Making our way to the most Southern point of our trip we ended up at Gallipoli, located in the province of Lecce in Puglia, along the boot of Italy. Gallipoli, meaning beautiful city, is just that! This small fishing village offers both a modern new town and historic old town, connected by a 17th century bridge.
Cars generally aren’t allowed in the old part of Gallipoli, which definitely adds to cultural experience of the olden days. The historic part of the town, where an old castle is also located, sits off the main shore on a separated island. Here you will also find several old churches, rustic family owned restaurants and shops and some pretty amazing historic looking buildings.
Today the town of Gallipoli focusing on the fishing trade, which they have made a name for themselves in the industry. We’ve spent some amazing days here relaxing and taking in the true Italian culture this town has to offer. Below are our must see and do things while visiting Gallipoli.
1. Centro Storico (Old Town)
This is the main centre of the old town, which is accessible to the main land from a 17th century bridge. Winding roads, ancient buildings & churches are all surrounded by the crystal clear sea. Here you will be able to see some of the most beautiful sunsets each night along the walled island.
The Gallipoli castle is also located here, which is definitely worth the visit. The castle was built on pre-existing Roman fortifications, to guard the old town of Gallipoli.
2. Spiaggia della Purità
This was the first beach we went to during our time in Gallipoli and I will admit I was surprised it wasn’t as crowded as I thought it would be. This is the main beach in the old town, where the water is clear and the beach is very clean. This is a great place to stop by for a quick dip in the water to cool off during the summer heat.
3. Bikini Beach
Bikini Beach is a short drive from the main land, and definitely worth the visit! This is where you will find all the locals spending their summer in the sun. The water here is crystal clear and the sand is some of the whitest you will find. There is both a public and private beach, depending on what you are after. You can either bring your own umbrella, towel and food on the public beach, or if you prefer, the private beach offers a beach club with food & drinks as well as sunbeds and umbrellas.
4. Fish Market
The town thrives off their fish industry, so it’s an absolute must to stop by the fish market, located in the old town, early in the mornings and pick up some amazing fresh fish! Freshly shucked oysters are available, with ample seating available to sit and enjoy throughout the day. The markets do close quite early so make sure your there before sun set.
5. Food & Drinks
The further south you head, I find the food gets so much more amazing and authentic! We stumbled across some great little cafes, bars and shops that definitely require a visit on your next trip. Buena Vista is one of the best spots to sit back and watch the sunset while enjoying some of the most delicious pizza, caprese salad and wines. Music is pumping from their nightly DJ to create a lively atmosphere.
Another amazing place we came across was Blanc Cafe, which acts as both a living home store and a rustic outdoor bar. On one side you will find amazing interior goods for purchase and on the other a long bar leads you to the outdoor area. Definitely worth checking both out!
- Best time to visit is in the off season as the summer months attract large numbers of locals and tourists
- Make sure to catch a sunset at least once during your time here
- A great way to see the town is by boat. If available, hire a boat and tour around the island to see some of the best views of the coast