How to Travel Through Puglia Without a Car

Located in the south east of Italy (in the heel of the boot as I say), Puglia has become a popular holiday destination for people around the world thanks to its stunning coastline, incredible food, historic towns and beautiful hotels. The coastline of Puglia stretches for around 800km, it is a large region with key vacation spots spread all around.

Due to its size and the remoteness of some of its best hotels, most people choose to hire a car in Puglia, however, this isn’t strictly necessary. Italy as a whole has a brilliant transport system with trains often connecting even the small towns and villages together, it also has a pretty reliable bus service to reach those places trains can’t get to.

Taking the train in Italy

Getting around Italy by train is a great way to travel, it is good for the environment, it’s quick, and it’s comfortable.

Booking your tickets

If you want peace of mind and ease at the train station, I would recommend booking your trains in advance. This means no last minute panics checking the timetable or validating your tickets, because it is already done. I book all my train travel through Trainline which offers an easy to use app that stores all your tickets.

Validating your tickets

I mentioned up there that booking via Trainline dodges having to remember to validate your train ticket, however there are some people who prefer to purchase tickets at the station for more flexibility. In Italy, you MUST validate your tickets or you risk being fined, this is simple to do, you just have to remember to do it! There are validation machines around each station which stamps your ticket, if you cannot find one, please ask a station staff member for help.

Which towns in Puglia have a train station?

It’s worth noting that whilst Italy has an extensive train network, not every place has a train station. If you want a super easy trip, it is worth choose to stay in or visit the places that do have a train station.

If you are visiting Puglia first it is likely you will fly into Bari, you are able to take a train from Bari Airport to Bari Central in order to start your itinerary. For ease, I will discuss each town accessibly by train from Bari, and then i will put together a suggested itinerary on how to visit Puglia’s best locations by train.

Polignano a Mare

Polignano a Mare is a picturesque seaside town with one of the most recognisable beaches in Italy. The historic town makes way to breathtaking coastal scenery thanks to its dramatic cliffs, hidden caves and the shimmering Adriatic Sea.

The town itself is filled with a warren of alleyways, shaded by whitewashed houses and dotted with small shops, restaurants and charming squares.

Getting to Polignano a Mare by train

Polignano is very well connected by train with regular services from Bari Central in as little as 20 minutes.

Fastest service: Intercity TrentItalia (20 minutes)

Cost: €10

Route: Bari Centrale to Polignano a Mare

Cheapest service: Trentitalia (43 minutes)

Cost: €2.80

Route: Bari Centrale to Polignano a Mare with 5 stops in between

Plan your journey or book tickets here.


Summer in Polignano a Mare
The pretty streets of Monopoli


Monopoli is known for its historic charm, picturesque harbour, sandy beaches, and interesting architecture. The town is filled with medieval and Baroque architecture, surrounding the stunning Cathedral of Santa Maria della Madia.

Monopoli has a lively harbour, home to colourful fishing boats and a waterfront you can stroll along.

Getting to Monopoli by train

Fastest service: Frecciargento (22 minutes)

Cost: €19

Route: Bari Centrale to Monopoli

Cheapest service: Trentitalia (26 minutes)

Cost: €3.60

Route: Bari Centrale to Monopoli with 1 stop in between

Plan your journey or book tickets here.


One of the most picture perfect towns in Puglia, Ostuni is a captivating town with a rich history, standing on a hill being seen from miles around.

Popular restaurants and bars line the streets, with dishes using the best fresh ingredients, such as locally produced olive oil, seafood, and vegetables. A must try local dish is orecchiette pasta with tomato sauce, burrata cheese, and frisella.

Getting to Ostuni by train

Fastest service: Frecciargento (39 minutes)

Cost: €20.50

Route: Bari Centrale to Ostuni

Cheapest service: Trentitalia (45 minutes) 

Cost: €6.40

Route: Bari Centrale to Monopoli with 9 stops in between

Plan your journey or book tickets here.

A typical house in Ostuni
Wandering through the streets of Locorotondo


Locorotondo was my favourite town in Puglia, it might be small but it’s absolutely stunning with a great pizzeria! Travellers can lose themselves in the pretty streets before trying the local sparkling wine or sitting down for a delicious Italian meal.

Locorotondo is a place in which you can sit for hours under the Mediterranean sun whilst watching the world go back, you might as well leave your watches at home because time really doesn’t matter here.

Getting to Locorotondo by train

Fastest service: Frecciargento (1 hr 30 minutes )

Cost: €5.40

Route: Bari Centrale to Ostuni

Cheapest service: Trentitalia (45 minutes) 

Cost: €6.40

Route: Bari Centrale to Monopoli with 9 stops in between

Plan your journey or book tickets here.


Bari is the capital of the Puglia region and much larger in size compared to the other towns mentioned here. The city is renowned for its vibrant street life and bustling markets, alongside its delicious Mediterranean cuisine that many flock here for each summer.

Thanks to its excellent connections, Bari is a great place to base yourselves when in Puglia if you are wanting to explore by train or bus, with easy access to even the smaller towns and villages such as Alberobello.

The historic centre of the city is known as Bari Vecchia and is similar to other towns within the Puglia region, with alleyways, piazzas, and whitewashed houses. This medieval old town was built on a peninsula, with beautiful views over the Adriatic Sea, with characterful streets adorned with shrines filled with flowers.

Bari offers the main hub of transport out to the wider Puglia region, it is also accessible by train and plane from the rest of Italy.

There are several direct trains between Bari and Italy’s capital, Rome. On average these services take around 4 hours, with a cost averaging at €61.

The fastest trains between Bari and Naples take just under 4 hours at a cost of €33, there are no direct services, travellers must change at Casserta.

The streets of Bari, the capital of Puglia

One week Puglia train itinerary

There is so much to see and do in Puglia that many will say a week simply isn’t enough, however, we aren’t all blessed with unlimited holiday days so I think a week is a good starting point to get a taste for the region.

Days 1-3 – Monopoli

This pretty seaside town might look like your average Italian city from the outside, but once you reach the historic centre you will see why so many tourists flock here. A warren of narrow streets weave their way through historic whitewashed houses that sit under a blanket of blue sky.

This is also a great spot to base yourselves for a few days if you enjoy the beach. The town is right on the Adriatic Coast and away from the picturesque harbour, there are some beautiful beaches to visit in Monopoli, my favourites are Spiaggia di Porto Ghiacciolo and Lido Santo Stefano.

Make sure you visit nearby Polignano a Mare, just 5-10 minutes away by train (make sure you use the Trentitalia service rather than the Intercity as it is much cheaper). Here I would recommend taking a boat ride along the coastline, we booked ours with Pugliamare and had a lot of fun exploring different grottos along the way and jumping off into the sea to cool off.

Places to stay in Monopoli: Hotel Don ferrate is a boutique hotel located in the centre of historic Monopoli with beautiful views out to sea. 

B&B Borgo San Martino is an affordable guesthouse just 300m from the pretty port, the B&B is housed in a restored 17th century building with spacious rooms, free Wi-Fi and spacious bathrooms. 

For an ultra luxury experience, check out Borgo Egnazia, just outside the city of Monopoli, this traditionally Puglian hotel boasts two private beaches and its own beach club.

Days 4-6 – Locorotondo

An absolute must visit town in Puglia, Locorotondo is small but beautiful. It only takes a few hours to fully explore the Centro Storico (historic centre). which is why it is the perfect base, pushing visitors to relax and travel slow. Taste rich Italian coffee in the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele before exploring churches hiding down narrow alleyways. The town is filled with places to eat and local craft shops, all surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, with quaint Trullis and farmhouses spread all around.

When staying in Locorotondo you must spend a morning exploring Alberobello, a nearby trulli town and designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take the train from Locorotondo to Alberobello in just 11 minutes and get lost amongst the sweet little houses which now contain cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops.

Places to stay in Locorotondo: Locorotondo offers some beautiful B&Bs and guesthouses such as Pietra Pesara which offers beautiful accommodations, a private garden, and a delicious breakfast each morning. 

For those wanting to really relax and unwind under the Italian sunshine, Ottolire Resort offers a beautiful swimming pool to cool off in. With just 14 rooms, the hotel never feels busy and is built into a classic farmhouse estate. 

Last but not least, the Leonardo Trulli Resort, quiet and luxurious, a stay here is one that is all about leaving relaxed and rejuvenated.

Day 7 – Ostuni

You can’t go home before visiting the stunning hilltop town of Ostuni. You will see it before you arrive, majestically sticking out of the countryside, you can see the town from miles around.

Known as ‘White City’, Ostuni is full of well-preserved streets, in summer the doorways are adorned with pink Bougainvillea and the streets are filled with people eating and drinking outside. If you want to know more on the history of the city, make sure you take an ape tour where your guide will take you around in a tuk tuk so you can soak up panoramic views and wind your way through the picturesque streets.

There are plenty of places to grab a meal but I recommend Borgo Antico Bistrot for a really special experience. You cannot book, you just turn up (and they are closed on Wednesdays), but it is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the regions fresh produce whilst dining under the setting sun.

Places to stay in Ostuni: Take in spectacular views of the city from Biancadamare, a charming abode with guest rooms, suites, terraces, jacuzzis and a solarium.

  Paragon 700 is a charming boutique hotel with 11 luxurious rooms and suites that sit within the walls of an old palace. 

For a real special stay, have a look at Masseria Cervarolo, a 16th century farmhouse with its own cooking school.

Leave a Reply


  • Kkm says:

    Thank you for writing this! It’s my plan to go here next year…so I will be following your advice. What a perfect itinerary!

    • postcardsbyhannah says:

      You will love it! Keep your eye out for some more upcoming articles 🙂

  • Elizabeth says:

    Hello! This article comes in so handy! I am planning a trip to Puglia and we do not want to rent a car for the entire trip. I was going to search your account and see if you had posted since you recently visited Matera. Thank you so much! Looking forward to your next trips.

    • postcardsbyhannah says:

      I hope you have an amazing trip, it is a beautiful corner of the world!

  • EllyBelly says:

    Thanks Hannah!!