15 of the Best Day Trips From Bari, Italy (In Puglia and Basilicata)

The region of Puglia and the nearby Basilicata boast dozens of beautiful places to see. From sun-drenched seaside towns to remarkable historic cities to natural wonders, they offer a variety of easy day trips from Bari, Italy.

That said, some places are more remote, so ideally, you’ll want to rent a car to visit them, but if you prefer exploring the area only by public transport, you’ll still have plenty of options. Are you ready?

*This post may contain affiliate links from which I earn a commission (for more info, read my disclosure). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

*I try to keep the information on this blog as updated as possible, but I still recommend consulting the latest prices, opening hours, and other details on the official website of each site, hotel, and tour, as well as checking the updated public transport routes and timetables.

Day trips from Bari, Puglia, Italy: 15 must-take Bari day trips, including travel tips for each one
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Still haven’t booked your accommodation in Bari? Check out the highly-rated:
1. B&B Alighieri 97 (a simple yet convenient B&B – where I stayed)
2. TRESCA CHARME luxury Rooms (apartment-like rooms in the old town)
3. BARI 102 (located only a couple of minutes from the train station near many shops and restaurants – rated 9.9)

My favorite carb in Bari: It’s difficult to pick one, but the Orecchiette with broccoli rabe at Mamapulia was delicious.



How to Take Day Trips From Bari by Train or Bus

If you don’t want to take day trips on your own by train or bus (totally legit), consider booking one of these top guided day tours from Bari:
1.
A half-day tour to Alberobello, the town of the UNESCO-listed fairytale-like Trulli houses.
2. Day tour to Matera, one of the oldest cities in the world and a UNESCO site.
3. A full-day tour to Alberobello, Monopoli, and Polignano a Mare, two seaside towns I adored.

It’s fairly easy to travel around Bari by public transport. For intercity buses, I highly recommend buying your ticket online. The bus stops are scattered around both sides of the train station Bari Centrale, but there’s no proper bus ticket office.

As for trains, you’ll find a ticket office and machines (inside the station), alongside which there is a departure board and info-point workers who can assist you. 

When purchasing your ticket at the station, it’ll normally show only the date, so be sure to validate it using one of the machines on the platform (there are no validation machines on the train).

If you buy it online, your e-ticket will indicate both the date and hour of the train ride, so validation isn’t necessary.

I love booking my tickets on Omio, as it compares bus and train prices in one place, and the process is extremely easy. Note that it also shows results that include bus and train changes, so look for “0 changes”. Alternatively, book your tickets on TrenItalia.

train ticket validation machine in Puglia, Italy
Validation machine


Best Bari Day Trips (+Map)

Click here to access the map marked with the destinations mentioned in this post.

Alberobello

Any self-respecting Puglia itinerary has to include Alberobello, one of the most photographed towns in the region. It’s extremely popular, so I’m glad I visited in March when it wasn’t crowded.

Nestled in the heart of the Itria Valley, it is mostly known for its large concentration of Trulli (Trullo in singular), recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

These traditional dry-stone houses with cone-shaped roofs topped with pinnacles dot the entire valley, but in Alberobello, you can explore two big neighborhoods – Rione Monti and Rione Aia Piccola – with more than 1500 Trulli.

The Trulli’s building technique and historic origins trace back to prehistoric times, though the town we see today was founded only several centuries ago by the Count of Conversano.

While the Trulli houses of Alberobello look like they belong in a fairytale about gnomes, many of them are still used as homes, and others were turned into souvenir shops, restaurants, accommodations, and museums (like Trullo Sovrano).

Apart from roaming the postcard-perfect neighborhoods, check out the Basilica of Saints Cosmas and Damian, enjoy panoramic views at Belvedere sui Trulli, and beat the heat at La Bottega del Gelato.

From Bari, the 52-km journey to Alberobello only takes an hour and 5 minutes by bus (note that Google Maps doesn’t show the correct location of Alberobello’s bus stop. It is right outside its train station, where you can buy your bus ticket back to Bari if you haven’t purchased it in advance).

Book your bus ticket from Bari to Alberobello on Omio or opt for:
1. A guided Alberobello day tour
2. A tour to Alberobello, Monopoli, and Polignano a Mare

Top tour in Alberobello: A walking tour of Alberobello and its Trulli.

Trulli houses of Alberobello Italy
The Trulli of Alberobello

Matera

By Agnes from The Van Escape

Seeing the historic and stunning districts known as the Sassi of Matera should be on your bucket list when you visit the Bari area.

This rock-hewn Italian city is on the World Heritage List of UNESCO because it’s one of the oldest cities in the world. There is evidence that people lived here as early as 7000 BC.

Matera was carved out of the rock and is full of original houses built irregularly, with many stairs and steps, full of caves and mysterious narrow paths.

Matera even inspired Mel Gibson in the production of the film “The Passion.” Its houses and streets reflect the atmosphere of Jerusalem in the time of Christ.

And if you like James Bond, you should check out Matera too. The most striking place in “No Time to Die” is Matera.

You can stroll around the city for hours and get lost in the narrow streets. It’s worth wearing comfortable shoes because there are a lot of stairs. 

The best view of the ancient city is from the Belvedere viewpoint. You can also enjoy the lookout point from the Convento di Sant’Agostino. Be sure to visit the Chiesa di Santa Maria di Idris and Duomo of Matera.

Bari is only 65 km from Matera, an hour’s drive. Traveling by car via Strada Statale 96 is the quickest and easiest option, making Matera the perfect destination for a one-day trip.

You can also catch a bus from Bari’s train station and another from Bari International Airport. The bus journey takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. 

You can also take a regional train, which is the longest drive, at 1 hour and 45 minutes. Then you can take a taxi or walk from the main train station in Matera to the historical center – Sassi. It takes about 20-25 minutes on foot.

Book your bus ticket from Bari to Matera on Omio or opt for a guided Matera day tour.

Top tour in Matera: A guided walking tour of the “Sassi”.

Views of the city of Matera Italy
Matera by The Van Escape

Polignano a Mare

Perched on limestone cliffs dotted with hidden sea caves, Polignano a Mare is a lovely town on the Apulian coast.

Its origins are not entirely clear, though many sources suggest that it was the city of Neapolis in Ancient Greece, ruled by Dionysius II of Syracuse.

With its gorgeous whitewashed historic center waiting to be roamed, photogenic cliffy scenery, and viewpoints overlooking its Insta-famous beach (called Lama Monachile), it won’t take you long to fall head over heels for Polignano a Mare.

Must-visit photo spots I LOVED include Belvedere su Lama Monachile and the cliff near the statue of Domenico Modugno, the famous singer-songwriter who was born in Polignano. His biggest hit was “Nel blu dipinto di blu”, internationally known as “Volare”.

Lama Monachile itself is accessed by staircases found on the sides of the bridge overlooking it. Note that in summer, the town and beach are popular destinations, but if you can visit in the shoulder season (as I did), you’ll have them almost completely to yourself.

If you want to explore the nearby caves, take a boat tour or make a reservation at Grotta Palazzese, a restaurant of a 5-star hotel with a unique location in a cave with the same name.

Polignano a Mare is situated only 35 km away from the city and can be reached within 30-45 minutes.

Book your train ticket from Bari to Polignano a Mare on Omio or book a tour to Alberobello, Monopoli, and Polignano a Mare.

Top tour in Polignano a Mare: Cave boat tour with aperitif.

Houses built on a cliff in Polignano a Mare

Monopoli

Only 5 minutes away by train from Polignano a Mare, you’ll find the enchanting Monopoli, one of the best places to visit near Bari, especially if you’re exploring Puglia without a car.

Ruled by the Messapians, Romans, Normans, and Venetians (to name a few), it has always been an important port town. Therefore, it had to be surrounded by walls, some of which are still standing.

Nowadays, you can juggle between discovering Monopoli’s history and enjoying a carefree vacation, as its historic center offers an ideal combo of impressive landmarks and charming old-town streets and squares lined with restaurants, gelaterias, and bars.

When you first walk from the train station to the center, this town might not seem worth visiting, but as you start to wander the whitewashed alleys, their beauty will entice you.

Be sure to also check out the 16th-century Castle of Charles V, the 18th-century Monopoli Cathedral, the lovely old port (Porto Antico) with its blue fishing boats, and the beach Cala Porta Vecchia.

If you’re looking to soak up some more sun, it’ll only take you 10-15 minutes to get to several nearby bays.

It’s easy to reach Monopoli by train from Bari, which only takes 30-40 minutes. Depending on how much time you want to spend in each town, you can visit Monopoli and Polignano on the same day (like I did).

Book your train ticket from Bari to Monopoli on Omio or book a tour to Alberobello, Monopoli, and Polignano a Mare.

Old Port of Monopoli Italy

Ostuni

By Megan from Megan & Aram

Ostuni, nicknamed “The White Town” for its iconic whitewashed buildings, is a hidden gem of Puglia. This gorgeous little town, inhabited for millennia, is perfect for exploring on foot and immersing yourself in Apulian culture.

You’ll want to set aside some time to wander through the whitewashed Old Town, perched on the hill above the newer part of the city.

Explore its little alleyways, piazzas, cafes, and shops. Stop by the stunning Cathedral Santa Maria Assunta and see the frescoes inside.

Visit the central Piazza della Liberta and enjoy a coffee while people-watching and marveling at the beautiful old buildings such as the Palazzo Municipale.

If you’re looking for one of the best things to do in Ostuni, know that it is the best place to learn more about Italian olive oil, as the Puglia region produces 40% of all of Italy’s olive oil!

Take a tour to get all the information on olive growing and oil production, and enjoy a tasting of the region’s best oils.

Ostuni is located just about 85 kilometers southeast of Bari, making it an easy drive in just over an hour.

There are also regular trains between Bari and Ostuni that take less than an hour (note that Ostuni’s train station is a bit far from the city center).

Book your train ticket from Bari to Ostuni on Omio.

Whitewashed houses of Ostuni Puglia
Ostuni by Megan & Aram

Locorotondo and Cisternino

By Taylor from Brown Eyed Flower Child

Puglia is filled with picturesque towns, and two small villages you must visit from the major port city of Bari are Locorotondo and Cisternino.

From getting lost in the streets of these lovely towns to shopping for souvenirs and savoring mouthwatering orecchiette pasta to tasting local wine from the Itria Valley, you will understand why Locorotondo and Cisternino are two gems of Puglia!

Even though these are small villages, there are plenty of wonderful things to do for all ages to enjoy.

In Locorotondo, you must see the Church of Saint George, Palazzo Morelli, and the Villa Comunale, a public park and garden that showcases jaw-dropping views of the entire Itria Valley.

Cisternino may be the quietest town in the region, but it is beautiful and the perfect destination to admire incredible medieval architecture.

Other great things to do in Cisternino are to discover the 13th-century Church of San Nicola, enjoy a nice meal at one of the restaurants around the Piazza dell’Orologio, stroll through the town’s Villa Comunale, and climb to the top of Torre Normanno Sveva Cisternino, which features a lookout tower.

The best and most convenient way to get to Locorotondo and Cisternino is by renting a car. Having your own vehicle will allow you to be flexible with your Puglia itinerary and not have to rely on any public transportation schedules.

If you don’t have a car, you can take a direct bus from Bari to Locorotondo.

Book your bus ticket from Bari to Locorotondo on Omio.

Whitewashed house in Locorotondo Italy
Cisternino by Brown Eyed Flower Child

Trani

Significantly less touristy than other villages and towns near Bari, Trani is well worth a visit from Puglia’s capital.

With its colorful harbor, imposing medieval cathedral and castle overlooking the Adriatic Sea, and Jewish heritage, this coastal town is an unmissable southern Italian gem.

As you walk along the port, you immediately hear the sound of seagulls, and there’s a good chance you’ll come across some fishermen flaunting their latest catch. You can go all the way to the green lighthouse to relish the sea breeze.

Have yourself a leisurely stroll at the Villa Comunale, a beautiful public park near the sea. If you’re in for sightseeing, admire the Swabian Castle (Castello Svevo) and the awe-inspiring Trani Cathedral.

Trani was also home to a thriving Jewish community in the Middle Ages, so don’t skip out on getting to know its history, even though not much has remained from the Jewish quarter.

You can wander through the adorable historic center to get to the Scolanova Synagogue (consult opening times in advance) and Synagogue Museum of Sant’Anna.

If half a day here is enough for you, consider taking a bus/train to another coastal town, such as the nearby Barletta, Molfetta, or Giovinazzo.

Book your train ticket to Trani on Omio.

Harbor of Trani Italy
Trani

Castellana Caves

By Maria & Katerina from It’s All Trip To Me

There are many amazing things to do in Bari, and visiting the nearby Castellana Caves is definitely one of the most fascinating among them. 

The Grotte di Castellana, as they are called in Italian, were first explored in 1938. However, this complex of impressive underground chambers is estimated to be over 90 million years old.

During your visit to the Castellana Caves, you will be amazed by the splendor of chambers like the Grave, with its opening on the roof, and the White Cave, which is considered the brightest cave in the world.

Equally impressive are the corridors you will walk along, such as the renowned Desert Corridor, a dark 500-meter-long passage that looks as though it’s part of a canyon somewhere in the desert.

The Grotte di Castellana lie at a distance of about 45 kilometers from downtown Bari. Driving is the easiest way to get from Bari to the Caves. The drive takes about 40 minutes.

Alternatively, you can get to Castellana Caves from Bari by public transport, either bus or train. However, keep in mind that this option takes anywhere between one hour and a half and two hours and a half.

Book your bus/train ticket from Bari to the caves on Omio.

Castellana Caves in Puglia
Castellana Caves by It’s All Trip To Me

Sant’Agata DI Puglia

By Dan from Dan Flying Solo

For a different side of Puglia, head to the Foggia hinterlands, where sun-bleached pastures gently rise towards the Daunia Mountains.

Clinging to the side of these ridges are near-forgotten medieval villages, and Sant’Agata, Puglia’s prettiest hill town, is arguably the best one to visit from Bari.

An Orange Flag winner (awarded to Italy’s most beautiful hamlets), the approach will leave you in awe. Pastel-hued homes are stacked high on the slope, and the 11th-century Castello Imperiale – some 800-plus meters above sea level – crowns the spectacle.

To discover Sant’Agata’s history – think Norman conquest, noble families, and farming traditions – take a guided tour of the castle.

Afterward, as you descend the narrow streets, you’ll stumble upon more relics, including a still-functioning 16th-century watermill and a couple of baroque churches.

For lunch, try troccoli (a local thick spaghetti) in the stone-clad dining room of La Cantina della Canonica.

With a car, visiting Sant’Agata di Puglia from Bari is a breeze; the journey will take around 90 minutes each way. By public transport, you’ll first need to take a train to Foggia City (one hour), followed by a 90-minute bus ride.

Views of the town SantAgata di Puglia
Sant’Agata di Puglia by Dan Flying Solo

Gioia Del Colle, Puglia

By Theresa from Fueled By Wanderlust

One of the best things to do near Bari is to visit the quaint Gioia del Colle. A perfect day can be spent strolling the Centro Storico, visiting an 11th-century church, and tasting delicious local cheese and wine.

Since Neolithic times, Gioia del Colle has seen many influences, including the Byzantines, Normans, and Swabians.

The town found economic success through agricultural endeavors, as well as its favorable positioning close to port cities like Bari and the Adriatic and Ionian seas.

There are several historical sights to visit in Gioia del Colle, such as Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore, a medieval church that dates back to the 11th century.

Additionally, pay a visit to the National Archeological Museum of Gioia de Colle. The museum is housed in a former Norman-Swabian Castle and displays relics from the pre-Roman settlement of Monte Sannace.

Finally, do not leave Gioia del Colle without trying the nationally certified and protected local mozzarella cheese and Primitivo wine. A tasting at Cantine Polvanera will expose you to some of the best Primitivo in Puglia in gorgeous rural surroundings.

Gioia del Colle is roughly 38 kilometers from Bari and can be reached by car, bus, or train. The car and train take about thirty-five minutes, while the bus takes about forty-five minutes.

Book your bus/train ticket from Bari to Gioia del Colle on Omio.

Countryside views of Gioia Del Colle
Photo by Fueled By Wanderlust

Lecce

By Anda from Travel for a While

Lecce is an unforgettable city in Italy’s heel, the Salentine peninsula.

Picture this: honey-colored Baroque buildings, narrow alleys, small restaurants, and art shops. All of these are locked between the medieval city gates, making the old center a very walkable area, full of treasures to discover.

At the very center of Lecce, in Piazza Sant’Oronzo, a partially uncovered Roman Amphitheater speaks about the city’s history. Hidden on some quieter streets, another Roman heritage site, this time a theater, is uncovered between some houses.

Next, head to the beautiful Duomo of Lecce. Locals eat late in Southern Italy, so take advantage and enjoy some excellent gelato on the way.

Lecce is also a great place to stay and explore the coastal villages by both the Adriatic and the Ionian Seas nearby.

You can get to Lecce by train from either Bari or Brindisi. It takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes on the Freccia trains and about 25 minutes more if you’re driving.

Book your train ticket from Bari to Lecce on Omio.

Top tour in Lecce: Walking tour with street food tasting.

Cathedral of Lecce
Lecce by Travel for a While

Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa

By Ausra from The Road Reel

The twin mountain towns of Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa have to be seen to believe they are real.

Picture pastel-colored red-roofed stone houses cascading down a jagged limestone rock – it might be the most beautiful place you will visit in southern Italy.

Located in the Dolomiti Lucane mountains, Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa date back to the 10th century. Apart from occupations by Normans, Lombards, and Aragonese, Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa are also considered the birthplace of the Mafia.

Today the charming mountain towns offer an authentic travel experience in the countryside of the Basilicata region of Italy.

There are plenty of wonderful things you can do: from wandering the maze of cobbled streets and admiring surreal views, hiking the Path of the Seven Stones between towns, going on via Ferrata, to cycling the lush valleys.

However, if you are up for some adrenaline rush, opt for Flight of an Angel – a zipline flight between Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa at a 120 km per hour speed. You can also share the experience by flying in a pair.

Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa are located 150 km from Bari, and it takes 2 hours of driving to reach them. Traveling by car is recommended. 

Public buses are available, but you would have to change in Potenza, which would take significantly longer to commute. If you travel by bus, consider spending a night in one of the local houses.

Views of the town of Castelmezzano from above with the backdrop of mountains
Castelmezzano by The Road Reel

Conversano

If you’re looking for hidden gems in Puglia, Conversano will be right up your alley. Although settled since the Iron Age, the town we see today is bursting with medieval charm.

While Conversano is surrounded by sprawling countryside views, its main focal point has to be the 11th-century Norman castle, the residence of the Counts of Conversano.

Also notable is the Romanesque-style Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta (Conversano Cathedral), the Monastery of San Benedetto, and of course, the historic center’s maze of Apulian streets and courtyards.

Conversano is located less than 35 km from Bari, only a 1-hour bus ride away. It might not be big, but it’s a great place to explore Puglia off the beaten path.

A half-day trip might feel enough, so consider visiting another destination on the same day. Polignano a Mare is only 30 minutes away by bus, while you can get to the Castellana Caves in less than 15 minutes.

Book your bus ticket from Bari to Conversano on Omio.

Manfredonia

By Cris from LooknWalk

Nicknamed Gargano’s Door, Manfredonia is the gateway into the splendid Gargano coast and natural park. Located on the coast, it can be a lovely addition to your Puglia itinerary.

Settled in ancient times by the Greeks and flourishing as a Greek colony, current Manfredonia honors its history with a distinct dialect.

After changing various hands and being hit by an earthquake, the city of Sipontum was abandoned, and modern Manfredonia was built between 1256 and 1263.

The most important site is the medieval castle. In its current form, the castle is a result of many alterations, including a new line of walls, which was added in the 15th century.

If you are a history buff, you’ll enjoy the museum within the castle which details the history of Puglia. Plus, the views are magnificent!

Make sure to also take a walk along the seafront. Dotted with cafes and restaurants, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to getting a taste of the local cuisine. And don’t forget to enjoy a gelato (or two).

The easiest way to get to Manfredonia from Bari is to drive. If you’d rather not rent a car in Italy, Sita operates a direct bus (745) which takes about 2 hours to connect the two cities.

Alternatively, you can take a train from Bari to Foggia, operated by TrenItalia, and then cover the rest of the distance by bus. 

Castle of Manfredonia
Manfredonia by LooknWalk

Bitonto

Known for its 11th-century cathedral and olive oil production (as it is vastly surrounded by olive groves), Bitonto is a wonderful offbeat place to see in the region.

Once enclosed by defensive walls, its origins trace back to the 6th century BC (though it might have been settled even before that), and it was ruled by the Greeks, Romans, and Normans throughout the centuries.

Bitonto’s historic center is quite small, so you can see most of its highlights in a few hours of exploration, from the imposing Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption and the Torrione Angioino to a remaining city gate and a couple of art and archeology museums.

The town is located less than 20 km from Bari. You can get there in less than 30 minutes using Bari’s metropolitan railway lines FR1 and FR2, operated by Ferrotramviaria.

If you feel like seeing one more place on the same day, the coastal towns of Giovinazzo and Molfetta are only a short bus ride away from Bitonto.



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About Or Amir

Hey, I'm Or! I'm a passionate traveler with a severe coffee, chocolate, and pastry addiction (or any other carb for that matter). I'm always planning my next trip to Spain, Italy, or any other country in Europe, and my goal is to help you make the most of each destination.

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