6 things to do in Polignano a Mare in one day

Polignano a Mare is one of the most ancient settlements in Apulia.

6 things to do in Polignano a Mare in one day

Polignano a Mare is one of the most ancient settlements in Apulia.


Today, it is a sea place with a charming downtown, beautiful beaches and breath-taking views on the cliffs


In this article, I will guide you through a day in this city, showing you the places to see and sharing some practical information.


If this is the first time you hear about Polignano, I have a surprise for you: most probably, you already know something about this place without realising it. 


Do you remember the iconic Italian song “Volare, oh oh, Cantare, oh oh oh oh” – known as "Nel blu dipinto di blu"


Its author, Domenico Modugno was born in Polignano a Mare


Imagine how such blue shades could have inspired this song. 


Here it is a list of six things to do in Polignano in one day.


1 – The downtown


Polignano’s downtown is a labyrinth of alleys and stairs, enclosed in the city’s walls.


The best thing to do is to walk without a precise destination, and stop to admire the breath-taking views on the sea, the white houses and the picturesque balconies with the laundry hanging in the sun to dry. 


Houses, balconies and alleys’ style varies quite a lot: Arabic, Spanish, Byzantine and Norman


Have a look at the clock Tower in the main square and the stone nativity from 1500, with human-size statues, in the Matrice Church.


I am sure they will be unforgettable!


2 – The beaches 


For sure, if you are on holidays in Polignano a Mare, you will wonder which would be the best place for a few hours of relax on the seashore; here you have a small list of the local beaches


Lama Monachile


The most photographed spot of the Bari coast is this one, also known as Cala Porto


A pebbles beach, between the cliffs, and on top of the landscape some white buildings. 


Surprisingly, those are not historical buildings, but actual apartments where people live and can enjoy daily of a gorgeous view. 


Isn’t it amazing?


The best moment to see this beach is from the morning to mid-day, as in the afternoon the sun will get away.


In September, Polignano’s cliff hosts diving competitions organised by Red Bull, the famous drink brand, and it gathers all the people seeking for strong experiences.


Depending on your personality and the kind of holidays you want, this may attract you in Polignano even more or make you decide to avoid that specific period.


Cala Paura


Lido Cala Paura (“the fear’s beach”) is a small beach in the centre of Polignano a Mare, surrounded by caves to explore. 


It is mainly made of pebbles and it is very common to see the fishermen sitting on the wall with their fishing rods. 


A bar and a pizza place are also available.


Ponte dei Lapilli


“Lapilli Bridge” is a beach made of smooth cobblestones, where you can sit or sunbathe. 


It is located a few steps from San Vito street, and it is easily accessible, even though it is recommended to bring with you a pair of pebbles shoes for the walking part of the road. 


Even though there aren’t restaurants or bars in the area, it is not far from them.


Porto Cavallo


Porto Cavallo (“the horse’s docks”) is a small sandy beach in the heart of Polignano a Mare: it is free access, so take with you a beach umbrella and some towels. 


Very close to the touristic docks, it is ideal for families, thanks to its calm waters allowing swimming quietly.


As there are no bars or restaurant, it is better to bring with you some food and water. 


San Vito


San Vito’s beach, 3 kilometres from the residential area, is charming for its view of the fascinating Abbey and the romantic natural harbour. 


The seawaters is partially sandy, partially with pebbles.  


Taking a walk in the area, you will admire the Saracen tower and the fishery, once used to rear eels. 


3 - Domenico Modugno’s statue


Walking in front of the Bourbon Bridge, close to Lama Monachile, you will find the statue of Domenico Modugno


The signer revealed his origins only when he was already very famous: he was born and raised in Polignano until he was 7 years old.  


The statue, designed and realised by the Argentinian sculptor Hermann Mejer, is placed facing the village, with his arms opened as in the interpretation of the famous “Volare", the song with which he won Sanremo (the national singing competition) and reached the peak of his success in 1958.


4 – The Sea Caves


Visiting the Sea Caves in Polignano a Mare is a must-do, at least once in life.


They are among the most beautiful in Italy and you need to see them with your own eyes to fully understand their beauty. 


Some excursions include the possibility to bath in one of the bays: I suggest doing so in front of the famous restaurant Grotta Palazzese, one of the most beautiful in the world.


5 - Ape Calessino: 3-wheels taxis 


If you are in Polignano a Mare and you don’ have a car, or you don’t want to move it not to lose the parking spot you found, there is no problem. 


You can go around using one of the Ape Calessino services: small 3-wheels vehicles to sightsee the city


You can take one to do a full tour or you can visit the countryside around the town.


These tours follow a sort of “experience paths”, to allow you to really discover the place, visiting but also living it, even if for a few hours. 


You will get to know traditions, folklore and, above all, the history of its inhabitants, as in a trip back in time, aboard the Ape Calessino.


6 - Polignano a Mare’s poems


Another unique feature of the place are the poems written all over the stairs and walls from the romantic urban poet known as "Guido, the Flaneur"


Flaneur is a word invented by Baudelaire to define a gentleman idly strolling around the city, with no rush, experiencing his feelings and being moved by the landscape he was looking at. 


Guido moved in Polignano after falling in love with this place, and decided to decorate some corners with poems.  


This became representative of Polignano: the staircase with a poem written on it is the most Instagram-photographed.


Where to eat in Polignano a Mare


There are many restaurants in Polignano, so that you can choose, and the local food to try is indeed fresh fish and seafood. 


There is a place in which the food side is mixed with the poetic one: Pescaria in Aldo Moro Square.


Here you will be able to enjoy – for lunch, dinner or happy hour – many delicious dishes such as fresh raw prawns, grilled fish and octopus.


Don’t get there very hungry, as the waiting time can get long, especially on a Sunday afternoon.


I hope I have given you good inputs to visit Polignano, and in case you need further information or specific bookings, don’t hesitate to get in touch!