All you need to know to plan your trip to Puglia with kids. Best places to visit in Puglia with children, family-friendly activities, tips and itinerary ideas
Puglia is the beautiful region forming the heel of the Italian boot and one of the best places for a family vacation with kids in Italy.
The region is very popular with Italian families, attracted by its beautiful sandy beaches and kid-friendly small towns.
Until a few years ago, Puglia was primarily a place with local and European tourism.
Nowadays, Puglia’s notoriety has soared and you don’t have anymore that hidden gem’ feel.
However, Puglia has so far managed to maintain a strong personality so while you won’t be the only foreigner there, you’ll definitely feel you are in a real (dare I say authentic?) place!
I love Puglia, and so did my kids, during our last trips.
We have been to Puglia several times, in spring, summer and fall.
The kids adored the beaches, the crystal clear waters and the fairytale villages; we adults loved the architecture and historical cities.
We all fell head over heels in love with the Apulian food, even my daughter, who is notoriously difficult!
In this guide, I share our top tips for visiting Puglia with kids and family-friendly attractions in Puglia you may like, based on our own experience and travels.
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Photo credit: this article features my own photos as well as photos from Depositphotos. No reproduction is allowed.
Why visit Puglia with kids
Puglia is a fantastic place for families who:
- Wish to reland on sandy, child-friendly beaches (late spring, summer)
- Want to explore small villages and UNESCO sites
- Do not wish to avail of many organized tours or activities for kids and are happy with DIY sightseeing.
- Have a car
Why not visit Puglia with kids
The only reasons not to visit Puglia with kids are practical considerations about transport and season.
- Puglia has limited train connections, mostly connecting towns in the Bari area and Bari with Lecce. These connections are great for reaching the area but are not sufficient to allow for extensive exploring.
Farms, country stays, country estates, many villages and the most beautiful beaches are reachable by car only and the lack of one will be very limiting.
- Puglia is seasonal and it is important to plan your family trip around the weather. In winter, the main activities in Puglia are town hopping and sightseeing: you won’t be able to swim, take bat trips or enjoy the pool until May, at least. Indoor activities for children are limited.
- Puglia gets very hot in summer: while this makes it ideal for a sea and sun vacation, be careful if planning sightseeing in summer with kids as the sun and heat can get really intense here.
Where is Puglia – map
The best places to visit in Puglia with kids
The Gargano Peninsula
Gargano is the peninsula stretching from the north of Puglia into the Adriatic sea and it is one of the most beautiful places in Puglia for families who love nature and sea swimming.
The area is part of the Gargano National Park and it is famous for its beautiful carsic white rocks and stunning marine landscapes.
If you have older kids, you can take beautiful excursions here on foot and by bike and, in the good season, you have plenty of lovely beaches and boat excursions.
Things to see in Gargano with kids are:
- Enjoy the nature of the National Park
- Visit The Paleontology Museum of San Marco in Lamis, where you can see actual dinosaur footprints (this is one of the best places to visit in Puglia with kids!)
- Admire The Santuario di San Michele al’Agelo (Sanctuary), Unesco world heritage site
- Take a boat trip to the fabulous Tremiti islands, perfect for older kids who love snorkeling especially
- Enjoy family-friendly beaches such as Rodi Garganico, Vieste
A great family resort in this area is Gattarella Resort in Vieste, which is packed with activities for kids.
The area of Bari is my favorite in Puglia for a family vacation.
Here, you find many beautiful towns, pretty beaches and some of the best kids attractions in the whole of Puglia.
In the area, you find:
Castel del Monte (Castel), Indiana Adventure Park, Castellana Caves, Fasano Zoo, Aqua par Egnazia water park, several cute beaches and a plethora of delightful towns to visit such as Trani, Polignano, Monopoli, Alberobello and Martina Franca.
Monopoli is a delightful small town in the Bari province and my favorite place in Puglia for kids.
The town has a pretty, car-free, charming historical center, it is one the coast and offers easy access to water in summer and it has a wonderful family-friendly vibe, with safe roads, many kid-friendly restaurts, playgrounds and een sport pitches where to meet local kids!
Monopoli has small beaches in town but it is close to sandy stretches of coastline and is perfectly located to explore the rest of the area with day trips.
You can find here >> my guide to Monopoli with kids (includes accommodation and restaurant recommendations)
Trani and Castel del Monte
Trani is a small seaside town on the Adriatic coast with something special: a medieval church in Romanesque style right on the sea.
I know a church does not immediately scream kid-friendly but the duomo of Trani truly is special: located where you’d expect a lighthouse, its cream color stands against the blue of the sea and the sky like a vision – both our children stopped in their tracks when they saw it!
The church is the one main landmark of Trani. However, the town is lovely to visit with kids as very pretty and local.
With small children, you are likely to spend most of the time in the public park (it has a nice playground) and along the marina, which is full of lovely restaurants. Older kids are likely to enjoy a bike tour of the town too.
From Trani, I highly recommend you take the time to visit nearby Castel del Monte.
It si a short drive outside the town and Unesco world heritage site – perfect especially for kids of primary school age and up.
Castel del Monte Is a medieval castle dating back to the times of Federick the II and has a peculiar octagonal structure that makes it unique.
Polignano a Mare
Polignano al Mara is a small village on the Paulian coast that has recently risen to international fame thanks to its instagrammable position on a white rock hanging over the bluest sea you can imagine!
Polignano is tiny and beautiful but, in summer especially, a victim of its own fame: its tiny beach gets super busy!
This is nonetheless a lovely town to visit and great for a stroll with the kids.
Have gelato here and make them hear ‘Volare – Nel blu dipinto di blu’ one of the most famous Italian songs written by Polignano al Mare’s most famous son: Domenico Modugno.
Grotte di Castellana
Grotte di Castellana (Castellana Caves) is a unique place to visit in Puglia with kids who love a bit of adventure!
Over 122 meters deep, the caves are easy to access and are a fantastic place to see fossils, stalagmites and stalactites – they feel e little like a natural, underground cathedral!
You can visit during the day but, for something special, you can also take a night excursion to see the caves at their quietest and even experience them in complete darkness, which must be fantastic with teenagers especially.
My little daughter screamed in panic when we experienced complete darkness during a cave visit (not this one, we had learned our lesson by then), so you need to know your kids for this one!)
Web address: Grotte di Castellana
Alberobello is one of the prettiest towns in Puglia and the whole of Italy and one of the most famous.
It is the place where you have the Trulli, peculiar houses with whitewashed walls and pointy roofs that resemble fairy houses or hobbit houses even.
Trulli are always a hit with kids and my two adored the option of sleeping in one. However, there is not a lot for kids to do in Alberobello. This is very much a place to see the cute trulli and stop for a lazy lunch.
The one thing we found truly interesting for kids was a visit to Trullo Sovrano: this is the largest trullo in Alberobello and it is now a museum of rural local culture, which is educational and easy to enjoy with kids.
Alberobello gets very very busy as buses offload large groups of tourists pretty much all day long. Therefore, I recommend you stay the night so you can see Alberobello before and after the day-trippers.
During the day, iI recommend ou go to nearby Locorotondo.
Just 10 minutes by car from Alberobello, Locorotondo is one of the most pleasant towns we have seen in Puglia and a world apart from its famous neighbor.
Here, you do not have a city center made of trulli, but you do have gorgeous whitewashed alleys that hide stunning churches and picture-perfect courtyards.
Clean, beautiful and quiet, Locorotondo Is like someone’s living room: a welcoming, beautiful place to relax.
Locorotondo is a great base to explore Val D’Itria, a part of Puglia characterized by wonderful olive groves (Puglia is an important producer of olive oil) dotted with traditional Trulli.
This is also one of the best areas in Puglia in terms of kids activities
Close to Lcorotondo and Monopoli, you find two of the mosy popular kids attractions in Puglia: Aquapark Egnazia and Fasano Safari Zoo, respectively the largest water park in Southern Italy and the second-largest animal park in Europe!
Martina Franca is a small historical town in Puglia surrounded by tall walls that hide a wonderful city center.
Here you have small whitewashed winding streets, pretty squares but also something extraordinary: a series of baroque churches so distinctive and unique they belong to a particular type of baroque called Barocco Martinese’.
Martina Franca Is beautiful and more prominent than Locorotondo and, like its neighbors, makes a great base to discover Puglia or an excellent destination for a day trip.
Martina Franca is adorable with kids: its small streets are car-free, safe and pretty, there are plenty of gelato places and you can even visit an olive oil mill and learn how the delicious local olive oil comes to life, from tree to bottle!
Find here >> our guide to Martina Franca <<<
Salento is the southernmost part of Puglia, the very end of the heel of Italy.
It is famous Lecce, a city so rich of art it is called the Florence of the south, and for its beaches, among the most beautiful not just in Puglia big in the whole of Italy.
When you see photos of Puglia with white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, they are usually from here!
You can find here >>> my family guide to Salento with kids
Places we enjoyed in Salento are:
Lecce is a wonderful city with a kid-friendly and car-free town center, beautiful squares and a stunning ancient Roman theater.
Famous for the craft of Paper Mache, Lecce is a great destination for children in spring or winter, when you are likely to want a city setting rather than a beach vacation.
Gappilpoli is a wonderful, well-equipped family-friendly town n Salento, overlooking the Tyrrhenian sea.
The town has a beautiful, charming and car-free center that is pleasant for kids to explore and experience, it is very well equipped with restaurants and hotels and it is close to the famous Salento beaches.
Find here >>> our guide to Gallipoli with kids and why we love it.
Porto Cesareo is a resort town surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy, the famous Caribbean-looking beaches of Puglia!
Among the best family-friendly beaches in Puglia’s Salento there are:
Punta Prosciutto – with stunning dunes and white sand.
Torre Lapillo – large, almost white super soft sandy beach
Pescoluse, the Maldive of Salento’, with a beach and water so clear, you won’t believe you are in Italy!
Torre san Giovanni – Another nice area to visit with kids here is the Alimini Lakes (Laghi Alimini) which have incredible biodiversity and are a good place to spot birds and fish.
Kids’ activities in Puglia
Puglia has several fun adventure parks, perfect for kids of all ages.
If going in summer, just make sure you bring plenty of water and sunscreen: despite the trees, it gets very hot here!
Aquapark Egnazia Water Park (Bari)
The biggest water park in this part of Italy, Aqua Park Egnazia is a water paradise for kids with pools, slides, water playground for the youngest visitors etc.
Web Address: https://www.aquaparkegnazia.it/
Fasano Safari and amusement park
one of the most popular kids’ attractions in Puglia is Fasano Zoo and amusement park, a place where you can spend the day watching and learning about animals and then have your adrenalin fix on the FasanoLan rides of the amusement park.
Web address: https://zoosafari.it/
Parco Avventura Indiana Park Castellana Grotte (Bari)
When kids need something different from sightseeing, Parco Avventura Indiana Park comes to the rescue!
Maybe the most popular in the region, this park has tree trails for kids age 2-5, 6-11 and 12+, as well as picnic and BBQ area, Tibetan bridges and climbing walls.
The park is an outdoor paradise for kids with ziplines and tree adventure paths and it has areas for young kids (mini-park for 2 to 5) as well as an area for older visitors.
The park has picnic tables for an easy day out with the kids.
Web address: Parco Avventura Indiana Park
Torremattoni (Ginosa Marina, Taranto):
Torremattoni Adventure Park is in the Taranto area and has zip lines, treetop trails (several levels, for kids age 2 and up, teens and adults).
Parco dei Briganti (Acquaviva delle Fonti, Bari)
kids’ adventure park with tree trails, sensory paths and a labyrinth
Web Address: http://www.parcodeibriganti.it/
Il Ciuchino Birichino
Ostuni Adventure Park (Ostuni, Brindisi): adventure park in lovely Ostuni, offering tree trails, archery falconry, carriage rides and hiking trails
If you prefer a day of water fun, your kids may enjoy Egnazia Water Park – Official website here while for a unique safari experience with amusement park rides on the side, they may enjoy FasanoLandia safari and amusement park.
Please note: the amusement parks in this area are very popular. On busy days, you may find a very long line even just to get in.
Coming early is essential as, once the park is at capacity, newcomers are turned away.
More things to do in Puglia with kids
Eat the incredible Apulian food
Puglia has amazing food, distinctive and among the most delicious in Italy.
Not to be missed are ‘orecchiette con le cime di rapa‘, which are a local handmade pasta (orecchiette) with local tender stem broccoli.
Also, broad beans puree, surprisingly delicious and satisfying and stracciatella Pugliese (made with burrata) are worth tasting and only the most famous of a true cornucopia of local deliciousness!
‘Discerning’ kids will be able to enjoy orecchiette pasta with tomato sauce, which we found in all restaurants.
Experience a night in a trullo
Alberobello’s trulli are traditional dwellings, often dating back to the XVII century.
However, they have been restored, and now many serve as luxury accommodations.
Spending a night in one of them is memorable and a must-have Puglia experience!
Trulli you may enjoy are:
Trulli Anti – delightful set of trulli in the heart of Alberobello, offering perfectly appointed accommodation n the heart of trulli’s capital (several trulli, suitable for different needs)
Trulli Terra Magica – fabulous structure in Putignano offering accommodation in a trullo and swimming pool
Get lost in the white cities.
Several of the prettiest cities in Puglia fall in the category of ‘white cities,’ towns entirely made of whitewashed buildings framing meandering alleys.
The best way to explore them is without a map. You will get lost, but always find your way back!
This is the best way to see the prettiest courtyards and hidden corners of these little gems of local architecture.
The most beautiful white town of Puglia are: Ostuni, Locorotondo, Martina Franca, Cisternino, Ceglie Messapica, Molfetta.
Experience Taranta Night
Participate in Notte della Taranta, ‘Taranta night’ or ‘Night of the Tarantula’, a night celebrating the traditional music of Salento, the Pizzica.
The night is more than just a pleasant concert: pizzica is the music that locals played to exorcise the women affected by ‘tarantism,’ a form of hysteria that was associated with the bite of the tarantula and that the music and accompanying dance were believed to cure.
Where to stay in Puglia with kids – family friendly accommodation in Puglia
Puglia is a large region, so this is only a small selection of places I believe you will love for a family vacation.
As you will see, many of these accommodation options are called Masserie.
Masseria is the traditional country estate of Puglia and many are now converted into guest accommodation. Fantastic places to experience Puglia with kids!
Gatterella Family resort in Vieste (all-inclusive resort for families)
Masseria Torre Egnazia (Luxury) – stunning Masseria offering family-friendly accommodation, cafes, restaurants and bars on site, pools and kids club for children age 3 tp 12 and a teen club up to age 16.
Agriturismo Tenuta Chianchizza – lovely country stay near Monopoli offering family rooms, restaurant on site, seasonal pool, playground and the opportunity to get close to the farm animals of the estate.
Masseria Torre Coccaro (Luxury) – high-end, all-inclusive Masseria stay offering family accommodation, restaurant, and waterpark for littles. Beach club and many activities onsite and nearby for adults and kids
Masseria Santa Teresa, a beautiful property with family rooms, large grounds and a pool
Masseria Le Carrube – beautiful Masseria near Ostuni with family rooms and excellent on site restaurant (kid-friendly).
Agriturismo Lama San Giorgio – wonderful country stay with outdoor pool and restaurant offering families large spaces and the option of booking several activities in the area, including wine tours, bike rides etc.
The best time to go to Puglia with kids
The best time to go to Puglia with kids for sightseeing is the fall and the spring.
At this time, you have the highest chance of nice weather without the summer’s scorching temperatures and you may get fewer crowds.
Our most successful trip to Puglia as a family was in late October / early November: the only busy place we encountered was Alberobello and the weather was perfect!
The best time to visit Puglia’s beaches is the summer: late June, early July and September are a little less busy than August and you have the highest chance of clean beaches and non-overwhelming crowds.
How to get around Puglia with kids
The best way to visit Puglia with kids is by car.
While trains will bring you to Puglia from the rest of Italy, you want your own transport to move between towns and enjoy Puglia’s nature.
Find here >>> our tips for renting a car in Italy
What to eat in Puglia
Puglia has amazing food, in large part perfect for kids too. Puglia’s specialties include:
- Orecchiette (pasta)
- Orecchiette al pomodoro (orecchiette pasta with smile tomato sauce)
- Orecchiette con le cime di rapa (vegetarian pasta)
- Ciceri e tria – a local type of pasta with chickpeas
- Stracciatella pugliese – shredded burrata (cheese)
- Pure’ di fave – surprisingly pleasant and flavorsome broad bean mash
- Cartellate pugliesi – sweet, honey-based confection
- Taralli – small knots of bread dough not dissimilar in taste from a breadstick (but nicer!) – a kids’ favorite snack!
- Pane di Altamura – bread
- Caciocavallo – cheese
What to pack for Puglia
What to pack for Puglia depends on the season of your visit.
In summer, Puglia gets very hot, so summer clothes, swimming gear and sandals are in order
In winter, Puglia can get surprisingly cold, so you want to make sure you have a proper coat, gloves, scarf and closed shoes
In the mid-season, there is an element of luck: compared with the north of Italy, Puglia gets better weather however, it is not unusual to have cold spells or, suddenly, a warm day!
For Puglia in spring or fall, I recommend layers, long pants and a mid-season jacket, to be ready for all eventualities.
I hope you found this overview of the best places to visit in Puglia with kids useful. Happy travel planning!
Visiting Puglia with kids – pin this!
This post ‘Puglia with kids’ was published in 2022 and has now been fully updated based on our latest family trip to Puglia in 2023.