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Things to do in Puglia for families on vacation

Cooking class in Lecce

Traveling as a family can be a great way to bond and create lasting memories. It allows families to spend quality time together, away from the distractions and stresses of everyday life, giving them a chance to relax and recharge, and to create positive experiences.

Traveling exposes children to new cultures, perspectives, and ways of life. It can broaden their horizons, and help them learn about the world and their place in it. It can also teach them valuable life skills such as independence, adaptability, and problem-solving.

Family travel also allows parents to reconnect with their children and strengthen their relationship. It allows them to see their children in a different light and create new shared experiences.

Additionally, traveling as a family can be a great way to make new memories and create a shared family history. It can also be a great way to create traditions and shared experiences that families can look back on and reminisce about for years to come.

We at AuthenticPugliaTours often plan vacations for multi-generational families, so take full advantage of our advice below for a fantastic vacation (or get in touch if you need help!). 

Puglia with a baby or toddler

Traveling with a baby or toddler can be a bit more challenging than traveling without one, but it can also be a rewarding experience. Families can create new memories and experiences, even at a young age, and it also allows parents to expose their child to new cultures, people, and environments, which can be beneficial for their cognitive and social development.

Additionally, traveling with a baby or toddler can also be a great way for parents to bond with their child and create a strong attachment. This can be especially important for parents who may have missed the opportunity to bond with their child during the early months due to work or other obligations.

However, it is important to keep in mind that traveling with a baby or toddler requires more planning and preparation (and that’s where we come in!). Parents should consider the child’s age, temperament, and schedule when planning a trip, and should also be prepared for the additional gear and supplies that may be needed for the child.

Here are a few ideas for a trip to Puglia:

  • Go to the beach 

Puglia’s beaches are some of our nation’s finest, so definitely this is at the top of our list! Here you can find many sandy beaches with shallow waters that are perfectly safe for babies and toddlers. Beach clubs come with everything you need: sun umbrella, loungers, restrooms, a restaurant and café, as well as changing tables. Just avoid the hottest time of the day and prefer early mornings or evenings, with the sun setting well past 9 in summer, there’s plenty of time to enjoy the beach late in the day too. 

  • Rent a home with a private pool

Alternatively, if you prefer to stay put, you can book a vacation rental with a private pool, which can be a practical option with a newborn. There are some fantastic accommodations in Puglia, from traditional houses like trulli or masseria, to modern villas and hotels, if you wish to know more, drop us a line!

  • Stay at an agriturismo

Kids of all ages love nature and animals, and you can find both at an agriturismo, what Italians call a farm stay. Puglia has a strong rural culture, so you can find the perfect agriturismo for you amongst the many available here. This way, kids can enjoy the fresh air, run around freely and learn directly from the farmers about cows, goats and even ostriches sometimes! You can spend your entire vacation surrounded by beautiful nature and under the sun, in an apartment that’s got all the amenities. Alternatively, you can book a 1-day experience for your kids to visit a farm, a great idea if you opt to stay in a different type of accommodation.

Puglia with pre-schoolers

A trip can be a valuable learning experience for young children, introducing them to new cultures, people, and environments. After all, traveling as a family can be a fun and exciting way to break up the routine of everyday life and create opportunities for growth and adventure.

Puglia is a great destination for families with preschoolers for a few reasons. First, it has a variety of family-friendly activities and attractions, such as beaches with shallow water, parks and playgrounds, and historical sites. Additionally, it is known for its delicious food and friendly locals, which can be a great way to introduce children to new cultures and experiences.

Another reason is that Puglia is relatively less crowded and less touristy compared to other destinations in Italy, which can make it more relaxing and enjoyable for families. Lastly, the weather in Puglia is generally warm enough for the beach even in spring and autumn, and mild in winter, making it an ideal destination for families to visit year-round.

Some tips for you below:

  • Go wild at the ZooSafari in Fasano

A great destination which offers a unique and exciting way to experience and learn about a variety of animals. It is home to over 900 animals from all over the world, including lions, giraffes, zebras, and elephants, which can be viewed from the comfort of your own car or a guided tour bus. One of the unique features of the ZooSafari is that it is divided into different habitats, such as the African savannah, the tropical rainforest, and the Asian steppe, which can give children an opportunity to learn about different ecosystems and the animals that live in them. Additionally, the zoo offers a variety of interactive activities, such as animal feedings, shows, and educational programs, which can be a fun and engaging way for children to learn about animals.

  • Take a pottery class

Take a pottery class in Grottaglie, a small village famous all over the world for its ceramic masterpieces. Learn from a maestro how to shape and decorate clay, the way it’s been done for centuries in this town. Kids will love messing around with the clay dough!

  • Dive into the deep at the Salento Aquarium

Located in Nardò, it is a great destination for families with preschoolers because it offers an interactive and educational experience that allows visitors to learn about a wide variety of marine life and their habitats. The Aquarium features a large collection of marine species from the Mediterranean Sea, including fish, crustaceans, and mollusks, as well as species from other oceans and seas. One of the main features of the Salento Aquarium is the variety of interactive and educational activities that are available for visitors of all ages. These activities include touch tanks, where children can safely touch and learn about different marine species, and a variety of interactive exhibits that give visitors a chance to learn about the different ocean habitats and the creatures that live there. Additionally, the aquarium offers guided tours and workshops for children, which can be a fun and engaging way to learn about marine life.

  • Take a cooking class

Think fresh handmade pasta or pizza – how fun for little kids? And you won’t have to clean the mess! It can be a great way to make memories together, an activity that’s fun and hands-on, which everyone can love, the results can then be shared and enjoyed together, and the memories will last long after the vacation is over.

a man riding a bike down a dirt road

Puglia with school-aged kids

One of the main reasons to visit Puglia with school-aged children is its rich cultural heritage. The region is home to many historic cities, such as Lecce, Bari, and Brindisi, which offer a wealth of history and architecture, including the Roman and Greek ruins and the Baroque and Renaissance art, that can be a great way to introduce children to different historical periods and cultures. Moreover, Puglia is home to a variety of traditional festivals and events throughout the year, which can be a fun and engaging way for children to learn about local culture and customs.

Another reason is the natural beauty of Puglia. The region is known for its long sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and beautiful countryside. Children can explore the outdoors and learn about the local flora and fauna, as well as the environmental importance of preserving it.

We listed some activities you can enjoy below:

  • Dolphin spotting in Taranto

This large town is home to a protected dolphin colony and many conservation efforts are to preserve it. Boat trips with marine biologists offer an insight on this beloved mammal and can be a memorable – yet sustainable – experience for kids to enjoy. 

  • Cycling in a natural park 

Puglia’s natural beauty knows no equals and one of the best way to explore the many parks is on a bike, which is always fun for kids. Bike rentals offer many options, which suit all levels and heights. Apart from protected nature reserves, our region offers many bike trails that criss-cross the countryside, for the example the ancient Traiana road, entirely paved and with hardly any traffic or the Acqueduct cycle route leading to Castel del Monte. 

  • Horse-back riding on the beach 

An experience straight out of a movie! Gallop on a sandy beach and experience Puglia’s wilder side with a trusty companion – your kids will remember it forever! 

  • Take a papier-mâché class

A century-old art that a few artisans keep alive and well in Puglia, creating exquisite nativity figurines which you too can learn how to make! This is a hands-on activity that will keep your children entertained as well as teach them about history and art.  

  • Learning something new at a museum

For example, the Marta archeological museum, in Taranto, renovated in 2016 with plenty of kid-friendly features which will allow them to know about the town’s ancient history. Or the Munbam in Bari, a proper kids museum which showcases the story of Saint Nicolaus, the iconic figure on which Santa Claus is based. Just outside Lecce, there is an archeological site entirely dedicated to children, with interactive settings where they can delve deep into the ages past. And lastly, aspiring paleontologists will have a blast at the museum in San Marco in Lamis, where fossils were found. These are only a few of the museums that kids will love during your vacation to Puglia. 

  • Going underground at the Grotte di Castellana

This impressive caves are famous all over Italy for their size and formations – kids will love all the funny-looking stalactites and stalagmites, not to mention that the caves offer a cool respite from the heat in summer!

Puglia with teenagers 

Planning a family holiday with teenagers can be a bit challenging, as their interests and preferences may differ from the rest of the family. Here are a few tips to help plan a successful vacation:

  • Involve them in the planning process 

Ask for their input on the destination, activities, and accommodations. This can help them feel more invested in the trip and more likely to enjoy it.

  • Consider their interests 

Plan activities and excursions that align with their hobbies and interests. This can help keep them engaged and excited about the trip. Outdoorsy teens may enjoy kayaking in a cave, while others may like exploring Matera on a fun Ape Calessino tour!

  • Give them some independence

Allow them to plan their own activities or excursions within reason. This can help them feel more in control and empowered.

  • Allow for some alone time

Make sure to schedule some downtime for each member of the family to do their own thing. This can help prevent burnout and allow everyone to recharge.

Based on our experience, we recommend you choose a resort as a base for your holiday. First, resorts often offer a wide variety of activities and amenities that can appeal to teenagers, such as swimming pools, tennis courts, fitness centers, and organized activities like sports, games, and excursions. This can help to keep them entertained and engaged during their vacation.

Second, resorts often have a variety of dining options, from casual to fine dining, which can be a great way to accommodate the changing tastes and preferences of teenagers. This can help ensure that everyone in the family has a satisfying and enjoyable dining experience.

Third, resorts can provide a safe and secure environment for teenagers, with security personnel and designated areas for children and teens. This can be reassuring for parents who want to ensure the safety and well-being of their children while on vacation.

Fourth, many resorts offer a variety of accommodation options, such as family suites or connecting rooms, which can provide more privacy and space for teenagers, and can help ensure that everyone has a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

Lastly, resorts can be a great way for families to bond and spend quality time together, while also providing opportunities for teenagers to socialize and make new friends.

a close up of a man holding a plate of food

© U-Pulp Visual & Motion |

Puglia with senior parents and relatives

With a little bit of planning and consideration, a family holiday with elderly people in Italy can be a wonderful and memorable experience for everyone. Remember to take into account their needs and limitations, and to make sure everyone has a fun and comfortable trip.

Our best advice below:

  • Choose accessible accommodation

Look for hotels or vacation rentals that have practical features such as elevators, grab bars, and roll-in showers. When you book with us, peace of mind is guaranteed in this regard.

  • Book a tour with private transportation

This can make it easier to get around and explore the area. We have planned many a holiday for multigenerational families, and we cannot stress enough the importance of private transportation and guides!

  • Take it easy

Plan plenty of rest breaks and make sure the itinerary allows for plenty of downtime. This is our golden rule at AuthenticPugliaTours when we create itineraries for family reunions. 

  • Be mindful of the weather

It can be hot during the summer, make sure to avoid strenuous activities during the middle of the day – no wants to go to the ER on vacay!

  • Go for the low-impact activities

Puglia offers a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and sailing, which can be enjoyed in a low-impact way. Particularly cycling, now that ebikes are readily available. 

  • Enjoy the local cuisine

Our region is known for its delicious traditional cuisine, such as pasta, seafood and olive oil, which can be adapted even to the strictest of diets, in fact the Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest in the world! 

  • Take your time

Don’t try to see too much in a short amount of time, take your time to enjoy the sights, sounds, and flavors of Puglia at a leisurely pace. 

Some more ideas for you:

  • WWII history

With a private guide and customized itinerary, you can learn more about this tragic moment in history that changed the lives of so many. There are many sites, monuments and landmarks commemorating WII that elderly parents and relatives may be interested in. 

  • Tracing your roots 

If your family was originally from Puglia, a specialist guide can help you find and visit the village where they came from and help you learn more about life in the olden days. 

  • Churches and religious sites

Devout parents will cherish an itinerary that’ll allow them to visit the splendid churches and monasteries of our region, which often protect marvelous masterpieces and architecture. Furthermore, testimonies of Puglia’s Jewish heritage can be found in Trani, Oria and especially in Santa Maria al Bagno, where the local musueum is dedicated to the Shoah. 

  • Discovering history and traditions 

Puglia is home to many historic cities, such as Lecce, Bari, and Brindisi, which offer a wealth of history and architecture, including the Roman and Greek ruins, Baroque and Renaissance art, and traditional festivals and events. These cities offer an opportunity to learn about the region’s rich cultural heritage and how it has evolved over time. 

Best time to go to Puglia with your family

Thanks to its mild weather, our region is a fantastic all-year round destination, so it really comes down to your preferences. Summer is perfect for those who like going to the beach and water sports, while in spring and autumn you enjoy the great outdoors hiking, cycling and more, especially if you book a bespoke hike which can be customized around your needs.  

In the first instance, you may want to choose your base either in Salento (Otranto, Porto Cesareo, Santa Maria di Leuca, Nardò, Maldive del Salento) or Monopoli, Polignano a Mare,  and the Gargano area (Peschici and Vieste). If you’re visiting Puglia in spring or fall, opt to stay in the Valle d’Itria area or in Matera, Lecce, Bari, Murgia or even Castel del Monte.

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