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 is my absolute favorite region in Italy. It is somewhat of a hidden gem with stunning beaches, beautiful towns, and a real local charm.

I fell in love with Puglia the first time I visited and have explored it twice since. If you are looking for an Italian paradise with amazing food, great prices, and something a little different, Puglia is for you.

With 7 days in Puglia without a car, you can see ALOT of what this region has to offer. From the dramatic cliffs of Polignano a Mare to the unique Trulli houses in Alberobello to the ethereal cave dwellings of Matera.

Prepare to fall in love with 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

7 days in Puglia is the perfect amount of time to get a taste of this region! You can see the highlights and will probably fall in love with it like I have.

Exploring Puglia without a car is a great way to see the region without the hassle – and hefty price tag – of parking. I have always visited without renting a car, I find the trains and busses are pretty good for the most part and I enjoy staying in the town centers which is much easier without a car.

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

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 favorite places in all of Italy! Don’t worry about not seeing Bari, you get a day here at the end of your adventures.

➡️ Read More: Best Places to Visit in Puglia

How to get there

Take a 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.

🚂 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 old town of Polignano a Mare with its whitewashed buildings and Mediterranean charm.
➡️ Visit Hotel Grotta Palazzese: Admire the famous Grotta Palazzese, a sea cave restaurant with breathtaking views. Eating here is a TOTAL bucket list thing to do in Puglia – but it comes at a high price tag.
➡️ Lama Monachile Beach: Relax on Lama Monachile Beach.
➡️ Go on a Boat Tour: Seeing the city from the sea is one of the BEST things to do in Polignano a Mare. Click here to book this TOP RATED Speedboat Cruise to Caves with Aperitif.

Find additional things to do in Polignano a Mare here!

Where to stay in Polignano a Mare

➡️ Dimora Anderì
➡️ Hotel Grotta Palazzese

Day 2: Monopoli

After one day in Polignano a Mare, it’s time to continue your Puglia adventure. From Polignano a Mare you will travel to Monopoli a picturesque town, rich in history, culture, and coastal beauty.

You will stay in Monopoli for TWO nights in this itinerary so book your hotel accordingly. Tomorrows adventure is only a day trip and it is much easier to leave your stuff in Monopoli than to constantly lug it around.

➡️ Read More: Best Things to do in Monopoli, Italy

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.

🚂 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: Wander through the charming old town of Monopoli.
➡️ Monopoli Cathedral: Visit this beautiful cathedral with its Baroque architecture and stunning interior.
➡️ Castle of Charles V (Castello di Carlo V): Discover the historic castle, which now houses exhibitions and events.
➡️ Lunch by the Sea: Enjoy local Italian dishes and fresh seafood at seriously some of the best prices!
➡️ Visit the Beach: Monopoli has several small coves and sandy beaches just waiting to be enjoyed.

BONUS: Take a Cooking Class: I have always found my favorite way to learn about a place is through its food. This is why one of my favorite activities to do is a cooking class! This Pasta-making class and tour is the BEST thing to do to fully immerse yourself in Puglia’s magic!

Where to stay in Monopoli

➡️ B&B A C-Caste

Day 3: Day trip to Ostuni

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

Today, you will go on an exciting day trip to Ostuni. Known as the White City, Ostuni is famous for its whitewashed buildings and historic charm – it is also very easy to reach in Puglia without a car.

Ostuni is a great place to visit on a day trip because it is close to Monopoli and not a super touristy place. Remember: this will only be a day trip so you can leave all your luggage in Monopoli and travel freely on a round-trip ticket.

How to get there

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

🚂 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 old town of Ostuni with its narrow alleys, whitewashed buildings, and charming squares.
➡️ Ostuni Cathedral: Visit this cathedral with its intricate facade and impressive interior.
➡️ Piazza della Libertà: Enjoy time in the main square surrounded by cafes and restaurants.
➡️ Ostuni’s City Walls: Take a walk along the city walls, offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside and the Adriatic Sea.
➡️ Lunch in the City: Try local dishes at a traditional Ostuni restaurant, where you can sample regional specialties like orecchiette pasta and seafood.
➡️ Artisan Shops: Ostuni is known for its artisan shops and local products.

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

Day 4: Alberobello

On day 4 of this Puglia itinerary, you will venture away from the coast and head inland to the magical village of Alberobello. This is a UNESCO-listed town with some of the most unique houses call Trulli Houses!

Alberobello is a pretty small village and I think you only need a day here to see it. I’d suggest arriving in the morning so that you have all afternoon to explore, spending one night here and leaving the next day.

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.

💡 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.

This two hour walking tour is a GREAT way to see and learn about the village and its rich history!

➡️ Trullo Siamese: Don’t miss the “Siamese Trullo,” two trulli merged together.
➡️ Trullo Church of St. Anthony: Visit this charming trullo that has been converted into a church.
➡️ Historic Center: Here you can shop for local crafts and enjoy Apulian cuisine.
➡️ Wine Tasting: Discover the local wines of Puglia with a wine tasting in one of the town’s wine shops.

Don’t miss this winery tour with tastings and food in Alberobello! This is a MUST DO and something I highly recommend while here.

Where to stay in Alberobello

➡️ Tipico Suite

Day 5-6: Matera

Days 5 and 6 will be spent in Matera. Two days is the perfect amount of time to explore the extraordinary Sassi, appreciate the rich history, and enjoy the local cuisine of this UNESCO World Heritage-listed city.

💡 Matera is TECHNICALLY not in Puglia but it is such a logical addition to this route that it must be included.

How to get there

You can get from Alberobello to Matera by a series of trains but honestly, don’t do it. Take a transfer like I did (more below).

🚗 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.

Getting from Alberobello to Matera is one of the few places you will on this Puglia without a car itinerary where a car would be kind of convenient. However, parking it in Matera would not be – making the transfer a great alternative!

➡️ Read more: Best Things to do in Matera

Top things to do in 1 day in Matera:

➡️ Explore the Sassi: The Sassi di Matera are the ancient cave dwellings and rock-carved architecture that make the city famous
➡️ Matera Cathedral (Cattedrale di Matera): Discover the stunning Matera Cathedral with its Romanesque architecture.
➡️ Palombaro Lungo: Visit Palombaro Lungo, an underground water cistern.
➡️ Piazza Vittorio Veneto: Enjoy lunch at one of the restaurants in Piazza Vittorio Veneto.
➡️ Casa Noha: Enjoy this 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.

Where to stay in Matera

➡️ Riscatto 1514

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. you can also take a bus if the trains aren’t convenient or they are not running!

🚂 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?

You need at least 7 days in Puglia to really get a feel for the region. There are SO many different towns, villages, and places to see that with fewer days you will be constrained on what you can see and do.

➡️ Short (5-7 Days): A 5 to 7-day itinerary allows 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 (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.
➡️ Extended Visit (10+ Days): 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.

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 my 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:

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

Which is the Best Town to Stay in Puglia

The best town for you to stay in Puglia depends on your preferences, interests, and the type of experience you seek. The three best towns to stay in Puglia are Alberobello, Polignano a Mare, and Monopoli – I have stayed in all three and LOVED them.


➡️ Alberobello: Staying in a trulli accommodation is a memorable way to immerse yourself in the local culture.
➡️ Polignano a Mare: This coastal town is renowned for its stunning cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and historic charm. It’s perfect for a seaside holiday.
➡️ 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, a bustling waterfront promenade, and excellent transport links. It’s a great base for exploring the region.

💡 TIP: A lot of people stay in Bari because when you google it the photo of Bari looks amazing – but this photo is actually Polignano a Mare. Also, I found Bari kinda sketchy – I didn’t like the feeling there but it can be a good base.

Lecce: Lecce is celebrated for its Baroque architecture, rich history, and vibrant atmosphere. It’s an excellent choice for culture and architecture enthusiasts.

Ostuni: 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: Gallipoli offers a unique coastal experience with a picturesque old town, beautiful beaches, and seafood restaurants.

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.

Ways Puglia is cheaper:

👉🏻 Accommodation: 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.

👉🏻 Dining: Puglia is famous for its delicious and affordable cuisine. You can enjoy local dishes and fresh seafood at a fraction of the cost on the Amalfi Coast.

👉🏻 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.

👉🏻 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.

👉🏻 Activities: Puglia offers a wealth of activities, including visiting historic sites, exploring charming towns, and relaxing on beautiful beaches.

👉🏻 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.

How to Get to Puglia

Getting to Puglia 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:
🛩️ Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (BRI): Bari’s international airport is the largest in Puglia.
🛩️Brindisi Airport (BDS): Brindisi Airport is another major airport in Puglia, serving both domestic and international flights.

🚂 By Train: There are many trains 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.

I book my train on Omio (buy your tickets HERE)

🚌 By Bus: Buses are a cost-effective way to travel to Puglia, especially if you’re on a budget.

🚗 By Car: If you prefer the flexibility of driving, you can reach Puglia by car. Major highways connect Puglia to the rest of Italy.

🛥️ By Boat: 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.

Other Destinations to Add to Your Itinerary for Puglia

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

👉🏻 Lecce: Famous for its Baroque architecture, historic center, and lively atmosphere.
👉🏻 Martina Franca: Known for its baroque architecture, local food, and festivals.
👉🏻 Cisternino: A small, less touristy town in the Valle d’Itria.
👉🏻 Gallipoli: Unique coastal destination with a picturesque old town, beautiful beaches, and seafood restaurants.
👉🏻 Santa Maria di Leuca: The southernmost town in Puglia, known for its lighthouse and stunning coastal views.
👉🏻 Trani: A coastal town with a beautiful cathedral and a historic port.

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
7 Days in Puglia