WE (L) COME BACK TO OSTUNI
With two popular local gay cruising beaches and one of Puglia’s best known main gay and nudist (optional) beach all within easy reach, what’s not to like about Ostuni? An ever more popular destination for LGBTQ+ travellers, with the Valle d’Itria on its doorstep and a vibrant nightlife that’s more sophisticated than Gallipoli. Little wonder that Davide’s Grindr pings off the scale in summer.
A vacant towel? Must have gone cruising in the woods. Lamaforca - Ostuni’s main cruising beach.
The Big Gay Guide to Ostuni
Gallipoli has traditionally been the pulse of Puglia’s gay summer scene, voted Italy’s best gay 2021 destination in a survey of Italian LGBTQ+ travel blog Gayly Planet’s readers.
Yet over the last few years Ostuni’s popularity as a base for international gay visitors has grown, due in no small part to its proximity to one of the regions most popular gay beaches at Torre Guaceto and two local cruising beaches. Each summer the throb of gay visitors in and around Ostuni are evident all summer long. The first edition of the Rough Guide to the Top LGBTQ+ Friendly Places in Europe published in June 2023 notes Ostuni’s popularity.
It is also the setting for the UK’s first gay dating TV show “I Kissed A Boy”, hosted by Dannii Minogue.
The White City rises up from the Valle d’Itria. The old town gleams from the distance. It has a vibrant centro storico in summer, with restaurants and bars to be discovered in every alleyway twisting around and up and down the hilltop upon which the duomo sits. Ostuni’s nooks and crannies are worth taking two or three days to explore, at a gentle pace.
Ostuni is perfectly positioned as a base to explore the Valle d’Itria and its best beaches, and beyond. Lecce and Bari (and everywhere in between) are easy day trips.
Perhaps it is because Ostuni offers a grown-up, sophisticated evening in contrast to Gallipoli’s quick and easy gratification with its ad hoc, take it or leave it bright strip light bars. You will find Ostuni is in no rush to pleasure you, knowing it has what you need to leave satisfied, wanting more.
Enjoying a late breakfast in the bars around Sant’ Oronzo’s column, a lazy, leisurely lunch in the old town, at nearby Torre Guaceto’s gay and nudist beach during the afternoon and back in town for an aperitivo, dinner and drinks.
Take me to your gay beach
Without a doubt, one of the draws to Ostuni are the nearby gay beaches. Torre Guaceto’s gay and nudist beach is hugely popular and a local favourite. Known nationally, and internationally, the hard to reach beach draws visitors all summer long.
Lamaforca and Torre Pozzella are mixed beaches, but draw a gay crowd. They are busy cruising spots, drawing men who for various reasons, prefer not to go to gay beaches. They are both incredibly popular with married men who come for something other than the sun and the sea.
You will see guys waiting in their cars, or standing by the paths that lead into the woods. Once in the woods, which only stretch back a short distance, just follow the paths and the men.
Both cruising areas are popular with men who identify as straight (Torre Pozzelle more so). Most people are likely to say hello and ask you what you are looking for before inviting you to follow them.
Beware though! We have seen police cars drive up and down the stretch of road that leads to Lamaforca from time to time, pulling drivers over to check their documentation.
If you do continue onto Lamaforca’s beach you will notice a gay presence close to the carpark side of the beach.
Check out our Puglia by beach guide to Lamaforca and Torre Pozzelle, Ostuni’s gay cruising beaches for detailed instructions on how to find the gay spots at both, plus more information on what to expect when you get there.
Where to stay in Ostuni
The best way to experience Ostuni as an urban destination is to stay in its centro storico, the historic centre in and around Piazza della Libertà. We wouldn’t go further south than Parco Rimembranze. To the east we suggest no further than 2 streets away from Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi. Heading west anywhere from Paragon 700 towards the piazza. Try to stay within the boundaries shown below.
If you choose an apartment in the circular area, be sure to check the parking arrangements. This area is a controlled ZTL, a zone where traffic is limited to residents with permits. Drive into it during certain hours, even accidentally, and an automatic fine will follow.
If you are visiting between May to September you will definitely want an apartment with air conditioning, mosquito screens, and most importantly, a roof terrace. Irrespective of how beautiful and authentic the interior, without a terrace you be selling yourself short of the essential Ostuni experience: morning coffee on the terrace, aperitivi as the sun sets.
Our favourite is, of course, apartment Q40 Ostuni. Gay owned and run, it is spacious and has 3 separate terraces, including a sun deck on the top terrace. We recommend booking apartment Q40 Ostuni on booking.com.
We haven’t received any payment or incentive to promote apartment q/40 but we have used the apartment to stay in and to arrange photoshoots for our own guides for no charge. Some of those photos are featured in this post.
The Big Gay Podcast and Guide to Ostuni
Listen to our follow-up guide to gay Ostuni with our guest @daviditalia92 with some adult themes.
The Big Gay Podcast from Puglia is available on Spotify and iTunes or from your usual podcast provider.