Puglia Trip Help

Old Mar 19th, 2019, 06:51 AM
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Puglia Trip Help

I am planning a trip to Puglia for a week with my husband and two girls in June. Our eldest will be 4.5 at the time and our youngest 2.5. We plan to fly in and out from London and stay there for 7-8 nights. This will be our first trip overseas that doesn't involve visiting my family so I want to keep the trip very low key and kid friendly. We plan to rent a car. My initial thoughts were to split the trip between 4 nights in Ostuni (or a place nearby) and then 3 or 4 nights in Gallipoli and then take day trips to places that are close by (not more than an hour away). However I am now thinking of Monopoli and Polignano de Mare as an alternative to Ostuni as a base and also considering not splitting the trip between two bases at all. I have a couple of questions and would love to hear your thoughts

1) Assuming we split our trip between two bases, should we base ourselves in Ostuni, Monopoli or Poligano de Mare for the first portion of our trip? Which is better for day trips and which do you think would make sense with two young kids? Poligano de Mare looks beautiful but the coast looks rocky and not that kid friendly. Predicably, they enjoy the beach and love swimming and I am reading that Monopoli would be best for that. Ostuni looks beautiful with a lot to do and the location seems central for day trips. I am also confused on whether we should be staying inside t he town or a little bit outside. What day trips would make sense?

2) Would Gallipoli make sense as a second base or should I pick an alternative town/city? If so, where? A friend suggested Nardo as an alternative. We are thinking we can do a day trip to Lecce from there? Would that make sense? Or does it make more sense to be based in Lecce. I initially picked Gallipoli because I feel the kids would enjoy a place with a beach as a base instead of without.

3) Assuming we have two bases, if we end up going for 8 nights instead of 7, does it make more sense to do four nights each between the two bases or 5 nights and 3 nights (the 3 nights being in the Salento region)?

4) Should we visit Matera? Or is that too ambitious with kids?

5) Does it make sense to fly in and out of Bari? Or should we fly into Bari and fly out of Brindisi?

6) Should we be just staying in one place instead of two? My thoughts are that two bases make more sense because then we would minimize travel time in the car.

I realize that each family is different and everyone has different preferences but would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

Thank you

Last edited by Reeshiez; Mar 19th, 2019 at 06:57 AM. Reason: added an additional question
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Old Mar 19th, 2019, 06:56 AM
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And one more questions =) Should we be just staying in one place instead of two? My thoughts are that two bases make more sense because then we would minimize travel time in the car.
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Old Mar 19th, 2019, 07:56 AM
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Do you want to be able to walk to a beach, or are you okay with driving?
Monopoli beaches are also rocky, but it's a short drive south to sandy ones.
I would save Matera. With kids that age, they won't get anything out of it and you'll have to walk them around on tricky streets.

I like the idea of 4 and 4, a stay on each coast. I don't vacation for beaches, but I do love the sea and an occasional swim after a lot of hiking or touring. The Gallipoli side has some wonderful beaches. The Adriatic side does too, but there is more alternating between rock and sand.

I never made it into Nardo, but the little coastal park near there was a highlight (Porto Selvaggio).

I preferred Lecce in May--all day we toured the coast, at night there was plenty to do. You might wish to be right on the coast instead.
Bari v Brindisi will depend on the bases you ultimately choose. I would map out the places you'd like to visit and choose two bases that minimize your driving.
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Old Mar 19th, 2019, 08:23 AM
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logically you'll look at hotels and B&B by the sea. you might also look at a Masseria with a pool. Yes two bases makes sense.
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Old Mar 19th, 2019, 08:59 AM
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Two bases: One near Monopoli, perhaps, and the other on the western side; look at places to stay not in Gallipoli but in neaarby towns. Ugento, Nardo, etc. OR, as the second base, look further south in the Salento peninsula, near Castro, Leuca, anywhere, really,, in that area is great.

Another idea is to stay in the environs of Lecce but on the sea. Torre del Orso has a fantastic beach.

Polignano does have a gorgeous but small beach. It would make a base alternative to Monopoli.

I've been to the area four times and have stayed in various areas; I must say that you would be hard pressed to find a "bad" location!
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Old Mar 19th, 2019, 09:20 AM
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We split our week between a countryside location, near Cisternino (only because we always wanted to stay in a trulli house) and Lecce. If we were to do it over, our northern location would be Ostuni or Monopoli if you want to be right on the water. Absolutely loved Lecce. And, Matera, not included in our trip report because it is in Basilicata not Puglia, is one of the most unique places in Italy. There is a lot of walking and climbing there, and we especially enjoyed the hillside of caves across the swinging bridge from the village (also maybe a bit challenging hike for toddlers).

Here is our trip report.

7 days/6 nights in Puglia
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Old Mar 19th, 2019, 02:02 PM
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We spent 3 months in Monopoli (flying into Bari) and found it very convenient to make it to many of the places you have mentioned. We stayed on the Adriatic Sea just south of the Historico Centro and found the train station to be a very manageable walk. You absolutely should visit Matera--a very unique city. I'd add Alberobella to your list and see the Trullis. We also got to Gallopoli but since it is a distance (on the inside of the heel) we spent 1 1/2 days there. Again, your available time might not allow you to visit and enjoy the places you get to.
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Old Mar 19th, 2019, 06:43 PM
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Thank you so much. This is all very helpful. If anyone has any specific hotel suggestions please do share.
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Old Mar 19th, 2019, 11:15 PM
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I was not thrilled with Ostuni; difficult to drive into and park. It's also more attractive from a distance than within the town. We loved Polignano a Mare. It's flatter and would be easier with kids in my opinion. It's a small town, so easy to drive into and out of. I would leave Matera, though wonderful, for another time. It's too far out of the way for the short time you have.
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Old Mar 20th, 2019, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by natylou View Post
I was not thrilled with Ostuni; difficult to drive into and park. It's also more attractive from a distance than within the town. We loved Polignano a Mare. It's flatter and would be easier with kids in my opinion. It's a small town, so easy to drive into and out of. I would leave Matera, though wonderful, for another time. It's too far out of the way for the short time you have.
Thanks. I'll keep that in mind.
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Old Mar 20th, 2019, 08:14 AM
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We stayed in a beautiful Masseria about a 15 minute drive outside of Ostuni. Masseria Cervarolo. They have a beautiful pool, good food, staff was nice and helpful. It was very relaxing and we found it an easy base to drive to Alberobello, Ostuni, Locorotondo, Martina Franca etc. We also drove to Matera from here but with 2 little ones the age of your children I probably would save Matera for a different trip. I agree with the poster who said the terrain of Matera might not be too easy for children that young.
We had 5 nights here, but we also had 5 nights in Lecce which we used as a base to explore the some of the coastal places further south. I think Lecce is a good base because there is lots of activity at night, the town is quite flat and conducive to walking/strolling with little ones. Lots of nice places for dinner and gelato!

Just my preference but with little ones I might be tempted to choose only one place and then do day trips. And try to choose a place with a pool. Whichever you choose I hope you have a great time, Puglia is a really lovely area, terrific food and wine and we found the people to be really nice, also did not see as many tourists as other places in Italy.
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Old Mar 20th, 2019, 01:34 PM
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We enjoyed staying in Polignano, a nice walking town with sea views, good dining, snd easy access to other towns.
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Old Mar 20th, 2019, 03:16 PM
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Hi Reesh,
The trip report below may answer some of your questions.
I am done. The end.

Bella Puglia (also Basilicata and Rome)
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Old Mar 20th, 2019, 06:24 PM
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If you go to Matera, I strongly recommend the Locando di San Martino:
Home ? Locanda di San Martino
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Old Mar 21st, 2019, 07:20 PM
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Thank you all again. Based on the comments and what Iím reading we unfortunately will have to leave Matera for another time. Weíve decided on doing 4 nights in the Valle díItria region and 4 nights in the Salerno region (where really depends on what we find accomodation wise). We may end up having to change our travel dates to the last week of May due to my husbandís work trip and Iím getting nervous because every Masseria they someone recommends to us is getting booked fast! Hopefully we will be able to finalize something soon.
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Old Mar 21st, 2019, 07:52 PM
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Wow -- splitting your time between Puglia and the Amalfi Coast? I'm sure you would see some wonderful things, but I must admit that I think you are stretching yourselves VERY thin. JMO.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2019, 03:26 AM
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
Wow -- splitting your time between Puglia and the Amalfi Coast? I'm sure you would see some wonderful things, but I must admit that I think you are stretching yourselves VERY thin. JMO.
My apologies. I meant to say Salento, specifically near Gallopoli or Lecce.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2019, 03:51 AM
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Lecce is a must and we also loved Otranto.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2019, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by AirBalloon View Post
Lecce is a must and we also loved Otranto.
Did you do Lecce as a day trip or spend the night? I'm thinking of doing it as a day trip.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2019, 08:34 AM
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Lecce is a vibrant city with mostly locals and Italian tourists. It really comes to life at night with great inexpensive restaurants, a steady stream of people, three or four of the best gelato places we have been to. Beautiful baroque architecture that some call the Florence of the south, with striking duomo and churches, an old Roman amphitheater. A day trip might conflict with the local siesta from 2-5. Gallipoli was definitely worth the visit, but, for us, Lecce felt like a place to settle in.
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