Polignano a Mare is a town in Puglia (the heel of Italy), on the southern Adriatic coast. It is one of the most gorgeous, recognisable and photographed destinations in Puglia.
Although not a destination packed with millions of must-sees and top-rated sights, it's an ideal place for cultural relaxation and exploring the Italian lifestyle. My recommendations are as follow.
I suggest an accommodation right in Polignano's charming Old Town, if you can swing it. I stayed at San Michele Suites. It's about a 35-min taxi from Bari Airport (flat rate of €90). The old, historic part of town is a pedestrian zone, so you'll get dropped off outside the main arch entrance and then have to walk a few minutes to the property. Although difficult to find at first, the staff will be in touch ahead of time (via What's App) and can help direct/greet you.
After checking in and getting settled, as your first order of business, go get lost in the Old Town's winding and narrow streets.
One of the most interesting things about Polignano a Mare’s Old Town is that throughout the city, adorned on the streets, walls, stairs and doors, are lines from poems. The graffiti has been done by a man known as ‘Guido Il Flâneur’, but it is not his own words. ‘Flâneur’ is an 18th Century term for French gentlemen who strolled the streets sharing their passion for literature.
Nestled right next to Old Town is Lama Monachile (also called Cala Porto), a compact public cove known for its clear water & pebble beach, flanked by dramatic, rugged cliffs.
Another way to enjoy Polignano a Mare is by joining a boat tour and visiting some of the countless sea caves that are situated at the foot of the town’s cliffs. Seeing Polignano from the water offers a unique view and drinking a couple cups of prosecco in a rainbow cave is pretty special. The seas were choppy for my tour and I got fairly wet, so maybe bring a towel.
Post boat-tour, if you're like me and want to continue on the prosecco parade, and the weather is nice, the following terraces could be options for you: Lime, Aquamarea and Lamare. I didn't get a chance to visit il Bastione nor Terrace Monachile, but both looked like great additional possibilities.
If you feel like treating yourself to a dining experience you won’t forget, make a booking at Grotta Palazzese. Hidden within an ancient cave, this restaurant has a spectacular terrace overlooking the water. It's definitely not for those on budget, but if you fancy splurging, you’ll unlikely find a more magical restaurant in all of Puglia. Although they do offer blankets, it can get quite chilly on cold night, so dress accordingly (but also nicely).
I only had three days to explore, so I stayed in Polignano a mare the whole time, but I would highly recommend spending a longer amount of time in Puglia and hiring a car to tour a wider range the Italy's heel.