Eight days in Puglia, southern Italy (the ‘heel of the boot’ to be precise) is just not long enough to do everything on offer. This region really has something for everyone; foodies, drinkers, hikers, sailers, creatives, historians…you name it, Puglia has it.
In effort to help you plan your upcoming trip (you have to visit), I’ve pulled together my seven pearls of wisdom (#7POW) on things to do and see in Puglia (also known as Apulia) so that you can get the best out of your trip.
You might choose to cram as many of them into your trip as possible. However, if you want to make the most of the unbelievably clear waters and sunbathing opportunities, you might just use this list to decide what one or two activities you want to build into your itinerary.
Allow at least one afternoon, if not a full day, to visit this adorable village. It’s a UNESCO heritage site thanks to the famous trullo. A trulli is a unique type of property that can be found in Apulia. Small, circular, and whitewashed, complete with a cone-shaped stone roof. They’re easily identifiable and very different to your usual house.
Hire a guide and learn about the fascinating stories and reasons behind them, or simply stroll the winding lanes taking a pic or two. Once you reach the main street, climb the hill lined with trullo and pop into the touristy shops as you make your way up. Wear your comfy shoes and take your purse to splash out on gelato and souvenirs.
♥ Cellar Wine Tour and Tasting
Every single bottle of wine tastes amazing in Puglia. Forget scrunched up faces from acidy white wine or sharp, tangy red wine, Apulians know how to make top class (and surprisingly affordable) wine. So many Italian restaurants and bars have their very own vineyards, which means unique wines (usually with a very special background story and in a very pretty setting).
For a fun, authentic Italian experience head to winery to learn how it’s made and of course, the best part, to taste them. It’s an ideal way to try lots of different flavours and to be a bit more daring. The luxury of not being committed to buying a whole bottle enables you to try ones outside of your usual drinking habits.
♥ Photography Tour
Puglia has a special blend of architecture across the ages. It has been influenced by so many different cultures and eras. This region also has a wealth of gorgeous countryside, as well as many miles of beautiful coastal paths. Obviously, it goes without saying that there is a mountain of food to photograph (it is Italy after all). With so much to offer, it really is the perfect place to hone your photography skills.
The turquoise waters and seemingly every blue skies also provide great lighting for natural shots. Grab your camera and head out with a local expert. Choose from a half day, full day or week tour.
Recommended: Discovery Puglia in Monopoli.
♥ Olive Oil Mill and Tasting
With some sixty million olive trees in Puglia and Italy being one of the top three global producers of olive oil, you’re in the right place to find out more and to try some of the highest quality oils. You may be thinking you’re not that interested in olive oil, but believe me, the olive mills are fascinating. Some are years old and have been refurbished with twinkling lights. Others have more of a rustic charm, including the loveable charm of the fiercely passionate owners.
The oil is of such good quality that you can sample different flavours shot style. You’ll learn how to work the oil and to sniff and sip to gain maximum taste. It’s a truly Italian experience that will no doubt have you leaving with bottles for your own kitchen and your friends. Some of you may even end up adopting an olive tree of your very own, which means the owners will send you a bottle or two of the oil it produces every year. Too cute.
Get out on the deliciously clear waters. The vivid shades of blue will take your breath away. If you’re a strong swimmer you might just want to mosey on into the sea, but bear in mind that the temperature of the water doesn’t really warm up until July/August.
Hire a rowing or sailing boat and head out to the local shipwrecks just off the coast. It’s supposedly quite easy to navigate the stretch of water in Savelletri di Fasano and to find them. However, if you’re not too confident hire a guide. You can even catch your own fish and cook it on board for lunch.
Recommended: Hire from Hotel La Sorgente (in Savelletri di Fasano)
♥ Cookery Classes
Italians certainly love a feast. Every meal is full of a gazillion different courses. Learn how to cook up your every own Apulian dishes with an expert local. Whether you want to master the local pasta favourite of orecchiette, or to make jam using figs and cherries straight from the trees in the fields, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Most cookery classes involve picking the ingredients yourself, then working with the kitchen expert to create a few dishes, enjoying a glass (or two) of locally produced wine whilst your food bakes, and then sampling your creations for lunch or dinner. Expect to spend at least half day on this activity.
♥ Castles and Forts
Puglia is full of special castles and forts, spanning a staggering number of years. Even if you don’t go inside the impressive buildings, seeing them is like witnessing history in motion.
Recommended: Conversano Castle in Conversano, Castle del Monte in Andria, and Angevine-Aragonese Castle in Gallipoli
So, what do you think you’ll be doing when you’re in Puglia? Perhaps you’ve already visited – do you have any recommendations to add to this list? I’d love to hear from you. X