Gallipoli: the perfect base to discover Puglia
It is not often that we stay longer than 3 days in 1 place. So when we drove away from Gallipoli after 10 days, we realized that this place might be our favorite of our road trip. Not only is Gallipoli’s old town fantastic to visit, the city is also the perfect base to explore the rest of Puglia. Beautiful beaches, Alberobello, Lecce,Matera or Polignano a Mare can all be found within 1.5 hours drive max.
The Pearl of the Ionian Sea, that’s how Gallipoli is also called. Something we completely agree with. You’ll find the city in the province of Lecce in the heel of Italy. The city center is surrounded by ancient city walls and is known for its beautiful Renaissance buildings. You won’t be short of cozy restaurants, bars and beautiful beaches in Gallipoli either. We thought it was a wonderful place and highly recommended if you want to discover Puglia.
In this article
- To do
- Travel time
- Practical information
- The nicest accommodations
- How do I get there?
- Our opinion
What to do in Gallipoli
What makes Gallipoli so incredibly nice is that there is so much to see and do in the town itself and in the surrounding area. We visited the old center of Gallipoli several times and on other days we grabbed the motorhome or bike to explore the area. Something we can recommend to everyone. Of course, we have also collected the best sights of Gallipoli for you:
Strolling through the old town
The old city center of Gallipoli is truly a picture. The narrow charming streets, baroque-style balconies, colorful buildings and countless churches make it possible to wander around for hours. So this is something we were only too happy to do, terrace hopping around the city. You will also find all kinds of nice stores in town where you can score fresh pasta, the best wines and, of course, the famous olive oil of Gallipoli.
Visit the most beautiful beaches of Puglia
The beaches around Puglia are among the most beautiful in Italy. So every day we decided to visit a new beach and yes there was even swimming. These were our favorite beaches of Puglia:
- Spiaggia di pescoluse: the maldives of Salerno
- Punta della Suina
- Porto Cesareo
- Punta prosciutto
- City beach ‘Beach of Purity’
Cattedrale di Sant’Agata
One building you can’t ignore is the Cathedral di Sant’Agata. This cathedral was built between 1629 and 1696, designed by Francesco Bischettimi, and is known for its unique Baroque architecture. It is also possible to admire the inside of the cathedral.
A waterfront aperitivo during sunset
It seemed like the sunsets in Puglia were getting more beautiful by the day. It is imperative to enjoy this to the fullest and I can do Gallipoli very well. In fact, on the waterfront you will find several restaurants where you will have a magnificent view of the sea. Take a walk around along the waterfront and you’ll automatically come across a nice little joint. Our favorite on the waterfront was AMU Fish restaurant. Order a wine or an aperitivo and enjoy!
More Gallipoli sights:
- Visit the Frantoi Oleari Ipogei Museum where you can learn all about olive oil production
- Visit the church: San Domenico al Rosario
- Plan a movie night at the city’s 14th century castle
- Score fresh fish at the fish market
- Take a day trip to Alberobello
- Also visit the town of Lecce
- Admire the beauty of the town of Matera
Hotspots & food in
Best time to travel to Gallipoli
The best travel time for Gallipoli is from May to June and August to October. In fact, during the high season it can be a bit busier and high prices are charged for campsites and hotels. In winter it is still warmer than in the Netherlands, but the chances of rainy days are a lot higher. Campgrounds and accommodations, by the way, are open year-round.
Transportation in Gallipoli
The old city center in Gallipoli is largely car-free. You can park just outside the city center in the new section in several places. The city is somewhat less accessible by motorhome. There are certain parts where you are not allowed to go with the RV. In fact, the roads can be very narrow and you may even get stuck with the RV. Unfortunately, we know this from our own experience.
Gallipoli is also easy to reach by bicycle. There are no separate bike lanes, but the roads are very wide and traffic is fairly quiet.
If you are not in Gallipoli by car, we do recommend renting one. Not to visit the city center, but to explore the surrounding area. Thus, we visited a new beach every day.
Which budget do i need in Gallipoli?
9 days Gallipoli cost us a total of 450 euros, a daily budget of 50 euros, this includes. gasoline, groceries, dining out and camping fees.
- Gasoline: 50 euros
- Groceries: 150 euros
- Camping: 110 euros
- Dining out: 150 euros
Day budget Gallipoli +camping: 45 – 75 euros per day
Day budget Gallipoli hotel: 75 – 125 euros per day
Practical information about Gallipoli
- In the city, you are not allowed to drive RVs everywhere. Motorhome parking lots are a bit further out of town. If you have a bike with you, the best way to visit the city is from your campsite
- Parking is often paid, so make sure you have cash and/or a credit card.
- Many supermarkets close in the afternoon. MD Discount is open all day and Familia is another fine supermarket to visit.
- If you take the dog with you, you are required to carry a muzzle. Dogs must wear this in public places. Yet we almost never saw dogs with a muzzle and never did it with our dog. Although we do have a stick old pug with epilepsy who was in backpack most of the time so expect most people were understanding of this. With a larger dog, this may be different anyway.
- With an ACSI discount card, you often get discounts at campsites in the off-season.
- For the nicest camping spot, we always use the app Park4night & camper contact
- The same obligations apply in the car as in the Netherlands. So bring safety jacket and warning triangle!
- In Italy, many stores, restaurants and supermarkets are often closed at noon. Something we forget almost every day.
- There is currently (Oct. 2020) duty to wear masks due to Corona, including on the street
- Download foreign affairs app to keep up to date with latest developments
What are nice places to stay in Gallipoli?
For the first few days we stayed at a small RV parking area just outside the center of Gallipoli, namely: Camper Parking Area New Horizons. We found the RV site very nice, but super quiet. The last 2 days we were even alone in the campground.
The last few days we decided to be a little closer to the center at the Agricampeggio & Glamping Torre Sabea.
Also read the article “Campsites in Gallipoli” for more information.
Quickly check out our favorite accommodations and hotels in Gallipoli:
How to get to Gallipoli?
From the Netherlands it is about 2000 km and takes almost 20 hours. So quite a ride. If you have the time then we definitely recommend taking this road trip. We took a 6-week road trip through Italy, visiting Turin, Tuscany, Le Marche and ending our trip in Puglia, among other places.
If you have a little less time, we recommend flying into Bari, Brindisi or Lecce and renting a car here to see more of Puglia.
With Ryanair, you have a choice of the following flights:
- Eindhoven to Brindisi from 50 euros per flight
- Maastricht to Bari from 50 euros per flight
- Dusseldorf Weeze to Bari from €60 per flight
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