bari lungomare

Bari is the epitome of Italian coastal cities and has all of those classic features that you’d expect to find in a port that has been operating since before the 1st century BC. While the walls of the city’s old town scream medieval, Bari has its more modern parts too and a nightlife scene that could rival Rome itself.

As the capital of the Puglia region on Italy’s southeast coast, Bari is a delightful hodge-podge of historic buildings, old and new harbors, and interesting cultural facilities with all the attributes of a quality seaside resort. It’s a mix that makes Bari unique, and even though it has a population of over 300,000, life still goes on here with the customary languidity of laid-back Mediterranean life.

There are a hundred reasons you should visit Bari. Reading about it will give you some idea of what’s here, but until you’ve been, explored its winding streets, eaten a panzerotti purchased from a street vendor, or been snorkeling along its cave-riddled coast, you won’t be able to fully comprehend just how special this Italian city is.

It’s a pain to drag your bags around with you when you explore this amazing city, so do yourself a favor and head to a Bounce storage location first. Your bags are safe and secure with us while you wander the charming (uneven) Bari streets.

bari vecchia
source unsplash

What To See And Do In Bari

Bari is not a city to explore in a rush. There’s far too much to see and do in Bari to cram it all into half a day. To immerse yourself in its history, take a deep breath, relax, and get to know it in what can only be described as the Italian way: at leisure.

Bari Vecchia

Bari Vecchia is the oldest part of the city. Within the stone walls that surround it, there’s a maze of winding cobbled streets, more churches than you can count, a 12th-century castle, the Cathedral of San Sabino, and the revered pilgrimage site, the Basilica of St Nicola.

source unsplash

Castello Svevo

While there are huge religious buildings in Bari Vecchia, the Castello Svevo dominates this historic district. The magnificently maintained moated structure was initially constructed in the early 1100s by Italo-Norman King Roger II. 

Castello Svevo has stood the test of time well, and even after serving as a fortress, military barracks, and prison, it is still in pristine condition. Walk the ramparts, and you’ll get to see all sides of Bari, from the seafront to the Old Town below.

Basilica of St Nicola

Visit the Basilica of St Nicola in Bari Vecchia, and you could say you’d dropped by to visit Santa Claus. St Nicola which the basilica is dedicated, is the saint who is reputed, because of his generosity, to have begun the legend of Santa Claus. 

Whether there is any truth in the legend, who knows, but the basilica has some interesting architectural features, including the crypt where the saint’s bones are kept. Yes, you can go down into the crypt, but it’s not permitted to leave gifts.

Bari Seafront

The seafront in Bari is, inarguably, one of the best and most scenic parts of the city. Start to investigate the seafront, and rather than still being in a large city, you’ll start to feel as if you’ve transferred to a totally different place.

bari seafront
source unsplash

The Lungomare

The Lungomare that runs along the seafront in Bari is not only a walkway, but a piece of history too. The seafront walkway was constructed at the order of Mussolini, Italy’s fascist prime minister, from 1922 to 1943 and is the longest of its kind in Europe. 

Take a leg stretch here, and you’ll be able to walk almost the entire frontage of the city while enjoying uninterrupted views of the Mediterranean Sea. Don’t worry, if you need a rest along the way, there are plenty of bars, cafes, and restaurants to stop off at.

Porto Vecchio

Bari has a modern port area where ferries depart to neighboring Greek Islands, Albania, and Croatia, but it’s the city’s old harbor, the Porto Vecchio, that’s maintained its true character. In the Porto Vecchio, you won’t see huge ferries chugging out fumes as they depart the dock but instead, traditional painted fishing boats and small recreational crafts bobbing at anchor. If you want to spoil yourself with a seafood lunch, Porto Vecchio is the place to do it.

Bari Beaches

Bari is blessed with some of the best beaches in the Puglia region of Italy. That means this is one of the best cities to visit if you’re searching for a combined city and beach vacation destination. There are beaches of both sand and stone along the Lungomare where you can just throw down your towel and soak up the sun.

Some of the beaches in Bari are exploited with loungers, parasols, and kiosks for snacks and drinks, while others are not. As they stretch right along the coastline to the neighboring town of Polignano a Mare, you’re guaranteed to find one that suits you.

The beaches and coast of Bari are perfect for all kinds of water sports and boating activities. The water is crystal clear, so you’ll see lots of marine life if you go snorkeling. It’s a fantastic spot for kayaking or paddle boarding, too, as there are lots of caves along the rockier parts of the shoreline.

source unsplash

Bari Culinary Scene

Bari isn’t renowned for its sophisticated cuisine. Bari is renowned for its traditional rustic cuisine, which is often called the food of the poor. In all honesty, it’s some of the best food you can get in Italy, and its simplicity in no way detracts from its incredible taste.

From orecchiette with turnip greens to a calzone pizza stuffed with onions to a mussel risotto, you have to try them all to truly appreciate them. Whether you go to a restaurant or pick up something from a street vendor, you’ll be amazed at the flavor explosion it creates in your mouth.

You won’t need anything more than a glass of Puglian wine to wash it down, either. It’s some of the best wine produced in Italy so while you’re in Bari, make sure to try some.

Planning a trip to Puglia? Explore these helpful services!

Discover your ideal hotel

In search of the ideal lodging? Explore a diverse range of choices on Whether you prefer luxurious hotels or budget-friendly accommodations, you’ll find the perfect match.

Organize your activities

Eager to discover the allure of Puglia? Reserve thrilling tours and activities via Viator. Immerse yourself in the region’s charm with knowledgeable local guides leading you to the top well-known highlights.

Book your guide

Searching for the finest tour experience in Puglia? Book exceptional tour guides through GetYourGuide. Immerse yourself in the allure of the region as expert local guides take you to the best hidden treasures.

You might also enjoy: