Fishing Village of Gallipoli | Puglia, Italy | I think my favorite destination, during my recent visit to the South of Italy in Puglia, was Gallipoli. A destination which apart for offering stunning beaches and attractions, is also important for its historic centre and its architectural beauties. Gallipoli is also know to be the main LGBT hotspot in Italy, particularly during the summer – Mako Beach, is just and example of that. Gallipoli, from the Greek “Kallipolis”, means “Beautiful City”, and indeed it is. On the coast of the Ionian Sea, part of the Salento region, and the province of Lecce.
The town of Gallipoli is divided in two parts, the modern and the old city. The new town includes all the newest buildings including a skyscraper. The old town, where I stayed, at the very charning and local Relais Corte Palmieri, is located on a limestone island, linked to the mainland by a bridge built in the 16th century. For some reason, Gallipoli, reminded me plenty to the Old San Juan in Puerto Rico. Upon arrival to Gallipoli, around noon, we took a lovely stroll by the fortified wall of the old town, bordering the gorgeous deep blue coast of the Ionian Sea, to arrive to our restaurant for lunch, Il Bastione Ristorante. Quite traditional and great food, but I would have prefer something less formal and outdoors, although from our table we have great panoramic views. But honestly, since that night we were doing a very formal – 1 Michelin Star Restaurant, lunch would have been better, at one of the outdoor chiringuitos with terraces.
After lunch we moved on to our hotel for the night, and checked in. I LOVED the hotel Relais Corte Palmieri. Was all I would wanted and expected from this destination. Located right in the heart of the old town, full of local flavor and style. Could not be happier. Relais Corte Palmieri is a wonderful historical house dating back to 1700 situated in the dense maze of alleys, streets and squares of the famous fishing village of Gallipoli. Characterized by sunny terraces and walls covered by colorful bougainvillea, this beautiful unique building, evocates a Moroccan Riad. Prickly pear, Jupiter’s beard and citrus trees paint the terraces in the warmer months, where every morning a good morning is given with a buffet breakfast characterized by a wide range of products. Perfect location near the picturesque beach of La Purità. See the video of my room.
Once checked in, I received a call from the front desk to let me know that my bike was already waiting downstairs for me. So I decided to get on my beach gear and hit the road, to explore the rest of the old town and off along the coast of the Ionian Sea, to the gorgeous beaches of Gallipoli, which in the last few years, has become a summer hotspot, mainly for Italians, with an ingrowing international presence. A lovely panoramic bike ride, of approximately 35 minutes, took me right to Mako Beach, aka. the gay beach. A wooden decked area with a bar was split over different levels, with a jetty running down to the sea. It was rather quiet, and the clubhouse/restaurant/bar was yet closed, since the season had yet not began. Without a doubt, alow-key, bohemian alternative option to those who have been to Mykonos and/or Ibiza, looking for new options. Warning: unlike other beaches in Gallipoli, Mako Beach is mainly rocky landscape, so keep that in mind. Two hours later I was riding my bike back to the old town of Gallipoli, to shower and get ready for a brief walking tour and dinner. But mainly, because I was told not to miss the sunset of the fortified town. So I did and it was rather spectacular.
During our tour, we visited The Basilica of St Agata, a must-see. It was rebuilt in the XVII century, on a little Romantic church dedicated to St John Chrysostom, in the middle and on the highest point of the island. The most ancient nucleus of the church decicated to St Francesco of Assisi dates back to XIII century. From there, we moved to the shrine of St Maria del Canneto, built between the XVI and the XVII century.
Onward to our restaurant for the evening, located on the new section of Gallipoli, we came to the Ponte Cittavecchia bridge, which connects the old town to the village. Before crossing the bridge, we stopped for some Gelato, of course, and then enjoyed some amazing views of the night setting over the Castello Angionio, surrounded by the waters of the Ionian Sea. A true example of the Byzantine period, dating from the XVII century. Next along Corso Roma, to our restaurant, at the rooftop of the Palazzo del Corso Hotel.
Dolcevita Lounge Bar and Gourmet Restaurant, was to me, the top fine dining, during my entire visit to the Puglia region, and trust me, we tried quite a few of them. An extraordinary roof garden on the Palazzo del Corso, a top level reastaurant appointed with the attention to the smallest detail to satisfy the most demanding palates. The Dolce Vita Louge bar and Restaurant delights sight and taste of our guests and offers them a full sensorial experience.
A breath – taking view of the Gallipoli Gulf acts as a backdrop to our delicacies, an ideal location for a moonlight dinner. Specialized on fish disse, respecting city tradition, but even on meat and vegetarian ones, the DolceVita Restaurant offers recipes skilfully prepared by our chef Mimmo Gioia with the highest quality ingredients.
A short stroll back to my hotel, and off to bed. Following morning, I woke up early to visit “Porto Vecchio” o “Seno del Canneto” to experience/seeing the boats arrive to the port with the fresh catch of the day. After that, a nice basic breakfast at the rooftop of Relais Corte Palmieri and onwards to our next destination. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends
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