Visiting Puglia? Seas the day and head to Monopoli. A short jaunt out of Bari, Monopoli is a great alternative to the more crowded Polignano A Mare. With numerous small coves to explore, there is space to recline and enjoy the view, even on a busy summer’s day.

A charming town on the East coast of Italy, Monopoli is encased by a sea wall and surrounded by sparkling sea. Facing Croatia, Monopoli feels almost like a piece of Dubrovnik that has drifted off and joined Italy.

Visiting Monopoli Old Town

The newer part of town has some nice aspects, the main square and a few trendy restaurants. But on a first visit to Monopoli, I’d recommend heading straight for the labyrinth like Old Town.

The streets are white washed and dotted with plenty of eateries to entice you in. Unlike the board game that shares this town’s name, Monopoli is not so easy to navigate! Its pretty impossible to find particular streets, but the best thing is just to wander and take in the character of the town.

What to eat and drink in Monopoli?

For snacks, you can’t go wrong with Mani in Pasta which churns out Panzerotti, Pizza and Focaccia in a matter of minutes. Take one of these treats to go and head for a stroll along the sea wall.

If you’re after Ibiza chill vibes and cocktails, then Tamborr Restaurant and Bar is perfect for you. It’s got a good selection of drinks, including Spritz and other cocktails and occupies a prime spot by the water in the shadows of the Castle. Cocktails are around 7 Euro, with wine ranging from 18 Euro.

If reggae music is more your scene, try Sottocperta (above) where you can enjoy a bit of rest bite from the sun, whilst you enjoy a chilled glass of Chardonnay. This place also does a range of healthier lunch or dinner options, that are on the pricey side but are popular nonetheless.

For a longer lunch or dinner, there are endless restaurants to choose from. Monopoli, with it’s long coastline, is a great place to enjoy some seafood. For cozy local vibes in the old town, why not try Il Guazzetto. Or if you want to take in the coastal views, Porto Rosso sits atop a cliff overlooking the ocean. Proper holiday feels!

Does Monopoli have Beaches?

As is the case with many Italian towns in the Summer, the crowds assemble to hit the beach. But, there are so many different areas along the coast, sand, shingle or rock that you can park yourself on the for the day. The water here is calm, cool and wonderfully clear. You can swim, paddle board or just bob about until your heart is content.

To find your perfect sunbathing spot, I’d recommend strolling out of the old town and following the sea wall until you find somewhere to suit you. The first point you’ll reach is Cala Porta Vecchia, which you can expect to be crowded in the Summer (this is a walled beach rather than sand).

If you walk further on to either Porto Bianco or Porto Rosso you should start to find some areas to sit and enjoy the water. My favourite cove near town Porto Verde is a little further, but here you can perch atop a large rocky cliff, which gives you much more space to stretch out and a fairly private launch into the sea down from the rock.

If you want to keep walking, or have access to a car, the beaches get quieter as you move further away from town and towards Capitolo.

There are also a number of Lido/Beach Clubs, if you are looking to rent sun loungers and umbrellas and gain access to the beach club bars. Try Cala Paradiso, which has a convenient jetty into the ocean.

How to get to Monopoli

From Bari, or Bridnisi, Monopli is easy to get to on the train. It takes around 35 minutes from Bari. If you are using public transport, there are two notes of caution:

  • The trains are semi-regular, look out for gaps in the timetable (e.g. no trains between 1220 and 1430 or 2100 and 0440!)
  • Take note of the Regional v Intercity Trains. The intercity services are faster, but more expensive. If you board the Intercity train with the wrong ticket, you will be fined or asked to disembark.

Fancy seeing more of Puglia?

Itinerary for Puglia
An Itinerary for Exploring Puglia

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3 responses to “Is Monopoli worth visiting?”

  1. […] Poligano a Mare is clear blue sea and a delightful cove. Monopoli, for me, steals the show. Here there are countless small coves spreading out from a gorgeous and […]

  2. […] clean and sandy. The best beaches (in our opinion) are to be found south of Bari, head to either Monopoli or Polignano A […]

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