5 reasons why Puglia is the perfect family holiday destination

There is no doubt that Puglia is the hottest place to visit in Italy at the moment in more ways than one! Certainly, its wonderful Mediterranean climate provides plenty of heat for much of the year, with long, hot Summers stretching from early May to September and with generally warm and pleasant temperatures even in the Spring and Autumn. But the reasons why it makes for a terrific family holiday destination stretch far beyond the sunshine that it offers.

Here are some of the top reasons to consider Puglia for your next family holiday.

Beautiful beaches and watersports

What child doesn’t like to spend time at the beach on holiday?!! Rest assured, Puglia boasts a great many great beaches to spend time at and, in this respect, will over the hearts of any family member. From top to bottom, Puglia actually boasts the longest coastline of any region in Italy and the sheer length means that the beaches are incredibly varied.

At one end you have the rocky, limestone cliffs of resorts such as Polignano al Mare and at the other extreme, there are the long sandy beaches of the Torre Guaceto Nature Reserve further South or the calm, shallow waters of Torre Pali on the other side of Italy’s heel, known affectionately as the ‘Maldives of Italy’ because of its long stretches of white golden sands. Whatever beach you try, one thing is pretty much guaranteed… the water will be incredibly clean and clear offering opportunities for plenty of water sports including snorkelling and sailing. You’ll also find the beaches here much quieter than further North in Italy where, in the height of the Summer, you can almost feel like a sardine packed in a tin lined up on identical loungers. In contrast, Puglia will feel quieter and much more relaxed…. and much more family friendly.

Zoosafari

Whilst perhaps not the most famous of Italy’s theme parks, Zoosafari Fasanolandia is certainly a key attraction for families visiting Puglia and one that will keep the children entertained for hours. Here you can enjoy a number of adrenalin filled rides to entertain even the most brave of teens in the family including the Rapid River and the Sputnik, a high speed experience involving a 30 metre tall tower! This is much more than just a park full of amusements rides though and there is plenty to occupy the younger ones too.

In many ways, Fasano Zoosafari is actually more like 3 parks in one. After all, you can also enjoy a fully operational zoo and safari park here, full of animals from tigers to lions, giraffes to gorillas and from zebras to panthers. A 4×4 ride will give you the chance to observe the wildest of animals, all in the safety of your jeep, whilst a train will take you around waterfalls and pools where you will be able to spot hippos, seals and bears. There is plenty to see on foot too including the Oceanic Zone where children will have a chance to get close to the dolphins. The Fasano Zoosafari park covers an area of 140 hectares in total and is home to around 1000 species making it one of the biggest safari parks in Europe. For those whose children love animals, why not treat them and offer them the chance to be a ranger for the day. You will need to book ahead and will need to arrive early but your children will enjoy the opportunity of helping staff with various daily animal activities.

Incredible architecture

Puglia is an incredibly varied region in terms of the architecture it offers. Lecce’s Baroque architecture couldn’t be more different from the ancient Greek and Neolithic sites also on offer to visitors in Puglia. But probably its most famous architectural gems, and those which never fail to win over the hearts of youngsters are its unique hobbit-style houses known as trulli.

The trulli have an endless fascination for visitors, whatever their age, but they seem to captivate children more than anyone else. Perhaps it reflects their size or perhaps it’s the fact that they seem to have stepped right out of one of the trilogy of Hobbit movies. Who knows?!! Nowhere are these more easy to spot than in Puglia’s most famous town – Alberobello. This has the highest concentration of trulli with over 1000 crammed into a tiny space now designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Waterparks

Perhaps not surprising given its warm climate, Puglia boasts a number of waterparks which never fail to entertain the younger members of the family and to keep them cool even in the hottest of Summer days. The furthest North of these is the ‘Acquapark Ippocampo’, whilst further South there is also the smaller ‘Acqua In’ waterpark in Carovigno along with ‘Carrisland’ in Cellino San Marco. The latter also offers other attractions to keep the children amused including the opportunity for the children to learn about the life of native Americans in the Kocis Indian village as well as to meet some of their favourite animals in the mini zoo.

Also amongst the best of those on offer is Splash which is an enormous water park situated close to Gallipoli. As well as having plenty of waterslides to enjoy, this park also boasts trampolines, a miniature train, water bumper cars and more. And finally, let’s not forget the Acquapark Egnazia too near to Monopoli. Suffice it to say, wherever you base your family holiday in Puglia, there will be a waterpark not too far away!

Food

Whether your child will wolf down whatever is put in front of them, or whether they are at the other extreme and pick at their plates of food, anyone travelling with children will know how important it is that mealtimes abroad avoid stress. Rest assured, the food in Puglia is superb. Even Italians visit Italy to enjoy the food on offer! It’s all about the quality of the ingredients and you won’t find better quality than in the heel of Italy.

A great way to entertain the children on holiday is to really take the opportunity to inspire them with the Italian love of food. Why not enjoy a cookery class with them? There are some great options available… some include a trip to the local market where you have the opportunity of selecting the food that you’d like to cook up into a feast, all under the guidance of an expert chef. Or why not opt for a pasta making class at your own holiday villa in Puglia? Pasta is a great hands-on experience for all the family to enjoy and something that the children can excel in over the adults very easily!

Jo Mackay is Owner of Bookings For You. Bookings For You is a company offering apartment and villa rentals in Italy and France.

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Comments (6)

  1. Stephen says:

    The whole world loves Italy and the real bonus is that the kids love pasta, pizza and ice-cream too. Even better is that Puglia is off the beaten track and a little quieter. It’s a place that keeps everyone happy as you can sneak in a bit of adult time with a small dose of culture on your way to the water park or the Zoosafari. Autumn when the summer heat isn’t as baking is a great time to visit. And Mum and Dad can relax with a great glass of wine once the day is done.

  2. Jane says:

    Am I just a pushy Mum? But do other Mums feel that when you take your family on holiday there should be a little bit of education somewhere in the mix? Puglia sounds like a great half-term break for October. Sun, fun and some learning.

    • Jo Mackay says:

      I think the best thing is when you are effectively educating the children without them even realising they are learning! I personally believe that travel is a wonderful education in itself. Just being in another country allows you to experience another culture, different foods, a new language. And there is plenty for children to absorb in Puglia!

  3. Kristine Logan says:

    From your blog, Puglian sounds like a dream. I’ve never heard of this place, and have only ever planned on visiting the Amalfi Coast in Italy, aside from Rome and Vatican, of course. Beach, safari, and authentic, rustic Italian pasta and hands-on lessons? Count me in!

    • Jo Mackay says:

      Fantastic! I am sure you will love Puglia. The Amalfi Coast is also stunning…. That said, I’m yet to find anywhere in Italy that is not incredibly beautiful!

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