Puglia by Train Itinerary
December 12th, 2017 by Luiza
When we first decided to explore Puglia by train was after we bought very cheap tickets from Malta to Bari. The cold and rainy day made us decide that 3 days in Bari would be too much. And this is how we ended up visiting more than one city in the Puglia region. And we chose our favorite way of transport: the train. 😀 For us it is one of the most comfortable option, it is spacious and it gives you the opportunity to enjoy the scenery along the way.
Explore Puglia by Train
The southern part of Italy, representing the heel of the country’s boot shape, is the province of Puglia (Apuglia). Surrounded by Adriatic and Ionian Seas, it covers beautiful white towns, baroque architecture and unique trulli houses.
During our Puglia by train itinerary we will include two train operators we have relied on in this region: Tren Italia and Feroviare del Sud Est (FSE). Their schedule was quite accurate, maximum 5 minutes delay. The trains are basic, but clean and quiet (at least during off-season period).
Bari to Alberobello
The first train of our trip was of the FSE operator. The journey lasted 1 hour and 34 minutes and for €4,90/person it took us through Italian countryside where we could enjoy the olive groves and the autumn colors covering the fields. Unfortunately, part of this land was pretty untidy, with plastic bottles and garbage.
Alberobello is a remarkable place designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996. It is an entire town of trulli, whitewashed stone huts with conical roofs. Some of these houses are still inhabited homes but you can also find trulli museums or shops where you can observe the inside of the buildings.
The train station is about 6-10 minutes far from Piazza del Popolo, the starting point for discovering these amazing dwellings.
Alberobello to Locorotondo
This is a 10 minutes ride so do not make yourself too comfortable as you reach this city very fast. The train operator that we used for this route was FSE and the ticket cost us €1,10/person.
Locorotondo is located where the heel of the Italy’s boot starts. It is a small city with beautiful balconies and staircases, so it’s worth it to spend some time wondering the small concentric roads (from where the name of the city comes from) or to taste their local wine having aside a delicious pasta dish.
The train station is not very close to the city center, so make sure you have enough time to explore this city.
Locorotondo to Cisternino (via Martina Franca)
There is no direct train from Locorotondo to Cisternino, the only option is to catch a train to Martina Franca and then to find a train connection to Cisternino. The journey lasts 22 minutes in total (8 minutes to arrive in Martina Franca and other 14 minutes to reach Cisternino) and it cost €2,20/person (€1,10/person each way) or €1,40/person if you buy one ticket for both destinations. It is operated by FSE.
Our first question when we arrived in Cisternino was: What are we doing here????? :O It was a rainy day, the train station was closed, we were the only ones coming down from the train, there was nobody on the roads. It was a bit scary. 😕 It came into our minds to wait for the next train and to find another destination but why would we miss to discover a new place? This was another moment when we realized that fear always stops you to explore. We could miss a beautiful city situated on a peak of a hill, narrow streets surrounding the white stone houses and memorable landscapes.
Cisternino to Ostuni
The Cisternino train station we arrived in does not have a connection to Ostuni. We found out that there is another rail station 12 km far from that place. Therefore, the easiest option to arrive in Ostuni that night was by bus. The bus station is in Piazza Dei Navigatori and we paid for a ticket €1,10/person. Unfortunately we couldn’t enjoy the views as it was a rainy and windy night. But we could thawed our hands during the 40 min trip.
Ostuni to Lecce
Ostuni is considered one of the most beautiful Puglia’s cities. It is situated on a hilltop in the Valle d’Itria countryside, 8 km far from Adriatic Sea. It is a pretty place well known for its labyrinth of white alleys, archways, staircases and flowers. The train station in Ostuni is outside the city but there is always an urban bus that you can trust in. The ticket costs €0,90/person and it can be bought from Tobacco Shop if you stay close to Piazza della Liberta. For a detailed travel guide about Ostuni check here.
The trip from Ostuni to Lecce was handled by Tren Italia and it cost €5,60/person. The train has its own path through Italian’s green fields, next to stone fences, leaving behind big wind turbines. The journey time is 55 minutes.
Lecce is a baroque city in the South of Italy being one of the largest cities of Puglia region. Sometimes described as “Florence of the South“, this Baroque masterpiece is famous for its golden Leccese stone, churches and beautiful seasides.
Ostuni to Polignano a Mare
This stop wasn’t planned as we wanted to spend a full day in Bari on our way back but based on the Ostuni locals’ feedback we included it in our itinerary.
Polignano a Mare is spectacularly positioned above the crystal waters of Adriatic Sea. The small city on the limestone cliff is based on tourism, agriculture and fishing. It offers stunning coastal views, cliff diving experience and delicious food.
Spending 30 minutes by train while admiring the seashore it’s a very relaxing way of travel. And only for €3,20/person with Tren Italia.
Polignano a Mare to Bari
This is another 30 minutes trip with beautiful sea views and landscapes. We opted again for Train Italia and the amount of the ticket was €2,50/person.
Bari is one of the biggest and most important cities in the Southern Italy, with big avenues, pedestrian areas, parks and port to Adriatic Sea. The Bari Vecchia is a maze-like old town, notable for its Basilica di San Nicola and trattorias with traditional cuisine.
How to buy the tickets
We can honestly say that it was easier than we thought. There are 3 options for purchasing the tickets:
- Online using the train operator websites mentioned before. The prices are the same as buying directly from the offices of railway stations. You can also count on their online schedule.
- Ticket offices of railway stations. Get there 20 minutes before departure and you can easily purchase your tickets. Please keep in mind that there are some small terminals where the offices are closed due to little activity.
- Self service ticket machines. This option is easy and fast. You don’t have to worry if your Italian is not the best, you can always choose English language. 🙂
We opted for the second and third choices. It gave us more freedom to move around the cities, without being always in hurry to catch the train. It doesn’t matter which option you choose as long as you validate the tickets before departure.
We found the train journey relaxing, less tiring and enjoyable. Will you try this way of travel?