Polignano a Mare is a charming coastal town in the Puglia region in southern Italy that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. If you plan to visit this picturesque town, you might be wondering what to do and see. In this blog post, we’ve put together a Polignano a Mare itinerary that highlights the best attractions and activities.
From exploring the historic center to soaking up the sun on the beaches and sampling local seafood, this itinerary will help you make the most of your trip to Polignano a Mare. So, let’s get started!
Polignano a Mare Itinerary
Polignano a Mare is a charming coastal town located in the region of Puglia, in southern Italy. The town is situated on a rocky promontory overlooking the Adriatic Sea, with a picturesque historic center and stunning sea views.
Polignano a Mare is famous for its crystal-clear waters, stunning sea caves, and beautiful beaches, including the popular Lama Monachile beach, which is nestled between two cliffs and known for its unique pebble and rock formations.
The town’s historic center is also a must-visit, with its narrow streets, whitewashed buildings, and charming cafes and restaurants. One of the most popular attractions is the Piazza Aldo Moro, the main square of the town, which is surrounded by beautiful buildings and features a terrace with breathtaking sea views.
Polignano a Mare is also home to several landmarks and cultural sites, such as the Chiesa Matrice di Santa Maria Assunta, a beautiful Baroque church, and the Palazzo Marchesale, a historic palace that now houses the town’s public library.
In addition, Polignano a Mare hosts several cultural and culinary events throughout the year, including the “Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series” and the “Gelato Festival,” which celebrates the town’s delicious gelato.
Overall, Polignano a Mare is a must-visit destination in Italy, offering visitors a glimpse into the country’s rich history and culture, as well as the chance to experience its breathtaking natural beauty and unique coastal charm.
Getting to Polignano a Mare
Getting to Polignano a Mare is easy by public transportation! All you have to do is get to Bari by either flying into the Bari Airport or taking a bus to the central station (we took a bus from Napoli to Bari). Then go to the Bari Centrale Train Station, buy a ticket, and take the 15-30 minute train to Polignano a Mare!
Tickets cost only $3-15 per person (depending on the season) for one way and leave about every 30 minutes. You can either buy it in person when you get to the station or buy it on Omio.com if you want to buy the ticket ahead of time.
Check Into Your Accommodation
Once we got to Polignano a Mare it was just a 10-minute walk to our accommodation. It was such a cute little place and most importantly had air conditioning!
Expect to pay around $100 per night for budget accommodation if you want to be in the center. If you are willing to pay up to $300 per night for a room then check out the Covo dei Saraceni, a 4-star hotel that is located in the heart of the historic center and offers sea views, a rooftop terrace, and a restaurant.
If you book early enough before your trip then you should be able to find something for under $150 on Expedia. We booked our stay for 2 nights so we had a full day to explore Polignano and take it all in.
Lama Monachile (Poignano a Mare Beach)
After we got checked in we went straight to the beach! Lama Monachile is the main beach in Polignano a Mare and is the reason why everyone wants to go.
Lama Monachile, also known as Cala Porto, is a stunning pebble beach located in the heart of Polignano a Mare. It’s nestled between two cliffs and features crystal-clear waters that are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and cliff jumping!
The beach is accessible via a narrow staircase that leads down to the sea. The beach can get very crowded during peak season (we got to the beach around 3 PM and it was packed!)
The rest of the day we relaxed on the beach until sunset, went up to prepare for dinner and went to bed.
Punto Panoramico Largo Ardito
The next day we woke up, went to a cafe, and then went to the farthest point that we would have to walk to which was the Punto Panoramico Largo Ardito.
This viewpoint was amazing because you could see the Centro Storico and Grotta Ardito delle Caldaie in one shot!
Centro Storico Polignano a Mare (Old Town)
From there it was a long walk back to the city where we got to see the Centro Storico Polignano a Mare.
There were so many colorful buildings and shops around!
Another thing that you will see all over the city is poetry and little quotes! This is because the famous Italian writer Guido Lupori (or Guido il Flâneur) lived in Polignano a Mare in the 80s and put his favorite poems and quotes around the city.
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II
Inside the Centro Storico is the Church of Saint Mary. The Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption (Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta) is a beautiful historic church located in the heart of the Centro Storico of Polignano a Mare, a town in the Apulia region of southern Italy. The church dates back to the 13th century and is one of the most important religious landmarks in the town.
Right next to the church is the Palazzo dell’Orologio. The name of the building derives from the presence of a clock and bell tower that was added to the structure in the 18th century.
The palace has been restored and renovated several times over the centuries, and today it houses the Town Hall of Polignano a Mare.
Belvedere su Lama Monachile
After walking through the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II we made our way to the best viewpoint called Belvedere su Lama Monachile.
The overlook is located on a promontory that juts out over the sea, providing panoramic views of the beach and the cliffs that surround it. From this vantage point, visitors can see the turquoise waters of the sea crashing against the rocky shore, and they can take in the picturesque whitewashed houses and narrow streets of the town.
Belvedere su Lama Monachile is easily accessible from the town center, and it is a popular spot for photography and sightseeing.
Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the promenade that leads to the overlook, and they can relax on benches and enjoy the views. The belvedere is also a great place to watch the sunset over the sea, making it a romantic destination for couples visiting Polignano a Mare.
Snorkeling and Cliff Jumping at Lama Monachile
After we saw the city it felt like we were going to die of heat exhaustion so it was time to go back to the beach!
The water here is crystal clear and there are so plenty of fish around! After swimming for a while it was time for what I came here to do. Cliff jump!
Polignano a Mare has been the venue for the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in the past, which is a high-profile international cliff diving competition organized by Red Bull.
The competition takes place at the stunning location of Lama Monachile beach, where the athletes jump from a height of 27 meters (89 feet) into the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea. The event attracts some of the world’s best cliff divers, who compete against each other by performing acrobatic and graceful dives.
The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series is a thrilling and exciting event, but it’s important to note that it’s not an activity that should be attempted by inexperienced individuals. Cliff diving at such a height can be extremely dangerous and requires rigorous training and preparation.
There are so many spots for cliff jumping here. For beginners, the best spot is just a short walk from the beach through a cave called Grotta Piana which is to the left of the main beach.
Once you go through the cave you will come out on a little rock outcropping then it’s just a short swim to the cliffs!
You can also just swim from the beach which is what we did because the cave is pretty gross. For the more advanced cliff jumpers, you can access the cliffs from the main city near the Belvedere su Lama Monachile (can you see the cliff jumper in the photo below?)
After swimming and cliff jumping all day it was time to head back up to the city and get ready for dinner.
Casa Mia Trattoria Pizzeria
We decided to go to the Casa Mia Trattoria Pizzeria which is one of the top-rated restaurants in Polignano a Mare.
The pizza was really good (not as good as Napoli though!) and we got there early enough that we didn’t have to worry about a reservation.
Dayna got the diavola pizza and I got one with stracciatella cheese (should have just gotten the bufala). If you are looking for a place with great pizza then this is the place for you. They also have local dishes and fresh seafood if pizza isn’t your thing.
Sunset Walk to Belvedere Terrazza Santo Stefano (Pietra Piatta)
After dinner, we took a walk to the Belvedere Terrazza Santo Stefano to watch the sunset and get a beautiful view of Polignano a Mare on our last night.
The sunsets in Polignano are amazing and Belvedere Terrazza Santo is the perfect place to watch!
Nel Blu Dipinto Di Luci & Via Roma Street
After watching the sunset we made our way back to the city to see Via Roma at night. Via Roma starts from the famous Piazza Aldo Moro, which is the main square of the town and runs towards the sea.
It’s a lively and vibrant street, popular with locals and tourists alike. Visitors can stroll along the street, taking in the beautiful architecture and enjoying the atmosphere.
On this street, you will also see the Nel Blu Dipinto Di Luci. As you can see in the picture below there are words that are lit up above the street. These are lyrics to the famous song “Nel blu dipinto di blu” or “Volare”. They did this because the person who sang this song is from Polignano.
His name is Domenico Modugno and he was an Italian singer, songwriter, and actor. He was one of the most prominent Italian artists of the 20th century, known for his unique voice, songwriting abilities, and acting skills. So this whole street is a tribute to him and to his most famous song.
There is also a Domenico Modugno Statue but it was under construction when we were there. After we were done walking down the street and looking at the shops it was time to head home and that concludes the itinerary!
Tours to Book in Polignano
Although we didn’t book any tours when we were in Polignano there are plenty to choose from!
This tour leaves from Polignano and offers a unique opportunity to witness the striking grottoes and caverns that can only be accessed by sea.
You will be taken on a cruise to view more than a dozen caves, taking time to pause and capture photos of the distinctive coastal formations. You can also take a refreshing swim during a brief stop and enjoy a toast with Prosecco on board.
Your journey will commence at the designated meeting point. Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, you will walk across the Bourbon Bridge to arrive at the most renowned and awe-inspiring panoramic views of the beach, Lama Monachile.
As you progress on the tour, you will also get to witness another bridge constructed by the ancient Romans. Later on, you will access the old city via the Arco Marchesale, which was the only entry point to the town up until the late 18th century.
Finally, the tour will conclude with a visit to the statue of the celebrated Italian singer, Domenico Modugno, where your guide will enlighten you on the history of his life.
How Many Days Should You Spend in Polignano a Mare?
It depends on what you plan to do. We had about 1.5 days and thought that it was a good amount of time to do everything in the city.
If you plan on doing other cities besides Polignano then you only need one full day in Polignano and then you can focus on other cities like Monopoli, Ostuni, Brindisi or the farther ones like Lecce, Trani, Gargano, Gallipoli, and Matera.
Is Polignano a Mare Worth a Visit?
Yes, Polignano a Mare is definitely worth a visit! This small town located on the Adriatic coast of southern Italy has a lot to offer visitors, from its stunning scenery to its rich history and culture.
One of the main attractions of Polignano a Mare is its beautiful old town, which is perched on top of a cliff overlooking the sea. The town’s narrow streets and whitewashed houses are a joy to explore, and there are plenty of cafes, restaurants, and shops to discover along the way.
In addition to its charming old town, Polignano a Mare is also famous for its stunning coastline, which features towering cliffs, hidden coves, and crystal-clear waters. There are several beaches in the area, including Lama Monachile, a small pebble beach that is one of the most photographed spots in the town.
Polignano a Mare also has a rich cultural heritage, with several historic churches, museums, and other landmarks that are worth a visit. The town’s most famous attraction is the Grotta Palazzese, a cave restaurant that is built into a cliff overlooking the sea.
Overall, Polignano a Mare is a beautiful and charming town that is well worth a visit, whether you are interested in history, culture, or simply soaking up the stunning scenery.