06 May 2022 Places

Bari – a miniature delight in the south of Italy

For those choosing to travel to more popular towns in the north of Italy, Bari and its surroundings are still a well-kept secret for tourists. For Italians on the other hand, its well known and is one of their favourite summer destinations with over 100 beaches in the area and numerous cultural and historical landmarks.

Through its laid-back atmosphere, Bari doesn't attempt to be flooded with tourists, rather it is able to offer you the true, authentic Italian experience.

We bring you a guide which will give you a glimpse into its beauties, and make organizing your trip easier.

Bari, Italy – basic information about the city

The city of Bari is located in the south-east of Italy, on the ‘heel’ of the Apennine peninsula, and the coast of the Adriatic sea. Because of its port and proximity to the Strait of Otranto, this city has always been of strategic importance, especially for ships and ferries that sail east towards the Balkans. Nowadays, it is an unavoidable place to visit, but much more than just a stop on the way to Croatia, Greece, Albania or Montenegro.

It is the ninth largest city in Italy, with a population of just over 300,000, and lies in the region of Puglia. It is located about 450 km from Rome, and about 250 km from Naples, the most significant town in the south of Italy.

The climate in this part of Italy is Mediterranean and well known for its warm temperatures – Bari is the dream summer destination.

The airport is located 8 km from the city, and reaching the city from there or vice versa can be done in several ways. The most affordable option is the public bus whose ticket costs one euro, the ride lasting 45-55 minutes. A faster alternative is the train, which takes only 15 minutes and costs 5 euros. Taking a taxi from the airport to the city centre would cost you roughly 25 euros.

For transport around the city and viewing landmarks in the area of Bari, the most cost efficient is to take the bus as opposed to the more expensive train. The bus routes in the city are well connected with little congestion, and the price of a ticket for a 75 minute ride is around 1 euro.

Landmarks in Bari – what to visit?

Bari is a lively Mediterranean town with a rich history, which you will quickly find out by looking at the architecture and the temperament of its inhabitants.

Four reasons why Bari should be on your list of must-see destinations:

  1. It is cheaper than other, more well-known cities in the north of Italy.
  2. It has great food and carefully nurtured culture and tradition.
  3. It has not lost its authenticity.
  4. It has a long coast line with welcoming beaches.

The old town is the greatest attraction and most important area of Bari. There you can find a handful of great places to take photos. It is characterized by high walls which protect the town from strong winds, narrow cobbled streets and white buildings bearing specific iron balconies. Laundry hangs out on almost every balcony and you can often hear neighbours chatting from across their terraces – proof that Bari is primarily a city full of life, and secondly a tourist attraction.

You must not miss the church of Saint Nicholas (Bazilika di San Nicola), a holy structure built in the year 1087 to contain the earthly remains of Saint Nicholas. The Nemanjić dynasty was once a great patron of basilicas, and nowadays believers in the catholic and orthodox religions come here for church ceremonies.

The cathedral of Saint Sabinus (Cattedrale di San Sabino) is a roman church from the 13th century with an underground crypt in which there are ancient relics.

The castle of Bari (Castello svevo di Bari) was built in the 12th Century and sports a garden surrounded by tall walls, which provide a magnificent view over the city.

The Mercantile square (Piazza Mercantile) can only be described as beautiful and charming, and an architecturally fascinating part of the old town you must visit.

The Petrucelli theatre (ita. Teatro Petruzzelli) is the fourth largest theatre in Italy. You will easily recognize it because of its orange facade.

Bari – Summer vacation and beaches

Apart from Sicily and Sardinia, the Puglia region has the longest stretch of maintained beaches in Italy - there are over 100 beaches extending over 800 km. Because of its many beaches, Puglia is a frequent summer destination for most Italians, with good reason.

The most famous beach in Bari is Lido San Francesco. On Bari’s private beaches, you have to pay 12 to 15 euros for sunbeds and umbrellas. Of course, there are public beaches as well, where you can lay your towel on the ground and enjoy yourself free of charge.

Shopping in Bari

Italy is well known for its shopping, and Bari is no exception, whether you want to buy local brands or famous, well known ones.

The best-known shopping street in Bari is Via Sparano, it lies in the centre of modern Bari and there you can find many well-known brand shops. The largest crowds occur around mid-July and last until mid-August, when you can find the highest discounts. If you have embarked on your journey with an empty suitcase and wish to fill it up, be sure to visit the Corso Cavour and Via Manzoni streets.

Don't miss the Via Napoli market, a flea market where every Monday a large number of people gather in search of unusual, affordable clothing – some new, some second hand.

Puglia – an outing near Bari

Bari is a great starting point for a tour of Puglia, because every landmark is just an hour’s drive from town. For those seeking more than relaxing on the beach, we present you the top locations to visit around Bari. They will leave you speechless.

Altamura is an interesting town which has retained its historical charm, and is famous for pane di Altamura - the most delicious bread in Italy – and a cathedral dedicated to the holy mother in the centre of the city. It is about an hour’s drive from Bari.

Egnazia is an ancient ruin from the 8th century B.C. and is the ideal place for historical lovers. It is also located an hour’s drive from Bari.

Alberobello is a magnificent town and also on the Unesco heritage list. It's well known for its traditional housing (truli), which represents one of the best examples of local architecture. For many, this destination is the main reason people visit the Puglia region.

Polignano a Mare is a city by the seaside about 50 km from Bari in which you can find Lama Monachile, the most famous beach in this part of Italy, as well as a beautiful plateau from which you have a marvellous view (Scogliera del Lungomare Modugno). This place is best known for its monument dedicated to Dominico Modugno, an Italian evergreen singer.

Bari – our tourist experiences

Despite its many attractions, Bari is a small town, and in case you are planning a tour around this region outside the summer season, take a few days of your time to visit the main landmarks both in and near the city. Of course, if you are travelling in summer, you can swim every day both in Bari and on the beautiful and varied beaches in the Puglia region.

If you've already visited cities like Milan, Rome or Venice, or want to get to know Italian culture in a different way, visiting Bari is one of the best options for your trip.

Air Serbia will be flying to Bari starting from June 2022. You can book flights to Bari from Belgrade (as well as other cities with a transit in Belgrade) on airserbia.com in just a few easy steps. Enjoy your vacation!

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