Monopoli is a charming coastal town in the Puglia region of Italy, which offers a great base for exploring the entire region.
Like many other places in southern Italy, Monopoli was founded by the Greeks. The area was first settled in about 500 BC as a fortified Messapian city and then came under Roman rule.
The name Monopoli is derived from monos polis, which means ‘unique city’.
In this post, I’m going to show you the best things to do in Monopoli, Italy!
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Best Things to do in Monopoli, Italy | Puglia Region of Italy
Get Lost in Monopoli Old Town
My favorite thing to do is wander through Monopoli’s historic center which is characterized by narrow winding streets, whitewashed buildings, and picturesque squares. You can stumble on hidden gems, such as the charming Piazza Garibaldi and the stunning Cathedral of Santa Maria della Madia.
If you want to learn more about the history of Monopoli, consider booking a guided walking tour which will take you though the medieval streets, taste local produce, and admire Monopoli Cathedral and Charles V Castle. Another highly rated tour is the Legends Gastronomy Tour which includes insights into where you can taste fish sandwiches, the best Monopoli ice-cream, the tastiest coffee, and the best restaurant for a special dinner.
Stroll Along the Promenade
For one of the best viewpoints in Monopoli, take a stroll along the Lungomare Santa Maria, a scenic promenade that offers stunning views of the Adriatic Sea.
This is a great spot for an evening stroll after dinner or a leisurely bike ride. I also enjoyed this area during the early morning hours, for a calm and serene mornign walk.
Chiesa di San Salvatore
The church of San Salvatore is one of the oldest church of Monopoli city, is located inside the ancient city walls and overlooking the sea.
Folk tradition says that the church was built by a captain of a pirate ship who escaped with his crew on a shipwreck and, for this reason, the church is facing on the sea and is dedicated to “San Salvatore”.
Visit Castello di Carlo V
If you are into history, check out the historic Castle of Charles V, which dates back to the 16th century. While you can’t enter the castle itself, you can admire its exterior and enjoy the views from its seaside walls.
Discover The Old Porto – Il Porto Vecchio
The Old Port of Monopoloi. Il Porto Vecchio, is the true home of the typical fishing boats called gozzi (or vozz, in the local dialect), usually 5 meters long and painted in bright red and blue.
This ancient port is well regarded by locals as the cove where the icon of the town’s protective saint arrived.
Take a Cooking Class
Take a cooking class to learn how to prepare traditional Puglian dishes. It’s a fun way to bond and bring some Italian flavors back home with you.
Day trip Around Puglia
Just a short drive from Monopoli, you can explore the unique trulli houses in Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Make sure to rent a car if you plan to explore more of Puglia because public transportation between the towns is not very efficient, and you don’t want to spend vacation time waiting for a bus.
How to get to Monopoli from Bari Airport
You can reach Monopoli by air via Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (BRI), which is the closest major airport. From there, you can take a train to Monopoli. Additionally, you can drive to Monopoli if you’re exploring the surrounding areas.
By Car from the Bari Airport to Monopoli
Personally, I would suggest renting a car with Discover Cars, especially if you plan to visit more cities in the Puglia area. This way you can move around more freely on your own schedule and not spend precious vacation time waiting for a bus.
Alternatively, you can get a taxi or arrange a private car service to take you from the airport to Monopoli.
By Train from the Bari Airport to Monopoli
Taking the train from the Bari airport is the lengthiest way to get to Monopoli, but is also the cheapest. Once you exit the terminal, there is a shuttle bus service that connects the airport to Bari Centrale Railway Station. The journey takes approximately 25-30 minutes.
Once you arrive at the Bari Centrale Railway Station, you can purchase a train ticket to Monopoli. Trains run frequently, and the journey to Monopoli takes around 30-45 minutes.
Where to Stay in Monopoli
This property is located in the Old Town Monopoli, just a 2-minute walk from Porta Vecchia Beach. Apulia Charming Suites provides beachfront accommodations with a fully equipped kitchen and a terrace with sea views.
If you are interested in current availability and pricing for this property in Monopoli, use the button below!
The reviews can’t say enough good things about this place/ Apparently the photos don’t do it justice and if there is availability for your time, book it immediately!
Located right in the center of Monopoli, the location is perfect and the owner has thought through every thing you would need for your trip and stay in in Monopoli.
Here are the quick tips for visiting Monopoli in Italy.
What is the best time to visit Monopoli?
The best time to visit Monopoli is typically during the spring (April to June) and the early autumn (September to October). During these months, the weather is pleasant, and there are fewer crowds compared to the peak summer season. I always advocate for off-season travel to southern Europe for a better experience!
What is the local cuisine like in Monopoli?
Monopoli, like the rest of Puglia, is known for its delicious seafood dishes, fresh pasta, and local wines. You’ll find dishes like orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe, seafood risotto, and various types of fish and shellfish prepared in different ways.
Is it necessary to speak Italian to visit Monopoli?
While Italian is the primary language spoken in Monopoli, you can often get by with English, especially in tourist areas. However, it is a good idea to learn a few basic Italian phrases because certain parts of Puglia are less accustomed to English speakers.
I hope that you now have all the tools you need to plan a great couple days in Monopoli. If you are currently planning a trip to Italy and have any questions, drop them in the comments below. For more travel inspiration and tips, follow me on Instagram for current updates.
Looking for more Italy inspiration? You may also enjoy these posts:
- The 20 Regions of Italy and Where to Visit in Each
- The 10 Best Cinque Terre Hotels with a View
- How to Plan a Trip to the Dolomites, Italy
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