Beautiful Puglia

Beautiful Puglia

Where your journey begins

Ostuni, the White City of Puglia

Ostuni, also known as the “White City”, is a charming hilltop town located in the heart of Puglia. It is a popular destination for tourists who want to experience the beauty and culture of Southern Italy while also enjoying a slower pace of life. In this post, we will explore the highlights of Ostuni and what makes it such a unique and special place to visit.

The first thing that strikes visitors to Ostuni is its stunning white buildings. The town’s historical center is a maze of narrow, winding streets lined with whitewashed houses, shops, and restaurants. The buildings are so white that they seem to glow in the sunshine, and this is where the town gets its nickname, the “White City.” The white buildings are not just for aesthetic purposes; they were traditionally painted this way to reflect the intense sunlight and keep the interiors of the buildings cool.

One of the most iconic landmarks in Ostuni is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta . This impressive structure dates back to the 15th century and features a beautiful rose window, a Romanesque portal, and a baroque bell tower. Inside the cathedral, visitors can admire the stunning frescoes and ornate decorations.

Another must-visit attraction in Ostuni is the historic center. The center is a labyrinth of narrow streets, alleys, and staircases that wind their way up the hillside. Visitors can explore the area on foot, taking in the stunning architecture and enjoying the picturesque views of the surrounding countryside.

Ostuni is also famous for its food and wine. The region is renowned for its olive oil, which is produced from the thousands of olive trees that dot the landscape. Visitors can sample the local olive oil and other Puglian specialties, such as burrata cheese, fresh seafood, and pasta dishes, in the town’s many restaurants and cafes.

Things to do in Ostuni

There are plenty of things you can do to make the most of your time in this beautiful town. Here are some suggestions for a day trip itinerary and some of the best classes and experience you can have in the town:

  • Start your day with a stroll through the historic center. Wander through the winding streets and alleyways, taking in the white-washed buildings and charming architecture. Don’t forget to stop by the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and admire its beautiful rose window.
  • Enjoy a traditional Italian breakfast at one of the town’s cafes. Order a cappuccino and a croissant, or try some of the local pastries and cakes.
  • Visit the Palazzo Ducale. This beautiful palace dates back to the 16th century and features stunning Renaissance architecture. It now houses the Ostuni Archaeological Museum , which is home to a collection of artifacts from the Bronze Age to the Roman period.
  • Have lunch at one of the town’s many restaurants. Sample some of the local specialties, such as fresh seafood or pasta dishes made with locally-produced olive oil.
  • Spend the afternoon relaxing on one of the nearby beaches. Torre Guaceto and Lido Morelli are both within a short drive of Ostuni and offer beautiful sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters.
  • As the sun begins to set, head back into town and enjoy an aperitivo at one of the local bars. Sip on a refreshing cocktail or a glass of wine and soak up the atmosphere of this charming town.

Classes and tours

  • Ostuni Walking Tour: This tour takes you on a guided walk through the charming streets of Ostuni’s historic center. You’ll learn about the town’s history, culture, and architecture, and visit some of its most iconic landmarks, such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Palazzo Ducale.
  • Cooking Class: Take a cooking class and learn how to prepare traditional Puglian dishes. You’ll use locally-sourced ingredients and learn about the culinary traditions of the region.
  • Olive Oil Tasting: Puglia is famous for its olive oil, and this tour takes you to a local farm to learn about the production process and sample different varieties of olive oil. You’ll learn about the history and culture of olive oil production in Puglia and taste some of the best oils in the region.
  • Wine Tasting: Puglia is also renowned for its wines, especially the full-bodied red wines produced from the Primitivo grape. Take a wine-tasting tour and visit local wineries to learn about the production process and sample some of the best wines in the region.
  • Bike Tour: Explore the countryside around Ostuni on a bike tour. You’ll cycle through olive groves, vineyards, and fields of wildflowers, stopping along the way to enjoy the scenery and learn about the local agriculture and rural traditions.

Planning a trip to Puglia? Explore these helpful services!

Discover your ideal hotel

In search of the ideal lodging? Explore a diverse range of choices on Booking.com. Whether you prefer luxurious hotels or budget-friendly accommodations, you’ll find the perfect match.

Organize your activities

Eager to discover the allure of Puglia? Reserve thrilling tours and activities via Viator. Immerse yourself in the region’s charm with knowledgeable local guides leading you to the top well-known highlights.

Book your guide

Searching for the finest tour experience in Puglia? Book exceptional tour guides through GetYourGuide. Immerse yourself in the allure of the region as expert local guides take you to the best hidden treasures.

Best beaches to visit nearby

Ostuni is also located near some of the most beautiful beaches in the region, making it a great destination for those looking for a mix of culture and seaside fun. Here are some of the best beaches near Ostuni.

Torre Guaceto

Torre Guaceto is a protected marine area that boasts a long stretch of pristine beach and crystal-clear waters. This beach is a paradise for nature lovers, with dunes, wetlands, and rocky cliffs that create a unique landscape.

Rosa Marina

Rosa Marina is a long, sandy beach that stretches for over two kilometers. The beach is known for its turquoise waters and fine sand, making it a popular destination for families with young children. Rosa Marina has several beach clubs that offer umbrellas, sun loungers, and various water sports activities, making it an ideal spot for a day of fun in the sun.

Pilone Beach

Pilone Beach is a hidden gem. This secluded beach is surrounded by cliffs and has crystal-clear waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The beach is not equipped with amenities, so visitors need to bring their own food and drinks. The lack of facilities also makes Pilone Beach a great spot for those looking for a quiet and peaceful day at the beach.

Lido Morelli

Lido Morelli is a beautiful sandy beach which is equipped with all the necessary amenities, including sun loungers, umbrellas, and bars. The water is shallow and calm, making it a great destination for families with young children.

Places to see near Ostuni

Here are some places you can visit near Ostuni:

Alberobello: This town is famous for its trulli, traditional Puglian houses with conical roofs that are made of limestone. Alberobello is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is known for its picturesque streets and unique architecture.

Lecce: Known as the “Florence of the South,” Lecce is a beautiful baroque city that is home to stunning churches, palaces, and squares. You can explore the old town on foot and visit attractions like the Basilica di Santa Croce and the Piazza del Duomo.

Polignano a Mare: This picturesque seaside town is located on a cliff overlooking the Adriatic Sea. It’s known for its white-washed buildings, narrow streets, and stunning views. You can explore the old town and visit the famous beach, Lama Monachile.

Matera: This town is famous for its Sassi, ancient cave dwellings that were inhabited by people for thousands of years. Matera is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is known for its unique architecture, rich history, and beautiful views.

Castellana Grotte: This town is home to a network of underground caves and caverns that are over 90 million years old. The caves are known for their stunning stalactites and stalagmites, and you can take a guided tour to explore them.

By Plane: The closest airport to Ostuni is Brindisi Airport (BDS), which is about 30 kilometers (18 miles) away. You can take a taxi or hire a car to get to Ostuni from the airport. Alternatively, you can fly into Bari Airport (BRI), which is about 100 kilometers (62 miles) away. From there, you can take a train or hire a car to get to Ostuni. By Train: Ostuni has a train station that is well-connected to other cities in Puglia and the rest of Italy. You can take a train from cities like Bari, Brindisi, Lecce, and Rome. The journey from Bari or Brindisi takes about 1 hour, while the journey from Rome takes about 5 hours. By Bus: There are several bus companies that operate routes to Ostuni from other cities in Puglia and the rest of Italy. Some of the main operators are Flixbus and Marino Bus. The journey from Bari or Brindisi takes about 1 hour by bus. By Car: If you’re driving, you can take the A14 highway from Bologna to Bari, and then take the SS379 and SS16 highways to Ostuni. The journey from Bari takes about 1 hour.

Ostuni is famous for its historic center, which is perched on a hill overlooking the surrounding countryside. The center is known for its striking white-washed buildings, narrow alleys, and beautiful architecture that reflects the city’s long history. The town is home to several historic churches, including the Cathedral of Ostuni and the Church of San Francesco.

Ostuni is definitely worth a visit! The historic center of Ostuni, known as the “White City,” is particularly worth seeing. If you’re interested in history, culture, and natural beauty, Ostuni is definitely worth a visit. With its charming atmosphere, stunning architecture, and beautiful beaches, it’s sure to leave a lasting impression.

Alberobello and the uniqueness of Trulli

Isola dei conigli puglia (rabbits island), best things to do in puglia.

The Geographical Cure

One Day In Ostuni Italy Itinerary, The “White City” Of Puglia

Looking to explore the enchanting town of Ostuni Italy? This one day in Ostuni itinerary takes you to all the best spots in Puglia’s “White City.”

Ostuni is an ancient burg, set atop three hills in the Itria Valley. It’s a pearl of striking whitewashed buildings set amid green olive groves and the blue sea.

It was one of my favorite stops on my recent trip through Puglia. You feel like you’re in a different world.

cityscape of Ostuni

Ostuni has a charming historic center with a labyrinthian maze of lanes.

It’s full of fantastic trattorias and historic sites. It’s a town tailor made for wandering and discovering hidden nooks.

Overview Of One Day In Ostuni Itinerary

Here’s a snapshot glance of what you can do with one day in Ostuni:

  • walk city walls
  • stroll the historic center
  • visit Ostuni Cathedral

Piazza della Liberta

  • hit the beach or sea
  • visit Cisternino

historic center of Ostuni

Top Tours & Experiences

Here are some of the many tours you can book to enjoy the city. That way, you can find all the secret spots and hidden gems. In high season, I advise booking in advance.

  • Ostuni walking tour
  • private tour of Ostuni
  • cooking class
  • o live oil tasting
  • food and wine tasting
  • Small group street food tour
  • From Lecce: Ostuni, Alberobello and Polignano a Mare

One Day In Ostuni Itinerary

To help you plan your time in Ostuni, I’ve put together a detailed one day in Ostuni itinerary. It covers all the must see sites and attractions.

the "blue door" along the city walls

Begin your day with a leisurely stroll along the ancient city walls. They offer panoramic vistas of the Adriatic Sea and the surrounding olive groves. On a sunny day, the walls are almost blindingly white.

Two of the original gates remain — Porta Nova and Porta San Demetrio. There are 3 imposing defensive walls around the city. Each refers to a different historical period.

The first wall was built by the Messapians. The second was built by the Byzantine emperor Basil the Macedonian. The last, and most majestic, was built by the Aragonese.

Along the way, you’ll come to the Instagram-famous Blue Door. It stands out among the whitewashed buildings in the town.

The Blue Door has become an iconic symbol of Ostuni and a popular spot for visitors to take photographs. There’s also a cute bistro nearby, the Borgo Antico Bistrot.

The arc of Episcopal Palace of Ostuni

Historic Center

Next, spend some time wandering through the narrow streets of the historic center and get lost. It’s the best thing to do with one day in Ostuni.

The main drag is Via Cattedral. It’s a busy thoroughfare where artisan shops and trattorias alternate with palazzi.

But venture in and you’ll find a network of narrow picturesque alleys. You’ll immediately be able to see why thousands of tourist visit Ostuni.

There are routes through the historic center. But it’s really better to walk freely and peak in and out of every quaint corner and staircase.

Along the way, you’ll pass by the arc of the Episcopal Palace, called Arco Scoppa . It’s a stone arch that spans a narrow street, creating a distinctive visual element in the urban landscape. It reminded me a bit of the Bridge of Sighs in Venice .

pretty street with flowers

The Episcopal Palace once served as the residence of the bishop. Unfortunately, today, the palace is not accessible to the public.

When you’re done wandering, do some shopping. There are loads of local shops and boutiques.

You can find unique souvenirs, traditional ceramics, and locally produced olive oil. There’s also an adorable baby shop where you can get up custom made embroidered items.

Ostuni Cathedral, a must see on a one day in Ostuni itinerary

Ostuni Cathedral

You’ll want to visit the impressive Ostuni Cathedral. It’s located at the top of the town in Piazza Giovanni Paolo. It’s the town’s main historic site.

The cathedral has a somber Gothic facade. There’s a central door with a rose window above.

Curving Gothic arches on each side are in the 15th century Venetian Gothic style. The central door has a beautiful bas relief of a madonna and child.

The central rose window is considered the most beautiful in all of Puglia. There are three concentric circles, with 24 columns leading to a frieze of the twelves apostles.

cathedral nave

Step inside to marvel at the intricate details of its interior and soak in the peaceful ambiance. The interior is what I would call mellow Baroque. There’s marble and an elaborate high altar, but it’s not over-the-top flamboyant.

The beautiful ceiling of the nave was completed in 1720. It’s inspired by the late Neapolitan Baroque style. There are also some 15th century frescos.

The high altar is stone with twisting columns painted green and gold. There are wooden busts of the city’s three patron saints.

Don’t miss the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside from the cathedral’s terrace.

Osteria del Tempo Perso

Then, enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of Ostuni’s inviting trattorias. You’ll find delicious Apulian dishes made with fresh local ingredients.

Ostuni has no end of great spots to eat. Some excellent options include Taverna della Gelosia, Vitolo 45 (in a cave!), Osteria del Tempo Perso, and Osteria Monacelle.

My favorite was Taverna della Gelosia. You’ll need a reservation. The food was terrific and you eat under vaulted ceilings.

Some of the region’s specialties include Foccacia Barese , b ombette di Alberobell o, orecchiette pasta, and capocollo di Marina Franca . You can wash that down with Vino Locorotondo (fruity white wine), Vino Ostuni (complex ruby red wine), or Ostuni Ottavianello (rose).

>>> Click here to book a tour of a winery with lunch

Place della Liberta

In the afternoon, head towards the vibrant Piazza della Libertà. It’s the main square of Ostuni and its “living room.”

The triangular square is a hub of activity and a perfect spot to immerse yourself in the town’s atmosphere. You’ll find the impressive St. Francis Palace and St. Francis Church, two prominent landmarks.

Originally built in 1304, the church has undergone various renovations and modifications throughout the years. Its facade was reconstructed in the 19th century. 

Adorning the exterior are two niche statues crafted by the Roman sculptor Francisco Bagnulo, depicting St. Francis of Assisi and Sant’Antonio da Padova. Take a moment to admire the bronze portal with its intricate reliefs illustrating the life of St. Francis.

Column of Sant'Oronzo

As you step inside the church, you’ll notice its modest interior. However, the high altar is a true masterpiece, featuring exquisite polychrome marble inlay that adds a touch of splendor to the space. 

Don’t miss the impressive 18th century column at the center of the square, which serves as a symbol of Ostuni. This 70 foot obelisk-like column is crowned with a statue of the city’s patron saint, St. Orozno, making a blessing gesture. The column is adorned with decorative elements and intricate carvings.

Take a seat in one of the many inviting spots around the square and soak up the lively atmosphere.

Treat yourself to a refreshing gelato or a traditional Puglian espresso freddo , a unique beverage that combines the richness of espresso with the creamy texture of gelato.

espresso freddo

If you are a museum goer, Ostuni offers up several.

History buffs can head to the Archaeological Museum, Museo Archeologico Francesco Ribezzo. The museums houses prehistoric artifacts from the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods, Messapian artifacts, Bronze Age finds, and a small collection of Greco-Roman busts and architectural fragments.

The most famous artifact is the perfectly preserved remains of a pregnant women from the Paleolithic period 25,000 years ago.

There’s also a contemporary art gallery, Orizzonti Arte Contmperanea. It features works by local and regional artists. It’s definitely worth stepping inside.

The Diocesan Museum is housed on the ground floor of the Episcopal Hall, next to the cathedral. Opened in 2017, it houses a collection of sacred artworks — paintings, sculptures, liturgical objects, historical documents, and other ancient artifacts. There are plenty of informational placards.

atrtwork in the Orizzonti

Head To The Sea

For the rest of the afternoon, head to the sea. Ostuni’s historic center is only 5 miles from the Adriatic coast. The sea is crystal clear and unspoiled. The beaches and coves are a wonder of nature.

If you what to relax on the beach, head to the Beach of Torre Guaceto. This sandy beach is one of the most beautiful in the region.

The beach takes its name from the Aragonese watchtower and is surrounded by olive groves. There are plenty of restaurants and bars and a sailing center.

You can also try Rosa Marina Beach or Santa Sabina Tower beach. The latter has both a long expanse of sand and high cliffs.

Cisternino with views of trulli and the Itria Valley

If you’d rather see another cute town than sit on the beach, you could head to Cisternino. It’s just 12 miles down the road.

Like Ostuni, Cisternino has a wonderful historic center, with whitewashed houses and cobbled maze-like streets. The heart of the city is the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II.

Cisternino is also home to some of the famous trulli of the Itria Valley, though nothing like Alberobello.

Cisternino is also known for its gastronomy, particularly its succulent grilled meats. You can eat at one of the local trattorias or visit the town’s bustling market. Another option is to take a cooking class .

>> Click here to book a 2 hour tour of Cisternino

belvedere

In the evening, head to one of the viewpoints in Ostuni. There are quite a few — Belvedere Santa Lucia, Belvedere di Ostuni in the Piazzetta Martini delle Foibe, and the Terrazza Sant’Oronzo.

You can enjoy breathtaking views of the whitewashed town and surrounding countryside. The illuminated landscape is very picturesque.

For dinner, try one of the restaurants I mentioned above. Be sure to make a reservation in advance.

If you want to splurge on a Michelin restaurant for a romantic dinner, check out Porta Nova, Restaurant 700, and Cielo. You may also want to dine at Dish, for contemporary cuisine with a view.

lane in the historic center

Tips For A One Day In Ostuni Itinerary

Here are some must know tips for a 1 day Ostuni itinerary.

1. How To Get To Ostuni

The closest airports to Ostuni are Brindisi-Salento Airport (BDS) and Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (BRI).

Both airports offer domestic and international flights. From the airports, you can take a taxi, rent a car, or use public transportation to reach Ostuni.

You can also fly into Bari Airport. From there, you can take the train or book a private transfer to Ostuni.

Ostuni also has a train station, which is served by regional and intercity trains. You can hop on the train from major cities such as Bari, Brindisi, and Lecce. The train station is located a short distance from the historic center of Ostuni.

street in the historic center

By far the easiest way to get to Ostuni is by car. Ostuni is well connected by road networks.

The town has parking areas available. And you can check with your accommodation for parking options.

Ostuni has a relatively large ZTL zone (no cars allowed except residents). So, you’ll need to stay out of these areas to avoid whopping fines.

You can also get to Ostuni on a guided day trip from Lecce or on a guided day trip from Bari .

2. How To Get Around Ostuni

Ostuni is pedestrianized and extremely walkable.

You can also get around on a fun guided tuk tuk tour of the town. You’ll also see tuk tuks in the old town and you can hire one on the spot. You can also book a guided bike tour to see of the countryside around Ostuni.

tuk tuk for hire

3. Where To Stay In Ostuni

Ostuni makes the perfect base for exploring Puglia. It’s full of lovely hotels and masserias.

Some of them are pretty pricey. But if you go in the shoulder or off season, the prices drop dramatically.

If you want to splurge, check out Hotel Relais La Somm ita . It’s a 5 star hotel housed in a 16th century mansion. It’s located on top of a hill in the pedestrianized section of the historic quarter, with mesmerizing views to be had.

Pa ragon 700 is a well-designed luxury boutique hotel. It has frescoed rooms, private parking, and a pretty pool.

Masseria San Domenico

You might also consider staying in a “masseria” near Monopoli. They are fortified farmhouses with a collection of stone buildings that have been transformed into luxury hotels.

I love them because they combine rusticity with modern luxuries, while providing a nice escape pad after a hectic day of sightseeing.

I stayed at two different masteries when I was in the area,  Masseria Il Melograno  and  Masseria San Domenico . I also had a fantastic lunch at  Masseria Brigantino .

Il Melograno

The  Melograno  is a beautifully restored 17th century fortified farmhouse. It’s surrounded by olive groves. It has large rooms, a spa, and a pool. 

San Domenico  is one of the world’s best small luxury hotels and was just stunning. You’ll feel like you’re staying on the grounds of a castle. And, in fact, its watch tower belonged to the Knights of Malta.

Masseria Le Carr ube is just a few minutes from Ostuni’s center. It’s a whitewashed stone farmhouse, decorated with lemon trees and bougainvillea. Like most masseries, it has rustic but elegant rooms.

lane decorated with flowers, buckets, and lights

4. When to Visit Ostuni

I think the shoulder season is the best time to visit Ostuni — May/June and September/October. The weather will be excellent. And in June and September it’s still usually warm enough to hit the beaches.

In July and August, Ostuni is quite crowded. But this is the best time for swimming and water sports.

5. Is One Day In Ostuni Enough?

One day is enough to see the city and its main attractions. But Ostuni is a place that rewards longer stays.

It’s a lovely town that you’ll never tire of wandering. And the trattorias and beaches are divine.

ceramic shop in Ostuni

6. More Than One Day in Ostuni?

If you have more than 1 day in Ostuni, jump in the car and take a day trip. From Ostuni, you can easy day trip to Alberobello, Monopoli, Locorotondo, Cisternino, and Martina Franca.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my one day in Ostuni itinerary. You may find these other southern Italy travel guides and resources helpful:

  • 10 Days in Southern Italy Itinerary
  • One Week Amalfi Coast Itinerary
  • 7 Ways To Spend 5 Days on the Amalfi Coast
  • One Day In Naples Itinerary
  • 3 Days In Naples Itinerary
  • One Day In Bari Itinerary
  • One Day in Monopoli Itinerary
  • One Day In Polignano a Mare itinerary
  • 2 Days In Ravello itinerary
  • 2 Days In Capri itinerary
  • Ultimate Guide To Pompeii

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Last Updated on June 26, 2023 by Leslie Livingston

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What To Do In Ostuni (+ How Many Days To Stay For)

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Home » What To Do In Ostuni (+ How Many Days To Stay For)

Ostuni, also known as the White City, is one of the greatest jewels of the Puglia region. Built on top of a hill, Ostuni rises tall above the olive groves and sea of green below it.

With winding alleyways, whitewashed stone buildings, and plenty of historic charm, this southern Italian city is one of the best cities to visit in Italy and can’t be missed.

No Puglia itinerary would be complete without a stop at this majestic destination. Between the unique local culture, the breathtaking old buildings, and the lure of the many little trattorias, shops, and cafes, there is plenty to enjoy in Ostuni.

Here is our guide on how best to experience this city – including what to see, where to stay, how to get there, and what to eat.

Where is Ostuni Italy?

Things to do in Ostuni Italy

Ostuni is a city and commune in the Brindisi province of Italy’s Apulia region. The city is 8km away from the coast.

Ostuni is built atop a hill, surrounded by beautiful olive groves of the Trulli country. You will notice the white stone walls of Ostuni shimmering from a distance as you approach this fantastic destination.

How to Get to Ostuni

If you’ll be flying into Italy, then the closest airport to Ostuni is Brindisi (35km outside of the town). Most visitors come from Bari though, with the airport being 110km from Ostuni. From these towns, you could either drive to Ostuni or catch a taxi or train.

Driving is a brilliant option for those comfortable on the roads, as the Valle d’Itria that you pass through is absolutely beautiful.

If you’re coming to Ostuni from any other Italian city, you can take the train. The Ostuni train station is just 2km outside of the city center and can be reached from all around the country. There is a bus service that can take you into the town from the train station.

How Long to Stay in Ostuni

Things to see in Ostuni Puglia

Although Ostuni is a fairly small destination, there are so many details and things to take in. Spending at least 1 to 3 nights here will give you enough time to really explore and learn about this wonderful city. Ostuni can be experienced through a day trip, although it won’t allow you to really soak up all of the charms that the place has to offer.

Click here to book your guided tour of Ostuni to see the city in a day – perfect for those short on time.

Things to Do in Ostuni Italy

Ostuni is one of the best places to visit in Puglia . Wondering what to do in this Puglia city? Here are some of the top attractions, landmarks, and activities to enjoy your time in Ostuni.

1.  Marvel at Ostuni Cathedral

Ostuni Cathedral

When wandering through Ostuni, stopping at the old town’s main church is a must. The Ostuni Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in the middle of the town. It is built from white stone in the Gothic Style.

This is not the largest church, but it’s beautifully decorated inside. Spend some time admiring the details and historical significance of this building.

2. Explore the Old Town

Ostuni Old Town Puglia

The ultimate joy of being in Ostuni comes from simply immersing yourself in the old town, or the centro storico . Walking around the winding little streets and stone alleys reveals the character and history of Ostuni.

Spend some time admiring the unique white city architecture typical of Puglia. There are plenty of cute little shops, trattorias, and cafes that are well worth popping into.

3. Shop at Ostuni Street Market

The Ostuni Street Market happens every Saturday, and it is an event not to miss! Farmers from around the area gather to sell their fresh produce and local goods. Whether you are interested in purchasing the most authentic local ingredients, or just want to join a fun buzz, then this market is the place to go.

4. Visit the Olive Farms

Olive Farms in Ostuni

The city, perched on a hill, is surrounded by olive plantations. Visiting a local olive farm and tasting some of their produce is a brilliant thing to do when visiting Ostuni. One great option is Masseria Brancati, a hundred-year-old olive oil farm. Walk through the organic trees, learn about olive oil production, and sample their delicious products.

5. Explore the Museum of Preclassic Civilizations of Southern Murgia

Museum of Pre classic Civilizations of Southern Murgia Ostuni

Located in the former Carmelite monastery of Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi, this museum offers great insight into the ancient history of the area. One highlight is a fossilized skeleton dating back 25000 years ago, but there are a couple of interesting displays on offer.

6. Stroll Through Piazza Della Liberta

Piazza Della Liberta Ostuni

Every town in Italy has a central piazza, and Ostunis main piazza is a great place to visit. This large square is always full of activity – the perfect place to soak up the town’s atmosphere. Enjoy a gelato, coffee or spritz while you take in your surroundings.

7. Walk the City Walls

Ostuni Travel Guide

When strolling through Ostuni, you will most likely end up at the lower city walls. These walls were built to protect the city from invasions, and they offer one of the best perspectives of the city. Take a walk along the walls for wonderful views and perfect photo opportunities. It feels like stepping back in time, and will help you gain a better understanding of Ostuni.

8. Stop at Chiesa Di San Francesco

Chiesa Di San Francesco

This is another beautiful old church found in Ostuni. The stunning architecture will draw you towards the church, which is well worth popping into. Admire the detailed frescoes and well-decorated interior of the building. This is a wonderfully quiet place to step into and appreciate.

9. Head to the Beach

Ostuni Beach

While Ostuni is not on the coast, you can still easily enjoy a day at the beach from the city. Puglia travel should always involve a trip to the beach, and Ostuni is no exception.

Some excellent Ostuni beaches include Pilone Beach, Lido Morelli, Torre Beach Pozelle, and Quarto do Monte Beach. They are easy to reach from Ostuni for those wanting to see the Puglian coast.

Where to Stay in Ostuni

Looking for the best Ostuni hotels and accommodation options? This city has plenty of charming places to stay – suitable for all kinds of travelers. Here are some of the top choices.

Hotel La Terra

Hotel-La-Terra

Set in a 13th-century building in the old part of town, this hotel offers an unbeatable location and atmosphere. The rooms are spacious and well-appointed, and the position is perfect. This is a great little hotel for an authentic Ostuni experience.

Why should you stay here?

  • Centrally located
  • A historic building
  • Comfortable and clean

Click here to check the latest Hotel La Terra prices !

La Stella Bianca

Luxurious apartment

La-Stella-Bianca

Only 600m from Piazza Della Liberta, this apartment is seriously convenient for exploring the city. The place is clean, modern, and equipped with a small kitchen. It’s a fantastic base for couples.

  • A fully equipped apartment
  • Modern and well furnished

Click here to check the latest La Stella Bianca prices !

Ostuni Palace

Ostuni-Palace

This impressive hotel offers Italian elegance at its best. Enjoy the luxurious rooms, piano bar, and excellent restaurant. There is also a spa for those that want to really relax. Ostuni Palace also offers some spectacular views.

  • A hotel with amazing facilities
  • A sophisticated place to stay
  • Excellent food

Click here to check the latest Ostuni Palace prices !

Where to Eat in Ostuni

What-to-eat-in-Ostuni

You can’t visit Italy without indulging in the incredible food . Puglia is a region known for its fresh and delicious produce. Any guide to Puglia will have to include some of the amazing local cuisine, as the region is becoming increasingly popular as a food destination. Here are some of the top white city restaurants to enjoy during your trip.

This is a special occasion type of restaurant serving up delicious Italian favorites. Porta Nova is a terraced restaurant found within the ancient fortifications of Ostuni. This allows for incredible views and a perfect setting.

Be sure to try some of the tasty seafood here – especially from the dedicated crudo mare (raw fish) menu.

Pizzeria Notti Bianche

Possibly the best pizza in Ostuni can be found here. Pizzeria Notti Bianche is just around the corner from the cathedral. Once you taste their Neapolitan style pizza, you will see why this spot is so popular with the locals.

Borgo Antico Bistro

Enjoy cocktails, sharing plates, and the perfect quiet location at this Ostuni gem. Borgo Antico Bistro is tucked away in the city’s pretty alleyways. This is the perfect spot for an evening aperitivo .

La Pastasciutta

An affordable and unpretentious little spot serving incredible pasta dishes. You get to sit outside in a really vibrant setting. The menu changes each day and is always worth coming back to try again and again.

Final Thoughts on Ostuni Puglia

Ostuni has a lot going for it. This beautiful white city is loaded full of visible history, stunning architecture, and Puglian culture. Simply walking between the little alleys and stone buildings of the old town will make you realize why Ostuni is such a special destination.

The food here is incredible, with plenty of inviting cafes, trattorias, and hole-in-the-wall pizza spots. The hillside location offers stunning views over the green Trulli country surrounding the city. Ostuni, Puglia, Italy has become an increasingly popular destination, and we can completely understand why!

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Jolene Ejmont

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The Intrepid Guide

12 BEST Things to do in Ostuni, Puglia | The White City

From walking the city walls at sunset to exploring ancient olive groves, don't miss these top things to do in ostuni.

Things to do in Ostuni - Michele at Arco Scoppa

Immerse yourself in the charm of Southern Italy with my comprehensive guide to the best things to do in Ostuni in Puglia, Italy . Including where to stay in Ostuni , what and where to eat, how to get to Ostuni plus other top travel tips that will ensure you have a memorable visit.

Nestled in the heart of Apulia, between Salento and the Itria Valley, Ostuni embodies the essence of Mediterranean charm. Imagine a cluster of white buildings stacked upon one another atop a hill, earning it the affectionate nickname ‘La Città Bianca’, the White City.

As you draw closer, the town sparkles under the sun, its white facades creating a delightful contrast with the clear blue sky above and the verdant olive groves hugging its base – a truly mesmerizing sight!

The whole town looks like something out of the pages of a fairy tale. Meander through its winding streets and you’ll stumble upon cozy cafes and charming boutiques breathing life into ancient stone buildings. Around every corner you turn presents you with enchanting scenes that seem like they’re crafted for a postcard.

Things to do in Ostuni - View of Ostuni rooftops

Its irresistible charm places Ostuni high up on the list of must-visit spots in Apulia, where a rich blend of culture, history, and natural beauty awaits. Furthermore, its prime location near the Adriatic Sea serves as an excellent base for broader adventures in this picturesque Italian region.

Continue reading to explore the many things to do in Ostuni, from unveiling breathtaking sights to discovering the local culinary treasures.

Table of contents

Here’s what we’ll cover in this Ostuni travel guide:

  • Map of Ostuni, Italy
  • A brief history of Ostuni, Italy
  • 12 Best things to do in Ostuni

7 Best beaches near Ostuni

6 top experiences in/departing from ostuni, when to visit ostuni, what to eat and drink in ostuni, where to eat in ostuni.

  • Where to stay in Ostuni

How to get to Ostuni and move around

Faq for visiting ostuni, need to book accommodation don’t miss my detailed guide to the best hotels in ostuni for all budgets, including apartments and family options., map of things to do in ostuni.

A brief history of Ostuni

Things to do in Ostuni - Ostuni, the white city from a country road

During the Middle Ages, Ostuni gained strategic importance as a key fortified hilltop town. Its key position was particularly appreciated by Emperor Frederick II of Swabia, who took direct control of Ostuni’s castle along with other vital points in Apulia through a decree known as “Castra Exempta.”

Moving into the 16th and 17th centuries, Ostuni spread beyond its medieval boundaries, welcoming the construction of many elegant baroque-style churches and palaces. In 1656, although a harsh plague hit the area, Ostuni was mostly untouched, thanks to the practice of whitewashing homes with lime, a natural disinfectant. This tradition earned Ostuni the nickname “The White City.” Some say there was also a strategic advantage to the white paint as the sunlight reflecting off the houses could potentially blind enemies approaching from the sea.

During the Italian unification effort, known as the Risorgimento, Ostuni took an active part. It hosted a local chapter of the Young Italy movement initiated by Giuseppe Mazzini and was the first city in Apulia to raise the tricolor flag. The hub of this movement was situated in the beautiful Palazzo Rosso, which now hosts the luxury Paragon 700 Hotel.

Fast forward to the end of the Second World War, Ostuni experienced a significant boost in its agricultural sector, especially in the production of extra virgin olive oil, almonds, and wine – staples the town continues to be well known for today. Moreover, Ostuni has blossomed into an attractive tourist destination owing to its rich history, delightful Mediterranean climate, close proximity to the Adriatic Sea, and stunning beauty.

Things to do in Ostuni - Via Cattedrale shops and bike

12 BEST things to do in Ostuni

While Ostuni may not be a big city, it certainly makes up for its size with its abundance of intriguing sights. Its true charm unfolds as you wander through its maze-like alleys, discovering delightful surprises around every corner, from quaint architecture to cozy, hidden spots brimming with local character.

1. Admire Piazza della Libertà and the Obelisk of Sant’Oronzo

Things to do in Ostuni - Piazza della Liberta and the Obelisk of Sant'Oronzo

Piazza della Libertà is the beating heart of Ostuni and a perfect starting point for your explorations. As you step into this lively square, you’re greeted by a charming fusion of old and new, with inviting cafes and eateries sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with gorgeous historic buildings. One architectural gem here is Palazzo San Francesco, a former Franciscan monastery now hosting the local Town Hall (in the main hall on the first floor, there’s a collection of tapestries and paintings narrating the history of Ostuni and Apulia).

Things to do in Ostuni - Obelisk of Sant’Oronzo

Travel Tip : While the cafés around Piazza della Libertà are undeniably charming, they tend to cater to tourists and can be a bit on the pricey side. Resist your craving for coffee and gelato; a short stroll through the narrow lanes of the historic center will lead you to even more enchanting spots. Keep reading to find out more!

2. Get lost in the Centro Storico

Things to do in Ostuni - Shops on Via Cattedrale

Blooming balconies, sleepy cats, and colorful doorways craft a lively scene around you. Picture-perfect squares and the sharp silhouettes of prickly pear cacti stand in stark contrast against the pristine white facades of the homes, resembling living paintings.

Travel Tip: Among the many enchanting spots in Ostuni’s historical center, look for the celebrated stairs of Vico Balsamo de L’Andria, nestled in the quaint district known as “Lu Spessìte” ( see location here ).

Things to do in Ostuni - Vico Balsamo de Landria

Vico Balsamo de L’Andria

Things to do in Ostuni - Vico Balsamo de Landria with cat

3. Take photos at the Blue Door

Things to do in Ostuni - La Casa con la Porta Blu with bike

Affectionately called the “Gate of Paradise,” this charming portal actually leads to La Casa con la Porta Blu , a unique holiday retreat. The home itself is as inviting as its famous door, boasting two tastefully designed double rooms and four breathtaking panoramic terraces with views stretching out to the sea. Additionally, the pedestrian lane to the right of the door unfolds a picturesque countryside scenery with views as far as the blue sea in the distance.

Travel Tip: Right beside Ostuni’s beloved Blue Door, there’s a staircase that leads you to Borgo Antico Bistrò , one of the best bars in Ostuni. It’s an ideal place for relaxing with a drink after snapping the perfect shot at the Blue Door.

Things to do in Ostuni - Borgo Antico Bistrot menu

4. Visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

Things to do in Ostuni - Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta facade

As you step inside, the cathedral unveils chapels adorned in the Baroque style. However, it’s the ceiling that truly captures the attention, boasting exquisite 18th-century paintings that vividly portray scenes from Christ’s life and Saint Oronzo’s martyrdom.

Info: You can find the Cathedral at Largo Arcid Teodoro Trinchera. It’s open daily from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM and then again from 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Entrance is free, though donations are warmly appreciated.

Things to do in Ostuni - Inside Duomo

5. Walk under Arco Scoppa with your nose up

Things to do in Ostuni - Arco Scoppa

Initially constructed in wood in 1750, it was the vision and patronage of its namesake, Cardinal Scoppa, that brought it to life in solid masonry, ensuring greater durability and safety. Imprinted on it is a Latin inscription explaining its transformation from wood to stone. It’s believed that the design of the arch may have been influenced by the charm of Venice’s legendary Bridge of Sighs in a nod to the Venetian Baroque style that was in fashion during the 18th century.

6. See the Diocesan Museum (Museo Diocesano di Ostuni)

Things to do in Ostuni - Museo Diocesano di Ostuni - Rooftop Garden

The Bishop’s Palace houses the Diocesan Museum of Ostuni, which preserves the treasures of the city and its churches. It boasts a diverse collection that ranges from archaeological finds from Messapian tombs discovered within an area belonging to the church to an array of paintings dated between the 16th and 19th centuries.

Among the museum’s treasures are a striking life-sized wooden statue of the Madonna of the Rosary and a rare anatomical wax figure of Christ from the late 17th century, which intriguingly displays internal organs through an opening in the abdomen, reflecting the religious belief in God’s human embodiment.

At the end of the museum tour, you can step into the Garden of the Bishops, an enchanting 18th-century elevated garden where you can peek through petite windows and enjoy beautiful views.

Info: The entrance to the Diocesan Museum is from Piazza Beato Giovanni Paolo II. Admission is €4 (€2 for those under 18, and free for children under 6). Alternatively, a combo ticket priced at €6 is available, providing access to both the Diocesan and the Civic Museum of Ostuni. More details are available on the museum’s official website .

7. Step inside the Church of San Giacomo di Compostela

Things to do in Ostuni - Church of San Giacomo di Compostela window

Dating back to the 1400s, this church was once the private chapel for the Caballerios, a noble family from Brindisi. Inside, you are greeted by a simple square room. While time has veiled much of its original splendor, like the wall frescoes under layers of plaster, it continues to harbor enchanting elements such as the statues of Saints Cosmas and Damian. Another notable feature is the 18th-century altarpiece at the main altar, portraying Saint Irene, often hailed as the “secondary patron saint of the city.” Accentuating her importance, a meticulous depiction of the city of Ostuni during the 18th century is illustrated at her feet.

8. Explore the Ostuni Civic Museum

Things to do in Ostuni - Museum of Preclassic Civilizations of the Southern Murgia - Church of San Vito Martire

The museum’s crown jewel is the incredibly preserved skeleton of a pregnant woman dating back 28,000 years. Often dubbed “the world’s oldest mother,” this discovery from the Santa Maria di Agnano Cave, situated 2 km from the town center, is nothing short of extraordinary. The studies on the skeleton, alongside other unearthed artifacts, provide a rich insight into the ancient life in Ostuni.

Things to do in Ostuni - Museum of Preclassic Civilizations of the Southern Murgia - Skeleton

Info: The Civic Museum, located at Via Cattedrale 15, is open daily from 10:00AM – 7:00PM. Tickets are available on-site for €5 (€3 concessions). Additionally, a €6 ticket option allows access to both the Civic Museum and the Diocesan Museum. More information can be found on the museum’s website . The Santa Maria di Agnano Cave can be visited during specific hours by reservation in the winter and from 10AM-1PM in the summer.

9. Enjoy a sunset walk on the city walls

Things to do in Ostuni - Walk along City walls

Make your way to Porta Nova, one of the original entrance gates that have stood the test of time. Starting here, enjoy a delightful stroll towards Viale Oronzo Quaranta ( here ), journeying along the ancient walls. This wide pedestrian street – which is often called the “balcony of Ostuni” – offers unrivaled views of the endless azure sea and lush countryside, especially as the sun sets, making it a must-visit spot in Ostuni.

Things to do in Ostuni - Porta Nova at Sunset

10. Find more panoramic views

Things to do in Ostuni - Ostuni from Piazzetta Martiri delle Foibe - Belvedere di Ostuni

Ostuni is punctuated with picturesque panoramic viewpoints that emerge unexpectedly around every corner, offering endless chances to capture the enchanting landscape where the blue sky meets the sea. Among the best vantage points in Ostuni, the Piazzetta Martiri delle Foibe – Belvedere di Ostuni deserves special mention. Located just a brief stroll from the historic center along Corso Vittorio Emanuele, it’s only a 10-minute walk from the main Piazza della Libertà and provides a splendid view of the white city in all its beauty.

Another captivating viewpoint is the Terrazza Sant’Eligio , which is part of a charming hotel and is also open to non-guests. It’s a dreamy spot for enjoying a drink under the starlit sky, while soaking in one of the most breathtaking views over Ostuni.

Things to do in Ostuni - Piazzetta Martiri delle Foibe - Belvedere di Ostuni 4

11. Join locals at the Saturday market

Things to do in Ostuni - Fruit truck

Visiting the vibrant open-air markets in Italy is always an enthralling experience, and the Ostuni Saturday market is no exception. Known as one of the largest markets in the Brindisi province, it’s a haven for discovering a variety of items, ranging from fashionable attire to delicious local food products.

Whether you’re in the mood to shop or simply soak in the atmosphere, wandering through the bustling stalls sprawled on Via Nino Sansone and extending into the adjacent streets, immerses you in the heart of Italian culture. Surely, it is a great way to witness locals in action, engaging in friendly chatter and animated haggling.

For bargain enthusiasts, Ostuni also hosts the charming “Le Zagaredde” antique market every second Sunday of the month at Parco Rimembranze, brimming with all kinds of unique vintage treasures.

Travel Tip: To delve deeper into the market experience, consider joining a guided tour of the Ostuni market complemented by a cooking class . This combination not only explores the market’s offerings but also introduces you to the local culinary traditions, enriching your Apulian adventure.

12. Explore Ostuni’s Piana degli Ulivi Millenari

Things to do in Ostuni - Michele in Olive Grove

Olives are a key product in Apulia, with the region contributing about 40% of Italy’s total olive oil production. As such, one of the best things to do in Ostuni is take a leisurely stroll through its enchanting olive groves. Just a short distance from the White City lies the “Piana degli Ulivi,” a vast expanse of land that extends all the way to the coastline, home to an astonishing number of olive trees, some of which are up to 3,000 years old.

This fascinating area holds a proud spot on the National Register of Rural Landscapes, recognizing it as a global natural treasure. It’s also dotted with frantoi ipogei, ancient underground oil mills symbolizing Apulia’s rich olive oil heritage. As you explore this picturesque landscape, consider treating yourself to an olive oil-tasting session at a masseria . It’s an opportunity to discover different oil varieties and gather useful tips on making the most of them.

Travel Tip: An e-bike tour offers a delightful and effortless way to uncover more of Ostuni’s breathtaking Piana degli Ulivi. For an extra dose of fun, consider opting for a tuk-tuk adventure.

Things to do in Ostuni - Olive Groves - Ulivi Millenari

13. Hike to the Sanctuary of Sant’Oronzo

Sant’Oronzo, the town’s cherished patron saint, is honored within the town and at a shrine about four kilometers from the city center. The Sanctuary of Sant’Oronzo sits peacefully atop Monti della Badessa and owes its existence to the generous contributions of the people of Ostuni. They built it as their way to thank the saint for protecting Ostuni from the devastating effects of the plague back in the 17th century. Inside, you will find an ancient fresco, along with preserved snippets of nineteenth-century paintings that narrate various episodes from the life of Sant’Oronzo.

The walk to this sacred site takes you on a rural trail steeped in faith and natural allure. Once you reach the top of the hill, you are greeted with breathtaking panoramic views of the lush landscape stretching below. Adding to the charm is a baroque staircase that winds its way to a votive niche with a fountain, whose water is believed to hold miraculous properties.

Travel Tip: if you enjoy hiking, you can start the day at the Cave of Santa Maria di Agnano Archeological Park, then proceed for about 6 km to the Sanctuary of Sant’Oronzo. Once you’ve soaked in the serenity of the surroundings, you can make your way down to the historic center of Ostuni.

Things to do in Ostuni - Ostuni from above

Some of the most beautiful beaches near Ostuni are located in the Dune Costiere Regional Park, a protected area that’s home to stunning stretches of coast and scenic nature trails. A must-visit is Lido Morelli , celebrated for its soft sand dunes, fragrant Mediterranean vegetation, and shallow crystalline waters, making it perfect for families with kids. Rosa Marina , on the other hand, is a hit for its lively beach clubs’ nightlife, while Spiaggia Pilone offers both secluded spots and well-equipped lidos, all under the watchful eye of a historic watchtower.

If you prefer a wilder setting, Costa Merlata has various secluded coves and inlets, with a mix of sandy and rocky spots. And if you’re bringing along your canine friend, here you’ll find a dog-friendly beach. Nearby, Torre Pozzelle impresses with its towering cliffs diving into sapphire waters, creating a playground for diving enthusiasts. Close by, Creta Rossa captivates with its “ Spiaggia degli Scalini ” (Staircase Beach), named after the rocky steps leading down to the sea.

For a unique beach experience near Ostuni, head to Torre Guaceto ’s protected marine area and WWF reserve, where untouched dunes, lush Mediterranean scrub, and crystal-clear waters await. It’s about a half-hour drive from Ostuni, but the trip is well worth it. You can even visit a turtle rehabilitation center while you’re there. In the summer, a handy trenino (small train service) takes you around the reserve, making it easy to explore different areas.

Things to do in Ostuni - Apple tree

After soaking up the history downtown and taking a dip at the beach, you might wonder what’s next in Ostuni. Well, there’s a lot more to dive into, with numerous captivating experiences awaiting you in and around Ostuni.

To delve deeper into the local cuisine, a street food tour of Ostuni is a great start. You’ll visit fantastic artisan food shops around town showcasing the city’s signature food products. Alternatively, you might want to participate in a pasta and tiramisù cooking class with Cesarine , a network of local home cooks in Italy, for a hands-on, authentic culinary adventure.

If you’re a wine lover, this tour of an Apulian winery near Ostuni is a must. You will enjoy a traditional lunch or aperitivo that introduces you to the region’s excellent wines. And if time in Ostuni permits, you can extend your enological exploration with this private wine tour to Alberobello and Locorotondo.

Lastly, for the insatiable explorers, a guided tour of the Itria Valley from Ostuni unveils the region’s iconic trulli. You could also venture further into the heart of the region with a tour of Trani and Castel del Monte that covers intriguing history and fascinating sites and a wine tasting.

Things to do in Ostuni - Shops

With this said, if it’s a cultural festivities that you seek, summer in Ostuni promises an unforgettable experience. The town comes alive with vibrant celebrations, each echoing its rich traditions. Two events stand out: the nostalgic Sagra dei Vecchi Tempi on August 14-15, offering a glimpse into traditional crafts and tasty local food, and the Cavalcata di Sant’Oronzo from August 25 to 27, honoring the saint credited with protecting Ostuni from the plague. This latter event features a fascinating procession where a silver statue of the saint is escorted by horsemen donned in red to symbolize martyrdom.

Things to do in Ostuni - Cavalcata di Sant'Oronzo

Cavalcata di Sant’Oronzo

Among the best things to do in Ostuni, eating is an experience unto itself! Apulian cuisine is renowned for its vibrant array of fresh ingredients, traditional recipes, and an enduring love for simple, hearty flavors. And Ostuni is a great place to sample some of these delights.

Blessed with fertile coastal plains and abundant olive orchards, Ostuni offers a tasty blend of land and sea dishes, with lots of cheeses and vegetables in between. Among the seafood dishes, try the scapece (a marinated fish delicacy), lu purpu alla pignata (pot-cooked octopus), alici arrancanate (stuffed anchovies), and the luxurious spaghetti with sea urchins . And if you’re a meat lover, the juicy meatballs and sausages won’t disappoint.

Carbs are provided by such delicious dishes as the cavatelli al ragù (shell-shaped pasta with a meat-based sauce), ciceri e tria (pasta with chickpeas), or the iconic Apulian orecchiette served with fresh tomato sauce or cime di rapa (turnip tops). Also, be sure to try fave e cicoria (mashed fava beans with chicory), Apulia’s number one comfort food.

Things to do in Ostuni - Panzerotti

For a quick meal, the alleys of Ostuni are lined with spots serving traditional Apulian street food like pucce (sandwiches made from pizza dough), panzerotti (deep-fried mini folded pizzas filled with assorted ingredients), friselle (doughnut-shaped bread, moistened and topped with tomatoes and other ingredients), and local focaccia with onions. Come evening, a glass of white Ostuni DOC wine accompanied by the addictive crunch of taralli (Apulian ring-shaped crackers) is mandatory.

And to end on a sweet note, you can’t help but surrender to the allure of the pasticciotti , a delicious pastry filled with custard cream, black cherries, or chocolate.

Things to do in Ostuni - Pasticciotti tradizionali

Pasticciotti

Things to do in Ostuni - Where to eat - Outdoor restaurants

It’s always meal-time in Italy. Here are my top picks on where to eat the perfect meal in Ostuni and top it off with a gelato and a passeggiata (A walk).

Best restaurants in Ostuni

There are many places in town where you can enjoy a traditional meal amidst unique and picturesque settings. Some of the most authentic restaurants in Ostuni include Osteria Monacelle , Trattoria Fave e Fogghje , and Trattoria Sapere & Sapori , all exuding a warm, family-friendly atmosphere, complemented by a fabulous selection of local culinary delights.

Things to do in Ostuni - Where to eat - Osteria del Tempo Perso

Osteria del Tempo Perso

If you’re searching for something extra charming, you can’t miss Osteria del Tempo Perso , one of the best restaurants in Ostuni, tucked away within an ancient cave in the heart of the old town. Another enchanting spot is La Taverna della Gelosia , where dining under flourishing wisteria and pink pepper trees adds to the magic. For a change of scenery, Dish presents a captivating dining vista overlooking Ostuni’s characteristic whitewashed stone buildings, while at Porta Nova you can sit on a stunning terrace housed within the city’s 15th-century Aragonese tower.

Things to do in Ostuni - Where to Eat - Ristorante Taverna della Gelosia - Outdoor dining

La Taverna della Gelosia

While visiting Ostuni, you may also want to venture beyond the city center to embrace the rustic charm of dining at an authentic masseria. Places like Masseria Il Frantoio and Masseria Salinola are perfect spots for a farm-to-table meal that’s as fresh as possible.

Piazza Restuarants in Ostuni

Things to do in Ostuni - Where to eat - Operaprima - Ristorante Pizzeria

Operaprima Pizzeria outdoor dining

For pizza lovers, a visit to Bella Vista is essential, celebrated for its authentic Neapolitan-style pizza. Other tempting choices include Operaprima Pizzeria and Il Posto Affianco , both of which also offer a menu of local delicacies.

Gelato shops in Ostuni

Things to do in Ostuni - Where to eat - Cremeria alla Scala gelato

The best gelato in Ostuni can be found at Cremeria alla Scala , renowned as one of Puglia’s finest gelaterias. Their signature Sant’Oronzo flavor, with a blend of mandarin and almond, is a must-try. When it’s time for aperitivo, there’s nothing quite like the fascinating ambiance of Borgo Antico Bistro near the Blue Door. Lastly, if you are looking to grab some snacks on your way to the beach or stock up on food souvenirs before you depart, make sure to stop by Forno Portanova , one of Ostuni’s best bakeries.

Things to do in Ostuni - Borgo Antico Bistrot - During the day 5

Lu Furne at Portanova

Where to stay in Ostuni and Top Hotels in Ostuni

In Ostuni, you can find a diverse range of lodging options, ranging from charming bed & breakfasts to delightful holiday homes and exquisite masserias immersed in the countryside. Here are a few suggestions.

Nestled near the main square, Palazzo Stunis Charme is a wonderful mid-range B&B housed in a beautiful 19th-century townhouse. With just four rooms, it exudes a warm, intimate vibe, accentuated by the tastefully preserved vintage details and thoughtfully selected furnishings.

If you’re seeking a touch of luxury, the Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel won’t disappoint. Situated in the historic Palazzo Rosso that echoes the town’s tumultuous past, it provides lavish rooms with a mix of unique furnishings and art. A subterranean spa and a glistening pool tucked in a private garden promise complete relaxation.

For the budget-conscious travelers, UNICO Art Decor is a great alternative. It offers simple yet cozy rooms in a serene neighborhood just a 10-minute stroll from the Cathedral. All have private bathrooms, and some boast a balcony or private terrace. A hearty breakfast included in the daily rate is the cherry on top.

Hotels in Ostuni Italy - Where to Stay in Ostuni

For more delightful options, check out this detailed guide on where to stay in Ostuni , curated to cater to all preferences and budgets.

Ostuni is well connected and relatively easy to access. It has its own train station and is close to two airports, making the journey pretty comfortable for travelers.

Flying to Ostuni

If you choose to fly to Ostuni, you can land at either Bari or Brindisi airports. Once at Bari airport, a shuttle bus can whisk you to Bari Central Station. From there, hop onto any regional train bound for Lecce and get off at Ostuni Station. A city bus service is available from Ostuni Station to the city center. If you land at Brindisi airport instead, a shuttle bus connects to Brindisi train station. Here, you can catch any train heading towards Bari and get off at Ostuni.

Driving to Ostuni

Traveling to Ostuni by car is the best option as it offers the liberty to explore the area at your own pace. If you rent a car at the airport, you’re looking at about a 1-hour drive from Bari along the E55 highway or SS16 towards Brindisi-Lecce, and approximately 30 minutes from Brindisi along the same routes towards Bari. Compare and book your car here or with Dicsover Cars here.  

Once in Ostuni, navigating the town center can be tricky due to the ZTL (Limited Traffic Zones) in effect that restrict non-residential vehicles, risking hefty fines. It’s wise to scout out parking spots available in town before your drive to Ostuni. There are good parking areas around Via Giovanni Palatucci ( here ) and Via Antonio Specchia ( here ), both just a 10-minute walk to the Cathedral square. Alternatively, you might consider a secured garage parking spot like Parcheggio “Mediterraneo – Ex Foro Boario” ( here ).

Public transport in Ostuni

The train station in Ostuni is about 3 km from Piazza della Libertà, a pleasant 30-minute walk. The station is on the Adriatic line, with both regional and high-speed train connections to cities like Bologna, Ancona, Bari, Brindisi, and Lecce. Train schedules and options can be reviewed on the Trenitalia website . Take a look at either the  Trenitalia website  or  Trainline for more details  and to plan and book your journey.

If you don’t have a rental car, the local STP Brindisi bus network is a viable alternative to get around Ostuni. These buses connect the White City to the nearby beaches ( timetables here ) and smaller villages nearby ( timetables here ).

If you prefer to neither rent a car or use public transport, taking a taxi is another option. It will cost you more but if you’re not planning on visiting the surrounding. area this could be a better convenient option. There is no Uber ot Grab out here, only privately run taxis. Once you arrive at a major train station or airport, head to the taxi rank. Trip will set you back as much as 70euro one-way from Brindisi airport. If you like the driver, ask for his card for your return trip. Otherwise, you can visit the information centre who will help you book a taxi with someone in the area.

Now, let’s dive into some more questions about Ostuni to give you further insights and make your trip to the White City even more enjoyable.

How long should I spend in Ostuni?

The amount of time you’d want to spend in Ostuni largely depends on your personal preferences and what you hope to accomplish during your visit. If you’re tight on time, a half-day tour could do the trick, giving you a taste of Ostuni amid a jam-packed travel plan. However, if you’ve got a full day to play with and the sun’s shining bright, you could start off with a morning beach spree, followed by an afternoon wander through the town’s historic heart. Then, come evening, you can conclude your day in Ostuni, soaking in the sunset over a refreshing aperitivo.

Stretching your Ostuni adventure to 3 or 4 days, or maybe even more, would allow you to soak in the local culture, check out the neighboring areas, or just kick back and soak up Apulia’s laid-back charm. For instance, Ostuni can be your cozy hub for visiting the dreamy nearby villages. Depending on when you visit, you could mix up your village visits with some beach time along the Adriatic coast. Imagine waking up each day in your quaint Ostuni nest, with every morning presenting a delightful dilemma: to explore or to relax?

Do I need to be able to speak Italian?

People in the tourism sector usually have a good handle on English to better t international visitors. However, when you step off the beaten path or interact with locals, you might find that English isn’t as commonly spoken.

So, before you head to Ostuni, picking up some basic Italian phrases is a good idea. Not only is it enjoyable to interact with locals in their own language, but a little effort to speak Italian can really warm hearts. Plus, it unlocks a more authentic experience of Ostuni, making your trip all the more memorable! Here is a helpful video I filmed with the locals of Ostuni.

What’s the best way to visit Ostuni?

Things to do in Ostuni - Ostuni TukTuk tour on street

Ostuni has to be explored on foot since non-residents’ vehicles are not allowed in the historic center due to its Limited Traffic Zones (ZTL). I joined this excellent private walking tour of Ostuni with Valeria a knowledgeable local guide who can help you unveil all the charming beauty hidden in the town’s winding alleys. I highly recommend her! 

A fun and unique way to see Ostuni is by embarking on a private tour of Ostuni by tuk tuk, best known as ape calessino . This three-wheeled motorized vehicle offers a comfy ride through the lovely alleys of the historic center, and you’ll be joined by a friendly local guide who will not only immerse you in the rich history and vibrant culture of the white city, but also share insider tips to help you enjoy Ostuni like a true local.

What are the best souvenirs from Ostuni?

From food delicacies to exquisite artisanal pieces, there are some great products worth buying to bring home from Ostuni for you and your loved ones. Just make sure to check the customs regulations and restrictions of your home country before purchasing your souvenirs, especially regarding edible goodies. Here are some great souvenirs you might want to keep an eye out for during your visit to Ostuni:

Extra-virgin olive oil: Apulia is renowned for its high-quality olive oil, so snagging a bottle or two from local producers is a brilliant gift idea. A good place to buy olive oil in Ostuni city center is Typicus , which also sells a variety of wines and food products. Purchasing olive oil at a masseria like Masseria Il Frantoio is well worth the detour if your schedule allows.

Things to do in Ostuni - Olive Oil tasting - Oleificio cipa agricola

Ceramics: The region’s beautiful hand-painted ceramics make for another beautiful souvenir. Keep a lookout for the colorful pumi (pine cones) and massaie salentine (ceramic statuettes of “round” women believed to bring good luck). Ceramiche D’Alò is the place to find these beauties.

Ostuni’s whistle: As you walk around Ostuni, you will likely stumble upon colorful fischietti (whistles) crafted from terracotta. They are a special souvenir from Ostuni that’s believed to bring good luck. At Ceramiche Carella , you can find them in all shapes and sizes.

Things to do in Ostuni - Carella Ostuni - Entrance

Textiles: Apulia’s rich tradition of textile craftsmanship showcases a variety of materials and hand-embroidery. Explore local shops like Tessitura Artigiana for items such as tablecloths and linens adorned with traditional local designs.

Things to do in Ostuni - Tessitura Artigiana

Taralli: You can’t leave Apulia without a bag of taralli stashed in your luggage. These crunchy, tasty treats are also easy to pack and make for delightful souvenirs. The best place to buy taralli in Ostuni is one of the local bakeries like Forno 31 and Forno Portanova .

Don’t miss my guide on what to eat in Emilia Romagna

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What To Do in Ostuni, Italy’s Dazzling White City

This is a panoramic photo of Ostuni Old Town built atop a hill.

Last updated on November 13th, 2023 at 04:42 pm

If you’re planning a trip to Puglia soon, you must be wondering what to do in Ostuni, this gem of a small town in Southern Italy. But before we go into more detail about the best things to do in Ostuni, here’s how it felt to visit Ostuni for the first time.

Our Fiat Cinquecento moved lazily along the splendid country road as if to savour every single moment the way we did. We drove through century-old olive groves, constantly under the shadow of tall trees. Suddenly, an unexpected clearing allowed us to look towards the horizon.

We couldn’t help but gasp. Built on the top of a hill overlooking the Adriatic Sea and clad in blinding white, Ostuni was soaring above the Pugliese land as if in a dream. Only it was 100% real. We went, we saw and we’re here to show you what to do in Ostuni, Italy’s gorgeous White City.

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This photo shows two men as they stop to take in the beauty of Ostuni Old Town.

Why Visit Ostuni

Ostuni is a breathtakingly beautiful town in Puglia, Southern Italy’s stunning region. The fact that the town’s population triples during the peak summer season says quite a lot about Ostuni’s charms. Apart from being worth a trip in its own right, Ostuni is also a fantastic base to explore the treasures of Italy’s Deep South.

However, the White City, as Ostuni is nicknamed due to its whitewashed buildings, doesn’t only attract travellers. Ostuni also appeals to people from all over the world who dream of calling this quaint town home. Suffice it to say that, no matter its small size, Ostuni has the fifth largest population of British expatriates in Italy.

A row of white buildings in Ostuni Old Town.

How To Get To Ostuni

Ostuni is a town in the Italian province of Brindisi. The nearest airport is Brindisi Airport, which lies 30 kilometres from Ostuni. You can also get to Ostuni from Bari, the capital of Puglia , located 98 kilometres from Ostuni.

Renting a car from Bari or Brindisi is the easiest way to get to Ostuni and explore Puglia in general. That said, you can also get to Ostuni by train . The train station lies about two kilometres from Ostuni centre. There is public transport that connects Ostuni train station to the town centre. Ostuni has train connections with several major cities in Italy, including Rome, but this would be a very long and tiring journey.

If you’re spending time in Rome before or after your trip to Ostuni, check out our complete Rome Travel Guide and 4-Day Itinerary!

This is a panoramic shot of Ostuni from the main road.

Travel Resources To Help You Plan Your Trip To Ostuni

  • Find the best deals for your return flights to Bari here .
  • Get to Ostuni by train here .
  • Find the best deals for your accommodation in Ostuni .
  • Book the best tours with GetYourGuide or Viator in Ostuni .
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20 Fantastic Things To Do in Ostuni Italy

1. wander around the maze of whitewashed streets in ostuni old town.

Even if you only had an hour to spend in La Città Bianca (The White City), this is what to do in Ostuni to fall in love with it at first sight: wander around the narrow alleys of its Old Town.

Ostuni’s historic centre occupies the tip of a hill overlooking the surrounding Apulian countryside. For this reason, you should expect some uphill walking at times, but nothing too strenuous. After all, you can always stop to catch your breath – and sip Italian coffee or an Aperol Spritz – at one of the many quaint cafés and bars.

The town’s architecture renders it one of the most enchanting destinations in Italy or even Europe. Old whitewashed houses are built one next to the other creating the illusion that the entire town is just one single building. The countless arches that connect the buildings are yet another unique characteristic of Ostuni, remnants of the town’s Middle Ages architecture.

This image shows a quaint narrow alley in Ostuni Old Town. All buildings are white. They are connected by stone arches.

No matter its special architecture though, Ostuni felt way too familiar to us. This is because the town is built the same way the settlements on the Greek Islands are. Not to mention that the occasional bougainvillaea adds very much to the Greek Island ambience of Ostuni.

It’s no overstatement to say that there were moments we had to stop and think for a second to remind ourselves that we were actually in Italy rather than back home in Greece .

This image shows a picturesque part of Ostuni Old Town. There are old white buildings on both sides of a cobblestone street.

2. Join a Walking Tour

Although nothing beats getting lost in Ostuni’s narrow streets at your own pace and discovering your favourite nooks and crannies as you go, it’s also a good idea to join a guided walking tour to learn what lies beneath the town’s charming looks.

Consider booking this walking tour that lasts less than two hours but is enough to help you learn everything there is to know about Ostuni in the most pleasant way.

A pedestrianised street in Ostuni. The buidlings are white with green shutters.

3. Admire Ostuni’s Cathedral

Initially constructed in Romanesque style, Ostuni Cathedral was rebuilt in Gothic style in the 15th century, when the beautiful rose window on its facade was also added.

The now Gothic Cathedral is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and it’s probably the main attraction in Ostuni. Its elegant facade is a fascinating blend of Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic elements while its interior is abundant in gorgeous works of art.

The facade of the romanesque Ostuni Cathedral.

4. But Don’t Overlook The Rest of The Cathedral Square

Unlike many other towns in Puglia and Italy in general, Ostuni’s Cathedral doesn’t dominate a grand impressive square. On the contrary, it’s almost hidden in the tiny Piazzetta Cattedrale. Piazzetta is Italian for small square. Yet, its small size is exactly what makes this square all the more interesting.

Apart from Ostuni Cathedral, two more buildings, the Bishop’s Palace (Palazzo Vescovile) and the Seminar’s Palace , are squeezed into the pocket-sized square. The two are connected by the superb Arco di Scoppa , one of Ostuni’s architectural gems.

This photo shows the Arco di Scoppa. This is a wonderful architectural element that resembles a covered bridge. Its golden colour stands out compared to the two white buildings it connects.

5. Walk Along Ostuni’s Defensive Walls

The Old Town of Ostuni is an acropolis surrounded by strong defensive walls. Deprived of their primary function to protect the lovely town and its inhabitants from enemy invasions, the city walls now offer the opportunity for one of the most enchanting strolls, especially during sunset. It is only then that Ostuni’s blinding white gives way to the sweetest hue of gold.

This is a photo of the walk that runs along the old fortified walls at sunset. Taking this stroll is one of the best things to do in Ostuni if you're wondering what to do in Ostuni at sunset.

6. Get Carried Away By The Happy Vibes of Piazza della Liberta

Piazza della Libertà is Ostuni’s largest square, a lovely space that gives the town its true Italian feel. From Piazza della Libertà starts the main street of Ostuni Old Town, Via Cattedrale, which ends at the Cathedral or Duomo di Ostuni.

Buzzing with life all day long, the square is Ostuni’s major social hub and home to a couple of magnificent landmarks as well. The most striking is Palazzo San Francesco , a former convent that now houses Ostuni’s Town Hall, alongside the adjoining Church of San Francesco d’Assisi .

The Column of Sant’Oronzo soars above the vibrant square. The 20-metre-tall column was built as an expression of gratitude towards Sant’Oronzo for helping Ostuni survive the plague and famine that hit Puglia in the 18th century.

If you’re in Ostuni in late August, you can witness the Cavalcata di Sant’Oronzo, a traditional festival in honour of Sant’Oronzo, Ostuni’s patron saint, that dates back to the 17th century.

This is an image of the Piazza della Libeta. In the background, we can see the Sant'Oronzo column.

7. Give in To The Best Gelato in Ostuni

A stone’s throw from Piazza della Liberta, Cremeria alla Scala awaits to introduce you to what must be the best ice cream in Ostuni. If you’re familiar with Italian gelato, you’ll know that this is a good one from the moment you taste it.

8. Enjoy Sunset Cocktails With a View

There are plenty of places to grab a drink in Ostuni. The most photogenic among them must be Borgo Antico Bistrot . Situated in the heart of Ostuni’s centro storico, this picturesque café/restaurant/bar boasts spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. The best time to enjoy a colourful cocktail there is, of course, sunset.

This image shows colourful chairs of a bar in Ostuni. They make a wonderful contrast with the blindingly white wall.

9. Visit Ostuni’s Museums

No matter its small size, Ostuni has a couple of museums for art and history aficionados. The most prestigious among them is the Museo Diocesano di Ostuni . Inaugurated in 2017, this museum exhibits works of art that were formerly found in the Cathedral and other churches.

Other museums to check out are the Museo di Civiltà Preclassiche della Murgia Meridionale , which is housed in a former monastery, and Orizzonti Arte , a contemporary art gallery.

10. Shop With Locals

If you’re in Ostuni on a Saturday morning, you can mingle with locals at the town’s market. The latter runs from early morning until lunchtime here . The market is a 20-minute walk from the historic centre of Ostuni and it’s a unique opportunity to experience real Ostuni but also to buy seasonal fresh produce.

11. Tour Ostuni in a Nostalgic Ape Callesino

Walking around Ostuni Old Town is the best way to get to know this quaint fairytale-like place. However, if you’re wondering what to do in Ostuni that’s a bit out of the ordinary, another fun way to enjoy the White City is to ride a legendary Ape Callesino, one of Italy’s most iconic vehicles alongside the Vespa, the vintage Fiat 500 and so many more.

This image shows an Ape Callesino at a narrow street in Ostuni.

12. Cycle Through The Stunning Apulian Countryside

Few things can beat the feeling of cycling through ancient olive groves, filling your lungs with the scented Apulian air and your eyes with unfathomable beauty. Ostuni is the ideal base from where to enjoy short cycling trips to the surrounding area.

You can either rent a bicycle or, better still, join a guided e-bike tour that will take you to a nearby farm where you can also taste flavourful local products .

Two bikes on a dirt road with dry stone walls and olive trees.

13. Learn The Secrets of Local Food

Another immersive experience you can enjoy in Ostuni is a cooking class that will teach you the secrets of Apulian cuisine to impress your loved ones back home with your newly acquired skills. This cooking class will turn you into a master of homemade pasta and tiramisu while this is a more in-depth journey into Apulian cuisine, that can also be adapted for vegetarians .

If you’d rather not get your hands dirty, you can also opt for this 4-course dining experience at a local’s home instead, which can also be adapted to the needs of vegetarians and vegans upon request .

Read our complete guide to the local cuisine here.

An Aperol Spritz and orrecchieti pasta on a wooden table during a cooking class.

14. Taste Exquisite Olive Oil

Puglia is dotted with olive groves that have been around for centuries on end. The region produces about 60% of Italy’s olive oil. Therefore, it’s the perfect place to taste superb olive oil and learn how to tell between top-quality extra virgin olive oil and all the other olive oil types.

Of course, you’ll have the opportunity to try local olive oil at any restaurant in Ostuni. However, during your trip to Ostuni, it’s worth joining a tour dedicated to this valuable product that is intertwined with the town’s and region’s history. This tour allows you to walk among thousand-year-old olive trees and taste three different olive oils in the ideal setting of a traditional farmhouse.

An old traditional olive mill. Three millstones revolve around a wooden column that hangs from a wooden beam.

15. Sample Some Pugliese Wine

Alongside extra virgin olive oil, Puglia also produces excellent wine that you can try at some of the best restaurants and bars in Ostuni. However, if you are among those people who wish to delve into the wine culture of every destination you’re visiting as we do, you’ll be better off heading out of Ostuni’s historic centre to the surrounding countryside.

This tour takes you to the heart of the Apulian countryside, just a few kilometres from the White City, where you’ll taste four different wines paired with local products.

This is a close up of three glasses of wine. If you're wondering what to do in Ostuni, a wine tasting should make your list.

16. Stay At an Authentic Masseria

If you’re eager to experience some of the above-mentioned top things to do in Ostuni, such as savouring the countryside, local cuisine, top-quality extra virgin olive oil and exceptional wines, you can do so in one place: at a typical masseria. A masseria is also the type of accommodation we’d recommend for your stay in Ostuni. Here’s why.

You know that we almost always advise you to stay in the very heart of the destinations you’re visiting. Well, this time we have a different suggestion for you. Although a stay within the white walls of Ostuni Old Town doesn’t sound bad at all, the beauty of the surrounding countryside and the thought of staying among ancient olive trees in a century-old masseria is a clear winner.

What Is a Masseria

The entire region of Puglia is dotted with masserie. These are utterly charming, once-fortified estates, the majority of which have now been turned into farm stays. That said, they’ve lost nothing of their initial character as most of them still produce local products, such as olive oil, wine or cheese.

Masseria Il Frantoio

We stayed at Masseria Il Frantoio , which lies just about ten minutes by car from Ostuni. Far from being yet another accommodation option, Masseria Il Frantoio is a unique experience in its own right. Looking back, staying there contributed greatly to our immersion in the authentic Pugliese way of life.

This photo shows a white dirt road in the Italian countryside.

From the moment we exited the main road and drove along the scenic dirt one that led us to the masseria’s gate, we knew we were in for a very special experience. There were century-old olive trees as far as the eye could see. An inescapable sense of tranquillity and relaxation got us instantly under its spell.

As soon as we arrived at the masseria, we were shown into our super cosy room which used to be, wait for it, part of the estate’s stables. Then it was time to check out the masseria’s main courtyard and instantly lose our hearts to it. Oh, if we could only stay there forever. Seriously, this courtyard is everything. It is Italy at its best.

This is a photo of the central courtyard at Masseria Il Frantoio. The main building of the estate is on the right.

Masseria Il Frantoio boasts a remarkable balance between luxury and tradition. This is reflected in its smartly decorated rooms and the various common areas, such as the courtyard, the swimming pool area and the splendid Italian garden.

Another thing we loved about the masseria was breakfast. Cooked with care and the best organic ingredients, breakfast is a real feast of delicious sweet and savoury treats.

Book an unforgettable stay in Puglia here .

This is a close up of the breakfast buffet at Masseria Il Frantoio.

Dinner At The Masseria

To savour the complete experience that Masseria Il Frantoio offers its guests, you should also have dinner there at least once. Dinner at Masseria Il Frantoio is a whole new level of authentic Italian hospitality and one of the best culinary moments of our travels to date.

It all started at the gorgeous courtyard about 30 minutes before dinner. There, alongside the other guests, we enjoyed a glass of wine with titbits under the stars. By then, the oh-so-beautiful courtyard was dimly lit, thus even more enchanting.

Then Luciano, the manager, came along and invited us on a short tour around the masseria. During this magical stroll, we learnt that the masseria, alongside being a farm stay, is still a working organic farm.

All fruit and vegetables that go into the masseria’s traditional dishes grow on-site. The masseria is also an excellent olive oil production unit. Just how it used to be in older times. Luciano also pointed out that dairy products, although not produced on-site, are brought from nearby organic farms. We also visited the frantoio, the old underground olive mill.

This image shows the underground olive oil mill at the masseria.

After the short but very enlightening tour, it was time for dinner. Depending on the weather, dinner is either served outside in the courtyard or at the masseria’s restaurant. The latter’s highlight is the magnificent vaulted ceiling, typical of Apulian architecture. Although a sweet April night, it was quite chilly. Therefore, dinner was served inside.

This photo shows the interior of the masseria restaurant. It's dimly lit in a way that showcases the gorgeous vaulted ceiling.

When you book a table for dinner (or lunch) at Masseria Il Frantoio, you are asked whether you have any dietary restrictions or not. Other than that, guests have no clue as to the menu. Only that they’ve signed up for an eight-course dinner cooked by a mamma Italiana rather than an awarded chef. And that pretty much says it all.

We don’t deem it necessary to get into much detail about each dish we tried at the masseria. The menu changes daily and it differs according to the season anyway. But we feel the need to let the world know that this was probably the best culinary experience we’ve ever had.

Each surprise dish that came along was better than the previous one. Vegetarian options were just superb and we tried three different varieties of wine during this three-hour feast. After dessert, we had more than 30 rosoli (homemade liqueurs) to choose from. The perfect finishing touch to an unforgettable dinner.

Book your room at Masseria Il Frantoio and get ready for the authentic experience of a lifetime.

This is a close up of a typical Apulian dish. Fava beans with boiled greens.

17. Take a Day Trip To Alberobello

Ostuni is an excellent base to discover all of Puglia’s hidden gems. And some that ceased to be so hidden lately, like Alberobello. No matter the crowds it attracts, Alberobello remains a great place to visit in Puglia, only a 45-minute drive from Ostuni.

Famous for its trullo buildings with their cone-shaped roofs, Alberobello feels like a village that could only reside in the realm of fairy tales.

Trulli houses in Alberobello on a rainy day.

18. Or Martina Franca

If you’re looking to plan a day trip from Ostuni to a lesser-known destination, head to Martina Franca in Valle d’Itria instead. This bijou yet quintessentially Italian town is adorned with fabulous Baroque style mansions, known for their ornate facades and balconies.

Learn more about our two-week road trip across Puglia here.

The central square in Martina Franca on a cloudy and rainy day. The square is surrounded by a curved neoclassical building with a portico and green shutters. In the background, there is a baroque church.

19. Discover Salento’s Greece

A true temple of hospitality, sunny Salento occupies the area at the southern end of Puglia. Centuries ago, Greek settlers founded several Ancient Greek towns in this part of Italy. Grecia Salentina – or Greece of Salento – comprises eleven villages where people still speak the Griko dialect, a mix of Italian and Greek.

You can read more about Grecia Salentina in this article . We’re sure you’ll be inspired to plan a day trip from Ostuni to some of these off-the-beaten-path towns.

This is a photo of the old town in Corigliano d' Otranto.

20. Head To The Beach

Puglia is a magical region that combines everything. From olive groves and vineyards to sunny beaches and hilltop towns. Ostuni is the ideal base to explore Puglia because it’s pretty much close to everything. If you’re looking for an escape to the sea during your trip to Ostuni, the closest beaches to the White City are those along the glistening Costa Merlata .

What To Do in Ostuni Throughout The Year

If you’re wandering what to do in Ostuni throughout the year, here’s a breakdown of what to expect from Ostuni depending on the season you’re planning to visit.

Spring & Autumn: The weather is warm and pleasant enough to make the most of the outdoors, even in the evening.

Winter: For many, the best time to visit Puglia is winter. It is then that visitors can take in the beauty of the Ostuni area without any crowds whatsoever. Winter in Ostuni means unparalleled photo opportunities and quality time with locals.

If you dream of living in a beautiful Italian town like a local for a while, winter is your best shot at meaningfully mingling with locals while learning Italian in the process. Keep in mind that some of the best places in Ostuni may not be open though.

Summer: Ostuni is an amazing destination for your summer holidays. The White City enjoys a fantastic location from where to explore many of Puglia’s stunning beaches. That said, Ostuni tends to be unbearably busy in the summer months, especially in July and August. Therefore, it’s best to avoid going to Ostuni during the high season.

No matter what season you visit Ostuni, we’re sure that Italy’s gleaming White City will steal your hearts and we do hope that our guide on what to do in Ostuni helps you have an amazing time in Ostuni.

Planning a trip to Italy? Find all the inspiration you need in our list of the best books set in Italy!

WORDS & EDITING: Maria IMAGES: Katerina

Disclosure: We were guests at Masseria Il Frantoio but we express nothing but our personal and honest opinion about the amazing experience we had.

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10 Things to do in Ostuni, Italy in 2024 | A guide to Ostuni, the white city of Puglia

Looking for things to do in Ostuni? This guide will take you around the cute alleyways of Ostuni, the white town of Valley d'Itria. Discover Ostuni, Italy with us.

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Are you looking for the best things to do in Ostuni? This is the right place, written by locals, with clear instructions on how to reach the main sights, where to stay, eat and get a traditional aperitif.

This guide will drive through one of the most beautiful towns in southern Italy. Discover the great hallways, gorgeous landscapes, and the warmest locals through our itinerary.

If you want to know where to stay in Ostuni , where to eat or have an idea of what to do in Ostuni, this is the right place. We have been travelling through Puglia for a great itinerary of over 10 days, discovering main landmarks and hidden gems, spending sometimes in Ostuni.

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Where is Ostuni?

On its prominent mountaintop overlooking the olive trees of the trulli valley and the azure sea where the Salento region begins, Ostuni gleams like a spotlight. One of Puglia’s most attractive villages , it is known as “the white city.” It preserves its mediaeval appearance and appears to spiral around the hill in a circular fairyland. Ostuni, Italy is in the region of lower Murgia on a hilltop 200 metres above sea level. The city is in the province of Brindisi, which is the nearest airport to Ostuni . There are about 90 Kilometres between Ostuni and Bari , the Region’s Capital. The nearest beaches of Ostuni are in the “ Costa Merlata “, which is only 20 minutes by car from the white town.

Reach Ostuni by Public Transport

Roam around piazzetta cattedrale, don’t visit ostuni in summer, travel insurance for italy, why visit ostuni.

Ostuni was just a stop in our excellent itinerary of Puglia , but we have left a piece of our heart there. The cute streets are insanely beautiful, and you will never feel lost. Locals are so proud of their cosy town and happy to show you around or leave space to take the most incredible instagrammable shot of Puglia . We have taken some, and are now our best memories.

Ostuni is also well known as the “white city” because it is the biggest town in the valley of the famous whitewashed villages. Sometimes locals refer to that as the gateway of Salento because, from the hilltop, you can see where the land ends and meets the seaside.

Things to do in Ostuni, Puglia

Despite being a small town in the middle of nowhere, Ostuni has a lot to offer to every traveller. The “Città Bianca” white city is ideal for spending about one to three days in total relaxation. Going around the tiny alleyways discovering incredible places, and taking photos on the floral and cute staircase will take off an entire day. Ostuni is not just cute but is rich in history and architecture.

The Historic Centre has got many beautiful churches magnificent with centuries to tell you. The impressive 15th Century Gothic Cathedral is the centre of the old town, gorgeous outside and stunning inside. If you are more interested in landscapes and incredible views, Corso Vittorio Emanuele 2nd, is the place to visit. This is the ideal spot to relax and enjoy an aperitif with a view.

Being built on a hilltop, Ostuni was a defensive town overlooking the valley. Like many cities in Puglia, walking on the city walls is a top thing to do in Ostuni for tourists. Part of the old construction, made to keep invaders outside of the town is still up and visitable.

Rich in Traditions, you will also love Ostuni for the food and the many little restaurants for a reasonable price. The short distance from the other famous towns of Locorotondo and Alberobello makes Ostuni an excellent solution for a few days of exploring Valle d’Itria .

READ ALSO | The most beautiful cities in Italy

No time to go through? These are our quick suggestions for Ostuni!

Discover handpicked tours and accommodations tailored to enhance your journey. Act fast—secure your spot before they’re gone!

❤️‍🔥 Our favourite activities and tours in Ostuni

  • R ent a Car in Puglia
  • Walking tour of Ostuni Old Town
  • Winery Tour

🛎️ Book your accommodation in Ostuni

  • Stay in a Trullo House in Ostuni // 🎯 AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE
  • Entire appartment in the old town // 💲 BEST VALUE FOR MONEY

Ostuni wall - Details of the streets of the white city - Puglia, Italy

You can quickly go up and down the streets or take a classic ape car to get to the most secluded spots, like the  Porta San Demetrio , the access point in the Aragonese Age.

How to get to Ostuni

There are many ways to reach Ostuni, obviously by car is the quickest and easiest. If this is your case and you are coming from Bari , with the motorway E55 Brindisi-Lecce will take about 1 hour for 60 Km.

There is also the easiest way to reach Ostuni by car; this is from Brindisi. The main airport of Salento is just 30 km from Ostuni, taking the E55 toward Bari.

Check the easiest way to reach Ostuni from Bari and Brindisi. From Bari Centrale to Ostuni is costing about 8$ | 6£ | 6€, check the prices here! Instead, if you are travelling from Brindisi to Ostuni , the transport will cost you 4$ | 3£ | 3€ . Book your ticket here.

Puglia Airports, how to get to Puglia

We don’t like the easiest way if the meaning of the trip is to get completely into local life. Our Puglia Itinerary was in this mood, so we reached Ostuni by Public transport from Brindisi. From Brindisi to Ostuni by train will take about one hour, and you can take any REGULAR train toward Bari . The ticket will cost you less than 3 euros.

Arriving at the train station of Ostuni, you have to take a bus right in front of the exit in the direction of the old town. Bear in mind that the train station is located outside of the city, within 2 Km of it.

If you are going from Bari to Ostuni , there is also a train to the white city. From the main train station of Bari, you have to take any Regular train in the direction of Brindisi and Lecce . The ticket will cost about 4 euros.

Ostuni places to photograph

10 Incredible things to do in Ostuni, Puglia

Ostuni is a maze and is well known before arriving in town, but don’t be scared, it’s a beautiful intricate mix of hallways following each other.

We walked around Ostuni for a few hours while going from Brindisi to our final destination for the night, Martina Franca .  Since stepping into Ostuni, we understood how it was magical, the cosy streets and incredible staircases all adorned with flowers and objects in the middle way between the farm life and the sea style. 

The Old town of Ostuni , Città Vecchia in Italia, reflects the locals, open and enchanting. What surprised us the most was the countless arches that connected the building, creating some street-perfect geometric figures.

All the whitewashed houses look the same, and a visitor can lose the compass, ending up going round and round. If Ostuni is not like that, you will lose the conception of time but never a sense of direction. Get lost in Ostuni and try to feel the town and the history on your skin.

What to do in Ostuni - Sip a spritz like a local

Enjoy the cute old town of Ostuni

As said many times before, wandering around the old town is the best thing to do in Ostuni. The white town of Puglia has got one of the biggest “centro storico” in the valley. The concentration of architecture and treasure in such a small portion is incredible.

Starting from the main square with the Church dedicated to San Francesco D’Assisi, toward the Cathedral of Ostuni, this whitewashed city will surprise you at every corner.

READ ALSO | Things to eat in Puglia, Italy

Arch of Ostuni

Piazzetta Cattedrale is, for many, the oldest part of the town. This place hosts the beautiful Cathedral of Ostuni, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.  However, what will take your breath is the stone, simple but elegant facade made of a different style. 

The fascinating architecture takes elements of Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic styles, making a unique impact on every visitor.

The fascinating architecture takes Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic elements, making an extraordinary impact on every visitor.

Did you know that Ostuni is considered one of the   best places in Puglia to visit?  Well, now you know! To discover more places around this region, check our ultimate guide  here .

You can clearly understand how this place was essential for life in the city by the presence of the other two buildings in the same square. On the side, in front of the Cathedral, you can see the Bishop’s Palace and the Seminar’s Palace. Both buildings were and are still connected to each other by the beautiful Arco di Scoppa.

READ ALSO | Where to stay in Puglia, Italy

Ostuni White city | Reasons why Puglia is worth to visit

Ostuni can be called the city of the cutest doors. Those are for sure critical players in attracting tourists. However, the most popular door in Ostuni is the so-called  “gateway to Salento” . This particular steel door, painted with the colours of this beautiful land, is metaphorically the access to the seaside of the Region. At the back, there is just the valley flowing into the sea.

The photo above can give you an idea of why it is called in this way. However, this is not the only door worth checking in Ostuni . Many other adorned doors painted with vivid colours will attract your attention, like the staircases to the flats.

Ostuni, Italy, is buzzing with shops on the ground floor and houses on the first floor, with a staircase often placed on the outside, like a secondary house. Like in many other towns in the  Valley , also Ostuni is often running a contest between villagers for the most beautiful staircase or balcony.

READ ALSO | Top places to visit in Puglia, Italy

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Suppose you have been reading our post about  things to do in Alberobello . In that case, you might know how locals have turned the ancient and folkloristic “Trulli” into awesome Masseria and holiday places.

The imagination is vast, with locals turning ancient and crumbling buildings once used by farmers into  unique villas  with pools and gorgeous gardens. N ot only, but the Masseria is also a location where to find local products, organic food and honourable traditions.  In fact, in your  Puglia food tour itinerary ,  make sure you eat in a local Masseria.

There are many Masserie around the Ostuni area, most of them outside of the city centre, away from the chaos for an incredibly relaxing holiday.

Traditional Italian food in Puglia, Italy

As we say, spending a few nights in a Masseria can be pricey, but there is a way to enjoy this relaxing cheapest.

The Masseria are not just bed and breakfast or luxury hotels, but also fine restaurants or local trattoria. Some of them also have got a local shop with their organic products.  You can eat at a Masseria enjoying the tasty local food and the atmosphere.  Usually, the service at a Masseria is the top. If you are planning a visit to Puglia, even if it is not Ostuni, you should consider booking a table at a Masseria at once.

Make sure you book your seat in advance; the Masseria keeps the seats for their residents before the guests. Check out if they have a Frantoio; the Masseria is usually a place surrounded by olive groves; the Frantoio is the old way to produce olive oil. Check if they offer a tour; it could be a suggestive activity to add to your list of  things to do in Ostuni .

READ ALSO | Most beautiful cities to visit in Italy

Tour of Ostuni in Ape Car

However, we always love to walk around the city ; more than taking shortcuts, catching the  typical Ape Calessino  is an incredible experience to do in Ostuni. The old town is uphill, so it’s hard to reach the hot point of the white village; instead, for a small fee, you can go onboard the traditional vehicle.

If you don’t know the Ape, it’s the folkloristic vehicle used on farms to transport goods.  In Ostuni, the Ape has been renowned as a modern tourist attraction. The driver will take you around the white city, becoming your guide and giving you a bit of the history of this incredible place.

Although it’s a fun way to discover Ostuni, this tour is quite expensive, with quotes starting from  15€ per person  in high season , not open to trade and for just a  30 minutes tour .

The alternative and cheapest way to explore Ostuni is a walking tour;  check the 1.5h guided itinerary through the city.

View from the top of the Souvenir Shop Terrazza in Alberobello

Ostuni is an excellent base to discover all of  Puglia’s hidden gems .  Conveniently located between the famous trulli area and Salento, Ostuni offers the opportunity for easy day trips to some of the Region’s prettiest towns, such as  Alberobello   and  Martina Franca  in Valle d’Itria or the lost-in-time and super quaint Greek cities of Salento.

From Ostuni, you can’t only reach famous places like Alberobello and   Locorotondo , but it is also easy to discover hidden gems of Italy and less popular little cute towns. In this blog, you will find many places to visit in Puglia while we explore the Region wisely. First, check out our Tour in Puglia. Then, visit Cisternino, an authentic Italian Village in the heart of Valle d’Itria, where life moves slowly.

Check the incredible bargain all in one, hassle-free. If you want to go for a Tour around Itria Valley, you should check this day trip tour.

Read Also…

What to do in Locorotondo

It’s time that you know what Puglia is famous for , over gorgeous landscapes and dreaming seaside. The Puglia Region is a fantastic part of Italy, famous for producing fine olive oil and wine. If you are willing to visit Ostuni in October, you should consider an incredible adventure among the surrounding hills over the summer months . Discover the traditions of the locals; going deep inside their culture it’s a lifetime experience. There are many ways to participate in the local harvest season, giving help and taking back good memories from Italy . You will find yourself surrounded by nature, picking grapes and participating in memorable harvesting.

READ ALSO | Best day trips from Bari Italy

What to do in Ostuni - Sip a spritz like a local

If you are interested more in how locals live in a town, visiting Piazza della Libertà will give you an idea of the  vibes of this part of Italy . The vast open square is next to the Church of San Francesco d’Assisi and the Palazzo San Francesco, once in one as a Convent and today’s house of the Ostuni’s Town Hall. Many bars and restaurants insist on the square, which is the entry point to the old town.

Piazza della Libertà is the biggest square in town; Consider unwinding here, enjoying the sunshine and sipping a spritz like a local.

Just a staircase and a Terrazza divide the huge square from a fantastic spot. In front of the Column of Sant’Oronzo, there is a beautiful Terrazza with a view over the Cathedral and below a few bars and restaurants with outside spaces. This spot below Piazza Libertà, adjacent to Via Giosuè Pinto, is the buzzing social hub of the little white town.

If you are not ready to leave Puglia, check out all the best things to do on Polignano a Mare .

How to spend one day in Ostuni at glance

  • Walk around Ostuni old Town
  • Ostuni city walls
  • Visit Ostuni Cathedral
  • Enjoy a drink in Piazza della Libertà
  • Visit a museum in Ostuni
  • Explore the surrounding towns
  • View of the sea from the terrazzas
  • Enjoy a gelato
  • Get a photo with the doors of Ostuni
  • Ostuni Shopping
  • Get a tour in Ape Car
  • Stay overnight in Ostuni
  • Hit the beach near Ostuni

Read our full itinerary of Ostuni in one day

Best places to stay in Ostuni

Where to stay in Ostuni

BUDGET ACCOMMODATION

Masseria Piana degli Ulivi

La Piana degli Ulivi is an excellent choice for travellers visiting Ostuni. A family-friendly accommodation, cheap and full of amenities to let you enjoy your stay in Ostuni.

Guests of La Piana degli Ulivi are also welcome to enjoy a pool and free breakfast located on site

BOOK YOUR STAY NOW

Rooms at Miravalle Hotel in Val Gardena

Mid-Range Hotel

Relais sant’eligio.

A 4-star hotel in the earth of Ostuni, with a beautiful view over the città Vecchia , incredible at night. Enjoy the huge Terrazza, the restaurant and the lounge to work on the go.

21mq suite home

Terre di santa, best time to visit ostuni.

Winter |  If it’s your first time in Italy,  winter in Puglia  could be the best. Despite many cities in Italy being affected by the cold weather, the landscape becomes grey and foggy, and the southern part of the country shines even with the cold. Spending  winter in Naples  visiting Bari or Ostuni while chilling will be the best time to explore the city without dealing with crowds.

If you are willing to visit  Ostuni in winter , you might be interested in spending more time within the Region, taking it slow. You might be impressed by the numerous activities in the countryside, and take some time off from your regular life. Remember to consider visiting Ostuni at Christmas . It’s the most amazing time of the year!

Spring in Ostuni |  This is considered the best time to visit Ostuni. Spring is usually dry, and Puglia is the driest region in Italy. Not only weather-wise. For Springtime in Ostuni, we suggest you visit in late April or early May. Check our guide about the best places to visit in Italy in Spring .

Ostuni in Autumn |  If you plan to visit Ostuni in Autumn, the suggested month is October, especially the first part. Like Spring, in Autumn the town is less crowded, and you can enjoy better the cosy corners. Despite what you think, even Autumn in Ostuni is buzzing with locals out, drinking in the locals’ bars till late at night.

Also Read: Best Beaches in Puglia, Italy

Popular Festivals in Ostuni

Cavalcata di Sant’Oronzo – 24th and 27th of August | The festival of the town’s patron saint, takes place at the end of Summer. On the 26th of August, the highlight is a knightly, dressed parade on horseback

Sagra dei Vecchi Tempi – August 15th | This festival is a local tradition that attracts locals and visitors. The Sagra dei Vecchi allows visitors to sample some of the region’s most traditional foods.

Puglia itself is a Region that becomes more lively in summer, when the seaside and the farthest location in the southern part, the Salento, turn the idyllic locations into the Ibiza of Italy. Ostuni is the same; with the seaside, a few kilometres away is the ideal place to spend a few days surrounded by hills and olive trees. Ostuni is an incredible destination for your summer holidays in Italy .

Enjoy the corners of the White City, take part in the local traditions, and explore the beaches nearby.  However everything looks impressive, the other side of the medal is that you must deal with crowded places.  Despite June being an excellent month to visit Ostuni because it is not so hot,  July  and  August  are best to avoid. Even locals love to travel during this timeframe, and Ostuni became intolerably overcrowded.

Our tips are just suggestions to enjoy a better place. However, we visited Ostuni at the end of the summer.  In September, we found fewer visitors to the city, or we might be lucky.

If you want a gorgeous place to spend your summer , check out our ultimate guide to Monopoli!

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FAQ | Things to do in Ostuni

Is ostuni worth visiting.

Yes. Our firm answer is that the city is unique and beautiful. Nor just the white town itself but also the infinite landscape view that will take your breath. Discover the narrow streets, extraordinary staircases, cosy cafes, and traditional restaurants. u003cstrongu003eu003ca href=u0022https://italiantripabroad.it/Blog/ostuni-worth-visiting-italy/u0022 data-type=u0022postu0022 data-id=u002226485u0022u003eOstuni is worth visitingu003c/au003eu003c/strongu003e, an enchanting incredible little town to fall in love with.

Where in Italy is Ostuni?

Ostuni is in Puglia, in Province of Brindisi. The white town is not far away from the seaside, just 8 Km from the coast. Ostuni is around 80 Km from Bari, about 1 hour and 15 minutes away.

What is Ostuni famous for?

Ostuni is famous for its landscapes, and the whitewashed scenic houses. An impressive hilltop is a place sitting in the mind of many travellers. u003cstrongu003eThe 15th-century Gothic Cathedral is a place to get in your guide of Ostuni, which will give you an idea of the local architecture. u003c/strongu003eVisit Ostuni at sunrise, but especially at sunset for full glory.

Why is Ostuni white?

Ostuni is white for touristic purposes, but it’s not that excellent reason. Ostuni is just the biggest town turned white in the whole u003cemu003eValle d’Itriau003c/emu003e. You can find other cities completely whitewashed going around Puglia.u003cbru003eLike u003ca href=u0022https://italiantripabroad.it/Blog/what-to-do-in-locorotondo-italy/u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003eu003cstrongu003eLocorotondou003c/strongu003eu003c/au003e, u003cstrongu003eu003ca href=u0022https://italiantripabroad.it/Blog/martina-franca-puglia/u0022 data-type=u0022postu0022 data-id=u002225543u0022u003eMartina Francau003c/au003eu003c/strongu003e, u003cstrongu003eCisternino u003c/strongu003eand many others, Ostuni was painted white because of an epidemic. During the Plague that affected the region, the houses were painted white – lime – as a disinfectant.

Is Puglia Italy safe?

Yes. Puglia is safe. We have been travelling around the region for a week, taking public transport and carrying a heavy backpack with us. Nothing happened to us, not a single risky situation. Locals are so lovely and happy to help you out every time. It’s common to say that southern Italy is unsafe, but we recommend you explore this fantastic part of Europe again. Check u003ca href=u0022https://italiantripabroad.it/Blog/reasons-why-is-puglia-worth-visiting/u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003eu003cstrongu003ewhy you should visit Puglia.u003c/strongu003eu003c/au003e

10 Things to do in Ostuni - Italian Trip Abroad

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Meet the Authors: Toti and Ale

We're Toti and Ale, avid travellers, award-winning writers, and photographers  living life one stamp at a time. We have been in more than 35 countries, hand in hand, offering inspiring guides on Italian Trip Abroad and other award-winning travel blogs. We are London-based, but we travel the world as Digital Nomads with a purpose: to help you travel more and better in a sustainable way . You can find us here, offering tips for backpackers, itineraries or guides to cross Italy and get on the most insane adventures. Join us as we explore off-the-beaten-path destinations, savour the beauty of slow travel, and make a positive impact on the places we visit.

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Ostuni is one of Puglia’s most beautiful cities, a tumble of white-washed buildings perched strategically atop a hill.

Known as the White City, Ostuni has views of the endless olive trees in the Valle d’Itria countryside and the glimmering Adriatic Sea just 8 km away, home to some of the region’s best beach resorts.

Whenever we visit Puglia, we always include a stop in Ostuni to wander its maze of lanes, eat some delicious food, and explore the nearby countryside (ideally with a stay on an olive farm).

In this post, we share our picks for the best things to do in Ostuni (including day trips), as well as tips on where to stay and how to get there.

You’ll find a map with all these Ostuni attractions near the end of the post.

Where is Ostuni Italy?

Best things to do in ostuni italy, day trips from ostuni, where to stay in ostuni, how to get to ostuni, puglia, ostuni italy map, is ostuni worth visiting, more puglia posts.

Ostuni is located in the heart of Puglia, a region in southern Italy (the heel of the boot).

It’s in the province of Brindisi , and the port city of Brindisi is 42km away (a 30-minute drive). This is where the nearest airport is located.

Bari (north of Ostuni) and Lecce (south) are both about a one-hour drive away.

The trulli town of Alberobello is a 40-minute drive from Ostuni.

See our Ostuni map and details on how to get there below.

Back to Contents

1) Get Lost in Ostuni Old Town

The Old Town is an Ostuni must see and is where you’ll spend most of your time.

The medieval walled city was built without a plan, and it shows. The web of streets is confusing, a maze of alleyways, staircases, and arches.

Narrow street with archway in Ostuni old town, Puglia, Italy

Buildings were built on top of each other, and the archways support the houses they connect, making up for the lack of strong foundations.

You turn one way and find a dead end, another and get a glimpse of the sapphire sea.

Puglia has seen a stream of invaders—Greeks, Romans, Goths, Byzantines, Normans—and the labyrinth of Ostuni is the perfect way to confuse the enemy.

Archway in the historic centre of Ostuni, Italy

The best way to experience the White City these days is by diving down the narrow side streets, and like the invaders once did, getting lost.

The stark white buildings are dazzling in the southern sun and are brightened by vivid green and blue wooden doors, pots of red geraniums and cacti.

Flowers on stairs, Ostuni, Puglia, Italy

In the 17th century, a plague killed millions in the area and infected houses were painted white by mixing limestone dust with water.

Locals noticed that there was less illness around the white houses and attributed it to a miracle; most likely it was the antibacterial effect of the calcium carbonate.

Nowadays, the white houses attract tourists, and the local government encourages everyone to repaint every two years by paying for half the cost.

If you wish to delve further into Ostuni’s secrets and history why not try this Walking Tour of the White Streets With Local Guide which also includes some of our other recommendations below.

2) Shop for Souvenirs

The main street in Ostuni Old Town is Via Cattedrale , which winds its way from Piazza della Libertà at the bottom of the hill up to Ostuni Cathedral .

The street is lined with boutiques and souvenir shops selling local olive oil and wine, Salentino sandals and beach wear.

In summer, Via Cattedrale can be crowded with visitors. We prefer to explore in the quieter shoulder season, but even in high season, you can escape the throng by heading down an alleyway.

Down a side street, we came across this craftsman in his workshop, making kitchen spoons out of olive wood. He’s been crafting them by hand for 40 years and was proud to show them off.

3) Visit Ostuni Cathedral

At Ostuni’s highest point, you’ll find Ostuni’s Cathedral, Cattedrale Santa Maria Assunta .

It was built in the 15th century in the late Gothic style, rare in Puglia where most of the churches are austere Romanesque or ornate Baroque.

Its graceful lines lead to the sky. The magnificent rose window has Christ at the centre surrounded by 24 finely carved columns representing the hours of the day.

Gelateria Borgo Antico on the little piazza outside the Cathedral is a good place for a drink to enjoy the view. Our Aperol Spritz came with an array of aperitivo snacks.

Aperol Spritz and aperitivo snacks at Gelateria Borgo Antico with a view of Ostuni Cathedral in Puglia, Italy

4) Take an Ostuni Sightseeing Tour

While Ostuni’s historic centre is fairly compact (if hilly) and easily explored alone, if you want to learn more about the history of the city, you might want to explore with a guide, as we did on our first visit.

This 1.5 hour Ostuni Walking Tour is private for your group and includes a visit to the Cathedral.

If you have limited mobility, you can take an Ostuni tour in an Ape (open-sided tuk-tuk), which is the only way to get to the top of the hill without walking.

5) Enjoy the View from the Top of Ostuni

View of olive trees and sea from Borgo Antico Bistro in Ostuni, Italy

For the best view of the countryside surrounding Ostuni, head to the top of the Old Town.

From the Cathedral, pass through the Arco Scoppa , a pedestrian bridge that connects two buildings and was originally made from wood. It’s now an ornate stone arch.

Turn the corner, and you’ll find a panoramic view of the olive groves and Adriatic Sea.

Borgo Antico Bistrot up here is the perfect spot to enjoy a drink with a view. They also do amazing looking platters of local products.

As one of the best places for aperitivo in Ostuni, this bar is very popular and you can’t book.

In July at 7pm, there was a long queue to get in, so we had to skip it. It’s best to go early.

6) Snack in Piazza della Libertà

Outdoor cafes in Via Vito Tamborrino in Ostuni Italy

Piazza della Libertà is Ostuni’s largest square and a bustling hub on the edge of the Old Town.

You’ll likely start your climb up through the lanes of the historic centre from here.

The main sights are the baroque obelisk, Colonna di Sant’Oronzo , which honours the patron saint of Ostuni, and the Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi .

Piazza della Libertà is a good place for a drink or snack, and it can be cheaper than the places further up the hill.

Cafe Fanelli has a prime spot with outdoor seating. An Aperol Spritz with snacks costs €4.90.

We had a panzerotto (a fried savoury pastry, typically stuffed with mozzarella and tomato) from nearby Les Crepes Fantastique , which is good for an inexpensive snack.

For something more substantial but still affordable, La Pastasciutta is a small pasta shop on Via Vito Tamborrino , a cute piazza down some steps from the main piazza.

They have a daily changing menu of pasta dishes, which you can take away or enjoy at one of their outdoor tables.

7) Stroll with a Gelato

Gelato at Cremeria La Scala in Ostuni Italy

Of course, a visit to an Italian town wouldn’t be complete without a gelato to accompany your stroll.

Next to the pasta shop on Via Vito Tamborrino is Cremeria La Scala , where you can find excellent gelato. They do the classics as well as less obvious flavours in Italy like a delicious salted caramel.

Other recommended gelato spots, a bit further out from the centre, include Ciccio in Piazza , where you can also pick up delicious breakfast pastries, and La Dolce Vita Gelateria Artigianale , which offers a variety of vegan flavours.

8) Shop at Ostuni Market

If you visit Ostuni on a Saturday, you’re in luck as it’s market day.

Ostuni Market is very much a local place—most tourists don’t make it here on the edge of town—and it’s foodie heaven.

We browsed the stalls of bulbous round cucumbers, fresh almonds in brine, dried figs, piles of walnuts, aromatic bunches of oregano, twin balls of caciocavallo cheese dangling from string, trays of snails, entire octopus, and mounds of vibrant red chiles, sweet and spicy, round, bell-shaped and long.

One vendor encouraged us to try his homemade taralli , crunchy bread stick rings that are a typical local snack. He had them in all different flavours including fennel, chile, onion, pizza, and bacon.

We also tried lupini for the first time, a yellow bean pickled in brine that you eat by piercing the skin with your teeth and pushing the bean into your mouth.

Make sure not to touch the fresh produce. In Italy, you ask for what you need (or point if you don’t speak Italian).

We were amazed by the variety of fresh local produce on offer and at such low prices. We wished we were staying longer and had a kitchen to take advantage of the riches.

Ostuni market is called Mercato del Sabato (Saturday Market) and takes place on Saturday mornings (around 8am-1pm) on Via Nino Sansone , a five-minute drive or 15-minute walk from Piazza della Libertà.

9) Visit a Masseria in the Countryside

Courtyard at Masseria Il Frantoio, Ostuni, Puglia, Italy

Masseria are traditional farmhouses that offer guest accommodation and usually meals.

You can find many of them amongst the olive groves outside Ostuni.

I recommend staying in one if possible (easiest with a car). My favourite is Masseria Il Frantoio , a 500-year-old organic olive farm 10 minutes outside Ostuni. See below for details.

You can also visit some masseria (including Il Frantoio) for a meal featuring produce and olive oil made on the farm. They are some of the best meals we’ve had in Italy.

10) Sample Local Olive Oil From Ancient Trees

One of the ancient olive trees at Masseria Il Frantoio, Ostuni, Puglia, Italy

One of the things we loved about Masseria Il Frantoio was sampling their delicious olive oil (and buying some to take home).

Puglia is famous for its olive oil, and this is the real deal—nothing like the stuff you’ll find in supermarkets.

Wandering amongst the olive trees is also a pleasure as many of them are hundreds of years old, some thought to be 1000 years old!

If you aren’t staying in a masseria, you could take this Ostuni olive oil tasting tour , which involves a visit to a masseria outside Ostuni for an olive oil tasting and tour of the groves.

If you are feeling more energetic, this three-hour cycling tour focuses on the history of olive oil and includes a visit to an olive mill and masseria.

11) Relax on a Nearby Beach

Lido Morelli beach near Ostuni in Puglia Italy

The Adriatic Coast is only a 15-minute drive from Ostuni, so you can easily combine a morning wandering the town with an afternoon relaxing on the beach.

We’ve visited Lido Morelli beach near Ostuni a few times. We preferred it in May when most of the white sand backed by dunes was empty.

In July, the crowds were intense but floating in the warm turquoise water was lovely.

See our guide to the best beaches in Puglia for more details.

12) Admire Ostuni from the Viewpoint

View of the white city of Ostuni Puglia from Piazzetta Martiri delle Foibe Belvedere, Italy

When you are driving in or out of Ostuni, be sure to stop at Piazzetta Martiri delle Foibe on Corso Vittorio Emmanuele II .

From this Belvedere (viewpoint), you can admire Ostuni from a distance, its white houses and golden churches rising up from the olive groves with the sea beyond.

There are many things to do near Ostuni, so it makes a fabulous base for exploring the Valle d’Itria’s trulli (conical stone huts), olive groves, coastline, and many charming towns.

Within 40 minutes you can reach all the main attractions of the area. This is much easier by car than by public transport.

You could easily combine three or four of these towns on a full day trip from Ostuni, as they are all quite small.

See our post on the best places to visit in Puglia for more ideas as there are many lovely towns near Ostuni.

While it’s less than an hour south to the beautiful baroque city of Lecce , other Salento Peninsula attractions are an hour or so further, so I recommend staying for a few days if possible.

13) Cisternino

Cisternino is one of the most beautiful towns in Puglia, Italy

Cisternino is a 25-minute drive from Ostuni. It’s a lovely white hill town that’s quieter than Ostuni.

There aren’t many major sights, but the narrow lanes are a pleasure to wander, and there are views of the surrounding countryside from Villa Comunale .

Many restaurants set up tables on the streets. Cisternino is famous for its meat.

As vegetarians, we stuck to a lovely aperitivo platter at the fancy cocktail bar Kimera on a pretty piazza.

If you wish to explore this beautiful small town with a local, why not try this 2-hour Cisternino Authentic Italian Village Tour ?

14) Locorotondo

Similar to Cisternino, but I think even prettier, Locorotondo is a white-washed hill town 30 minutes from Ostuni.

The labyrinth of streets is a great place for a wander, and there are plenty of places to eat.

It’s become more popular since we first visited this quiet town over a decade ago, but it’s still much less busy than Ostuni.

Learn more about this charming town on this Locorotondo Private Tour of a Place to Fall in Love .

15) Alberobello

Alberobello trulli, Puglia

The third town I recommend visiting on your day out from Ostuni is Alberobello . It’s 40 minutes from Ostuni and closer to Cisternino and Locorotondo.

This is the most touristy town in Puglia, but it’s worth visiting to see the largest concentration of trulli houses.

Read my post on the trulli of Alberobello for more details.

Why not try this Alberobello History Walking Tour that has the bonus of being free for children under 18?

16) Polignano a Mare

40 minutes from Ostuni is Polignano a Mare , one of Puglia’s most famous coastal towns. It really is spectacular, perched on a cliff above the sea.

As well as the usual wandering and eating, you can swim in the pretty little cove with views of the town.

If you’re short on time why not combine the above day trip suggestions on a guided tour? If you’re staying in Lecce this Itria Valley Van Tour includes Polignano a Mare, Alberobello, Locorotondo and Ostuni. Or for something more active, this Ebike Tour of the Villages of Valle d’Itria also includes lunch at a Masseria.

Outdoor seating in the Courtyard at Masseria Il Frantoio, Ostuni, Puglia, Italy

In the Countryside Near Ostuni

Masseria il frantoio.

If you have a car, staying in a Puglia masseria (fortified farmhouse) in the countryside surrounding Ostuni is a wonderful option.

Our favourite is Masseria Il Frantoio on an olive farm just 10 minutes outside Ostuni.

The old stables and grain mill have been lovingly restored and converted to comfortable guest rooms.

The beautiful grounds and pool are perfect for relaxing, and the tasting menus using produce and oil from the farm are incredible.

Read more about it in our Masseria Il Frantoio review or check availability here .

Masseria Spetterata

On our last visit, we stayed at Masseria Spetterata . It’s not quite as convenient for Ostuni, a 20-minute drive away, but it’s still central for exploring the area.

Rooms are simple, but our superior double room had a large terrace with a couch and sea views—perfect for warm summer nights.

The pool is a highlight with even better views of the Adriatic Sea and surrounding olive groves.

There are no evening meals, but the breakfast buffet and pasta lunch were delicious.

The owner and staff are extremely friendly and will go out of their way to help.

Check availability for Masseria Spetterata here .

In The Centre of Ostuni

If you want to stay in Ostuni, consider Biancadamari , a stylish B&B with stunning views of the old town and sea.

It’s in the modern part of town, a 10-minute walk from Piazza della Libertà, with the bonus of free onsite parking.

If you want to stay in the maze of the historic centre, bear in mind that you will have a long uphill walk from the car parks (as it’s pedestrian-only).

There are quite a few small B&Bs and apartments to rent such as the beautifully renovated White Dream apartment .

Search for more places to stay in Ostuni here .

While you don’t need a car in the historic centre, Ostuni is best reached with your own vehicle so that you’ll have transport to visit the nearby beaches and hill towns.

You can rent cars at Brindisi Airport (30 minutes away) and Bari Airport (1 hour and 10 minutes away). We use Booking.com Car Rentals to find the best deals.

Ostuni Parking

Parking in Ostuni can be a challenge in the summer high season.

The historic centre is pedestrianised and on a steep hill, and the car parks are located at the bottom near Piazza della Libertà.

On our last visit, we parked at the large car park marked Parcheggio Ostuni “Al Giardino” on Google Maps, a few minutes walk from the main piazza.

On our visit, it cost €2.50 for two hours, and you pay at the machine with coins or a card (although I never rely on cards working on Italian parking machines).

Ostuni by Public Transport

Visiting Ostuni by public transport is possible with some patience. Avoid travelling on Sundays if possible as services are reduced.

It’s on the Trenitalia train line with direct connections to Bari, Polignano a Mare, Monopoli, Cisternino, Brindisi, and Lecce.

Unfortunately, Ostuni train station is a 3km (40 minute) walk from the historic centre of Ostuni.

Buses do run from the train station to Piazza della Libertà but not that frequently. You can check this Ostuni bus schedule . You can buy bus tickets from the bar in the station for €1.10.

La Città Bianca , the white city of Ostuni, is one of Puglia’s highlights and shouldn’t be missed on a trip to this beautiful region of Italy. 

While it is busier than other hill towns in the area, the maze of streets is undeniably charming, and the views of the countryside are beautiful.

Whether you visit Ostuni for half a day from elsewhere in the region or choose it as a base to explore the Valle d’Itria, it’s certainly worth visiting.

I hope this post has given you some ideas of what to do in Ostuni, but really the best activity is to wander aimlessly, stopping to enjoy delicious food along the way.

General Tips

  • 17 Towns Not to Miss in Puglia, Italy
  • Top 10 Reasons to Visit Puglia
  • 17 Best Beaches in Puglia
  • The Ultimate Travel Guide to Salento Puglia
  • The Best Things to Do in Lecce Italy
  • 8 Wonderful Things to Do in Vieste Italy
  • 17 Best Things to Do in Bari, Puglia
  • 16 Unmissable Things to Do in Matera Italy
  • 8 Beautiful Places to Visit in the Gargano
  • Castro, Italy Travel Guide: Puglia’s Underrated Seaside Town

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29 Comments

What a wonderful blog, congratulations so well written & informative. We are 2 older Australians visiting Puglia for the first time. Having traveled thru Italy extensively Puglia never quite made it. Have dreamt of going there for many years, thrilled to say we will be there October 2023 staying in Polignano for 5 nights and doing day trips. As my husband is almost 90 I felt it best to have a driver. Booked one for 3 days to show us around. Now Ostuni has been added to list thanks to this wonderful blog. Will post again after our trip, am very excited 😆

Reply ↓

Hello I will be traveling for photoshoot and wanted to see where I can find the location of the blue door image as well as the first archway image in Ostuni? Thank you

We will be taking a day trip to Ostuni from Polignano A Mare in June, 2022. How do we get from the train station in Ostuni to the center of town? We don’t want to walk and would prefer a bus over a cab. Do the busses stop at the train station? What line and where can I find the bus schedules? Thank you in advance. Bernie Clark

Yes, there are buses from the train station to the centre. Here’s a timetable https://www.stpbrindisi.it/index.php/ostuni/1067-corse-scolastiche-2 (they do change at different times of year). I think they generally coincide with arriving trains. I’d avoid Sundays when there are usually reduced services. Enjoy Ostuni!

Hi, can get cheap flights at the moment to Brindisi, but my partner and I don’t like to drive when on holiday. Could you let me know if we can get around easily without one or is it a must in this part of Italy

You definitely can if you focus on places on the train lines.

The Trenitalia line is fastest and there are stations at (from north to south) Trani, Bari, Polignano a Mare, Monopoli, Cisternino, Ostuni (a 30-minute walk from the town centre), Brindisi, and Lecce.

I’ve written a bit more about getting around by public transport in this post: https://www.neverendingvoyage.com/8-towns-not-to-miss-in-puglia/

Enjoy Puglia!

Just wanted to thanks for such a good post. Me and my family (3 of us) are traveling to Ostuni in June from Los Angeles. Originally I was thinking of getting an apartment in the Old Centre. Before I pull the trigger on one, I wanted to know how it is just outside of the Old center around Piazza Libertad (excuse my spelling). Is it old and charming there as well with restaurants and lots of alleyways? We will be driving in and road tripping each day, but wanted to be right in the middle of things when at an apartment.

Also, we will be taking a train from Rome and then either renting a car in Bari or Brindisi, than driving to Ostuni. Which city would you recommend taking the train into and renting a car from?

Looking forward to any and all advice you may have. Cheers, Dave

Piazza della Libertà is just steps from the winding alleyways of the old town that lead up the hill, so I think it’d be a good location. You’ll be able to get parked closer as well so it’d probably be easier for day trips.

Brindisi train station is closer to Ostuni (30 mins vs an hour) so ideally take the train there. You might want to compare car hire prices in both areas though.

Have a fantastic trip! Erin

Hi, I would love to track down that man in his workshop and get one of his wooden spoons! Any idea where I can find him?

I think it must be this place: https://timelessitalytravels.com/2015/06/30/i-met-a-craftsman-of-olive-wood-in-ostuni-puglia/

In that blog they say it’s on Via Cattedrale and is called “La Cucchiara Artigianali”. That’s the main street up through the old town and I’m not convinced that’s correct. I’m afraid I didn’t note the address but you could try asking the tourist office when you arrive in town. Good luck!

We are in the midst of planning a trip to Italy next mid-September, mid October. Most likely for 4 or 5 weeks. This will be our 6th trip to the country in the last 20 years. We have never stayed in Southern Italy. Rather centralizing ourselves in Florence or Milan and taking mostly trains and other public transport. We have driven however on our second trip which was only 3 weeks. So we are not opposed to it.

Your article was great and it has made us think we want to travel to Puglia along with Naples and the Amalfi Coast for our next trip. If we plan on say maybe 2 or 3 weeks in Puglia where would you recommend staying if we wanted to be in just one or two towns max. We would most likely want self catering places as this is what we are used to. Thank you. Pete Lambros

Hi Pete, I recommend dividing your time between Lecce (a great base for exploring the Salento) and somewhere in the countryside anywhere near Ostuni or Martina Franca. I don’t think it matters too much in that area as all the lovely small towns will be within a 30 minute drive. We really liked this self catering cottage near Ceglie Messapica: https://www.booking.com/hotel/it/b-b-trullo-dei-messapi.en-gb.html?aid=379621&label=pugliatowns – the location is ideal.

A car is recommended if you want to explore a lot.

Enjoy! Erin

Have just booked a trip in a few weeks to visit Ostuni & have enjoyed reading this report and looking at the wonderful pictures. Cannot wait to go explore!!

Wonderful! Have an amazing trip, Claire!

How did you get such photo view of the hilltop? I’ll be there in June and wonder how could we get such view. We’d drive coming from the South of the Old Town via SP14 and looking in gmaps most of the hilltop view is covered by the buildings on the lower ground aside from the partial view from the parking area near Chiesa del Carmine

I’m afraid I can’t really remember. I know it was taken after we’d visited the Saturday market (search for Mercato del sabato, Via Nino Sansone in google maps) so I think it must have been somewhere near here.

Just back from Ostuni. The photo was taken looking from south-east to north-west, possibly from the belvedere at 40.7297°N 17.5835°E (NB, decimal degrees) on corso Vittorio Emmanuele II. It wasn’t taken from via Nino Sansone, which is SSW of the hilltop. Unfortunately, I didn’t know about that viewpoint when we were there!

Breandán, I loved seeing your comment under a very Irish name. This blog is great to get ideas on what to do when there. We hope to visit at the end of May

I lived here about 3 years and the beautiful pictures almost do it justice. There are so many terrific things to do that never make it on an ordinary tourist agenda.

What a lovely place to live! We must go back for a longer visit.

Having lived years ago in Brindisi, your website it excellent and pictures superb . Will keep visiting this excellent site as I am helping friends to negotiate a trip to Italy. Thanks for a job well done! MLG

Thank you so much Muriel!

Beautifull article We will be visiting Ostuni in May

I visited Ostuni last week and was positively impressed by charm of the narrow streets. It’s a joy of a place to photograph in.

I recently came across an advertisement in the “Italy Magazine” website for a property near Ostuni selling for less than it would cost us for a two-bedroom unit in a retirement home in Sydney, and I looked up Ostuni on the Internet. What a marvellous town! If only we were a few decades younger and my Italian were much much better! (If wishes were horses all beggars would ride!)

We have visited Italy several times in recent years but we have never been in Puglia – this is something we must remedy very soon.

Ian and Alison Sydney, Australia

Hi Ian I am an Aussie from Melbourne and fell in love with Puglia and bought a cottage in Puglia Don’t let language and age hold you back Meg

It’s interesting how Italy is full of hidden treasures… I’m not familiar with the south of the country, although friends from Puglia and Calabria keep inviting me to visit them. After this post, I think I should take on those invitations and start planning my trip there!

It looks like Minas Tirith! What a steal some of that fruit and veg is; lovely.

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The Ultimate Guide to the Best 12 Things to Do in Ostuni Italy

Day trip from Lecce - Ostuni a city in the Valle D'Itria, Puglia, Italy

What’s in this article

Looking for insider tips on things to do in Ostuni, Puglia?

Want to know where to stay, where to eat, how to get there, or what to do?

Then this Ostuni travel guide should come in handy!

Ostuni is the most authentic and fascinating example of Mediterranean architecture, known for its whitewashed houses gathered on a hilltop in the Valle d’Itria (Itria Valley), also known as the Valley of the Trulli .

It’s one of the best destinations in Italy’s Puglia region and, because of its whitewashed buildings, is also known as “ Città bianca ” (white city).

What makes Ostuni unique is its town center, built on top of a hill, overlooking the valley’s olive groves and vineyards as well as the sea.

It’s a maze of narrow cobbled streets, arches, staircases, small courtyards, shops and restaurants.

On sunny days, its white houses blend in perfectly with the blue of the sky and the sea not far away, and its beautiful streets become truly dazzling!

Apart from its distinctive town centre, Ostuni has received numerous awards for the beauty of its sea.

The town has been awarded several times in the past few years by Legambiente, a national citizens’ organisation dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the environment, and it’s easy to see why when you visit it.

Ostuni has a long history.

The area around Ostuni has been inhabited since the Stone Age, with the Messapians establishing the first large settlement on the upper part of the hill around 1000 BC.

The Iapigi arrived in the area around the same time, and they both lived peacefully, mixing their traditions and rituals.

Following Hannibal’s destruction of the town, the Greeks rebuilt it and gave it the name “Ostuni.” It derives from the Greek word “Astu-neon,” which means “new town.”

It was most likely built on the ruins of the older city between the first and second centuries AD.

Then the city was taken by the Roman Empire and remained under Roman control until 448 AD. It was then occupied by the Ostrogoths immediately after the fall of the Roman Empire and by the Lombards in the 7th century.

In the 11th century, the city was taken over by the Normans, who built the fortified hilltop city.

Later on, Ostuni became a gathering place for artists and creatives, and as a result, it was a prosperous time for the town and had a more stable history than many other towns and cities in Puglia.

Even though the town flourished for much of its history, it was not immune to the plague’s devastation.

Infected houses were painted white by mixing limestone dust with water, and it was discovered that the lime had antibacterial properties, and those living nearby did not contract the plague.

Nowadays, they have become so popular with tourists that the local government requires that all the houses in the historic centre must be painted white, which is why the houses are so white .

Today, this ancient city stands proud atop its hilltop location with its whitewashed buildings and cobblestone streets, making it an easy place for photographers and travellers alike to fall in love with!

Best Things To Do In Ostuni

If you are planning a trip , here is a list of things to do in Ostuni.

Things to do in Ostuni - Meet the local in Piazza Della Libertà, Palazzo Municipale and the Church of San Francesco

Meet the locals at Piazza della Libertà

Piazza della Libertà is in the heart of Ostuni, where most of the main streets converge. It’s the town’s vital centre, the meeting point of the new and old town, and an excellent starting point for exploring the city.

It’s a beautiful square lined with imposing buildings. The centre of the piazza is dominated by the famous Obelisk of Sant’Oronzo (Colonna di Sant’Oronzo), a towering column, also known as “the Spire,” built in honour of the city’s patron saint. It’s 21 metres high and dates back to around 1771.

On one side of the square is the Palazzo di San Francesco , an ancient eighteenth-century Franciscan monastery that now houses the Town Hall , and next to it is the church of San Francesco.

The rest of the square is filled with beautiful cafes and bars where you can enjoy a drink. In the evenings, the square becomes the centre of Ostuni’s movida, with locals enjoying the warm Italian evening with a glass of wine and whatever entertainment is on that day.

Wander around the old town (Historical centre)

Things to do in Ostuni - Walk through the historic centre, beautiful alleyway with arches and flowers

A walk through the alleys of Ostuni’s historic centre is a must-do. They are full of charm and character, and offer a glimpse into the city’s past. 

Ostuni is divided into two sections: the more modern, lower part of the town; and the old town, which sits atop the hill.

The old town is surrounded by mediaeval walls that have been extended and modified over the centuries.

Originally, there were four gates to enter the city, but only two remain today: Porta Nova and Porta San Demetrio .

You can walk along the white walls in a semicircular path on the wide Viale Oronzo Quaranta to find these gates.

On clear days, you can admire the surrounding countryside with olive groves and the sea in the distance.

Porta Nova one of the two remaining gates that lead to Ostuni's historic centre, the Old Town

Within the walls, you’ll find the historical centre , known as the “old town”, which is a maze of cosy streets lined with whitewashed buildings; 

stairways and balconies all adorned with flowers; 

countless arches connecting the buildings and creating some street-perfect geometric figures; 

and alleyways that lead to breath-taking panoramic views.

The best way to explore the old town is on foot, and it’s easily walkable for anyone. 

There are several stairs, but they can be avoided because there are numerous other feasible routes leading to well-known places of interest.

So just wander and don’t worry about getting lost in the narrow streets; instead, enjoy the beauty that awaits you at every corner.

A private walking tour with a local guide is an alternative and better way to explore Ostuni like a local.

Tour Ostuni in a vintage ape calessino

Things to do in Ostuni- Explore the old town in an Ape Calessino

Although walking is the best way to explore the city center, catching a typical ape calessino is one of the most fascinating ways to experience the White City. 

The old town is uphill, making it hard to reach the hot spot of the white village; instead, you can take a traditional vehicle for a small fee. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the Ape, it’s a three-wheeled motor vehicle , originally produced in the 1940s to transport farmers and their goods.

Today, these little vehicles have been restored and are used as tourist vehicles. 

They’re a fun and unique way to see Ostuni. Thanks to the small size of these vehicles, the guide will lead you through the narrow alleys of the old town, reaching the city’s highest point with minimal effort.

He’ll also become your guide, sharing information and anecdotes that will enrich your experience.

Simply book your place on board on this dedicated page .

Visit Ostuni Cathedral

Piazzetta Cattedrale - The Cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of Mary in Ostuni

Be sure to stop by the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta , which is a must-see attraction in Ostuni and is located in a small square ( Piazzetta Cattedrale ) in the hearth of the oldest part of the town. 

It was built in 1435 on the highest point of the town using a fusion of Gothic and Venetian school styles. 

Its façade includes a finely decorated central rose window, which is also Europe’s second largest. 

Three elegant portals give access to the interior, which is divided into three naves and is enhanced by wonderful Baroque chapels and a painted ceiling.

Piazzetta Cattedrale Ostuni - Arco Scoppa connecting the Bishop's Palace and

On the left, in front of the Cathedral, you can see the Bishop’s Palace and the Seminary Palace . 

Both buildings are connected to each other by the beautiful Arco Scoppa , an ancient stone archway that was originally made of wood.

Enjoy the view from the blue door

Of all the things to do in Ostuni, one of the most unique is visiting the house with the blue door.

It’s located a few steps from the cathedral and is Ostuni’s most photographed door.

Its colours are reminiscent of the Adriatic Sea and contrast sharply with the white walls.

It’s a vantage point with a magnificent view because it’s located at the highest point. 

It has become a symbol of Ostuni, but it’s actually the entrance to a simple tourist lodging ! 

The view from the house with the Blue door in Ostuni with the stairs that lead to Borgo Antico Bistrot

I recommend going at sunset; not far from this door is the Borgo Antico Bistrot , where you can enjoy an aperitif with a view of the sea in the distance.

Take the winding pedestrian street to the right of the door to reach it. Not only can you enjoy a beautiful view, but you can also sample high-quality local products.

Pro Tip: This isn’t the only door in Ostuni worth checking. There are many other adorned doors painted in vibrant colours, as well as many staircases adorned with flowers, that will catch your attention.

Visit the Museum of Preclassic Civilisations of the Southern Murgia

Museum of Archeological

If you enjoy history, don’t miss the Museo Civico , also known as the “ Museo delle Civiltà Preclassiche della Murgia Meridionale ,” during your trip to Ostuni.

The museum is built within an antique convent, and here you’ll find grave goods from the Messapian period, as well as finds from the mediaeval, Renaissance, and modern periods. 

There are also ceramics and other objects from the Grotta di Sant’Angelo excavations.

All of the archaeological evidence discovered in the Grotto of Santa Maria di Agnano can be seen in the museum’s last three rooms: fresco fragments, weapons, terracotta, and casts of the two Palaeolithic burials.

The museum’s most valuable and significant work is the evocative reconstruction of the site where the skeleton of a pregnant woman from 26,000 years ago was discovered (Palaeolithic period). 

This is the so-called “ Woman of Ostuni ” or “ Delia “, and she is the oldest pregnant woman ever discovered in the world.

The remains were discovered in the Santa Maria di Agnano Archaeological and Natural Park (which can be visited and is only 2 km from the city centre).

You can find the most recent timetables and prices on the official website . 

Take in the view of the city from a distance

View of Ostuni from Piazzetta Martiri delle Foibe

To truly appreciate the beauty of the White City, I recommend heading to Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and taking a seat at Piazzetta Martiri delle Foibe . 

To get there, set your GPS navigation device to number 208. This is the best place to see the magnificent city in all its glory. 

Although Ostuni is beautiful at any time of day, it’s especially lovely at sunset. So make sure to arrive in time to witness a spectacular sunset over the city.

Relax at the Beach (Marina di Ostuni)

Things to do in Ostuni - Head to the beach of Torre Guaceto

Not only the White City, but also the crystal-clear sea. Less than 9 km from the city centre, Ostuni’s beaches are easily reached in a few minutes by car. 

Upon arrival, you’ll find nearly 20 km of equipped beaches with sandy dunes and breathtaking coves. 

Costa Merlata , with its inlets and rugged coastline, has some of the most beautiful coves.

Torre Pozzella , with its sheer cliffs and tower of the same name, along with Torre Guaceto , are the most well-known coastal areas. 

Other beaches worth visiting include Lido Morelli with its sandy dunes, Rosa Marina and Quarto di Monte for nightlife, Pilone beach , and Torre Santa Sabina.

Once you’re there, take off your shoes and feel the sand between your toes!

Shop at The Local Ostuni Market

Ostuni's Medieval walls with local market stalls overlooking the sea in the distance

Every Saturday, Ostuni hosts the traditional local market that sells only the freshest produce. It’s only open between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. and is held in the city’s new part, near Via Gabriele D’Annunzio .

It’s a great place to avoid the tourist crowds and experience real life in this city.

A section of the market is dedicated to selling clothing and local crafts, but the best section is the food area, which has stalls selling everything from fruits and vegetables to tasty cheeses and meat.

Experience the local harvest season in Ostuni

It’s time to discover what Puglia is famous for, beyond its stunning landscapes and enticing seaside resorts.

The Puglia Region is a beautiful part of Italy known for its excellent olive oil and wine.

Shop in Ostuni old town selling local product, extra virgin olive oil and wine

As you wander through Ostuni’s maze of small streets, you will come across many shops selling olive oil.

That’s because Puglia accounts for more than 50% of total Italian olive oil production, producing some of the finest extra virgin olive oil.  

Much of this production takes place in the area surrounding Ostuni, where the hills and flatlands have different soil types, allowing for variations in olive oil.

The area around Ostuni is also well known for producing excellent white and red wines .

The wines from this area are so unique that they were granted protected status in 1972, meaning that only those produced in a small district can be referred to as Ostuni wines.

The protected status is granted to two distinct wines produced in Ostuni: the Ostuni Bianco (white wine) and the Ostuni Ottavianello (red wine or rose-style wine).

Both must be produced under strict guidelines and with specific amounts of various grape varieties from the region.

If you want to learn more about olive oil and wine production in Ostuni, consider participating in the local harvest season, providing assistance and bringing back fond memories of Italy, or taking part in this tour , which covers history, production, and special Apulian taste.

Join in the local festivals 

Summer is a great time to attend local festivals. 

I love Puglian cuisine, and one of the best days to sample it is on August 14th and 15th (the Italian Ferragosto), when Ostuni hosts the Sagra dei Vecchi Tempi , where you can taste all of the region’s incredible offerings and traditional dishes.

For something even more traditional, attend the Cavalcata di Sant’Oronzo (the town’s patron saint) celebrations, which take place each year between the 25th and 27th of August. On the second day, don’t miss the scenic costumed horseback procession.

Explore the best of Puglia

Ostuni is an excellent base from which to explore the beautiful cities of the Valle d’Itria . 

It’s perfectly located between the famous trulli area and Salento , and allows for easy day trips to some of the region’s most beautiful towns, including Alberobello (the famous Truli town), Martina Franca (had the best bombette here), Locorotondo , and the spectacular Adriatic coastline .

From Ostuni, it’s also easy to discover hidden gems of Italy and less popular little cute towns in the Valle d’Itria, such as Cisternino .

Just rent a car and explore the Puglian countryside, the crystal blue sea, and the charming villages that surround it.

Practical Tips To Plan Your Trip To Ostuni

Where is ostuni in italy.

Ostuni is located in Puglia, a region in southern Italy (the heel of the boot).

It’s located in the province of Brindisi , which is 43 kilometres (26 miles) away, about a 35-minute drive.

Both Bari (north of Ostuni) and Lecce (south) are about an hour’s drive away.

The closest airports to Ostuni are Brindisi Airport, about 35 kilometres (21 miles) south of the city, and Bari Airport, about 110 kilometres (68 miles) north. 

How to get to Ostuni

There are many ways to get to Ostuni, but by car is the quickest and easiest, so you can visit the nearby beaches and hill towns on your own time.

However, parking can be difficult. The historic centre is located on a steep hill, with parking at the bottom. 

It’s best to stay just outside the centre if you want to be able to park right outside your accommodation.

Drive to Ostuni

If you’ve rented a car for your trip to Puglia, the quickest way to get to Ostuni by car is to drive from Brindisi. 

The main airport of Salento is only 30 kilometres (18 miles) from Ostuni if you take the E55 highway toward Bari, then take the first exit toward Ostuni and follow the signs.

If you are coming from Bari, the highway E55 Brindisi-Lecce will take approximately 1 hour for 60 kilometres (37 miles).

If you’re driving to Ostuni, be aware that driving in the wrong part of a “centro storico” can result in a hefty fine. 

Most Italian towns have a ZTL (Limited Traffic Area) that you will be unable to drive through. And Ostuni has a relatively large ZTL (limited traffic zones) into which only residents are permitted to drive.

Take the pubblic transport to Ostuni

The train is another option for getting to Ostuni. It’s served by the Trenitalia trainline , which provides direct connections to Bari, Brindisi, and Lecce.

If you are travelling from Bari to Ostuni, take any regular train from Bari’s main train station in the direction of Brindisi or Lecce. It takes around 50 minutes and costs as little as €6,10.

If you’re arriving from Brindisi to Ostuni, take any regular train towards Bari. It takes 20 minutes and costs €3,10.

However, Ostuni’s train station is a 30-minute walk from the historic centre, about 2 kilometres (1,2 miles), but you can take a local bus into the city centre.

Where to stay in Ostuni

If you don’t plan to rent a car in Puglia, I recommend staying in a hotel or apartment in Ostuni’s old town. This way, you’ll be closer to the action when going out at night. 

The following lodgings are highly recommended and are within walking distance of the city centre:

Both Biancadamare and Dimore del Tempo Perso are two stylish B&Bs with beautiful views of the old town and the sea.

Relais La Sommità – If you want luxury in a prime location, this is one of the best places to stay in town. It even has a Michelin-starred restaurant!

Palazzo Stunis Charme (mid-range)— While most visitors to Ostuni prefer an apartment-style stay, this stunning historic home converted into a guest house, with beautiful tiled floors and tasteful interior decorations, is a great option for those who prefer the hotel experience.

Stay at a masseria in the countryside

If you have a car the best option is to stay in a masseria (fortified farmhouse) in the surrounding countryside. 

The best thing about Masserie is that they also have the finest restaurants. 

Some of them also have a local shop where they sell their organic products. You can also dine at a masseria to enjoy the delicious local cuisine. 

If you are planning a trip to Puglia, you should consider booking a table at a masseria at least once, even if you are not staying in a masseria.

Here are some of my favourite Masserie in Ostuni:

Masseria il Frantoio – This is a 500-year-old organic olive farm located 10 minutes outside of Ostuni, deep in the countryside and just a few kilometres from the sea.

Its 16 comfortable guest rooms were obtained through the renovation of the house’s main buildings “without demolishing ancient walls.” The beautiful grounds and pool are ideal for relaxing, as are the tasting menus that feature farm-fresh produce and oil.

Feudi Mandolivo – If you want to experience sleeping in a trullo (who said that you have to go to Alberobello? ), this is the place for you. 

It provides exclusive hospitality in two finely furnished “Dream Suites” within an enchanting Trulli group, providing a romantic and unforgettable stay in pursuit of nature and well-being.

What to eat in Ostuni

What do I enjoy most about Puglia? 

The cuisine! 

The products used in the local cuisine come from the nearby sea and the surrounding countryside. 

Typical Ostuni dishes not to be missed include:

 Orecchiette con le cime di rapa (Orecchiette with turnip tops)

They’re typically the size of a thumb, but because they are handcrafted, their size and shape may vary. 

A panzerotto is a small version of a calzone, which is a folded pizza. It is also made with a softer dough and is fried rather than baked. Tomato and mozzarella are the most popular fillings. 

Purè di Fave con cicoria ( Mashed broad beans with cicory)

This traditional dish can only be made with dried broad beans. This means they must be cooked long enough to be easily mashed with a spoon to make a puree. The chicory used in this dish is usually the wild variety.

Chickpeas and Cavatelli pasta

Cavatelli are small shells of pasta made by cutting long strings of dough into small pieces and creating grooves with the tip of the finger. The pasta is simple to make and, when combined with the chickpeas, makes a delicious and nutritious dish. 

Focaccia with onions

Onions are stuffed between two layers of dough in this focaccia recipe, the end result is a pie with a unique flavour that you should try.

Friselle with tomatoes

Friselle are small bread loaves made with whole wheat flour. They are prepared by cutting them in half halfway through baking. They are usually served with tomatoes on top.

Where to eat in Ostuni

Traditional Italian cafè where to eat something on the go or have an aperitivo in Ostuni

There are numerous restaurants and trattorias in Ostuni where you can enjoy traditional dishes, they are frequently found in unusual locations such as ancient ovens, oil mills, and caves.

Unlike in other bigger cities, the food here is good everywhere, but if you want to taste traditional local delicacies, I recommend  Posto Affianco   and  Trattoria Fave e Fogghje .

Evò Sapori di Vite is the place to go for wine, drinks, and appetisers.

The white city of Ostuni, La Città Bianca, is one of Puglia’s highlights and shouldn’t be missed on a trip to this beautiful region of Italy. 

I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic time here, and if I’ve missed any of your favourite things to do in Ostuni, please let me know in the comments! 

Ciao and safe travels!

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I'm a freelance travel writer and SEO copywriter, and I absolutely love what I do. Writing has always been a passion of mine, and traveling is the ultimate source of inspiration for me. In fact, I became particularly drawn to planning travel experiences in Italy back in 2015, and I've been hooked ever since!

I'm what you might call a "slow traveler" - someone who likes to take their time exploring new places and soaking up different cultures. And when I started writing about my travels a few years ago, I was blown away by the incredible opportunity it gave me to share my experiences with others and learn from them in turn. It's truly an amazing thing!

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Your Guide to What to do in Ostuni, Italy

Ostuni - the White City - as seen from below

If you’re headed to Puglia and wondering what to do in Ostuni then you’ve come to the right place. Ostuni – The White City – is sometimes forgotten on southern Italy itineraries. But this travel guide to Ostuni will have you convinced that the city needs to be on your itinerary!

While one of the larger towns in Puglia, Ostuni is still small and easy to discover and experience in one day. The countryside outside Ostuni provides ample opportunity for getting in touch with Puglian culture, and there are some lovely beaches just a stone’s throw away. 

When we visited Ostuni we had the benefit of being hosted by a local. Now, you probably won’t have my friend Giorgio to show you around, but you can rest assured that the information provided in this article has been vetted by a true Ostuni native. So you know you are getting the best info here! 

So read on to discover Ostuni and this incredible region of southern Italy. I assure you that you’re going to love it!

Ostuni – What You Need to Know

Walk around the historic old town, get a panoramic view of ostuni from below, experience la vita lenta, take a tuk tuk tour  , hit the beach , explore the puglian countryside , stay at a masseria, taste some local olive oil, learn how to cook the puglian way, take a day trip to alberobello, ostuni – frequently asked questions, ostuni – final word .

Note: this article contains affiliate links, which means that should you purchase something or get a quote through them I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps keep the site running with up to date information. I do not represent World Nomads, Booking.com, GetYourGuide, Viator, or Rentalcars.com. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy the product mentioned in this article.

Where is Ostuni? 

Ostuni is in southern Italy in the province of Puglia (the heel of Italy). It’s a few miles off the coast of the Adriatic Sea. The nearest city of considerable size is Bari and the nearest major city is Naples, a good 4-hour drive away.

How to get to Ostuni

The easiest way to get to Ostuni is to have your own vehicle. Rental cars are affordable in Italy, and you want to see Ostuni as part of a longer road trip across Puglia . Ostuni is pretty small and usually not the kind of place you spend an entire vacation in. 

The Old Town of Ostuni is car-free, but there are plenty of neighborhoods around the Old Town with free street parking. If you’re spending the night in Ostuni, be sure to book an accommodation with parking, and your host will assist you further with getting to your parking spot. 

The nearest airports to Ostuni are Brindisi and Bari, neither of which operate any intercontinental flights. We flew direct to Rome and drove about 5 hours to Puglia from there. It was much cheaper and even ended up saving time, as we didn’t have to deal with a layover. Plus it also gave us a chance to stop at Castelmezzano and Casertavecchia on the way!

You can also take the train to Ostuni. It’s a regional train but it will connect you to Bari, which will get you on the main Italian train network. Getting around Puglia by train takes a lot of effort and I can’t say that I recommend it. I highly recommend a rental car when visiting Puglia!

For renting cars in Europe we use Rentalcars.com . You can find a great deal on a rental car from Rome or elsewhere in Italy using the search bar below. And if you’ve never driven in Europe before, be sure to review my guide to driving in Europe first .

How long to spend in Ostuni

Ostuni can easily be enjoyed in one day. Two days will give you more time to explore a little of the countryside or go to the beach, but strictly talking about Ostuni city, one day is more than enough. 

Weather and when to visit Ostuni

Ostuni is not exactly an international tourist hotspot. Even in southern Italy it’s usually passed up for more popular places like Alberobello , Polignano a Mare, and Matera . So it’s really never that crowded, meaning your main worry about visiting in summer is the heat. 

Summer highs are around 85 degrees (29 C) and the air is quite dry, making nights comfortably cooler. Heat waves are becoming more common, though, and brutal heat does engulf Puglia a few times per year these days. 

The average January high is 49 degrees (9 C) with overnight lows above freezing, making winter visits possible as well. It doesn’t rain a whole lot in Puglia so if you’re visiting in summer you can reasonably expect sunny skies. Even in winter your chances of a clear blue sky day are pretty high. 

The only issue with summer crowds is that most Italians take their summer holidays in August. So the month of August can be busy, but it’s not gonna be like shoulder to shoulder crowds or anything like that. 

So all that being said, the best months to visit Ostuni are May, June, July, and September. 

A quiet street in Old Town Ostuni in Puglia

Where to stay in Ostuni

Ostuni doesn’t have major hotel brand names. The hotels and guesthouses are locally run and independently operated. There are a lot of apartments for rent in the city as well. Just remember that if you stay in the Old Town, there are no cars inside so you will have to carry your bags around. And the Old Town is very hilly with lots of stairs. 

For those with a rental car, it’s advised to stay outside the Old Town where you can have parking, and just walk into the Old Town. It’s also possible to stay outside the city in the countryside. There are dozens of masserias (farmstays) in the countryside and a number of beautiful resorts as well.

Whether or not to stay in the city is your choice to make. There are tons of trulli accommodations outside the city on large plots of land as well. These offer things like pools, gardens, and endless olive tree groves. 

Trulli – plural of trullo – is a traditional stone house with a conical stone roof, found only in the Puglia region of Italy. Most small independent guesthouses outside Ostuni will be in trulli. Trulli are found in abundance in the beautiful town of Alberobello, but are common in the countryside near Ostuni too. 

Budget: Bombonera

Mid-Range: Caterina’s Suites & Apartament

High-End: Masseria San Paolo Grande (just outside the city)

Where to eat in Ostuni

Ostuni might be small, but it packs a big punch when it comes to amazing restaurants. While I’ve never been to any of these restaurants, they come directly from my friend Giorgio, an Ostuni native who is also an Italian cuisine connoisseur. I usually consult Giorgio for restaurant recommendations all over Italy. 

Giorgio’s top 5 restaurants in Ostuni:

  • Taverna della Gelosia
  • Osteria Del Tempo Perso
  • La Risacca Ostuni
  • Borgo Antico Bistrot 

Note that it’s a good idea to make a booking at all these restaurants, as is common in Italy. 

Money and Language

Most places in Ostuni accept credit cards, but it’s a good idea to carry some euros just in case. Some guesthouses only accept cash on site, even in this day and age. 

In terms of language, you should expect most of the locals to only speak Italian. This is a very local part of Italy without nearly as many international visitors as most other provinces in Italy, where English is not super prevalent anyways. Having Google translate on your phone will go a long way when traveling around Puglia.

Travel insurance

When visiting Italy, it’s advised to have a good travel insurance program. We use World Nomads when we travel internationally. World Nomads provides coverage to travelers in over 100 countries. You can find a great policy on World Nomads by using the link below. 

culture trip ostuni

What to do in Ostuni

Ostuni is a small city, but it offers plenty of things to keep you entertained for a day or two while visiting the city. By focusing on these things discussed below you are bound to have an amazing time in the White City. So now let’s get into what to do in Ostuni!

the city wall around Ostuni in Italy

Ostuni’s Old Town is as charming as any old European city you can lay eyes upon. It’s a bit bigger than the other old towns of Puglian cities like Locorotondo and Polignano a Mare, but it’s still quite small and easy to walk around and explore in just an hour or two. There are a lot of very steep streets, some so steep they had to be constructed with stairs, so don’t think it’s just a walk in the park. 

While exploring the Old Town, be sure to check out the quiet alleyways, wonderfully decorated with the perfect combination of bright colors to contrast the white buildings and the blue sky, which make for amazing Instagram photos . Stop for lunch or a snack at one of the many restaurants and check out one of the local shops for some hand made goods. A walk around Old Town Ostuni never disappoints! 

What to do in Ostuni- get a view from below of the White City

Puglia is known as “The White City” because all the buildings in the old town are painted white. This is evident from walking around the Old Town, but perhaps most striking from a panoramic view of the city, where you can see the white walls of the city in all their glory. Ostuni sits on a hill and the view from below is quite spectacular. 

There are a few places to get an amazing view, but the best is from the side of Via Lecce near the intersection of Via Giosue Pinto. There is no official viewpoint, but you can pull over on a side street and walk down the side of the road until you get a good view. Use this Google Maps link for the exact location. 

There are also wild fig trees all over the place near this viewpoint. If you’ve never had a fresh fig before it will blow your mind. Figs mainly come in the dried form at supermarkets, but here in Puglia, the fresh figs are to die for. Just pick it off the tree and enjoy!  

La Vita Lenta translated into English means “the slow life”. This is the mantra of life in Ostuni and elsewhere in Puglia. People are relaxed. There is no rush. It’s a remarkably different atmosphere from big cities like New York or London. Things will get done when they get done. 

Immerse yourself in La Vita Lenta by stopping for a moment and just grabbing an espresso at a cafe in Ostuni. Look around. What do you see? Some older gentlemen sitting and reading the paper while they sip their coffee. Kids playing in the grass while their parents chit chat about the latest olive harvest. 

Now, perhaps the main reason they can afford to live so slowly here is that there are no major international businesses. No investment bankers. No important politicians. The Puglian economy is centered around farming, fishing, and tourism. 

So take the time to take a pause and experience the slow life while you’re in Ostuni. You won’t regret it, and you will miss it when you go back to your busy life wherever that may be. 

A tuk tuk in Ostuni, Italy

Yeah that’s right, you heard me correctly. A Tuk Tuk tour. Like you were in Thailand or India . Ostuni has a small industry of Tuk Tuk city tours. These brightly painted blue or white Tuk Tuks will drive you around the city while providing you with valuable information about Ostuni. 

The reason the tours are in Tuk Tuks and not normal cars or buses, as one would expect for city tours, is thanks to the narrow car-free streets of Old Town Ostuni. While the streets might be car-free, the Tuk Tuk tours are permitted. So the small Tuktuks can navigate the narrow streets (except the streets that are just stairs, which they clearly have to avoid).  

You can book a Tuk Tuk tour on the spot if you wish, or for more assurance you can book ahead with Viator . They only take a little less than an hour so it’s a great way to get off your feet for a bit and still get to see the city!

Book your Ostuni Tuk Tuk tour here ! 

While Ostuni is not a coastal city – like Polignano a Mare or Monopoli – it does lie only about 6 km from the Adriatic Sea. From atop the hill in Old Town you can see the sprawling coastline, just a few minutes drive away. So if you have a rental car (which again, I highly recommend), a short trip to the beach is very doable. 

The best beaches in the Ostuni region are Spiaggia di Pilone , Paragrafo 25 , Spiaggia di Torre Guaceto , and Quarto di Monte . These are all beautiful with clear water. Just keep in mind that these beaches are not long stretches of white sand or anything like that. 

The Adriatic coast is pretty rocky and the sandy parts of these beaches are quite small. If you don’t mind a bit of a drive, the best beaches in Puglia are on the other side of the “heel” on the Ionian Sea coastline. 

If lounging out in the sun isn’t your thing, lunch or dinner at the beach is still a great idea. There are numerous “beach clubs” like Lido Bosco Verde , Lulla Bay , and Lido Stella Beach , just to name a few, and each of these have restaurants where you can eat fresh local food just a few steps from the beach. 

My friend’s go-to beach club is Lido Bosco Verde, and that’s where he took us when we were visiting. We had a nice sandwich overlooking the midday sunbathers. A very cool experience! 

By “explore the Pulgian countryside” I mean this literally. Get out of the city and just drive around. Pass the olive groves and the trullo accommodations. Stop to pick fresh figs from the trees, or try some local olive oil. 

a large house in Puglia from the outside

Most of the roads outside of Ostuni are single-lane with small passing areas. Stone walls line the roads, separating neighboring properties. It’s unlike any other drive you’ll do in Italy. You’ll surely love a drive through the countryside outside of Ostuni! 

One of the best ways to experience Puglia is to stay or at least eat at a Masseria. A masseria can be thought of as a farmhouse. The typical masseria outside of Ostuni has a few guesthouses or hotel rooms, a restaurant, and, of course, a farm. They have their own olive groves and make their own olive oil. They grow all their own vegetables and use them in their restaurant. They may even have their own vineyard and their own cows to make dairy products. 

Masseria’s bring an entirely new meaning to the word “fresh.” It’s the exemplification of farm to table. No fresher food can be found!

While there are many masserias around Ostuni, Masseria San Paolo Grande is run by a friend’s family and is my sincere recommendation for where to go to experience a masseria. It’s not exactly cheap, as room’s go for usually over 400 euros per night and the restaurant is on the pricey end too. But the property is gorgeous, the food is incredible, and the hospitality can’t be beat.  

A fmaily dinner at Masseria Paolo Grande in Puglia

There are cheaper options, like Masseria Donna Nina and Masseria Le Carrube . These start at about 150 euros per night and go up from there. So basically, you’re not going to find a budget masseria farmstay. But if it’s in your budget, you’ll surely love the experience.  

If you do decide to stay at a masseria, you want to make sure to spend significant time at the property on top of the time you spend exploring Ostuni and the surrounding Puglian countryside. If you’re only going to spend one night in Ostuni, I don’t recommend a masseria. You want to get your money’s worth! 

The land around Ostuni is prime terrain for olive trees. In fact, you’ll quite literally see millions of olive trees driving around Puglia. About 40% of Italy’s olive oil production comes from Puglia. Just stop and think about that for a minute and you’ll get an idea of just how many olive groves you will see in Puglia. 

So why not visit an olive farm while in Ostuni and take home some fresh Italian olive oil? It sure beats the stuff you’ll get at your local supermarket! 

Just about every Masseria in Puglia makes their own olive oil. Not all of them are open to visitors, but many will be happy to show you their local olive oil production process even if you’re not staying there. 

It’s also possible to book an olive oil tasting experience at Masseria Capece ahead of time with GetYourGuide . This tour will pick you up at your accommodation in Ostuni and take you out to the Masseria in the countryside, where you’ll try fresh olive oil and learn about olive oil production in Puglia. 

Book your olive oil tasting experience here !

Cooking classes are popping up all over Italy these days, and Ostuni is no exception. Puglian cuisine is heavy in seafood and meats and cheeses. It’s Italy after all, so you still have pasta, and Orecchiette is the local variety. It’s sort of shaped like an ear. You’ll see it on just about every menu in Ostuni. But you’d be wise not to miss the fresh seafood and farm raised meats. 

There are a few cooking experiences in Ostuni, the best of which are found in the home of locals who offer cooking classes. One of these experiences is the home cooking class with Marco that you can book here with GetYourGuide . It’s not exactly in Ostuni and you’ll have to drive out of town to get there, but it will be worth it. 

Ostuni is pretty centrally located when it comes to Puglia. From Ostuni, you can get to Alberobello, Bari, Polignano a Mare, Locorotondo, Brindisi, Otranto, and tons of other amazing places in Puglia in less than a 90 minute drive. If you’re looking for one good day trip though, that has to be the historical city of Alberobello. 

Alberobello is one of the most unique cities in Italy. Famous for its white stone houses with conical stone roofs, known as trulli, central Alberobello is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was established to protect the beautiful buildings that exist nowhere else in the world (you will only find trulli in the Puglia region of Italy). 

historic trulli homes in Alberobello, Italy

The old town of Alberobello is colorfully decorated and full of little shops, cafes, and restaurants. It’s the perfect place to get lost as you wander the beautiful car-free streets. Be sure to dedicate at least a few hours to exploring Alberobello by foot.  

For more information on Alberobello and a full discussion about all the things there is to do there be sure to read my full guide to Alberbello . 

Is Ostuni a good base for Puglia?

Ostuni is a great base for exploring Puglia. It’s centrally located in the region and large enough to have tons of restaurant and hotel options. If staying in one place and not moving between hotels is your goal, Ostuni is a great option. 

Is Ostuni safe at night?

Ostuni, like elsewhere in Puglia, is a very safe city and safe for solo travelers at night, woman or man. Petty crime does occur, of course, so take the standard precautions and always pay attention to your surroundings. 

Can you drink the water in Ostuni?

You can drink tap water in Italy. Ostuni is no exception. 

How many days do you need in Ostuni?

To see Ostuni city, you really only need one day. It’s small and compact and easy to walk around in a few hours. To get in touch with the countryside outside of Ostuni, however, you will need at least a few days. 

Is Ostuni walkable?

Ostuni is a very walkable city. In fact, Old Town Ostuni is car-free, so you’ll be walking whether you like it or not. The old town is pretty small, so there is now a whole lot of ground to cover, but it is quite hilly, so keep that in mind. Even outside the old town the city is compact and very walkable. 

So now you should have a pretty good idea of what to do in Ostuni when you visit. We’ve gone through the things to do in the city as well as outside the city in the beautiful countryside. I had an amazing time in Ostuni and Puglia and I’m sure you will too!

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Chris Heckmann

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Italy, Lecce, Puglia, Ostuni, Medieval white fortified hill town walls

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Chic Ostuni shines like a pearly white tiara, extending across three hills with the magnificent gem of a cathedral as its sparkling centrepiece. It's the end of the trulli region and the beginning of the hot, dry Salento. With some excellent restaurants, stylish bars and swish yet intimate places to stay, it's packed in summer.

Attractions

Must-see attractions.

Museo di Civiltà Preclassiche della Murgia

Museo di Civiltà Preclassiche della Murgia

Located in the Convento delle Monacelle, the museum's most famous exhibit is Delia, a 25,000-year-old expectant mother. Pregnant at the time of her death,…

Parco Archeologico e Naturale di Arignano

Parco Archeologico e Naturale di Arignano

Many of the finds at Ostuni's Museo di Civiltà Preclassiche della Murgia come from this cave and Palaeolithic burial ground, which doesn't offer much in…

Cathedral

Dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Ostuni's dramatic 15th-century cathedral has an unusual Gothic-Romanesque-Byzantine facade with a frilly…

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  • 14 Reasons Why You Need...

Reasons Why You Need to Add Puglia to Your Italy Travel Itinerary

Puglia is home to a number of alluring hill towns

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Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot, is a coastal region defined by medieval hilltop towns, endless olive groves and dry, hot summers. Surrounded by the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, Puglia is often missed by travellers – but here are just some of the reasons why you need to add the region to your Italian itinerary.

Keen to explore the region of Puglia? Book yourself onto our specially curated 10-day trip to southern Italy and enjoy guided visits to Naples, the Amalfi Coast and other highlights on this list.

1. Observe the cliff divers in Polignano a Mare

Architectural Landmark

People swimming and relaxing at the beach in Polignano a Mare, Puglia, with rocky cliffs and city buildings on either side

This ancient coastal village, 40km (25mi) southeast of Bari, is the ideal laid-back day trip. The white-washed centro storico is poised on a craggy cliff edge and overlooks the hidden pebbled cove of Lama Monachile. The best views of the sea can be found on Belvedere Terrazza Santo Stefano, or, if you’re not on a budget, from the terrace of hotel-restaurant Grotta Palazzese, tucked inside a magnificent cave. The Pearl of the Adriatic is also home to the Cliff Diving World Series.

2. Discover Lecce, the Florence of the South

The principal city of the Salento Peninsula, 2000-year-old Lecce is known for its lavish, 17th-century baroque landmarks. Don’t miss the ancient Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Sant’Oronzo, or the grandiose facade of the Basilica di Santa Croce, ornamented with detailed limestone cherubs, mythical animals and floral motifs. Be sure to try a local caffe leccese – iced coffee served with almond syrup – while people-watching in the scenic Piazza del Duomo.

3. Experience the vibrant nightlife of Gallipoli

Natural Feature

A nighttime view of Gallipolis Castello Angioino, Puglia, Italy

The old town of Gallipoli, fortified by 14th-century walls, juts out into the Ionian Sea on a small island. Populated with narrow alleys, a historic fishing port and baroque churches, most notably the 17th-century Cattedrale di Sant’Agata, the old town is full of bars and restaurants which spill out into the streets. The mainland portion of Gallipoli is more modern, known for its vibrant, LGBTQ-friendly nightlife and boutique shops.

4. Stay overnight in a trullo, in a unique Unesco World Heritage site

Alberobello is home to the zona dei trulli , a dense hilltop sprawl of 1500 whitewashed stone houses with distinctive cone-shaped roofs. Originally home to agricultural labourers, trulli represent the most distinctive architectural symbol of Puglia. Their quaint, single-storey charm invites an overnight stay, which is possible in the surrounding countryside of the Valle d’Itria. When visiting the town itself, be aware that Alberobello draws large tourist crowds, so arrive early to beat them.

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5. Meander through the pretty streets of Locorotondo

A view of Locorotondo, Puglia, Italy

The cobblestone streets of Locorotondo are best discovered on foot. While wandering, you’ll encounter charming lanes adorned with flower pots, flying buttresses and cummerse – the peculiar peaked roofs the town is known for. Locorotondo’s name is derived from “round place”, and the old town coils itself around the crown of a low hill. From up here, you’ll overlook the Valle d’Itria, an area of rolling green known for its groves of almonds and olives and its masserias – working farms that double up as bed and breakfasts.

6. Get lost in the fairytale Città Bianca of Ostuni

Ostuni is a city for explorers. Sat atop three hills, the White City is a maze of alleys, staircases and archways stacked between whitewashed houses and family-owned trattorias. The citadel remains fortified by ancient walls and encloses a 15th-century gothic cathedral, Bishop’s Palace and a number of palazzi belonging to local aristocratic families. Known for its quality olive oil and wine, the local region can be sampled at the Saturday market (Mercato Settimanale del Sabato), a 15-minute walk from the centro storico .

7. Swim in sparkling blue waters

Porto Selvaggio natural reserve, a view of the bay, Puglia, Italy

With over 800km (497mi) of coastline, Puglia has a beach for every mood . From the dramatic landscapes of Porto Selvaggio, ideal for snorkelling, to the flamingo flocks of dune-lined Spiaggia Salina dei Monaci, Puglia’s picturesque coast is teeming with endless soft sands and remote bays. If swimming, sunset watching and succulent seafood are what you’ve come for, then you won’t leave disappointed – if you ever leave at all. Do bear in mind, however, the August high season draws large crowds to the region.

8. Dine on culinary delights and world-class wine

Puglia, like the rest of Italy , is an outstanding foodie destination. The best local dish is orecchiette (literally “small ear”), a type of pasta usually served with rapini, broccoli or cauliflower. Be sure to also try focaccia pugliese , made with cherry tomatoes, oregano and olives, and local burrata, produced here since the first decades of the 19th century. Puglia is also one of Italy’s leading wine regions, with an industry covering 83,000ha (205,000 acres). The leading native grapes are nero di troia and primitivo.

9. Tour the underground city of Matera

Historical Landmark

A view of Matera, Basilicata, Italy

Matera, just across the Apulian border in the Basilicata region, is a central feature of Culture Trip’s 10-day Southern Italy trip – and for good reason. Known as la città sotterranea (the underground city), the Sassi di Matera is an ancient complex of cave dwellings carved into the river canyon, believed to have been continually occupied for thousands of years. Italian authorities forcibly removed poverty-stricken residents from the then-hazardous caves in the 1950s, but efforts since the 1980s have restored the region and opened it to tourism, with some dwellings now occupied by bars and even hotels.

Film buffs might recognise Matera from the opening scene of No Time to Die (2021) – in which Bond is chased through the cavernous town by a convoy of villains.

10. Take home liquid gold as a souvenir

Shop, Architectural Landmark

Puglia has around 60 million olive trees. The ancient arboreal landscape, which blankets rolling hills and craggy coastlines, is responsible for 12 percent of the world’s olive oil production, and around 40 percent of Italy’s supply. With more than 50 olive varieties grown in the region, make sure you take home a sample of one of the oldest industries in Puglia. The strade dell’olio , or olive oil road, connects ancient farms still producing liquid gold here today.

This is an updated version of an article originally by Francesca Masotti .

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Art and Cultural Attractions in Ostuni

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Top Places for Art and Cultural Activities in Ostuni

A trip to Ostuni cannot be complete without understanding its rich heritage. The art and cultural activities in Ostuni will give you an insight into the city's history, traditions, and artwork. While visiting the cultural attractions in Ostuni would prove to be informative, attending its artsy events will leave you entertained. From cultural performances to historical monuments that give you a glimpse of the past, take a look at this list to know Ostuni better. Include these in attractions in your itinerary for Ostuni and have a great vacation.

Check the list of top places for art and culture in Ostuni:

Centro Di Spiritualita' Madonna Della Nova

Centro Di Spiritualita' Madonna Della Nova

Church, Religious Site

Address: A, Via S. Giovanni Bosco, 10, 72017 Ostuni BR, Italy

Fraternita Monastica Di Bose

Cathedral of ostuni, monastero delle monache carmelitane - ostuni.

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My First Trip to Norway, With A.I. as a Guide

Can artificial intelligence devise a bucket-list vacation that checks all the boxes: culture, nature, hotels and transportation? Our reporter put three virtual assistants to the test.

A train rolls past a small, quaint red wooden building with a quiet road in front of it. In the distance are trees and snow-capped mountains.

By Ceylan Yeğinsu

The assignment was clear: Test how well artificial intelligence could plan a trip to Norway, a place I’d never been. So I did none of my usual obsessive online research and instead asked three A.I. planners to create a four-day itinerary. None of them, alas, mentioned the saunas or the salmon.

Two assistants were, however, eager to learn more about me in order to tailor their initially generic recommendations, which they had spewed out within seconds. Vacay , a personalized travel planning tool, presented me with a list of questions, while Mindtrip , a new A.I. travel assistant, invited me to take a quiz. (ChatGPT, the third assistant, asked nothing.)

Vacay’s and Mindtrip’s questions were similar: Are you traveling solo? What’s your budget? Do you prefer hotels or Airbnbs? Would you rather explore the great outdoors or pursue a cultural experience?

Eventually, my chat sessions yielded what seemed like well-rounded itineraries, starting with one day in Oslo and moving on to the fjord region. Eventually, I locked down a trip that would combine the assistants’ information and go beyond a predictable list of sites.

This time around, my virtual planners were far more sophisticated than the simple ChatGPT interface I used last year on a trip to Milan. Though it offered more detailed suggestions for Norway, I ended up ditching ChatGPT in the travel-planning stage after it repeatedly crashed.

Vacay’s premium service, which starts at $9.99 per month, included in-depth suggestions and booking links, while Mindtrip, which is currently free, provided photos, Google reviews and maps. During the trip itself, each delivered instantaneous information by text and always asked if more specific details were needed. Sadly, only ChatGPT offered a phone app, whose information I found to be outdated (the $20-per-month premium version is more current).

I’m not alone when it comes to turning to A.I. for help: Around 70 percent of Americans are either using or planning to use A.I. for travel planning, according to a recent survey conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of the personal finance app Moneylion, while 71 percent said using A.I. would most likely be easier than planning trips on one’s own.

I decided to find out for myself in Norway.

A whirlwind day in Oslo

After I landed at Oslo Airport, all three assistants directed me to the Flytoget Airport Express Train , which got me to town in 20 minutes. I was delighted to find my hotel adjacent to the central railway station.

Choosing accommodations had not been easy. I was looking for a midrange boutique hotel, and the A.I. assistants generated many options with little overlap. I went with Hotel Amerikalinjen , Vacay’s recommendation, which it described as “a vibrant and unique boutique hotel in the heart of Oslo.” Its location was the main draw, but overall the hotel exceeded my expectations, blending comfort and style with the 20th-century charm of its building, which once housed the headquarters of the Norwegian America Line shipping company.

For the one-day Oslo itinerary, the assistants were in agreement, packing in the city’s top sights, including the Vigeland Sculpture Park, the Royal Palace , the Nobel Peace Center, Akershus Fortress and the Munch Museum. I shared my location and asked each assistant to restructure the itineraries to start from my hotel. But when I gave in to my own research instincts and pulled up Google Maps, I saw that the order they suggested didn’t make sense, so I plotted my own path.

By the time I got to Frogner Park at midday, I had already covered half of the sights, and after walking past more than 200 sculptures by the Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland, I was happy to sit down and admire his granite monolith of entwined humans.

For lunch, the assistants recommended high-end restaurants in the bustling waterfront neighborhood of Aker Brygge . But I wanted a quick bite in a more relaxed atmosphere, so I ditched A.I. and walked to the end of the promenade, where I stumbled upon the Salmon , a cozy establishment where I started with salmon sashimi that melted in my mouth and finished with a perfectly grilled fillet. How had my assistants not mentioned this place?

Next on my list was the Nobel Peace Center, the Opera House and the Munch Museum. The assistants had not recommended prebooking tickets, but fortunately, I had done so, learning, in the process, that the Peace Center was closed, a crucial bit of information that A.I. did not relay.

It was chilly for mid-June, and as I walked along the harbor promenade toward the Munch Museum, I spotted small floating saunas, which my assistants had not included. I went back to the ChatGPT phone app for recommendations. Even though I was eager to try a floating sauna, where people warmed themselves and then plunged straight into the frigid waters of the Oslofjord, I took ChatGPT’s suggestion and booked the Salt sauna, which is where I headed after spending a few hours at the Munch Museum, with its extensive works by the Norwegian artist and its sweeping views of Oslo’s harbor.

At the Salt cultural complex , a large pyramidal structure on the water, I was relieved that swimsuits were a requirement. In Scandinavia, saunas are usually taken naked , and earlier, I had asked ChatGPT for the etiquette at Salt, but it failed to give me a definitive answer. After sweating it out with around 30 strangers in Salt’s main sauna, I dipped into a cold-water barrel tub and then tried the smaller sauna options, which were hotter and quieter. It was the perfect ending to a long day.

Waterfalls, lush valleys, raging waters

culture trip ostuni

Each of my assistants had different ideas on how to reach the fjord region. ChatGPT suggested taking a seven-hour train ride and then immediately embarking on a two-hour fjord cruise, which sounded exhausting. Mindtrip suggested taking a short flight to Bergen, known as the “gateway to the fjords,” and setting out on a cruise the next day, which was perhaps more efficient, but would also mean missing one of the most scenic train rides in the world. Vacay also recommended a train ride.

After conversing with the assistants, I decided on a shorter train journey (six hours) that would deliver me to Naeroyfjord , a UNESCO World Heritage site with lush valleys and thundering waterfalls. But to figure out the logistics for transport and accommodation, I needed live train timetables, which I found on my own, and information on hotel availability that none of the assistants had.

At this point, I was desperate for human guidance to navigate the region’s expensive and limited accommodations. This is where the pictures and reviews on Mindtrip were useful, helping me to understand that I would be paying premium prices for the spectacular setting of a mediocre hotel.

The train ride from Oslo to Myrdal was breathtaking: rolling hills, mountain villages, fjords, waterfalls. But nothing prepared me for the majestic one-hour Flam railway ride that followed. Vacay had described it as an “engineering marvel” with a breathtakingly steep descent as it passes picturesque villages, dramatic mountains, raging rivers and pounding waterfalls, complete with a dance performance featuring a mythological spirit known as a huldra.

The next morning I boarded a Naeroyfjord cruise, recommended by Vacay, on an electric, 400-person vessel. I was surprised by the serenity of the fjord. Later I learned from a tour guide that I had been lucky to visit when there were no large cruise ships. It was hard to imagine an ocean liner maneuvering through the narrow, windy fjord, but when I asked ChatGPT, it told me 150 to 220 cruise ships squeezed through the fjord each year, a detail that I felt the travel assistants should warn travelers about.

The cruise ended in the village of Gudvangen, where rain made me cancel a hike to a waterfall and instead try my hand at ax-throwing in the Viking Village Njardarheim. The assistants had told me that there were buses that left town every four hours, a time frame that had worked with my original hiking plan, but now I was stuck. Thankfully, I took note of the A.I. disclaimers to check all information and found an alternative shuttle bus.

On my way to Bergen, I decided to stop in the town of Voss, famous for extreme sports like skydiving and spectacular nature. All the A.I.-suggested hotels were booked, but a Google search led me to the lakeside Elva hotel , which had delicious farm-to-table food. I suspect it didn’t make the A.I. shortlist because it was new.

I ended my trip in Bergen, which, despite being Norway’s second-largest city, maintains a small-town charm with its colorful wooden houses and cobblestone streets. With only half a day to explore, I followed Mindtrip’s short itinerary, starting with a hearty lunch of fish and chips at the bustling waterfront fish market and ending with a funicular ride up Mount Floyen for panoramic views of the city and fjords. The A.I. dinner suggestion at the Colonialen was perfect: cozy vibe, live jazz and locally sourced dishes.

The bottom line

None of the A.I. programs were perfect, but they did complement one another, allowing me to streamline my travel decisions.

Overall, Mindtrip — with its polished, dynamic interface that allowed me to cross-check details with maps, links and reviews — was my favorite. While it gave some good recommendations, Mindtrip needed more prompting than Vacay, which offered a wider variety of suggestions in more detail. Unfortunately, Vacay doesn’t save chat history, which I discovered halfway into my planning after closing the website’s tab on my browser.

The biggest drawback was the absence of phone apps for Mindtrip and Vacay, which led me to rely on ChatGPT’s basic A.I. assistant when I needed on-the-spot guidance. Mindtrip, I’ve since learned, is planning to debut an app in September.

Still, there were times when I desperately craved the human touch. Before setting out on a trip, I always contact friends and colleagues for recommendations. This time, as part of the A.I. experiment, I refrained from reaching out to a Norwegian friend until after my trip, only to find out that we had both been in Oslo at the same time.

That’s one element of travel that I doubt A.I. will ever master: serendipity.

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024 .

Ceylan Yeginsu is a travel reporter for The Times who frequently writes about the cruise industry and Europe, where she is based. More about Ceylan Yeğinsu

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Essence Festival wraps up a 4-day celebration of Black culture

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Vice President Kamala Harris, right, speaks with Essence CEO Caroline Wanga during the 30th annual Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans, Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Matthew Perschall/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP)

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks with Essence CEO Caroline Wanga during the 30th annual Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans, Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Matthew Perschall/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP)

FILE - New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell speaks at a ribbon cutting ceremony, Nov. 5, 2019, in Kenner, La. New Orleans officially opened its arms in welcome Thursday, July 4, 2024, to the thousands of people descending on the Big Easy for the 30th annual celebration of the Essence Festival of Culture. Cantrell thanked Essence for the longstanding partnership. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

FILE - Attendees walk around the 2018 Essence Festival at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, July 6, 2018, in New Orleans. New Orleans officially opened its arms in welcome Thursday, July 4, 2024, to the thousands of people descending on the Big Easy for the 30th annual celebration of the Essence Festival of Culture. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — For 30 years, the Essence Festival of Culture has brought together people from all walks of life and from around the world to connect through conversation, shared experiences and, of course, music.

The nation’s largest annual celebration of Black culture ended Sunday with musical performances by Janet Jackson and a special tribute to Frankie Beverly & Maze, the soul band that closed the event for the festival’s first 15 years. Beverly, now 77, has said he is stepping away from performing live, and the group has been on a farewell tour.

Others performing included Victoria Monét , Teedra Moses, Tank and the Bangas, Dawn Richard, SWV, Jagged Edge, Bilal and Anthony Hamilton.

Barkue Tubman-Zawolo, chief of staff, talent and diasporic engagement for Essence Ventures, told The Associated Press the festival helps connect the global Black community.

“Historically, as Black people, sometimes we’re not sure where our heritage comes from,” Tubman-Zawolo said. “America is just one place. But within America there’s a melting pot of different Black cultures: Africa, Latin, Europe, the Caribbean. Understanding that allows our power to be even greater.”

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Tubman-Zawolo said those connections could be seen throughout this year’s Film Festival, held at the city’s convention center, where fans heard from storytellers from Nigeria, Ghana and the Caribbean “who are targeting our stories about us, for us, globally. ”

She noted similar connections through the Food and Wine stage, where discussions highlighted Caribbean and African cuisine; the Soko Market Place, where vendors from all over the world shared their craft; and on the Caesars Superdome stage, which spotlighted Caribbean and African artists including Machel Montano of Trinidad.

“All of that occurred over four days,” Tubman-Zawolo said. “But the beauty of it is, it doesn’t stay here. (Fans) take it with them.”

New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell said this year’s “We Love Us” theme was appropriate.

“This whole ‘We Love Us’ theme brought us together to build communities,” she said.

The festival’s impact on the city and state has surpassed $300 million, with more than 500,000 people visiting since 1994.

Essence started the festival as a way to celebrate 25 years of the magazine’s history.

“The locals are being incorporated in a manner that we can see and touch and feel and smell. That has been a part of the evolution of Essence,” Cantrell said.

The event’s current contract ends in 2026, but Essence Ventures CEO Caroline Wanga has said the festival’s “forever home” is New Orleans.

“That’s what we believe as well,” Cantrell said. “We have a foundation that’s been laid over 30 years. The city is always ready and prepared to host this event and more. I think staying in New Orleans is the best fit and best marriage, the best partnership.”

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Jennifer Lopez Channels Bridgerton in a Dainty Pink Floral Dress a During Solo Hamptons Trip

preview for Jennifer Lopez is a Fashion Icon

Over on the East Coast, paparazzi captured Lopez wearing one very regency-core look during a walk with Emme, one half of her 16-year-old twins, and a group of friends on July 6. Lopez channeled Bridgerton , wearing a pink floral maxi dress with ruffle detailing. She had her hair styled in a ponytail and accessorized with a straw bag .

jennifer lopez in a pink maxi dress

People reported on Lopez’s Hamptons trip, with a source saying she spent the holiday weekend “with family and friends” and that the New York City native “always enjoys” the coastal hotspot. Amid ongoing reports on the status of her and Affleck’s relationship , the source added that “she seems fine.” In photos that came out of Affleck and Lopez over the past few days, People noted both were wearing their wedding rings.

Lopez was originally supposed to tour this summer, but announced she was canceling it on May 31. Live Nation shared that Lopez made the call to take “time off to be with her children, family, and close friends.”

She shared in a statement to fans that it was a hard decision, writing on her site, “I am completely heartsick and devastated about letting you down. Please know that I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t feel that it was absolutely necessary. I promise I will make it up to you and we will all be together again. I love you all so much. Until next time…”

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How we entertain and amuse ourselves on a road trip

culture trip ostuni

It's summer, so we're talking all about road trips. Should you blast music that's familiar or unfamiliar? What makes for a good road trip audiobook? What are some road trip games we hate? Pop Culture Happy Hour talked all about how to entertain and amuse ourselves in the car way back in 2012. Today, in this encore episode, we're revisiting that conversation.

Liz Metzger produced the encore version of this episode.

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More From Forbes

Celebrate bastille day in new york city - july 14th.

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Bastille Day is a national holiday in France

Bastille Day will be celebrated in New York City on Sunday, July 14th, 2024, with a series of entertaining events taking place along Madison Avenue from 59th to 63rd Streets in Manhattan.

Bastille Day: The Raison d’Être

A national holiday in France, Bastille Day marks the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille and the beginning of the French Revolution, which ended the monarchy.

Bastille Day festivities include fireworks, concerts, and parties throughout France, as well as in many cities and small towns around the world.

The Paris kickoff traditionally begins with a solemn military ceremony followed by a parade and flyover on the Champs-Élysées. However, with the city preparing for the 2024 Summer Olympics and the Olympic Torch scheduled to arrive in Paris on Bastille Day, the parade venue is expected to move to Avenue Foch this year.

Bastille Day in New York City

Balloons entertain passerbys at a previous NYC Bastille Day CelebrationA

Bastille Day in New York City is considered one of the largest and most successful celebrations of French culture outside France.

This family-friendly event has been sponsored by L’Alliance New York (formerly called the French Institute Alliance Française) for over two decades. A perennial favorite of French expats and Francophiles, over 30,000 residents and visitors are expected to participate.

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The 2024 Bastille Day Celebration in NYC will have a Summer Games theme. Some of the scheduled highlights include:

Interactive Activities and Performances

  • Inside Out: 12 PM to 5 PM. Sponsored by the worldwide network of Alliances Françaises, this global art installation features portraits of people in different cities and countries to highlight the diversity of the French-speaking world. New Yorkers can have their own photos captured in a photo truck and will be able to paste their self-portrait posters on a block-long mural on Madison Avenue.
  • Blank Placard Dance, Replay: 12:30 PM. This reenactment of the 1967 performance of "Blank Placard Dance, Replay" by French choreographer Anne Collod, was originally created by Anna Halprin in response to the Vietnam War and social unrest in the U.S. Thirty amateur dancers will carry blank signs, accompanied by a marching band heading uptown. After the performance, Bastille Day participants will be able to propose statements for blank placards, demonstrating the enduring power of art across people and generations.

A French-Themed Market

More than 50 food and lifestyle purveyors will showcase the best of France at booths on Madison Avenue. Participating food vendors include Mustela X Mon Cœur, Pistache NYC, Raclette Street, Maman, Crêpe Suzette de France, Home Frite, Julien Boulangerie, Ma Box Française, and more.

The French Garden will showcase over a dozen luxury shops, including food, beauty, and fashion from Angelina Paris, Café d'Avignon, Cartolina, French Wink, La Joie de Vivre bookstore, Mille-Feuille Bakery, Paul Crée, Président, Silpat, SOFITEL, Thermomix USA, Thierry Atlan, and more.

Ticketed Events

  • Parties: Indoor rose and bubble parties will feature a selection of summer wines, champagne, and sweet bites from La Maison du Chocolate with live jazz music. Two sessions (1 PM and 3:30 PM) will be offered at the newly renovated L’Alliance 8th floor Skyroom. Tickets are $65 for members and $75 for the general public.
  • Film Screenings: Two movies will be featured. "Chicken for Linda!" is a hilarious, family-friendly flick that will be screened at 1 p.m. The New York premiere of Quentin Dupieux’s "Daaaaali!," a comedic tribute to Salvador Dali, will be shown at 5:30 p.m. Both screenings will be at the Florence Gould Theater at 55 E. 59th Street. Tickets are $15 per person and $5 for anyone under 28.

Bring the Kids

Kids enjoy Bastille Day in NYC

In anticipation of the Olympics, attendees will have opportunities to participate in various French ball games, including soccer and football. Younger children will enjoy ring toss, face painting, and other activities.

Bastille Day in NYC is the next best thing to a trip to France!

Read more about L’Alliance Bastille Day festivities .

Irene S. Levine

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How we entertain and amuse ourselves on a road trip

Linda Holmes

Linda Holmes

Washington, DC - May 03, 2016: Stephen Thompson CREDIT: Matt Roth

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Glen Weldon at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., March 19, 2019. (photo by Allison Shelley)

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Jessica Reedy

How do you keep yourself occupied on a road trip?

It's summer, so we're talking all about road trips. Should you blast music that's familiar or unfamiliar? What makes for a good road trip audiobook? What are some road trip games we hate? Pop Culture Happy Hour talked all about how to entertain and amuse ourselves in the car way back in 2012. Today, in this encore episode, we're revisiting that conversation.

Liz Metzger produced the encore version of this episode.

COMMENTS

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