Families planning a dream vacation to Italy should consider these tips for visiting Puglia with their kids! American travelers often overlook this sun-soaked southern region in the “heel” of Italy’s boot, but not anymore. With its beautiful coastline, stunning medieval towns and villages, and delicious food, it’s no surprise Puglia is a perfect place to visit with kids. Children will have a blast playing in the waves and building sandcastles at some of the best beaches in the region or discovering new fun facts while exploring quaint and historic city centers. Best of all, locals in Puglia are super friendly and always welcome families with open arms! If you want to plan a Puglia vacation with your family, you should first consult this list of essential tips for visiting Puglia with kids. From things to do to where to stay, we’ve covered it all!
Best Time to Visit Puglia with Kids
Puglia is an excellent destination for families with kids of all ages. The region has a lot to offer regarding activities, attractions, and scenery. That said, certain times of the year are better than others for visiting Puglia with kids. Puglia has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild winters.
If you’re looking for a beach vacation, the best time to visit Puglia with kids is from June to August, with June being the driest month. August is the busiest tourist month, as most Italians have vacation during this time. However, if you want to avoid the crowds, you can also visit in the spring or fall, when the weather is still pleasant, and there are fewer tourists. November tends to be the rainiest month, and January is typically the coldest (usually in the low 50s Fahrenheit.).
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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 instance. To fly directly to Puglia, choose between Bari International Airport-Karol Wojtyla (BRI) or Brindisi Airport, Papola Casale Airport Guide (BDS). From there, you can take a regional train or rent a car to your final destination in Puglia.
Puglia by Train and Bus
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.
Public buses and regional trains are also widely available. They are also fantastic options to get between cities depending on your itinerary.
Puglia by Car
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, we advise you to bring your own if you’re worried about the quality or availability.
A Few More Tips for Getting Around Puglia with Kids
- Plan your city hopping carefully if you are not renting a car. Not every town is easily accessible by train or bus – or the timetables may not be preferred given your itinerary. A rental vehicle will make getting from city to city much easier and less stressful, especially with kids in tow.
- Many train routes in Puglia do not run on Sundays. If traveling by train, avoid making Sundays a travel day.
- Most car rental places only have manual vehicles in stock. If you need an automatic vehicle, reserve in advance and do your research first.
Best Cities to Visit in Puglia with Kids
There’s no doubt that Puglia is a stunning region of Italy, with its beautiful coastline, medieval villages, and unique Trulli houses. Part of learning the essential tips for visiting Puglia with kids, is learning about the best cities in Puglia to add to your itinerary!
- A beautiful coastal town with winding streets and a picturesque harbor, Monopoli is perfect for a day by the sea. Kids will love exploring, swimming in the crystal-clear water, or hunting for shells on the beach. Try one of the famous focaccia sandwiches – they’re delicious!
- With its beautiful Baroque architecture and friendly vibe, Lecce is a great place to get a taste of Puglian culture. It’s the capital of Puglia and home to attractions like the Roman Amphitheatre or Piazza del Duomo.
- Bari, the capital of Puglia, is a bit more hectic than cities like Lecce. But it’s still a great place to visit with kids! Check out the historic city center and the seafront promenade, the Lungomare.
- Nicknamed “the White City,” Ostuni is a hilltop town showcasing white-washed houses and views of the Adriatic Sea. Featuring a cute old city, it’s also home to several shops and restaurants, making it a great place to wander around with kids.
- Polignano a Mare is a must-visit for families, with its stunning cliffside views and crystal clear waters. Kids will enjoy swimming and sunbathing at one of the many beaches in this picturesque town.
These are just a few examples of the best cities to visit in Puglia with kids. Remember to consult our article for more suggestions!
Here are the 10 Best Places To Visit In Italy With Kids!
Best Things to Do in Puglia with Kids
There are plenty of things to keep kids occupied in Puglia! If you’re looking for some things to do in Puglia with kids to add to your itinerary, consider these unique options to start your planning:
- Visit a traditional masseria. These traditional farmhouses date back to the 16th century, and many still function as working farms today. Kids will love seeing sheep, cows, and chickens and learning about Italian customs like cheesemaking! Some fantastic masserie in Puglia to visit with kids include Masseria Lamapecora, located between Monopoli and Ostuni, or Messaria Macarone.
- See the animals Zoosafari Fasanolandia, one of the largest safari parks in Europe. Explore the park on foot or by car and see lions, tigers, giraffes, and elephants!
- Spend a day (or two) at the beach. Luckily, many of the beaches in Puglia are free and open to the public. For families, we suggest Spiaggia Cala Porta Vecchia (lifeguard on duty), Porto Rosso, Cala Susca, and Cala Monaci, all near Monopoli.
- Embark on a guided hike at Riserva Naturale Le Cesine. Here, you can see a variety of flora and fauna, as well as learn about this unique wetland in Puglia.
- Explore Gargano National Park. This vast national park is an excellent example of Italy’s natural beauty. Here, you can also do everything from hiking and swimming to visiting The Tremiti, a series of five islands showcasing a brilliant collection of biodiversity in the Adriatic sea!
- Meander through the historic Trulli of Alberobello, where kids will be fascinated to learn the history of these unique homes.
This is just a tiny sample of the fantastic things to do in Puglia for families. From Bari and Lecce to Gallipoli and Otranto, there are so many amazing things to do in this region of Italy! For many more suggestions, read our list of the Best Things to Do in Puglia with Kids!
Use GetYourGuide to book tours or cooking classes in Puglia!
A Few More Tips for Visiting Puglia with Kids
While planning a family vacation to Puglia, you’re probably also curious about some general tips for visiting Puglia with kids. Our biggest advice is to take it slow! The way of life here operates in its own time and in its own way. Families used to fast-paced destinations with thrilling attractions may wonder where they are! Instead, Puglia is best enjoyed by meandering charming streets, slow dining, and long days at the beach. Keep reading to learn some general tips, as well as tips for eating in Puglia with kids!
Next, read about the 10 Best Places to Travel with Kids in Europe!
General Tips for Visiting Puglia with Kids
- Puglia observes a riposo (their version of a siesta). Many things close during this time (between about 1:00 pm and 4:30 pm). This time is best spent resting at your accommodations or on the beach. Sightseeing and shopping are best done in the early morning and early evening.
- Grocery stores are often closed on Thursdays. If you are planning to purchase food, avoid this day. You will not find large supermarkets. Instead, shop at small family-run shops selling the basics.
- Have cash on hand. You will need small bills to pay for many things in Puglia. However, most restaurants, stores, and large attractions will accept credit cards.
- Prepare for more Italian and less English than in other parts of Italy (like Rome, Florence, or Venice). Learning to order food, basic greetings, pleasantries, and other small phrases will be beneficial.
- To maximize your time here and get to all the cities you want, plan to spend at least one to two weeks here.
- Want personalized support in planning your trip to Puglia with kids? Consider setting up a consultation with Paolo, a guide based in Puglia, with Go Ask a Local.
Tips for Eating in Puglia with Kids
Food is one of the big reasons people of all ages love Italy. Think pizza, pasta, and gelato – YUM! You may not know, however, that food in Italy is very regional. This means you will not be able to get a specific dish in every city across the country. Instead, each region has its own particular dishes, flavors, and cooking styles. Here are a few tips for eating in Puglia with kids.
- Typical foods include fresh fish and seafood, orecchiette pasta, local cheeses (like caciocavallo, mozzarella, and burrata), olive oil, bread, and taralli (small crackers).
- Try local dishes like orecchiette con le cime di rapa (a vegetarian pasta) or linguine alla scoglio (pasta with mixed seafood).
- Picky eaters can always order pasta in bianco (plain pasta), though you probably won’t find this listed on the menu. French fries, fresh fruit, and pizza are also widely available (but not at every restaurant).
- Dining in Italy is an experience. Do not expect fast-paced, American-style service or servers frequently stopping by. If you need something, flag down your server.
- Don’t be offended if you see a restaurant filled with empty tables and are turned away. Generally, restaurants only make one reservation per table to allow for slow dining.
- Expect a coperto. This is a per-person table service charge (not a tip). The rate is listed in the menu.
- Tipping in Italy is not expected or warranted for counter service. A Euro or two in cash is sufficient for sit-down meals (more for expensive meals or exceptional service). Tipping will not be possible by credit card, however, so be sure to have cash.
Don’t miss adding the 10+ Exciting Things To Do In Puglia With Kids to your itinerary!
Where to Stay in Puglia with Kids
Now that you know some of the essential tips for visiting Puglia with kids, you may be wondering where to stay. 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 to get you started. 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 Carrisisland Resort, a waterpark in Puglia, 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.
- 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!
READ NEXT: 9 Best Places To Visit In Puglia With Kids
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 found this list of Essential Tips For Visiting Puglia With Kids helpful in planning your own trip. From renting a car to the best things to do in Puglia with kids, this guide to Puglia with kids offers many valuable tips for planning a fantastic family getaway to Italy. Enjoy Puglia with your kids!
*Unless otherwise noted, all images within this article belong to and are courtesy of Antonia Grant.
*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the attractions, accommodations, or things to do on this list may be closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision.
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 compiled by the attributed author, Antonia Grant.
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