Monopoli is a lovely town in Italy. It is located in Puglia region and famous with its beautiful beaches. Monopoli is also very close to one of the big cities of Italy, which is Bari. People living in Bari are also coming to Monopoli beaches for swimming. Of course, Monopoli has a very nice old town and must-see attractions for tourists but I strongly suggest all visitors spend some time to discover amazing bays. I will try to give you an idea about the things that can be done in Monopoli, but you can also watch the interview video to get some special local advice. I’ve recorded the video with my dear friend Annarita who is an amazing host and the owner of La Torre e il Mare B&B .
In the Puglia region, the railway system is well developed. Trains are on time and you can even go to small villages by train. Just be sure that you check the timetable before going to the station from trenitalia.com. Monopoli is very close to Bari city centre. Therefore if you are staying in Bari and you don’t have time to discover other parts of Puglia, at least you can visit Monopoli for a different experience. You can reach Monopoli easily by car or train in half an hour.
Monopoli has many B&B options but I recommend the La Torre e il Mare B&B which is located at a very central point of the old town. This B&B is managed by Annarita who is a very friendly and helpful host. She welcomed us with a nice coffee and she created a sightseeing tour plan for us. So that we were able to cover many historical places and also many of the lovely beaches in a short time. For the beach tour, she has two bicycles in the reception area and you can use them if they are available. I liked that thoughtful idea and we gained time thanks to that opportunity.
One of the other things that I liked most in that B&B is the cute roof terrace. Watching the sunset with a glass of vine from here is a very good idea. If you are staying in this place you don’t need to look for any other place for the happy hour time before dinner. During our stay, we also had a chance to chat with Annarita in that terrace and learned more about the history, culture and of course, we gained a smiling friend which is more important than anything.
MONOPOLI OLD TOWN
1. Castello di Carlo V
The castle just next to seaside is built in 1552 to control and defense the port of Monopoli. In 1600 it was enlarged. In 19.th century it was used as a prison. Nowadays it is hosts important cultural events.
2. Monopoli Cathedral
Monopoli Cathedral is also known as Basilica of the Madonna Della Madia otherwise Santa Maria della Madia. It is the main and Roman Catholic cathedral of the town.
3. St. Leonardo Cathedral
Construction of the building was completed in 1745. It is one of the famous structures of Monopoli.
4. Church of St Francesco d’Assisi
It is an 18.th century structure built just outside of the town walls. The structure shows a linear Baroque but also has Renaissance shapes.
5. Church of St Giuseppe e Anna
This is one of a series of combination of churches and convents. It is located on the edge of the old town close to the new part of Monopoli.
6. Church of Purgatorio
This church is also known as Santa Maria del Suffragio. The baroque church was built using the local stone, which turns into a golden colour with time. The church is open just a few hours in the early evening. An interesting thing about this place is that it contains mummies.
7. Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi
This is the main square where most of the restaurants and bars are located. Buy yourself a dinner especially seafood in this square.
BEACHES OF MONOPOLI
1. Lido Santo Stefano
This beach is 20 min away from the Monopoli centre with a bicycle. You can have a sunbath by watching the cute castle near the sea. It has a charming atmosphere. Besides a private one, there is also a free public beach. Since it is not so close to the town centre, this beach is relatively quiet and there are fewer people.
2. Porto Marzana Piccolo
There is a private beach called “Marza”. It is not so big but very nice place with hammocks in the water. It was a pleasure to spend a couple of hours in this place. Don’t miss it! 🙂
3. Porto Bianco & Porto Rosso
These two are the closest bays to the Monopoli centre. If you don’t have so much time you can swim in one of these two public beaches. I must say that they are a bit overcrowded but still, the sea is nice.
4.Other Beach Recommendations
Here is a list of some other nice beaches recommended by locals. We couldn’t find time for them but maybe you can visit and let us know your opinion 🙂
Cala Paradiso, Cala Marena, Cala Cerasa, Lido La Perla Nera, Porto Ghiacciolo
After all, I can say that Monopoli is still not a very famous place especially among the foreigner tourists. That’s why you can enjoy a more local experience in this historic seaside town. 1 day maybe even half day is enough to discover Monopoli old town but for the beautiful beaches, you will need at least 2 days, so make your plans accordingly and have a nice time! 🙂
For another lovely place in Puglia region, you can have a look at my Lecce post. Enjoy! 🙂