When you think of Puglia, you think of something a bit different. Well it certainly didn’t disappoint!
We travelled to Bari early December with Easy Jet from Gatwick. The flight was great, on time, excellent on board service and without a hitch! The flight was just over 2 hours. Upon at arrival at Bari the airport was pretty empty although I would imagine this would be very different in the summer. We were met by our pre booked driver and taken to our Hotel Mercure Villa Romanazzi Carducci. The hotel used to be an old Italian villa but now has some modern twists with a lovely swimming pool, really good restaurant and bar. The room and bathroom were huge with plenty of hanging space. That night as we arrived pretty late we ate in the hotel which I would definitely recommend for excellent food and value for money, very traditional Italian food from the region and not a pizza in sight!
The next day, we walked to Bari train station approx. 10 mins away and caught the train to Ostuni which is about an hour away. However, when you arrive at the train station, you need to catch the bus that then takes you into town. If you miss the bus, it’s a long and fairly dangerous walk as the roads are very busy and don’t have pavements, we found this out on the return journey! Ostuni is known for its whitewashed old town. Ostuni Cathedral combines Gothic, Romanesque and Byzantine elements, while the arched Porta San Demetrio is one of 2 remaining medieval gates.
The Civic Museum and Archaeological Park houses Ostuni. As we were there on a Sunday it was very busy lots of the locals attending church and a flea market taking place. It was lovely to wander around the old streets with houses touching each other. There were some lovely shops selling traditional goods from the area. We had a lovely lunch at Il Posto Affianco would definitely recommend the weather was so good we were able to eat outside. After the horrendous walk back to the train station we took the train back to Bari, again as it was quite late we decided to eat in the hotel again, the restaurant was full of locals who just come to eat so a really good sign! Would definitely recommend a day trip to Ostuni - it is a truly beautiful town.
Day 3 led us to Alberobello 50 mins by bus from Bari and approx. EUR 6.00 each way. Alberobello has the biggest concentration of trulli, a whole town made of 1500 trulli and a UNESCO world heritage site. This place is amazing so pretty, talking to a lot of the shop owners they said early December was a great time to visit, weather is normally pretty mild and there isn’t the mass crowds you get in the summer. There are plenty of shops selling lovely local products and some nice restaurants although a few were closed as it was a Monday. It was just really nice to wander around and take in the scenery. The only thing that would concern me is the how busy the buses would be in the summer so maybe worth hiring a car if you are staying in Bari or the surrounding areas, however be prepared for the crazy Italian driving!!!! That night we ate dinner in Bari again would definitely recommend and also the little night market they had there, this maybe seasonal though as it was selling lots of Christmas goods.
Day 4 we decided to explore Bari as our flight was around 20.00 so it gave us plenty of time to see the City, I must say I was really impressed. Bari is a port city on the Adriatic Sea, and the capital of southern Italy’s Puglia region. Its maze-like old town, Barivecchia, occupies a headland between 2 harbours. Surrounded by narrow streets, the 11th-century Basilica di San Nicola, a key pilgrimage site, holds some of St. Nicholas’ remains. To the south, the Murat quarter has stately 19th-century architecture, a promenade and pedestrianised shopping areas. With designer shops as well as local ones it’s a great City, beautiful buildings especially the theatre set on long boulevard. It has a relaxed feel with the harbour, local fisherman with their catch of the day. I have travelled to most of Italy and I would say Bari is by far my favourite city. You can catch the ferry to Albania another pf my favourite places. If you visit Puglia make sure you visit Bari you won’t be disappointed. Sad to leave, we caught our flight back to Gatwick with EasyJet, again great flight, on time. Would however recommend speedy boarding.
Would definitely recommend Bari as an alternative short break, would love to have had more time so we could really explore the beautiful region of Puglia.
Please call or email me for further details on this trip and any others . I adore Italy and would love to share my travel experiences with you.