Bari or Brindisi (Salento) airport?
If you are staying in the Valle d’Itria or further south check which of our two international airports has the best availability and prices.
Alberobello is slightly faster (and easier) by car from Brindisi’s Salento airport than it is from Bari airport, for example. Anywhere south of there will have easier access from and to Salento airport.
From Bari airport onward ...
Traffic! Bari has a population of just under 320,000. During peak commuter times and holiday periods the 20-25 minute drive around the Bari tangenziale 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.
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.
The pick-up and drop-off points are closer to arrivals/departures at Brindisi’s Salento airport.
Getting here and getting around
The best way to explore our region is by car so you can discover remote and scenic spots.
It is possible to travel around Puglia by public transport. But services can be cumbersome or even non-existent, especially from mid-September through to June. Staying in a well connected transport hub like Bari, Lecce or elsewhere along the Adriatic coast is recommended.
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?
Subject to cost and flight availability, if you are hiring a car consider:
1. Where in Puglia is your destination?
By car Salento airport is closer to Alberobello than Bari airport. Even in moderate traffic the most straightforward route from Bari airport takes slightly longer than from Brindisi.
Avoiding the Bari tangenziale ring road always makes for an easier drive, especially if you are still acclimatising to driving in Italy. Heading north from Brindisi takes you onto the highway beyond its city circular stretch.
By journey time Bari airport is better suited for destinations north of Monopoli. Destinations south of Monopoli will be quicker from Salento airport.
Brindisi’s Salento airport is a more modern and compact (and less busy) airport.
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. Pick-up and drop-off points are closer to arrivals/departures at Brindisi.
3. What else?
Traffic! 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
Puglia’s public transport system under developed and can be cumbersome. Journeys to and between some of the most popular destinations can be challenging, and journey times can take disproportionately longer.
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).
Connections between Bari and Lecce are reasonably good. The further away that you get, the less straightforward the connections. On Sundays and from mid-September to June these can almost non-existent.
More | for public transport information see our blog posts about accessible travel and public transport in Puglia | use the Trenìt app and the Trenitalia app to check timetable and routes | the Trenitalia and Ferrovie del Sud Est train line maps.
Airport connections by public transport
Bari airport | the train station is easily accessed opposite the south exit from the terminal building; trains run frequently to Bari centrale, the main station in Bari, and in the opposite direction to Andria and Barletta | bus connections are at the side of the train station entrance, Pugliairbus bus includes connections to Matera and Vieste.
The airport is located 15 km away from the centre of Bari. You can chose between these transport options:
- The train from Bari Airport to Bari centrale costs 5€ with departures approximately every 20 minutes. The journey takes around 20 minutes - the fastest way to travel from the airport to Bari city centre.
- The Airport Bus route no. 16 is the cheaper but slower option. The ticket costs 1€ bought in advance (or 1.5€ on the bus). The journey takes around 40 minutes to 1 hour.
- Check with your hotel whether a private transfer is available; many hotels offer this for about 10€ per person.
Salento airport | take the bus to the train station in Brindisi | taxis from the airport into metropolitan Brindisi charge a flat rate of 20€.
More | read our guide to using public transport in Puglia.
Visa requirements | no visa is required for stays up to 90 days for travellers from the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the UK | Schengen Zone passport holders have no entry visa requirement | from elsewhere check with Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Currency | the Euro | € | cash is accepted but electronic and contactless payment (including by cell phone) is common - even at some roadside fruit and vegetable stalls.
Power | Italy operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz | there are two main socket plug types: two round pins and three round pins. - take a universal adapter just to be sure.
Tipping | we don’t generally tip in Italy | sometimes we leave the small change up to the nearest €.
Arriving at Bari airport
Come out of the arrivals hall into the terminal building , on your left at the end of the building is the exit to the railway station - clearly indicated above the exit - for connections into Bari and onward and for Andria and Barletta.
The main car hire desks are located in that area.
Arriving at Salento (Brindisi) airport
The bus connections into Brindisi include stops at the train station and the port.
Step out of the arrivals hall into the main terminal building. The bus stop is directly in front outside the building.
Arriving at Salento (Brindisi) airport
The bus timetable and route.
Trains | take the bus into Brindisi (€1 in advance inside the airport, €1,50 on board), turn right as you exit the terminal building | turn left to take a by taxi - a €20 flat fee for anywhere within the metropolitan area of Brindisi.