Puglia for Families: White Sandy Beaches, Crystal Blue Waters and No Frills Cuisine Provide the Perfect Family Getaway
Puglia is a great region in Italy to travel with children as a result of its laid back attitude, rich culture and beautiful coastline. These positive aspects permit the relaxation of the whole family. Also known as “the heel of Italy,” this sunny and welcoming region make it a place that children can easily enjoy and explore. The people of Puglia are known for being warm and loving, a disposition which they also offer generously towards little ones.
Because of its layout and its easy freeway driving Puglia is a perfect place to rent a car in order to get from one town to the next which is also great for a family. Many pizzerias and trattorias (less formal often family run) are kid friendly and provide children’s menus or permit the ordering of a half portion. It is also possible in most casual places to get a simple pasta with tomato sauce or olive oil to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.
Puglia also has plenty of history and unique architecture for children to explore. The conical shaped huts, known as trulli, and well as the family friendly masserias (fortified farmhouse), and agriturismos (a small farm that receives guests) will likely capitivate children. Turkish and Greek architecture will inspire historical curiosity and and lengthy shores provide abundant space for play.
This beach in Salento stands out because of its length, remarkably white sand, and turquoise waters. These attributes make it look similar to a beach in the Caribbean. Visitors also note the beauty of the surrounding beautiful Mediterranean flora. It is the perfect place for families to enjoy as it is relatively flat and wide, allowing kids a lot of space to run and play. They can also bathe in the shallow waters.
Another slice of paradise in Salento, you can find this beach in the area of Puglia known as the Maldives of Salento. It has clear and calm waters suitable for children. A plus for families is the availability of changing areas and bathrooms for a relatively small day fee.
You can find this beach, home of one of the largest bays in Salento, in the province of Lecce. Europe has given this beach the Blue Flag award as a result of its clean waters. The name of the beach comes from the 16th century coastal tower that has some remains standing. Two large ‘faraglioni’ (large oceanic rock formations) also characterize this unique beach.
People sometimes refer to Puglia as the “breadbasket” of Italy as it historically produced much of the country’s pasta. It continues to produce more than 50 percent of its olive oil. Because the peasants in the Middle Ages made foods from local and accessible ingredients, to this day, the cuisine has remained nutritious and “no frills.” Many dishes are fresh and pleasantly flavorful. Some examples include the seafood dish Baccala alla Salentina (fried cod), orrecchiette (ear shaped pasta) and puccia (a type of stuffed pizza).
Kids will love the number of snack food available as well. Focaccia bread and grissini (breadsticks) are both delicious in Puglia. There are also thick round crackers known as taralli that come in different varieties including garlic, rosemary and fennel. Finally pizzette, or “little pizzas” are the perfect snack for hungry kids on the beach.
The towns and villages
Puglia is full of beautiful fairly tale like towns with beautiful piazzas, narrow winding streets, and unique architecture for children and adults to enjoy together. Visitors tend to enjoy spots like Alberobello, Monopoli, Ostuni and Polignano al Mare.
This town is famous for the little circular stone huts that you will see throughout the area. These conical structures are called “trulli” and are made entirely out of limestone. You will find this charming town in the center of Valle D’Itria. There cone shaped size as well as the quaintness are sure to delight children.
Just 30 kilometers south of Bari, you will find the town of Monopoli. Highlights from this seaside village are the Santo Stefano Castle, a coastal defensive point one can still observe today. Even though the city is bustling in modern times, visitors can still see feel its strong fishing tradition and historical charm in the Old Town.
Greek influence can be felt heavily in this medieval town of whitewashed houses. A bit further south than Monopoli, this area is growing in popularity among tourists as it offers a mix of winding streets, views of the Adriatic Sea and a stunning hilltop location. There is also a 15th century gothic style cathedral in the old town.
Polignano al Mare
Visitors and locals alike consider this town one of the gems of Italy. This seaside village has breathtakingly beautiful views towards the sea which like many other coastal areas of Puglia is remarkably blue. This area is also known for its Blue Flag beaches and some locals and tourists alike can even be seen cliff diving.
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