Polignano a Mare is one of the best towns to explore in the Puglia region of Southern Italy. It is known for one of the most famous and beautiful beaches in all of Italy, Cala Monachile. This spectacular beach features crystal clear water and a limestone cliff.
Read on to learn the best things to do in Polignano a Mare, the best hotels to stay in, and where to find the most delicious food.
⭐ I’M LINKING MY TRIP TO PUGLIA ON MY INSTAGRAM HIGHLIGHTS FOR MORE INSPO!
How to get to Polignano a Mare in Puglia, Italy
I took a solo birthday trip here and it was epic. First, I arrived by car as one of my many stops in Puglia on my road trip (see post here). If you come in from the closest Airport, Bari Airport, then the drive is only 30 minutes. I drove in from Locorotondo which was a 35 minute drive away.
Rent a Car
Where to Park in Polignano a Mare
I parked right in the square in front of Pescaria. This is where you can find a paid parking lot. Check the times as sometimes it’s free during the day before 4pm.
Pro-Tip: there was a great app that made paying for parking much more convenient. You can get it here and if you see a sign for Easy Park on the meter it means you can use it to pay for the parking in many of the Puglia towns I mention below. Just enter in the zone number into the app and have a piece of paper in your dash that says Easy Park.
By Public Transport
If you only plan to spend some time in Polignano a Mare and some of the other bigger towns then you might be able to get away without a car.
There are many trains leaving from Bari station if you are not planning to rent a car.
To book and check availability you can do that here.
Best things to do in Polignano a Mare
1. Find a spot on the famous beach of Puglia and soak in the sun and cliff views.
The best thing to do in Poligano a Mare is of course visit the most famous beach, Cala Monachile. It will be pretty crowded in the summer but it’s so beautiful that it will be worth it.
And right behind the Polignano a Mare’s beach you will find this beautiful archway where I took this photo – it is known as the Ponte Lama Monachile! One of the few remnants of the Via Traiana, an ancient Roman road.
2. Enjoy the epic view at Terrazza Santo Stefano
This is one of the greatest viewpoints you will find in Polignano a Mare. You can capture the beach from the seaside looking towards the beach. It is such a spectacular scene. To find the exact location, click here.
3. See caves! by taking a Cave Boat Tour
⛵HIGHLIGHT OF THE TRIP: don’t miss going on an amazing boat tour – it was one of the coolest things I’ve done traveling. You will go into caves! I saw the most spectacular views all around! The whole time I was in awe.
4. Walk around the historic center
Wander the beautiful alleys, narrow streets, and corners of this town. In many parts of Puglia, you will find white-washed buildings reminding you of Greece. I love just wandering in every small charming village to find the unique corners and pretty architecture.
5. Find Poetry on the Streets!
All around the town you will find poetry written on the buildings, pathways, and stairs. Wander the streets to see where you can find them all! Many are situated on the side streets near Terrazza Santo Stefano.
6. Visit The Statue of Domenico Modugno
Domenico Modugno is a great Italian singer, author of the song Volare. The town is dedicated to him with a large bronze statue facing the town center.
7. Eat foccacia bread!
I had possibly the most delicious foccacia bread in Polignano a Mare. It was from La Focacceria. This is an Apulian specialty so don’t leave without getting some!
8. Splurge and dine at the cave restaraunt, Grotta Palazzese
Grotta Palazzese is a famous cave hotel where you can have a unique dining experience in front of the cliff views in Polignano a Mare. It is quite expensive I hear but if you can afford it, it is well worth the experience. If not, you can always capture the view like below from behind the hotel and above a wall at the end of the pathway.
Best places to eat in Polignano a Mare
These are the best places to eat in Polignano a Mare. If you have one day here don’t miss the focaccia bread and the amazing espresso granita! So good!
🍽️Pescaria for delicious seafood sandwiches. A great lunch time spot.
🍽️ Mint: fresh, healthy options
🍽️ La Locanda Porta Picc: I didn’t try this one but it looks great!
☕ The Super Mago del Gelo Mario Campanella: have an amazing espresso granita with whipped cream.
🍦Gusto Caruso or Bella Blu for the best gelato!
🍞La Focacceria: try some YUMMY foccacia.
Where to stay in Polignano a Mare
Polignano a Mare Hotels
Polignano a Mare is a great place to stay if you are in the Puglia region. It is one of the bigger towns of the regions and a bit easier to get to if you want to base yourself here or don’t have a car to get around.
These are the best hotel stays from a lot of research and having visited the town twice now!
Grotta Palazzese: A splurge but well worth it – set on a cliff overlooking the sea. This hotel has a unique cave restaurant overlooking the sea and has become famous on Instagram for that reason!
San Michele Suite: Some of the most amazing views at this hotel can be found. Right out your room door, you can see the insanely beautiful beach!
Puglia Area Hotels
Read my complete guide on the best unique stays in Puglia here!
How to get to Polignano a Mare
The closest airport is Bari Airport. From there, you will likely need to drive to 30 minutes to Polignao a Mare. Public transport is limited in Puglia. It is not impossible without a car, but will be more convenient for you especially if you’re visiting other small towns or staying in a masseria farm stay in the countryside.
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✨Insider Tips to visiting the Cave of Poetry in Puglia, Italy
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🇮🇹For more travel inspo visit my Italy section!