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