Polignano a Mare is a town in the southern Italy, located on the Adriatic sea. It is a very charming place and although it is quite small, you can make it a destination itself and book a couple of days to wander around its elegant streets, while enjoying the breathtaking views and the turquoise sea.
Not long ago, Polignano a Mare was hidden indeed from the eyes of the tourists, because very few foreigners had this town marked on their bucket lists. While Alberobello – which is just a 30 minutes drive from Polignano – started stealing the hearts of tourists, Polignano still remained a mystery for many. Until one day, when a photo of a narrow pebble beach surrounded by golden cliffs and white houses washed by one of the most vibrant turquoise waters, reached the mainstream. This photo would put Polignano a Mare on the map and change the course of the entire area.
This was the photo of Lama Monachile, also known as Cala Porto, the small pebble beach of Polignano.
Lama Monachile (Cala Porto)
The most famous beach, yet one of the smallest beaches you probably have seen. It is surrounded by two rocky cliffs and it has become one of the most photographed spots on the entire coast. It is right next to the historical center so you can’t really miss it, but it will be an adventure to reach the water. There is a bridge that passes through town, where you can get amazing photos and you will have to find the path that goes underneath the bridge and straight to the water.
When I first saw all the amazing photos on the internet, I thought they were all captured with a drone. However, you will be surprised to find many spots scattered around the old town that offer you this precise view.
The beach itself is about 40m wide and in summer is really crowded, but the water is sublime. If you can get over the pebbles that will make it very difficult to walk barefoot and jump into the water and swim past the stones, then you will have one of the best swimming experiences ever. The water is so clear and its magical colors will mesmerize you.
It also has great spots for cliff jumping, if you are an adventurer at heart. Nonetheless, I would be very careful because there are lots of hidden stones in the water, so it’s best to test the water first and not jump without knowing what it might unveil.
If you prefer sandy beaches, I highly recommend you visit another town, just a 14 minutes train ride from Polignano, called Monopoli. Even if it doesn’t have such spectacular cliff views, it is just as charming as Polignano and the water is wonderful.
Explore The Old Town
The part I love the most when discovering a new city is wandering the streets, exploring its corners and getting lost. Polignano a Mare is perfect for this! Every corner is incredibly photogenic and you may feel like you are on a movie set.
Not only that it is sparkling clean, but everything around is perfectly well arranged. Every flower and every ornament seem to be in a perfect frame.
It will not take you more than 1 day to see the entire town, enjoy the sea and the local food and drinks. There are many shops around with Italian fashion or handmade clothes, souvenirs, ceramics and local handcrafts. However, there are even more restaurants and pubs where you can enjoy great bruschette with drinks.
Make sure to find a restaurant with rooftop view or spectacular terrace that overlooks the water, to enjoy more the breathtaking views of Polignano a Mare.
Did you know?
Domenico Modugno, the Italian singer who wrote the famous song “Nel blu dipinto di blu” (also known as “Volare”) was born in Polignano a Mare.
How To Get There
The easiest way to reach Polignano a Mare is from Bari. I have stayed a couple of nights in Bari and traveled from there, very easily by train, to all the Apulian coast. You can also stay in Polignano, as accommodations are not at all expensive.
Italy has a very good and efficient infrastructure, so it is easy to travel around by train. From Bari to Polignano a Mare, the ride is about 40 minutes and it costs 2-3 euros per person. There are also lots of trains that go back and forth during the day, but double check the schedule on Google maps before departure, just to not kill too much time in the station.
It’s the same train that goes to Monopoli, so if you wish to visit that town as well, don’t get off at Polignano and ride one more station by train.