Best things to do in Polignano a Mare, Puglia

by Kelly

Best things to do in Polignano a Mare, Puglia! This is everything you need to know to go and have the best time. We loved Polignano a Mare so much, I honestly could have spent two weeks there.

Where is Polignano a Mare

Polignano a Mare is located on the coast line only 40km from Bari the capital of Puglia. It takes a quick 40 minutes by car or train to reach from Bari.

Is Polignano a Mare a good base for Puglia?

If you have a car it can be. It is probably my favourite place in Puglia, it has the old town and the great beach but it could be a little too far away from other places if you are using public transport. By car it is all pretty easy and not too long of a drive to Locorotondo and Ostuni for example but by public transport you have to factor in bus timetables. I think Locorotondo or Ostuni make better bases if you are using public transport and then keep a few days for Polignano a Mare to experience it without the stress of longer distance buses.

What to do in Polignano a Mare

Ponte di Polignano

Ponte di Polignano is the stunning bridge that you will walk under to reach the beach. It is an arched bridge that really sets off the blue water beyond. A great place to get some iconic pictures of Polignano a Mare.

Arco Marchesale

Arco Marchesale was the main passageway into the village of Polignano a Mare until 1780. There was once a drawbridge here to allow passage through the door. As you enter you will reach Marquis Palace which dates to 400AD.

Palazzo dell’Orologio

Palazzo dell’Orologio (Clock Palace) is a cute little Palazzo in the centre of town. It has been the cities town hall, a warehouse and the room in the back was converted into a prison at one point.

Piazza San Benedetto

Piazza San Benedetto was a void that was created by the collapse of the monastery of S. Benedetto. It has been turned into an art square for the public to immerse themselves in concerts and shows. The steps are there for people to sit on and it is right in the centre of the old town.

Monumento a Domenico Modugno

A statue of the well loved local Italian musician & politician, Domenico Modugno. The statue is just 2 minutes walk (180m) from the main beach area of Lama Monachile. His most famous song is the 1958 Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu) which you will hear everywhere! The boat tours always play it and will expect you to sing along to the chorus which goes:

Volare oh, oh (Flying, oh, oh)
Cantare oh, oh (Singing, oh, oh)
Nel blu dipinto di blu (In the blue of your blue eyes)
Felice di stare lassù (Happy to be up there)

Practise this so you can sing along when you hear it, it is a lot of fun!

Pietra Piatta

Pietra Piatta, If you are visiting Lana Monachile or the Domenico Modugno monument you should definitely come and visit here too. It is where you will get an amazing scenic view. From the monument walk down the stairs and you will end up on a rocky outcrop that over looks the old town and beach. The views are so epic that we would take our aperitif there each afternoon. It is a must!

‘Nel blu dipinto di Blu’

The main promenade has lights strung up above it that spell out the lyrics to ‘Nel blu dipinto di blu’ as a tribute to the loved singer Domenico Modugno from his hometown. The installation of these lights with all the words of the famous song in Blue painted blu is more gorgeous in the evening!

Lama Monachile

Lama Monachile is the most beautiful beach in Puglia! It is a small pebble cove that has high cliffs on either side. To access it you walk under an arched bridge that leads you out to the path to the beach. The vibes on the beach are great and it is the perfect place to take your lunch, have a swim and relax in the sun. People will be climbing the rock faces, jumping in and sunbaking. It gets crowded but for good reason. There are some caves there too that you can walk through to the other side. They can be really slippery though so be careful if you do this.

Walk the old town

The streets of the old town are so beautiful and charming, walk them and be transported to another time. You will find lots of restaurants and cute shops selling locally made items. My favourite is the crochet hats and bags that is typical of the area.

Look out for the lines of poetry that are painted on the walls, doors of the old town. An Italian poet, Guido Lupori, moved here and began writing lines from his favourite poems around the town in Italian. It is a very charming feature of Polignano a Mare!

Viewpoints of Polignano a Mare

There are many viewpoints around the town that look out over the stunning ocean, the beach and the town itself. Some of our favourites are: Belvedere Terrazza Santo Stefano, Punto panoramico Largo Ardito.

Viewpoint of Grotta Palazzese

The best viewpoint of the most famous restaurant in Puglia! From here you can look in to the cave where the restaurant is housed and the hotel above it! It is really stunning.

Lungomare di Polignano a Mare

Walk the Lungomare di Polignano a Mare and take in the expansive ocean views. Yes it will take you away from the cute town and the beach but you will love the open air and the gorgeous water views, chat to local fishermen along the way. You will find loads of the little tuk tuk taxi drivers here too if you are looking for a tour.

Boat tours of the grottos and beaches

Boat tours are a must here! They will show you all the little grottos, beaches the clearest blue waters all with a great vibe. We saw countless boats coming through the main beach on their way. They were all playing music, singing and having a great time, we even joined in from the land!

These are our picks of the best boat tours in Polignano a Mare, we love booking through Get Your Guide as they list out inclusions clearly, have set pricing which doesn’t need to be bartered and reviews from other travellers so you can get an idea of the experience! Check them out below.

Places to visit just outside of Polignano a Mare (recommended by a local!)

Monopoli, Puglia

Monopoli, Puglia is a larger town on the water right near Polignano a Mare. It has an old town right near the waterfront as well as a huge fort. Both are worth exploring and it is incredibly easy to do. Jump on the train and in 5 minutes you will be in Monopoli, Puglia! Spend a day here to soak it up.

Monopoli, Puglia

San Vito

San Vito beach has natural open-air pools with a very shallow bottom, making it ideal for families and children. These are actually old fishing areas that were built to catch fish as the tide went out. We were lucky enough for a lovely local to take us here and tell us about the history. There is also the Torre Saracena which is the old tower built right on the waters edge infront of the fishing/rock pool area.

The large abbey is located on the road in front of the beach area and was built in the 10th century. Sadly it was closed when we visited, the The feast of the patron saint of Polignano, San Vito, takes place on June 14, 15, 16. It is marked by a procession of the relics of the saint on board a barge which begins in the village of San Vito and proceeds along the water to Polignano is so pretty I would love to come back and see inside.

Each year there is a feast of the patron saint of Polignano, San Vito. It takes place over 3 days in mid-June and is marked by a procession of the relics of the saint on board a barge which begins in the village of San Vito and proceeds along the water to Polignano a Mare. Our lovely friend showed us the statue that is carried and taken on a boat each day. It is very impressive. We walked out to the rocks over to the right of the beach where to views looking back to the church are stunning.

San Vito Polignano a Mare, Puglia

Lido Cala Paura

Lido Cala Paura beach is a great area to swim and mix with locals. Less tourists visit this area, the beach is great and there are little shops and restaurants here. Definitely a great place to stop for an afternoon if you have days to spare.

Cala Eremita

This is my favourite spot on the outskirts of Polignano a Mare! Our friend says it is mostly locals as it is a little further away from the centre. Cala eremita beach is the cutest little cove. It has a rock doorway which leads to a path where you can walk around to see the “Lo Scoglio dell’Eremita” (the Hermit Rock). Apparently here a priest was very sick of society and wanted to be alone. He went to the Hermit rock and stayed there on his own for many years until his passing. People from the town would bring food to leave for him.

On the way you will see a gorgeous view back to Cala Eremita and a little boat turned in to a book shelf where you can swap books. The beach is pebbly and tiny but is where locals come when their town is full of tourists! It is idyllic and the perfect place to spend a lazy day in the sun, bring food and water as there isn’t much around.

Grotta di Cala Incina

Grotta di Cala Incina is what I call the boat grotto! It’s another spot where locals come in summer while their town is busy with tourists. Our friend told us that they will bring their BBQ here to cook and swim. Jumping off the cliff is a rite of passage for young locals to prove themselves. Apparently the locals prefer to not swim in the sea! There were many stories of the sea being dirty and that it was bad for them with many of the older locals preferring still to not swim!

Where to stay in Polignano a Mare

This is our pick of where to stay in Polignano a Mare. We seriously loved this town and will be coming back again. For us three days wasn’t enough and we could have spent longer exploring the area and lapping up the town.

Budget: Dimora Dioniso, DON GIL Casa Vacanze, Dimora Sportelli, B&B Casa Laforgia Soffio Mediterraneo

Midrange: Palazzo Marzionna, Casa Mirò, B&B Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu, Dimora Anderì, White Coast

Luxe: Cinquevite, POSEA – Polignano Sea Suites, Sei Stelle Mama, Aquamarea, Musae al Mare

You can also stay at the ultra luxe, famous hotel – Hotel Grotta Palazzese

Best restuarants in Polignano a Mare

Il Quadrifoglio – Polignano a Mare

The best restaurant in Polginano a Mare! I can not recommend it more highly, especially if you are coeliac! The pizzas are incredible for both regular pizza and gluten free. The staff are excellent and the atmosphere is great. We bought take away pizza and ate it on the beach, what more can you ask for in Italy!


Good for seafood, they do seafood sandwiches and are really popular.

Hotel Grotta Palazzese

Hotel Grotta Palazzese is the famous restaurant in Polignano a Mare and probably in all of Puglia! The restaurant is located inside the cliff grotto and is very unique. We didn’t eat here but have heard that the experience is worth the cost. You can also stay here in their hotel!

Frumè – Focacceria e Pinseria

Eat all the foccacia here! Frume is the best place to taste the local street food of foccacia, it is well made, well priced and delcious! You may have to line up as it gets really busy.

The Super Mago del Gelo Mario Campanella

The best gelato for the best price! Old school and one of the first gelaterias in the town it is divine! The list of flavours changes as the day progresses but my favourite was Baccio. Absolute perfection! They also do great coffee.

Bar Turismo

My second favourite gelateria. They are traditional, old school! Apparently they are the only ones who still make gelato with eggs (be warned if you have an egg allergy). Our local friend said they were his favourite and that every flavour was amazing, we can confirm it is excellent and worth it for the experience.

Bella Blu Gelateria

Another great gelateria if you want a gluten free cone but honestly it is more expensive and just a bit cooler looking. I really couldn’t go past The Super Mago del Gelo Mario Campanella.

Market F.lli Lamanna

The best supermarket in town. It is tiny but has what you need. The basic food choices and a small deli, as well as gluten free supplies and mini bottles of Aperol Spritz! Make sure to check the opening hours as they are closed in the middle of the day. A really lovely family run mini market that you have to support!

Numeri Primi

Another supermarket, larger but more expensive. May be helpful if you are looking for something specific.

Did you know?

Polignano a Mare plays host to the Red Bull Cliff Diving series? Apparently the town is packed during this time as the divers throw themselves off the cliffs near the town overlooking the little cove! It would be incredible to watch, check out the schedules on their official Red Bull Website.

Where to next:

Visit Locorotondo, the prettiest town in Puglia

Best 10 day Puglia Itinerary

Gluten free in Italy

A short guide to Cisternino the most charming town in Puglia

Amalfi Coast

Best things to do in Amalfi

How to visit Positano on a budget

How to plan a perfect day trip to Capri from Sorrento

Is 3 days in Sorrento Italy enough?

Our ultimate 5 day Itinerary for the Amalfi Coast

Positano Travel Guide: Is Positano worth visiting in 2023?

Why Casa Marino is the best accommodation in Sorrento!

Lake Como

How to travel Lake Como on a budget

Perfect Lake Como two day itinerary

Why you should go to Menaggio when visiting Lake Como

Hotel Garni Corona in Menaggio is your dream Lake Como stay!

Como city everything you need to know for your Lake Como trip

Sheraton Lake Como is the best place to stay for your perfect Lake Como trip!

You may also like

Leave a Comment