Traveling to South Italy? Grab this list of the best places to visit in Southern Italy that you totally need to have in your South Italy travel bucket list. #SouthItaly #Italy #SouthernItaly

25 Best Places To Visit In Southern Italy

Last Updated on July 29, 2023 by Soumya

Traveling to Southern Italy and looking for the best places to visit? Wondering if Italy’s southern coast is the perfect place to holiday? What are the top tourist destinations in South Italy that you could add to your itinerary?

Well! Well! We have just the perfect South Italy bucket list for you that will answer all your questions and some more!

Southern Italy is one of my favorite places to visit because there’s just so much to do here. Whether it is digging deeper into ancient Roman history at Pompeii and Herculaneum, strolling through the charming streets of Amalfi Coast towns, learning all about Sicilian Baroque in Ragusa Sicily, or seeing the pretty Trulli houses of Alberobello, Italy’s south has something for everyone.

With an endless list of attractive towns and cities to visit, Southern Italy makes for an amazing holiday destination. There’s no chance that you’ll ever get bored here! You’ll only want to come back again and again for more.

In this ultimate list of best places in South Italy, we talk about 25 amazing cities, UNESCO sites, coastal towns, and hidden gems. Please note that our list is divided by 5 different southern Italian regions with Campania being the most popular with the highest number of tourist attractions.

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Traveling to South Italy? Grab this list of the best places to visit in Southern Italy that you totally need to have in your South Italy travel bucket list. #SouthItaly #Italy #SouthernItaly

Top places to visit in Campania, South Italy


Editor’s choice

Dionysian frieze at Villa of Mysteries
Frescoes and plaster casts make Pompeii one of the best places to go in Southern Italy.

One of the most historic places to visit in Southern Italy is the UNESCO world heritage site of Pompeii. The ruins of this ancient Roman city tell a story that can move you to the core.

Once upon a time, Pompeii was a rich and prosperous trading town, set against the backdrop of Mt. Vesuvius on the Italian coast. On 24th of August, 79 CE, Vesuvius spewed fire, ash, and rock in the most fiery eruption in history engulfing the entire city of Pompeii and several others nearby.

More than 10,000 people were killed in the eruption. Houses and shops vanished under a thick layer of ash. Strangely, the ash also acted as a preserving agent and protected bodies, pottery, and even frescoes in the most unblemished form.

2000 years later, travelers can experience the life and culture of Pompeii by walking through the excavations and stepping into ancient villas, temples, marketplaces, and granaries. Some of the most iconic attractions are the public kitchens or the Thermopolia, the Garden of the Fugitives, the Villa of Mysteries, and the brothel or the Lupanar.

Getting to Pompeii: The best way to get to Pompeii is by train from Naples. Get off at the Pompeii Scavi train station, which is just 2 mins away from the main entrance of Pompeii archaeological site. With the coming of high-speed trains, Pompeii is also done as an easy day trip from Rome.


Editor’s choice

Herculaneum (or Ercolano) is another Roman town like Pompeii that was buried during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE.

Although Pompeii was a bigger town with more people, Herculaneum was the richer one. The abundance of luxurious mansions here speaks of Herculaneum’s opulence.

Some of the best things to see in Herculaneum are the baths or the Thermae, the House of Neptune and Amphitrite, and the warehouses called Fornici. The mosaic of Neptune in the dining room of the House of Neptune and Amphitrite is absolutely breathtaking.

Do not miss the Scroll’s Villa or Villa dei Papyri which is the most magnificent villa in Herculaneum. Apparently, it was owned by the Roman senator, Lucius Calpurnius who was also Julius Caesar’s father-in-law.

Getting to Herculaneum: The best way to visit Herculaneum is by taking a train from Naples. It is the same Circumvesuviana train that stops at both Ercolano (for Herculaneum) and Pompeii Scavi (for Pompeii).


Editor’s choice

Quaint streets and alleys of Naples Italy
Hidden corners of Naples – one of the most underrated cities of South Italy.

Naples is one of Italy’s largest cities and the capital of the Campania Region. Once an important cultural center of the ancient Greek and Roman empires, the Naples of today is filled with historical and architectural wonders.

Explore the historic center of Naples (also a UNESCO heritage site) on a walking tour. Step into one of the city’s many beautiful cathedrals and visit the unending galleries of the archaeological museum. Be sure to join a guided tour of Naples’ underground city, an unmissable attraction. And do not forget to try some authentic Neapolitan pizza and flaky sfogliatelle. There’s lots of interesting stuff to do in Naples, even if you are visiting for one day.

Naples is often just used as a thoroughfare for Pompeii and never really explored. So, the next time you are in Southern Italy, do visit Naples because this city totally deserves a visit.

Getting to Naples: The easiest way to get to Naples is by Frecciarossa or Italo high-speed trains from Rome. Once you are in Naples, you can explore the historic center and the seaside by walking around or using buses and trams. You’ll find a handy map of Naples’ public transport network here.


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Ravello Southern Italy
Ravello – all about pretty sceneries.
Image courtesy: bluejayphoto via CanvaPro

Be sure to add the small town of Ravello sitting atop a cliff overlooking the beautiful Tyrrhenian Sea on your Amalfi coast itinerary. With documented history dating back to the 9th century, Ravello is not only historically fascinating, but also incredibly romantic, charming, and less crowded than other popular towns in the Southern Italy region. 

Two of Ravello’s attractions that are absolutely worth your time are Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone. These villas date back to the 11th century, and showcase stunning gardens, as well as breathtaking views of the sea and coastline. The walk between the two villas is only 10 minutes, and is also very scenic, making it easy to explore both in just a few hours. 

After exploring the villas, enjoy lunch under lemon trees at Mimi Ristorante Pizzeria for some of the best pizza in the Amalfi Coast. They also specialize in limoncello, so you’ll definitely want to linger for digestivo after your meal.

Getting to Ravello: The best way to get to Ravello is either by taxi or bus from Amalfi, which will take about 30 minutes. Taxis and buses will drop you off right at the main entrance to the town. From there, it’s only a 2-minute walk to the piazza. Once in Ravello, you’ll be able to walk everywhere, as it’s very small.

Paestum Greek Temples

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Greek Temples of Paestum
The Greek Temples of Paestum, a hidden gem in Italy’s South.
Image courtesy: Noel Morata from Travel Photo Discovery

The Greek temples of Paestum are one of the most underrated UNESCO treasures in Italy.

Located in the Campania region about an hour and a half drive from Naples, this magnificent archaeological complex of Paestum has a cluster of well-preserved temples and city ruins. 

There are three main temples dedicated to Neptune and the goddesses Hera and Athena along with a spectacular museum that you can visit for frescoes panels and other artifacts excavated from the site.

Surprisingly, the park grounds are not jam-packed with tourists probably because of Paestum’s isolated location and relative obscurity. If you are in the Campania region of Southern Italy, place Paestum on your must-visit list of world heritage sites to see.

Getting to Paestum: The best way to travel to Paestum from Naples or anywhere in the Amalfi Coast is by car. If you are in Naples, you can also take the regional train which takes around 1hr 15mins to get to Paestum from Naples Central station.


Recommended by JJ from Travel Across The Borderline

Southern Italian town of Sorrento
Image courtesy: JJ from Travel Across The Borderline

Sorrento is a beautiful small town in Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula, in the Campania region. This glamorous stretch of coastline has long been thought of as the gateway to the Amalfi coast and a playground for the rich and famous and it’s easy to see why. Balmy Mediterranean weather, a sun-soaked coastline, stunning vistas and azure waters; Sorrento is the epitome of ‘la dolce vita’. 

There are many ways that you can enjoy your time in Sorrento such as taking part in the evening passeggiata along Corsa Italia, Sorrento’s main shopping street. You could maybe stop for a glass of wine and do some people-watching outside one of the many bars that line the street. Spend time at Villa Comunale, a small park with spectacular views over the Bay of Naples. You’ll be able to spot Mt. Vesuvius and the island of Ischia, making this is an excellent spot to watch the sunset.  

Sorrento isn’t known for its beaches. However, there are a handful of small public beaches and four beach clubs in Marina Piccola. The most popular beach club is Marameo beach. Marameo has sun loungers, cabanas, a hot tub, changing cabins, a great restaurant, canoes to rent and floating sun loungers.

Getting to Sorrento: Sorrento has great transport links and is only an hour away from Naples by train. There are also daily buses to Positano, Amalfi and Ravello and regular ferries to Capri. This makes Sorrento an excellent base for exploring the Amalfi coast. 


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Minori, Italy is a quiet beach village situated in the beautiful Amalfi coast region of southern Italy. It offers visitors a quieter retreat compared to several tourist hotspots nearby, like Amalfi and Positano. The village is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Minori is located at one end of the Path of Lemons, which is a lovely stone trail that winds through the high hills of the region. The path is lined by lemon trees and provides beautiful views of the beaches and sea below. The path also connects Minori with its sister town of Maiori. 

Minori features a small but peaceful beach area lined with cafes. One of the central landmarks of the town is the sunny yellow church, Basilica di Santa Trofimena. 

For history lovers, the Villa Romana e Antiquarium is another top attraction located nearby. The well-preserved ancient Roman Villa dates from the 1st century. It is small but includes interesting historic artifacts and restored tilework. 

Getting to Minori: You can get to Minori by train, car, taxi, or bus from Naples. You can take a 37min train ride from Naples to Salerno. And, then take a 20min taxi ride from Salerno to Minori. The town is about a 50min drive by taxi or car from Naples. The bus offers the cheapest alternative, but the ride takes about 2 hours from Naples. 


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Spiaggia Grande beach in Positano
Spiaggia Grande beach in Positano.
Image courtesy: Elena from The Carry-On Chronicles

Positano is easily one of the most sought after destinations in Southern Italy. Perched atop a cliffside along the Amalfi Coast, picturesque Positano offers breathtaking scenery with its colorful buildings and dramatic seaside location.

While the charming village of Positano offers a laidback vibe, it also provides a range of activities to suit various interests. From sun-soaked beaches, to charming boutiques, to incredible hiking opportunities like the Path of the Gods, there’s more to Positano than its postcard-perfect facade.

Although the famous cliffside village isn’t necessarily known for its history, there are some historic gems to be found here too. The Byzantine-style Church of Santa Maria Assunta is one of the town jewels, dating back to the 12th century.

Getting to Positano: Determining how to get to Positano will take some advance planning, as this Amalfi Coast village is not serviced by any airports and there are no direct train routes. However, there are a couple of different options available, including arranging a private transfer, taking a bus, doing a bus and train combination, or traveling by boat.

Best places to visit in the Campanian archipelago


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Procida in South Italy
The beautiful island town of Procida is a must visit when traveling in Southern Italy.
Image courtesy: Jolene from Wanderlust Storytellers

One charming and colorful island-town in Southern Italy is Procida.

Enjoy the rich and uniquely wonderful Italian architecture in many of the buildings on Procida. From the Santa Maria Delle Grazie with its yellow coat of paint to the pastel-colored houses that rise just above the Mediterranean Sea, all make this town charming and special.

To view the unique residential architecture of Procida, head to the historic center, Terra Murata. You’ll find Casale Vascello which is a large courtyard surrounded by tall brightly colored terraced houses! 

Make sure to visit Abbazia di San Michele Arcangelo. It is a gorgeous Italian church with a decadent interior that is one of the best things to see in Procida.

A cultural gem on the island is Palazzo D’Avalos. There is an archaeological museum, an art gallery, and a beautiful Mediterranean garden, all on-site. Plus, those views over the distant bay of Naples are incredible. 

Whether visiting Procida as a day trip or staying on the island, there are plenty of great places to eat! From lovely cafes selling delicious coffee and pastries to restaurants where you can enjoy traditional Italian pasta and freshly grilled fish, Procida offers several options.

Getting to Procida: Visiting this stunning island is super easy with nearly 30 ferry trips a day directly from the Bay of Naples.


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Ischia in South Italy
Image courtesy: Nadine from Le Long Weekend

The biggest island in the Bay of Naples, Ischia is also the most diverse. Best known for its thermal pools, this island has so much to offer the savvy visitor.

Ischia is blessed with both black and white sand beaches (as well as every other shade in between).

There are several amazing things to do in Ischia including hiking to the top of Monte Epomeo, exploring stunning botanical gardens, sipping on locally grown wines, visiting scintillating sunset spots, and discovering fascinating historical attractions.

Getting to Ischia: To get there, inexpensive ferries depart Naples port daily. For a little more, you can take the faster hydrofoil. In any case, the trip lasts from 50 mins to 1h 30min, so travel time doesn’t have to eat into your vacation.

Once you arrive on the island, you can get around by bus, water or regular taxis, or hire your own car or scooter. Driving in Ischia can take a little getting used to, so for a stress-free journey, perhaps choose one of the other options. 


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The island of Capri is located off the shores of the Amalfi Coast. It is a famous destination known for its beaches, glowing grottos, lemons, Caprese salad, and many famous visitors.

From Marina Grande, take a boat tour around the island to see the famous sights, the blue grotto, Via Krupp and the Faraglioni Rocks. Back on land, jump on the funicular up to Capri town. From there you can wander the cobblestone alleys and shop for handmade Italian leather sandals, where they make them to fit your foot.

When you get hungry, have lunch or dinner at Da Paolino. Enjoy a traditional Italian meal under a twinkling lemon grove, but be sure to book reservations several months in advance.

You can choose to stay on the mainland in a Amalfi town like Positano, and take a day trip from Positano to Capri for a wonderful day adventure. But, try to spend a few nights here as there’s so much to see and do.

The island shuts down many of its shops and restaurants during the winter, so you’ll want to visit between April and October.

Getting to Capri: It’s easy to get to by ferry from many of the Amalfi Coast towns, Sorrento or Naples.

Best places to visit in Sicily, South Italy

Val di Noto

Editor’s choice

Stunning views of Ragusa Ibla by night. Ragusa is definitely a great addition to your 5 day Sicily itinerary.
The old town of Ragusa Ibla by night – one of my favorite places to visit in Southern Italy.

Of all the places in Southern Italy, southeastern Sicily has my heart. And that is because, here, I get to visit the beautiful Baroque towns of Val di Noto.

A devastating earthquake struck Sicily in 1693 and many towns turned into rubble. The authorities decided to resurrect these places in a combined effort. This resulted in the creation of an exceptional group of 8 towns that displayed classic Sicilian Baroque components. They are the Late Baroque Towns of Val di Noto.

Built in late 17th century, these eight towns (Ragusa, Modica, Noto, Scicli, Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, and Palazzolo), are now a UNESCO world heritage site. If you love art and architecture, you’ll love talking a walk through their historic centers. Modica is also famous for its unique chocolate that is still made in the traditional Aztec style.

Getting to Val di Noto: Take a bus (1.5 hours) from Catania Airport to Noto. This is the fastest way to get there. You can also take a train (cheapest) which takes about 3 hours.

Greek temples of Agrigento

Editor’s choice

The majestic Valley of Temples in Agrigento Sicily
Doric temples of Agrigento in Sicily.

There are many wonderful things to do in Sicily and one of them is visiting the Greek Temples of Agrigento on the west coast.

Agrigento or Akragas was once an influential Greek city. A strategic location on the Sicilian coast made Agrigento a powerful place even during Roman rule.

The Greeks built a number of Doric temples in Agrigento. The ensemble, that came to be known as the Valley of Temples, is now a UNESCO site and a beautiful stop on every Sicily itinerary. Some of Agrigento’s unmissable highlights are temples of Concordia, Heracles, Juno, and Dioscuri. Don’t miss the medieval Christian necropolises located behind the Temple of Concordia.

Getting to Agrigento: The best way to get to Agrigento is by regional train from Palermo Central to Agrigento Bassa station. The journey takes around 2 hours.


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Erice Castle in Sicily
Image courtesy: Marianne from Pasta Pretzels & Passports.

If you are looking for a beautiful town to explore in Sicily with kids, then look no further than Erice. Pronounced EH-richay, this 12th-century medieval village sits at the top of Mount Erice and overlooks the region of Trapani.

At 750 m above sea level, the village is surrounded by defensive walls with narrow cobblestone roads running through it. With a population of only about 300 permanent residents, Erice’s historical center is largely intact, clean, and well-kept.

There are public transit buses that run from Palermo to Erice several times daily, depending on the time of the year. You can also choose to drive to Erice, but you will only find a limited number of parking spots located just outside the city walls.

Once inside the walls, be sure to stroll the streets and admire the incredible architecture. With a beautiful church, amazing doorways, and historical courtyards, there are plenty of perfect places to grab that Instagrammable shot!

If you love to shop, Erice has many interesting little shops filled with locally made handicrafts, souvenirs, and delicious sweets and pastries. Do not leave town without trying their signature marzipan fruit, almond biscuits, and pastries, or their incredible cannoli.

Getting to Erice: The easiest way to get to Erice is by car from Trapani (30 min drive). The most exciting way is to take the cable car from Trapani to Erice.


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Greek theater at Taormina
Image courtesy: Veronika from Travel Geekery

The whole island of Sicily is worth exploring but if you need to focus on a single place, let it be Taormina

The small town, located in northeastern Sicily, has it all. Ancient sights, a stunning coastline, great gastronomy, and a chilled vibe – you’ll find everything in Taormina.

The Old Town of Taormina stretches mid-way in a hill, between the gates Porta Messina and Porta Catania. Near Porta Messina, you can find the Ancient Greek Theatre from the 3rd century BC. It offers not just a unique trip to far-flung history, but also stunning views of Mount Etna in the distance and the Ionian Sea below. 

Beaches in Taormina are plentiful too. Accessing them is especially fun – by taking a cable car. Mazzaro beach is beautiful but packed. Instead, opt for Isola Bella Beach a little further away. The beach boasts a unique little islet that you can walk over to and explore for a small fee.

Getting to Taormina: You can get to Taormina easily from Catania – it’s only an hour-long drive. If you’d rather not drive in Europe, then you can take the bus or train.


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The city of Messina in Southern Italy
One of the most beautiful places to visit in Southern Italy – Messina in Sicily.
Image courtesy: Zloyel via CanvaPro

For many travelers to Sicily, Messina is the first city that they will see. For thousands of years, Messina served as an important port city and as a gateway to the Mediterranean. It remains so to this day.

Along with that storied history comes a great number of beautiful, historic buildings for you to discover. The Duomo has stood since its construction in 1551, and was actually designed by a young protege of Michaelangelo.

Climbing up to the top of Tempio Votivo di Cristo Re near the esplanade provides panoramic views of the entire city of Messina and the gulf. More beautiful buildings to explore include Chisea del Carmine, Campostano, and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele III.

Messina is also known for its incredible wines, producing varietals that are rich in history and difficult to find elsewhere. You’ll find them served by the glass at nearly every little restaurant in town, but a nice option is to visit the vineyards themselves. Located just a short distance from the city limits, Cantine Maduado and Tanuta Enza La Fauci are both family-run vineyards that offer tours and tastings to the public with reservations.

Getting to Messina: As the third largest city in Sicily, Messina is easily accessible by public transit from other parts of Italy. The easiest way to get there is by flying into Catania Airport, about 100km away, and then taking a public bus.

Another more scenic option is to fly into Reggio Calabria Airport on the mainland, and then take the ferry across the Mediterranean Sea into the Port of Messina.


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Cathedral in the historic center of Palermo in Sicily
Image courtesy: kavalenkavadesign via CanvaPro

Located on the northern coast of Sicily, Palermo is a beautiful city with a mountainous backdrop and the open sea on the other side.  Wandering the streets of Palermo, visitors can feel the culture within the colorful streets. 

A visit to Teatro Massimo, Italy’s largest opera house, is a must-do when in Palermo. Still in use, the opera house hosts a variety of events and tours, many of which spectators can purchase tickets for in advance

The Capuchin Catacombs has over 8,000 mummified bodies and their significance in Palermo’s history make the place worthy of a visit. 

Get a real taste of Italy here because the original Sicilian Pizza originated in Palermo. Traditionally, the square-shaped Sicilian pizza did not contain mozzarella but eventually evolved into the more modern style Sicilian pizza. 

Do not miss visiting Palermo’s beautiful beaches such as Mondello or Cefalu that invite visitors to take a dip in the crystal blue waters.

Getting to Palermo: The best way to get to Palermo from mainland Italy is to fly to Palermo International Airport. You can also reach Palermo by train by using the train ferry service that crosses the strait of Messina.


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South Italy is packed with places of breathtaking beauty, but there are few places yet to be discovered. If you want a small unspoiled refuge where the beaches are still wild and the skyline is still natural, don’t miss a visit to Favignana, the best-kept secret in Sicily.

Although quite outside the international circuit, it is well known by Italian tourists who triple the population in the summer months, so you are not going to be alone there. This is also an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture in an authentic way.

By renting a bike, in one day, you can explore most of the enchanting bays and beaches (not to be missed Cala Rossa, Cala Azzurra, and Bue Marino). However, the island is best appreciated if you dedicate a few days to it and savor its hidden beauty. Venture towards the slightly more secluded beaches such as Cala Preveto, stop for an aperitif by the sea at sunset, or visit the “giardino dell’impossibile” that recounts the history of the once great tuff quarries of the island.

Getting to Favignana: Favignana can be easily reached from Trapani by hydrofoil. About 30 minutes is all it takes. This makes it an extremely popular destination even for just a day trip.

Best places to visit in Basilicata, South Italy


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Image courtesy: Poike via CanvaPro

Located in the Basilicata region of Southern Italy, Matera has a long and rich history, dating back to the Paleolithic period. Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the oldest continually inhabited settlements in the world. The city is known for its unique architecture, which features cave dwellings that were carved into the rock formations of the surrounding hillsides.

Matera is best explored on foot by wandering the narrow streets and exploring the unique architecture of the renovated Sassi Barisano and preserved Sassi Caveoso areas.

Start your visit by learning the history of Matera at Casa Noha. You can also visit the unique Catholic church Chiesa di Santa Maria di Idris, the Duomo of Matera, and the MUSMA Museum of Contemporary Sculpture.

Getting to Matera: Matera is serviced by public transport but it is slower than other parts of Italy. The best public transportation option is to take a 1.5-hour train ride from Bari. There are also slower bus options from major cities. If you are short on time, renting a car is your best option. 


Editor’s choice

The Greek ruins of Metaponto in Italy South
Image courtesy: Bouganville via CanvaPro

An obscure, little town in the Basilicata region of Southern Italy, Metaponto is often outshined by the more famous Matera. What everyone remains oblivious to is the fact that Metaponto was once built as a Greek city of defense. It is, therefore, home to the last remains of the famous Palatine Tables, a 6th-century BCE Greek temple dedicated to Hera and Apollo.

When in Metaponto, you can visit the Palatine Tables, explore the medieval castle, and check out the National Archaeological Museum.

Metaponto is home to only 1000 people and does not see many visitors. So, if you are looking for a quiet retreat in Italy’s south, Metaponto is the best place to be.

Getting to Metaponto: The easiest way to get to Metaponto from Matera is by driving – takes about 45 mins. You can also take a SITA SUD bus that runs 4 times during the day and gets you there in an hour or so.

Best places to visit in Apulia, South Italy

Polignano a Mare

Recommended by Katerina of It’s All Trip To Me

Polignano o Mare
Image courtesy: Katerina of It’s All Trip To Me

Perched on the cliffs looming over the emerald waters of the Adriatic Sea, Polignano a Mare is one of the best places to visit in Southern Italy. Its compact size makes it easy to wander around its maze-like narrow streets and be seduced by the poems written all over the quaint town’s walls, doors, and stone steps.

While walking around Polignano a Mare, you will find several spots with incredible views of the city and the surrounding landscape. The most popular among them is Terazza Santo Stefano.

However, the best thing to do in Polignano a Mare is to join a boat tour of the sea caves and enjoy the views from the water.

Getting to Polignano a Mare: Polignano a Mare is situated in the northern part of Puglia near Bari. It takes about an hour to get to Polignano a Mare from Bari by train or 40 minutes by car if you’re driving.


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Trulli houses of Alberobello
Trulli houses of Alberobello are unique and so unmissable in Southern Italy.
Image courtesy: Andreaa from Andoreia Travels The World

Alberobello is a charming small town in the Puglia region of Southern Italy. It is best known for its Trulli houses, which were built without the use of mortar. Apparently, the reason behind choosing this unique building technique was to avoid paying high taxes: the locals would simply dismantle the dwellings when tax collectors came into the area. Now, that’s innovative!

Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Alberobello is to stroll along the small streets while admiring the unique architecture of its Trulli homes. A guided Trulli tour is a great way to do it.

But you should also sample some of the local dishes like the popular Orecchiette pasta and the special Puglia cheese called Pallone di Gravina. Be sure to visit the unique Sant’Antonio Church with a conical roof.

Getting to Alberobello: Alberobello is a great idea for a day trip from Bari, the capital city of Puglia. It can be easily reached by car, bus, or train. However, out of these options, the train is probably the most comfortable one.

While the trains leave from Bari Central Station, you should be aware that the route is operated by Ferrovie Sud-Est and their ticket booth is not inside the actual station, but directly on the platform.


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Bari, Italy is the capital of Puglia and is best known for its gorgeous old town. Bari was once fortified with a wall that dates back to the 4th century BC, with a restored section still standing today. The city sits along the Adriatic Sea and you can see fisherman tenderizing octopus right on the rocks. 

The best thing to do in Bari is to wander its maze of shady, winding streets. You’ll see locals congregating outside shops conversing loudly or passing chairs to be arranged in a circle for friends and family to sit and chat.  

Bari is also an excellent foodie city with a specialty in focaccia, especially from Panificio Fiore. The signature pasta of the region is orecchiette, which you’ll see at local stalls and tourist shops in all sorts of colors.  Or course, it would be a mistake to leave Bari without eating any octopus, whether grilled, in a sandwich, or chopped in a salad.

Bari is the perfect base for several day trips, including seaside Polignano a Mare or the fascinating UNESCO towns of Matera and Alberobello.  

Getting to Bari: To reach Bari, you can either fly into Bari International Airport or take the train to Bari Centrale.  If you don’t plan to do much day tripping, a rental car is not necessary. However, the charming historical towns within Puglia are a road tripper’s dream, so renting a car is still recommended for longer Italy itineraries.


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Lecce in Italy
Image courtesy: Anda from Travel For a While

When visiting southern Italy, most tourists keep close to the coast, looking for the most picturesque villages. However, there are treasures to be found inland too. Lecce’s nickname is the Florence of the south because of its rich Baroque architecture.

It’s a pleasure to wander its streets lined with the typical Lecce stone buildings. Lecce’s history goes back a long time, and you can still admire the Roman amphitheater in the heart of the city. The old part of the city is locked within the old city gates dating from the 16th century.

There are more reasons to visit Lecce, besides the architecture. The city has a good vibe, with locals going out often and also an artsy feeling with boutique art shops almost everywhere. Add to that a great food scene, good weather and the proximity to not one, but both the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea and you have a great destination on your hands.

Getting to Lecce: The best way to get to Lecce is by flying into Brindisi Airport, which is just 25 miles away. From Brindisi, you can take a bus to Lecce.


Recommended by Megan from Megan & Aram

Monopoli beach in Italy's south coast
Image courtesy: Megan from Megan & Aram

One of the best places to visit in Southern Italy is the beautiful coastal city of Monopoli, in the countryʻs Puglia region. This city does get tourists, but it is often overshadowed by other greats nearby (such as Polignano a Mare and Alberobello). However, you will find so many incredible things to do in Monopoli that it makes for the perfect base to explore the region!

If you are a beach lover and are visiting Monopoli during the warmer months, head to Porto Ghiacciolo. A long walk (or short drive) away from the city center, this beach sits at the foot of the Abbey of Santo Stefano, a castle that really makes for a unique setting! There is also a bar and a DJ here, making it a lively spot to spend the day. Another popular beach in Monopoli is Cala Porta Vecchia, a public beach that is located not too far from the center.

If you’re into history, be sure to check out the Monopoli Cathedral, the city’s old town, the views at Castello di Carlo, and the Il Bastione del Molino ruins right on the seafront. Before leaving Monopoli, be sure to grab dinner at one of the many seafood restaurants in the city, such as Komera, Cucina Nostra.

Getting to Monopoli: You can easily reach Monopoli by train from other places around the region and it is a short and direct train journey from Bari. The city is pretty walkable, so you will not need to rent a car or take public transportation (unless you are heading to Porto Ghiacciolo or somewhere further outside of the city).

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Traveling to South Italy? Grab this list of the best places to visit in Southern Italy that you totally need to have in your South Italy travel bucket list. #SouthItaly #Italy #SouthernItaly

Soumya is an acclaimed travel writer who has traveled to 30+ countries and lived in 8 while pursuing her passion for history and culture. Her writings have been published in BBC Travel, Architectural Digest, National Herald, and many more. She loves exploring world heritage sites and has a deep affinity for everything ancient, especially the lost civilizations of Mesoamerica!

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