Starting our 2 weeks trip in Italy, our first stop was the lovely village of Polignano a Mare, known as Pearl of the Adriatic, in Puglia, South of Italy. We would stay there 4 days, and most of them will be working days, and wanted a nice place, where we could go out at night to have some nice dinner, and see a great sunset. We had chosen a nice house in the old town, on Airbnb, with good wifi and a terrace! Eventually, we loved our time there and being able to spend time working on the terrace, and we can only recommend it to anyone visiting Polignano a Mare. Polignano a Mare would definitely deserve a place in our list of the best cities in Italy!
How to get to Polignano a Mare ?
Here, no real options other than driving there: buses and trains are not that common and Puglia can be discovered fully only by car.
We rented a car at Bari airport for our entire stay, and drove from Bari to Polignano a Mare, a 35 minutes drive.
In Polignano a Mare, it will be possible for you to park, in one of the many paid parkings around the Centro, or in the streets. Be careful: blue park slots are paid parking, yellow park slots are for resident only and only white park slots are free of charge, where you can park in the streets.
What to do in Polignano a Mare ?
Enjoy the dolce vita at its best. If the rest of Italy is full of museums and monuments to visit, you come to Puglia for a way of lice, and to have, what they call the sweet life. Srolling in the city during the day, stop at the beach to escape from the heat, spritz for aperitivo, dinner made of apulian specialities and local seafood, sunset by the cliffs…. here is what a typical day in Polignano a Mare will be.
Stroll in Polignano a Mare
Get lost in the small streets of the old town: white stones, hanging clothes at the windows, flowers and small shops and restaurants: here is Polignano a Mare! The old town is perfect to spend an afternoon there, and you will find some shadow to escape the heat during the day.
At night, visit it again and it will feel like a completely different atmosphere, with the sunset light everywhere. Check all the spots over the sea and the cliff, they are all stunning!
Go to the beach
Cala Porto is the beach located in the center of Polignano a Mare, and it’s splendid, in between cliffs, with a view over the old town.
The beach is public, but always crowded, try to go there early in the morning to find a spot on the (rocky) beach.
Just behind the beach, don’t miss the Lama Monachile Bridge, with a great view, once again, over the beach and the cliff behind.
One thing not to miss (and we did twice, we were very sad about it) is the sunset in Polignano a Mare. We were heading for some quick dinner after our work day, but ended up in some restaurants where it took us about 2 hours to eat, and when we got out, the sun was totally down. Don’t do the same mistake as us, and try to live as an Italian, and not to have dinner too early.
Located only 25 minutes away, Monopoli was one of our favourite places in Puglia: contrary to Polignano a Mare, it is a real town and not only a touristic place. The old town is lovely, so is the port, and a sunset there, with a spritz and some bruschettas, is definitely a must-do!
What to eat in Polignano a Mare ?
Our first dinner was at Mint, in Polignano a Mare, and it was excellent! Mint is a small restaurant, located in the old town in Polignano a Mare, which serves veggie food and fish. The atmosphere is great, and the service very good. Be careful, it can get a little pricey with drinks and deserts.
Our recommendations ? Tagliatelle di Zucchine or Tonno Scottato with the brownie for dessert.
Mint – Via San Benedetto 32 Polignano a Mare (BA) Italia
Lun | Mar | Mer | 19:00 – 22:00, Gio | Ven |Sab |12:30 – 14:30 | 19:00 – 22:00, Dom | 12:30 – 15:00
We did not know where we were heading to when we decided to go to Antiche Mura (that is how we ended up missing the sunset), but we ended up in a beautiful restaurant, where we could get a tasting menu focusing on fish, giving us a pretty nice idea of the Puglianese gastronomy. The tuna carpaccio was excellent, and the food overall was good, so was the service. For a 3 courses menu, the price is decent.
Located in the center of the old town of Polignano, the Pizzeria Bella ‘Mbriana is offering some good pizzas, with local products. Prices are good for Polignano, and the location is perfect.
Pizzeria Bella ‘Mbriana
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele 22, 70044 Polignano a Mare Italie
+39 080 424 8840
Open everyday, from Noon to 5pm
It was described to us as one of the best restaurant in Polignano, but to be honest, we were quite disappointed with the quality of the food, and the prices were quite high for what we got. However, there was still quite a lot of options we did not try, so you may be luckier!
Via San Vito 15-17, Polignano a Mare (BA)
080 403 8044
Monday-Friday: 12.30 – 14.30 | 19.30 – 24.00 Wednesday: 19.30 – 24.00 Saturday and Sunday: 12.30 – 14.30 | 19.30 – 24.00
Our favourite address in Polignano! Malidea offers pinsa – some kind of foccacia – where you can add different ingredients. The pinsa cooked at Malidea are delicious, with local and fresh ingredients, and the cocktails are original and excellent. You can also do take away, and enjoy your pinsa on the Polignano a Mare beach, or with a view over the cliff and old town. Prices are great, very good value for money for an expensive place such as Polignano.
Lungomare Domenico Modugno, 11, 70044 Polignano a Mare BA
Open everyday from Noon to 1am (and 2pm on Friday and Saturday)
Where to have a drink in Polignano a Mare ?
It’s not for the service or the quality of the cocktails that we recommend Acquamarea, even if they were great, only a little overpriced, but for the location! You will enjoy your aperitivo with a splendid view over the Polignano a Mare beach, and there is no better place to see the sunset. Make sure to be there early, as the terrace is small, and the place can get crowded.
Located on Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II – which is the king who has unified Italy, that is why you will find his name on piazza or streets in every town or village if Italy – Beija Flur is a lovely café where you can have a drink after a day of strolling in the old town. Prices are reasonable, and the location is right in the center!
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, 30, 70044 Polignano a Mare BA
320 800 6385
Practical information: How to get tested for Covid in Bari ?
Flying back to some countries such as France, if you are not vaccinated/fully vaccinated yet, you will need to show a negative covid test at the airport.
If you are staying in Polignano and came by plane, here is where you can get tested in Bari.
Free tests at the train station and at the airport
Some major towns in Italy, including Bari, have organised some free covid tests station.
At the Bari train station, go on the right, you will find a test center for antigenic test: they open at 11am, but be sure to be there early (we have been advised to go there around 9am), as they have a limited number of tests, a 2 hours delay, and usually tests are over around 3pm. But, it is totally free!
At Bari airport, you will find a test center for antigenic tests, open from 9am to 6pm. Make sure it’s matching your flight, as you may need to queue there, and wait for the results.
Tests in pharmacies
Some pharmacies in Bari will offers PCR and antigenic tests. Don’t hesitate to check with them if they do tests, and if not, ask where to get one.
Tests in laboratory
For us, it would be the easiest options. We did our antigenic tests in a laboratory near the train station in Bari, at Analisi Biallo, and we got the results shortly. The team there was very kind, and also available by email. They speak basic English, but still took good care of us, and it all went well. The antigenic test costs 30 euros.
Analisi Biallo – Via Sparano, 141 – 70121 Bari (BA) firstname.lastname@example.org 080.5211950
We have absolutely loved our time at Polignano a Mare. It was a perfect way to start our road trip in Apulia and to start to enjoy the dolce vita. Polignano a Mare is definitely a must see during a trip in Puglia, you cannot miss the Pearl of the Adriatic!
However, as we were working most of the time there, we have spent 4 full days there. If you have more free time than us, you can visit and enjoy the best of Polignano a Mare in one or two days.