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Puglia's captivating capital

A fascinating cultural crossroads on the Adriatic Sea, Bari is an intoxicating fusion of historic architecture and grand boulevards, mixed with hip bars and a nightlife that’s sure to set your heart racing. Discover Puglia's enchanting capital on a holiday to Bari. Bari has rested on Italy’s high heel for 2,500 years. Even so, it remains something of a well-kept secret. The city is split into two distinct but equally appealing halves: the old town and the modern city. The old town is where you’ll find the city’s most famous site, the 11th century Romanesque Basilica containing the earthly remains of one Saint Nicholas (yep, Father Christmas!). The modern city was built by Napoleon’s brother-in-law, Joachim Murat and is linked to the old town by a stunning promenade of chic restaurants. Sophisticated and endlessly photogenic, Bari is the ideal destination to discover on the hoof.

Your Bari questions, answered

Bari can be roastingly hot in the summer and rather rainy in winter. Spring and autumn are good inbetweens.
Compact Bari is easily explored on foot but there's also a public bus service. Tickets can be bought innewspaper or tobacco shops.
Bari is close to many different beaches. While much of the coastline close to Bari is quite rocky, there are sandy areas along the coast. Many of these spots have beach clubs where you pay a daily entrance fee, but there are also free areas to be found. If you enjoy swimming or water sports, some rocky areas have calm, shallow seas where you can enjoy the water without the crowds.
Bari is a very family-friendly destination and the Italians tend to be welcoming towards children. Bari holidays can be spent on the beach, and there are certainly plenty to choose from in the Puglia region. Buy them a snorkel and let them spot fish in the clear waters or rent a paddleboard to enjoy the calmer areas. Kids will also like the historic old town and sightseeing places like Bari Castle. In town, you’ll also find plenty of child-friendly accommodation and places to eat.
Try the local speciality, fresh orecchiette, fricelli and cavatelli pasta, handmade in the same way for hundreds of years.
You can see a lot of Bari in just a couple of days. If you simply want a short city break, you can aim to see the old town and the main tourist attractions, try a few restaurants, and maybe spend some time on Bari’s beaches. If you have a little more time, you can explore the Puglia area further. Trains run from Bari Centrale to towns along the coast, so you can explore charming Mediterranean towns and enjoy a variety of beaches.
Bari is famous as a harbour town and for its historic old town area, which has a classic Mediterranean charm. It’s also a popular beach destination. You’ll find beautiful beaches just outside the centre and plenty more just a short drive along the coast. Bari is known for its olive oil production, and there are also lots of almonds grown in the area. One of Bari’s signature dishes is focaccia Barese, a bread made from soft dough and potatoes, usually topped with local tomatoes and olives.
Bari is certainly worth a visit if you’re planning a trip to the Puglia region and want a combination of beaches, history, and good food and wine. It’s an excellent location as there’s a railway station to take you around the region, but it’s also worth staying in the town itself. You can enjoy sightseeing, shopping, exploring the old town or lying on the beach during the day. There's a wide selection of bars and restaurants where you can relax once the sun goes down.
Bari has a lively atmosphere in the evenings. Italians will often eat later at night, so don’t expect the bars to start filling until around 10, once everyone is well-fed. There are plenty of bars with outdoor terraces where you can enjoy the balmy evenings. Many places have live music, especially during the summer. If you like to stay up even later, Bari has a selection of clubs, from nightclubs in the city to beach clubs along the coast, that will often stay open until the small hours during the peak season.

Best things to do in Bari

Hit the Beach

The small cove of Cala Paura is a local favourite. Restless on your sunbed? Explore its caves and grottos with canoe or pedalo rental.

Go to see Old St. Nick

The 11th century Basilica di San Nicola houses the remains of Saint Nicholas, of Father Christmas fame. It's a magnificent example of Apulian Romanesque architecture.

Explore Castellana Grotto

This enormous network of limestone caverns formed over hundreds of millions of years. It winds its way towards the White Grotto and its impressive stalactites.
Beaches