Who said that Puglia is a destination suitable only for the summer?
In addition to the wonderful white sandy beaches with shallow and crystalline waters, there are plenty of attractions to visit even in the colder months.
So here I have prepared for you a list with 8 places to see in Puglia even in the middle of winter!
What to see in Puglia in winter
- Bauxite quarry
- Sant’Andrea Tower
- Santa Maria di Leuca
Let’s see them one by one, in detail!
1 – Alberobello
The small village of Alberobello is the most visited destination in Puglia and is one of those places that you absolutely must see at least once in your life. In fact, its fame is known internationally thanks to its characteristic stone houses with conical roofs: the trulli!
Did you know that Alberobello has more than 1500 trulli? The special thing is that each building is unique! In fact, each Trullo can vary in shape, size and decorative elements. Some are built on several levels while others are interconnected. Also often on the roof there are mythological or religious inscriptions, and in some a decorative pinnacle with the aim of chasing away evil influences.
The Village is very small and is divided between 2 main districts: Rione Monti and Aia Piccola . The best thing to do here is simply to get lost in its alleys and let yourself be carried away by your instinct , I’m sure every corner will surprise you!
Alberobello is a magical village and is a perfect destination to visit even in winter. We went last year on a cold rainy day and yet we were completely fascinated!
2 – Otranto
Otranto is a small pearl of Puglia to be discovered! The city is known by the name “Porta d’Oriente” , due to its historical importance in trade with the East and due to its position which represents the easternmost point of Italy.
Overlooking the city is the imposing Aragonese Castle which overlooks the blue sea, and the walls which enclose the ancient village. The historic center is very characteristic and consists of an ups and downs of steps and narrow alleys, dotted with houses and craft shops, which give it an atmosphere of other times. Also in the historic center it is possible to see the Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata which is the largest in all of Puglia.
In short, beyond the beaches, Otranto has so much to offer, which makes it a perfect destination even for the winter. Not to be missed, a few kilometers by car, Torre Sant’Andrea and the Bauxite Quarry!
3 – Bauxite quarry
The Cava di Bauxite is a truly unique place, very different from the typical Salento landscapes . When you visit this place for the first time, in fact, the feeling is that of being in Arizona more than in Puglia! It is a vast deposit of bauxite , a mineral from which aluminum is obtained, from which a real pond has formed over the years with a characteristic emerald green colour , precisely because of the residues of this mineral.
It is an extremely suggestive place, where the contrast between the red of the surrounding land and the green of the waters create this unique wonder of nature! The area surrounding the lake is very vast and it is not easy to walk through it given the steep surface, but it is certainly worth it to admire this beauty from every point of view!
4 – Sant’Andrea Tower
Torre Sant’Andrea is an ancient fishing village that fascinates with its unspoiled nature . A long stretch of rocky coast where the blue of the sea contrasts with the white of the rocks that emerge from the water: the faraglioni . The most characteristic is the one in the shape of an arch known as the ” bow of lovers “.
A trip to Torre Sant’Andrea in winter is a unique opportunity to contemplate the majesty of the wildest nature, listening only to the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks. It will seem to be catapulted into a pleasant place, far from the chaos that reigns in the summer.
5 – Santa Maria di Leuca
Santa Maria di Leuca is one of the most popular destinations in Salento for summer holidays, but in winter this small white village retains all its charm.
Walking along the deserted seafront will make you feel truly privileged, but the place that you absolutely cannot miss is the Sanctuary of Finibus Terrae , “at the ends of the earth”. In fact, this place represents not only the tip of Salento, but also the south-eastern end of the Italian peninsula ! Also it is said that right there is the meeting point between the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea.
The Sanctuary is located in an immense square in a panoramic position overlooking the gulf from which the entire city can be admired from above. To reach it there are almost 200 steps uphill, but for the more lazy there is also a route by car. From here you can also pay a visit to the lighthouse .
The best time to go is at sunset. The sight of the sun melting into the sea with the contrast of the white of the village is something truly magical!
6 – Gallipolis
Gallipoli is the most popular destination in Puglia for young people during the summer holidays , thanks to its famous discos and the coolest beaches in Salento. In winter, however, this small village is transformed and social life gives way to its most authentic aspect .
Gallipoli is divided between the old and new cities , and a stone bridge dating back to the 1600s acts as a watershed. The most characteristic part is that of the ancient village, a real floating city enclosed by the ancient walls built to defend itself from the threats of the Turks. Inside the walls there is therefore the historic center where winding alleys full of local shops, churches and small restaurants.
The name Gallipoli comes from the Greek and means “beautiful city” but this village is also known as the “Pearl of the Ionian” . It is not difficult to understand why, in fact even in winter the colors of the sea are so spectacular that they look like a painting!
Do not miss the Angioino Castle and the fishing port where every afternoon you can attend a characteristic fish market with the fishing boats returning from the day of fishing and offering the catch of the day.
7 – Ostuni
Ostuni is famous for being the white city, for its characteristic lime paint coloring of the ancient village . This makes it a place with a fairytale charm.
The village is divided between the old city called “terra” and the new city called “marina” . The most picturesque part is certainly the historic centre: the medieval village made up of a labyrinth of narrow streets, small squares, steps and courtyards enriched by local restaurants, rigorously white houses and artisan shops. A walk through the alleys of Ostuni will take you back in time, immersing you in the heart of its history.
Despite having visited this city in the rain on a deserted pre-lockdown winter day we were still enchanted by this jewel of Salento!
8 – Lecce
Lecce is the Baroque city par excellence, so much so that it has been nicknamed “The Florence of the South” . If you are an art lover, it is a must-see destination, in fact Lecce is the most important art city not only in Puglia but in all of southern Italy!
Walking through the streets of the center is like visiting an open-air museum. In every corner you can savor a piece of history and an incredible mix of cultures and architectural styles . The evidence of Roman and medieval works of art coexist with Baroque exuberance, where the undisputed protagonist is the famous Lecce stone : a soft and crumbly material that enriches the facades of churches with precious and finely decorated details.
By the way, did you know that there are more than 40 churches in Lecce? The most significant examples are the Basilica of Santa Croce and the Cathedral.
In addition to art and churches, Lecce is also famous for the production of papier-mâché and there are various shops where these masterpieces can be admired. Furthermore, the city is full of squares, shops and cafes, ready to satisfy everyone’s needs!