I loved Lecce as a base to discover the South of Puglia. Lecce as a city is amazing and you can easily spend a couple of evenings discovering all the great bars and restaurants in Lecce (read about them here!). In the south of Puglia, you’ll find the best beaches of Puglia as well as one of the cutest beach towns, Gallipoli. Unfortunately, the day we were planning on visiting the beaches, the weather turned and it rained like crazy. Hence, I wasn’t able to visit all the beaches on this list and unfortunately also missed out on the supposedly prettiest one: Punta Prosciutto.
First of all, don’t miss out on discovering Lecce itself. There are plenty of beautiful cathedrals, churches and alleys to discover. Read all about Lecce here!
I would advise to combine several sights in one day. Unfortunately, our schedule didn’t allow for this 3rd day and the weather wasn’t on our side, but I would still like to share all my prior research with you in a clear overview.
On day 1 we combined Corigliano D’Otranto and Gallipolli.
On day 2 we were planning on driving the east-coast of southern Puglia while visiting Grotta Della Poessia, Spiaggia Torro Dell’Orso and Otranto. If you feel like it, you can drive even more south.
I would advise to take a day 3 to visit Spiaggia di Porto Selvaggio (a national park including beaches) and Punto Prosciutto, one of the most beautiful beaches of Italy.
Corigliano is a small village south of Lecce, and can be perfectly visited on the way to the more famous Gallipoli. We parked our car (free along the road) and walked about 5 minutes through some cute streets (see picture 1), before we arrived the main square and the famous Castle of Monti. What I liked about the spot, is that you get a more authentic view of Puglia when visiting such a small village.
Gallipolli is probably the most famous location from this list. When planning the full Puglia Itinerary, we were actually doubting if this would be a place we should spend the night as well. In the end, we were happy we didn’t, but also very happy we visited and had a stroll around for a day! Actually, Gallipolli is too cute to only spend a couple of photos on, hence I created this full photographic Gallipolli overview. Click here if you would like to see a broader impression of the city! We parked at the parking near the port of Gallipolli. Online we got the information this was for free, but in the end we did pay a small amount.
This was amazing!! I ran into this place on Instagram – surprise, surprise – and we just had to go. When we were there, everyone was just watching the caves and it was pretty quiet, as I realized from some online pictures that it can become really packed in summer. The good things was, that this allowed us to enter the water by ourselves! I was a bit scared it was going to be really cold, but the sea temperature was super comfortable (October). Definitely a place to visit as a day trip from Lecce and a great way to discover the South of Puglia.
One of the beaches that I highlighted on my map (I always use the app Mapstr to highlights spots I potentially want to visit in a certain area), but when we left the car, we already saw the dark clouds approaching. Less than 5 minutes later, it started pouring…
Unfortunately, we didn’t have the change to visit Torre Sant’Andrea. Looking at the pictures, it does look like the Algarve in Portugal! Definitely worth to put on your list.
Otranto is a coastal village that would make a perfect stop around lunch. I already looked up some suitable restaurants and ended up with Sapori & L’altro baffo.
Driving south in Puglia even further, you’ll end up at Piscina Naturale Di Marina Serra, a natural swimming pool, which in certain way can be compared with Grotta della Poessia. If you don’t have time to visit both, I would go with the Grotta della Poessia.
A beautiful beach located near to the far south part of Puglia. You’ll be up. for some clear blue waters!
Spiaggia di Porto Selvaggio is a place I would have loved to visit. It is a national park, that has opportunities for some short hikes, see some nature, but also to relax at more hidden beaches.
The bluest sea and the whitest beach of Puglia, according to images. If you are looking for a nice day at the beach from Lecce, this is definitely the place to go!