It's hard to pick just ONE favorite out of all the places we travelled throughout Italy, but two, I can do. And Puglia falls into one of my two favorites. It's far less "touristy" than all of the other places we went to and a real hidden gem. I'm certain it's only a matter of time before this place becomes the next Positano. I give it maybe 4-5 years before it's another tourist-filled city come summer time. We visited tons of little spots all throughout Puglia, Polignano a Mare being just one- but a beautiful one at that.
Let me start by saying the food is the best we had throughout the entire trip! I'd go back just for that. The towns are spread out throughout the whole region so I suggest renting a car like we did. All of the cities have stunning limestone streets that make it sparkle like I've never seen before. Because Puglia is a bit off the radar, for now, many of the smaller towns don't have people who speak english so Kevin and I were constantly pulling out our phones to try and Google translate what we were saying.
There were many reasons I fell in love with Puglia but the beaches had to be at the top of the list, next to the food, of course. So many cool hidden gems we found just casually strolling along the coast. We went to Porto Cesareo as one of our many stops which had a beautiful white sand beach and turquoise waters. It kind of reminded me of being back in the Caribbean. Most of the beaches we went to throughout our Italy trip were rocky so this was a nice change.
The thing about Puglia is that the towns are all small so if a restaurant isn't good, it won't stay open [thank you for this, Faye]. In other words, you really can't go wrong with restaurants. I'll list some of my favorites later. For now, enjoy my photo travel diary of Puglia:
Puglia is filled with tons of hidden gems so you really just have to explore and wander around like we did. We wandered into both Kevin's and my favorite restaurant of the trip just simply by exploring.
WHERE TO VISIT:
Like I said, exploring is the best but here are a few must see's
- Polignano a Mare
- Porto Cesareo [for the beaches]
WHERE TO EAT:
- Breakfast at wherever you stay will be good- everything is small and family run so the food is more family style.
- Rifugio Dei Ghiottoni- this was Kevin's and my FAVORITE resturant throughout the entire trip. Both he and I said it was the best pasta meals we've ever had. We had no idea as we were wandering through the streets trying to figure out where to eat for dinner that this place was all given 2 Michelin stars. And I can see why. We went back again our second night. But it's in a very small town called Fasano (really off the radar for tourism) so just know it's a journey if you're not staying nearby.
- Osteria Del Tempo Perso- in Ostuni. Book in advance for dinner; it's incredible. Set inside a cave, it's so romantic and the food was exquisite.
- Pescaria- in Polignano a Mare. Some of the best seafood I've ever had. The restaurant only serves fish but it doesn't smell fishy at all; everything is caught and prepared the same day.
- PS. I don't recommend Cuttlefish. Kevin and I wanted to try something new so we picked that and it was no different to me than eating a tire- rubbery, tough, and zero taste.
WHERE TO STAY:
- Search on Google/ Tripadvisor/ check out different Masserias. Traditional hotels don't really exist here- everything is family owned/ run. We stayed at a super tiny Trulli home just outside of Fasano. It only fit 4 rooms, max 10 people.