Lecce was the first city we headed to during our road trip through Puglia. We picked up our car at Brindisi airport and off we go! After about 1,5 hours driving, we arrived in Lecce, where we parked our car at a spot we were able to park for free (Via Giuseppe Petraglione) and walked towards the city to check-in (find the place we were staying at the end of this guide). We checked in, changed and left immediately! The sun was shining and it was time for some Aperol Spritz and something great to eat. Well, that’s something you can definitely do in Lecce. Curious what to do in Lecce? Here is an overview of what we did! Or well, more of what we saw as you can read everything about our favourite bars and restaurants here.
As in every big city, the main square is a a place you definitely have to see. It was the first place we headed to and while you are standing on this great and big square you are surrounded with amazing buildings.
Piazza Sant’Oronzo is another main square in Lecce. The square is a central spot to either go and enjoy the old city, the shopping streets, head to in my opinion the cutest part of the city and head to the Roman Amphitheater. We sat down here in the morning with a cup of coffee at Caffe Cittadino (not that many places actually opened around 8am) to watch the city waking up.
The Roman Amphitheater is a place we were actually near by for many times, and at the last day we only realized we didn’t even see it, even though we discovered most of the city. I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of places like this, but if you are into history, definitely have a look (and have a quick peek anyways).
I’m a morning person. But while visiting Lecce, it’s definitely worth it to wake up a bit earlier. You have the prettiest light shining through the alleys and the streets are relatively empty (we were there in COVID times, which did help of course).
I personally liked this area of the city best. When coming from the city center and heading to Via Umberto I, the street with several great wine and cocktail bars, you come past the Basilica di Santa Croce, also referred to as the Lecce Cathedral. In the evening, locals are hanging out on the stairs, which brings a great vibe to the cathedral and surrounding streets.
Lecce has several churches that are breathtaking, already from the outside. When strolling through the city, chances are big you run into them, but below I listed my 3 favourites.
Photo 1: Église Santa Chiara de Lecce
Photo 2: Chiesa di San Matteo
Photo 3: Chiesa di Sant’Anna
Honestly, the city was so much more picturesque than I expected before visiting. This reaches from the sights and churches, to catching the early morning light, but definitely look for additional photo opportunities as well. I loved strolling around here.
I loved the food and bar culture in Lecce. There are plenty of great cocktail bars, beer bars and wine bars. Next to that, you can definitely enjoy some great Italian food here. Actually, there are so many great bars and restaurants that it was worth a separate blog post. Check out where to go for the best food and drinks in Lecce in this bar & restaurant guide of Lecce!
We used Lecce as the base for several day trips to explore the south of Puglia, such as a trip to Gallipolli and along the coastline where we visited Grotta Della Poesia. Check out what you can do and see in the south of Puglia here.
We decided to stay in Lecce for 3 nights to avoid packing our backs too often. Next to that, it is a city with enough bars and restaurants to spend a week time!
We stayed in a wonderful little appartement suitable for 2 to 3 persons which is called Balbo Suits & Apartments. The place is conveniently located on the border of the city, which allows you to be in a vibrant street with several bars within 5 minutes, but also walk towards a free parking spot within 10 minutes.