Year on year, Puglia’s reputation as a gay holiday hotspot grows. One of Europe’s top 5 gay destinations for LGBTQ travellers and a long-time favourite of the Italian gay population, Puglia regularly draws an international gay crowd.
Our Best of Gay Puglia 2020 poll affirmed Gallipoli’s status as Puglia’s favourite gay destination. Perhaps not such a surprise given that Gallipoli is still the main focus of Puglia’s summer gay scene, as reflected in the responses to other questions in our survey.
Yet Bari’s Makumba Tribe Village still beat Gallipoli’s Picador Village as Puglia’s best club.
Away from the beaches, there is much on offer for LGBTQ+ visitors elsewhere in Puglia. Our poll revealed a growing cultural and social rivalry between Bari and Lecce.
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Bari is the main point of entry for many arriving in Puglia - by air, ferry or train.
While it may not be most visitors’ ultimate destination, Bari is becoming a popular base for those on a shorter city-break or using public transport to get around the region.
Bari Vecchia - a knot of narrow streets and alleyways - is the highlight of a trip to our regional capital. Vibrant but not yet overly commercial.
Bars and Restaurants
On your way into the old town there is the Reverso Unconventional Bistrot. Small but perfectly formed.
La Ciclatera Sotto Il Mare is another popular gay-friendly caffè bar, via Venezia 16, 70122 Bari. It has a wonderful terrace in an envious position overlooking the Adriatic across to the Porto Vecchio and beyond. It’s the perfect place to enjoy something light to eat, or an aperitivo during the “golden hour” looking out towards the sea, before or after exploring the narrow, cooler alleyways and passages of the old town. We enjoyed our visit.
They have a sister bar La Ciclatera at Corte Colagualano, 36.
On-Off Stutalacapa bar in nearby Torre a Mare is gay-friendly, serving up international (i.e. burgers) and Puglian cuisine. Via Garibaldi 7/9, Torre A Mare
Makumba Tribe Village at the Palaghiaccio, Acquapark Bari (Via Caldarola 6, 70126 Bari BA) is Bari's best known gay club (although it draws a gay-friendly crowd too).
As the location might suggest, it is has a pool, and is well known for its pool parties during summer. It has go-go boys and drag queens, including the wonderful Sorelle Pompadur.
Pazzeska is Bari’s newest gay and gay friendly night, drawing a young and happy crowd. Their nights feature house drag artists, gogo boys and gogo girls.
Run by the same promotors as 2019’s Adoro Bari Friendly they move around from venue to venue and town to town - so follow them on social to find out where and when.
Their current preferred Bari venue is Villa Rotondo club and restaurant Corso Alcide De Gasperi, Str. Vicinale Carducci, 431, 70125 Bari.
Bari has its own city beaches. You might find some local gays at Pane e Pomodoro beach, but for the nearest gay beaches you should head to these gay-friendly naturist beaches: north of Bari Spiaggia Torre Calderina (Google Map co-ordinates 41°13'36.5"N 16°33'09.7"E) and Cola Olidda, Gavetone (Google Map co-ordinates 41°11'37.3"N 16°38'26.9"E), either side of Molfetta; or head south to Torre Incina, between Polignano a Mare and Monopoli.
Usually held at the end of June. The 2020 Pride Parade was another Covid-19 casualty, although on 18 July 2020 the organisers held a socially distanced ”static” Pride event outside the Prefettura di Bari.
The Big Gay Podcast from Puglia were proud sponsors of Bari Pride 2019.
Bari’s only gay sauna is Millenium Bath on the north western side of the modern port, near Fiera del Levante.
Popular central cruising spots are along the lungomare Nazario Sauro and by the University’s of Bari’s faculty of language and literature (via Michele Garruba, 6). You will need a car to get to the main cruising spot which is by the football stadium (the Stadio San Nicola). Just drive around the car park, though obviously not when there’s a match.
The most popular social apps are Grindr and Planet Romeo. Many don’t identify as gay and Tinder is popular.
BakecaIncontrii.com is the largest classified ads portal for adults in Italy. Categories include “escorts, trans, transvestites, male escorts, erotic massages, couples and much more ... the opportunity to realise your every fantasy and find what you are looking for. Real ads for you!”.
It has a dedicated Men Seeking Men Bari section though to navigate the ads you will need a working knowledge of the language, dialect and slang!
Gay Organisations and Associations
ArcigayBari - organisers of Bari Pride.
More | read The BIG Guide to Bari | check out our guide to Puglia’s Top 5 Gay Beaches | prepare for #gayPuglia with our Gay Puglia Party Guide | find out about Puglia’s three Pride celebrations