things to do in gallipoli puglia

Many people thought I was in Turkey when I posted photos of my stay in Gallipoli (map). I wasn’t. In fact, I was in Puglia, in southern Italy! Gallipoli in Turkey is especially famous as the site of the ‘Gallipoli Campaign’, a battle during World War I, not to be confused with Gallipoli (which translates as ‘Beautiful City’ in Greek) in Puglia. The town is believed to have been founded by the Greeks and through the centuries, Gallipoli was conquered by a succession of powers including the Byzantines and the Normans.

The castle in Gallipoli, Puglia.

Things to see in the old town of Gallipoli, Puglia

These days, Gallipoli is a quiet town that derives most of its livelihood from tourism and fishing. The old town is situated on a little island and is connected to the mainland by a 16th century bridge. This part of town features an impressive castle (built by the Byzantines in the 13th century) and equally impressive fortification walls and towers. Behind the castle lies a maze of picturesque streets filled with quaint shops, cafés and restaurants, as well as historic churches, convents and palaces. As I soon discovered, despite its small size, Gallipoli is packed with historic and cultural treasures, and it has a dazzling sandy beach right at its doorstep! Come take a photo tour with me and discover the treasures of Gallipoli:

The harbour

The harbour is a great place to start exploring Gallipoli. Grab a coffee at one of the harbourfront cafés while watching the local fishermen busy at work. As you walk along the harbour, don’t miss the Greek fountain, which is believed to be more than 2,000 years old!

Fishermen at the harbour in Gallipoli.
Fishermen preparing their bait on the promenade.
One of the first things visitors will notice at the harbour is this stunning Greek Fountain (believed to originate from the 3rd BC).
Gallipoli old town on the island, viewed from across the harbour.

The old town of Gallipoli

The historic town is situated on a limestone island, connected to the mainland by a 16th century bridge. At the harbour stands the Castle, built by the Byzantines in the 13th century. From here, a maze of streets crisscross the island.

The old town is a maze of picturesque streets and lanes.
A vegetable seller stopping for a chat.

Sant Agata Cathedral

One of the top things to see in Gallipoli is the 17th century Sant Agata Cathedral. This Baroque style cathedral features a lavish exterior and an equally stunning interior full of frescoes and ornate altars.

things to see in gallipoli apulia
The enormous baroque Sant Agata Cathedral towers over the old town!
The ornate interior of the Sant Agata Cathedral is simply breathtaking!
The paintings in the Cathedral have been beautifully restored.

Underground oil mill

In the 18th century, Gallipoli was home to the largest olive oil market in the Mediterranean. From its ports, ships laden with olive oil sailed to major European cities where the oil was used for lighting. It is said that olive oil from Gallipoli lit the streets of London before the advent of the electric bulb.

The undergound oil mill is another Gallipoli attraction that’s worth a visit. This small museum, located in a historic oil mill in Via Santa Maria, tells the fascinating history of the town’s olive oil industry.

I also visited this underground olive press. This little museum provides a fascinating insight to the history of the olive oil trade in Gallipoli.

The beach

The old town also has its own beach, with calm, crystalline waters that’s perfect for swimming.

Gallipoli also has a gorgeous beach with crystal-clear water right at its doorstep!
The golden sands of the beach at the edge of the old town of Gallipoli.
Loved this spot: the Café del Mar. Stopped here for a drink and to enjoy the fantastic views of the beach and the sea.

Church of Santa Maria della Purità

Near the beachfront, don’t miss a visit to the 17th century Church of Santa Maria della Purità, with its richly-decorated interior.

The stunning La Chiesa di Santa Maria della Purità can be found along the promenade facing the beach. It definitely is one of Gallipoli’s many gems!
The incredible ceiling frescoes of the La Chiesa di Santa Maria della Purità.


You’ll definitely notice some of the grand palaces (palazzi) as you stroll around Gallipoli, many of which have been turned into luxury hotels.

The little streets of Gallipoli are also home to several beautiful palazzi.

See my photo essay on reasons I love Italy

Sunset drinks

In the early evening, enjoy aperitivo (Italian Happy Hour) at Buena Vista Café with fabulous views of the sea!
Down the road from Buena Vista cafe is Ristorante Il Bastione which specialises in seafood.
The gorgeous sunset, seen from our table at Il Bastione, was the perfect end to a fabulous day in Gallipoli. The wine we drank, a fresh and fruity Negro Amaro Bianco, is from Coppola, a local vineyard which is open to visitors.

Like many of my followers, I was aware of Gallipoli in Turkey but until my visit to Puglia, I had no idea of the existence of this lovely town of the same name. I’m very glad to have made its acquaintance! I sadly only spent a night but I could easily have spent a week there. If you’re visiting Puglia, make sure to include a stay in Gallipoli. You’ll love it!

The region of Puglia is connected to major European cities via frequent flights from Bari and Brindisi. Gallipoli is located about 200km from Bari (read about things to see in Bari), 38km from Lecce (read about things to see in Lecce) and 90km from Brindisi and can easily be reached via the state road 101.

Check out my Highlights of Puglia guide.

Car hire


Note: my visit to Puglia was part of the #WeAreinPuglia campaign, a partnership between iambassador and the Puglia Tourism Board. As always, all views expressed above are mine, and mine only.

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