Luxury Villas in Puglia

Brimming with culture and history, Puglia is a feast for the senses. The heel of Italy beats to a slower drum than its Italian neighbours, and is home to an abundance of beautiful churches, quirky traditional trulli huts, and crumbling picturesque old towns. It’s a taste of Italy that you can’t get anywhere else in the country. 

Our Italy experts have found a mixture of unique trullo houses, characterful masseria residences or new villas across Puglia to suit whatever type of holiday you’re looking for; a rural retreat with a private pool or a base to explore a nearby village or beach


Why visit?

  • The UNESCO-listed village of Alberobello feels like you’re stepping straight into the pages of a fairytale. Visit in the morning to avoid the crowds. 
  • The dramatic and diverse coastline is great to explore – from the scenic Polignano a Mare to the paradise beach of Marina di Pescoluse.

Read the Puglia Travel Guide

Why stay with us?

Style and character are everything at Oliver’s Travels, and our collection of handpicked villas in Puglia have this in spades.

We have destination experts who know the ins and outs of all our regions, picking villas that aren’t only unique, but also in the best locations. What's more, our villas are 100% family-friendly, and have the ‘wow’ factor.

Our helpful concierge team are on-hand to make your stay extra special. Whether you want a fully-stocked fridge, a local in-house chef to cook your meals, housekeeping or any other extra service – consider them your holiday genie, who will happily grant your wishes.

Read more Read Less

Villas in Puglia: Our Top Picks

Why visit

Packed into the Italian ‘heel,’ Puglia’s, unique history, white-washed villages and pristine beaches have long flown under the radar. The fact that international visitors are only just discovering the joys of Puglia means that it remains a relatively unspoilt corner of the country. Bursting with charm and character, the region has lost none of its authenticity, ensuring that villa holidays in Puglia mean you get to see the real Italy.

Head for the coast

Puglia is home to some of the most spectacular beaches in Europe. Boasting small coves cut into jagged rock formations, idyllic crescent bays, and white sand that stretches for miles, it’s a beach bum’s paradise.

Traditional Puglian cuisine

Surrounded by water, Puglia has developed a cuisine that’s understandably seafood-focused. It’s also great for vegetarians - due to the region’s history and its location close to the shores of north Africa, vegetables form the basis of much Puglian cooking.  

Purea di fave con cicoria (fava bean puree with greens) is a local staple, while aubergine parmigiana and courgette scapece are two favourites that you have to try. It’s also famous for its cheeses – the burrata or caciocavallo are unmissable.

If you want more information, check the Puglia Travel Guide in our blog. 

Polignano a Mare, Puglia

Polignano a Mare, Puglia

What Oliver loves

The Ancient Greek influence on Puglia’s architecture, cuisine and language can be felt throughout the region, and you can spot it in Bari, Lecce, Brindisi and Ostuni.

Best time to go

  • While the region is attractive at any time of year, the height of summer can mean oppressive heat and larger crowds. 
  • For this reason, we’d recommend early summer or the shoulder seasons that run from April to May and September to October.

Top facts

  • Dishes: The region’s signature pasta dish is orecchiette, which translates as ‘little ears.’  You’ll often find families making fresh orecchiette outside their front doors in the morning.
  • Olive Oil: Puglia is responsible for approximately 60% of all Italian olive oil and is historically regarded as the country’s breadbasket.
  • Coastline: Puglia has the longest coastline of any Italian region, with roughly 800km of coves, beaches and bays to explore. 

Family friendly

Besides beaches and beautiful baroque towns, Puglia boasts a wide array of activities and attractions for all the family. Intrepid adventurers can explore the impressive underground caverns at Castellana.

Just a short walk from the car park, the underground caves at Grotta Bianca boast a breath-taking array of stalactites, stalagmites and brightly coloured rock formations. Guided tours of the complex are also available. 

You can also make sure the kids keep themselves entertained back at home by renting one of our many villas in Puglia with a private pool

Grotta Bianca Puglia

Grotta Bianca

Sailing a boat

Take to the water on a chartered sailing boat and experience the Puglian coastline from a different perspective. Great for kids who are confident swimmers, there are always plenty of opportunities to throw yourself in the water and you’ll also get the chance to discover parts of the coast that are inaccessible to those who don’t arrive under sail. 

Exotic Wildlife

The Zoosafari near Fasano is an excellent day out for all the family. Part drive-through safari, part amusement park, all visitors receive a goodie bag full of fresh veg for the animals, who’ll get very close to the car for a good feed! It’s an opportunity not to be missed – especially if you’ve got animal-obsessed children in the back seats. 

camel Zoosafari Puglia

Camel at Zoosafari

Why it's perfect for families

  • For babies: Heading out to a rural agriturismo (open Italian farm) estate gives you an opportunity to relax in nature and introduce your little ones to some farm animals. You can check out our baby-friendly villas here.
  • For Teens: Borgo Murattiano in Bari is a great shopping destination for young fashionistas to add some southern-Italian style to their wardrobes. For more energetic teens, cycle tours are popular, and horse-lovers will enjoy the horse riding schools in the region. Discover our list of teen-friendly villas

Top Tips

  • If you’re a foodie family, try a group cooking class. The region’s orecchiette pasta is relatively easy to make, and kids will love getting stuck into the wonderfully tactile world of pasta-making.
  • Alberobello’s trulli homes make for a fairy tale location that’ll enchant younger kids and provide them with the holiday memories of a lifetime.

Beaches in Puglia

The beaches located close to towns and larger urban centres will generally benefit from all the facilities you expect, but the secluded parts of the coast require you to be a bit more prepared. This makes Puglia the ideal place to visit if you want to combine promenade walks and seafront lunches with a few self-sufficient day trips out to the emptier beaches.

No matter where you go in Puglia, you’re never too far from the beach. From the Baia delle Zagare in the north, right down to Santa Maria di Leuca – which the Romans referred to as ‘the last place on earth - the Puglian coast is spectacular.

Our northerly Puglia villas offer easy access to some of the region’s most popular coastal towns and beaches, including Monopoli and Polignano a Mare, and those to the south are ideal for visits to the beaches around Gallipoli, Roca, and Salento

If you want to benefit from having the coast close by, we suggest you to check these villas near the beach.

Oliver's Hidden Gem

The Baia delle Zagare is situated at the north end of the Puglian coast and is famed for its iconic sea stacks. The area is made up of three beaches, one of which remains quiet all year round due to the fact that it’s only accessible from the sea.

Baia delle Zagare Puglia

Lama Monachile, Puglia

Small but spectacular, the diminutive Lama Monachile is sandwiched between Polignano a Mare on one side and craggy rocks on the other. Though busy in the summer, it’s one of the region’s most breath-taking beaches and always worth a visit.

Grotta della Poesia, Puglia

A short distance from Roca, this natural pool is a favourite amongst locals and a great opportunity for thrill-seeking kids to enjoy a little bit of rock jumping. Always quieter in the morning, the rock also acts as an ideal sunbathing platform.

Santa Maria al Bagno, Puglia

A small but perfectly formed beach, the water here is perfectly clear and still, making it well-suited to snorkelling and family swims. A rocky outcrop lets kids jump safely into the water and there are plenty of restaurants to grab a bite to eat.

Costa Merlata, Puglia

Just outside of Ostuni, Costa Merlata consists of a sandy beach surrounded by dozens of coves, caves, and secret swimming spots. If you’re a strong swimmer and enjoy exploring the coastline, this one is for you.

Torre dell'Orso with its high cliffs in Puglia

Stretching for almost one kilometre, the white sand of Torre dell’ Orso boasts perfect waters, a pristine environment and a gently sloping beach, making it a great location for families with young kids or babies.

Punta Pizzo, Puglia

Located on the south coast of Gallipoli, Punta Pizzo sits at the heart of a striking national park and is surrounded by pine forest and Mediterranean scrub. Its unspoilt natural beauty makes it a fantastic place to escape the crowds.

Things to do

From the bustling urban enclaves of Bari, Lecce and Brindisi to the untouched coastline that surrounds Gallipoli, Puglia allows you to enjoy all that southern Italy has to offer in a single, compact geographical area. 

History and culture

Puglia has always been an important crossroads in the Mediterranean. Its thriving port towns continue to play an important role in the regional economy and Puglia’s history reflects the fact that, over the years, diverse peoples have left their mark on the region. 

For visitors, this means there are some fascinating historical sites and museums to enjoy. The Castel del Monte and Basilica di San Nicola are both popular attractions, while the Museo Faggiano is a quirky little museum in Lecce which allows you to travel back in time to the 5th century BC via a series of archaeological excavations.  

Top activities in Puglia 

  • Tour Bari: Sign up for a walking tour of Bari’s excellent street food scene. Bari has seen an explosion of street eateries in recent years, making it one of Italy’s most exciting places to grab a bite to eat.

Bari Puglia

Bari, Puglia

  • Hike Terra delle Gravine Natural Park  – Hike through the canyons of the Terra delle Gravine Natural Park, an area of incredible natural beauty. Visitors can make their own way through the tall, narrow gorges that cut deep into the earth or opt for a guided tour. Either way, it’s an experience you’ll never forget. 

nature park Terra delle Gravine

Nature park Terra delle Gravine

  • Visit the Ionian Dolphin Conversation Centre - Go dolphin spotting with the ethically and environmentally responsible Ionian Dolphin Conservation Centre. Based out of Taranto, the research centre operates engaging boat trips that allow visitors to get involved with their research and conservation work. 
  • See a performance -  Enjoy a performance Roman-style at the ancient amphitheatre in Lecce – they regularly stage opera, theatre, and dance performances for the public.
  • Grab your rod and go fishing - The local waters are brimming with life and those on-board will have the opportunity to tackle a wide range of species including bluefin tuna, Atlantic bonito, sea bass, and mullet.   

Oliver's Hidden Gem

Known as ‘the Florence of the South,’ Lecce is the prettiest city in Puglia and a fantastic place to discover Puglian culture. While papier-mâché making forms the basis of the local handicraft scene (and there are some great classes you can take part in), the city is most famous for its delightful baroque architecture.

Lecce Puglia

Towns and villages

The capital of the region, Bari, is a youthful and edgy port city that benefits from great nightlife, a booming street food scene, and a whole lot of history. Often over-looked for well-heeled Lecce, it’s the most interesting and vibrant city in Puglia.

While Bari is the biggest city in the region, there are a number of other large urban areas to check out, too. Best known for its grand cathedral and lively port, Trani is an under-rated gem. Elegant, uncrowded and packed full of great restaurants, bars, and boutiques, it's the ideal place to spend a day or two.

Ostuni, the ‘White City’, is a spectacular collection of white-washed buildings, twisting streets and endless nooks and crannies. Martina Franca wears its classic baroque architecture proudly and Gallipoli is an island paradise with a lazy, southern Italian feel.

The smaller towns are increasingly picturesque. Alberobello has its distinctive conical-roofed homes and Cisternini its famous butchers – everywhere you go there’s a quirk that makes the visit worthwhile. 

The vast majority of our luxury villas in Puglia are situated north of Bari or at the southern-most reaches of the Puglian ‘heel,’ putting you in the best location to explore and get right to the heart of the region. 

If you want to be close to the main Puglian towns, discover these villas close to villages.

Oliver’s Hidden Gem

Martina Franca has baroque and rococo architecture, large piazzas, and a striking combination of white-washed buildings and colourful flowers – it’s easy to get lost in its mazy alleys and fascinating history. At its best during the warm evening light, it’s a perfect place to dine out on Puglia’s fantastic food.

Martina Franca Puglia

Panoramic view of Bari

Famed for its 15 towers, the slate and stone cottages of San Gimignano have inspired poets, artists, and visitors for generations. Located within easy reach of many of our central villas in Tuscany, it’s also pretty much equidistant from Florence and Sienna, making it an ideal visit for anyone travelling between the two.

Aerial panorama of Brindisi, Puglia

A thriving port town and once an important embarkation point for crusaders, pilgrims and traders, Brindisi now attracts those looking to top up their tan. The historical castle and Santa Maria del Casale church are interesting architectural attractions, while the Lido Azzurro is a popular beach just outside the city centre.

View of Gallipoli, Italy

Gallipoli is an island town that’s linked to the mainland via a short bridge and it boasts a dazzling array of sleepy beaches. Though the town has always been visited by large numbers of Italians, in recent years international visitors have gotten hooked on the historic old town, its delicious seafood, and the town’s palpable connection to the sea. 

Polignano a Mare, Puglia

Polignano a Mare is emblematic of both the incredible architecture and natural beauty on offer in Puglia. Perched precariously on top of jagged rocks that plunge straight into the crystal-clear Mediterranean, the tiny piazzas of the town centre are the perfect place to enjoy a refreshing Aperol spritz on a hot summer’s afternoon.

Alley of Cisternino, Puglia

With white-washed houses, a stunning piazza, and narrow, winding streets, Cisternino is one of the most picturesque towns in Puglia. Make sure you check out the town’s famous barbecuing butchers - just choose your meat, take a seat and wait for your meal to be brought out to you.

Trulli of Alberobello

Famous for its small and distinctive trullo homes, which feature white-washed, dry-stone walls and conical roofs, Alberobello is a UNESCO world heritage site. It boasts two trullo neighbourhoods to explore, as well as the Chiesa di Sant’Antonio church and the impressive Trullo Sovrano.

Getting Around

Don’t let its position at the heel of Italy’s boot fool you – it’s simple to get to Puglia. The quickest way is by air, and direct flights are available from all over Europe.  Once you’re there, you’ve got lots of options for getting around and about – have a think about which ones are best for your travel needs.

Flights

The region is home to two international airports. Karol Wojtyla Airport is situated close to Bari and is the practical choice for those visiting the northern reaches of Puglia. Brindisi Airport, sometimes referred to as Salento Airport, services the southern parts of the region. Both airports are well connected and allow for quick and easy connections to our villas in Puglia.


Car rental

Car rental is essential for the vast majority of our Puglia holiday rentals as they’re typically situated in rural locations. Unlike many other regions in Italy, driving in Puglia is a relatively calm affair. Straight, wide roads ensure that no journey is too taxing, and a rental is usually the simplest and quickest means of exploring the region.


Trains

Trains are an inexpensive and reliable means of moving up and down the coast and hopping between major towns and cities. Great if you like to travel on railways and fancy a day out down the coast, but they’re not quite as useful for exploring the towns and villages further inland. 


Buses

Buses can be a good way to cover short distances, but the network is not extensive enough to use as your primary means of transport. While combining bus and rail transportation on one or two days may work, if it’s your only means of moving around, you’re likely to waste a considerable amount of time travelling. You’ll also miss out on many of the gorgeous secret coves and caves spread up and down the coast.


Taxis

Taxis can be found in all major urban areas and are typically located outside the local railway station or at ranks placed strategically throughout the town or city. While journeys within towns and cities are generally inexpensive, the cost of long-distance rides can soon add up. If you’re banking on a taxi to get you home at night, make sure you book in advance.


Bicycles

Puglia is popular among adventurous cyclists who enjoy off-road trails and rural adventures. Perfect for family rides through unspoilt countryside, the region also boasts several long-distance cycle routes, including the Puglia Grand Tour – a 650km route that takes in most of Puglia’s east coast.

Top tips

  • Public transport services are likely to operate heavily altered schedules on Sundays. In many rural areas, it may not operate at all. This makes careful planning essential.

  • Many of the region’s most beautiful coastal spots are only accessible if you rent a car. Unlike most other Italian regions, the Puglian coast is still relatively undeveloped, so there’s plenty of secret spots for you to discover.
  • While travel between the region’s cities and major towns is facilitated by modern highways, many rural areas are serviced by small country lanes and the occasional gravel track. This means it’s good practice to always factor in a little extra travel time when travelling to the countryside.

From the blog...