We had a very limited time during our trip to Puglia last year in Gallipoli, and we actually could not visit Baia Verde nor any of its beautiful beaches. So this year we decided to spend enough time exploring the area.
But let’s start with the town.
Gallipoli, which is a very popular name used in restaurants, songs, films, books and a peninsula in northwestern Turkey, means beautiful city.
The town of Gallipoli is divided into two parts, the modern and the old city. The latter is located on a limestone island, linked to the mainland by a bridge built in the 16th century.
The main attractions in Gallipoli are in the old town, so crossing the bridge. The parking lot is called Parcheggio Porto Gallipoli, which is very convenient as you have the stairs leading to the main area. However; it gets super busy during high season. It’s a ticket-based system, and most of the time the machines do not accept cards, so better to have coins ready.
If you are lucky to park the car (it may take some time), you can then start walking around the old town. The most popular activity is to see the sunset at Spiaggia della Purità (see picture above) which is next to the church of the same name. You can then walk all around the island on Riviera Sauro, where you can find bars and restaurants facing the sea. And then also take the streets inland where more shops and restaurants are available.
Other attractions include Gallipoli Castle and the Rivellino Tower, standing apart from the main building. There are also many churches, such as Basilica Cattedrale Sant’Agata Vergine e Martire and Chiesa Santa Maria degli Angeli. Across the bridge, on the mainland, is the Greek Fountain, dating from the Renaissance.
In terms of restaurants in town, one of the most recommended is Angolo Blu. We had delicious fish and pasta in a very traditional way. It was a recommendation from our host Stefania and we liked it a lot. Another year we tried La Frascera, an authentic local butcher shop that also serves dinner. The menu includes 5 pieces of meat/sausage, salad, wine and water for only €15.
Last year we stayed at a beautiful Masseria outside town, at about 15/20 minutes drive. It is called Masseria Pitanni and it was again an amazing experience. If you don’t mind the distance and prefer quieter places, and if you like food in particular, this is a great choice.
Its host Stefania has a passion for its masseria and her cooking that is admirable. She even wrote books about it. The breakfast includes many savoury and sweet things, and they are all homemade. She even prepares the Nutella and yoghurt. Expect to have friselle, quiche, pasticiotti, lavender cookies and many other things. Stefania also produces olive oil, wine and jams, which can be purchased there. Our room was spacious and comfortable and has its own garden, and there is a swimming pool as well.
This year we were decided to stay closer to Baia Verde’s beaches, but close enough to the old town so we could get there by foot, avoiding the parking issue.
So we stayed at B & B Sud, and we think it was a good choice. It’s a few steps from the seafront and from Lido San Giovanni Beach. The centre of Gallipoli can be reached in a 20-minute walk. The rooms are comfortable and spacious. A decent sweet breakfast is served every morning on the terrace and includes pastries, marmalade, as well as hot and cold drinks. There is also luggage storage space at the property.
Baia Verde and its beaches
Baia Verde was initially a small suburb of the largest city of Gallipoli, was originally intended for the summer residences of those who lived in the neighbouring cities and who in the summer moved towards the sea.
Over the years, the neighbourhood has become an attraction for tourists from all parts of Italy and also from abroad, looking for a combination of beach, green forest and a historical old town like Gallipoli.
This year, probably due to the pandemic, the tourist we encounter were mostly Italian. An additional clarification is that depending on the area there could be many young people in groups, some of them partying. It was not particularly noisy anyway, so I think it worth staying in the area.
There are many private and public beaches in the area, also restaurants, parking lots and even masserias and B & B. Some accommodations in can book an umbrella for you if you ask with a special discount.
Bear in mind that Lido in Italy means a private beach or club, while Spiaggia is a public beach.
You will find many of those along the seafront. Lido San Giovanni, Lido Blue Bay Beach, Lido Baia Verde and Lido Helios are some examples of private beaches where you can rent umbrellas and sunbeds and enjoy their facilities.
In terms of public beaches, you can find Spiaggia Club and Spiaggia di Baia Verde, both not too far from Gallipoli town.
If you go a bit further south, by car or bicycle, you will find the best beaches. Our favourite one was Spiaggia dei Foggi (see picture above). We went by car, which we parked on one side of the main road, walked around a hundred metres and found a great spot. Not too many people and a mix of rocks, sand and forest.
Punta della Suina
One of the most beautiful and popular beaches is Spiaggia di Punta della Suina (see pictures above).
Expect blue and shallow waters with a pleasant breeze. It’s a mix of thin sand, pebbles, tiny cliffs and vegetation at the back. The area is particularly busy during the high season, so the general recommendation is either to book a spot or go early, ideally at 9 am. Parking costs between €6 and €10 for a day.
However; Punta della Suina is mostly a private beach club. There are some free and public spaces, but very limited. It is also pricy, so don’t be surprised if you have to pay €3 for a coffee.
So this is our best and main recommendation for this post. Drive to Spiaggia dei Foggi, leave your car there and also find a good spot for your umbrella and beach stuff. After spending some time there, take the footpath within the forest, which is mostly in the shade, until you get to Punta della Suina. But don’t follow Google, which may take you through the main road and not the forest.
The map above shows the parking area, which is simply whatever space you find alongside the main or the smaller roads.
When it comes to the footpath, it is also marked in black on the map. Note that the path is not well marked and clear the whole way, but most of it. You may need to improvise a bit, but you shouldn’t have any problems making your way to Punta della Suina.