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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Valenti

My trip to Salento in only 5 days: what you can not miss

Salento in 5 days! A few tips if you are planning your holiday but you do not have many days available in this Italian wonderful place.

  • Day 1: Punta Prosciutto, Porto Cesareo, Gallipoli

  • Day 2: Maldive del Salento, Cave di Bauxite, Otranto

  • Day 3: Alberobello, Polignano

  • Day 4: Porto Cesareo, Lecce

  • Day 5: Grotta della Poesia, Baia dei Turchi

Punta Prosciutto (Porto Cesareo)

We chose to start with Punta Prosciutto, a long wild and unspoiled beach near Porto Cesareo.

If you want you can settle in some establishment but we had some packed lunch so decided to stay on the free beach. As soon as we arrived we bought two wonderful inflatables, Ferdy and Lello, in one of the vendors you find on the shoreline, very useful to survive the long hot days in the water. On Saturdays the beach is quite crowded, but despite being mid-July it was fine, there were enough people but nothing unbearable.

What can I say? The water is wonderful, very blue, it seems almost impossible that it's Italy, colors so bright and intense they are certainly difficult to forget.

Lido le Dune – Fashion Beach (Porto Cesareo)

A few meters from the protected marine area of ​​Porto Cesareo, in one of its most beautiful stretches of coast you'll find this trendy establishment where you can spend a day on the beach, have lunch or dinner on a splendid terrace overlooking the wonderful sea or treat yourself with a snack at the bar. The area was quite crowded but the sea is really worth it.

If you want, on the right of the establishment you'll find a free beach are. It was very crowded and I honestly prefer quieter places, but if you like comfort, this is definitely the place for you.


Gallipoli, so called from the Greek Kalè Polis, is truly unmissable, you can enjoy splendid sunsets and get lost in exploring this pearl between the old part, connected to the mainland thanks to a seventeenth-century bridge, at the ends of which rise the Angevin castle and the Greek fountain- Roman, considered the oldest in Italy.

In the old town, a labyrinth of cobbled streets will lead you to the unmissable Basilica of Sant’Agata and places devoted to local taste such as the folkloric fish market, perfect for an aperitif at sunset.

Gallipoli is the capital of Salento entertainment, full of night clubs and beaches full of youth; unfortunately we were unable to experience this aspect due to the restrictions imposed by COVID.

We arrived just in time for sunset, having lost about 40 minutes to find a park neart the harbor. If you are in the area, consider some time to leave the car, especially on weekends. Once we managed to find a totally illegal park, we headed to the restaurant for dinner, "Il Bastione", located on the walls of the old city, overlooking the sea, enjoying a splendid view. If the weather is nice , ask for a table outside, you won't regret it!

After a fantastic dinner we walked towards the historic center, among the markets and we entered the narrow streets full of typical shops and clubs where we stopped for a quick drink before going back home.

Maldive del Salento (Pescoluse)

A magical place that, as the name implies, takes you to the sea of ​​the islands in the Indian Ocean: the Maldives! In this part of Salento there is Pescoluse and its white beaches of fine sand bathed by the Ionian Sea.

This is a real paradise, absolutely a must see in your holiday in Salento. To reach this beach, we passed the huge deck chair located at the entrance to the parking lot, where we obviously took some photos. From here you can reach the paid parking which gives you the opportunity to leave the car very close to the beach at a nice price.

Once there you can choose whether to stop in one of the numerous bathhouse, or at the end of the free beach. We decided for the last one, remaining close enough to the last beach club, so that we can use the bathroom and the bar in case of need. Honestly, given the day, perhaps it would have been better to bring a sunshade, because being in the scorching sun all day gave us a nice burn. Luckily with Lello and Ferdy we were able to spend most of the day in the cool water, and again thanks to our Calabrian neighbors that at a certain point lent us some of their shade!

Cava di Bauxite (Otranto)

The "Red Lake" is a former quarry of Bauxite, a mineral from which aluminum is obtained. After they abandoned it, thanks to the infiltration of water from one of the many aquifers, a small lake was born and its water became of a particularly intense color due to the presence of residues in the quarry.

It's just 1.5km from the center of Otranto, and can be reached either on foot from the city or by car thanks to the parking lot located a few meters from the lake at the end of a well-signed road. This was one of the must see on my plan! Even Giulia had never visited it, despite her family is from this area.

We found the place quite easily and, leaving the car in the parking lot, we headed towards the quarry; access is free and bathing is prohibited. It's a breathtaking spectacle, one of those things that you only see once in a lifetime. It literally feels like being on Mars. I recommend going there at sunset, because the colors of the sun accentuate the red of the ground giving you a magical view. It was not very crowded and we were able to do the tour and see everything quietly. Keep in mind you might get dirty with red, so watch what out what you wear and also the shoes you choose, avoid white clothing!


Otranto, the easternmost town of Italy, is absolutely charming, a stunning seaside town. The center is fascinating and unique, absolutely worth seeing: the white houses, one on top of the other, overlook a maze of cobbled streets between hanging clothes and craft shop. At sunset the colors of the center of Otranto become truly wonderful, all to be enjoyed.

It is surrounded by walls that kept it safe from invaders and the Aragonese Castle.

To see the exteriors of the Caste you won't pay, while for the interiors, the walls, ramparts, the undergrounds and the towers it is possible to buy a combined ticket. Absolutely the most beautiful city among those we have had the time to visit. We arrived in time for a breathtaking sunset from the walls, with a spectacular view of the center.

After that, we headed to the centre, looking for a place to dine. After a lot of wandering we stopped by Sofish for an excellent fish sandwich and salad, and with a full stomach we ventured among the various shops and cafes among the white streets of Otranto.


Also known as the "capital of the trulli", Alberobello is a village whose architectural uniqueness and historical importance have been recognized by Unesco and the city has been a World Heritage Site since 1996.

We headed to Alberobello early in the morning, taking advantage of a cloudy: it's easy to visit the trulli of Alberobello in a short time, half a day was enough for us. We left the car in the parking lot near the village and we headed towards the district of Rione Monti, made up of 1030 trulli. These are lined up along the edges of eight streets that proceed towards the top of the hill, on which stands the church of Sant’Antonio da Padova, also in the shape of a trullo. Here there are trulli of all kinds, the best known however are the Siamese Trulli, joined at the top. Once connected by an external door, it is said that they were separated following a feud between two brothers, in love with the same girl. Many of the trulli in this area are home to small shops where you can do some shopping and find lots of cute and super typical things.

To admire the Rione Monti from above and enjoy a spectacular panorama, just go to Alberobello center, in Piazza Gian Girolamo D'Acquaviva D'Aragona, here is the Belvedere roof terrace or Terrazza di Santa Lucia, or ask to go up to the inside of some trulli with the terrace. It's a magical place, which you absolutely must visit once in your life. I fell in love with it. The colors, the shapes, everything will take you back in time.


Lama Monachile

Lama Monachile is the first thing you imagine if you say Polignano or if you look at photos or videos online, and it is therefore something you have to see absolutely. These are two rock walls that fall overhanging the sea and surround an inlet of sand and water. The beach is located in the center and in Roman times it was used as a landing place for ships arriving from the East. Today it is one of the most popular places in Polignano and even when there's a lot of people, the beauty of the place makes it worth.

So, our visit could not start from this place, where we stationed in the early afternoon to enjoy some sun after the trek around the trulli. The weather was still a bit cloudy, and the beach was quite crowded, but it was still worth it. It is a magical and suggestive place. Do not miss the view from the Bourbon Bridge on the Lama, especially at sunset.

Centro storico di Polignano

Every cultures that have changed over in Polignano over the centuries are still present in the historic center of the town: white houses and flowered balconies, streets that resist the passage of time and a unique and poetic touch: in fact, the center of Polignano is full of poems written in the most unthinkable corners (on the ground, on the walls, on the doors) by the now famous “Guido, the Flaneur”. We went at sunset, discovering wonderful views of the sea and enjoying an unforgettable sunset.

After an aperitif in the center we went down to the narrow streets of Polignano, we walked around the little shops and stopped by the famous Pescaria for dinner.


The largest city in Salento, it's a true gem! Baroque architecture goes very well with the use of local stone for the construction of palaces and structures. The city is always alive, and it's really a pleasure to be trapped by its narrow streets, to sit in one of the many places where you can taste wine and local products, before closing the day with a real Salento aperitif based on rustic and leavened products.

In Lecce every road lead to Piazza Sant’Oronzo, you can't miss it, where you can admire the Roman Amphitheater, dating back to the second century, then continue on to Piazza del Duomo and the Basilica of Santa Croce. We made a stop at the Casa del Tarallino, where we had a tasting of taralli, which served as an aperitif, and then, to stay light, a quick dinner at the La Rusticana, where we literally enjoyed some Apulian specialties.

Grotta della Poesia

It has been included in the ranking of the most beautiful natural pools in the world and it's connected to a smaller cave by a channel.

Not far from the caves you can admire the vestiges of a system of walls dating back to the same period, the remains of a sixteenth-century watchtower and a manor overlooking the sea and the sanctuary of the Madonna di Roca. It is an unmissable natural spectacle if you are in this area; a few days before we went, an entrance fee of 3 euros was introduced, and there is a ban on bathing, but you can still see many people diving and bathing

Baia dei Turchi - Otranto

Located a few kilometers from Otranto, Baia dei Turchi has been called this way because apparently this is where the Turks landed and then invaded the area. The bay is characterized by fine white sand and celestial waters. The beach is divided between free beach and a private one and the sea slopes gently behind a pine forest that you will have to cross by foot from the parking lot. The area is almost always crowded, but we managed to find a space iand settle down and enjoy the day

We had Carmiano as a base, a small village not far from Porto Cesareo and Lecce: we were staying in Giulia's family home and I must say that as a starting point it was very convenient to get anywhere in the Gargano. If I were to return, I would probably always opt for an area that makes every point of interest easily accessible, something that is a bit at the center of everything, such as Lecce.

Restaurants and local products:

Breathtaking location on the walls of Gallipoli, ideal for a romantic dinner with excellent fish dishes and local products. Remember to book early and request a table in the outdoor area by the sea, it's very popular but it is absolutely worth it.

A very easy place in the center of Otranto, where you can eat divinely, excellent gourmet sandwiches with fresh fish and local products. Delicious and very quick service, ideal if you are in a bit of a hurry like us. Do not be scared if there is a some queue, as the service is quick, the wait will certainly be short.

We absolutely wanted to go there after hearing so much about it but we were honestly a little disappointed. Maybe because we didn't choose the famous sandwiches for which it is so renowned. We will try again next time.

Very good rotisserie in the center of Lecce, ideal for take-away or to nibble on something walking through the narrow streets of the city. Excellent typical dishes, not too light! Do not miss the panzerotti, both fried and baked!

Shop specializing in the sale of Apulian tarallini, orecchiette and other local products. You can choose from the most absurd and unthinkable tastes, and try them all before purchasing. Unmissable if you are in the area!

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