The beautiful coast around the two towns of Polignano a Mare and Monopoli is one of the most photogenic and most visited travel destinations in Puglia. In particular, the whitewashed houses of Polignano a Mare, which are pushed directly onto the edge of the cliff, are one of the most popular photo motifs in Puglia.
We have Polignano and Monopoli in one day trips visited on our road trip through Apulia – and also made a short detour to San Vito. On a full day you have enough time to visit the most important sights and most beautiful places. In this blog article we will tell you our tips for Polignano a Mare, Monopoli and San Vito.
1. Polignano a Mare
Worth knowing & information about Polignano a Mare
- Polignano a Mare is known for its spectacular location known on the cliffs of Apulia. The houses are crowded right onto the edge of the cliff – wow!
- The town is one of the most touristic in Puglia. Especially in the summer months you really have to leave here mass tourism speak. Even in the low season when we visited, there was still a lot going on in the tiny old town of Polignano.
- There are numerous around the cliffs in front of Polignano Caves. If you stay longer, you can do this as part of a boat trip explore.
- We recommend a time budget of approx. 2 to 3 hours – if you want to eat something else, then correspondingly longer.
- Outside of the old town there are a few paid parking spaces. We parked our car at Parcheggio San Francesco e Sant’Oronzo. From there it is a 10 minute walk to the old town.
Sights & tips for Polignano a Mare
Monk’s Blade Strand
One of the most famous photo opportunities in Polignano a Mare is the legendary city beach named Lama Monachile. The small, picturesque bay is located directly below the old town.
You can enjoy one of many vantage points fabulous look to the llama Monachile. The two most well-known are:
- From the bridge named Bourbon bridge, which you will pass more or less automatically on the way to the old town.
- From the viewing terrace called “Belvedere su Lama Monachile” (located inside the old town).
Of course you can also walk down to the beach and if necessary also go for a swim A pebble beach and beautiful, clear water await you. Keep in mind that the beach is usually packed in the high season (July, August) and you can hardly get a spot.
Altstadt of Polignano a Mare
through the marquis arch, Polignano’s medieval city gate, you get directly into the alley labyrinth of the old town. The old town of Polignano a Mare is situated on a promontory and is closed to traffic.
It’s best to just let yourself drift – the old town is not very big and can therefore be explored quite quickly. Pretty soon you’ll probably end up in Polignano’s rather spacious main square, the Vittorio Emanuele II Square. Not only numerous cafes and restaurants are located here, but also two important sights of Polignano a Mare.
On the one hand enthroned here most important church from Polignano a Mare, the Chiesa Matrice di Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo. It’s certainly not one of the most impressive in Apulia, but if you’re already there, take a look inside. And secondly, on the main square is also the Clock Palace with its pretty clock tower.
You will notice pretty quickly that the old town of Polignano insanely touristy is. Souvenir shops are lined up and it is incredibly crowded here, especially in high season. That’s just a little warning.
Viewpoints in Polignano a Mare
In Polignano a Mare there are several viewpoints that, in our opinion, are among the highlights of the town. Don’t miss the following:
- Belvedere on Lama Monachile: The best view of the Lama Monachile (see above).
- Belvedere Terrace Santo Stefano: This vantage point is located in the very north of the old town. From here you have a great view of the coast.
- Cave of the Archbishopric: Located near the Belvedere Terrazza Santo Stefano and offers a similar view of the cliffs.
- Cliff of the Modugno waterfront: The only vantage point in our list that is outside of the old town. From here you can photograph the postcard motif of Polignano a Mare. (In the fall of 2022, the place was undergoing renovations.)
Culinary tip: Mint Cucina Fresca restaurant
Polignano was the last stop on our day trip, so we stayed for Dinner and reserved a table in the Mint Cucina Fresca restaurant.
Awaits you here small, very hip restaurant in the middle of the old town. The restaurant is primarily frequented by tourists, but this is the case almost everywhere in the old town.
Standing on the small menu creative fusion dishes – from vegan to vegetarian to fish and meat, everything is included. Important to know: If you are looking for classic Italian cuisine, you are in the wrong place. It tasted really good and we were happy about an evening away from pizza and pasta.
Worth knowing & information about Monopoli
- With just under 50,000 residents Monopoli is not even that small. However, the historic old town of the small town is pleasantly manageable.
- In case you are wondering about the similarity of names: With the famous one Game Monopoly the city of Monopoli has nothing to do.
- Monopoli is a beautiful port town whose whitewashed houses make for the perfect photo opportunity. We personally have that relaxed flair here very promised. In any case, there is not nearly as much going on as in Polignano a Mare.
- We recommend for your city tour of Monopoli about 2 to 3 hours.
- parked we have quite close to the center at the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II. We found a place there in the off-season without any problems.
Sights & tips for Monopoli
Cathedral Basilica of Maria Santissima della Madia
Monopolis most important sacred building is the Basilica Cattedrale Maria Santissima della Madia. The church originally dates from the 12th century and was rebuilt into a baroque work in the 18th century. Inside, the church gives a very special impression due to its marble columns. It’s worth taking a look inside.
Cala Porta Vecchia (Stadtstrand)
Once you have walked from the cathedral through the pretty alleys of the old town, you will land quite quickly city beach, the Cala Porta Veccia, a small sandy beach with rocky sections. From the small viewing terrace on the southeast shore of the beach you have a nice view of the beach and the whitewashed houses of Monopolis.
Of course you shouldn’t expect a perfect bathing bay here, but for a city beach in the immediate vicinity of the old town, the beach made us one very nice impression.
Carlo V Castle & City Walls
You can already see the historic city wall (“Bastione di Babula”) from the beach. At the northern end of the old town you finally get to the Charles V Castle, which dates from the 16th century. Only parts of the former facility still exist today.
The Castello can also be visited (during opening hours) – we only admired it from the outside and walked from there to the front of the Monopoli lighthouse.
Old Port (Alter Hafen)
From the Castello Carlo V it is only a stone’s throw to the Porto Antico, the old port. There are many small ones here Fishing boats in front of a picturesque old town backdrop at anchor. Although the water was unfortunately (at least during our visit) very dirty and full of rubbish, we found the maritime flair here very nice.
Giuseppe Garibaldi Square
Last but not least: behind the Porto Antico you will get back to the old town of Monopoli and pretty quickly to the Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, one of the central squares monopoly. There are not only numerous cafes and bars here, but also the Civic Tower XVI Century Monopoli, a historic city tower.
Culinary tips for Monopoli
Finally, a few recommendations if you are looking for a café, restaurant or gelateria in Monopoli:
Monopoli garnet red: A small, quite hip restaurant serving modern Italian cuisine. At lunchtime there are changing daily specials. The staff is extremely friendly. You can sit both inside and outside in the small guest garden (on the street). Overall great value for money.
Don Ferrante Terrace: This restaurant is located on the rooftop of the 5-star boutique hotel of the same name Don Ferrante and is also open to external guests – for example for lunch or simply an afternoon coffee with a view. Great location with high prices.
Gasperini: Possibly the best ice cream in Monopoli can be found in this nice gelateria.
3. San Vito
San Vito is a bit out of line, because you won’t find a city here, but “only” a beach town – a pretty special one for that. For here is enthroned a mighty historical abbey (Abbazia di San Vito) and ensures a really special photo motif. The abbey is in private property and therefore unfortunately cannot be visited.
As special as the setting is, the beach itself doesn’t stand out in our eyes. To be honest, we didn’t find the water particularly inviting for swimming because of the garbage. We would therefore not recommend San Vito for a day at the beach. If you get hungry or thirsty: are around the beach a few places settled – some of them almost directly on the water.
San Vito is only a ten minute drive north of Polignano a Mare. If you have the time and inclination, it’s worth it short photo detour.
4. Homebase: Where to stay for the day trip?
We have chosen the small town of Putignano as our home base in this part of Puglia. From there we not only explored Polignano, Monopoli and San Vito, but also Bari.
Our choice fell on the wonderful Clementine House – a wonderful place to stay that we can warmly recommend. design and equipment are really at the highest level. We felt incredibly comfortable.
Another highlight is the great breakfast, which the friendly owner prepares with a lot of love every day. Our conclusion: Great value for money!
Here you can book the accommodation: Clementine House
Transparency: Affiliate links
This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!
Have you ever been to Polignano a Mare, Monopoli and/or San Vito in Puglia? How did you like the places? Would you like to add any other tips? Or do you have questions about your day trip? We look forward to your comment!