Best Day Trips from Bari

Published by: Bounce19 October, 2022

Located on Italy’s southeastern coast just opposite Croatia’s Dubrovnik, Bari looks out over the Adriatic Sea and is truly a magnificent and charming city to visit. But after you have spent a few days in the city, you may start looking for day trips from Bari so you can explore even more of Italy.

From its Roman-inspired architecture and fantastic museums to its modern shopping centers and art galleries, Bari is the best place to start your Italian adventure. With so many buildings in the city that were built or inspired by the Romans, you also get a small taste of Rome when you visit.

Being the major city within the Apulia region, there is plenty to discover, however, some of the best Bari day trips will take you quite a way out of the city. Find a safe place to store your bags in Bari before hopping on a bus or renting a car to start exploring.

Explore UNESCO world heritage sites, coastal towns, and historical landmarks, and view beautiful landscapes during a day trip from Bari. There are so many wonderful places to see and experience.

The best day trips from Bari are just waiting for you to discover them. Grab your significant other, and the whole family, or join an established tour company for a solo trip. No matter how you wish to explore the areas near Bari, you will have a terrific time!

How to get out of Bari

Once you have figured out how to get around Bari, you will want to tackle the public transport system to be able to explore other towns and attractions during your day trips. Most visitors to Italy are not necessarily comfortable renting a car and tackling the roads and navigating to different areas in the region.

For the most part, the places listed can be reached by using public transport or by joining an established tour and catching a ride with them on a bus or train. Either way, you will not have to figure out how to read street signs or navigate the roads if you are not feeling confident.

From Bari to Castles of Puglia Tour

One of the best day trips from Bari would have to be going on a tour of the castles of Puglia. Stroll through time and explore castles that were built by King Fredrick II in the 12th century. The castles you will visit on this guided tour are located in the Puglia Imperiale which is one of the richest areas in the region.

A knowledgeable guide will spin stories from the past and showcase the historical relevance of each castle. You will visit the Castle of Charles V, Castle of Trani, Castle of Otranto, Castello Aragonese, and Castel del Monte.

How to get to the Castles of Puglia Tour

Day tours leave from Bari and many of the tour companies will pick you up from your hotel or other accommodation. The tour companies will also drop you back off at your hotel when the tour is concluded.

From Bari to Grotte di Castellana

Also known as the Castellana Caves, the Grotte di Castellana is located only a few short miles from Cisternino and Alberobello at the entrance to the Itria Valley. The caves date back 90 million years and are one of the coolest natural formations you will see when visiting and around Bari.

Your guide will take you deep beneath the Earth’s surface, about 196 feet, where you will see stalactites, fossils, spectacular rock formations, and concretions. The tour inside the Grotte di Castellana will last about an hour and is technically a walking tour so wear sturdy shoes. You will be climbing stairs, and wiggling through some tight spots.

How to get to the Grotte di Castellana

Located at the Piazzale Franco Anelli in the Puglia region, you can take the train, number 707 from Bari or you can drive. The public bus also goes to the Grotte di Castellana station.

From Bari to Matera

Located in the southern region of Italy, Matera is another small Italian town that offers historic relevance. Matera dates back to the Paleolithic Era and it is where the movie directed by Mel Gibson, The Passion of Christ, was filmed. It is the type of town where many of the residents still live in their ancestral homes that date back thousands of years.

While exploring this ancient city, visit the Sassi of Matera or the Stones of Matera. The Sassi of Matera is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see. Your kids will love Bosco Pantano and Policoro, wildlife reserves filled with native animals. The Natural Park of Gallipoli Gognato-Small Lucanian Dolomites is another fabulous place for horseback riding, hiking, and biking.

How to get to Matera

Matera is about 33 miles from Bari and you can take a 90-minute train ride, a two-hour bus ride, or if public transport isn't for you rent a car and drive there yourself. Some tours leave Bari to visit Matera if you want to join a tour group instead of exploring on your own.

From Bari to Barletta

Another sunny city located in Southern Italy; Barletta faces the Gulf of Manfredonia as well as the Adriatic Sea. The clear waters of the sea are mesmerizing and the lush farmland on the opposite side of the city is beautiful, but the historic buildings of this ancient city are what draw the tourists.

Plan a full-day tour and bring along your swimsuit and lounge on the pristine beaches as well as frolic in the water on warm days. Discover a medieval castle, the Casletto Syevo di Barletta or tour the Curci Theatre. After you are done exploring, dine at Al Vecchio Forno for a delicious Italian meal.

How to get to Barletta

This coastal city is only about 45 minutes from Bari if you rent a car and drive there yourself. Public transportation will take a bit longer, but the bus and train do both take you right into Barletta.

From Bari to Polignano a Mare

Often called the Pearl of the Adriatic, Polignano a Mare is a little coastal town that draws tourists looking for the authentic Italian village experience. The town is best known for its fishing and agriculture. This quaint village has plenty of sandy beaches where you can relax and enjoy the fresh sea air.

Snap photos of the picturesque homes that have been built into the limestone cliffs. Learn about this prehistoric building technique and feel the sea breeze against your skin as you explore the narrow streets and learn about the ancient history of this town.

This ancient seaside town offers Porto Bianco and coves on the ocean. Visit Abbazia di San Vito, an ancient church. Try your hand at cliff diving, visit the Centro Storico Polignano a Mare, the oldest portion of the town which dates back to the 4th century B.C. The city was originally settled by the Greeks and thrived under Roman rule.

How to get to Polignano a Mare

Only about 20 miles from Bari to Polignano a Mare makes this one of the easiest day trips from Bari that you can enjoy. It takes only about 30 minutes by car or train to get to Polignano a Mare.

From Bari to Ostuni

Situated high atop a hill, Ostuni has unparalleled views of the coastal planes lined with olive groves that go as far as the eye can see. You will find a stunning cathedral around many corners in Ostuni. These are not unlike churches in other small Italian towns, but it is lovely and draws many visitors throughout the year. It seems everywhere you look, there is a cathedral looming in the distance.

The fresh olives being harvested here create a fragrant, delicious olive oil that permeates the air. Breathe deeply, you will not find this delightful scent anywhere else. Head over to the organic olive oil mill where they sometimes offer tours and samples. Some of the farmers will even let you taste their olives when they are harvested.

How to get to Ostuni

It is about an hour on the train from Bari to Ostuni, with the train station being an uphill climb. You can also ride the bus which will take you a bit longer to get to Ostuni or you can always rent a car and drive there yourself.

From Bari to Bitonto

The City of Olives awaits just to the west of Bari.  There is a local legend that claims there were quite a few Roman coins discovered in Bitonto dating from the 3rd to 6th century B.C. lending proof that the city was once connected to the Kingdom of Naples. Now and then a Roman coin is discovered even today. 

Bitonto is known for making some of the best olive oil in southern Italy, so while Ostuni is also a great olive oil-producing town, if you can, take a day trip to both places and brush up on your olive knowledge. There are also several ancient Romanesque cathedrals, each one more interesting and historic than the last. 

When visiting, plan to see the Archaeological Museum of the Palo Ungaro as well as the Cathedral of Bitonto. These two places draw tourists from all across Italy. Be sure to buy some souvenirs and olive oil to take back to loved ones. You will not find more fragrant and flavorful oil anywhere else, except maybe Ostuni. 

How to get to Bitonto

Located in the western region of Bari, it is only about a 30- drive to Bitonto or you can ride the train which will take about the same time. The train station is on the outskirts of Bitonto so you will have to walk a bit to get to the city center. The bus also has a route to Bitonto but it does take about an hour to get there from Bari.

From Bari to Alberobello

If it is not already, Alberobello should be on your bucket list when you make plans to visit Bari. This smaller town is one of the most unique places with about 11,000 permanent residents. Here, you will see the Trulli houses which are round, made with dry stone and have conical roofs.

Take a walking tour of Alberobello and visit the Monti district where the Trulli houses are located. Spend the day checking out the shops, visiting the Church of Sant’Antonio, sipping coffee, dining at the local eateries, and finishing your day trip with some homemade gelato. Be sure to bring your camera along, the Trulli houses are one of the coolest things you will see in Italy.

The Olive Oil Museum is located here as is the Trulli Museum where you can learn more about these interesting structures. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage site because of the Trulli districts which date back to the 15th century. You can even decide to stay overnight in a Trullo house and continue exploring the area the next day.

How to get to Alberobello

Alberobello is only about 34 miles from Bari and you can take a bus which is about a 90-minute ride or a train which is also about a 90-minute ride. The bus and train station are located within walking distance of most of the town. Rent a car and get there in about an hour.

From Bari to Lecce

Many people refer to Lecce as the Rome of the South with a strong Greek influence on its culture. Much of the older architecture here leans toward the baroque style including Holy Cross Church and the Covent of the Celestines Cathedral.

While here you will want to visit Basilica di Santa Croce, one of the most beautiful churches in the region. Then take a tour of the Lecce Castello and head to the Piazza Sanlorenzo and visit the Roman Amphitheatre.

How to get to Lecce

You will want to hop on one of the high-speed trains leaving Bari for Lecce so you can spend more time in this town exploring. It will take you about two hours by car to get to this southern town and expect to spend about two-and-a-half hours on a bus to reach Lecce.

Southern Italy

There are so many fascinating hidden gems along the coast of southern Italy. A Bari day trip is a great way to learn more about the region and visit some very unique and interesting places. Each place you visit has fun souvenir shops where you can pick up little mementos to remember your trip.

Whether you sign up with tour operators and join a group, hire a private guide, or explore on your own, you will have a blast getting to know the locals, see historic places, and learn so much about not just Bari but much of southern Italy.

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