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So you are going to Italy and have decided to visit the magical Bari? What you can expect from this part of Southern Italy is more authenticity. Don’t get me wrong; there are places on the Almfi coast that offer some traditional Italian stereotypes.
Though, from my experience, the Amalfi Coast is more for the tourists than the locals. The east coast of Italy has more to offer! This guide will focus on what to do in Bari, Italy.
Use this post to craft your own itinerary in Bari Italia! Included are all the best sites, restaurants, and hotels for the Puglia region.
When I visited the east coast of Italy, specifically Bari, Italy, it was less traveled and filled with far fewer tourists. I visited in what would be the high season, the summer.
You can count on it at the end of August to be hot as hell. My advice is to be SURE to find a place with air conditioning.
Bari is a great spot to spend a mini-break weekend, but I really recommend a to spend 3 weeks in Italy to get an excellent overview of the country.
As a solo traveling lady, I must share that I felt very safe, even at night. I stayed right in the center of the historic old town of Bari. The evenings are when the streets would come alive with the locals.
A typical Italian tradition is for mature ladies to take their chairs out on the pavement and chat with their neighbors. I witnessed this every night, and seeing it made me feel like I was visiting the “real” Italy.
🚗 Best way to explore the Puglia Reigion is by renting a car!
7 Best Things to Do in Bari, Italy
- Get a Tour of the Cyrpt in Bari’s Famous Basilica
- Marvel at the Cathedral of San Sabino
- Explore the Norman-Swabian Castle
- Eat Your Way Through Old Town Bari
- Experience The Seaside Promenade
- People Watch in Piazza Mercantile
- Beachtime at Lindo San Francesco
Get To Bari, Italy | Transportation
When arriving at Bari international airport, you have the following choices of transit to the old town of Bari:
Taxi – If you want to take a taxi from the airport to Old Town Bari, it should cost approx. 20 euros.
However, websites warn that all taxis cannot be trusted to give you an honest price. My advice is to confirm with the driver the cost before getting in.
Train– Taking the train from the airport is what I did, and I can recommend it. From the airport, you will follow the signs for the train that lead you underground.
There was an attendant at the desk at the entrance to the train selling tickets. Also, you could use the machines to get a ticket.
The clean and efficient train felt safe for a single woman traveling. Taking the train to Bari is a journey of about 25 mins, and ticket costs were approx. 7 euros.
After arriving at the central train station, the walk to the old town is 20 mins. I highly recommend it if the weather is beautiful and you don’t have much luggage.
Rent A Car
Renting a car is a great idea for this area of Bari, you can easily see so much of the country this way! I usually just take trains, but in an area like this, I would rent a car.
🚗 Rent a Car in Puglia! See all of Southern Italy at your own pace! Check Rates & Availability!
Map of Bari
📲 Grab a FREE GOOGLE MAP of Bari and all the pinned locations from this post! Directly import it into your phone for your trip!
Top Attractions in Bari, Italy
Wondering what to do in Bari? One of my many draws to Italy is the architecture. Baroque city architecture can be seen all throughout this region of Southern Italy.
Appearing in the early 17th century, the baroque city architecture style is decorative and theatrical.
Some of the Basilicas of Bari represent the Baroque style. Here is a list of the most popular and must-see Basilicas and the best in the Bari region of Italy.
Itinerary Ideas for Bari, Italy
Construction started in 1087 and was completed in 1197.
St. Nicholas, a Patron Saint, was known for many miracles and was referred to as the wonderworker.
This impressive church, dedicated to St. Nicholas has a rich history and is located in the heart of Bari’s old town.
What is a Patron Saint? It is defined as protecting or guiding a person or place.
You can get all the history and VIP access to the crypt on a guided tour! Seeing the church through the eyes of a local is an incredible way to explore this Basilica.
Guided Tour of St. Nicholas Basilica and Crypt
Learn about St. Nicholas from an expert tour guide who will take you around the Basilica and under to get to see the Crypt!
This Romanesque-style basilica was constructed in the late 12th to late 13th centuries.
The most notable and interesting thing about this church is the underground crypt. The entrance fee is 1 euro.
If you are a castle lover like I am, you will want to check out the enormous Bari Castle which is said to have been built in 1132 by King Roger II.
Destroyed by King William in 1156 and then rebuilt in 1233 by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II.
You can walk the interiors and marvel at this castle’s sheer size and age.
🎟️ Get Tickets: Get a fully guided 80-minute tour of this iconic castle! Check Rates & Availability!
Love to eat? Lose yourself in the small winding streets of the old town of Bari while eating along the way. Walking Street Food Tour
Authentic little Italian markets selling olive oil and soap can be found throughout this area. Enjoy an espresso or, my fav, an Aperol Spritz!
The small old town of Bari still has a feeling of true Italian authenticity. You can really feel the love of the community that resides here. Other coastal cities in Italy can be all of the tourists, but here in Bari, it feels local.
Walking Street Food Tour in Bari
Eat your way through Bari on this walking food tour! It is the perfect way to see all the sites and try the local cuisine.
The promenade is the perfect place to enjoy a sunset or a stroll along the Adriatic Sea on the coast of Southern Italy.
The seaside promenade is about 1000 meters long, packed with beautiful scenery of whitewashed architecture.
A walk along this promenade is a great place to start or end your day. Take the opportunity to enjoy a coffee or cocktail with a view.
Another way to enjoy the sites of Bari is by bike! Bicycle tour of Bari
The most impressive square in the heart of the old town of Bari is Piazza Mercantile.
Piazza Mercantile is close to the harbor and lively after sunset. Many of the most popular restaurants in the old town can be found here.
Find a place to sit, enjoy bread soaked in olive oil, and watch the world go by.
Did you come to Italy to relax? No better place to chill than the beach!
Bring your book and some sunscreen and enjoy the crystal blue waters.
Beach Lido San Francesco is the closest beach to the old town of Bari. It is not the most impressive beach in the area, but it is the closest you can get to by foot.
Looking for Art Galleries?
There are several museums and other sites to be seen in Bari. For your weekend break in Bari, you can also consider Art Gallery Provincial Bari.
Best Hotels in Bari
B & Z Luxury ($$$)
A modern hotel highly rated for its great location and high-end finishes.
Reasonably priced accommodations in the heart of Bari! Check Rates & Availability!
Dimora Arco Basso ($$$)
A one-of-a-kind apartment located near Pane E Pomodoro Beach. Lofted ceiling and skylight!
This exceptionally highly-rated apartment is worth booking! Check rates & availability!
A stylish loft apartment in the best area of old town Bari! Rated highly by couples and solo travelers!
Puglia Region Hotels
If you are touring around the Puglia region of Italy there are some incredible places to stay. Check out some of the best Masserie hotels in Puglia!
Best Hotel Deals in Bari
Bari Itinerary Best Restaurants
If you are a single woman traveling like myself, looking to stuff your face with a load of Italian food, keep reading.
The food of the Puglia region is rich in seafood! The most famous dish of Italy’s eastern coast is “Riso al Forno Alla Barese”. It consists of rice, potato, mussels, and so many spices.
Osteria Vini e Cucina
The reviews online on Osteria Vini e Cucina are mixed. There is some truth to the service, and I would say the ambiance is not very cozy.
I thought the food was delicious. This is where I had the famous “Riso al Forno alla barese,” which consists of rice, potato, and mussels.
It can be hard to trust reviews about restaurants. I find the person posting the review might be giving it a bad review because of circumstances that have nothing to do with how good the cuisine actually was.
Urban l’ assassineria Urbana
If you are visiting Bari, you simply must try the restaurant made famous by Stanley Tucci and get the burnt pasta.
With your first bite, you discover the magic of this seemingly unconventional preparation. The burnt edges of the pasta create a delightful contrast to the tender strands, infusing each mouthful with a smoky and slightly caramelized essence.
The flavors are robust, with the sweetness of the tomatoes complemented by hints of garlic, herbs, and perhaps a touch of chili for a subtle kick.
As you savor the dish, you understand why Stanley Tucci has fallen in love with this burnt pasta. It’s a dish that captures the essence of Italian cuisine—the use of simple, high-quality ingredients, expertly prepared to create bold and unforgettable flavors.
L’Osteria Del Borgo Anitco
The best pizza I had in Bar was here at L’Osteria Del Borgo Antico. Usually, I avoid any restaurant sitting in the “tourist area,” but I am glad I made the exception. It was the best pizza I’ve had…ever.
La Cantinia Dello Zio
I am a sucker for spicy arrabbiata sauce, and La Cantina Dello Zio doesn’t disappoint.
The pasta was so good; I ate here three times!! I also had their version of Riso al Forno alla barese, which I highly recommend.
If you are a fish and seafood lover, Al Pescatore is the restaurant for you!
Located very close to the ferry port and promenade. It is a great place to dine after a sunset stroll along the water.
Restaurant Biancofiore is your more upscale seafood restaurant. You will find it conveniently located just off the main road heading into the old town of Bari.
The perfect place to share a romantic dinner or treat yourself after a long day of sightseeing.
My Favorites Cafes in Bari
Does the idea of eating a chocolate croissant make your mouth water? Yes? Visit Veronero Caffé, a modern and swanky-style cafe serving the world’s best croissants!
The delicious croissants are available in 2 sizes, large and small. It is also worth mentioning that they serve soy milk, which can be very hard to find at other cafes.
Caffe Vergnano 1882
Caffé Vergnano 1882 is the perfect place if you want more than just a great espresso. Perfect for breakfast or lunch, but it does get busy, so be advised.
I am an early riser, so I would show up just when they opened for my coffee.
Frulez has all healthy options for when you can no longer zip up the jeans after eating all the burnt pasta.
Cafe Frulez has a variety of juices, teas, and coffee. Satisfy your craving for fresh vegetables, salads, and sandwiches here. If you are looking for the place with the most options for vegans, you have found it.
Best Travel Guides
Is Bari Safe?
I visited Bari as a solo woman and I have to say I felt very safe. Even in the evening, I felt comfortable walking alone.
Since I am a seasoned solo traveler I know how to research the safest cities, and I always stay in the center of the tourist area.
More often than not, the tourist area will be the safest in any city. If you are a woman traveling alone in Bari be sure to keep vigilant, but I see no reason you should be concerned.
Solo Female Travel Safety Gear
Emergency Number in Europe: Dial 112 & Emergency Number in the United States: Dial 911
The Best Day Trips From Bari, Italy
Nothing completes the Bari, Italy itinerary quite like a day trip tour. And, what I loved most about staying in Bari was that it was so close to the most beautiful coastal towns, without the costal price.
A very simple day trip will take you to an Italian paradise along the sea. I have some suggestions if you want to see more of Puglia on your east coast Italy trip from Bari!
Take the train from the Bari central station to both Polignano a Mare and Monopoli. The first stop is Polignano a Mare, and the next stop is Monolopi.
The journey from Bari takes only about 30 mins and costs less than 4 euros.
A Solo Woman Traveling Tip: Get your train tickets online.
If you buy them at the station, give yourself an extra 20 mins to wait in line. I have never seen a machine take longer to produce a ticket than these.
Even someone who knows exactly what they are doing could grow old waiting for the machine to spit it out.
Save yourself time and frustration by having it ready to go before you get there.
Once you have arrived at either station, it is a quick walk to the old towns. Most amazing views from both these seaside towns!
Day Trip to Polignano a Mare
A little slice of Italian heaven can be found here in Polignano a Mare! I enjoyed a few hours of walking the streets of this enchanted village. If you have time to stay a night, I would highly recommend it!
An incredible way to spend 1.5 hours in Polignano a Mare is doing a boat tour.
If your time is limited and you don’t want to miss anything, check out this highly-rated Walking Tour.
Bari Italy Itinerary | Day Trip to Monopoli
Embarking on a day trip from Bari to Monopoli is a delightful way to explore the enchanting coastal charm of southern Italy.
Just a short distance away from Bari, Monopoli beckons with its picturesque streets, ancient architecture, and serene beaches.
The journey begins with a scenic train ride or a leisurely drive along the Adriatic coast, allowing you to soak in the breathtaking views of the azure sea.
Upon arrival, you are greeted by Monopoli’s historic center, where narrow alleys wind their way through whitewashed buildings adorned with vibrant flowers.
Stroll along the cobblestone streets, visit the Cathedral of Maria Santissima della Madia, and discover hidden gems tucked away in charming piazzas.
Indulge in a leisurely lunch at a local trattoria, savoring fresh seafood delicacies that exemplify the coastal region’s culinary prowess.
As the day unfolds, make your way to the beach, where the crystal-clear waters invite you to relax and soak up the Mediterranean sun.
A day trip to Monopoli promises a delightful blend of history, culture, and coastal beauty, leaving you with cherished memories of this captivating Italian gem.
Day Trips From Bari, Italy | Quick Tips
- Be conscious of your arrival time. Many shops and restaurants close up between 2 pm-6 pm. As a result, you should plan your time accordingly.
- f you plan to visit both places on the same day, plan to get to Polignano a mare early.
- Make reservations for lunch & and dinner for wherever you will be at the time.
- Bring a little cash, just to be safe.
Top Rated Day Tours From Bari
If you would rather save yourself the hassle of doing a self-guided tour, check out the top-rated organized tours from Bari!
On most of my trips, I base myself in a main city near an airport and then make day trips.
I hope you enjoyed the Bari, Italy itinerary! For more ideas on where to visit in Italy, be sure and check out the post of Hidden Gems of Italy.
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Final Thoughts About Visiting Bari Best Things to Do
Bari is one of the more authentic cities in Italy that I have visited. I would highly recommend making a trip if you are looking for a slower-paced destination.
Of the 7 best things to do in Bari, exploring the old town on a food tour was the highlight for me.
And although I would recommend visiting the Almafi Coast too, I had a much more relaxed experience visiting Bari.
Looking for help planning your trip? There are expert trip planners like The Gallivanting Spoon.
Bari is a great city for tourists! It is rather cheap compared to other cities in Italy. There are far fewer tourists as well.
Three days in Bari is enough time to see all the small city has to offer. If you have more than 3 days in Bari, I recommend you make day trips to other places in the Puglia region.
Bari is extremely walkable and easy to navigate. If you fly into the Bari airport you can take the train to the old town of Bari and walk to the city center.