Top 10 things to do in Puglia, Italy with children

The South of Italy is such a beautiful part of this child friendly country and Puglia in particular has so much to offer families visiting the region. We have picked out 10 of our favourite things to do here –

1. Stay in a masseria

These evocative former farms or olive mills are packed full of character. The Masseria Torre Coccaro for example has an indoor pool set into the cave and there are enchanting walks in the grounds. The perfect opportunity to get kids out and about and exploring somewhere really unique.

masseria torre coccaro

2. Visit during Carnival in February

This can be an exciting time for children to visit. Local kids dress up in fancy dress and families all meet in the towns to watch parades. We visited during this time and people were handing out colourful confetti to be thrown into the air which was really good fun. It felt like a real opportunity to mingle with local people and soak up the atmosphere and the children loved it – here they are throwing confetti in Lecce:

Lecce, Puglia - copyright

3. Wander in to the beehive shaped houses at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Alberobello

Now a shopper’s dream, these odd little homes, called trullo, are hundreds of years old. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Alberobello is a quirky town and the best place to see trullo en masse. Unique to Southern Italy they really are quirky and fun to explore and they are child sized and filled with little trinkets like whistles and puppets – what’s not to love as a child!

Alberobello, Puglia, Italy - copyright

Alberobello, Puglia

4. Enjoy the beaches of Puglia

We visited Puglia in winter but still managed to get over to the seaside and enjoy the beaches. In summer these really come in to their own and are the perfect places to cool off from the sun. Many have beach clubs you can go into for drinks or meals and some have pools, boats to hire or fun beachside activities going on for children.

5. Take a cookery class.

Our children took a cookery class with the chef at the Masseria Torre Coccora and loved learning how to make calzone, pizza, spaghetti and most of all the orecchiette pasta, shaped like an ear, famous in this area. We ate the food we had cooked and it was delicious. This was such a rewarding experience for all the family.

Masseria Torre Coccaro, Puglia - copyright

6. Zoo Safari, Fasano

When we visited many of the traditional attractions were closed for the winter but one place everyone talked about was Zoo Safari which is one of the largest zoos in Europe and has a large number of animals but also water rides and rollercoasters: the perfect day out that’s completely child-centred.

7. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Matera

Not in Puglia but only just outside so I feel like I can get away with it, the ancient town of Matera is a must. One of the world’s oldest continually inhabited towns we were entranced by the houses set into the caves and the labyrinth of steps. And don’t miss buying the unique souvenir of cuccù here.

Matera - copyright

Looking down on the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Matera

8. Grotte di Castellana

These 90 million year old caves are a great place to explore with children. Marvel at the amazing shapes and colours as you wind your way through some of the 3 kilometers of caves.

9. Hire bikes

This is a perfect region to cycle around as it is relatively flat. Local roads are lined and shaded by olive trees and are ideal for a trip around the olive mills and cheese producers where you can try samples and see how products are made. Our Masseria had bikes to borrow and could direct us to a good route so it would be worth asking your accommodation to help.

Olive trees, Puglia - copyright

olive trees

10. Wander the streets of Old Bari

In Puglia’s capital city Bari, the Barivecchia is a wonderful area to explore and lose yourself in ancient streets and passageways. The redevelopment of the main piazzas has injected new life into Old Bari which warmly welcomes visitors. It’s a great place to discover markets, castles, churches and the traditional ways of life in Puglia.

Read more about our winter trip to Puglia and Matera and see our video of our time in the region.

20 Responses to "Top 10 things to do in Puglia, Italy with children"

  1. Erica Price  April 10, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Some great ideas. Carnival sounds wonderful and it’s the sort of thing memories are made from.

  2. mamasyder  April 10, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Great post. Matera has been on my must see list for a few years, it looks so beautiful. I’ve been enjoying your guides so much x

  3. My Family Ties  April 10, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Wonderful post, and somewhere I have always wanted to go, thanks for sharing such relevant tips too I would love to take my kids here 🙂

    • globalmouse  April 11, 2015 at 6:35 pm

      Thank you for your lovely comments – it’s a great place to visit and I’d definitely recommend it.

  4. Sarah  April 10, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    What beautiful choices – so much to do there. My kids would love to go to Italy and you make Puglia sound so tempting.

  5. Joanna Imran  April 10, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    Looks like Puglia is a great place to visit. If I was to go, I’d definitely want to see the carnival – these are always great fun with the kids 🙂

  6. PinkOddy  April 10, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    I really want to visit Italy – so sounds like February half term would be a good time then.

    • globalmouse  April 11, 2015 at 6:33 pm

      Well lots of people told us not to visit then as so much would be closed but I personally think it’s a great time to visit, we loved it.

  7. Sarah Bailey  April 11, 2015 at 1:05 am

    What some fun sounding things to do – I would love to visit Italy one day. x

  8. Rachel  April 11, 2015 at 8:57 am

    The pool in the cave is amazing, wow, who knew such things existed x

  9. Cass@FrugalFamily  April 11, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Oh my, I really need to stay in a Masseria. I’d never even heard of one until reading this but it looks amazing!

    • globalmouse  April 11, 2015 at 6:29 pm

      Masseria are amazing – I have a post coming soon all about them, they really are special places to stay!

  10. Lucy Dorrington  April 11, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Such fantastic photos! Child sized shops and cave-pools sounds like a dream holiday destination for families!

    • globalmouse  April 11, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      Thank you! And it really is one of the best places for families, it’s got a bit of everything.

  11. Jaime Oliver  April 12, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Some inspiring ideas! .. i love local festivals its great to really get to see what a location is all about x

  12. Laura  April 12, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    I like the idea of taking an Italian cookery course. My husband and I are hoping to travel more with our children as they get older and I’ll certainly keep your tips in mind.

  13. Kara  April 13, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Adore that pool and the local festivals sound wonderful

  14. Michele  May 7, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Lived there for 2 years with young children, and these are great recommendations. We didn’t stay at a masseria, but we did get to stay in a gorgeous trulli (like the little houses you found in Alberobello, but much bigger).

    • globalmouse  May 7, 2015 at 8:44 am

      Thank you so much! I love those trulli houses and am going to have to return one day to stay in one!! What a wonderful place to live with children, lucky you! Thank you again for commenting!

  15. Valentin Bigot  May 26, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Going to Italy with kids sems to be a verry good activity ! The carnival is so fun, they’ll like it a lot. And the cooking class, even thinking about it, it’s watering my mouth !


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