Gargano quick guide | why Gargano really is more
When planning a visit to Puglia think of our region in three parts; Gargano to the north, Salento to the south and sitting above it, the Valle d’Itria.
Then there is Bari. An arrival point for onward travel or a base for Bari Vecchia and beyond. “Imperial Puglia” and Matera in the neighbouring region of Basilicata are easy day trips from there.
The Gargano’s landscape is the most diverse in Puglia. With rugged limestone cliffs, sparking azure sea and exceptional, long sandy beaches every bit as fine as the award-winning beaches of Salento and, in our experience, superior to the Valle d’Itria’s best.
Along the coast you will find hidden caves and private coves, sea stacks majestically rising up from and reaching into an infinity of blue and the trabuchi; wooden fishing platforms, a cross between grotesque spiders and steampunk oil rigs.
It is greener too. The Gargano National Park extends across much of Gargano’s interior, within which the dark and prehistoric Foresta Umbra sits.
With some of the region’s most iconic and best known destinations in the Valle d’Itria and Bari province, it may come as a surprise that our top Puglia destination is the most overlooked part of our region.
Many opine that visiting the Gargano, the “spur” of Italy’s boot, will sequester you away from everything else Puglia has to offer (meaning the Valle d’Itria). We consider that this betrays an ignorance of this part of our region. While it is a 2h30m drive from Bari to Vieste there are many beautiful destinations on offer in Gargano, at least as interesting and as inspirational.
It has medieval towns, small fishing villages and it has wonderful beaches with long unbroken stretches of fine sand. Look out for the trabucchi dotted around the coast and enjoy the splendour of the most impressive of Puglia’s limestone sea stacks rising up out of the blue.
Nearby | Vieste sits on the futhest point of the peninsula, and makes a perfect base to explore from | the Foresta Umbra, Peschici and Viso del Gargano are all within within a 30–40 minute drive from Vieste | take a boat trip to Mattinata, the best way to experience Gargano’s coast | take a day trip to Monte Sant’Angelo to see the Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo | visit the Tremiti Islands - often praised for their exceptional beauty.
Food | caciocavallo, the older the better, and especially grilled | troccoli with seafood, thick cords of pasta, twisted, not cut | podolico beef from podolica free range cows that feed on aromatic wild fennel, liquorice and laurel bay.
Drink | Daunia and #Gargano have a few great whites from local grape varieties: Bombino bianco, Malvasia bianca, Trebbiano. For something sparkling try some D’Araprì spumante.
More | read the Big Guide to Vieste | read about our road trip to Gargano | when we ate at Al Trabucco da Mimì,
Those limestone sea stacks are amazing!
Gargano has some of the finest faraglione, and Pizzomunno is a beautiful legend.