A holiday in Salento can be an unrepeatable travel experience.
From Salento, however, I must observe that, often, there are people who ruin their vacation because they have not prepared themselves adequately to visit this land of pristine beauty but which presents some difficulties to the unskilled tourist.
It is for this reason that, before leaving for a holiday in Salento, I invite you to read these seven tips.
1- What is Salento?
Some when they think of Salento, think of Lecce and the beaches, without considering that it is a real “region in the region”.
It is the place in Italy where there is the largest number of municipalities, almost all made up of small or tiny villages, but each jealous of its patronal feast and its typical product, its dialect.
If you want to say that you have shot the Salento, you can not help but see, in addition to Lecce, at least Otranto, Gallipoli, Santa Maria di Leuca, and the most beautiful beaches, such as the beaches that go from Leuca to Porto Cesareo, without exclude the most suggestive rocks, which are located on the Adriatic coast.
2- Roads and means to reach the Salento
By car: the fastest way is to take the A14 Adriatica motorway from Bologna to Taranto or the A1 to Caserta and continue on the A16 Napoli-Canosa-Bari. Important to plan the departure not to arrive on the bypass of Bari in the rush hour (from 12 to 14), not to remain engorged in traffic; from Bari follow the signs for Brindisi-Lecce and continue on your destination.
By train: rather convenient means as Lecce is well connected by Freccia Bianca or Argento trains to all major cities such as Milan, Bologna and Rome. I advise you to book the place at least 4/5 months in advance, given that near the holidays, comes in Salento a huge amount of tourists. With this advance it happens to also find good offers to travel spending little, thanks to the offers that Trenitalia offers periodically.
By plane: the nearest airport is Brindisi (40 km from Lecce), where flights from all over Italy arrive, with a journey of between one and one and a half hours. The airport is well connected to Lecce by the Sita shuttle, which takes about 40 minutes to take you to Largo Europa. These routes are also made by Ryan Air, so booking a bit ‘in advance you can find flights “low cost” at really low prices.
The advice I can give is to come to Salento by plane or train only if you plan to rent a car.
Public transport from Lecce to the coast is there, but especially in summer they are very congested, and you can not rely on it. In any case, to get around Salento by bus or local trains (FSE) visit the official website of the province.
3- Where to stay
Salento is a fairly extensive territory and has a coastline over two hundred kilometers long. The advice is therefore to find an accommodation in the hinterland.
Finding accommodation in the interior means having the opportunity to visit a beach or a different place every day, and also allows you to spend much less than the seaside resorts. Here you can find a map with all the best accommodations to sleep in all the Salento.
Conversely, accommodation near the sea makes it much more difficult to get from one side to the other. Finding a hotel or apartment near the sea can be interesting for families with small children, even if in summer the waterfront is full of people who make noise even late at night.
Before leaving, plan things to do and see and, above all, the means to move around. With the car it is easier to move, since many of the beaches are not served by the bus, but in any case it is good to take into account that the most coveted beaches after 10 am are stormed by the crowds of tourists.
The best thing to do is to arrive early in the morning or after midday, if you want to be late in the evening, so that most people have already gone to lunch.
In order not to miss important appointments of the Salento summer it is good to sign and plan in advance the participation in parties, festivals and concerts.
5- How to choose where to eat
For lunch, you can evaluate the possibility of eating fish in one of the restaurants along the seafront, paying attention to be advised by locals, to avoid nasty surprises. There are in fact some restaurants that open only in summer to benefit from the large influx of tourists.
An intelligent alternative that saves money and time could be to bring good sandwiches right on the beach. In fact, it can happen to find beaches where there are no facilities to eat. On various roads that reach the sea you will also find the typical fresh fruit stalls.
For the evening the choice is even wider because you can opt for one of the traditional restaurants inland, or for one of the many festivals and patronal festivals scheduled during the summer.
The village festivals and festivals give the opportunity to try the typical dishes of Salento day by day, spending very little.
6- Alternative for fun
The resorts along the beach offer in summer a bit of everything, discos, discobar but also parties and aperitifs on the beach.
The best thing to do is to go around in the villages, where the summer evenings are always full of events and events: from the festival where the pizzica is danced, almost inevitable dance to parties in Salento, to the white night with markets and festivals. Even the patronal festivals are suggestive to see and often enriched by fireworks.
7- Important things to see
Cities, places and monuments to see in Salento are wasted, so consider, if you have a limited time, to see at least:
The center of Lecce, whose baroque buildings are candidates for the recognition of UNESCO Heritage.
The sea caves of Santa Maria di Leuca: just take a boat to hire with or without skipper, to make an excursion from Santa Maria di Leuca to Otranto by sea. It is a stretch of jagged coastline overlooking the sea, and therefore it is necessary to see it by taking a boat.
The Aragonese Castle of Otranto and the entire historical center of the town more east of Italy.
The old city of Gallipoli with a visit to the box offices in the bourgeoisie. (preferably in the evening)
The panorama and the meeting between the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea in Santa Maria di Leuca.
With these seven tips you are ready to leave for a holiday in Salento.
Every occasion is good to visit this land where the summer season lasts from May to September and, in any case, it never disappoints expectations.