The Gargano Promontory, the northeastern part of Puglia known as the spur of the boot, offers a complete vacation in one place. From clean beaches and picturesque seaside towns to charming inland villages and the mountains of the Gargano National Park, there is a lot to see. Here’s how to have a fabulous 48 hours on the Gargano Promontory.
Start your day with pastries, coffee, and organic juice (made from fruit grown on the family farm) at Bar Pasticceria Pizzicato, on the main square of Vico del Gargano. Sit outside and enjoy a look at local life.
Drive down the hill to the coast road toward the pretty town of Peschici. Before you reach the town, stop at the lookout point by an ancient tower. Enjoy the fabulous views of Peschici, the sea, and the trabucco where you’ll have lunch. Work up an appetite by wandering along the pedestrian streets of Peschici’s historic center.
For an amazingly fresh seafood meal head to Il Trabucco di Monte Pucci – advance reservations recommended. Your lunch will come straight from the sea where it was caught that morning at the trabucco. Choose what you’d like from the display of fresh fish. Pastas and desserts are made in house so everything is as fresh as you can get. After lunch guests have use of the private beach for a swim or relaxing.
In the evening stroll around the historic center of Vico del Gargano, on the list of “the most beautiful small towns in Italy”. Take a look at the narrow alleyways, called “kissing alleys”, where lovers were said to come to steal a kiss as they passed in the tight space.
For your evening meal go to Cantina Il Trapetto, a renovated olive oil mill in the center, where you’ll dine on tables that were once millstones. They have a variety of small plate dishes so you can try a few of the local specialties. Before dinner you can also return to Bar Pasticceria Pizzicato for an apertivo made with their organic juices.
Start your second day by visiting the outdoor market in Vico di Gargano (except on Sunday) to buy picnic supplies. Or for a great lunch in the forest call (39) 338 334 5544 in advance to make a reservation for lunch at the Rifugio Sfilzi Posto Ristoro. Head away from the coast toward Foresta Umbra, the wooded center of Gargano that’s part of the Gargano National Park.
Stop in at the visitor center, open only on weekends except during summer, to pick up maps of hiking trails. Have your picnic on the tables here if you’re ready for lunch. The park has many good hiking trails, ranging from easy to difficult, with maps posted at the trail heads.
From late April through June many species of wild orchids are in bloom. Look out also for the free-range Podolico cows, whose milk is used to make a local cheese. For a fun visit, explore the forest with a Land Rover tour.
In the evening return to the Pizzicato Bar for an appertivo – try one of their specialty drinks made with their organic juices.
Seasonal Notes: This itinerary is not recommended in winter as you may encounter snow. During summer you may want to take a ferry to the Tremiti Islands or spend a day at the beach. Spring is recommended for Foresta Umbra so you can see the orchids and wildflowers.
Recommended Lodging for This Itinerary: Pizzicato Eco Apartments in Vico del Gargano. Or in Foresta Umbra, stay at B&B Rifugio Sfilzi, booking half-board to have dinner there.
I recommend spending longer than 48 hours in Gargano. With more time, visit the picturesque town of Monte Sant’Angelo, the highest point on the promontory or the seaside town of Vieste on the promontory’s tip, where there are several good beaches.
Transportation: Gargano is best explored by car but if you fly into Bari and don’t want to rent a car, you can take a bus directly from the airport to several Gargano towns, 4 times daily from end of May through late September – information.
Gargano Recommended Reading: Pan’ e Pomodor – My Passage To Puglia
Continue Exploring Puglia’s Sights with this itinerary: A Classic Week in the Heel of the Boot