Polignano a Mare: the city on the cliff overlooking the sea

Updated at: 09-07-2024

Polignano a Mare: the city on the cliff overlooking the sea

On the coasts of the Adriatic Sea of the Puglia region, the so-called "heel of Italy", between Bari and Brindisi is Polignano a Mare, a wonderful town that was built and developed on a cliff.

Polignano a Mare is a town in the province of Bari which stands on a rocky spur overlooking the sea. Its historic center, perfectly preserved, is a stop for many Italian and foreign tourists, thanks to its particular magic and beauty. Once in the center, everything is close at hand and no means are needed to get around. Walking a few minutes to Polignano it is easy to walk, in a few minutes, from the wonderful beach in the center to a road crossed by a Roman bridge, to the historic center full of people and restaurants, to the seafront cliffs immersed in nature.

The territory of Polignano is characterized by a high coast, indented for some stretches, and by the presence of the so-called "blades", or rather shallow erosive furrows that are common on the Apulian coast, especially on the Bari coast. One of these blades, Lama Monachile, is the one that ends on the beach in the center, Cala Porto, and is identifiable by the Roman bridge that crosses it when passing over it.

Polignano a Mare

Polignano a Mare

Polignano is one of the most beautiful seaside towns on the Apulian Adriatic coast in the province of Bari.
The ancient village of Polignano a Mare, with its local white stone buildings, offers shelter from the summer sun to visitors who venture through the streets of the center during the hottest hours. Around admiring the village you can sip an aperitif on one of the many terraces overlooking the sea or taste some of the gastronomic delicacies offered in local restaurants or pizzerias.

Walking through the historic center of Polignano a Mare is a pleasure even during the day because among the many narrow streets to cross there is always obra and the sea breeze that crosses them. Every now and then one of the narrow streets of the center opens onto large terraces with wonderful views of the Polignano coast.

In the historic center it is also possible to go to and sunbathe, or take a refreshing swim, in Cala Porto, one of the most beautiful Polignano a Mare beaches.

The activities to do in Polignano, both in the city center and in the surrounding area, are many and can satisfy any kind of curiosity or adventurous spirit.

Polignano a Mare: what to see

Polignano is a small town that gets very busy in the summer and it becomes difficult to find available houses in the summer.

However, many tourists visit Polignano a Mare with day trips, then returning to the farms, villages, villas or apartments that they have managed to rent in the territories between Brindisi and Bari.

The things to see if you are on holiday in Polignano a Mare are:

  • Cliff of the Lungomare Modugno
  • Lama Monachile beach
  • Rock of the Hermit
  • Old Town
  • Lama Monachile Bridge
  • House of the clock

Cliff of the Lungomare Modugno

Cliff of the Lungomare Modugno in Polignano a Mare, Bari

Walking along the promenade in the center you will notice the statue dedicated to the well-known singer-songwriter Domenico Modugno, from which the cliff itself takes its name.

The famous musician was born in Polignano and the citizens wanted to dedicate a bronze statue to him, three meters high, which represents the artist with open arms while he sings one of his pieces.

The promenade is a truly suggestive place and, depending on the weather and sea conditions, it can be a very romantic place or a scary spectacle of nature.

The rock is beautiful with the calm sea on sunny days in the summer but becomes spectacular in the winter with the rough sea and the waves crashing on the rocks in the city.

Lama Monachile Beach

Lama Monachile Beach in Polignano a Mare, Bari

The free beach of Lama Monachile is located in the center of the town immersed in the scenic natural landscape of Lama Monachile, from which it takes its name.

Being on the seafront in the city center, the beach is particularly popular in summer.

From a ridge on the cliff near this beach you compete with the diving champions of Red Bull Cliff Diving, an international competition of high-altitude diving held in Polignano every year.

The beach, also called Cala di Porto beach, is rather small and quite crowded in the height of summer.

It is composed of rounded and smooth pebbles and a rocky and rapidly deep seabed.

The entrances to the beach are a staircase that descends from the Monachile Bridge or runs along the bridge of the same name and a descent that starts from Via Conversano.

In both cases, unfortunately, direct access to the beach is inconvenient for the disabled.

The beach itself has no service, so you need to bring everything you need, but fortunately it is surrounded by many clubs within walking distance and a large parking lot a few hundred meters away.

Rock of the Hermit

Scoglio dell eremita

Continuing to walk along the promenade, one cannot help but notice a small islet about ten meters from the coast, about thirty meters high.

It is said that this rock was inhabited by a man who retired from life on the mainland to be able to live in solitude and thus admire the city from the sea.

History tells us that this man was a missionary, who on his return from the Holy Land, passing through Polignano to continue his work of spreading the Gospel, was so impressed by this rock that he decided to spend the rest of his life there, practicing meditation and contemplation.

It seems that the fishermen helped him by leaving him some food upon returning from fishing, and it was these who found the lifeless body of the hermit.

The rock and the natural wonders that surround it can be admired from the coast but the most beautiful spectacle is if you approach it by boat.

Lama Monachile Bridge

Ponte Lama Monachile

The Lama Monachile bridge is one of the main attractions of the city of Polignano. The bridge belongs to the Bourbon period and was later renovated in 1997.

What is most appreciated about the bridge is not so much its history and its perfect state of preservation, as the view that one has when passing over it.

You will certainly be amazed by a wonderful view of the Caletta Lama Monachile with the same name.

Old Town

The historic center is accessed from the Porta Grande, which forms the rest of an arch of the Feudal Palace.

In the past, to protect against attacks by marauders or invaders, there was a drawbridge in front of Porta Grande, whose holes for the chains can still be seen.

You can appreciate the magic of the historic center of Polignano a Mare by walking early in the morning among the white buildings and stone streets.

Every so often, during your walk through the streets of the center, you will encounter several terraces overlooking the sea.

Clock house

Another curiosity is related to the Clock House located in the ancient village.

The origins of the structure are medieval and it is a building consisting of a bell tower and a clock.

The peculiarity lies in the fact that the watch is wound by hand by the owner of the house at the service of the community (as it has traditionally been).

Polignano a Mare Beaches

South coast of Polignano a Mare, Bari

Polignano a Mare has many beaches inside and outside the town.

Polignano is famous for the small beach of Cala di Porto located in the center, bordering an ancient Roman bridge and flanked by the cliffs on which the white houses of Polignano stand. The beach, also called Lama Monachile Beach, is closed between two rocky walls and is characterized by small pebbles and crystal clear waters.

To occupy a place on the small beach of Cala di Porto you need to wake up very early in the morning, at least around eight during the summer.

This is now the stage of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series: the international competition of dives from great heights.

Check out all Polignano a Mare beaches to find out that you like the most and would like to visit.

Polignano a Mare what to do

The scenarios of Polignano's architecture are spectacular and perfectly preserved.

This certainly makes it a great place to visit during your holiday in Puglia.

If you want to see the city of Polignano and its cliffs better then it is interesting to be able to discover them from another point of view, from below or from the sea.

In fact, there are several possibilities to see Polignano from the sea: you can rent boats, or if you want to do sport a pedal boat, or better still you can be accompanied by a guide during an organized boat trip.

There are many places in Polignano where you can taste truly special foods.

They range from fantastic local artisan pizzerias to starred restaurants.

Wherever you stop you will always find really fresh ingredients, everything tastes fantastic with vibrant flavors.

There are many artisan ice cream parlors where you will not fail to stop during your walks in the summer.

Coast of Polignano a Mare, Bari

If you want to experience the real Polignano, that of the citizens and workers who live it throughout the year, and you don't want to be with many other tourists around then you need to wake up early.

Waking up early and strolling through the center of Polignano you will discover a quiet environment, with the sound of the wind and the waves in the background. without the crowds of tourists that usually stroll around you like during the afternoons and summer evenings.

You can really enjoy the historic center by stopping in bars or pastry shops for your breakfast without being disturbed and without any queues.

August is the busiest month and also the hottest, in fact the sun continues to shine for a long time until late in the evening.

Polignano a Mare accommodation

In Polignano it is possible to find various accommodation options: Apartments, Masserie, Villas, Hotels.

They range from the luxurious Hotel Grotta Palazzese, with the famous restaurant with a terrace in a cave overlooking the sea, to the many houses and apartments overlooking the sea.

In case it is not possible to stay in the center of Polignano then there are many possibilities to rent a holiday accommodation near the city.

It is possible to stay in neighboring cities such as Monopoli, Bari, Brindisi, or other smaller ones, and move easily in Polignano using public transport or trains instead of cars.

A list of holiday homes in Polignano a Mare that may be useful to those wishing to spend their holiday in Puglia in the beautiful city of Polignano a Mare. The selection of holiday homes includes apartments very close to the main beaches of Polignano a Mare.

These are the most important tourist attractions of Polignano a Mare.

You can easily reach the small town from Bari and you can visit it in one day.

If you want to visit other places in Puglia, around Polignano a Mare there are many beautiful places that you can discover on the Puglia Map.

Keep following us for other useful tips for your holidays in Puglia!