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Too touristy?

Charlottesville...
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135 posts
31 reviews
28 helpful votes
Too touristy?

I know Polignano must be a popular spot, so I am prepared for some level of tourism. However, I read the below review and it really turned me off. We are staying in Martina Franca and Gallipoli for about 4 nights each prior to our last stop. We are deciding between Trani and Polignano. I am more inclined to go with Polignano because, unlike Trani, it has a nice beach. However, going to a place that is bland an Un-italian (due to being overly touristed) is not how we will want to end our trip. We want good authentic Puglian food and access to decent beaches for our last leg. Any input on my concerns is appreciated. Also, heres the article I referenced:

travellingpantaloni.com/polignano-a-mare-loo…

10 replies to this topic
Naples, Italy
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2,833 posts
32 reviews
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1. Re: Too touristy?

If you don't like touristiness, you may wanto to rethink about Gallipoli as well :) Not that Polignano is un-Italian, but yes, it's definitely very touristy.

When are you going to Puglia? You may appreciate the rocky coastline from Otranto to Leuca by the way, it's not as crowded as other popular destinations in Puglia, and those landscapes are one of a kind.

Charlottesville...
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135 posts
31 reviews
28 helpful votes
2. Re: Too touristy?

Thanks for the input. Is Otranto less touristy than Gallipoli? We actually picked Gallipoli over Otranto because we thought it was a little less touristy. I dont mind places with tourists, but i have been to some places in Greece where the local flavor is gone in favor of English breakfasts and Irish style pubs.

At the end of the day, its certainly possible that Polignano and Gallipoli are tourist compared to other spots in Puglia, but still not very touristy when you consider other popular destinations in Italy. This will be my first time to Puglia so it's hard to gauge. I have only been to the Piedmont region before and found it very unspoilt, even in spots where there were tourists.

Cardiff, United...
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3. Re: Too touristy?

We’ve stayed in both Trani and Polignano and would happily go back to either. In fact we visited both again last year but just for a few hours as we were staying elsewhere.

The article to which you referred clearly makes the point that it was a Red Bull Cliff Diving competition which caused the large crowds. It doesn’t happen every week. Polignano is not very large and so the impact would have been proportionally greater. Diving off those cliffs has always been something that locals do. A friend who now lives in Cardiff but is originally from Polignano confirms this. We watched a few young local lads doing it on our last but one visit. I’m afraid it’s only ghastly companies like Red Bull who spoil and homogenise so many things that that were unique.

Polignano is certainly not bland. (Ditto Trani). It is small though, and we have noticed that tourist numbers have increased since our first stay in 2012.

You will get very good food throughout Puglia. Provided that you avoid places - like the cave - which cater for both Italian and foreign tourists.

If your main interest is in good beaches then you might prefer the Porto Cesareo / Punto Prosciutto area NW of Gallipoli. However, these are essentially Italian holiday resorts. They are therefore “touristy”. But it’s mainly Italian tourists.

Whilst you’re in Gallipoli you might go down to the Baia Verde, just south of the town. There are some pleasant Lido there.

Trani: We found a pleasant Lido at the sandy beach (which we prefer) on the South side of Trani so I’m not sure how you’ve determined that Polignano has the better beaches. The main beach at Polignano - a public beach - is small and is largely a pebble beach. There are other beaches outside Polignano but we haven’t tried them.

Edited: 2:48 pm, August 05, 2018
Cardiff, United...
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4. Re: Too touristy?

I’ve just seen your second post jcp.

At the first sight of an “Oirish Bar” “ we are off.

Ditto the FEB experience.

We haven’t seen any in Puglia.

Puglia has essentially catered for Italian tourists. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so pleasant.

Charlottesville...
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135 posts
31 reviews
28 helpful votes
5. Re: Too touristy?

"Touristy" is a word that can mean different things to different people I suppose. To be more specific, I dont think I would mind anywhere catering to Italian tourists. I'm mostly concerned about getting watered down versions of real Italian food, which wouldn't happen if they are serving other Italians.

We also like atmospheric old towns, which lend themselves to tourism. For example, in Gallipoli, we are staying in the old town, not at the nearby beaches.

Polignano sounds like it might be what we're looking for. By mid-September hopefully the crowds will have died down. Still torn between that town and Trani. We will have a toddler, so the ability to walk to the town beach in Polignano is better for us than a longer walk or drive to the one near Trani (I had read reviews here that were saying beaches near Trani were not nice, but that may just be by Puglia standards).

As an alternative, would anyone recommend staying in Bari instead of Polignano or Trani? We just need to be within about 45 min of the Bari airport to make a 0830 morning flight out last day.

Naples, Italy
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2,833 posts
32 reviews
20 helpful votes
6. Re: Too touristy?

Hi, mid-September is an excellent period to enjoy Puglia: perfect weather (pleasantly warm, not too hot) and not many tourists around. Both Gallipoli and Polignano, which are very crowded in summer, will be more quiet, Gallipoli in particular, since it tends to get more internal tourism, and in recent years has become utterly popular between Italian youngsters...imagine a weird mix between Ios and Magaluf with an Apulian twist. But when the crowds are gone, Gallipoli comes back to its regular state of grace. Indeed Gallipoli's Old Town is one of the most charming and atmospheric of Southern Puglia (also known as Salento), and by mid-September it will be quieter, so I would not change this part of your trip.

Generally speaking, Otranto is quieter and a bit less touristy than Gallipoli...that part of Puglia doesn't get many tourists because of the lack long sandy beaches which are abundant in the rest of the region, I guess. I mean, there are still tourists, many tourists, but I've also noticed it's quieter in comparison to the Ionian Salento coasts or to the coast between Monopoli and Ostuni.

By mid-september Polignano too will be a bit more quiet, although there are other destinations nearby you can consider, not just Trani. For instance Monopoli - desping being popular amoung tourists too - is a bigger town, a bit rougher than Polignano, with some good restaurants and eateries...it would be a nice base to spend some days. More inland you could consider Conversano, which has one of the most beautiful historic centres in that part of Puglia. North of Bari you could also consider the seaside locality of Giovinazzo, which is very charming and with almost no tourists.

Just giving some suggestions, of course it's up to you to decide.

Charlottesville...
Level Contributor
135 posts
31 reviews
28 helpful votes
7. Re: Too touristy?

Thank you all so much for your input. We ended up finding a great place to stay in Gallipoli and I would have a hard time giving it up. If we find something comparable in Otranto, I think we might go for a switch there, but I'm not counting on it. In Trani we also have a very nice apartment booked, but I am still torn between there and Polignano for the last few days as I've seen one or two comparable apartments there. I'm sure we won't be disappointed no matter what. It's just matter of deciding which one to base ourselves in versus which to do a day trip to.

Thanks again for all the input. It's been very helpful.

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8. Re: Too touristy?

Hi, we visited Puglia in 2015 and stayed in both Polignano a Mare and Otranto in very different types of accommodation: in Polignano we stayed B&B in one of the apartments of Casa Dorsi while in Otranto we opted for a regular hotel the Profumo di Mare right on the seafront. The two could not have been any more different and both were very good - especially Casa Dorsi. We found there were mostly organised day trips visiting PaM so it was quieter at night and perfect for us. The food in every place we visited was what I would describe as traditional Italian - especially the pizzas in Otranto where we had the most enormous pizza to share at La Bella Idrusa right outside the walls of the Torre Alfonsina. I am sure you will not be disappointed in any of the choices you have made so far, but don't miss PaM even if only for a day trip

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9. Re: Too touristy?

Hi i hope you dont mind me asking but ive found your posts as me and my husband are looking for a similar thing. Wanting a month in Italy with our 12 year old next year... Would you mind me asking you where you found please? We want somewhere by the beach, feeling authenic but not quiet with nothing to do but not full of British tourists!!!

Dana Point...
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6 reviews
8 helpful votes
10. Re: Too touristy?

We are driving from Otranto where we stayed in fabulous and affordable accommodations to Polignano for our last 2 nights. Otranto was perfect for beach day tripping to Porto Cesareo- just one hour and then driving along the Adriatic coast . We chose our coast based on the winds. We stayed at Borgo de li Santi - fabulous pool, small resort / apartments, new with great hospitality. I’ll post a trip report when we get home . We decided on PaM to just have a differen experience before flying to Rome On Sunday.

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