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Puglia Is Puglia easy?!

Christian

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We're playing with the idea of spending 2-3 week in the Puglia region in December of this year. How easy would it be to visit that region without a car?! Would trains and busses be a good option to get around? Also, often hear that English is not as widely spoken there than in other regions.Any thoughts?
 
Well, Puglia is my favourite region of Italy......
The trainline down the east coast which links Barletta, Trani, Bisceglie, Molfetta, Giovinazzo, Bari, Mola di Bari, Polignano a Mare, Monopoli and then Brindisi and Lecce is fast, modern and reliable and with a little patience public transport can get you everywhere except to the most remote beaches. This is why I love Puglia:
Here is an excellent trip report about seeing some of the most interesting places also inland using public transport
Happy to help if you need more advice or info....
 
Well, Puglia is my favourite region of Italy......
The trainline down the east coast which links Barletta, Trani, Bisceglie, Molfetta, Giovinazzo, Bari, Mola di Bari, Polignano a Mare, Monopoli and then Brindisi and Lecce is fast, modern and reliable and with a little patience public transport can get you everywhere except to the most remote beaches. This is why I love Puglia:
Here is an excellent trip report about seeing some of the most interesting places also inland using public transport
Happy to help if you need more advice or info....
Oh wow! Thank you so much! I look forward to reading all the info! I might have more questions for you, Tina!
 
I went to Puglia for the first time in May of last year before heading north to Le Marche. I traveled exclusively by public transportation and spent 3 nights in Lecce and 7 nights in Bari. Here are the day trips I took:

Lecce (as a base)
Gallipoli (FSE train)
Martina Franca (FSE train)
You can also take the FSE train to Otranto (not direct / one change required), Galatina and a couple other spots. There are also bus options but I didn't explore them as I was there for a short exploratory stay (can't wait to go back).

Bari (as a base)
Trani (Trenitalia)
Monopoli (Trenitalia)
Polignano a Mare (Trenitalia)
Ostuni (Trenitalia / station is about 3km from Ostuni.... I walked but there is a bus that comes like every 30 minutes)
Locorotondo and Alberobello (bus departs a couple blocks from Bari Centrale station)
Matera (FAL train from a separate part of Bari Centrale station)
You can take Trenitalia to other places (Barletta, Bitonto, etc).
There are other FAL train options like Altamura (well known throughout Italy for their bread).
There are also other bus options.

Thoughts on Public Transportation
The Trenitalia routes have a reputation for being reasonably well serviced. The FSE trains have a reputation for being not quite to the Trenitalia standard. I had an hour plus delay returning to Lecce from Martina Franca. That said, I felt like utilizing public transportation was a very viable option (and that's how I got around for my entire trip). However, there is certainly validity to those that say you cannot properly see the interior of Puglia without a car.

Thoughts on Puglia
I had a fantastic time (plan on returning). I really enjoyed the food, wine and people.
 
I went to Puglia for the first time in May of last year before heading north to Le Marche. I traveled exclusively by public transportation and spent 3 nights in Lecce and 7 nights in Bari. Here are the day trips I took:

Lecce (as a base)
Gallipoli (FSE train)
Martina Franca (FSE train)
You can also take the FSE train to Otranto (not direct / one change required), Galatina and a couple other spots. There are also bus options but I didn't explore them as I was there for a short exploratory stay (can't wait to go back).

Bari (as a base)
Trani (Trenitalia)
Monopoli (Trenitalia)
Polignano a Mare (Trenitalia)
Ostuni (Trenitalia / station is about 3km from Ostuni.... I walked but there is a bus that comes like every 30 minutes)
Locorotondo and Alberobello (bus departs a couple blocks from Bari Centrale station)
Matera (FAL train from a separate part of Bari Centrale station)
You can take Trenitalia to other places (Barletta, Bitonto, etc).
There are other FAL train options like Altamura (well known throughout Italy for their bread).
There are also other bus options.

Thoughts on Public Transportation
The Trenitalia routes have a reputation for being reasonably well serviced. The FSE trains have a reputation for being not quite to the Trenitalia standard. I had an hour plus delay returning to Lecce from Martina Franca. That said, I felt like utilizing public transportation was a very viable option (and that's how I got around for my entire trip). However, there is certainly validity to those that say you cannot properly see the interior of Puglia without a car.

Thoughts on Puglia
I had a fantastic time (plan on returning). I really enjoyed the food, wine and people.
Sounds like an awesome trip! My kind of trip, actually! We're usually based in a city and do day trips to other smaller places. What would you say is a better base, Bari or Lecce? Or does it depend on where we want to go from each city?

Also, coming from Canada, I was thinking of landing in either Rome or Naples, spend a weekend in either, and then take the train to the Puglia region. Would Rome or Naples be easier? I kinda researched it and by train, it looks like it's more or less the same, in terms of time. Of course, we could fly into one of the local airports (Bari, Brindisi, Lecce, etc.), but l like the idea to take a day or two after a flight to refuel.

Last question: any thoughts about Puglia in December, at Christmas time?!

:)
 
Yes, you identified my Italy travel style (stay in a larger place with good evening options and use public transportation to visit smaller spots).

If you had to pick one base then it surely would be Bari as it's the largest public transportation hub for the region. With the amount of time you're planning on staying (2 - 3 weeks), it would be worth considering two bases as Bari to Lecce is certainly manageable (Trenitalia trip), but the other spots in the Salento (heel) are not as easily accessible from Bari.

I also explored flying from the U.S. to Rome or Naples and I came to the same conclusion as you (both spots seemed similarly equidistant travel-wise to Puglia). However, I ended up flying United/Lufthansa via Germany to Brindisi. Your Rome/Naples plan sounds fine to me.

I've been to Italy five times (all in the spring) so I don't have any relevant experience re: spending time in Italy during December. If you don't get any responses here, maybe consider posting about December travel in Puglia (general vibe that time of the year/frequency of buses, etc) on TripAdvisor (as there seem to be a few locals who post good info on the Puglia board).
 
Yes, you identified my Italy travel style (stay in a larger place with good evening options and use public transportation to visit smaller spots).

If you had to pick one base then it surely would be Bari as it's the largest public transportation hub for the region. With the amount of time you're planning on staying (2 - 3 weeks), it would be worth considering two bases as Bari to Lecce is certainly manageable (Trenitalia trip), but the other spots in the Salento (heel) are not as easily accessible from Bari.

I also explored flying from the U.S. to Rome or Naples and I came to the same conclusion as you (both spots seemed similarly equidistant travel-wise to Puglia). However, I ended up flying United/Lufthansa via Germany to Brindisi. Your Rome/Naples plan sounds fine to me.

I've been to Italy five times (all in the spring) so I don't have any relevant experience re: spending time in Italy during December. If you don't get any responses here, maybe consider posting about December travel in Puglia (general vibe that time of the year/frequency of buses, etc) on TripAdvisor (as there seem to be a few locals who post good info on the Puglia board).
Thank you so much!
 
About December, I've never been in December but a good friend went on a weekend trip for the 8th December "ponte" - often a long weekend because 8th December is a public holiday and also 7th for Milan. They were wearing jackets and it got cool in the evening but she loved it. Places like Locorotondo had Christmas decorations, she sent me some fabulous photos and there were also Christmas markets in some places.
Usually south of Italy in winter it can be cool if it's cloudy but if the sun comes out and you're in a sheltered spot it can be very nice indeed. We had a week in November in Brindisi. Trip report here:
 
we recently returned from a fabulous trip to Puglia. we rented a car, so I cannot speak to the ease of getting around by public transportation, however I can report that most folks we interacted with spoke English....from a little bit, to a lot, so we had no trouble communicating. also, the food is fantastic and far more varied and innovative than we had anticipated!
 
I went a couple of years ago, not noticeably fewer people speaking English than in other regions.

There's a show airing on the Food Network now called Ciao House, a cooking competition show.

I think they're in a villa just outside of Lecce for Season 2 which is now airing (Season 1 was just outside of Florence). I don't think they really feature Puglian cuisine so much as access to the fresh seafood there.

It's a reality show so take it with a grain of salt.

But they do feature a lot of short scenes of scenery from all over the region.
 
Christmas light displays in Puglia are spectacular. Unfortunately that requires a car because bus lines are rare after 6:30 p.m. so I recommend you rent a car a day or 2.
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I went a couple of years ago, not noticeably fewer people speaking English than in other regions.

There's a show airing on the Food Network now called Ciao House, a cooking competition show.

I think they're in a villa just outside of Lecce for Season 2 which is now airing (Season 1 was just outside of Florence). I don't think they really feature Puglian cuisine so much as access to the fresh seafood there.

It's a reality show so take it with a grain of salt.

But they do feature a lot of short scenes of scenery from all over the region.
Living here noticeably fewer do speak English.
 
we were in Puglia/Basilicata for 2.5 weeks at the beginning of May, and we were quite pleasantly surprised that so many people spoke English, although it made me a bit shy about trying to communicate in (very) basic Italian.
we had a car the whole time, which is how we prefer to travel, but did run into a few couples who were using trains and buses exclusively, and they seemed to be having a grand time.
 

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