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A Self-Catering Vacation in Puglia - Where to Stay

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Sep 4th, 2012, 01:21 PM
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A Self-Catering Vacation in Puglia - Where to Stay

Hello!

I am planning a three week vacation (total 23 nights) to Italy in June of 2013. I will be traveling with my wife, and our two-year old son. We will fly into Rome and spend 6 nights there before driving east and spending a night in Abruzzo. From there, we plan to travel south to Puglia, where we intend to spend the next two weeks (14 nights) of our vacation.

Our goal is to find a self-catering vacation rental, or two, where we can soak up the people, culture and ambience of Puglia, preferably by the sea. Our accommodation budget for this portion of the trip is about $3,500. Food, entertainment and transportation have been budgeted separately. Puglia is a region that I'm fairly unfamiliar with and just discovering now through research. Can anybody provide us with recommendations for self-catering vacation rentals by the sea that are fairly central for interesting day-trips? Additionally, does anybody have any other kinds of advice for three Canadians who would like to visit Puglia?

Thank you for your time and I look forward to receiving your feedback!
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Sep 4th, 2012, 02:16 PM
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I would surf this site for Puglia, there are a number of Fodorites who own property in the area and you can read up their advice and ask questions directly.
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Sep 4th, 2012, 02:22 PM
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You will find that the area, is very poor and has evenly spread towns over much of the area. This means that visiting each town is easy and pleasant, the outskirts often do not look so good but in every center wil be a marble square and an ancient cathedral, Bari and Brindisi are the two big tourist towns but Lucce is even more pleasant.

Taranto, home of the navy, spartan colony and infamous steel works is a bit weird but I spent three nights in a tough old inn deep on the old island eating with the local fishermen and I can tell you that these guys look rough but are very pleasant people (until Liverpool put a goal past Roma).

If it were me I'd stay in Manduria or Martina Franca but take advice from those who live there as I mentioned above.
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Sep 4th, 2012, 02:26 PM
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If you want a day out
http://lnx.leonedecastris.com/eng/
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Sep 4th, 2012, 05:42 PM
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Thanks so much bilboburgler! That's great feedback! I appreciate it very much!
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Sep 4th, 2012, 05:51 PM
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HG001 ( click on name) had stayed in a villa in Monopoli this spring and liked it as I recall, and there are other trip reports from people who rented in the last few months. Try searching those first, perhaps.
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Sep 4th, 2012, 06:02 PM
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Last time I drove through Manduria (in May) it was sheer hell given the roadworks going on. Plus, neither it or Martina Franca are close enough to the sea to make driving there for a swim reasonable with a 2 year old.

I disagree with bilboburgler that it is easy to drive around Puglia, and that every town is rewarding. I also disagree that Bari and Brindisi are the two big tourist towns. Most tourists avoid them, and head for places like Ostuni, Trani, Otranto and Lecce (not Lucce).

Neither Manduria or Martina Franca are close enough to the sea to make driving there for a swim reasonable with a 2 year old. Think about getting someplace within walking distance to the sea. You won't want to competing for parking when the weather is nice. If you want a town with some life, look at Otranto, Trani and Gallipoli. If you want something sleepy, check out the beach-cove towns like Polignano a Mare, Monopoli and places south of Otranto.

With a 2 year old, you might some very flat sand beaches. Between Gallipoli and Campomarino there are a lot, but in June they will barely be awake for the summer season. Besides, you might prefer not to go so very far south if you are coming from Abruzzo.

I don't think much of Vieste and Peschici, and they are a further drive than they look on map.

I've heard nice things about Giovinazzo, but never visited myself. It would be a fairly simple drive from Abruzzo.

http://travellerreviews.homelidays.c...ari/giovinazzo
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Sep 4th, 2012, 06:14 PM
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Thanks jubilada and 220volt. That's all incredibly valuable info for me. I didn't realize how many forums and trip reports already tackled this topic. I have a lot of reading to do and that excites me a great deal! That being said, it's really nice to hear from people about their opinions regarding Puglia with a 2-year old. Thank you!
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Sep 4th, 2012, 11:59 PM
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I disagree that Martina Franca is too far to drive for a swim....it's very easy to drive between towns and you can see the lovely sea from the hills where ostuni and martina Franca are located. The drive would be less than an hour and there are lots of public beaches along the seaside.

You may also want to look near Lecce and Otranto as the tip of the heel has some lovely beaches as well.

You can read my report by clicking my name...we spent a week in Puglia in June.
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Sep 5th, 2012, 05:58 AM
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Puglia does get very hot in June. And guys you are right I missed the whole 2 year old kid thing. From about the base of the heel you will find the inland areas are up on the murge plateau. Leaving a narrow coastal area down by the sea. One issue for you may well be "up on the murge or down by the sea" as the air is very different.

In terms of towns I spent a fair bit of time riding a bike from one to another and never felt let down by a town I went into. Some suffer from summer flash thunderstorm flooding and I spent a happy half hour wrapped around Mrs Bilbo halfway up a lampost getting out of the river that had appeared in one town.
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Sep 5th, 2012, 06:27 AM
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bilbo, that's quite a visual!
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Sep 5th, 2012, 10:19 AM
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Re the "2 year old thing":

Kids that small really can't take a whole day at the beach, and that is why it is better to rent someplace really close to the beach so you have an easy trip back to the apartment. Or you can go for a short dip more than once a day, or go at hours when the sun isn't so much of a problem.

But if you stay an hour's drive from the beach, you'll get there when the sun is already pretty fierce, and you'll be tempted to stay longer. It's also nice to be able to go "home" for lunch with a small child, because a lot of the stuff served beachside is either too much cheap junk food or too-elaborate seafood blowouts.

There are lots of places along the Adriatic coast the are specifically set up for people with small kids. You can get an apartment with a kitchen that also has a shady playground with swings, or a kiddie pool.

Traffic in and around some of the larger Puglian towns like Martina Franca or Lecce can be something of a battle. And they are hotter than the seaside villages. I don't think you want to spend 2 hours in a car each day with a small child, dealing with traffic and parking, just to get a dip in the seasie as heat relief. Stay by the water.
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Sep 5th, 2012, 10:46 AM
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Thanks everybody for your insight!

Vespacurves, you hit the nail right on the head with regards to the reality of our situation as parents. Thank you! We would love to stay by the water for all of the reasons you mentioned! Could you possibly direct me to any specific places or areas along the Adriatic coast to help guide me in my research?
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Sep 5th, 2012, 11:42 AM
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Try googling for "self-catering holiday rental puglia beach family playground"

One reason I suggest using the term "self-catering" is because it is likely to give you more results aimed at British families. There is a fair amount of British family tourism along the Adriatic, so the places are geared toward attracting that trade, with good infrastructure for kids and English-speaking owners. (Some might even be British expats).

It's a long coastline with lots of pretty little beach towns, all the way from Bari (and a little bit north) down to the very tip of the heel. I don't know how far south you want to drive from Abruzzo, but I don't think you'll have any trouble finding lots of choices.
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Sep 5th, 2012, 11:46 AM
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PS: If you add "sea view" and "walk to beach" in your search string that might also help narrow it down to places where you are right at the sea.
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Sep 5th, 2012, 11:58 AM
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I don't know if this place is in your budget, but it's a great location and the rental agency is a very good one. They usually deal in Amalfi coast rentals, but this looks very nice. It is right at the "crystal sea" beaches of Puglia, yet if you want to visit Ostuni or Monopoli or other attractions in Puglia, you can.

http://www.summerinitaly.com/eng/ren...202!italy_.htm
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Sep 5th, 2012, 12:07 PM
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and I found this if you haven't already seen it

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-a-toddler.cfm
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Sep 5th, 2012, 02:54 PM
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Wow! These are invaluable resources! Thank you so much for your help!
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