Forming the "heel" of Italy's "boot," Puglia is rapidly becoming one of the nation's most popular vacation destinations. An underappreciated gem for decades, Puglia's beautiful beaches, scenic towns, and historic attractions are no longer off the radar, drawing visitors throughout the year. Hugging the coast of the Adriatic Sea, Puglia is one of Italy's primary producers of wine and olive oil, meaning there are also plenty of vineyards and olive groves to visit.
If you're planning a Puglia vacation, here are some ideas for your itinerary:
-Visit the beach: Puglia's Adriatic coastline is largely unspoiled. Cycling in Puglia is also a popular activity, and sticking to roads and trails along the coastline helps you uncover hidden gems.
-Explore Alberobello: While the town itself is small, with a population of about 10,000 people, Alberobello is one of the most scenic settlements in Italy. Get lost in its charming trulli neighborhoods and sample some of the most flavorful cuisine in the country.
-Take a vineyard tour: The Puglia countryside is rich with wineries and vineyards, offering a relaxing way to spend the day and affording you the rare opportunity to sample the celebrated local wines at their very source.
-See the Castel del Monte: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Castel del Monte is just a few miles to the northwest of the town of Bari and is widely considered a must-see. A medieval castle, the Castel del Monte is open to visitors all year round.
-Stroll through botanical gardens: Puglia has a high concentration of botanical gardens for your enjoyment, including La Cutura near Giuggianello and Orto Botanico on the campus of Bari University.
During your stay in Puglia, you can enjoy more space and privacy in a vacation rental than you'd get at a hotel. Fully furnished in tasteful, authentically local decor and offering all the comforts and amenities of home, vacation rentals like beachfront villas or apartments are available in all budget ranges.
If you want to explore more of Italy, the scenic and historic city of Naples lies directly to the west. You can also take a train or drive to Rome, only a few hours from Puglia and home to some of the continent's most iconic and historically important attractions.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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