As you could have read in my previous Puglia blog I visited this South Italian region for the first time in my life end of September, and was impressed by the beauty, friendliness and diversity of Puglia, located all the way in the south of Europe.
I drove there with my friend Mirella, whom I’ve met through IG and invited me to stay with her, as she’s lived there for several years and her family still has a house there.
Some of the benefits of this were that I had the ultimate guide at my disposal to show me all the highlights and hidden gems of this quaint South Italian region, we had loads of fun together, and as you know I just love girl- and road trips!
How to get there, current rules & regulations Puglia
I've already shared more info on how to get to Puglia, and luckily we're still allowed to travel to Italy from the Netherlands at the moment. However the situation is changing on a daily basis, also throughout Italy infections are rising again, and restrictions are getting tightened.
Do note that if you go to Italy now there's a curfew and you’re obliged to wear a face mask outside all day, and when entering public places, hotels, shops or restaurants, which you can take off when seated. From the Netherlands you’re also required to show a negative COVID-19 test maximum 72 hours old when entering the country.
I never felt unsafe while there end of September, but as the situation and rules change daily and differ per country, make sure to check the rules for your own country before you go.
And hopefully things will be easier again next spring, which is also a perfect time to visit Puglia.
In part 1 of our road trip through South Italy, I already showed you Lecce, Alberobello and Matera. In this blog I will show you 4 more must visits: San Vito, Polignano a Mare, Ostuni, Monopoli, and 2 very photogenic hotels in Puglia!
Unfortunately we only had 5 days to explore Puglia together, but as we had a car to our disposal all the time we did manage to visit 7 of the most beautiful villages and towns in this South Italian region, which I’m of course happy to share with you.
Make sure to check my previous blog, along with this one, to see all of my 9 top recommendations, including some very photogenic places to stay!
5 More Instagram-mable spots of Puglia:
1. San Vito, Polignano a Mare
Polignano a Mare is becoming quite famous lately through Instagram. It’s a must visit in Southern Italy for sure, but if you’re looking for a more quiet beach and local vibe I can recommend to stop 10 minutes before Polignano (coming from Bari) to visit San Vito for authentic views like this:
Here you can still park your car along the road for free, and walk to the rocky beach with ancient watchtower, cute harbour with authentic fishing boats, and quaint restaurant by the sea.
Highly recommended to go there at sunset when there’s almost no-one around and the sun goes down behind the stunning Abbazia di San Vito, making it look even more spectacular! A real hidden gem with a quaint vibe and generally only known to locals.
2. Polignano a Mare
I can certainly understand why Polignano a Mare has become insta-famous, and agree that it should not be missed during your visit to South Italy. I was however happy that we visited at the end of the summer season, when it's less crowded.
The historic town center is very cute, with marble streets and several balconies offering spectacular views towards the rocky cliffs and Adriatic Sea, which become even more stunning at sunset, as you can see here:
Wandering around this Apulian town is a must with its cute streets and town squares with excellent traditional restaurants. The ancient bridge: Ponte di Polignano is however the central point, so make sure to walk on for a nice view over the cute bay with pebble beach and follow the stairs down to get to a great beach club with beach-view restaurant:
Where to eat in Polignano a Mare-Puglia?:
Fly #Calaporto Restaurant
With an indoor restaurant and outdoor terrace with a nice views over the bay on one side, and the ancient bridge on the other side, this restaurant is a must visit in my book, see for yourself why:
But the vibe, food and cocktails here were also very good, and quite affordable. Find out more about this photogenic, yet quaint restaurant on the Fly Polignano website.
Another beautiful place full of Instagram-mable spots, a bit further from Bari, but still just a 1 hours’ drive away, is this white washed city surrounded by olive trees.
Ostuni was already occupied since prehistory, is located on a hilltop to protect the city from invaders, and is nowadays a true labyrinth with its alleys, staircases and super quaint streets, leading to the top of the city with cute café’s, terraces with a view, and the 15th century Gothic cathedral.
With its colorful doors, many cute cats, white washed alleyways and impressive historic buildings this was one of the most Instagrammable, and diverse places we visited, with photo opportunities around every corner, as you can see in this gallery:
You can even walk the ancient city walls of Ostuni! Unfortunately we only had a half day to explore this city, but I’m definitely coming back to South Italy to explore more of Puglia and stay in Ostuni for several days next time.
A good alternative to Polignano a Mare, 9 kms further south in Puglia, is this lesser-known fishing village. The port, centro storico with ancient fort and town wall of Monopoli should not be missed! And with its many cute cafés, restaurants, terraces and small beach it’s also popular among locals, but luckily with smaller crowds.
The village has been inhabited since 500 BC and mainly consists of sand stone- and white-washed buildings. With several ancient churches, cute squares and streets lined with cacti and photogenic facades Monopoli is the epitome of Instagram-mable in my opinion.
But also because it houses several authentic, yet very chic hotels, 2 of which located right next each other in the most Instagram-mable street of the village!
Where to stay in Monopoli-Puglia?:
5. B&B Bellavista Suite or Hotel Don Ferrante
The 4 star B&B Bellavista Suite in the historic village center, directly looks out over the sea and rocky coastline of Monopoli. Their authentic stone suites, carved out in the ancient town walls, date back to the 16th century and are highly photogenic, with all the amenities of a 4 star hotel.
But the décor and view from the rooftop terrace with panoramic pool take the cake, and make this a true Instagram-hotspot.
Find out more on: B&B Bellavista Suite Monopoli.
For even more luxury you can stay next door at the 5 star Hotel Don Ferrante, actually for the same price per night, with a wellness area, treatment center and in-house restaurant, hence the 1 star-difference.
According to Mirella this hotel is quite renowned and popular among the rich and famous. And I could immediately understand why when seeing the décor and setting of the hotel.
Don Ferrante impresses with its stunning rooms and suites, located in an ancient and carefully restored building at the edge of the Adriatic coast, with outdoor pool and rooftop terrace with 360 views over the sea and historic center, magnificent both at sunrise and sunset!
Unfortunately I didn’t get to stay at these quaint, yet luxurious south Italian hotels myself this time, but did go for cocktails with a view on the rooftop terrace of Don Ferrante, which is also recommended.
Find out more on Hotel Don Ferrante Monopoli.
For more hotels in this South Italian region check this Puglia hotels page.
For extra Italy trip inspiration go to this page of my website.
And to filter on accommodations and activities according to your own preferences check this region page.
I hope that I was able to show you why this South Italian region is a must visit, and a more quaint, unique and Instagram-mable alternative to the better known cities of Europe, and famous Italian regions like Tuscany or the Amalfi coast.
Let me know if you’re planning to go to Puglia as well, and find me on social media for more tips and pictures of our South Italy road trip, including several videos.