It’s time to take your little ones on holiday, and you’ve had your sights set on Puglia for a while. Let us begin by saying that you’ve made an excellent choice – Puglia holidays perfectly embody the spirit of Italy. They’re full of charming Trulli, stunning landscapes and friendly locals. Who wouldn’t fall in love?
That said, we understand if you’re a bit worried about keeping the kids happy and occupied. You all want to enjoy this holiday after all, and you deserve it! Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we’ve gathered our top 10 things to do with kids in Puglia. They range from wildlife adventures to waterparks, and there is something for absolutely everyone. We guarantee that there are some seriously happy and exhausted kids in your Puglian future.
1. Head underground at Grotte di Castellana
Proving that age is nothing but a number, the spectacular caves of Grotte di Castellana date back some 90 million years – and are looking pretty good for it. One of Puglia’s best-known natural wonders, the cave network descends 60 metres underground into a world of spiky stalactites and stalagmites, ancient fossils and deep canyons. Take a tour and guides will walk you along a winding three-kilometre stretch of the caves, where you can see up-close the incredible, colourful formations that have been naturally carved out of the earth over millions of years.
2. Go back in time at Il Parco dei Dinosauri
This is not your average history lesson; it is a real journey through the ages which will take you back to the time of ancient giants. At Il Parco dei Dinosauri (that’s The Dinosaur Park to you and me), a professional guide will take you along through the park, on a one-hour trail that starts on the earliest Paleozoic Era, passes through the Mesozoic Era and ends in the Cenozoic Era. All the while you’ll be interacting with lifesized dinosaurs replicated using fossils found by palaeontologist around the globe as models.
3. Get close to the animals at ZooSafari Fasanolandia
Sprawling across 150 acres of hillside in the coastal town of Fasano, ZooSafari Fasanolandia is a full-on family day out where you can drive safari-style through free-roaming wildlife and go on to clock an ark-full of creatures from around the globe, from elephants and giraffes to bison, camels and flamingos. A tropical centre houses the likes of snakes and alligators, while the zoo’s train chugs past monkeys and lemurs. There’s also a penguin house, dolphinarium and a host of roller coasters, water rides and fairground-style attractions.
4. Have a beach day at Pescoluse
There is no shortage of sand and sea in this region, but Pescoluse is one of the best beaches in Puglia, and it’s especially perfect for families. Known as ‘the Italian Maldives’, beach lovers will go crazy for these soft white sands and Ionian waves. The waters are shallow so kids can swim and play safely away from currents and watersports while parents have full peace of mind. A bonus is that Pescoluse hasn’t been cottoned by Brits or Americans quite yet. Most visitors are still cheerfully Italian.
5. Become a marine explorer with Jonian Dolphin Conservation
Jonian Dolphin Conservation is an award-winning marine research team that power up their catamaran and take to the waters around Puglia to observe and protect the mammals that call the Ionian Sea home. Become a marine researcher for the day as you jump aboard the 12-metre-long Lady-Hawke and get to grips with its hi-tech monitoring gear, including probes, HD video equipment and hydrophones. You’ll help the crew identify different dolphins by photographing their fins, register their distinctive whistles and clicking noises, and gather environmental data from the ocean itself.
6. Fulfil your waterpark dreams with Splash Gallipoli
Probably the most famous waterpark (although one among many) on the coast of Puglia, Splash Gallipoli is a 78000 square metre water amusement park set in beautiful natural surroundings. It is not only packed with rides and pools in every shape and form you can imagine, but the park also puts on shows, holds competitions and has lots of games that anyone can participate in. There are several family-friendly restaurants on-site for when you need to refuel as well as a quieter picnic area shaded by trees. Sounds like a full day out to us.
7. Picnic at the unspoiled beauty spot of Torre Guaceto
With completely untouched and undeveloped sands, Torre Guaceto is no ordinary stretch of beach. You won’t find the usual clusters of bars, shops and water sports centres here thanks to its status as a protected nature reserve. Various plant and animal species, including turtles, thrive here and there are plenty of opportunities to see them on nature walks, snorkelling trips or cycle treks. You can get clued up on what creatures to expect at the small local museum. It’s worth the effort of packing up a cool box with drinks and a picnic to enjoy such peaceful, natural surroundings.
8. Learn Italian style cooking at Masseria Torre Coccaro
Italian food is pretty much a surefire kid favourite, and it does wonders for the inner child of most adults as well. Luckily, if you’re holidaying in Puglia, you’re in the best place possible for learning all about it! At luxury hotel Masseria Torre Coccaro, they host a family-friendly cooking school where you get to pick local vegetables straight from the estate, visit local markets to get the best produce and then make magic happen in the kitchen. You’ll learn how to make traditional Italian dishes, including pizza of course, and then enjoy it fresh from the oven.
9. Get your thrills at Miragica Amusement Park
While it’s not the biggest theme park in the world, Miragica knows how to entertain. For kids of all ages, there’s an array of roller coasters, rides and other attractions, so whether you’re the littlest of littles or growing into big kid boots, you’ll have a blast with everything this park has to offer. We’re talking water rides, spinning rides, games, carousels, a 4D-cinema, stunt-shows and themed restaurants with loads of options. Sometimes, you don’t need Disneyworld to make magic happen.
10. See another side of Italy in Le Cesine Nature Reserve
For a breath of fresh air and to learn more about the region, head to Le Cesine, a nature reserve where you’ll find the best-preserved wetlands in Southern Italy, which once covered the whole area between Brindisi and Otranto. Reserve staff will take you on a guided tour along the nature trails which is littered with observation points, secret hide-outs and educational readings. The 380-hectare park is comprised of dunes, marshes, canals woodlands and maquis. It also happens to be located along one of the main migratory routes for several bird species.
Feeling keen on Puglia yet? All that’s left to do is find your perfect holiday home in Puglia, and you’re ready to go! If you need any help with your search, get in touch with our concierge team, and they’ll get you matched up with the perfect accommodation options.