People traveling to Puglia rarely stop and visit Brindisi. However, this lesser-known city is well worth spending a day or two.
Even for Italians, when thinking about the Puglia region, Brindisi is not the first destination that comes up to mind. For many, it is just the embarkation point to Greece. But I discovered that the city is indeed well worth spending a few days. And there are plenty of things to do in Brindisi and around.
If you wonder why… Here are my 7 reasons to visit Brindisi
and the surrounding area.
1. The old town
In Brindisi, you can see ancient palaces, the beautiful cathedral, narrow alleys and old houses full of charm.
The best way to explore Brindisi old town is getting lost. After all, the center is quite small, so you’re likely at some point to come back to the starting point. Indeed, missing the cathedral and the beautiful Palazzo Arcivescovile (the Archbishop Palace) overlooking the square is almost impossible. It’s the heart of the city, there are many signs and whoever you ask will show you the right way.
Finding the superb Church of San Giovanni al Sepolcro can be a little more tricky, as it is a bit hidden in a small alley near the Cathedral. I confess that I stumbled across it totally by chance, and couldn’t be happier. It is a must-see when you visit Brindisi. Therefore, ask the hotel where you’re staying for a map and to mark for you the exact point where the church stands.
Spend a few minutes outside, admiring the finely carved old capitals and then move inside, where you’ll see a beautiful example of Romanesque style.
2. The laid-back lifestyle along the pretty waterfront
Take a stroll, look at the sailing boats moored along Brindisi waterfront, stop for a drink at one of the cafés, and enjoy the exhilarating scent of the sea. There’s often a gentle breeze making it a great place to escape the heat and chill out.
3. Amazing food and excellent wine
Like everywhere else in Italy, in Brindisi you’ll taste delicious food and good wine.
The area is a land of olive oil, tasty vegetables, great cheeses. Puglia also boasts excellent wines, like Negroamaro, Sussumaniello, and the now well-known Primitivo. As a result, almost every restaurant is a promise of a great meal.
If you are staying in a self-catering place, ask for a local market where you’ll find lots of fresh products at surprisingly reasonable prices.
4. Old houses, a little crumbling but enchanting
Maybe it’s just me, but I’m fascinated by old houses, especially when they are a little crumbling. It’s not that I don’t like the restored ancient buildings, but in the crumbling constructions I can feel the life, and my imagination starts to run freely.
5. The view of the waterfront from the top of the Monument to the Sailors
The top of the Monument to the Sailors is likely the best viewpoint on the beautiful Brindisi waterfront. From there, you’ll enjoy a different view of the city, the pastel-colored houses on the seafront, the boats waiting to take the sea. Pure marine bliss. And don’t miss to look at the stunning spiraling oval staircase.
6. Ostuni, the ‘White City’
The enchanting Ostuni is perfect for a day out from Brindisi, being only 40 km away. Wander along the tiny cobblestone streets of the ‘White City,’ have a look at the small shops, stop for lunch, dinner or a drink in one of the lovely cafés and restaurants with inviting alfresco settings, for an unforgettable day. I had a wonderful time in Ostuni, albeit too short, and would love to go back.
7. The countryside, olive groves, and Torre Guaceto Nature Reserve
There’s no need to go far away from the city to discover the countryside typical of the Brindisi area.
A nice spot is the Torre Guaceto Nature Reserve, home to beautiful olive groves, pretty creeks, dunes, and marshes. There you can hike, bike, swim (but only in the designated areas) and snorkel but beware in summer as the reserve can be very hot and there’s very little shade, if any, on the seashore. Bring with you a lot of water and possibly a beach umbrella to protect yourself from the sun and the heat.
Useful information to Visit Brindisi
How to get to Brindisi:
Brindisi airport has flights from/to many Italian and European cities, operated by main airlines carriers as well as low-cost airlines. The airport is close to the center and very well connected by a regular bus service.
The easiest way to explore Brindisi surroundings is to hire a car at the airport. Check-out here to find the best car rental rates.
Where to stay in Brindisi:
There are several charming Bed & Breakfast in Brindisi.
The small B&B I Templari Dimora Storica, has two nicely decorated rooms (about 50 and 55 sqm respectively) in a historical building recently renovated and located in the center.
Check more Hotels in Brindisi
Books about Puglia and travel guides
Old Puglia: A Cultural Companion to South-Eastern Italy (Armchair Traveller)
Lonely Planet Southern Italy (Travel Guide)
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Note: ‘Brindisi is My Destination‘ invited me to discover this overlooked area of Puglia. As always, opinions are mine.