Why You Need to visit Polignano a Mare & Bari in Italy

Polignano a Mare and Bari

Why you need to visit Polignano a Mare and Bari

The first time I stumbled upon photos of Polignano a Mare, I knew I had to visit Puglia! Polignano a Mare much like the rest of Puglia is a dreamy beach and seaside town straight out of a movie. The town is all whitewashed buildings perched on cliffs with the bluest water below. Plus as a foodie, there is so much to appreciate when it comes to food – with no shortage of fresh pasta and amazing gelato! The old town has a quintessential charm and bustle yet is a lot less touristy than other parts of Italy. All in all a perfect summer vacation destination! Keep reading below for the ultimate guide to visiting Polignano a Mare and Bari and everything you need to see and do there!

Best time of year to visit Polignano a Mare

The best time to visit Puglia, Italy, is during the fringe seasons in the spring and fall months. From April to June and September to October. This is the time for pleasant weather with fewer crowds compared to the peak summer season.

Lama Monachile Beach

Spring brings mild temperatures, blooming flowers, and vibrant landscapes, making it ideal for outdoor activities like hiking and exploring the countryside, however the water is definitely cooler, if you’re planning to swim!

Fall offers similar weather conditions, its also a popular time for olive picking experiences..given Puglia’s famous olive groves. 

However, if you prefer warmer weather for beach activities, July and August are popular months to visit despite higher temperatures but with more tourists. However if you are booking and planning in advance, this is still completely doable! Ultimately, the best time to visit Puglia depends on your own preferences for weather, activities, and crowd levels.

How to get to Polignano a Mare 

The closest airport to reaching Polignano a Mare and Bari is Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport.I highly recommend staying in Bari for a night or two and visiting Polignano a Mare as a day trip. If you’re flying in, aim for Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport. From there, you have a couple of options to reach Bari city center.

Taxi

At Bari Airport, you’ll find taxi ranks located just outside the arrivals area of the terminal. Look for signs directing you to the taxi stands. Taxis are usually readily available, especially during peak hours when flights arrive. These take about 15-20 mins to get into Bari. 

Fare

The fixed fare for a taxi ride from Bari Airport to Bari city center is approximately €25 to €30, depending on the exact location of your destination within the city center.PaymentTaxis in Bari usually accept cash payments in Euros. Some taxis may also accept credit or debit cards, but it’s a good idea to confirm with the driver before starting your journey, especially if you prefer to pay by card.

Train from Bari Airport to Bari Old Town

Catching a train to Bari Centrale station is also a convenient option espically if you are arriving during the day. The train service that operates from Bari Airport is part of the Ferrotramviaria line in Italy. The line connects the airport to Bari Centrale, the main railway station in Bari. These trains run frequently, and cost around €5-€10. The journey takes about 20-30 minutes to Bari Centrale station. 

To purchase tickets, head to the ticket vending machines located at the Bari Aeroporto train station, which is located a short walk from the main terminal building. These machines typically accept both cash (Euros) and credit/debit cards. Alternatively, there may be a ticket counters open, where you can buy tickets from a staff member.Ticket Validation: Once you have purchased your ticket, make sure to validate it before boarding the train. This can be done at the validation machines near the platforms or on the train itself. 

Rental Car Hire 

Hiring a car is a viable option if you don’t mind driving through Puglia. Car hire for basic car can cost anywhere from EUR 50-80 per day. We booked with a local car hire company Noleggiare, however there are plenty of other options.

Getting from Bari to Polignano a Mare

Once you’re in Bari, getting to Polignano a Mare is relatively straightforward, with several transport options.

Train from Bari Centrale to Polignano a Mare

If you’re already in Bari, the easiest way to get to Polignano a Mare is by catching a train from Bari Centrale to Polignano a Mare station. The tickets cost around €3-€5, and trains run regularly between 30 mins to 1 hour during the day with the the travel time taking about 30-40 minutes.

Bari Old Town

Bus from Bari to Polignano a Mare

Another viable option is to take a bus from Bari’s main bus station to Polignano a Mare. Tickets typically cost around €5-€7, and the journey takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.

Rent a car 

A drive from Bari Old Town to Polignano a Mare is about 20 miles, taking about 30-40 minutes depending on traffic. 

How long to spend at Polignano a mare

For a comprehensive experience, consider staying for two to three days. This allows ample time to explore the town’s charming streets, relax on its beaches at your own pace, and indulge in its renowned seafood.

However, if you’re tight on time, a day trip is still fully worthwhile. A day trip, including travel time from and back to Bari, should still give you enough time to wander through the old town, and chill at the beach and grab a view iconic shots from the nearby cliffs!

Places to see in Polignano a mare 

Lama Monachile Beach

The Lama Monachile Beach is one of the most iconic places in Polignano a Mare. Known locally as Cala Porto, this is a small cove hugged by tall limestone cliffs; it’s a stunningly beautiful place for a swim and for basking while looking at the turquoise sea and the old town on the cliffs. Grotta Palazzese is one of a kind: it is a restaurant within a sea cave that has been built into the cliff over the Adriatic Sea. Without eating here, one would have to just stop by to take a look at the stunning scenic view of the cave, sea, and coastline. The sunsets from this section of coast are magical, so you may want to reserve a table in a restaurant. 

Polignano a Mare

Explore the coast with a Seaside Walk

Walk at a very leisurely pace along the seafront boulevard, from which you can enjoy panoramic views stretching from the coast to the Adriatic Sea. You can take a deep breath of fresh sea air by strolling on the cliff path and admire the natural sceneries of Polignano a Mare. 

Cliff Diving

If you’re the adventurous type then take note that Polignano a Mare is known for cliff diving! Make sure to do this from the marked spots!

Check out the Polignano a Mare Old Town

Here are some notable places worth seeing in the Old Town

Polignano a Mare Old Town

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II

The main square is bursting with locals and tourists alike, surrounded by charming cafés, and shops around the central fountain. 

San Benedetto Church

This is an 11th-century historic church, renowned for its simple, nice facade and stunning interior. Statue of Domenico Modugno: Pay tribute to the famous Italian singer Domenico Modugno at the famous statue located in a beautiful and central square. 

Arco Marchesale

This is an ancient archway that marks the entrance to the medieval town and offers a view of the rich history of Polignano a Mare. 

Vicolo San Leonardo

Down this picture-perfect alley, white-painted, and many others, come the many flowers of several vivid colors, making a show of typical Puglian architecture. 

Terrazza Santo Stefano

This charming terrace offers a view of the Adriatic Sea below and of the dramatic cliffs on which the town itself is perched. What a perfect place to sit and watch the sunset over this beautiful view, over a pastry or gelato!

Chiesa Matrice di Santa Maria Assunta

Visit one of the most important churches in the city, dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta. It features a magnificent baroque facade and inside are intricate frescoes.

How long to spend in Bari

The ideal duration for your stay in Bari depends on your interests and travel preferences, but here’s a rough guide to help you plan:

  • Day Trip: If you’re short on time, you can explore the highlights of Bari in a day. This would allow you to visit the historic Old Town, stroll along the waterfront promenade, and sample some local cuisine at one of the city’s many trattorias. A day trip is perfect for those passing through or looking to experience the essence of Bari without an extended stay.
  • Two to Three Days: For a more in-depth experience, consider spending two to three days in Bari. This timeframe allows you to delve deeper into the city’s rich history and culture, as well as explore nearby attractions such as the charming seaside town of Polignano a Mare or the UNESCO-listed trulli of Alberobello. With a couple of days, you’ll have plenty of time to leisurely explore Bari’s neighborhoods, visit museums and galleries, and perhaps even take a day trip to nearby destinations.

I personally spent only a day in Bari and felt that it was enough, given there are so many other towns and beaches to explore in Puglia!

Polignano a Mare and Bari

What to see in Bari 

One of the best ways to see Bari is through a walking tour through the Old Town. We booked a morning tour with a Free Walking Tour Bari, which was a tips based group tour. We found this was a great way to maximize our short time in Bari and cover the essential sites through the old town, learning a few things along the way!

Fresh pasta street

Pasta Street (Via delle Orecchiette)

Walking down Via delle Orecchiette, or what the locals call Pasta Street, is one full-blown culinary experience. The local nonne hand-make Puglia’s signature orecchiette pasta right on the street. Try the freshly made pasta on the spot, or buy it—the great souvenir of your time in Bari Vecchia that is delicious as well. 

Bari Vecchia (Bari Old Town)

One can take a walk through the narrow, serpentine streets in Bari Vecchia, the old part of the town. It includes centuries-old constructions, attractive piazzas, and picturesque cafes. 

Basilica di San Nicola

The visit to this grand Romanesque church carries with it the history of the tomb of Saint Nicholas. Observe the beautiful architecture and the interior filled with complex frescoes and mosaics. 

Swabian Castle (Castello Svevo)

Visit the Swabian Castle in the medieval fortress, from where the views of Bari Vecchia and the Adriatic Sea look very beautiful. Stroll across the ramparts, in the towers, and the courtyards of this castle as you get to learn the captivating history of the place. 

Bari Cathedral, Cattedrale di San Sabino 

The Bari Cathedral is a dedication to Saint Sabinus, holding magnificent Romanesque architecture. The mosaics and stone carvings inside the cathedral are truly breathtaking. 

Bari Cathedral

Mercato Coperto

In the exciting ambiance of Bari, among the alleyways of its old district of Bari Vecchia, there lies the Mercato Coperto. Here you can find fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, and other local delicacies brought in right off the boat and enjoy a taste of traditional Puglian dishes.

Heading to Italy? Check out some of our other useful Italian destination guides and tips here.