How to travel Puglia by public transport

by Kelly

How to travel Puglia by public transport. No, you don’t NEED a car to travel Puglia, it may be easier and quicker but you really use public transport and get around just as well. This is everything you need to know to travel Puglia without a car.

Where is Puglia?

Puglia is located in the south of Italy (the boot!) it begins near Marina di Chieuti and running all the way down the coast line to Santa Maria di Leuca. It is quite a large area with most tourists visiting the Bari area.

map of puglia italy

Can you travel Puglia by public transport?

Absolutely, there are many options of trains and buses that can take you to the must visit locations in Puglia! For the purpose of this blog we are focusing on the main towns that travellers want to visit on their first trip to Puglia.

Is it hard to travel Puglia by public transport?

Not at all, you can travel Puglia buy public transport from a couple of great towns that make perfect bases to explore the area. The main thing to take into account is planning out your time and allowing the extra time for getting to bus/trains stops, the possibility of them being late and also the length of time that the bus will actually take as it will likely be slower. This is not difficult it is just something to think about when planning your days.

For example: Driving from Bari to Locorotondo is 68km and takes 50 minutes. Taking public transport it can take between 1.5 hours – 2.5 hours depending on which option of transport you choose.

How much time do you need for Puglia by public transport?

You can do as little as 5 days up to a month! I think 5 days would be a good minimum, particularly using public transport. For the purpose of this blog I am going to do a couple of options for a 10 day trip then you can adjust as you prefer or your time allows.

Best places to stay to get around with public transport in Puglia?

You can make a base in one of the cute little towns and explore Puglia in segments a few days at a time. Two great towns to stay in are Locorotondo or Ostuni.

These are our tops picks for staying in each town:

Locorotondo – we stayed at Casa Melina! Historic house in Locorotondo and it was excellent, right in the centre of town. Other places we recommend are:

Budget: Trulli Caroli,

Midrange: Albergo Diffuso Sotto le Cummerse

Luxe: Dimora San Nicola


Budget: Elda Guest House, Suite Nella Roccia, Sunshine Luxury Rooms

Midrange: Cà Bella Vista, CASETTA LAURA C.I.S, WHITE STONE- La Terrazza,

Luxe: Panta Rei, Caterina’s Suites & Apartament, BELLE HOME OSTUNI vista mare

Alternatively you can stay in the capital Bari and each day head out to another area. Either way is fine, it will depend on your preference. Would you rather leave your bags in one spot and each day jump on a train or bus each day to a explore a different town daily. Otherwise you would take your bags and spend 2 to 3 days in a town and explore from there.

Accommodation in Bari we recommend:

Budget: ROOM 110 BARI -guesthouse, Corte Del Borgo Antico, Apulia 35 B&B

Midrange: Atipico B&B,, Casa di zia Pupetta, Arvian B&B

Luxe: Casa Almika Sparano, Antica Dimora Lombardi 2

There is a third option if it all feels too hard – take one of the many tours from Bari. Here you don’t have to worry about anything other than getting yourself to the bus, the tours organise everything for you. These are the options we recommend as either tours or day trips from Bari: Bari: Alberobello and Matera Day Tour, From Bari: Alberobello Half-Day Trip with Guided Tour, Bari: Matera Day Trip or a fully organised tour with excellent reviews Puglia Tour 7 days – the perfect combination of lifestyle, culture, history and cuisine or

Where can I use trains?

Trains run from Bari to most major towns in Puglia, you can go from Bari to Locorotondo, Monopoli, Alberobello and Ostuni. They are generally the fastest way if you are staying in Bari and travelling each day to a new town to explore. Usually there are no changes and the one train will take you the whole way. We used trains to get to and from Bari from our first and last destinations.

Are there buses?

We found that in between towns it was easier to use buses. Generally there were no changes and they were more direct. The bus also often stops in the town rather than the outskirts where the train stations are.

How do I find buses?

It can sometimes be difficult to find the bus stop or the ‘right’ bus stop. We used google maps to locate some, however at times it was incorrect. We had already caught some of the buses and knew the numbers but google maps was telling us to go in a different direction from where we had previously found the bus stop.

Tips for taking buses: Keep an eye out for where you are getting on and off buses as you may need to find that location again to take the same bus back. Ask locals if you are confused, they generally know where to wait, particularly if the bus stop is unclear. Ask bus drivers if they can confirm they are going to where you are trying to get to, show them your google map of where you want to go. The worst thing is getting on the wrong bus and wasting time!

Where do I buy tickets?

You can buy tickets for trains and buses on the Tren Italia website and app. This is generally the bus and train company for Italy. There are some other companies but this is the main one and you will find information about where stops are and bus numbers on this app. It will give you a digital ticket that doesn’t need to be validated before getting on the bus/train as well.

You can also use the Omio website or app which has the option to book public transport al lover Europe. The app is really easy to use and they have lots of options for routes and the tickets are stored on the app or if using the webpage you can screenshot or download them.

You can also purchase tickets at the train station or on buses. When you purchase a train ticket at the station you need to validate it at the green machines you will see around the stations. You can be fined heavily if you don’t do this. For buses you can find the little tabacchi stores in every town and they will sell you the bus tickets. They can also help direct you to the right place for the bus stop. Use google translate if you need help with the language! Just be aware that most (almost all) tabacchi will close during the middle of the day. Make sure to organise this before they close.

Make sure to buy tickets!

Thinking of not buying tickets and slipping on and off buses and trains without paying? Please don’t! We saw so many people running up and down trains and buses trying to avoid the conductor who will always be on every train and bus to check tickets. If you are caught there is a big fine.

We actually bought the wrong tickets online for one of our trips and when the conductor scanned our phone ticket he told us it was wrong. Then we were given a fine and told to repurchase. This really wasn’t very fair as we had just bought the ticket for the wrong time (right destination) but it didn’t matter.

Make sure you leave at least 15 minutes before the trains leave to buy tickets online as well as in person. Sometimes the ticket machines are not working or wont accept your card. The online Tren Italia app wont allow you to purchase tickets within a 15 minute window of the train leaving so it will be too late to put it through-this is what happened to us.

Itinerary Option 1- Puglia by public transport.

– Moving around and staying in different locations.

Itinerary for Puglia by public transport, this is how we would spend 10 days seeing the top part of Puglia if you want to move around and stay in different little towns!

Day 1 – Bari

If you are flying into or arriving in Bari you should definitely stop and see the city. It has the most charming old town where you will see old buildings, historical churches and streets where the ladies of the town make their traditional pasta, orecchiette. Take a walk down Arco Basso. also called ‘Strada delle Orecchiette’ (Street of the Orecchiette). You will find the ladies selling packets while they make it. You can do some great walking tours that include tastings as well! These are our favourites: Bari: Pasta Experience Walking Tour, Bari Walking Street Food Tour and Apulia: Bike Tour through the Treasures of Bari

Day 2-4 Locorotondo

Jump on a train from Bari to Locorotondo. There are many options on Omio, most cost about 6 euro and take around 1.5hours.

You can use Locorotondo as a base, if so I would book 3 nights here. Its location makes a great base to explore Martina Franca, Alberobello and Cisternino. Locorotondo is a beautiful town, one of the prettiest in Puglia!

Make sure to walk the old centre, visit the gardens and lungamore. There are lovely cafes and bars, make sure to sit down and taste the local Locorotondo DOC wine. This is our blog on what to do in Locorotondo for more detailed information.

Should I stay in Alberobello-

The alternative here is if you want to experience staying in a trulli (and I think it would be amazing, definitely something I will do next trip). Then I would take the train Bari to Alberobello and stay there the first night. I do think one night there is enough to experience the town, it is pretty touristic.

Then I would move to Locorotondo the next day after checkout. There is a really quick train between Alberobello and Locorotondo which is super easy but the train station at Locorotondo is a little walk out of town. Alternatively you can take a bus to Locorotondo that will land you in the centre and more up the hill so less of a walk. Check out these options on this Omio page where I have searched the locations.

Day 5-7 Ostuni

We loved Ostuni and highly recommend it. It is the perfect white city and makes a great base to explore further into Puglia. I would spend these two days exploring the town of Ostuni as there is a lot to see and enjoy here. Take short trips to places such as Brindsi and Lecce. You can reach these by trains within an hour. Ostuni is so lovely that I would easily enjoy exploring and experiencing it for 2 days without looking further.

Getting from Locorotondo to Ostuni is done via buses, there is usually one change to be made in Fasano or Cisternino and it takes just over an hour.

Day 7 – 10 Polignano a Mare

Honestly Polignano a Mare is possibly my favourite of the towns I have visited in Puglia. It is the perfect little seaside town. Close to Bari so you can return to fly out by train really easily. You can also visit nearby (5 minutes by train) Monopoli which is a larger town with a lovely old centre.

I would spend these three days relaxing and taking in this sweet town. spend one day at Monopoli, the other two taking in the old centre of Polignano a Mare and the surrounding beautiful spots, check out our detailed Polignano a Mare blog to get all the tips on what to do.

There are direct buses or trains with one change from Ostuni to Polinano a Mare that take about an hour. If you would prefer to stay in just the one location then I would choose to stay in either Locorotondo or Ostuni for the whole time. Both are great options, Locorotondo is more central and smaller, Ostuni has more vibe and things to do.

Itinerary Option 2- Puglia by public transport.

– Staying in the same location.

Your other option is to stay in one location and do day trips from there. To do this I would choose to base myself in one of the following (and why):

Bari: it is probably where you have arrived in Puglia and therefore the easiest. You have a high amount of trains and buses leaving from here daily going to most locations. A totally underrated destination in itself with a lot of dining options.

Locorotondo: Very central, easy to get to and around in. Very pretty town and will give you the ‘Puglia’ you have seen in pictures.

Check out: Casa Melina! Historic house in Locorotondo, Trulli Caroli

Ostuni: A little further south than Locorotondo but still central enough to easily explore the area, particularly if you want to include Lecce and Brindisi in your plans.

Check out: WHITE STONE- La Terrazza, Suite Nella Roccia, Sunshine Luxury Rooms

Polignare a Mare: Honesty just because I love it so much and feel that if you don’t spend at least a night here you are missing out. The public transport from here is quite good as it is so close to Bari. When I return to Puglia I am definitely spending more time in Polignano a Mare and really recommend it!

From whichever base you choose take day trips to as many of these locations as possible for your time frame, make sure to keep some days to explore the town you are staying in. You can also take the mornings and evenings to see the base you stay in and explore during the midday hours.

Day trip locations: Polignano a Mare and Monopoli, Locorotondo, Martina Franca, Casamassima, Trani, Ostuni, Lecce and Brindisi.

Matera is somewhere I can’t wait to go, you can do a Matera day trip from Bari or I would take an extra 2 days and stay there.

When to visit Puglia?

Summer is the high season, from June to August. This is when there is the best weather but also the most visitors. The shoulder seasons from May to April and September are quieter and the weather although more chance of rain will still be ok.

Best food in Puglia:

When in Puglia you have to try then following local foods, they are all delicious!

Orecchiette: the local ‘little ears’ pasta

Focaccia: The thick bread often topped with cherry tomatoes or olives

Olive Oil: Grown and produced all over Puglia. You can do tastings and buy it to take home also, we got ours in Ostuni.

Locorotondo DOC: The local wine to Locorotondo, the grapes it is made from are considered rare.

Panzerotti: a pizza/calzone like food, delicious!

Bombette: stuffed meat rolls, a must in Cisternino.

What if I just want to hire a car?

If you think it will make your time easier, convenient and less time wasted then go ahead and hire a car! We always use Rental Cars and they haven’t let us down.

Is there an easier way?

If you want to make it super easy just check out these tours that includes everything from accommodation, transport and food! Tour from Bari to Lecce or this tour of Puglia and Matera!

Where to next:

Visit Locorotondo, the prettiest town in Puglia

Best 10 day Puglia Itinerary

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A short guide to Cisternino the most charming town in Puglia

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