Puglia is a breathtakingly beautiful and unique region of southern Italy with a wide variety of things to see and do with kids! Located in the “heel” of the country’s boot, tucked between the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, it’s a hidden gem often overlooked by American tourists. But this region has a lot to offer, especially for families! In Puglia, the climate is mild, the food is fresh and delicious, and there are plenty of kid-friendly activities to please everyone. From its dramatic coastline and pristine beaches to its rolling hills and charming medieval villages, what makes Puglia particularly special is its warm and welcoming people. Known for their hospitality, they love nothing more than spending time with family and friends! So next time you’re looking for a wonderful vacation destination in Italy, check out our list of the Best Things To Do In Puglia With Kids + Day Trips!
Best Time to Visit Puglia with Kids
If you’re looking for a fun and family-friendly destination in Italy, Puglia is the perfect place to consider! But you may be wondering: when is the best time to visit Puglia with your kids? Though there’s no wrong time to visit, Puglia has a Mediterranean climate, meaning hot, dry summers and mild winters.
Families who want a beach vacation should visit in the summer, with June being the driest month. August is the busiest tourist month, as most Italians have vacation during this time. For a more relaxed vacation, fall and spring are also great times to visit Puglia with kids. November tends to be the rainiest month, and January is typically the coldest (usually in the low 50s Fahrenheit.). Regardless of which season works best for your family, we know you’ll make unforgettable memories exploring Southern Italy with your kids!
How to Get to and Around Puglia with Kids
Traveling to Puglia with kids can be a bit tricky compared to other Italian destinations, like Rome or Venice, for example. Families flying directly to Puglia can choose from Bari International Airport-Karol Wojtyla (BRI) or Brindisi Airport, Papola Casale Airport Guide (BDS). From there, families can take a regional train or rent a car to their final destination in Puglia.
By train, look for regional routes with Trenitalia. Luckily, kids receive discounted or free tickets depending on the route/train! Alternatively, if you are traveling to another Italian city first, like Rome, it’s best to take a first-class train to reach Puglia. Taking an internal flight is also an option depending on which city you are visiting first.
In Puglia, families planning to visit multiple cities should rent a car, at least for a few days. While not absolutely necessary, it will make travel days easier. More importantly, it allows for more direct travel between cities. Expect a manual car, as automatic rentals are few and far between. Book your reservation in advance to ensure availability if you need an automatic vehicle. Car seats and booster seats are typically also available to rent. However, it is advisable to bring your own if you’re worried about the quality or availability.
Finally, public buses and regional trains are also widely available. They are also fantastic options to get between cities depending on your itinerary.
Best Things to Do in Puglia with Kids
Looking for the best things to do in Puglia with kids? You’re in the right place for some parent-approved advice! Many of these things to do with kids in Puglia are outside a city center and may require a car – or at least patience with the local bus system. On the other hand, beaches and lidi (the plural of lido) are easily accessible by foot or local bus in cities along the coast, like Bari, Monopoli, or Polignano a Mare, for example.
Each city in Puglia offers an array of exciting things to do for families too! You can read about the 9 Best Places To Visit In Puglia With Kids, which include ideas for kid-friendly things to do, as well as recommendations for where to eat and where to stay in each city. Then, here are a few more things you need to add to your Puglia itinerary with kids!
Discover the 10 Best Places To Visit In Italy With Kids!
Visit a Traditional Masseria
Visiting a masseria (plural “masserie”) is undoubtedly one of the quintessential things to do in Puglia with kids. Many of these fortified farmhouses were built in the 16th century. And, they continue to survive as working farms to this day. Like American plantations, these large estates housed the landowning family, and the many families who worked the land and cared for the animals. They also historically operated as trading centers in the area. Edged by quaint drystone walls and beautiful olive groves, the whole experience is enchanting!
Today, many masserie also serve as B&Bs or boutique hotels. They range from simple accommodations to luxurious stays. If you’re not interested in staying on-site, many masserie also offer tours of their farms and guided experiences, like how to make local products (think mozzarella!).
There are several masserie throughout Puglia, each offering its own style of stay and experiences. Located between Monopoli and Ostuni, Masseria Lamapecora is an excellent option for kids. Families can wander the lovely farm here, visiting the sheep, cows, and chickens. You can also get a lesson in cheesemaking! Watch the entire process of creating local cheeses like mozzarella and burrata. Then, sample more than a dozen cheeses made on-site. Messaria Macarone is another excellent option. Undoubtedly, this is an authentic farm-to-fork experience!
Spend the Day at Zoosafari Fasanolandia
Who doesn’t love a fun day spent with animals? If you do, add Zoosafari FasanoLandia to your list of the best things to do in Puglia with kids! Just 20 minutes from Monopoli, Zoosafari Fasanolandia provides a variety of thrilling activities for families. Firstly, arrive by car to experience the Zoosafari (a drive-through safari). Committed to conservation and education, visitors can enjoy more than 200 species of animals along the route. From your car, move through the completely open terrain of the animals. While you cannot open your windows or feed the animals, kids will adore seeing creatures like zebras, lions, and giraffes wandering around the vehicles.
Afterward, explore the rest of the park, including an aquarium, FasanoLandia theme park with exciting rides, and more! FasanoLandia includes twenty thrilling rides for children and adults alike. Then, kids can delight in seeing seals, penguins, and sea lions up close at the Sea Lion Aquarium. Educational sessions throughout the day share more information about these fantastic creatures. Finally, don’t miss the Dinosaur Museum!
Go to a Free Beach
Indeed, one of the best and most sought-after things to do in Puglia with kids is the free beaches (“spiaggia libera”). In fact, there are countless options across Puglia for families to explore and enjoy. Each free beach in the region ranges in size and amenities. While some of the smaller beaches do not have any extras, others have amenities like lifeguards, beachside showers, and picnic tables. Discovering what each beach provides may be challenging to find online (information is minimal). If you need something specific, it is best to ask a local or head to a lido (more on those in the next section).
Best Free Beaches from Polignano a Mare to Monopoli for Families
Additionally, the stretch of beaches between Polignano a Mare and Monopoli is lovely (be aware that some are rocky, while others are sandy). Certainly, sandy shores are preferred for toddlers and young kids. Teens, however, may enjoy the challenge and adventure of the rocky coves! Some of the best free beaches near Monopoli for families included Spiaggia Cala Porta Vecchia (lifeguard on duty), Porto Rosso, Cala Susca, and Cala Monaci (lifeguard on duty, plus it is wheelchair accessible with beach wheelchairs available). Spiaggia di Capitolo is also a great free beach with amenities. Finally, Cala Porto, Porto Cavallo, and Cala Paura are excellent options in Polignano a Mare.
Additional Family-Friendly Free Beaches in Puglia
- Baia Dei Turchi and Torre dell Orso Beach, both near Otranto.
- In Salento, consider The Maldives of Salento, which stretches from Torre Pali through Pescoluse and ends with Torre Vado. In this area, Mora Mora beach is another excellent option.
- The Beach of Purity (or Spiaggia della Purità) is Gallipoli’s most central beach.
- A quick drive from Ostuni, families, will love Torre Beach Pozzelle or Costa Merlata Beach.
Hang Out at a Lido
If you need additional amenities at the beach, like showers or beachside loungers, spend the day at a lido instead (plural “lidi”). Here, you will find the iconic tightly packed beachside loungers with vibrant umbrellas. They can be a bit complicated to understand at first, but basically, a lido is an Italian beach club. Keep reading for tips about visiting an Italian lido with kids.
Each location charges guests in its own way. At some locations, guests pay for entry; at others, you pay just for the chair/umbrella. Furthermore, some may charge you for both (although that is rare). What you must do or pay for may not be apparent until you arrive. Be very patient and bring extra cash. Prices can vary by day and time of the season (July and August being more expensive than June, for example). Generally, expect to pay between €10 and €50 for two loungers and one umbrella.
Don’t be offended if staff say there are no available spots and you see a beach of empty chairs. Many take reservations (by phone or at local hotels). Additionally, families vacationing in the area will reserve their spots for the entire summer. If you want to ensure a spot, go within the first hour of opening or go after 4:00 pm when many families have left for the day.
Amenities can also vary. Generally, you can expect each lido to have a lifeguard, bathrooms, showers, changing areas, and a cafe serving food and drinks (think pizza, salads, sodas, and alcohol). Some will also have public restaurants, small swimming pools, game areas, kids’ beach equipment, and more. Do not expect life jackets or beach towels, however. If you need these, we advise that you bring your own.
Lido Recommendations in Puglia for Families
Near Monopoli, we recommend Porto Nero for older kids and teens. Alternatively, Cala Paradiso is excellent for kids of all ages. Nearby, Lido Santo Stefano, for extraordinary castle views. Lido Bosco Verde and Lido La Castellana are great options near Ostuni. On the western side of Puglia, Lido Sottovento Gallipoli and Lido Blue Bay Beach are lovely for families.
Enjoy a Thrill at an Adventure Park
Adventure parks are the perfect place for thrill-seeking kids! From tree-climbing to water parks, there are plenty of adventure parks in Puglia, each with its own unique attractions. Here are some favorites!
Parco Avventura Ciuchino Birichino – Ostuni Adventure Park
One of the most thrilling things to do in Puglia with kids is Parco Avventura Ciuchino Birichino – Ostuni Adventure Park. Located near Ostuni, families can embrace the thrill of climbing trees, exploring the forest, and participating in fun sports suitable for children and teenagers! Each activity was developed with nature in mind and takes special care to appreciate the area’s natural beauty.
Those with young kids can embark on an epic adventure through cultivated paths in the treetops. Archery is another option for families with kids over eight years old. It even ends with a playful competition! Then, families looking for something truly unique can learn about falconry. These are just three of the many activities you can book at Ciuchino Birichino – Ostuni Adventure Park. No wonder it’s one of the best activities for kids in Puglia. Finally, be aware that all activities must be booked in advance.
Note: be mindful of age restrictions for certain activities, listed within the activity description.
Located near Lecce, in Cellino San Marco, Carrisiland Resort offers families tons of exciting activities, including a water park, farm, and more! Warm sunny days beg for water fun. When you need a break from the beach, Carrisisland Resort has seven Mega pools and Caribbean lagoons.
Kids will delight in exploring the Magic castle with waterslides and the lazy river! Plenty of dining options also keep tummies full and kids happy throughout the day. When you’re ready to get out of the water, head to one of the many other areas of the resort. You can even take one of the little trains to get around the property to reach areas like Alice in Wonderland, the Jurrasic area, and the Jungle. Plus, you can end the day attending one of the many shows or musicals.
Splash Parco Acquatico (Splash Gallipoli)
If your Puglia itinerary with kids takes you to Gallipoli, Splash Parco Acquatico makes for a fabulous day splashing in the water with kids. Families will have a full day of fun in the sun, from the lazy river to thrilling waterslides. Puglia can get hot on summer days, and there is no better place to play than here!
Families will have an unforgettable day racing down the many waterslides (fourteen in all!). There is even a castle-themed area for kids to slide, splash, and play. Outside the waterpark area, there are many other things to do too. Out of the water, there are several play areas (including one designed for babies), beach volleyball courts, and a mini go-cart track. You can also enjoy family-friendly entertainment like musicals, balloon art, magic shows, and more! Finally, there are food options on-site for hungry kiddos too.
IndianaPark Castellana Grotte
About twenty minutes from Monopoli by car, IndianaPark Castellana Grotte is a family-friendly attraction that keeps kids and parents alike entertained and laughing all day. As the first adventure park in Puglia, IndianaPark Castellana Grotte offers routes and courses for all ages. In fact, there are nine paths for kids five and under, while eight paths are dedicated to children aged 6 to 11. Then, there are five paths built specifically for teenagers and adults. Explore a magnificent oak forest through the canopy as you cross climbing nets, ropes, and long walkways. Kids will be so proud of their balance, skills, and accomplishments! Finally, there is a large picnic area with tables for families to snack and have lunch.
Il Parco dei Dinosauri
Next on our list of the best things to do in Puglia with kids, Parco dei Dinosauri provides families with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in a prehistoric environment. Here you can walk amongst the (realistic reproductions of) dinosaurs from the Jurassic era. Think T-Rex, triceratops, stegosaurus, and more. Kids will be fascinated by their animated sounds and movements. A guide will lead you back in time to learn more about these amazing creatures that once roamed the Earth.
The guided tour takes about 45 minutes. Afterward, you can roam freely as the dinosaurs did! Everything is outdoors, so be prepared for whatever weather you may encounter. This attraction is located near Castellana Grotte (about 20 minutes from Monopoli).
Explore the Great Outdoors
Puglia is a region in Italy with a diverse landscape of mountains, forests, and coastline. As such, there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep kids entertained, including hiking or biking. Keep reading to learn more!
Riserva Naturale Le Cesine
Want to explore the great outdoors near Lecce? About 20 minutes away by car, Riserva Naturale Le Cesine is a vast wetland waiting to be explored. This WWF Oasis is the only remaining stretch of coastal marshes that once covered this area. Riserva Naturale Le Cesine is also one of the most biodiverse areas in Puglia. Here, families can observe several native bird species in this area. In addition to birding, families can spot colorful butterflies, orchids, turtles, and more. To visit Riserva Naturale Le Cesine, families must make reservations and be accompanied by a guide. The guided tour lasts about two hours.
Gargano National Park
One of the best outdoor things to do in Puglia with kids is undoubtedly to visit Gargano National Park. Within this UNESCO site and the largest national park in Italy, families can hike through ancient woodlands (the Foresta Umbra), enjoy scenic views, and spot resident wildlife – just to name a few things. In fact, this part of Puglia offers one of the region’s most vibrant representations of habitats and biodiversity. Then, you can also relax on picturesque beaches and stroll through nearby villages, like Vieste (which offers a great starting point for exploring the park).
Those interested in hiking can start at the visitor center for the Foresta Umbra. Here you can get a map of the area’s many trails and recommendations for hikes. Alternatively, those traveling with older kids and teens can rent mountain bikes to explore the trails of the Forest Umbra. Adventurous families can enjoy spending a few days exploring the beautiful Tremiti Islands. These islands make up a protected marine reserve within Gargano National Park. You can take a boat from Rodi Garganico. Back on the mainland, make sure you spend time at Lake Varano, one of the largest lakes in southern Italy. Here, you will observe an array of birds, including flamingos. You will likely want at least four dedicated days to appreciate everything within Gargano National Park fully.
Best Day Trips + Cities in Puglia with Kids
Puglia is a fascinating and historical region of Italy that offers plenty of opportunities for fun and exploration with kids. Now that you’ve discovered the best things to do in Puglia with kids; we can give you an overview of the best cities to visit in Puglia with kids – whether you are looking for a day trip or somewhere to make your home base! In addition to the activities listed above, each city also offers its own exciting list of things to do in Puglia with kids!
- Monopoli is a charming seaside town with a beautiful old city center and lovely sandy beaches. Kids will love exploring the narrow streets and alleys and visiting Il Bastione del Molino for stunning views over the Adriatic Sea.
- The capital of Puglia, Lecce, is known as the “Florence of the South” due to its abundance of Baroque architecture. Families can explore the quaint Lecce Centro Storico on foot, visit the Roman Amphitheatre, or check out Piazza del Duomo.
- Alberobello is famous for its unique Trulli houses (traditional dwellings dating back to the 14th century). Kids will be fascinated by these unique buildings and will enjoy wandering through the cute lanes of the historic center.
- Bari is Puglia’s largest city and has plenty to keep kids entertained. Highlights include exploring the Old Town, where you can see ancient ruins and churches, strolling along the city’s Lungomare, and haggling for fresh seafood at the Old Fish Market.
- Nicknamed the “White City” due to its whitewashed buildings, Ostuni is a beautiful place to explore with kids. Take a walking tour to wander the old streets before making your way to Cattedrale Santa Maria Assunta.
- Otranto offers families something a bit different. Home to several beautiful churches and cathedrals, as well as gorgeous beaches to relax and unwind, it’s also surrounded by stunning scenery.
These are just a few examples of the best cities to visit in Puglia with kids. Be sure to consult our article for more suggestions on things to do in each city, as well as where to eat and where to stay! We have also compiled the Essential Tips For Visiting Puglia With Kids!
Where to Stay in Puglia with Kids
Now that you know what to do, you may be wondering where to stay in Puglia with kids. Puglia is a region of Italy, which means where you stay depends on which city or cities you plan to visit. Here are a few ideas for hotels in Puglia for families based on the cities near the attractions listed in this article. You can find more kid-friendly hotels in Puglia by reading about the best cities to visit in Puglia with kids.
- Monopoli – In Monopoli, you can find luxury suites at Al Console Luxury Suite. Near Porto Bianco, families also like Albergo Diffuso Monopoli.
- Lecce – As one of the largest cities in Puglia, there are a variety of accommodation options in Lecce with kids. Many families love staying at the Hilton Garden Inn Lecce. Alternatively, L’Orangerie d’Epoque is an excellent option for families. For easy access to nearby Carrisisland Resort, consider Hotel Santa Fe and PLAZACARRISI Hotel & SPA (pictured above).
- Gallipoli – Here, families love Victoria Palace Hotel Gallipoli for its location near the beach and Splash Parco Acquatico. Alternatively, families who want a centrally located, luxury hotel, can consider Hotel Palazzo del Corso.
- Ostuni – If you would like access to a pool and kitchens, check out Welcome Ostuni B&B. Then, Dimora Celeste has kid-friendly accommodations, an outdoor pool, and breakfast each morning.
- Throughout Puglia, Vrbo, Plum Guide, and Airbnb also offer a variety of family-friendly accommodations options, including ones at masserie, on the beach, and more!
Interactive Map of Pulia
Use this interactive map to search and find accommodations that meet your needs. Our location-based interactive map will provide travelers with the ideal accommodations for their stay, regardless of their budget. Find out what to do, restaurants, airports and local activities.
We hope you liked this list of the Best Things To Do In Puglia With Kids! From biking to visiting historical cities, there’s so much to experience in this scenic part of Italy. Enjoy your vacation to Puglia with your kids!
*Unless otherwise noted, all images within this article belong to and are courtesy of Antonia Grant.
Book Tours and Activities in Pulia
*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are that of the attributed author, Antonia Grant.
- Best Places In Japan To Visit With Kids
- 12+ Fun Holiday Things to Do at the Mall of America this Year with Kids
- Best Places On The East Coast To Celebrate The New Year With Kids
- A Comprehensive Guide To Visiting Kualoa Ranch & Private Nature Reserve With Kids
- 22 Best Tours + Experiences in Costa Rica for Families
Thanks for reading!
Love our content?
Stay in the know by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.
Immerse yourself in a world of limitless exploration by joining us on Instagram at families.love.travel.
Join our vibrant Facebook community, "Families Who Love to Travel," (where family travelers like you can ask for advice and share tips with other families!).
Plus, you can read our latest articles by following our Facebook page.
Shop for Family Travel Memorabilia on Shop Families Love Travel.
Everyone knows that Yellowstone National Park makes for a classic family vacation. Strolling the boardwalks...
Beaches Turks and Caicos may not seem like a typical vacation destination for a UK...
If you’re traveling to the Cayman Islands with kids, there’s some important information you need...
Travel Gift Ideas
National Park With Kids
Family Travel Tips
Families Who Love To Travel contributor Meghan Oaks provides her 10 best tips for your...
When you're planning a family vacation, it's important to pack travel toys that will keep...
What are the best travel toys for toddlers? With help from our Facebook community, Families...