Solo travel – ahh, I haven’t done that in a while! The feeling of freedom to do what you want is amazing! It can be hard to get out of your comfort zone – but it’s worth it!
What to do if you have 3 days off in a row? Travel!
End of October and I want some sun.. Italy sounds great! And Apulia region is not yet explored. Is there something interesting?
3 days in Apulia
First of all – in Italy its so easy and cheap to travel by train! I landed in Bari airport and took a train to the city even more south – Lecce. It is a must visit place in Apulia! I arrived at night and felt really safe walking to my airbnb. (If you are interested in the place I have stayed – comment under and I will send you the link 🙂 )
So imagine, for me was the first time I ever went to have dinner alone. I even ordered wine! So funny that such a natural thing feels different when done being alone. And when I would do it other time than not during a solo trip? 🙂
You can spend 2 days in Lecce itself, wandering around old town, visiting churches and trying local food and great coffee and desserts. You have to try pasticiotto! A little cake with cream inside – goes perfect with espresso.
Renting a car in Lecce
In the morning I decided to try to rent a scooter or a car and go to the beach. Because I felt like it! Isn’t that amazing? No need to ask anyone – just go and do it!
That’s what I though.. As it was October, no one had scooters to rent (or did not want to give it to a solo blond girl), and for the car I had to have a credit card. I have rented cars in numerous countries and my debit card would always work. And prices were anyways not reasonable. So after being sent away from 2 places I decided to take a bus. It’s still fun right? Not really because season is over and there are no more busses until spring to touristic towns.
And luckily I saw another car rental next to bus stop and lucky me – got an suv for a normal price and great service (and no credit card!!). So when you go hard for what you really want you will get it!
Driving in Italy
Never say never! I always said I will NEVER drive in Italy. And here I am, driving alone to the beach that I don’t even know if it will be good! Let the adventure begin! Off season means almost empty roads so it was easier than expected.
After only 15km I reached San Cataldo town – so empty! No problems with parking when traveling in October! But I didn’t stay too long and continued my way south on the coast. Decided to visit this reserve park – who cares that cars are not allowed to drive there?
And when I was in the middle of the forest, a red light started to blink in my car! Panic, panic, it said I have no fuel left! Even though another place shows the fuel is full. But I did not want to risk! I saw the park super fast and decided to stop at the first gas station. But omg, there is no gas station anywhere close! i stopped at the hotel and got info that my car has 2 fuel tanks so one if full, another is empty but I should not worry. Phew, finally I could relax. And how lucky, I stopped at the beautiful cliffs and grotto! So everything can turn out really better!
City of Otranto
After eating lunch on the beach restaurant I continued my day to Otranto. It is a beautiful town with old town surrounded by the walls. The atmosphere is so medieval! I did not go to a museum or a tour, I just wanted to feel and hear the city. Great way is to get a coffee and watch people walking around, families with kids and other city noise. It also has a beach but it was too cold for me to swim. Also, accidentally met a guy while buying ice cream that recommended me to visit a lake that is surrounded by red soil. It is only few km away of Otranto and it looks unusual! You should go in the morning hours so then sun is from the better angle for pictures.
For me this was the last stop after the long day of exploration.
Useful info about parking – it is free at the white line and costs at the blue. So always look where you leave your car.
City of Gallipoli
I am not a morning person, but if I can visit an extra city before my train to Bari I can easily wake up 6:30 am and drive 40km to visit Gallipoli town. It is similar to Otranto in a sense that it has wall all around. Gallipoli is much bigger and has a nice beach. It is shallow for long so no big waves comes there so it’s good to be with kids. Unlucky for me most of the restaurants and shops were closed as it was still early morning. But I could observe locals preparing for the day – it’s even better to see a local life.
So after spending 2 nights in Apulia I want to go back there for at least few weeks. Alberobello should be definitely on your list! It is still on mine. Italians are nice people, they have good food, rich history, amazing architecture and beautiful nature. No wonder why they are proud of their country! Go, explore and don’t get stuck in the main cities – there are many beautiful things outside of the main attractions!