Visitors coming to this magical land for the first time are usually surprised by the size of this region and the vast amount of activities available, and as pre-travel planning always comes in handy, we’d like to share some of our tips with you.
Free to Move
Perhaps the first thing to know is that there are three ways to experience Puglia: on retreat, on the move, or a combination of both. The best way to experience Puglia is with a car, giving you the independence to move around and explore at your pace. You can pre-book a car rental at the airport, or we can arrange the service and deliver on-premises whenever you’re ready. If you prefer to take it easy, we can arrange an organized trip with a car and guide that speaks your language. We can recommend some of the best culture destinations, beaches and secret spots for you, and you’ll find a magazine with enough inspiration for a season of travel across Puglia.
Transfers are available on request, but they are not taxis so pre-booking is recommended. In general, taxis are available in the larger cities, such as Bari and Lecce, hence the freedom to move is an important part of your trip.
Travel with Kids
The masseria is a wonderful playground for kids on holiday with a tennis court (opening in July), a swimming pool, large gardens and a playground for younger ages. In addition, we can arrange Yoga classes and pool activities for kids at the masseria. Babysitting services are available on request, with multilingual sitters who are friendly, reliable and responsible.
Aside from the beaches and summer carnivals, families will enjoy a morning visit to the Zoo Safari and theme park in Fasano – the largest in Italy and among the biggest in Europe with 200 species of animals (open every day from 09:30 – 15:00). The park offers a drive-through safari experience as well as a pedestrian park with tigers, bears, horses, zebras, giraffe, deer, water buffalos, a tropical exhibition and a dolphinarium.
The theme park has several rides including ghost trains, roller coasters and dodgem cars. Aquapark Egnazia is another favorite among kids (and adults) with many water slides, a large pool, wavy pool and slow flowing rivers (open every day from 10:00 – 18:00, in August closing time is at 19:00). Both websites are in Italian, but we can help you to plan and arrange the bookings.
North or South?
Hopefully, you’ll be staying with us for at least five days as you’ll want to make the most of the holiday, allowing enough time for rest, laze afternoons and some adventure. The question remains: shall we drive north or south? Our recommendation is a bit of both. Unmissable towns north of our masseria include Monopoli, Polignano a Mare, the Old Town in Bari, and the historic center of Trani while down south, you can explore Otranto and the spellbinding coast before heading to the city of Lecce. From there, you’ll also find some lovely spots for beachside dining and charming, historic towns.
The West End
We can’t tell you these are the only spots to visit though; a visit to Castel del Monte should not be missed as well as a night visit to the grottoes of Castellana (close to Monopoli). You can book a private tour for a small group and explore the intriguing 90-million-year old caves with your own guide.
Inland is the Itria Valley where a season of events brings music, art, dance and cuisine to locals and internationals. Be sure to pick up a copy of VIA magazine to follow the calendar of events. Must-visit towns include Martina Franca, Cisternino, Locorotondo, Ostuni and Ceglie Messapica. If you’re interested in visiting Alberbello, we would suggest booking a licensed and knowledgeable guide in advance either in the early morning or early evening – a two-hour walking tour is perfect for exploring the small town and learning about the history of the ‘trulli’, the cone-shaped houses that Puglia is so famous for.
Heading southwest is the charming port town of Gallipoli, a rising favorite among high-end travellers. Cuisine, chic shops and boutique hotels are now popping up around the historic center, replacing the former island-party vibe that formerly dominated the scene. Pescetarians will appreciate the violet shrimp that can be found in this corner of Italy, a delicacy unique to Gallipoli.
Ask us about our partner hotels and we’ll be happy to recommend the best places for overnight stays in case you’d like to extend a day-trip.
See you soon!