Polignano a Mare (Puglia), Italy: Things to do

Polignano a Mare is one of the oldest settlements in Puglia, now transformed into a seaside resort with charming old town, small cafes and breathtaking views over the cliffs. In this article I will walk you through a day in this town, show you places to see, places to eat and to have a coffee, and give you some practical information.

If you this is your first time hearing the name of this town, I have a surprise for you: you are very likely to already know something about this place. Does Volare, Cantare (also known as “Nel blu dipinto di blu”) ring a bell? The author Domenico Modugno came from Polignano a Mare. I can certainly believe that seeing these shades of blue in your childhood can inspire you to such a song.

Polignano a Mare, Italy

Polignano a Mare Old Town

The Old Town of Polignano, like many other medieval towns in Puglia is a maze of narrow streets and staircases, enclosed by the city walls. The best you can do is just wander around aimlessly, stopping for admiring yet another sea view, white courtyard or just a picturesque view of balconies with the laundry hanging outside.

Polignano a Mare Beach

The beach might not be the broadest, the softest or the warmest, but it definitely is an unforgettable one. It is hugged by cliffs, which are topped by white buildings. Surprisingly for me, these are not some historical, but actual houses where people live their daily life, seeing a view like this one from their windows. Cosmic!

Polignano a Mare, Italy

The best time to see this beach is the first half of the day, as during the afternoon the sun will move away from it. If you find just lying on the beach boring, does cliff diving sound more like your thing? In September Polignano hosts cliff diving competitions organised by Red Bull and thrill-seeking crowds will flow to the town. Depending on your personality, this might either attract you to Polignano a Mare or scare you away from it during these dates.

Polignano a Mare, Italy

Where to eat in Polignano a Mare

I usually find it tricky synchronising with the regular eating times in Italy, so sometimes I end up missing lunch and having to wait until dinner. This was not the case in Polignano, as somehow my schedule got perfectly adjusted to the local one.

There are many restaurants in Polignano a Mare to chose from. The typical food to try would be fresh fish and seafood, and I can recommend just a place for this. Head to Pescaria in Piazza Aldo Moro to get a lunch, dinner or an aperitivo with fresh raw shrimp, grilled fish and octopus or pretty much any other sea creature from the area.

Don’t come there too hungry though. The waiting time can be pretty long, especially on a Sunday afternoon.

Polignano a Mare, Italy

What else to do in Polignano a Mare

If you prefer more organised tours, you could walk around the city centre with the travel guide to learn more about the history and the life of Polignano. Another thing to try (in a good weather) could be a boat trip. This would give you a different perspective on the cliffs and the caves inside of them. Are you in a mood for shopping in Polignano a Mare? Check out small shops for the local ceramics and handmade jewelry.

Polignano a Mare, Italy

Getting to Polignano a Mare

Public Transport:

The train from Bari to Polignano a Mare leaves from Bari central station. You can buy the ticket at the train station for 2.90 euro. The ride will take around 45 minutes.

Polignano a Mare, Italy

Car Hire:

Driving will allow you to see more of the region. Here are the distances to the nearest towns:

Polignano a Mare to Ostuni: 50 km
Polignano a Mare to Bari: 35 km
Polignano a Mare to Alberobello: 30 km
Polignano a Mare to Monopoli: 10 km

However, do consider public transport before getting a car. Not only it is a greener option, but the parking in Polignano a Mare and other small towns can be expensive and difficult to find.

Polignano a Mare, Italy

Where to stay in Polignano a Mare

Budget: Apulia 70 Holidays is located just 5 minutes walk from the beach and has bike rental.

Mid-range: B&B Casa Dorsi with beautiful sun terrace overlooking the sea. The property is just 3 minutes away from the beach.

High-end: Cinquevite with the best views, private beach, beautiful rooms with a tub and a swimming pool.

If you prefer staying like a local, consider booking your accommodation through AirBnb. If you haven’t try it before, you can use my link, so you get a 25 euro credit for your trip, and I also get a bonus.

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Polignano a Mare Italy beach view with text overlay

14 thoughts on “Polignano a Mare (Puglia), Italy: Things to do

  1. Una says:

    The beach with the cliffs looks stunning. I’d love to go there some-day, or even find an Airbnb in one of the houses overlooking the beach. The cliff-diving part sounds a bit scary. Thank you for sharing about this town!

    • merrygoroundslowly says:

      There are actually so many hotels with a view, and surprisingly for me some of them are really affordable. So I also think I might consider staying overnight next time.

    • merrygoroundslowly says:

      Depends on what your like 🙂 It is probably very attractive for the adrenaline lovers then! But I would avoid it too 😉

  2. Michelle says:

    I feel like there is not a town in Italy that I would not absolutely fall in love with. They are all so charming and romantic. Thank you for sharing such a great post about Puglia. ?

    • merrygoroundslowly says:

      I feel exactly the same about the small ones! It was difficult for me to feel love towards Milano or Rome, but the small towns are adorable!

  3. ARI says:

    Great story and concise advice for this dreamy seaside town. I’m most excited to plan some Italia road tripping this summer. Have to keep up with my self-taught Italian, I’m determined also to see more of this country.

    • merrygoroundslowly says:

      Good luck! I am a bit afraid to go to South Italy in summer as I don’t really like heat, but I’m sure it will be really beautiful. And swimming is a bonus!

    • merrygoroundslowly says:

      It is so worth visiting. I didn’t actually plan it myself, but the tickets were very cheap and I just decided to give it a go. And yes, it is just a perfect place.

    • merrygoroundslowly says:

      Thank you! I feel so green in photo-editing and I get sooo excited whenever someone tells me they like it! 🙂

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