How to choose where to stay
Whenever I research a trip, I usually soon find a town or city that stands out as the obvious spot to stay. But this didn’t happen for me with Puglia.
Somehow, deciding where to stay was hard.
That wasn’t because I didn’t like what I saw. It was the opposite: because nearly every village or city seemed really nice, I ended up feeling paralyzed by choice.
Then an Italian friend said I shouldn’t fuss so much about where to stay. He said almost all of Puglia is good — and if you have a car, you can get everywhere easily. His tip was to first look for some nice accommodation, then stay in whatever village it is and then just explore from there.
Instead of researching towns or cities, I soon found a fantastic place to stay somewhere in the countryside south of Ostuni. Then I stumbled upon an amazing apartment in the center of Leche that had its own balcony looking out over a lovely piazza. Both were in the 30 to 40 EUR per night range, which seemed like great value.
Staying in a trullo
If you’re going to Puglia, then you have to know about the trulli.
These white dry-stone buildings with conical roofs are typical to the region. They’re found especially in the west of Puglia in the Valle d’Itria.
Well, that’s the theory anyway. Historians think it was property taxes that originally got people to build these unusual houses. It let them avoid paying taxes or easily dismantle and reconstruct their house.
Today the trulli still lend a unique character to the landscapes in Apulia. Many of the surviving trulli are now used as B&Bs or second houses.
The most obvious place to stay in a trullo is surely in Alberobello, a town that has loads of them all packed together. But I found Alberobello quite touristy (the only place in Puglia where I felt this way) and perhaps better suited for a shorter visit. Instead, we booked a trullo in the middle of the countryside and absolutely loved it.
Trulli are quite small so you can count on them being a little basic. Ours had just a tiny bathroom and a cramped bedroom that also doubled as a kitchen with a small 2-stove furnace. It made our stay feel almost like a cozy camping trip.
Some highlights in Puglia
Finally, let me share with you some of the places I most enjoyed in Puglia. Since we had a car, we made no firm plans on what to do each day and mostly went by our whims. This is not some definitive top-places-to-see list, just some personal highlights I thought were worth mentioning.
Our first stop was the seaside town of Monopoli on the Adriatic coast. We only stopped for lunch and a stroll here, but I loved the atmosphere and the old castle walls. I thought it would have made for a great base to explore the west of Puglia.
Another real highlight was driving down the southern coast of Puglia. It’s varied in topography, ranging from wide sandy beaches to gnarly karst cliffs that reminded me of Portugal’s Algarve. There are a number of fun watering holes all around the coast where you can spend an afternoon lazing in the sun or jumping from cliffs into the sea. We had the chance to see three such places on our trip