Puglia in July - Advice Requested

Old Jun 7th, 2024, 09:44 AM
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Puglia in July - Advice Requested

Traveling to Puglia in July from JFK with husband and 2 children ages 5+9.
We will have 8 full days + partial travel days. Debating between 1 home base or splitting time between 2 locations (if yes, where? half and half split?)

I know it is high season - would prefer to stay outside of busy area in a more relaxed setting with a pool where parking is not an issue. Any recommendations? Would love an agriturismo or B&B. Budget ideally around $150 per night but flexible.

Trip goals: leisurely exploring the different areas with focus on beach and food!

Interested in visiting: Matera, Locorotondo, Monopoli, Polignano, Ostuni, Lecce, Otranto & Gallopoli.
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Old Jun 7th, 2024, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by FOONYC
Traveling to Puglia in July from JFK with husband and 2 children ages 5+9.
We will have 8 full days + partial travel days. Debating between 1 home base or splitting time between 2 locations (if yes, where? half and half split?)

I know it is high season - would prefer to stay outside of busy area in a more relaxed setting with a pool where parking is not an issue. Any recommendations? Would love an agriturismo or B&B. Budget ideally around $150 per night but flexible.

Trip goals: leisurely exploring the different areas with focus on beach and food!

Interested in visiting: Matera, Locorotondo, Monopoli, Polignano, Ostuni, Lecce, Otranto & Gallopoli.
How/where are you flying to and from? Bari? Brindisi? Or another airport? Will you have a car for most/entire trip?

Full disclosure: I have an upcoming trip in October, first time. I have three bases:

Lecce for Ostuni, Otranto (4 nights)
Monopoli with Polignano a Mare (2 nights)
Matera for 2 nights

A lot of what you want to see may make Lecce a logical base for at least most of your time. You could consider another base, maybe Monopoli or another town more north to hit your northern points.

I personally decided to not do Matera as a day trip because of transit to my next destination (Salerno/Amalfi Coast) plus the time it takes to get to from other point as I will not have a car. But Matera could be a day trip if you want it to be to reduce bases.

I cannot comment or recommend accomodations. Your base budget, though, might be a bit low for what you are looking for, (i.e. parking, pool), the amount of people and the time of the year. I'm personally staying in boutique hotels as I am solo. I hope others can chime in for recommendations. Have you glanced at Booking.com for availability to accomodate your family snd budget? You do not have to book through the site, but can use it for research.

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Old Jun 7th, 2024, 12:50 PM
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Yes thank you. I am learning the more I ask and research. Now thinking maybe splurge on a masseria near Locorotondo for 3 nights (we arrive late on day 1) so we can do Matera/Locorotondo/Polignano and Monopoli. Hit up Ostuni on the way down to Lecce. Then stay in a more economical B&B for the remainder of the trip outside of the city. Getting excited and hope you are, also.

Have you looked into any must visit food spots yet?
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Old Jun 7th, 2024, 11:07 PM
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Go to google maps, Puglia, search on Masseria
Start clicking on little red dots
traveling by car around Puglia is pretty slow and parking can be a nightmare (NB you will never be able to park as well as an Italian)
In July (the busy busy month) you must have a pool and access to a restaurant so that you don't need to travel every day. Air con is not vital if you are staying in older buildings, but will be vital if not.
I assume you are talking about 2025. If 2024 then your choices will be minimal
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Old Jun 8th, 2024, 09:45 AM
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https://www.masseriacervarolo.com/
This is a wonderful masseria near Ostuni. It has plenty of free parking, a lovely big pool, delicious food-you can choose the half board option some nights to have dinner there as well as the included breakfast.
We did lots of day trips from there by car including Matera. We have been to Puglia twice, both times with a car which gave us lots of freedom and we never had any issues.
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Old Jun 8th, 2024, 07:49 PM
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On one of our first trips to Puglia we stayed at Masseria Montelauro near Otranto and it would make a good base for you.
BUT you have far too many spots to cover in 8 days in the heat of July.

I would never do Matera as a day trip...in July with kids. Leave it for another time. Ditto Gallipoli.

I would stay in one or two places, maximum.

I wrote a few trip reports here focusing on food our big interest....I think we've been to Puglia about 5 or 6 times, most recently last September.
It is a large region so choose carefully......

Would you consider the Gargano, to stay in Vieste? It's glorious!

Last edited by ekscrunchy; Jun 8th, 2024 at 07:52 PM.
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Old Jun 9th, 2024, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by FOONYC

Have you looked into any must visit food spots yet?
Not quite yet, no. I do have some notes I made with the help of SusanP from here: Puglia Restaurants These might be an interest to you and your family.

You may also consider doing a search of the trip report section on this forum for Puglia and may get what others have thought about the restaurants they visited as well.

I always have the best intentions to plan my restaurants in advance, and yet never do. Perhaps this time might be different but won't be doing that leg work until at least September.
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Old Jun 9th, 2024, 12:20 PM
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Thanks for the advice.

We tentatively have 2 locations because we did not want to miss a great masseria (but too expensive for whole duration) and this gives us the opportunity to explore around each base with less daily travel. We were limited in terms of accommodations due to our lateness at making plans, but we have booked Masseria Aprile in Locorotondo for 4 nights and a B&B outside of Lecce for 5 nights.

I should clarify - the list of would like to visit is not set in stone for us/must visit. Our goal is to settle into the 2 locations and see where the day take us. For example, staying in Locorotondo will give us an opportunity to explore around the Masseria without being a full day if this makes sense. My husband is most interested in the beaches to the South so I think we will do Vieste for another visit.

For Matera - what are your thoughts about a Tuk Tuk tour? An alternative is that I could do a solo trip or we could consider visiting later in the afternoon into the evening?
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Old Jun 10th, 2024, 07:04 AM
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I'm not sure about those tuk tuk tours. I saw a few in Termoli and in Matera and they play hideously loud music that fills the street....are the guides even licensed?
They had bright lights and were a distraction from the beauty of the places we saw them.

I'd put them below HoHos but then I've never taken one....I think a walking tour in the cooler hours would be a lot better.
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Old Jun 10th, 2024, 08:43 AM
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Eks's description of the tuk tuk tour would be enough to put me off. But if that is something your family would enjoy, your preference. Not knowing your interests, the draw to Matera is mostly the sassi, which is underground, or the hiking in the area. A tuk tuk tour seems almost...counter-productive, but having not yet been there, what am I to know?

Your preferences are yours, however. If you feel a tuk tuk tour would be good use of your (limited) time and money, then absolutely. That goes for any place or tour, really.
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Old Jun 10th, 2024, 11:01 AM
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I agree with Eks about those “tuk tuk” tours!
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Old Jun 10th, 2024, 11:52 AM
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I've seen those lit up and noisy tuk tuks in London but I just googled tuk tuk tours Matera and it looks like they are just tours in a little Ape vehicle, no lights etc to be seen. Most of what you would want to see in Matera is the sassi- the two neighbourhoods of stone dwellings in the old town. They don't always look like caves from the outside and no it's not underground. There is one actual cave dwelling you can visit which has been set up like it would have looked when people were living there.
There is an interesting underground aqueduct system we visited as part of our tour. We walked everywhere with our guide but with two little kids in the middle of summer I vote for the Ape tour, you will get to see more in a more comfortable fashion. It was a lot of walking and up and down, which was fine in mid October and we had no children with us.
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Old Jun 11th, 2024, 03:20 AM
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I don't have time to type much now, but just FYI, I'm in Polignano a Mare right now and it's HOT! Around 85 degrees F today, was over 100 yesterday. Can't imagine what it will be in July and August!
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Old Jun 11th, 2024, 06:48 AM
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I believe it SusanP, we were there this time in 2022 and it was roasting hot most days. One day I got heatstroke, was my own fault for forgetting my hat at the hotel, luckily the friend with us is a nurse and she took care of me. Not fun that day.
Enjoy Polignano a Mare, such a great spot.
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Old Jun 11th, 2024, 10:00 AM
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Sounds like you have already booked a Masseria, but I second raincitygirl’s recommendation of Masseria Cervarolo. We stayed there in April and loved it! It’s very centrally located to visiting the various towns in the area.
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Old Jun 17th, 2024, 06:07 PM
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We loved Masseria Aprile! Check out my trip report. Southern Italy and Sicily May, 2024

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