fortress was built by the Stauer Emperor Frederick II and still puzzles historians. The city of Ostuni is also imposing. Since the Middle Ages, their houses have been whitewashed in bright white to reflect the sun. The contrast to the lush green of the landscape could hardly be greater. Lovers of European Baroque will get their money’s worth in Lecce with its richly decorated Basilica of Santa Croce. Here, visitors walk in the footsteps of the ancient Romans in the ancient amphitheater. And if you want to see the famous trullis – round houses with pointed “pointed hats”, you should visit the town of Alberobello . You can relax in Polignano a Mare.

Puglia, Bari
View of Bari, Image: Sopotnicki / shutterstock

The capital Bari not only offers an old town with winding streets and churches worth seeing. Here, guests can also learn more about the history of Puglia in the archaeological museum. Art lovers can visit the Pinacoteca Metropolitana di Bari, which houses works by numerous renowned artists from the Middle Ages to modern times. On the other hand, if you want to see the remains of 2,000 years of settlement, you should visit the Museo Faggiano, set up in a private house in Lecce. Sightseeing under the bright Italian sun makes you hungry. Luckily, Apulian cuisine offers a delicious mix of seafood, vegetables, pasta and pork and lamb meats. Gourmets will also find a large selection of cheeses here, and of course a good glass of red wine is not to be missed – after all, Puglia is an important growing area.

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Varied landscapes and a paradise for bathers

The Puglia region flattens out towards the south and offers diverse landscapes, from the mountainous peninsula of Gargano to the plains of Terra di Bari and the coastal plain of Taranto. The Monti della Daunia, up to 1152 meters high, border Campania and form the only mountain range in the country. Gargano, the spur of the Italian boot, offers an interesting mix of rugged rocky coastline and lush forests. Especially the mixed forest Foresta Umbra is a popular recreation area. Other destinations for hikes are the Alta Murgia National Park in a limestone plateau and the Porto Selvaggio e Palude del Capitano nature reserve with its red earth and wildly romantic coast. A highlight for adventurers are the 3-kilometre-long Grotte di Castellana cave network near Bari and the Grotta Zinzulusa sea cave, which can be entered by boat.

Puglia, Polignano a Mare
Polignano a Mare, Image: Stefano_Valeri / shutterstock

In addition to nature lovers, bathers in Puglia also get their money’s worth. The 800-kilometre-long coastline offers tropical-looking sandy beaches, rugged rocky coasts and hidden bays. Among the most beautiful stretches of coastline are certainly the beaches of Mattinata and Vieste, with their archway-like limestone cliffs. Bathers will find all the amenities and a wide range of water sports on offer at the Spiaggia di Vignanotica in Gargano, and if you like to jump into the deep blue sea from high above, the cliffs of Torre Sant’Andrea are the right place for you. By the way, Puglia’s climate is perfect for a beach holiday and is characterized by hot summers and mild winters. The best time to travel is from June to September, when the water is pleasantly warm and rainfall is low.

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Puglia offers exciting attractions for the whole family

Young and old guests will find a number of exciting leisure activities in Puglia. The Miragica amusement park near Molfetta, for example, attracts visitors with its roller coasters, the Free Fall Tower and the round carousel. If you want to go on safari in the middle of Italy, on the other hand, the Zoosafari Fasanolandia near Fasano is the right place for you. Visitors drive through the sprawling park in their own cars and marvel at the many species of animals, including lions, elephants, and camels. The little guests in particular are enthusiastic about the dolphin show. If you are looking for an adventure pool with slides, diving towers and children’s pool, you should visit the Acquapark in Bari. The capital of Puglia is also home to the Planetario sky skan, where guests can be enchanted by an artificial starry sky.

Of course, Puglia also offers a wide range of shopping opportunities. Lovers of traditional handicrafts will find the perfect souvenir in the Salento region and almost every town has a weekly market where you can buy regional products. A variety of elegant boutiques and modern shopping centres, on the other hand, can be found in Via Sparano in the capital Bari.