10 Best Things to Do in Monopoli, Italy

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Keep reading to discover the best things to do in Monopoli and enjoy one of Puglia’s most beautiful towns.

Monopoli is one of the best places to visit in Puglia known for its blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Located along the Adriatic Coast of Italy, Monopoli is one of my favorite villages in Italy that has something for everyone!

It is conveniently located in the heart of Puglia and just a short distance from the best day trips and other destinations in this magical region.

With its winding streets, charming harbor, and stunning coastal views, Monopoli has become an increasingly popular destination for travelers seeking an authentic Italian experience.

Below are the best things to do in Monopoli, Italy for the ultimate Puglia holiday.

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10 Best Things to Do in Monopoli, Italy

Explore the Historic Center

One of the best things to do in Monopoli is to explore its historic center, a place full of rich history, beautiful architecture, and local culture. Lose yourself in the maze of alleys lined with whitewashed houses, colorful flowers, and laundry hanging from balconies.

Exploring the historic center of Monopoli provides a small look into the authentic daily life of the Italian town. You can easily spend hours wandering the streets getting lost in the beauty and magic of Monopoli.

Look for local restaurants and cafes when you want to relax and soak in the stunning surroundings.

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Visit the Monopoli Cathedral

A must-visit attraction in Monopoli is the Monopoli Cathedral, also known as the Basilica Cathedral of Maria Santissima della Madia. This stunning religious monument, dating back to the 12th century, is a masterpiece of architectural and artistic beauty.

As you approach the cathedral, you’ll be awed by its impressive details, featuring intricate sculptures and a rose window.

Step inside to admire the equally as impressive interior, complete with Baroque decorations, artworks, and a beautiful marble altar. The cathedral is also home to the icon of the Madonna della Madia, which is believed to have miraculous powers. Take your time to explore the various chapels and side altars, each with its unique artistic elements.

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Relax on the Beaches

One of the best things to do in Monopoli is to relax and soak up the sun on its beautiful beaches. Monopoli has a long coastline full of charming coves and sandy stretches of beach that offer a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Head to Cala Porta Vecchia, Monopoli’s most popular beach located within the historic center, where you can relax with stunning city views and bright blue waters. If you are looking for a bigger beach you can visit Cala Cozze, located just west of the town. This beach offers clean shores, calm waters, and a relaxing atmosphere.

If you’re seeking a quieter spot, explore the surrounding coastline to discover hidden coves and a secret beach where you can enjoy a more intimate beach day.

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Explore the Castle of Charles V

Medieval Defense Cannon and Turret In Front Of Castle Carlo V At Sunset in beautiful Monopoli - Apulia - Puglia - Italy

Exploring the Castle of Charles V is easily one of the most interesting things to do in Monopoli. This historic fortress, located near the town’s harbor, offers you a journey through time.

Built in the 16th century, the castle stands as a statement to Monopoli’s rich history and strategic importance.

Explore its sturdy walls and towers, which once served as a defense against attacks from the sea. Inside the castle, you’ll find a museum that showcases artifacts, archaeological finds, and exhibits depicting the town’s heritage.

Climb to the top of the towers for panoramic views of the surrounding area, including the picturesque harbor and the Adriatic Sea.

Enjoy Rooftop Drinks

One of the best things to do in Monopoli is to indulge in rooftop drinks. The town offers several charming restaurants with rooftop bars or terraces that provide breathtaking views of the old town, sea, and beyond all in a relaxed ambiance.

Find a rooftop spot overlooking the picturesque harbor or the historic center, and sip on refreshing cocktails while enjoying the panoramic vistas.

As the sun begins to set, the rooftops of Monopoli become even more amazing, with the warm glow over the town. Take in the beauty of the Adriatic Sea, watch the boats in the harbor, and soak up the atmosphere of this coastal gem.

Two great rooftop bars:

Day Trip to Alberobello

One of the best things to do during your visit to Monopoli is to embark on a day trip to the nearby town of Alberobello. Known for its unique trulli houses, Alberobello is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a true gem.

➡️ Read More: Best Things to do in Alberobello

The traditional white cone-shaped houses in Alberobello create a fairytale-like atmosphere that will transport you back in time.

Visiting Alberobello is a must-do while in Puglia and something I 100% recommend. Even if just for a few hours you will want to see it!

To reach Alberobello from Monopoli, you can drive by car for 45 minutes or take a one hour bus ride.

💡 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.

Enjoy Delicious Italian Food

One of the absolute highlights of visiting Monopoli is indulging in the delicious Italian food that the town has to offer. Monopoli is renowned for its fresh seafood, and you’ll find a plethora of restaurants where you can try the fresh flavors of the Adriatic.

Some must-try dishes are grilled fish, seafood pasta, and local specialties such as raw sea urchins or octopus salad.

As a vegetarian myself, I enjoyed authentic pizza and pasta which was amazing! I also found the food and wine prices in Monopoli much lower than a lot of other places in Italy which is an added bonus.

Afterward, treat yourself to gelato or a traditional pasticciotto, a sweet pastry filled with custard.

Discover the Port of Monopoli

When visiting Monopoli, one of the best things to do is to explore the charming Port of Monopoli. This historic harbor is a hub of activity complete with countless colorful fishing boats dotting the crystal-clear waters. T

ake a walk along the promenade and admire the picturesque views of the sea and the charming buildings that line the harbor.

The port is home to numerous waterfront restaurants and bars, offering a perfect opportunity to indulge in Italian delicacies and sip on a glass of local wine while enjoying the coastal ambiance.

Explore the maze of alleys surrounding the port, where you’ll find hidden gems like local shops selling crafts and souvenirs.

Take a Boat Trip

One of the best things to do in Monopoli for all kinds of travelers is to take a boat trip along the stunning Adriatic coast. There are several options available for boat tours, allowing you to explore the region’s breathtaking landscapes and hidden gems.

Cruise along the rugged coastline, admire the dramatic cliffs, and take in the panoramic views of the sparkling turquoise waters. Explore secluded coves, swim in secluded bays, and snorkel in the crystal-clear sea to observe the vibrant marine life.

Many boat trips also include stops at nearby attractions like the famous sea caves of Polignano a Mare or the picturesque town of Ostuni.

➡️ Read More: Things to do in Polignano a Mare

Below are some great boat tour options.

Day Trip to Polignano a Mare

Taking a day trip from Monopoli to visit the nearby town of Polignano a Mare is easily one of the best things to do in Monopoli. Known for its stunning coastal scenery, Polignano a Mare is a picturesque destination that will take your breath away.

Explore its narrow, winding streets adorned with whitewashed buildings and charming balconies that overlook the iconic sea. The highlight of the town is its famous beach, Lama Monachile, located within the cliffs of the historic town.

This is the perfect place for a day of relaxing and swimming in one of the most stunning settings on earth.

Where to Stay in Monopoli

The best place to stay in Monopoli is the Historic Center (Centro Storico). Staying in the heart of Monopoli’s historic center allows you to immerse yourself in the town’s charming atmosphere.

You’ll be close to historic sites, quaint streets, and local restaurants. Look for boutique hotels, guesthouses, or bed and breakfasts in this area.


Best Time to Visit Monopoli

The best time to visit Monopoli depends on your preferences.

  1. Summer (June to August): This is the peak tourist season when Monopoli experiences its warmest and most sunny weather. It is also the busiest time, so accommodations and attractions might be crowded.
  2. Spring (April to May) and Fall (September to October): These shoulder seasons offer milder temperatures, fewer crowds, and more reasonable prices for accommodations.
  3. Winter (November to March): Monopoli experiences its off-peak season during winter. While the weather might be cooler and some tourist services could be limited, this is a quieter time to experience the local life, enjoy discounted rates, and explore attractions without crowds.

Travel Insurance

Getting travel insurance before you travel is a MUST. It’s the number one thing you should always pack before travelling 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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10 Best Things to do in Monopoli
10 Best Things to do in Monopoli