Road Tripping Puglia, Italy’s Swimming Holes

Puglia, Italy is by far one of my favorite places I have been. Everything from the beautiful hotel, the crystal clear water, the slow pace, various activities, and the lack of tourists made it my dream destination. Having researched the area before leaving I knew I wanted to take a trip to a few of the “water holes” Puglia had to offer. I mapped it from our hotel and decided to hit as many as possible, starting with the furthest swimming hole, Piscina Naturale di Marina Serra in Tricase. We hit each of these spots in one day. It was quite a drive but an experience I will remember for forever.


First stop: Piscina Naturale di Marina Serra

This was a gorgeous swimming hole and a great way to start the trip. We seemed to be the only tourists but it wasn’t a problem. We quickly went for a swim and then took the path through the rocks to swim in the Adriatic Sea. It would have been the perfect spot to bring a picnic and sit on the rocks while taking in the view, unfortunately, we had other spots we had to hit.

Piscina Naturale di Marina Serra

Santa Cesarea Terme
– Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea

We made a quick drive through the town of Santa Cesarea Terme. There is a beautiful cave to see here but you have to access it by boat and we didn’t have time for that. Santa Cesarea Terme is also known for its thermal baths which are around the city and overlooking the ocean. If you have time this is a really great city to explore or even to stay a night!

Stop off in the town of Otranto

We had heard amazing things about the city of Otranto. It is a really charming city right on the waters edge. The marina and history of this city make it really special. We walked around for an hour and even stopped for some lunch. Otranto is quite large and is also a great place to stay a night. There is such charm around every corner.

Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea

Sant’ Andrea was a place I had discovered through photos. The rock formations looked absolutely beautiful and on most days you can catch people swimming around this gorgeous spot (there are rock stairs leading down to the water). Unfortunately the day we went it was much too windy to swim, so we decided safety over experience was best.


Grotta Della Poesia, Rocca Vecchia

I saved the best swimming hole for last. By this point we were a bit exhausted and debated even taking a swim. However, this was the one swimming hole I was looking the most forward to. I decided this was a once in a lifetime chance and I didn’t want regret it later. I am so happy I made that decision. Grotta Della Poesia has a huge cave on one side and a path to the ocean on the other. It is absolutely breathtaking! I remember while I was floating to take in every bit of this experience and snap mental photos that I could remember for forever. As a note, this is a very popular swimming spot for locals and tourists so be ready to see more crowds than at the other swimming holes.

It was a lot of ground to cover in one day. You could easily stop off and enjoy a night in one of the towns, but I was on a mission to experience all of the swimming holes and leave the remaining days to relax by the pool and experience other parts of Puglia. It was an unreal trip and something I tell every single person who wishes to go to Italy to experience. Bucket list – Check!

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8 thoughts on “Road Tripping Puglia, Italy’s Swimming Holes

  1. We will be going in June as well and I am wondering what time you left to accomplish all these stops. Did you have to stop for gas? Did you find it easy to get around without knowing the language? Did you use your phone for navigation or did you use navigation in the car?

    Thank you! your photos are incredible.

  2. I’ve just come back from a wonderful week in Puglia, and as per your recommendations we visited Marina Serra and Grotta della Poesia. Both were incredible, but Grotta della Poesia won my heart! Thank you for sharing your itinerary, we found it really helpful!

    1. Oh my gosh! You just made my entire week! I am so happy I could help!! Isn’t the area just gorgeous? Grotto Della Poesia was our favorite too! It was unreal! Thank you for taking the time to write and let me know you loved it. Means so much.


  3. Hi,
    Great write up.
    Love youre photos, just wondering if you mainually editted the photos yourself or if you used presets/filters?


    1. HI Sam,
      Thank you for your kind words.

      I actually edit each photo individually in Lightroom. I always brighten the photos and then play with the colors and luminance 🙂


  4. I’ve read this blog post several times now. I’m cerious to know what time of year you went and also how warm/cold the warmer was. Especially the therma swimming hole. I’m seriously debating trying your list this summer.

    1. HI Drew!
      I went in June. The water was pretty chilly but upon jumping in your body got used to it quickly. I can’t recommend Puglia enough! It is absolutely amazing and really a hidden treasure!

      1. Hi Mary,

        Great write-up. We’ll visit some of these spots on our roadtrip down Puglia’s eastern coast in June, so great to hear the water isn’t too cold.

        You mentioned you visited other spots in Puglia. We have 3 full days in Puglia and will likely base ourselves in Otranto. The water holes will take one full day and perhaps the town of Otranto a second day. What were your other highlights in Puglia that you’d recommend for our third day?

        Appreciate your help.


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