The Big getting here, getting around FAQ

Bari or Brindisi (Salento) airport?

Geographically Lecce and the south are closer to Salento airport. Heading to Gargano and north of Bari will make more sense from Bari airport. But if your destination is the Valle d’Itria either might be suitable.

Even the fastest route to Alberobello from Bari airport is slower than the journey from Salento airport.

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From Bari airport onward ...


Bari has a population of just under 320,000. During peak commuter times and holiday periods the 20-25 minute drive around the Baritangenziale can take up to 50 minutes, adding significantly to your journey time. The journey around Bari is unavoidable if you are heading to destinations south of the airport.

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Hiring a car at the airport

At the time of writing fourteen car hire companies operate from Bari airport and twelve from Salento airport. The major car hire companies operate from both.

Our car hire experience is that the desks at Bari are busier and the waiting time longer - consistent with being the busier of the two airports. The pick-up and drop-off points are closer to arrivals/departures at Brindisi.

Salento airport  hack

 Getting here

The second most frequently asked questions posed by visitors planning their trip to is whether it is necessary to hire a car to journey around Puglia.

It is possible to travel around the region by bus and by train. But services can be cumbersome. For example the train journey from Lecce to Otranto involves two changes and takes over an hour. By car it is a relatively straightforward 30 minute drive ...

By air

Puglia has two international airports. Bari International Airport-Karol Wojtyla and Brindisi’s Salento airport.

As well as a number of international flights both have regular connections to and from Rome and Milan as well as other destinations in Italy.

Which airport is best?

If the ticket cost and departure/arrival time makes little difference and you are hiring a car consider:

1. Where in Puglia is your destination?

Salento airport is closer to Alberobello than the most straightforward route from Bari airport and even the quickest route from Bari airport is slower than the journey from Brindisi (but only just).

By journey time Bari airport is better suited for destinations north of Monopoli. Destinations south of Monopoli will be quicker from Salento airport.

For Monopoli the drive from Bari is six minutes faster than from Brindisi. However Brindisi’s Salento airport is a more modern, more compact (and less busy) airport. The airport experience should be quicker and the avoiding the Bari tangenziale ring road makes for an easier drive.

2. Are there more car hire choices at Bari airport?

Fourteen car hire companies operate from Bari airport twelve from Salento airport. The major companies operate from both.

Bari is the larger and busier airport. Comparing our car hire experience at both the desks at Bari are usually busier, the waiting time longer.

The pick-up and drop-off points are closer to arrivals/departures at Brindisi.

3. What else?


Bari has a population of just under 320,000. During peak commuter times and holiday periods the 20-25 minute drive around Bari can take up to 50 minutes, significantly adding to your journey time. Driving around Bari is unavoidable heading to destinations south of the airport.

Brindisi has a population of just under 88,000. The traffic flow around the city is always much easier, even at peak times. If you are heading north from Salento airport you completely bypass Brindisi.

If your first or last destination is Matera, the drive from/to Bari airport (via Modugno) is very straightforward and avoids the Bari ring road.

By rail or by car

If you are flying into Rome then the fast train to Bari will take 4 hours. Tickets start from approximately €45 single.

Driving from Rome the fastest route (450 km via the Autostrada toll road Napoli - Canosa) takes 4h30m.

Buying train tickets | as with flying Ryanair or easyJet train tickets in Italy usually become more expensive approaching the departure date. As soon as you know your travel details book in advance for the best prices and times. These can sell out, especially on popular routes or at peak times

Car hire -vs- public transport

If you plan on travelling around Puglia - even to visit some of its better known destinations, it is possible to do so by public transport. But the public transport system is cumbersome and under developed.

For example, the drive from Lecce to Otranto takes 30 minute along the fastest route (45km). By train it takes almost 3 times longer - 1h23m - with 2 changes (singles from €3.60).

If you are staying on the coast, the connections between Bari and Lecce are reasonably good. The further away that you get, the less straightforward the connections become. Especially if you want to hop from town to town around the Valle d’Itria; something that can be done with ease with your own transport.

At the foot of this FAQ is a photo of the rail connections network around the region. For more information and links to the various transport providers see our posts about accessible travel and public transport.

To plan and book journeys we use the Trenitalia app (free registration required for the app). Otherwise to check the timetable and routes we like the Trenìt app. Both are in English.

Airport connections by public transport

The train station connecting to Bari centrale the main station in Bari (with other stops en route) is easily accessed opposite the south exit from the terminal building. Trains run frequently.

Bus connections are at the side of the train station entrance.

From Salento airport you need to take a bus to the train station in Brindisi.

See the sections below for further details.

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Voi siete qui - arriving at Bari airport

When you come out of the arrivals hall into Bari’s main airport terminal, on your left side at the end of the building is the exit that takes you to the railway station (clearly indicated over the door).

There you can take the train into Bari and for onward connections.

Above = train connections to the airport. There are two lines so the trains are frequent.

Below = main railway network serving Puglia.

Arriving at Salento (Brindisi) airport

Step out of the arrivals hall into the main terminal building. Immediately ahead is the bus stop for the bus connection into Brindisi and the train station, for onward connections.

There is no train station at the airport; take the bus (€1 in advance inside the airport, €1,50 on board - turn right as you exit the terminal building), or a taxi (turn left). The taxi costs a €20 flat fee for anywhere within the metropolitan area of Brindisi.

Above = bus connection into Brindisi and the train station.
Below = bus timetable and route.

Because you’re worth it

However you get here, isn’t it worth it?

Whether you have come for the great food, the fantastic beaches, or just a relaxing holiday under our blue skies that melt into the sea, there is plenty to do and see.

Discover the beaches that others visitors haven’t yet discovered and the lesser known towns that more than match Monopoli and Polignano a Mare to make your holiday feel even more exclusive.

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"We are in Puglia."

~ Sacha Baron Cohen