7 Days in Puglia Without a Car | The Best Puglia Itinerary Without a Car (2024)

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Discover the best way to spend 7 days in Puglia with this ultimate Puglia itinerary without a car!

Puglia, also known as Apulia, is one of the most enchanting regions in Italy. It beckons travelers with its pristine beaches, historic towns, and delectable cuisine. From the captivating trulli houses of Alberobello to the grandeur of Lecce, Puglia is a land where ancient traditions meet contemporary charm.

In this one-week journey, you will explore the diverse and alluring landscapes of Puglia, from the dramatic cliffs of Polignano a Mare to the historic wonders of Lecce and the ethereal cave dwellings of Matera. Puglia is one of my favourite regions in Italy that is beautiful, less touristy, and very affordable!

Prepare to be enchanted by this region’s beauty and find a way to explore Puglia without a car (or with one if you desire).

Below is the ultimate Puglia itinerary for you to follow.

(Disclaimer: Some links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning if you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This is at no extra cost; you may even receive a small discount. See disclosure for more information.).

The Ultimate 7 Days in Puglia

Welcome to your ultimate 7-day adventure in Puglia, Italy, where we’ll explore this enchanting region without the need for a car. Puglia, with its stunning coastline, historic towns, and delectable cuisine, is a traveler’s dream come true. This itinerary is designed for those seeking an eco-friendly and car-free journey through the heart of Apulia.

TAKE THE HASSLE OUT OF BOOKING! CLICK HERE to book this 7 night guided tour of the best of PUGLIA!

Day 1: Bari to Polignano a Mare

View of the cliffs and ocean in Polignano a Mare
View of the cliffs and ocean in Polignano a Mare

Day 1 marks the beginning of this Puglia itinerary without a car, providing a taste of the region’s beauty and culture. With only 7 days in Puglia, it is best to start and end at the same place for ease of flights and efficiency – which is why we will fly in and out of Bari Airport.

Upon arrival in Bari, you will head straight to Polignnao a Mare – one of my favourite places in all of Italy! Don’t worry about not seeing Bari, you get a day here at the end of your adventures.

How to get there

Take a picturesque train ride from Bari to Polignano a Mare. You will have to take one train from Bari Airport to Bari Centrale and then another train from Bari Centrale to Polignano a Mare. I use Google Maps to map my trains and route but the train stations have ticket counters you can use to ask for help and directions.

πŸš‚ One-way train tickets from Bari to Polignano a Mare are €3 and can be bought in advance via Omio (buy your tickets HERE) or at the train station from one of the ticket machines.

Top things to do in 1 day in Polignano a Mare:

⭐️ Visit the Old Town: Explore the enchanting old town of Polignano a Mare with its whitewashed buildings and Mediterranean charm.

⭐️ Grotta Palazzese: Admire the famous Grotta Palazzese, a remarkable sea cave restaurant with breathtaking views.

⭐️ Lama Monachile Beach: Relax on the picturesque Lama Monachile Beach, a perfect spot for sunbathing and swimming.

⭐️ Statue of Domenico Modugno: Pay tribute to the iconic Italian singer with a visit to his statue along the seaside promenade.

Find additional things to do in Polignano a Mare here!

Where to stay in Polignano a Mare

➑️ CLICK HERE for the best place to stay in Polignano a Mare

Day 2: Monopoli

Boats in a cove in Monopoli, Italy
Street in Monopoli

After one day in Polignano a Mare, it’s time to continue your Puglia adventure. From Polignano a Mare, you can easily reach Monopoli by train, making it a convenient car-free journey.

Day 2 in Monopoli introduces you to another picturesque Puglian town, rich in history, culture, and coastal beauty. It’s a day to relax, explore, and enjoy the tranquil ambiance of this delightful destination. Stay tuned for more adventures in Puglia without a car.

How to get there

Take a short train ride (about 15 minutes) from Polignano a Mare to Monopoli. Trains run regularly, and you can check the schedule in advance.

πŸš‚ One-way train tickets from Polignano a Mare to Monpoli are €2 and can be bought in advance via Omio (buy your tickets HERE) or at the train station from one of the ticket machines.

Top things to do in 1 day in Monopoli:

⭐️ Explore the Old Town: Begin your day by wandering through the charming old town of Monopoli. Its maze of narrow streets, historic buildings, and quaint squares will transport you to another era.

⭐️ Monopoli Cathedral (Basilica Cattedrale Maria Santissima della Madia): Visit this beautiful cathedral with its impressive Baroque architecture and stunning interior.

⭐️ Castle of Charles V (Castello di Carlo V): Discover the historic castle, which now houses exhibitions and events. The castle offers panoramic views of the town and the Adriatic Sea.

⭐️ Lunch by the Sea: Enjoy a leisurely seafood lunch at a seaside trattoria, savoring the freshest catches of the day.

⭐️ Visit the Beach: Monopoli boasts several small coves and sandy beaches. Spend your afternoon relaxing on the beach, swimming, or simply taking in the coastal scenery.

⭐️ Gala Grotte Beach: Consider visiting Gala Grotte Beach, known for its unique caves carved into the rock, offering a natural and shaded spot by the sea.

Where to stay in Monopoli

➑️ CLICK HERE for the best place to stay in Monopoli

Day 3: Day trip to Ostuni

Ostuni white town skyline, Brindisi, Apulia southern Italy. Europe.

Today, you’ll embark on an exciting day trip to Ostuni, often referred to as the “White City” due to its striking whitewashed buildings and historic charm. This day trip can be easily accomplished without a car.

Day 3 offers a delightful day trip to the iconic “White City” of Ostuni. This unique town is a true gem of Puglia, known for its dazzling architecture and captivating history. Enjoy exploring its winding streets, and prepare for more adventures in the days to come.

How to get there

Take a train from Monopoli to Ostuni, a journey that typically takes around 30 minutes. Check the train schedule in advance for convenient timings.

πŸš‚ Round trip train tickets from Monpoli to Ostuni are €8 and can be bought in advance via Omio (buy your tickets HERE) or at the train station from one of the ticket machines.

Top things to do in 1 day in Ostuni:

⭐️ Historic Center: Explore the enchanting old town of Ostuni, characterized by narrow alleys, whitewashed buildings, and charming squares. Admire the architecture and immerse yourself in the local atmosphere.

⭐️ Ostuni Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta): Visit this beautiful cathedral with its intricate facade and impressive interior.

⭐️ Piazza della LibertΓ : Enjoy some time in the main square, Piazza della LibertΓ , surrounded by cafes and restaurants. It’s a perfect spot for people-watching and savoring Apulian cuisine.

⭐️ Ostuni’s City Walls: Take a leisurely walk along the city walls, offering stunning panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the Adriatic Sea.

⭐️ Lunch with Local Flavors: Savor local dishes at a traditional Ostuni restaurant, where you can indulge in regional specialties like orecchiette pasta and seafood.

⭐️ Artisan Shops: Ostuni is known for its artisan shops and local products. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore and purchase unique souvenirs.

⭐️ Scenic Drive to the Coast: If time allows, consider a short taxi ride or local transport to reach the nearby coastline and enjoy some beach time. Torre Pozzella and Rosa Marina are beautiful coastal spots.

After spending the day in Ostuni you can head back to Monopoli to spend the night.

Day 4: Alberobello

Streets in Alberobello
Streets in Alberobello

Today, you’ll visit the extraordinary trulli houses of Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage site, easily accessible from Monopoli without a car.

A day in Alberobello promises an unforgettable encounter with the iconic trulli, offering insight into the history and architecture of this extraordinary destination. Enjoy your visit to this UNESCO-listed town before returning to Monopoli in the evening.

How to get there

Take a bus from Monopoli to Alberobello. This is a convenient and cost-effective option for a car-free journey.

🚌 The cost of a one way bus ticket from Monopoli to Alberobello is ~€5.30 and the journey takes around 1 hour.

πŸ’‘ INSIDER TIP: Getting bus tickets and catching the bus is quite hectic. You will catch the bus at Monopoli – Piazza S. Antonio 6 but you MUST buy your tickets from Agenzia Viaggi Tourist Intercontinental. The bus sometimes sells more tickets than seats so it is pretty crazy with people trying to get on the bus. Be prepared for this!

Top things to do in 1 day in Alberobello:

⭐️ Explore the Trulli District: Wander through the famous Trulli district of Alberobello, where you’ll find thousands of these unique stone huts with conical roofs. Visit the Trullo Sovrano, a two-story trullo that provides insights into the history of the area.

⭐️ Trullo Siamese: Don’t miss the “Siamese Trullo,” two trulli merged together, showcasing an architectural marvel.

⭐️ Trullo Church of St. Anthony: Visit this charming trullo that has been converted into a church.

⭐️ Historic Center: Stroll through the historic center of Alberobello, where you can shop for local crafts, enjoy Apulian cuisine, and immerse yourself in the atmosphere.

⭐️ Trulli Craftsmanship: Explore artisan workshops where you can learn about the construction of trulli and purchase souvenirs.

⭐️ Wine Tasting: Discover the local wines of Puglia with a wine tasting in one of the town’s wine shops.

Where to stay in Alberobello

➑️ CLICK HERE for the best place to stay in Alberobello.

Day 5-6: Matera

Streets of Matera
Matera stone houses

Days 5 and 6 in Matera provide the opportunity to explore the extraordinary Sassi, appreciate the rich history, and savor the local cuisine of this UNESCO World Heritage-listed city. Enjoy your time in Matera before moving on to your next destination in Puglia.

How to get there

To travel from Alberobello to Matera, you can take a train from Alberobello to Bari Centrale, the main train station in Bari. From Bari, catch a train to Matera Centrale. While there are no direct train connections between Alberobello and Matera, this combination of trains provides a convenient and car-free way to reach Matera.

πŸš— Alberobello to Matera: The quickest way to get from Alberobello to Matera is by paying for a transfer. This is what I did and it was pricey €80 but it was super convenient and took only 1 hour instead of 2-3.

Top things to do in 1 day in Matera:

⭐️ Explore the Sassi: Begin your day in Matera by exploring the Sassi di Matera, the ancient cave dwellings and rock-carved architecture that make the city famous. Visit Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario to get a sense of how people live in these unique houses.

⭐️ Matera Cathedral (Cattedrale di Matera): Discover the stunning Matera Cathedral with its Romanesque architecture.

⭐️ Palombaro Lungo: Visit Palombaro Lungo, an underground water cistern that provides insights into Matera’s water management history.

⭐️ Piazza Vittorio Veneto: Enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the restaurants in Piazza Vittorio Veneto, offering picturesque views of the Sassi.

⭐️ Casa Noha: Explore Casa Noha, a multimedia museum that takes you on a journey through Matera’s history and culture.

⭐️ Panoramic Views: Climb to the viewpoints along the edge of the Sassi for stunning panoramic views of the city.

⭐️ Local Cuisine: Savor the local cuisine at an authentic Materan restaurant, sampling regional dishes like orecchiette and caciocavallo cheese.

Where to stay in Matera

➑️ CLICK HERE for the best place to stay in Matera!

Day 7: Bari

Bari coastal view

On the final day of your Puglia adventure, you’ll travel from Matera to Bari, where you can catch your departure flight or continue your journey.

How to get there

Start your day by taking a train from Matera Centrale to Bari Centrale, the main train station in Bari. The train journey from Matera to Bari takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.

πŸš‚ Train tickets from Matera to Bari are €12 and can be bought in advance via Omio (buy your tickets HERE) or at the train station from one of the ticket machines.

Arrival in Bari:

Once you arrive in Bari, you can explore the city further if you have some extra time before your departure. Bari offers historic sites, a charming old town, and delicious local cuisine.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many days do you need in Puglia?

The number of days you need in Puglia depends on your travel preferences, the specific places you want to visit, and the pace at which you’d like to explore the region. However, a typical Puglia itinerary often ranges from 5 to 10 days. Here are some general guidelines:

⭐ Short Visit (5-7 Days): If you have a limited amount of time, you can still experience the highlights of Puglia. A 5 to 7-day itinerary might allow you to explore a few key towns or cities, such as Bari, Alberobello, Matera, Lecce, and some coastal areas. This will provide a taste of Puglia’s culture, history, and natural beauty.

⭐ Moderate Stay (8-10 Days): With 8 to 10 days, you can delve deeper into Puglia and explore more towns, coastal areas, and the region’s distinctive countryside. This extra time allows you to fully enjoy the unique character of each place you visit.

⭐ Extended Visit (10+ Days): For a more leisurely and comprehensive experience, consider spending 10 days or more in Puglia. This duration allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture, visit multiple towns and cities, relax on the beautiful beaches, and enjoy the region’s excellent cuisine.

Puglia offers a diverse range of attractions, from historic towns with ancient architecture to stunning coastal areas, making it an appealing destination for various interests. Ultimately, the number of days you need in Puglia will depend on your personal preferences and the depth of exploration you desire.

How do I spend my 10 days in Puglia?

There are two great ways to spend 10 days in Puglia. The first is by following the 7 days in Puglia itinerary above and stretching a few days in places for more time. For example spend 2 days in Polignano a Mare and spending 2 days in Bari.

Or if you would like to see more of Puglia this is a great itinerary:

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Day 1: Arrival in Bari
πŸ‘‰πŸ» Day 2: Polignano a Mare
πŸ‘‰πŸ» Day 3: Alberobello
πŸ‘‰πŸ» Day 4: Matera
πŸ‘‰πŸ» Day 5: Matera (continued)
πŸ‘‰πŸ» Day 6: Lecce
πŸ‘‰πŸ» Day 7: Otranto and Coastal Exploration
πŸ‘‰πŸ» Day 8: Gallipoli
πŸ‘‰πŸ» Day 9: Beaches of Salento
πŸ‘‰πŸ» Day 10: Return to Bari

Streets in Matera
Alberobello Streets

Which is the Best Town to Stay in Puglia

Puglia offers a variety of charming towns and cities to stay in, each with its own unique character and attractions. The best town for you to stay in Puglia depends on your preferences, interests, and the type of experience you seek. Here are some popular towns to consider, each catering to different aspects of Puglia’s appeal:


Alberobello: Famous for its trulli houses, Alberobello provides a unique and picturesque experience. Staying in a trulli accommodation is a memorable way to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Matera: While technically in Basilicata, not Puglia, Matera’s cave dwellings and rock-carved architecture are worth a visit. It offers a distinctive and captivating atmosphere.

Polignano a Mare: This coastal town is renowned for its stunning cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and historic charm. It’s perfect for a seaside escape.

Monopoli: A more local laidback place in Puglia conveniently located near many top cities and attractions.


Bari: Bari, the regional capital, offers a lively urban experience with a historic old town (Bari Vecchia), a bustling waterfront promenade, and excellent transport links. It’s a great base for exploring the region.

Lecce: Known as the “Florence of the South,” Lecce is celebrated for its Baroque architecture, rich history, and vibrant atmosphere. It’s an excellent choice for culture and architecture enthusiasts.

Alberobello: Famous for its trulli houses, Alberobello provides a unique and picturesque experience. Staying in a trulli accommodation is a memorable way to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Ostuni: The “White City” of Ostuni is known for its whitewashed buildings, historic old town, and panoramic views. It’s an ideal choice for those who love exploring charming streets.

Gallipoli: Located on an island, Gallipoli offers a unique coastal experience with a picturesque old town, beautiful beaches, and seafood restaurants.

Consider your interests, whether you prefer a coastal or inland experience and the activities you’d like to pursue when choosing the best town to stay in Puglia. Puglia’s diversity ensures there’s something for everyone.

Endless cave houses in Matera
Street in Alberobello

Is Puglia cheaper than Amalfi Coast?

Yes! Puglia is cheaper than the Amalfi Coast which is why it is such a great region to visit. This is one of the reasons why I love Puglia so much, you get all the same beauty as Amalfi and other places in Italy at a much better price.

Several factors contribute to Puglia’s reputation as a more economical destination:

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Accommodation: Puglia offers a wide range of accommodations, from budget-friendly options to luxury hotels. While the Amalfi Coast is known for its upscale resorts and high-end hotels, Puglia provides more budget-friendly choices, including charming guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, and farm stays.

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Dining: Puglia is famous for its delicious and affordable cuisine. You can enjoy local dishes and fresh seafood at a fraction of the cost you might encounter in the Amalfi Coast.

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Transport: Transportation costs are generally lower in Puglia, with accessible train and bus networks connecting major towns and cities. The Amalfi Coast, known for its scenic but winding roads, may involve higher costs if you choose to rent a car or use taxis.

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Tourism: While both Puglia and the Amalfi Coast attract tourists, Puglia is often less crowded, especially in certain areas. This can lead to more competitive pricing for various services.

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Activities: Puglia offers a wealth of activities, including visiting historic sites, exploring charming towns, and relaxing on beautiful beaches. Many of these activities are budget-friendly or even free.

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Wine and Dining: Puglia is renowned for its wine production, including Primitivo and Negroamaro, and the wine tends to be more affordable compared to the Amalfi Coast.

Renting a Car in Puglia

Renting a car in Puglia is quite easy and a great option if you want to move around freely without adhering to train and bus times.

The best place to find car rentals is from DiscoverCars. Here you can compare a bunch of different car rental companies and find the best price and options for what you need.

Street in Matera
Street in Alberobello

How to Get to Puglia

Getting to Puglia, the southern region of Italy, typically involves arriving in one of the major cities or transportation hubs in the region. The primary means of reaching Puglia include flights, trains, buses, and driving. Here’s how to get to Puglia:

By Air:

πŸ›©οΈ Bari Karol WojtyΕ‚a Airport (BRI): Bari’s international airport is the largest in Puglia. You can fly directly to Bari from many European cities, making it a convenient gateway to the region. From Bari Airport, you can easily access other parts of Puglia.

πŸ›©οΈBrindisi Airport (BDS): Brindisi Airport is another major airport in Puglia, serving both domestic and international flights. It’s well-connected to various European destinations.

By Train:

πŸš‚ Trenitalia: Italy’s national railway company, Trenitalia, operates extensive train services connecting Puglia to other regions. Major train stations in Puglia include Bari Centrale, Brindisi, and Lecce. You can take a high-speed train from cities like Rome, Naples, and Milan to reach Puglia.

By Bus:

🚌 FlixBus: FlixBus offers long-distance bus services to Puglia from various Italian and European cities. Buses are a cost-effective way to travel to Puglia, especially if you’re on a budget.

By Car:

πŸš— Driving: If you prefer the flexibility of driving, you can reach Puglia by car. Major highways connect Puglia to the rest of Italy. The A14 highway (Autostrada Adriatica) runs along the eastern coast of Puglia, while the A16 (Autostrada dei Due Mari) connects the region to Naples.


πŸ›₯️ Greece and Croatia: Puglia’s coastal cities, such as Bari and Brindisi, serve as departure points for ferry routes to destinations in Greece and Croatia. If you’re traveling from these countries or nearby islands, consider taking a ferry to Puglia.

Gallipoli street
Gallipoli street

Other Destinations to Add to Your Itinerary for Puglia

Here are some more places within Puglia that you can add to your itinerary:

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Lecce: Known as the “Florence of the South,” Lecce is famous for its stunning Baroque architecture, historic center, and lively atmosphere. Don’t miss the Piazza del Duomo and Lecce Cathedral.

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Martina Franca: A charming town in the Valle d’Itria known for its baroque architecture, local food, and festivals. The old town is a great place to explore.

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Cisternino: A small, less touristy town in the Valle d’Itria known for its charming streets, excellent food, and peaceful atmosphere.

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Gallipoli: Located on an island, Gallipoli offers a unique coastal experience with a picturesque old town, beautiful beaches, and seafood restaurants.

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Santa Maria di Leuca: The southernmost town in Puglia, known for its lighthouse and stunning coastal views.

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Trani: A coastal town with a beautiful cathedral and a historic port, offering scenic views of the Adriatic Sea.

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Ceglie Messapica: A charming town with a historic center and a reputation for excellent cuisine.

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Locorotondo: Known for its picturesque old town with whitewashed houses, Locorotondo is a perfect place for a leisurely stroll.

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Galatina: This town is famous for its stunning Basilica of Saint Catherine and its vibrant traditional festivals.

Molfetta, Italy, 06/25/2017. The waterfront of a village in the Puglia region.

Travel Insurance

Getting travel insurance before you travel is a MUST. It’s the number one thing you should always pack before traveling that can save you a lot of money, time, and stress. With how crazy travel has gotten recently you need that peace of mind that no matter what happens there is something protecting you from losing out. I always travel with travel insurance and think everyone should.

I always travel with travel insurance and think everyone should. Below is my favorite travel insurer Safety Wings, enter your details to get a free quote!

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7 Days in Puglia
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