An Insider’s View of Puglia: The Best Places to Visit

23rd May, 2017
It is always exciting visiting new places, discovering the history, exploring the local villages and eating all the delicious food. Before going on holiday, it is a good idea to read up about the place you are to visit, seeking out places we want to visit and making a list so we can tick them off. At Quality Villas, we have an experienced team who know all of the top places to visit in the various regions of Italy and France where we have villas, so feel free to get in touch to ask us for an insider’s view of your holiday destination. 

Frederica works on the Owners’ team at Quality Villas and has given us a Q&A about the best places to visit in Puglia, a gorgeous coastal region in southern Italy. For anyone who has their luxury Puglia villas booked for a fantastic holiday this summer, here are some wonderful places to add to your list: 

1. What is the best ‘alternative’ place to visit in Puglia?
The underground caves in Castellana Grotte – these magnificent colourful caves feature gigantic stalagmites. Guided night tours (Speleonight) are available in July and August too. Furthermore, a spectacular air show takes place inside these caves every weekend in July and August relaying the Divine Comedy Inferno. You can find more information about this amazing attraction at www. grottedicastellana.it.

2. What is the best way to see Puglia’s coast?
I recommend the boat tours from Santa Maria di Leuca, which take you along the rugged Adriatic coastline of Puglia, in and out of ancient caves where rare birds still nest. A boat trip like that must be a highlight of a holiday in Puglia; Grotta del Soffio is my favourite!

3. What was your favourite village to visit?
Monte Sant’Angelo. It is a stunning hilltop village in the Gargano Peninsula, overlooking the sea. It features a Norman castle, Romanesque churches and the remarkable Basilica of St Michael, dug deep into the rocky mountain between the 5th and 11th century A.D. – absolutely stunning!  

4. Where would you recommend going for the best views?
The view from the top of Santa Maria di Leuca, by the Basilica of Madonna de Finibus Terrae, spanning over the Adriatic Sea (westward) and the Ionian Sea (eastward) is like no other. Be sure to take a picture!

5. What is the best historical town to see in Puglia?
I would have to say the ancient walled town of Otranto with its narrow winding lanes, its ramparts, its Aragonese castle overlooking the port, the Byzantine Basilica of St Peter and the splendid Romanesque cathedral of Annunziata. This cathedral features a precious mosaic floor with the famous Tree of Life. 

6. What place would you recommend for holidaymakers looking to relax? 
The natural spa of Santa Cesarea Terme has muds and sulphurous waters flowing into the caves of Gattulla, Sulfurea, Fetida and Solfatara, ideal for a spa day where you want to simply relax and recuperate. You can find out more at www, termesantacesarea.it 

7. Which beach do you recommend visiting?
The unspoilt beach of Punta della Suina, near Gallipoli, with its crystal-clear waters and sunsets to die for. Take a picnic along so you can spend the day there. 

8. Which area would you suggest walking in?
The unique trulli landscape in Alberobello and surrounding villages. The picturesque trulli houses are lovely to see, and in the summer sun, this region is fantastic to walk about in.

9. What is the best local attraction to see? 
The triumph of lights, music, costume parade and food festivals for the feast of the patron saints of most Apulian towns and villages. The best villages for these parades are Ostuni, Otranto, Oria, Santa Maria di Leuca, Gallipoli, Nardo’, Galatina, Martina Franca. These parades happen all throughout the year, so check ahead before you visit and see which towns may be celebrating. 

10. Where you suggest going for a fun family day out?
Carrisiland is a great themed water park in the Val d’Itria - the ideal spot in which to cool down in on a hot summer day. Families; especially the kids, love the water park. You can find out more about the place and the facilities it provides here: www.carrisland.it