Polignano a Mare: Why It’s Worth Visiting And The Perfect One Day Itinerary

Polignano a Mare: Why It’s Worth Visiting And The Perfect One Day Itinerary

When you picture an Italian summer getaway, a picturesque porcelain beach town may come to mind. The seaside heaven of Polignano a Mare is just as beautiful as all the Instagram pictures suggest, with its white and bone-colored houses perched on rugged cliffs above the crashing waves of the Mediterranean. While we would all likely love to stay forever, we can make the most of our visit by perfectly planning one day in Polignano a Mare with this guide at hand.

Some of these links are affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through that link, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read my full disclosure!

A Little About Polignano a Mare

So, what’s all the fuss about? I think the photos may be enough to show why locals try to preserve Polignano a Mare as secret and why tourists are planning their European adventures around discovering it.

The town dates back to Roman times, and its raw, untouched nature upholds this sense of history.

What really characterizes the town’s unique beauty is the stark contrast between the crashing waves of the Adriatic into the rugged cliffs, and the soft white and stone-colored buildings perched above.

It’s the perfect day trip to add to your Puglia itinerary for a little bit of everything – culture, art, nature, beach and relaxation.

Best Time to Visit Polignano a Mare

If you are the kind of traveler that longs for the sea breeze on their skin, there is no bad time to visit Polignano a Mare.

But here are some insights to help you decide what season is the right time for you to visit.

Let’s start with summer. Summer in Italy is crowded and expensive almost no matter where you go now in the country due its popularity. Think of summer in Puglia as the next level of that.

Unfortunately, Polignano a Mare is no longer an Italy hidden gem, so both locals and tourists flock to this small seaside town in the summer. I do not recommend going in August, since that is the time when locals are enjoying Ferragosto and are taking their time off work to soak up the sun on southern Italy beaches.

If you want to visit with nice weather and slightly fewer crowds, plan your trip around late May-early June or the beginning of September.

For sure the winter months mean a chillier, windier experience, and swimming in the sea is only for the brave. But, you can still enjoy the town (maybe not the water) in months like March, April and October.

Is one day enough to visit Polignano a Mare?

One day in Polignano a Mare is enough for Italy-goers on a busy itinerary to enjoy a slower pace and the charm of one of Italy’s best beach towns.

Based on size, one day is definitely enough in Polignano a Mare, as it is a small, walkable village.

But based on the town’s character and beach appeal, those looking to enjoy a relaxing vacation over a classic see-as-much-as-you-can itinerary of Italy would enjoy two to three days in Polignano. You’ll get to know the town so well and enjoy the surrounding beaches.

How to reach Polignano a Mare

Polignano a Mare is only a 40-minute drive from Bari airport, making it super easy to reach if you are hopping around Italy.

The easiest way to reach the town is by car, and there are numerous paid parking lots close to the historic center. Brush up on driving in Italy before you hit the road.

You could also take a regional train from Bari Centrale to Polignano a Mare. From the station to the town center is about a 10-minute walk.

The Best Things to Do in Polignano a Mare in one day

Relax at Cala Porto, the iconic beach

If you’ve seen photos of Polignano a Mare, they’re likely of Cala Porto. Also known as Lama Monachile, Cala Porto is the town’s most popular spot for good reason.

This iconic crescent beach is tucked between the town’s rocky cliffs, creating this beautiful contrast of wild sea and civilized village. The sea is literally at this town’s doorstep at this beach.

Fun fact: it’s also where the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series takes place.

Take in the views from the best “belvedere”

One word I love in Italian is “belvedere.” The Italians have a word to capture the inspiration, beauty and energy of a great view.

And Polignano a Mare, along the lungomare, has tons of small terraces and wider boardwalks that give you a unique “belvedere,” or view.

The photo above was taken at the punto panoramico Largo Ardito, a larger square where you can take in almost the entire coastline of Polignano a Mare.

You will likely stumble upon these viewpoints as you explore, but just to make sure you have all your info, check out these other viewpoints you can find with Google Maps:

  • Belvedere su Lama Monachile
  • Belvedere Terrazza Santo Stefano
  • Viewpoint of Grotta Palazzese

Stroll the singing street of Via Roma

You truly feel the energy of Polignano a Mare walking down Via Roma.

The town has a wonderful way of bringing its culture, art and spirit to life not just in its hospitality and guidebooks, but in the spaces people experience together in everyday moments.

Via Roma is the street that literally sings to you! All along this long boardwalk leading up to the sea are the lyrics to everyone’s favorite Italian song around the world – Volare.

The singer of Volare, Domenico Modugno, is from Polignano a Mare, which is why there are several monuments to him around town.

Continue to “Volare” at the statue of Domenico Modugno

And the next one you’ll find on the other side of town near Cala Porto, where there is a huge square and statue dedicated to the village’s most famous artist.

What I really love about this spot is right beyond the statue is a large staircase that leads down to the sea across some rocky and grassy dunes.

Like a scene from a movie, you can just sit and take in the view of the waves crashing into the inhabited cliffs of Polignano a Mare. As you can see in the photo above, sunset skies are pretty epic from this gem location.

Wander the historic town center

The best way to spend one day in Polignano a Mare is roaming the centro storico. But I’m sure you could have imagined this!

The town’s quiet, maze-like streets in the soft hues of white, stone and pastels fill you with wonder as you turn to discover what lies around the next corner. I mention the colors of the streets because it feels like you are walking through a painting that oozes tranquillity.

The slow way of life is reflected in all elements of Polignano a Mare, preserving its authenticity even as it becomes more and more of a popular destination.

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II

Like most Italian towns, the heartbeat is the square. The Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II is the same for Polignano a Mare, where you can see the local friend groups and families gather for aperitif or just to enjoy the energy of the town center.

Here you will also find the town’s cathedral, the Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption and the historic building, Palazzo dell’Orologio.

Eat at the iconic cave restaurant

If there was one thing that really launched Polignano a Mare on the radars of foreigners, it was what everyone calls “the cave restaurant.”

The cave restaurant is actually named Grotta Palazzese, also a hotel, that happens to have one of the most exclusive and beautiful pieces of real estate in Italy and transformed it into an epic, unforgettable dining location.

I didn’t get the chance to dine in the cave restaurant, but I have heard mixed reviews about the actual experience, so just know you may be going into it most of all for the incredible location within a cave on Puglia’s coastline.

Admire the art and writing on the walls

If you ever get lost in Polignano a Mare, follow the writing on the walls.

The town’s beautiful, hopeful and serene spirit shows on the beautiful artwork and motivational phrases hand-painted on its historic buildings, passageways and piazzas.

Polignano a Mare is actually called the town of poetry, all thanks to a local street artist, Guido Lupori, whose mission was to “bring young people closer to the beauty of literature” by sharing famous verses across his town.

Good to know: Polignano is also home to contemporary art, like the Fondazione Museo Pino Pascali.

What to See Near Polignano a Mare


Just a 30-minute drive away from Polignano a Mare is one of Italy’s most unique towns.

Alberobello is a charming village of Trulli, the traditional limestone dwellings found in Puglia, a prehistoric building technique still in use in this region. The huge number of Trulli in Alberobello has earned the town UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition.

Feeling as if you’ve been transported into a fairytale world or to centuries long ago, exploring Alberobello’s charming Trulli streets is a must-do if you are heading to Puglia.


Not far from Polignano a Mare or Alberobello is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient city of Matera.

Being Europe’s oldest city and the third oldest city in the world, a visit to Matera is like time travel. Check out my full guide to Matera, Italy to dive into why this city should be on your bucket list and what to see when you get there.

The SGTD Take

The best part about Polignano a Mare is that, even if you are there only a short amount of time, the relaxed, poetic pace of life influences you.

Between the sound of the waves, the freshness of the sea breeze, and the hospitality of its people, one day in Polignano a Mare can be all you need to have that revitalizing experience we all love about travel. I highly recommend a visit.

Anything else you’re wondering about Polignano a Mare? Ask me in the comments!

Italy Trip Planning Resources

  • Accommodation: For Italy, I mainly use Booking.com to search and book places to stay.
  • Booking flights: I like to search for flights through Skyscanner, but I also book direct depending on the airline.
  • Activities & experiences: For things to do that require a ticket, and for more unique trip activities, I use Musement.
  • Road trip: For renting a car, I get the best prices by comparing companies with AutoEurope. I then use ViaMichelin to estimate road trip costs and Autostrade.it to find gas stations/have live updates on traffic.
  • Transportation: Traveling by public transportation is a great way to see Italy. I use Trenitalia or Trainline to book tickets for trains and Flixbus for long-haul bus trips.
  • Accessories: I always travel with this portable charger to stay connected and with a universal adapter to accommodate Italy’s plug types.
  • Need help planning an itinerary? Fill out my form for a custom itinerary request!

Save to Pinterest for later reference

Safe travels!



Michela is a travel writer and photographer living in northern Italy. She is passionate about helping people make the most of their travels by sharing advice gained from her personal experiences, off-the-beaten-path destinations and time-saving quick itineraries. Browse her top articles or have her help you plan your itinerary to your dream destination!

Find me on: Web | Instagram

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Looking for Something?