Before we lay out on what to do in Polignano a Mare let’s find out a bit about this history of these wonderful place located in the Puglia region (the heel of the boot of Italy) on the coast of Valle D’Itria facing the Adriatic sea.
The origins of Polignano a Mare dates back to the 4th century BC when the Greek settled here after they founded the city of Neapolis. But was under the Roman Empire that the city flourished was so important that the Emperor Trajan decided to include through the city the Via Traiana build between 108-110 AD.
Where to Stay in Polignano a Mare
The different cultural history of Polignano a Mare is very evident throughout the village, with the influence of the Greeks to the Romans and the Spanish. Today this little village of just 24,000 people has become one of the main attractions for tourists from all over Italy and the world.
Before we dive in on what to do in Polignano a Mare let’s find out which are the best way to get to this wonderful place in the south of Italy in the Puglia region.
How to get to Polignano a Mare Easily
From Bari Airport
If you arrive at Karol Wojtyla Airport in Bari, you have a few different ways to get to Polignano a Mare. Get the shuttle bus provided by Autostradale bus company at €4 or with Terravision for €4 or the FM2 train for €5, alternatively a taxi from €20 more info here.
From Brindisi Airport
Get a bus to the train station in Brindisi and from there you need to take the regional train operated by treni Italia more info here all the way to Polignano a Mare.
If you are travelling by train you can get from any major city all around Italy to Polignano a Mare, please note that the fast train only operate up to Naples or Salerno, from here you need to get the regional train or a bus service.
Get the SS16 directions Brindisi/Lecce for about 30-40 minutes and get the exit under the sign Polignano a Mare Sud. For car rental more info here
Now let’s find out the top things to do Poligano a Mare, our top picks to enjoy this wonderful part of south Italy.
Lama Monachile Beach
Lama Monachile called also Cala Porto, is the most famous part of Polignano a Mare and you probably saw images and video all over the Internet, this is a must place to see during your visit. The beach is located in the centre of town between two rocky walls and takes the name after a Roman bridge still in use today which crosses the Lama Monachile to then meet the old Trajan way, offering incredible breathtaking views over the coastline. The beach is public so tend to get very busy in pick time during high season.
Historic Centre of Polignano
In the Historic centre Pomigliano a Mare you can still see the many cultural influences that have lived in this part of Puglia during the centuries from the Arab, Byzantine, Spanish, Roman and Norman. The beautiful white houses the incredible little streets that have resisted the passage of time gives the centre of town a unique and poetic feel. In the historic centre you can find everywhere (on the walls, on the doors in the ground) poems written to tell the incredible history of this magical town.
Along the coast of Polignano a Mare there are over 70-80 sea caves formed due to the erosive phenomena related to the action of the sea and the wind. To explore this incredible coastline and the wonderful caves you need to take one of the many boat tours that are operating during the summertime but some of them, weather permitting, are open for business also during the wintertime. This is one of the best experiences make sure you don’t skip it.
The Abbey of San Vito
Located a few kilometres from the centre of Poligano centre the Abbey of San Vito an imposing Benedictine Abbey, built right next to the marina directly overlooking the sea. Over the centuries the Abbey has changed the original structure as many different cultures have been living in the area. Today the main influence remain is from the Barocco culture, especially the stenographic flight of external steps connected to the loggia overlooking the Adriatic sea.
Located not far from Poligano a Mare start the Itria Valley one of the most unspoiled areas of Puglia with wonderful green area and postcards landscapes scenery for breathtaking photo opportunities. Don’t miss a visit to the small villages of Locorotondo and Cisternino and make sure to try the Locorotondo DOC wine made from Verdeca and Bianco d’Alessano grapes fresh, bright and lively white wine.
Other places you should consider to visit which are not very far from Pomigliano a Mare are Ostuni, the white city (Citta’ Bianca) about 50km away by car, another rich and unique historical centre and UNESCO heritage site.
Alberobello about 30 minutes away by car or 50-60 by public transport from Polignano. The main attractions are the Trulli, a traditional house built with dry stone hut with a conical roof also this place is an UNESCO heritage site.
Castellana caves only 15km away from Pomigliano a Mare, the caves are open all year around but the only way to be able to visit them is with full day or half day tours, prices start at €10 per person, during the summer tours are operating also during the night and the price start from €25 per person.
Depending on the time, you have in the area you may want to consider a day visit to Trani about 80km going north through Bari, make sure to try the Moscato DOC, a sweet local wine with a very unique taste. Another nearby city is Matera about 70km from Polignano centre, and the main attraction here are the Sassi di Matera and in particular the Sasso Caveoso and the Sasso Barisano also UNESCO heritage site.
We hope that our simple guide on what to do in Polignano a Mare will help you to explore this amazing part of Italy.