Unforgettable Travel Company

Luxury Puglia Tours & Vacations

Also known as Apulia, Puglia is Italy’s southeastern-most region, making up the ‘heel’ of the boot as it extends from the Fortore River to Cape Santa Maria de Leuca at the tip of the Salentine Peninsula. Long overlooked as a tourist destination, Puglia is beginning to enjoy a surge in interest thanks to its unspoiled scenery and highly authentic travel experiences. 

Puglia is a diverse, multi-faceted destination. Surrounded by the warm waters of the Ionian and Adriatic sea, it has the best beaches in Italy, with glorious golden sands and tranquil, turquoise waters. The highly agricultural region produces the bulk of Italy’s durum wheat and olive oil, and you’ll foodie delights galore here with a cornucopia of bread, pasta, seafood, sweets, and hearty rustic signature dishes. The region’s historical and cultural sites are comparable to any other region in Italy, from the beautiful Baroque architecture of Lecce – the so-called ‘Florence of the South’ – to the truly unique ‘Trullo’ houses of Albarello.

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Unspoiled Puglia feels like a different world to the busyness and glitziness of Rome, Amalfi, and Venice. If you’re keen to experience a slower and more enriching side to Italy then this beautiful southern region is unlikely to disappoint. 

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Italy Specialist
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Our Trips to Puglia

All of our tours are custom built to you, below are example itineraries curated by our Italian specialists to provide you with inspiration for your luxury tailor-made Italy tour.

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Why we love private tours of Puglia

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Italy Specialist

With the pace of life slower throughout, and the effects of mass tourism enjoyably absent, your experiences in Puglia are genuinely immersive. Enjoy cooking classes with friendly nonnas; learn from the locals how to make pasta, olive oil, and bread; take gentle walking tours through historic hill towns; or enjoy boat trips out to spellbinding sea caves or long, lazy days at the beach. 

For now, Italy’s dazzling heel remains a delightfully undiscovered destination, but you can trust us that it won’t remain that way for long.

What to do in Puglia

In Puglia, make sure to explore the charming whitewashed villages, savor the region’s renowned olive oil and wine, and relax on the picturesque Adriatic coastline.

  • Baroque architecture Lecce

    Wander the streets of baroque Lecce

    Known as the ‘Florence of the south’, Lecce is the jewel in Puglia’s crown. It’s an architecturally rich city, famed for its baroque old town, with a light dusting of Roman landmarks (including a gorgeous amphitheater) for good measure. Lecce is a university town, so you’ll find all that history balanced against a youthful atmosphere, with good shopping and excellent bars and eateries. You’ll need at least one full day to explore the city properly, but to really do Lecce justice we’d recommend an extra day, allowing you to explore nearby Otranto and Ostuni. 

  • Trullo houses Albarello

    Marvel at the unique ‘trulli’ of Albarello

    Puglia is famed for its unique ‘trulli’, small, round dry-stone houses with their iconic white-wash exterior and conical roofs. The houses date back to the 16th century and were originally used as stores or field shelters by farm laborers. Many are still used as such today, although you’ll now find more than a few converted into characterful boutique accommodation for Puglia’s burgeoning tourist scene! Trulli houses are specific to the Itria Valley in southern Puglia, with large concentrations found around Alberobello – the trulli villages here are a UNESCO Heritage Site – as well as Locortondo, Fasano, and Ostuni.

  • Friselle Puglia

    Sample fine wines and rustic cuisine

    As with much of southern Italy, Puglia is a traditionally agricultural and unfashionable region, and you’ll find this reflected in its hearty, authentic cucina povera. Simple but big-flavored peasant dishes are the specialty here, such as fave e cicorie (fava beans with garlicky greens), orecchiette con rape pasta, and wholesome ingredients such as lamb, sheep’s milk cheese, and – with the sea on all sides – mussels and squid. All those big, rich flavors need a full-bodied wine to accompany, so enjoy knocking back glasses of Puglia’s famous Primitivo, a bold, juicy wine produced from Zinfandel grapes. As Italy’s largest producer of durum wheat, enjoy wonderful breads such as focaccia, pane di Altamura, and dinky pizzettes. 

  • Taranto beach Puglia

    Take your pick of breathtaking beaches

    With over 800km of coastline facing out to the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, Puglia is certainly not short on beaches. Add in the sunny southern climate, and it is no surprise that Puglia is fast becoming a leading summer destination for Italians and Europeans. The region’s beaches are both sandy and pebbly, with plenty of rugged rocky coast in between to explore. Our favorite beaches would be the incredibly picturesque cove of Lama Monachile in Polignano a Mare; the sandy strip of Pescoluse, known as the Maldives of Italy; and the gorgeous Rivabella, just outside historic Gallipolli. 

  • Matera cave city at sunset

    Discover the cave city of Matera

    Matera is one of Italy’s most remarkable cities. Set on top of a steep sandstone ridge, flanked by precipitous canyons on either side, the city is famed for its UNESCO Heritage Sassi de Matera cave dwellings. Thought to have been in use since 9,000 BC, these dwellings are carved out of the sheer rockface, with some still in use as homes, workplaces, or restaurants to this day. Matera is located high up in the hills inland from Bari, and is a popular place to begin your tour before moving down through Puglia’s cultural cities and sandy coastline. 

Trulli of Alberobello, Puglia, Italy 670x400

When to visit Puglia

With its location at the southernmost tip of Italy, Puglia experiences a warmer climate year-round than the rest of the peninsula. Spring arrives early, Fall drags on that little longer, and during the peak summer months of July and August you might find temperatures peaking at an uncomfortable 57-95F. Summer months in Puglia span from April to late September; the very best months to visit are late spring – April, May, and early June before the height of European summer holidays – and late summer heading into Fall – September and October. During these times you’ll find pleasant temperatures of around 55-80F, warm enough for swimming but not unbearable, thinner crowds, and more competitive hotel rates. Temperatures in the winter months hover around 35-60F; not suitable for days on the beach, but if you’re keen to experience hiking, festivals, and cozy nights around the trattoria fireside, Puglia still has much to offer.

Your Puglia questions answered

What local foods must one try when visiting Lecce, Italy (Puglia)?

Puglia is known for its excellent bread – such as focaccia, yellow-crumbed pane di altamura, and crispy taralli rings. Caciocavallo is a round, salty specialty Puglian cheese, while ear-shaped orecchiette (best served with broccoli rabe) is the region’s famous pasta. Local pastries include pasticciotti (small shortcrust pastry tartlets) and cartellate (rose-shaped sweets filled with honey, dates, and almonds. 

Which is the best town to stay in Puglia?

Puglia is one of the largest regions of Italy, with around 20,000 square kilometers of land and 800 km of coastline to explore. With points of interest in almost every corner of the region, it would be a shame to limit yourself to just one place! For culture, perhaps base yourself in Lecce; for scenery Matera; or for beaches head to Brindisi or Savelletri.

How many days do you need in Puglia?

Much like Sicily or Tuscany, Puglia is a world unto itself and you could happily spend an entire tour of 10-14 days here – particularly if you’re looking to spend some serious time on the beach! Generally, we’d recommend a tour of around 8-10 days, allowing enough time to take in Matera, Lecce, Ostuni, Locorotondo, and the beaches of Savalletri. 

Is Puglia expensive?

Puglia is yet to succumb to mass tourism, and with its location in Italy’s poorer south, you’ll find the region noticeably easier on the wallet than north and central Italy. In the bigger cities such as Lecce and Bari prices will be a little higher, but if you’re spending most of your time amongst the countryside and beaches you’ll enjoy terrific value for money. 

Is Puglia safe for tourists?

As with the rest of Italy, Puglia is largely a very safe destination with low crime rates and an extremely warm welcome for international visitors. The south of Italy may be poorer than the north, but as a tourist you’ll find this translates into exceptional and very genuine hospitality, especially out in rural areas or quiet beach towns.

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