One week in Puglia: Epic 7-8 day Itinerary (First Time Visit)


1 Week in Puglia: The Perfect 7-8 Days Itinerary

You’re planning to spend one week in Puglia for your next trip?

Great idea!

In order to help you plan your trip, I have prepared for you the perfect 7-8 day itinerary in Puglia. During your trip, you will discover all the best places to visit on this beautiful Italian region.

In this travel guide, in addition to the must-see attractions, I will also give you all my best tips as well as my list of the best accommodations depending on your budget.

So, what are the best things to do during your 1 week itinerary in Puglia? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

1) Bari / Ostuni (2 days)

To visit Puglia in a week, you should land in Bari, the capital of the region.

In order to see as much as possible and to avoid wasting time on public transport, I highly recommend you to rent a car. Personally, I always use It’s, in my opinion, the best car rental site!

Here is why:

  • It allows you to compare prices between each rental company: You will instantly see who is the cheapest or has the best customer reviews.
  • The full insurance protection ensures you get reimbursed in case of an accident or theft of your rental car (without having to take the rental company’s extremely expensive insurances!). Tested and approved, as they refunded me more than 1300 euros total! 😎
  • Free modification or cancellation if your plans change and you can’t visit Puglia!

And one last thing: Rentalcars also offers a best price guarantee. It’s simple, if you find a similar vehicle cheaper elsewhere, they will refund you the difference!

Let’s now get back to your Puglia itinerary!

For the first leg of  your one-week trip to Puglia, after picking up your rental car, you should leave Bari and head to Polignano a Mare. You’ll have time to visit the city before you return flight at the end of your holiday.

Located just 40 minutes’ drive from Bari, Polignano is known for its houses built on the cliffs by the sea. You can wander in the many alleys of the historic center and discover multiple terraces and viewpoints. It’s really a nice little town!

Be sure to walk down to the pebble beach surrounded by cliffs at the entrance to the old town, to take the photo found on all the postcards. Plan about 2 hours to walk around Polignano.

Polignano Puglia
Polignano Puglia

Then, get back to your car and go to Monopoli, only 15 minutes away from Polignano a Mare.

Similar to Polignano but without the cliffs, Monopoli has a lovely historic center, very pleasant to walk through. A one-hour stroll will allow you to see the main monuments like Charles V Castle, the Cathedral, and Piazza XX Settembre.

Lastly, for the final stage of the day, move on to Ostuni, located 40 minutes from Monopoli.

As it sits on the top of a hill, you will catch a glimpse of the city well before reaching its historic center.

You’ll then understand why it is nicknamed the “White City”. The walls of the houses in the upper part of Ostuni, those located in the old town, are indeed almost all whitewashed to bring a bit of light to the narrow alleys.

After admiring it from a distance, you should take a walk to visit the historic center.

At the very top, you can visit Ostuni’s Cathedral, the city’s main tourist attraction. Worth seeing for its quite original facade. Right next door, you will also see the Episcopal palace where the Diocesan Museum and its collection of documents relating to local events are located.

Then, climb up a little further to the Church of Saint Mary. This is where you can enjoy a 360° panorama over the countryside around Ostuni and the entire Itria Valley.


Towards the evening, make your way to Piazza della Liberta, a lively spot in Ostuni where people gather on bars and café terraces for aperitivo. Be sure to join in on the fun!

If you’re then in the mood for a delicious pizza, you should go to Impasto Napoletano, just 200 meters from the Piazza. The pizzas are really generous and tasty – we absolutely loved them!

Stay overnight in Ostuni, in one of the accommodations we have selected below.

To learn moreabout the best places to visit in Ostuni, you should read my dedicated article: Visiting Ostuni, the White City of Puglia.

The next day, for the second day of your 6, 7 or 8-day itinerary in Puglia, you will visit Alberobello, the most famous village in the Itria Valley.

But ffamous also means touristic!

Therefore, I recommend you to arrive in Alberobello early in the morning to avoid the tourist buses that start arriving around 10 am. From Ostuni, it’s a 50-minute drive to Alberobello.

In Alberobello, you can admire hundreds of trulli. These ancient dwellings, with their small stone structures and conical roofs, are now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The main activity in Alberobello is wandering through the streets to see the trulli. Most of them have been converted into souvenir shops, restaurants, and guest houses.

To make the most of your visit to Alberobello, you should read my article: The 7 Best Things to Do in Alberobello.

Voyage Tips - Advice

To learn more about Alberobello and its famous trulli, you should book this 2-hour guided tour.

Your guide will share many fascinating anecdotes about the village and tell you everything you need to know about its unique architecture!

You need to book your guided tour of Alberobello by clicking on the following button:


Continue the morning with 2 other charming villages to visit during your one-week stay in Puglia:

  • Locorotondo: Just a 10-minute drive from Alberobello, it’s one of Italy‘s most beautiful villages. An hour’s stroll through the historic center will reveal Cummerse, typical houses of Locorotondo that are rectangular-shaped with steep-pitched roofs and flat tiles.
  • Cisternino: Located 15 minutes from Lorotondo, Cisternino is also among the most picturesque towns of Italy. It boasts 3 panoramic terraces offering stunning views over the Itria Valley. Allow about an hour to explore the historical center.

For the afternoon, you have 2 options depending on what you’re in the mood for:

  • In the mood to relax and swim? Head to Torre Guaceto Nature Reserve, 50 minutes from Cisternino and 30 minutes from Ostuni. There, you’ll find a beautiful sandy beach that’s perfect for swimming and spending a peaceful afternoon by the sea.
  • Feel like walking a bit, cycling or even horse riding amidst superb natural landscapes? Visit the coastal dune park of Torre Canne and Torre San Leonardo. Stretching along the coast for 8 km, it offers a variety of landscapes like dunes, pastures, and olive groves where you can wander.

Spend another night in Ostuni.

Voyage Tips - Advice

During your one-week tour of Puglia, you’ll be visiting quite a few historical centers.

It’s always best to park before the old town. Access to most of them is indeed restricted to resident’s cars and even if it’s not strictly forbidden to enter, the streets are often narrow, steep, and one-way.

In short, not the easiest place to find parking!

Accommodations in Ostuni

  • Hotel Tropical: Located just a 5-minute drive from Ostuni and 10 minutes from the beach. Comfortable and colorful double rooms starting from 75€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the location for visiting Ostuni, the very friendly staff, private parking.
  • Grand Hotel Masseria Santa Lucia: The hotel is located about a 10-minute drive from the center of Ostuni. It’s set in the countryside, peaceful yet close to the seaside (with direct foot access from the hotel). Comfortable, bright double room with private terrace starting from 150€ (low season) to 250€ in high season, breakfast included. Strong points: the superb swimming pool, the Spa, the beachfront solarium, the tranquility. This is my choice for a relaxing and leisurely stay in Ostuni!
  • Masseria Salinola: This Masseria is only a 5-minute drive from Ostuni. It is located in the quiet countryside. The rooms and apartments are set in a beautifully typical building, fully renovated while preserving the original style. Cozy double room with charming decor starting from 300€ per night in high season, breakfast included. Strong points: the decor, the rustic charm and warm atmosphere of the place, the gargantuan breakfast (I’m not exaggerating!), the outdoor pool, the very welcoming staff. It’s my recommendation for a luxury stay in Ostuni and one of the best hotels for your one-week road trip in Puglia!

2) Lecce (3 days)

The second stage of your one-week trip in Puglia takes you to Lecce.

On the way, you’ll inevitably pass through Brindisi, just a half hour from Ostuni. Take the opportunity to stop for a visit!

Wander around the historic center to admire the churches, head to the port to see the naval monument, and if you’re interested, you can also visit MAPRI, the Provincial Archaeological Museum.

It’s not an essential stop but it won’t take much time and at least you’ll get a glimpse of Brindisi, one of the most important cities of Puglia.

Then, continue by car to Lecce.

You should park your car in the parking lot next to the cemetery. It only costs 2€ for the day and it’s located about a hundred meters from Porta Napoli, the main entrance gate of the historic center.

As Lecce is considered THE baroque city of Italy, it is extremely rich in historical monuments.

Almost all of them were built with Lecce stone, a very soft limestone, which lends a beautiful harmony to the whole old town. Lecce is clearly a must-see during a 7 or 8-day itinerary in Puglia!

To visit Lecce, start by heading to Piazza Sant’Oronzo, the largest square in the city. There you will find the tourist office, handy for getting a city map and making sure you will see the city’s most beautiful monuments.

On the Piazza, you cannot miss the Roman Amphitheatre. Discovered in the 20th century, it’s extremely well preserved. Performances are organized there, you should check the program at the tourist office if you’re interested in attending one.

Continue your tour of Lecce by visiting the other emblematic square, Piazza del Duomo. You’ll surely be impressed by its size and grandeur.

I’ve seen quite a few Piazza del Duomo during my travels to Italy and Sicily, and the one in Lecce is, for me, among the most beautiful.

On the Piazza, you will find Lecce Cathedral, which you can visit inside. Also worth seeing are the seminary palace, the episcopal palace, and the bell tower (one of the tallest in Europe!).


And since we’re talking about must-see tourist sites, continue your walk by visiting the Basilica of Santa Croce.

It’s facade is the perfect “Baroque of Lecce” architectural style example: adorned with hundreds of carved details and featuring a very beautiful rose window, it’s truly magnificent!

Nearly a century was needed for its construction, but it was well worth it. You should also go inside to admire the 17 altars, which are also superb. Plus, admission is free.

Then, freely stroll through the streets of the historic center to discover the many palaces (over 90 in total!) and churches.

Spend your first night in Lecce.

On the next day, you will start with a cultural visit to the MUST, the historical museum. In addition to being partly dedicated to the history of the city, it features a contemporary art gallery as well as a sculpture exhibition.

For history enthusiasts, you can follow it up with a visit to another museum, the Faggiano. It’s located in an old house, for a good reason: while doing plumbing works, the owners discovered ruins and ancient objects in the walls and foundations!

The house is in fact over 2,000 years old and has been inhabited from the time of the Messapians, the Romans, and the Templars until today! Not wanting to lose all this historical wealth, the family decided to open a small museum there.

Next, head to Charles V Castle, to see its monumental ramparts. Inside you’ll find the Papier-mâché Museum, where more than a hundred works of papier-mâché are collected.

This activity is very typical of Lecce, and visiting the museum is the best way to discover it. In the old town, you can also find several shops practicing this art, if you want to leave with an original souvenir!

The last thing to see in Lecce for today is the cemetery!

Yes, you read correctly, I’m taking you on a tour to discover the many baroque tombs of Lecce.

Created in the same style as the other monuments of the city, the vaults feature impressive architecture.

The visit isn’t gloomy at all, the cemetery is well maintained and surrounded by cypress trees. If you have already visited the monumental cemetery of Milan, it’s a bit similar.

Lecce cemetery
Lecce cemetery

For your 3rd and final day in the city, you should explore the surroundings of Lecce.

Of course, that includes going to some of the most beautiful beaches in the area!

Take your car and drive to Torre dell Orso, your first stop of the day, just 35 minutes southeast of Lecce.

At Torre dell Orso, you’ll find a beautiful sandy beach where you can take a stroll all the way to the faraglioni, two very photogenic rocks that are featured on many postcards of Puglia.

You should take the path that climbs up the cliff for a better view and a stunning panorama of the surroundings. And why not enjoy a refreshing swim on your way back down?

Continue your morning by checking out the other famous faraglioni of Puglia, those located at Torre Sant Andrea.

The town is just a 5-minute drive from Torre dell Orso.

Here too, the rocks amidst the clear turquoise water are worth snapping a few photos. And I think you won’t be able to resist taking a dip in this heavenly spot!

Torre Sant Andrea
Torre Sant Andrea

For the rest of the day, head to Otranto, a 20-minute drive from Torre Sant Andrea.

Otranto, especially its historic center, is a charming small town to discover. Be sure to visit the castle, its ramparts, and the cathedral of Otranto.

Finish the day off with a relaxing time on Otranto beach or nearby.

Head back to Lecce to spend the night.

To learn more about the best places to visit in Lecce and in the surroundings, you should read my dedicated article: The 12 best things to do in Lecce.

Where to Stay in Lecce

  • Casa Balmes: Located just 100 meters from the Basilica Santa Croce and 400 meters from the Duomo. Spacious and comfortable double room starting from 80€ per night, but you might find cheaper rates. In March, we paid only 100€ for 3 nights in a deluxe suite (breakfast included)! Strong points: quiet location, situated in the heart of the historical center, comfortable rooms, and an excellent breakfast with fresh morning pastries still warm! Highly recommended for an affordable stay in Lecce.
  • 8PiuHotel: Located a 15-minute walk from Lecce’s city center. Modern and comfortable double room starting from 130€, breakfast included. Strong points: friendly staff, parking availability, modernity, and comfy beds.
  • Arryvo Hotel: Situated 600 meters from the cathedral. Well-equipped and modern double room starting from 150€, breakfast included. Strong points: great location, delicious breakfast, and kind staff.
  • Risorgimento Resort – Vestas Hotels & Resorts: A 5-star hotel located right in the historical center of Lecce. Modern and comfortable double room starting from 200€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: an excellent location, a rooftop terrace with a view of the cathedral, attentive staff.

3) Matera (1 day)

For the 3rd leg of your one-week itinerary in Puglia, you should go to Matera.

But before that, there are a few nice places to visit along the way, between Lecce and Matera:

  • Your first stop should be Taranto, 1h15 from Lecce. The historic center is worth a visit for its castle (free guided tours every two hours from 9:30 am) and the National Archaeological Museum. Recently renovated, it’s very interesting to learn more about the local history.
  • Then, head to the villages crossed by Puglia canyon: Massafra, Castellaneta, Laterza, and Ginosa all offer truly beautiful views of the canyon. Don’t hesitate to wander through the very quiet streets and enjoy the tranquility.
Canyon of Puglia
Canyon of Puglia

Then, head to Matera for the afternoon.

Just a small geographical note, Matera is not part of Puglia region but belongs to the region of Basilicata.

However, as you will see, it’s located very close to Puglia, that’s why I’ve included it in this itinerary, as one of the best things to do in Puglia in 7 days. It would be a real shame to miss out on one of the oldest cities in the world!

Just like Alberobello, Matera also boasts its own unique dwellings: the Sassi!

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Sassi are troglodyte habitats carved into the rock. Some dating back to the Paleolithic era, they have been continuously inhabited. Over time, they have been converted into real homes with kitchens, beds, and more.

Some Sassi even served as refuges for monks and were transformed into rock-hewn churches. Today, there are nearly 3,000 habitable caves and multiple rock churches.

Exploring Matera is done exclusively on foot.

In order not to miss any highlights of the city, you should first stop by the tourist office to pick up a map. To visit Matera, you will have the choice between 3 different routes, varying in length.

Whichever you choose, start by heading to Piazza del Duomo to admire Matera Cathedral. The square also offers a great view over Matera!

Next, make your way to the church of San Pietro Caveoso, stunningly located at the edge of Matera’s ravine. Then climb up to Chiesa della Madonna de Idris, a beautiful rock-hewn church carved directly into the rock. Overlooking the ravine, the view is really breathtaking.

Church of San Pietro Caveoso Matera
Church of San Pietro Caveoso Matera

Continue your visit by exploring the Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario museum. Small yet fascinating, it recreates the interior of a Sassi home.

Your tour of Matera will also take you to the Convicinio di Sant Antonio, the Palazzo Lafranchi, the Piazzetta Pascoli lookout, the National Archaeological Museum, and Tramontano castle.

By the end of your stroll, night will likely have fallen, and you can admire the Sassi from a different perspective as the city lights up.

Don’t hesitate to ready my article about the best places to visit in Matera to learn more about the city: How to visit Matera?

Voyage Tips - Advice

Where to Stay in Matera

  • Matera in Vacanza: Located just a 3-minute walk from the Sassi area. Spacious and very clean double room starting at €90 per night, breakfast included. Strong points: location for exploring Matera on foot, warm welcome.
  • Thymus Residence nei Sassi: 5 minutes from Matera Cathedral. This hotel offers double rooms set in Sassi starting at €160 per night, breakfast included. Strong points: experiencing sleeping in a Sassi, perfect location. This is my top pick for value in Matera!
  • Locanda Di San Martino Hotel & Thermae Romanae: Located in the heart of the Sassi. Double rooms with wooden furniture and vaulted ceilings inside Sassi starting at €200 per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the indoor pool, valet service, comfortable bedding, charming atmosphere. This is my choice for a romantic stay in Matera.
  • Palazzo Gattini Luxury Hotel: Housed in a former palace, a few meters from Piazza del Duomo. This 5-star hotel offers tastefully decorated double rooms starting at €480 per night, breakfast included. Strong points: excellent breakfast, charming staff, location, Spa.

4) Bari (1 Day)

The fourth and final stop on your one-week itinerary in Puglia brings you back to Bari.

If you’re visiting Puglia for 7 days, you will need to start heading towards the airport.

As you leave Matera, you should make a stop at Murgia Belvedere, only 10 minutes by car from Matera. This is where you’ll get the most stunning panoramic view of the city!

Numerous hiking trails also start from the Belvedere, marking the entrance to the Murgia Materana Park, where you can admire some of the rock churches.

parc della Murgia Materana
Murgia Materana Park

To reach Bari from Matera, it takes about 1 hour.

If your flight departs late in the evening or the next morning, here is how to visit Bari in 1 day:

  • Start with a stroll through Bari Vecchia, undoubtedly the most interesting district to see in Bari. A unique feature of the historic center is a street dedicated exclusively to Puglia’s typical pasta, Orecchiette. You can watch women at work making the pasta and of course, take a pack back with you in your suitcase!
  • Admire the Basilica of San Nicola and its imposing façade
  • Pass by the Swabian Castle, one of the largest in Puglia and Italy
  • Visit San Sabino Cathedral and its crypt

If you have time left, you can also visit a museum such as the Simi Palace or the Bari Art Gallery. If you prefer to wander outdoors, you can go for a walk on the lungomare promenade. It’s also a great chance to have one last meal or drink by the water!

And for more information about all these places, you can read my article: Top 12 Things to Do and See in Bari, Puglia.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you have an additional day and you’re doing an 8-day itinerary in Puglia:

  • After Matera, head towards Gravina in Puglia to see the ravine and its ancient troglodyte dwellings. Less touristy than Matera, the historic center is very charming!
  • Go for a walk in Alta Murgia National Park, a haven for hikers
  • Visit Trani and see the famous cathedral by the sea
  • Make your way back to Bari

Accommodation in Bari

  • Annavi: Located in the Bari Palese district. Double room from €80, breakfast included. Strong points: close to the airport, warm welcome, good breakfast.
  • Seven Maze Charming House: Located outside the center of Bari, about ten minutes by car, the hotel is part of a 50-hectare botanical garden. Spacious double room with Indonesian decor from €90 per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the original decor, room comfort, opportunity to stroll in the garden, the outdoor pool, and the varied breakfast served in the greenhouse. My favorite for its outstanding value for money.
  • Villa Pina: Located less than 1 km from the beach. Modern and spacious double room from €100, breakfast at €5. Strong points: jacuzzi on the rooftop, enclosed private parking, the beautiful garden.
  • HI Hotel Bari: Located 10 minutes from the historic center of Bari. Spacious and modern double room with large windows from €150, breakfast included. Strong points: the pool, the location, the friendliness of the staff.
  • Grande Albergo Delle Nazioni: Located 10 minutes walk from the historic center. Double room with modernized 70’s style decor from €200 per night, breakfast at €20. Strong points: the location for exploring Bari on foot, the rooftop terrace with pool, the view. This is my recommendation for a luxury stay in Bari!

Feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions on our one-week road trip itinerary in Puglia!

Budget for a One-Week Trip to Puglia

Because it’s always good to have an idea of how much a trip might cost, here’s what we spent for our 7-day visit to Puglia:

  • Accommodation for 2 for one week: 600€
  • Transportation for 2 (flight + car rental): 300€
  • Admissions for 2: 80€
  • Food for 2: 280€

Total budget for a week for 2 people: €1260

Book your trip now and save money!

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Puglia 7 8 days itinerary
Puglia 7 8 days itinerary

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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