The beautiful region of Puglia, the heel of the Italian ‘boot’, is possibly Italy’s most well-kept secret. But with a huge variety of fun activities, sandy beaches and beautiful scenery, it is an ideal destination for a family holiday. If you and your brood are planning a trip away with plenty to keep everyone entertained, here are some suggestions for a fun and fabulous family holiday to the beautiful region of Puglia.
A highlight for all the family is sure to be a trip to Alberobello to see the hundreds of fairy-tale-like trulli that cover the area. These white, stone, conical-roofed houses are characteristic of the area and a truly iconic feature of Puglia. Dating back hundreds of years, they were originally constructed as temporary shelters, storehouses and homes.
Alberobello has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site because of these quirky buildings, and the winding streets and quiet lanes provide plenty of opportunities for buying souvenirs and tasting local produce. The Museo del Territorio (town museum) is formed by over ten trulli and is the perfect way to teach your little ones about the history of these distinctive buildings.
You can even stay in your very own family-friendly trullo, Trullo del Sale, near Fasano, which is beautifully restored with its own private pool, sleeping up to 12 people.
Head to the Grotte di Castellana (Grottoes of Castellana), just north of Alberobello, to treat your family to an exploration of the fascinating cave systems – the largest and most famous show caves in Italy. This impressive limestone cave complex runs for miles and visitors can take either a one-hour or a two-hour tour to discover these extraordinary rock formations, which have taken millions of years to form.
Children can swot up on their geography as they learn about the ancient caves and the ways in which they developed.
Claustrophobics need not worry, the cavern passages and vaults are quite large, each vault is well-lit and walking is not difficult– there’s even a lift to take you back to the top!
Entry costs €8 per adult and €6 per child aged 6 to 14 and the grottoes are open all year. For more information visit www.grottedicastellana.it.
Family members of all ages will have plenty to keep them entertained at Zoo Safari and Fasanolandia amusement park, which is spread over some 150 acres outside the town of Fasano.
The Zoo Safari houses over 1,700 specimens of 200 species of animals. The whole family will love spotting the giraffes, monkeys, gorillas, bears, lions, tigers, elephants and more – whether from your car, on foot or from the exciting electric train. Entry costs €22 per adult and €19.50 per child under 1.40 metres, although shows and exhibits will cost extra.
The Fasanolandia amusement park includes a range of over 25 rides, including giant log flumes, roller coasters, 4D cinemas and a dinosaur exhibition – a great day out for exuberant little-ones and thrill seeking adults. Entry costs €8 per person for entry and admission to six attractions, although additional rides will cost extra.
Visit www.zoosafari.it for more information.
Torre Guaceto nature reserve
Home to one of the best beaches in Puglia, Torre Guaceto, just north of Brindisi, covers about 1,200 hectares and is a nature reserve and protected area. This means it remains undeveloped and offers a wealth of opportunities to spot plant and animal species. Nature lovers of all ages will enjoy clambering among the beautiful pools, beaches, reefs, dunes and olive groves to find fish, amphibians, land creatures and beautiful flowers.
Head to the visitor centre at Serranova, which organises nature walks, or pack some lunches and take part in cycle trekking or guided snorkelling trips. There’s also a museum at the visitor centre with information on all the wildlife in the area. If you’d rather not take your own food then there’s a snack bar within the reserve and the visitor centre has an informal barbeque restaurant.
If this all sounds overly active for your taste, simply take some towels and you and your family can enjoy relaxing on the beautiful beaches – there’s a small train to reach them that little ones will love.
Visit www.viaggiareinpuglia.it for more information.
A top tip is to skip booking a hotel and stay in a villa. With your own private pool, garden and indoor space, little ones will be free to run around and make noise without troubling other guests. You can also save money by cooking your own meals and enjoy eating them in a private and intimate setting. You will have all the necessary facilities at hand for creating packed lunches for fun days out and can relax with a film if you need to wind down. Think Puglia offers a range of Puglia villas, many of which are ideal for families with children of all ages. Visit www.thinkpuglia.com for more information or to book.