- Visited: July 2019
- Time spent: 7 nights
- 3 friends
- Accommodation: Airbnb in Torre Vado (far southern tip of Puglia) $828 (in total)
- Return flights from London to Bari: $320 per person,
- Car rental: $580 (in total) – we paid to have the collision damage cover!
- Food, drink (miscellaneous, e.g. gas/petrol): approx. $412 pp
- Total spend per person: $1,200.
I traveled to Puglia with two friends: John (who is also British) and Amy (who is from Chicago). I had been hearing great things about the region of Puglia from a few friends and was excited to go and explore a brand new (to me!) area of Italy.
The territory of Puglia (pronounced ‘poo-lee’ya’) is in what’s known as the heel of Italy (Italy’s outline is often referred to as a boot). It’s a long, narrow peninsula, bordered by two seas, the Ionian and Adriatic, and has the longest coastline in the Italian peninsula.
How to Get to Puglia
John and I were already in England for the summer – Amy flew in from Chicago and met us in London. We flew with EasyJet (a budget airline) from London Gatwick (LGW) to Bari (BRI), about a 3 hour flight. We paid $320 each for return flights.
How to Travel Around Puglia
We hired a small European car for the week – this is essential if you want to do any exploring. We used Budget via Expedia. You drive on the right in Italy – most cars are manual drive. Considering the reputation Italians have for being crazy drivers, I felt very safe driving there (or should I say, being a passenger while John drove!). I would recommend a smallish car due to the roads in towns and cities being very narrow and to make parking easier.
Where To Stay in Puglia
We stayed in the cute little town of Torre Vado (at the southernmost tip of the heel), a 2hr 30 min drive from Bari airport. This is a perfect spot if you are looking to get away from busy and expensive touristy spots and also spend a few days relaxing at the local beach. Although the town is set up for tourism (beach front restaurants, local grocery store selling buckets and spades etc,), as far as we could tell we were the only English speaking tourists there.
The town had lots of cute places to eat and two open-fronted stores selling fruits & veg, dry goods, meats, seafood, alcohol etc. Every morning we would stop in at one of the cafes along the main street (pretty much the only street!) and have cappucini and bomboloni (amazing sugared doughnut things that could be filled with Nutella or sweet cream)!
Another beautiful, but much busier, touristy and more expensive place to stay would be Polignano a Mare – it really is a stunning little town and well worth a visit.
Our Apartment in Torre Vado
Our apartment was perfect for a week’s stay. It had two bedroom with three beds, a balcony overlooking the sea (in the distance) and a front patio with tables, chairs and shade!
Obviously Italian is spoken in Italy. My BA degree was in French & Italian, but I haven’t spoken Italian in almost 20 years. However, I practiced on DuoLingo for a few months prior to our trip and that helped to remind me of enough of the basics to get around for the week. Because of this, I did most of the speaking, with John and Amy chiming in with ‘buongiorno/hello’ and ‘grazie/thank you’! English did not appear to spoken and menus were in Italian. But smiling, nodding and translating apps go a long way! John used Google Translate on his phone – he would scan Italian menus with his phone and the English translation would appear! This was very useful!
The currency in Italy is the euro €. Currently, €1 = US$1.13.
Food and Drink in Puglia
Italy is famous for its food and you will not be disappointed in Puglia. Everything we ate and drank was absolutely delicious and, best of all, incredibly cheap! Pizzas cost about €3.50 (US$4) and a demi-carafe of wine (50cl) was €5 (US$5.60)!
Have you been to Puglia? Are you planning on going in the future? Let me know if the comments!