Otranto is located on the east coast of the Salento peninsula in Puglia and is a real gem of a town. Situated near to Lecce (the capital of the region), along a marvellous Adriatic coastal track of crystal clear water, Otranto is a wonderful tourist destination with a bustling seafront area and many architectural gems such as the Castello Aragonese and the cathedral.
Holidaymakers can enjoy the alleyways of the historic town with white washed houses and many pretty piazzas, to sit and watch the world go by. The centre is still enclosed within its defensive walls, which gives a real sense of history. The busiest lanes are lined with shops (clothes, ceramics, sandals…), restaurants and bars and there are many places to sit along the walls and enjoy the seaviews.
In this part of Puglia, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches. The town itself has beaches right in the centre – these are small but pleasant. The coastline just outside Otranto, however is renowned for its beauty, and there are more stretches of popular beach to both the north and south. These are easiest to reach if you have a car, but there is also a summer bus service to popular seaside spots. To the north of Otranto lie the sandy beaches of Baia dei Turchi. Resorts were built here in the late twentieth century and the area remains a popular holiday base. A good seaside destination to the south of Otranto is Porto Badisco, a picturesque rocky cove.
On summer nights, Otranto has a lively holiday scene. Just as soon as the sun begins to dip, the streets become busier until the little alleys are filled with people. There are many bars and restaurants where you can sit outside overlooking the harbour and bay. Shops are open until late and restaurants and bars much later. There are fair-type attractions and sweet stalls for children along the harbour. By the time night has fallen the city walls and area around the castle are a hive of activity and the old walls are impressively lit at night.
In and around Otranto
Tourists can enjoy a day trip to Lecce, a beautiful baroque City, which has been dubbed the ‘Florence of the South’ either by car or by a simple and interesting train journey. The large towns of Gallipoli is another major destinations in this part of Puglia, but around Otranto there are also plenty of smaller coastal spots and historical towns which are pleasant to visit.
Just a few kilometres north of the city lie the Almini Lakes, fresh water bodies of water that flow into the sea, boasting beaches along their shores that are numbered among the most popular in Puglia
The region is also very popular for its wine and olive productions and there are many traditional farms locally which offer wine tasting / purchase and tours.
In the summer there is a useful service called ‘Salento in treno e bus’, which connects popular tourist destinations in the area. The routes usually operate from mid-June to early September, and several buses stop in Otranto, including buses to Santa Cesarea Terme and to Laghi Alimini. The latest information can be found at the tourist information office in Otranto.
How to get to Otranto
Otranto is only a 2 hour flight from all the main European cities! The best airport for Otranto is Brindisi, though if you're travelling around Puglia, Bari is another possibility. Both airports are served by budget flights from the United Kingdom from Stansted.
Where to stay
Holiday Homes in Italy is pleased to include Otranto in its 2013 portfolio. For a number of fantastic self-catering properties for your holidays in and around Otranto and the South west Gallipoli area, click here.