From Rome to Puglia: Beach Town of Polignano a Mare

Polignano a Mare and beach, puglia Italy
From Bari, it’s just a 20-minute train ride to Polignano a Mare (and a whopping €2.30). And so if Bari, despite its charms, sounds like it’s just too much of a city for you, there’s no reason not to switch trains and head on to Polignano right then.

With about 20,000 inhabitants, Polignano a Mare feels like a small resort town. Its lovely, whitewashed centro storico perches on cliffs, overlooking the sparkling Adriatic. The town beach (above) is beautiful, the water super-clear, the people friendly.

Of course, you won’t be the first person to “discover” Polignano. Crowds of tourists arrive in the summer, particularly August. But it’s still rare to hear much English spoken, prices remain relatively low, locals gather on the central piazza at night, and souvenir shops are vastly outnumbered by butcher’s and grocer’s stores. In other words: While a resort town, Polignano a Mare is a far, far cry from Sorrento, Capri, or Vernazza.

Did I mention it’s lovely? 

Street in Polignano a Mare, Puglia, Italy

Sunset in Polignano a Mare, Puglia

Thankfully, since we were staying in Polignano a Mare for two nights, my father and I made one of our best accommodation choices, ever: the Casa Dorsi. In the heart of the centro storico, a stone’s throw from the water, this was an entire building… to ourselves. There were two floors, including a kitchen, two bathrooms, and three bedrooms. For €80 total. Breakfast included.

Oh, and there was a private rooftop terrace.

Rooftop terrace at Casa Dorsi in Polignano a Mare
The one downside was the lack of Wi-Fi inside the thick-walled palazzo (the owner said that it works for some people, doesn’t for others). But we couldn’t complain too much.

We spent a full day exploring Polignano. Since the historic center is pretty small, and museums and other “must-see” cultural sites seemed nil, that meant a lot of time just relaxing. Including on the beach, a short walk down from the town itself.

Beach of Polignano a Mare
In late June, the beach was definitely lively, but not jam-packed. In August, I’m betting it’s beach-blanket-to-beach-blanket.

Local kids, meanwhile, were jumping off the tower built on top of the cliff.

Cliff-jumpers in Polignano a Mare, Puglia
A relaxing resort town, without the ridiculous prices: Polignano a Mare’s one I’m adding to my list of places to go back to.

Also: should you visit Naples?, the most beautiful beach near Rome and what to know about Polignano a Mare’s neighbor Monopoli.

Heading to Rome? Check out The Revealed Rome Handbook: Tips and Tricks for Exploring the Eternal City, available for purchase on Amazon, below, or through my site here!

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  1. Hi,

    A which part of the city is a free beach where we can swim and go tanning? I would like to book a hotel which is close to the sea and the sand.

    1. Hi there,
      Polignano a Mare is pretty small so as long as you book anything in the center, you’ll be close to that town beach! Enjoy — it’s a lovely place.

  2. Looks beautiful! Planning our trip to Italy for next year and just added this charming town to the top of the list!

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