June 4, 2010, Bari, Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce, List, Notes, Puglia, Taranto, Tourist Attractions & Destinations, Travel & Tourism

Puglia itineraries

Five very different Puglia itineraries that will show you the very best of the heel’s views and landscapes.

Guidebooks and visitors rarely praise Puglia for its natural attractions, which seems quite understandable compared to the breathtaking beauty of more spectacular Italian regions like the northern lakes, Liguria, Toscana and Campania. Still, most places wane when measured by these standards, and Puglia can be real pretty outside the tourist triangle of Castel del Monte, Alberobello and Barocco Leccese.

Here is my suggestion for five very different itineraries that will show you the best Puglian views and landscapes.

Manfredonia to Vieste
Most tourists take the easy northern road to Vieste, cheating themselves for a drive along the Amalfi coast of Puglia. Only 40 km separates Manfredonia from Vieste, but the drive takes an hour and this is not due to traffic but to hairpin bends leading up and down the mountains. Every time you reach a bend with a poor view of the road you have to brake and honk to warn off other cars going in the opposite direction. Free ranging cows and goats with tinkling small and bigger bells use the road as a shortcut between pastures. And once you have passed Mattinata you are in for the most spectacular views . Gargano rests on white limestone painting the sea an unusual emerald green that contrasts the blue sky and the silvery green colour of the olive fields. And in between you will see the most adorable islands, lagoons, beaches and rock formations like the famous “Architiello”.

Puglia itineraries
Saline di margherita di Savoia
Follow the coast from Manfredonia to Barletta and you will come through Saline di margherita di Savoia , the biggest saltpan in Italy. Apart from the fascinating salt ponds and salt mountains, the Salina provides perfect bird watching. For instance you can see the largest population of pink flamingoes in Europe.

Puglia itineraries 2
Corato to Gravina in Puglia and Altamura
Driving on the S378 from Corato to Gravina may not be on a shortlist of the five most beautiful scenic drives through Puglia, but it will take you to some of the most spectacular ravines in the city by the same name. The Murgia is characterized by these small canyons formed by rain water that has dissolves the limestone, but they look more dramatic as if the surface of the earth has been broken into pieces. Some of the ravines have caves, swallow holes and dolines inhabited in prehistoric times, and the history combined with the naked and bleak landscape inevitable makes a strong impression.

Puglia itineraries 3

Putignano through Alberobello to Martina Franca
Traversing Valle d’Itra is the classic tour of trulli land, where you will see dozens of cone shaped houses with occult roof paintings dotted on every hill top. The soft hilly landscape has been cultivated for thousands of years, as can be seen from the really old gnarled and split olive tree trunks, you will pass along the way.

Puglia itineraries 4

Maglie to Leuca
I know most people prefer the scenic drives to Santa Maria di Leuca along the coast, but to me the real Salento can be found on the inland road from Maglie going south in the hour around sunset. The water and the sun produce the most amazing light effects with colour changes from yellow, orange and red to deep purple and all shades of dark black blue, and every white building glows in the dark in a neon sort of way. It is pure magic.

More on Puglia and Puglia itineraries

Best beach breaks in Puglia

Cave towns in Puglia

Top 5 visitor attractions in Lecce


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13 Comments

June 6, 2010 5:15 pm

italytutto

Thanks for sharing these trips with us. I've enjoyed reading them so much that I've added your post to my Top 10 of the week over at http://www.italytutto.com!

June 7, 2010 9:46 am

HallmarkTravels

I agree with you about the suggested 5 itineraries, just wish to add that many others could be designed on specific needs or thematic topics.

The Region offers landscapes, culinary, culture, handcraft, wellness and more….

June 7, 2010 12:26 pm

Italian Notes

Great idea. I am sure we can both come up with additional blog posts on the matter:)

June 11, 2010 3:18 pm

HallmarkTravels

You welcome, it would be my pleasure to coop with you.

We can stay in touch through our twitter or facebook, as you prefer.

Enjoy a nice day

June 14, 2010 4:16 pm

fabio

Very nice you suggested the road from maglie to Santa Maria di Leuca. Of course, the coast from Otranto ti Santa Maria di Leuca is a kind of landscape paradise, but the up-country is the real Salento, that's true! I live in Lecce ;)

July 14, 2010 9:34 am

Italian Notes

I have just re-traveled the road from Otranto to Santa Maria di Leuca, and the landscape is astonishingly beautiful with dramatic cliffs, romantic beach coves and fabulous sea views. Absolutely, not to be missed on any Salento road trip.

February 1, 2012 2:06 pm

Andrew Graeme Gould

It’s great to get this kind of information from someone who’s been there and done it! Lovely photo, too.
Andrew Graeme Gould recently posted…Santiago, San Francisco, Sydney, Alice Springs: People and artMy Profile

June 25, 2013 2:34 pm

Giuseppe, Puglia

Luckily you didn’t disclose to the masses the name and location of one of the real gems of Puglia (and Italy really) which, I assure you, leaves your so called “more spectacular Italian destinations” in the dust.

I’m really happy you didn’t – I wouldn’t want it to be invaded by fat, beer-guzzling, baseball-hat wearing Northern European Tourists! Other beautiful Mediterranean locations have completely lost their identity trying to attract these kinds of tourists, and I don’t want my corner of paradise to end like them. Cari saluti dalla Puglia!

June 25 2013 18:54 pm

admin

Hope you aren't trying to make a living out of tourism;)

August 9, 2013 8:40 am

Francesca

Thank you Mette, that’s exactly what I needed for our next holiday – really must come!

August 25 2013 10:38 am

admin

Glad to here your plans are progressing:)

August 9, 2013 1:08 pm

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December 10, 2013 4:08 am

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