Gallipoli is a small island in Italy; positioned in a southern region on the west coast with mostly white washed buildings strung along turquoise waters. Puglia a region, sometimes referred to as Apulia meaning “Heel of Italy”, encompasses a 17th century bridge which connects the island to the mainland. Located in the province of the town Lecce and near many popular beaches is a tiny island I fell in love with, in hopes one day I can revisit this magical place. With much history enriching this town and known as a fishing village built on a limestone island surrounded by castle like walls dating back to the 15th century. Locals walk the streets living a casual/relaxing day-to-day life, with fisherman bringing in fish almost daily to supply local markets and restaurants. During the summer, this island turns into a lively relaxing place which attracts tons and tons of tourists each year. Walking around the walls of the town makes it easy to access fresh fish dinner every evening, Europeans finest fish for less than 10 euro at most markets.
I, like to note that long ago this area was part of ancient Greece and derives from the name Kallipolis (Beautiful City). (Bari and Brindisi are the closest airport to Gallipoli, and you will need a rental car if you wish to visit beaches and many different, close cities.) Home to many translucent beaches which have been attracting tourists each and every year.
Travel & Leisure: Where to Stay
Ironically enough the town’s main feature is Gallipoli’s Old town and in the summer months this island turns into a delightful atmosphere filled with not only the beach, “La Spiaggia della Purita” but also is home to many cafes, restaurants, and bars. Our beautiful boutique hotel Palazzo Mosco Inn- Dimora Storica was located just in the midst of the Old Town making it the perfect location. Featuring a massive continental breakfast each morning with two outstanding terraces; which hosts breakfast each morning. An array of Italian breakfast items including a variety of juices, Italian meats, and southern specialties displayed for us each morning, with such a remarkable view – it made enjoying Italy very easy. Each room in this magnificent hotel was unique and had different but similar qualities, our room featured a large open floor plan with two balconies. Both balconies were gorgeous one from the room and the other from the private rather large bathroom. Upon arrival we were greeted by the two hotel receptionists, who spoke great English and offered us a map of the town as well as a tour of the hotel, they gave great recommendations on the nightlife/bars/restaurants, and we truly appreciated it and visited most if not all of them. Whenever we needed a ride an “Ape” car provided by the hotel would give us a lift, however the entire town was walk-able by foot which is how we reached nearly every location. One of my favorite things about exploring the South of Italy was how easily accessible it was, 10-20 min was the general time it took to reach a new town, and turquoise-clear beaches and caves were scattered all over the coast. It was never hard to plan our days with everything they have going on during the summer months, most days we didn’t return back to the city from the beach until 8-9 pm.
I was amazed as we began adventuring into stores and bars, as the town appears very old but to my surprise most of the bars were more modern than ones I’ve seen in the US. The drinks were well thought out with bartenders who truly cared about the creative aspect of bartending. One bar, it seemed we continued to return to-night and night again was, Blanc Cafe and Living Store – particularly due to the art work, the contemporary style, and classic crafty cocktails. The atmosphere was basically just super cool. Offering bean bags, many chill lounges, and a beautiful outdoor patio to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of this island city. What’s so special about the night life in South Italy is the way you are welcomed with beautiful culture which engulfs you as you walk the streets. Small stores draw you in with knowledgeable owners eager to speak of the history and food which brings this town to life. Gallipoli being one of the towns along the coast which is famous for the best Olive Oil in the World and Limoncello. During the summer many festivals are featured on this island town and as your walking it’s not hard to find something to do as many of the locals are up late singing, dancing, drinking wine, and praising the summer celebrations.
Where to Eat
Not only do you get extremely lucky with most hotels offering beautiful continental breakfast included in your rate, but most restaurants during summertime in the South of Italy offer “Tourist Menus” For 15-20 Euro – three/four – courses, most including an Antipasti (Appetizer), Primi Piatti (1st course), Secondi Piatti (2nd course), Contorni (sides), and wine or coffee (You are able to choose between different options for each). All included in that one price. Our favorite restaurant, Casanova (they don’t seem to have much social media and this is the only link I could find for them)- a picturesque setting which included a huge terrace to enjoy dinner overlooking the Ionian Sea. Our server was polite and funny, very helpful in choosing between the options we had from the “Tourist Menu” We were able to choose Rose or Red wine to start, and slowly began our coursed meal ending with the best Lou De Mar I’ve ever had in my life. By no means are the portions small either, they prepare a large feast for you, and pour every inch of their heart into the divine presentation they bestow upon you. We sat and drank wine from the terrace for a few hours it was such an incredible view- one I will never forget.
Easily Accessible Beaches Near
Within a 15 mile radius are at least 8 translucent beaches with hidden caves and spectacular views. Nardo, Porto Selvaggio, Maldives of Salento, being just a few of the ones we visited near Gallipoli.
We spent most of our days exploring the vast beaches, caves, and cliffs. Gallipoli is one of my favorite places in Puglia. The people are so welcoming and it’s a vacation spot that makes you forget any worry you had and truly focus on sun and relaxation.
If you enjoyed reading about Gallipoli, checkout my recent post on 8 Reasons You Should Road Trip Puglia.
Please drop me a comment if you have questions on Gallipoli or are planning a vacation to Puglia.