Otranto, Puglia: what to see, where to eat and what to do in the evening

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Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Otranto is the easternmost village in Italy, is in fact located on the heel of the boot, and is part of the beautiful territory of Salento. Also called "Porta d'Oriente", it is a charming town on the sea that has a village considered among the most beautiful in Italy, also recognized in 2010 as Cultural Heritage of UNESCO as a Messenger of Peace Site. For lovers of authentic Puglia, Otranto is the ideal place, with its traditions, its food, the sea, nature and some of the most beautiful beaches of the Salento peninsula.

Here is a drive on Otranto: what to see, where to eat and what to do in the evening!


  1. 10 things to see in Otranto in a weekend
  2. What to see in Otranto in one day: recommended itinerary
  3. Where to eat in Otranto: the best restaurants
  4. What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Otranto
  5. Plan your stay in Otranto: info and useful tips
  6. User questions and comments

10 things to see in Otranto in a weekend

1 - The historic center

The historic center of Otranto is a place very characteristic and typical of southern countries. Small and charming, it is full of people, especially in the summer, when tourists invade the streets of the city in search of local craft shops.

The historic center is surrounded by walls that delimit the area making it pedestrian, so you can visit it on foot and without the chaos of cars. We recommend that you book a guided walking tour to discover the interesting past of the city in a couple of hours as you walk among the ancient churches and buildings that make it a picturesque place today.

  • from the port in 15 minutes on foot along Via del Porto - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free

2 - Aragonese Castle

As soon as you arrive in the historic center, the first thing that will strike you is the majesty of the Aragonese Castle. It was a fortress built between 1485 and 1498: given the strategic position of the town, Otranto had a important role in trade and it has often been under attack of hard battles, for this reason defensive walls were erected. Today the Castle has become the symbol of the city Apulian and the city walls, with which it forms a single defensive system.

It is possible to visit the fortress up to the top, where the archaeological Museum and the panoramic terrace. The various rooms of the Aragonese Castle are used to host temporary exhibitions or various events.

  • in Piazza Castello; from the port in 10 min on foot - Get directions
  • every day 10: 00-22: 00
  • € 3,00

3 - Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata

The Cathedral of Otranto dates back to the th century, inside it is possible to see sumptuous mosaics on the floor and the Chapel of the Martyrs. This chapel is a part of the church that commemorates the extermination of the martyrs of Otranto, who were killed in 1480 during the Turkish invasion for not wanting to renounce their faith, glass cases keep the 800 skulls.

The beautiful floor mosaic it extends along the entire length of the main nave and depicts the tree of life, around which various scenes contained in the Old Testament develop, as a symbol of man's tortuous journey to reach eternal salvation following sins.

  • in Piazza Basilica, 1; from the port in 15 min on foot - Get directions
  • 7: 00-12: 30 and 15: 00-20: 00 in the summer period; 7: 00-12: 00 and 15: 00-17: 00 for the rest of the year
  • free

4 - Church of the Madonna dell'Altomare

The Church of the Madonna dell'Altomare was built in the 1744th century and rebuilt in , as the epigraph visible on the facade recalls. It is located on a tufaceous spur that descends directly into the sea.

Its peculiarity are the decorations that recall the maritime tradition to which the inhabitants of Otranto are very attached. Starting with the mosaic floor that depicts a traditional seafaring star surrounded by Savoy or eight knots. Then all the furnishings and lighting lead back to others symbols related to the sea, from the seahorse to the dolphin, from the anchor to the shell.

  • in via Punta, 2/3; on foot in 20 min from the port along the entire seafront - Get directions
  • from June to September 9: 00-12: 00 and 16: 00-19: 00; other months 9: 00-12: 00 and 15: 00-17: 00
  • free

5 - Bauxite lake

Outside the town of Otranto, south of the city, you can let yourself be enchanted by the Bauxite lake, a emerald green lake nestled among the coral-colored hills of the quarry of the same name. It is called this way because it is a quarry where in the past the extraction of bauxite took place, the mineral from which aluminum is obtained. Today this place has become one of the most beautiful and incredible in Salento.

The area around the lake is rich in aquatic and marshy plants. IS' accessible on foot or by bike and it is a destination every year for school trips and visits for the most curious who want to admire or photograph this riot of colors. The best way to get there and visit the place is a guided bike tour that, pedaling along the cycle paths of the Otranto-Leuca Coastal Natural Park, will make you explore the entire bauxite path and admire the fantastic views along the way.

  • on foot or by bike in about 40 minutes from the port, follow the coastal paths, climb the Sentiero del Serpe up to the Torre del Serpe, here continue to the cliff on the Grotta di Palombara and pass the Baia delle Orte, after a coastal path you will arrive at the Cava di Bauxite - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free

6 - Bay of the Turks

The sea of ​​Otranto has been awarded with the Blue Flag, and one of the beaches on which it flies is that of the baia dei turchi. It is located 7 km north of the village. It bears this name because it is here that the Turks landed and then invaded the area. IS' one of the most beautiful beaches del Salento and the favorite of Otranto, who move away from the center to find some tranquility.

This bay belongs to theAlimini Lakes Oasis and is characterized by fine white sand, heavenly waters and the pine forest behind it. It is perfect for anyone, even for families with children, it is divided between a free beach and a private beach. You will not be able to miss it and you will not resist a swim in these waters that seem Caribbean.

  • in about 30 min, you can reach Santo Stefano Parking by car (€ 5,00) in 10 min along the SP366, here take the shuttle to reach the pine forest and then take a 10 min path on foot - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free

7 - Alimini Lakes

Even the locality Alimini flies on its beautiful beach there Blue Flag, and 5 Vele by Legambiente. It takes its name from the two lakes behind the area protected by the FAI, located in the Salento hinterland. Their particularity is given by the fact that one of the two basins, the small one, is of fresh water while the other, Alimini Grande, is of salt water. Here you can rent waterbikes to have the wonderful experience of riding a bike on the water. However, the lakes are not suitable for swimming.

The natural beauty of this place is absolutely worth a visit, and you can always choose to go there nearby Alimini beach to relax and take a bath in its always transparent and shallow waters. From here it is also easy to reach the Baia dei Turchi.

  • 25 min from Otranto, reach the pine forest by car in 15 min and leave it in one of the many parking spaces available, from here there is the shuttle or you can take a pedestrian path that leads to the beach in a few minutes - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free

8 - Porto Badisco

This cove is located a few km south of Otranto, is characterized by cliffs, small sandy and stone beaches, and a crystalline sea. Porto Badisco is considered one of the most beautiful areas of Salento, if not the whole of Puglia and Italy, as well as one of the stops to do during a trip to Otranto.

It is ideal to get away from the city center a little, and it is also possible to spend a whole day visa all services available within a radius of a hundred meters. This sea is famous for its sea urchins, which are also eaten raw as soon as they are caught here.

  • by car in 15 minutes from Otranto along the SP87 - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free

9 - Punta Palascìa

And the easternmost point of Italy and is located right in Otranto, or rather 6 km south of the city. To signal this panoramic point is the lighthouse, which towers over a rocky spur that overlooks the deep blue sea. Here the two seas meet, the Adriatic and the Ionian. The view from Punta Palascìa is incomparable, especially during sunrise or sunset.

In this stretch the coast is difficult to swim, it is possible to take boat excursions from the port of Otranto. The area around the lighthouse is made up of steep and steep paths immersed in the wild Mediterranean scrub, suitable for trekking.

  • by car in 12 min from Otranto taking the SP87 - Get directions
  • always accessible; lighthouse 9: 00-12: 00 and 16: 00-20: 00
  • free

10 - Hypogeum of Torre Pinta

The hypogeum of Torre Pinta is located under the homonymous tower in the Valley of Memories, it is a part of a rock complex in the heart of an area rich in archaeological and anthropological remains. Its interior is a magical place that seems to be straight out of a fantasy film. Today it belongs to a farmhouse, and therefore it is private, but with a free offer it is possible to visit it by asking the owners of the accommodation.

Recently discovered (1976), there is no sure temporary dating, this historical landmark could go back to the Neolithic. It is characterized by some cells dug into the walls which, in all probability, were intended to house the cinerary urns of the dead.

  • by car in 5 min from the center of Otranto - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free

What to see in Otranto in one day: recommended itinerary

Start with a hearty breakfast at Di Bolina Cafè a few steps from the port. Continue your walk towards the Old Town and reach what are the two main attractions: the Aragonese Castle, symbol of the city, and the Cathedral. Going through the seafront you will arrive at the Church of the Madonna dell'Altomare, a chapel to which the inhabitants of Otranto are very attached due to the seafaring tradition.

For lunch, stop at Ristorante dal Baffo and taste the fish specialties.
In the afternoon you can discover the Salento beaches which are located in the surroundings of Otranto. Starting from the area of ​​the Oasis of the Alimini Lakes with the nearby Baia dei Turchi, characterized by fine sand, celestial waters and the pine forest behind. In the pine forest there are various parking lots, from here there is a pedestrian path that reaches the beach.

After an afternoon in the crystal clear waters, you can enjoy the sunset from the easternmost point of our peninsula, Punta Palascìa, 6 km south of Otranto. Towering on the spur is the lighthouse accessible until 20:00. For dinner, go back to the center of the village and stop at Peccato di Vino, with typical Apulian cuisine.

One day itinerary at a glance

  1. Breakfast at Di Bolina Cafè (Get directions)
  2. Castello Aragonese - opening hours: every day 10: 00-22: 00 - ticket price: full € 3,00
  3. Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata - opening hours: summer 7: 00-12: 30 and 15: 00-20: 00, remaining months 7: 00-12: 00 and 15: 00-17: 00 - ticket price: free
  4. Church of the Madonna dell'Altomare - opening hours: from June to September 9: 00-12: 00 and 16: 00-19: 00, rest of the year 9: 00-12: 00 and 15: 00-17: 00 - cost ticket: free
  5. Lunch at Ristorante dal Baffo (Get directions)
  6. Alimini Lakes - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free
  7. La Baia dei Turchi - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free
  8. Punta Palascìa - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free
  9. Dinner at Peccato di Vino (Get directions)

Where to eat in Otranto: the best restaurants

  1. Alla Risacca Restaurant: dishes based on Apulian dishes in a restaurant with a marine touch with Average price per person: € 25,00
    Address and contacts: Via Guglielmotto D'Otranto, 14 (Get directions) / tel: 340 753 7610
  2. Ristorante dal Baffo: fish specialties served in an informal restaurant with mosaic decorations and covered terrace
    Average price per person: € 45,00
    Address and contacts: Lungomare Terra D'Otranto, 51 (Get directions) / tel: 0836 806014
  3. Sin of Wine: Apulian cuisine in a refined restaurant with fireplace and soft lighting
    Average price per person: € 40,00
    Address and contacts: Via Rondachi, 7 (Get directions) / tel: 0836 801488

What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Otranto

In Otranto it is possible to find really nice locations to have fun in the evening or to spend a relaxing moment after spending the day exploring the enchanting white beaches of Salento.

The city of Otranto is in fact open to all types of visitors, it is possible to choose a place suitable for youth fun, or another for older people looking for a more sober and calm place. There are also many bathing establishments that already organize in the afternoon aperitifs and sunset parties which attract many tourists and young people from Salento.

The best pubs, clubs and discos

  • Spinnaker: one of the trendiest lounge bars in Otranto, in the historic center with excellent cocktails and aperitifs accompanied by typical Salento snacks / Address: Via Bastione Pelasgi, 12 (Get directions) / Facebook page
  • Fuorirotta: one of the trendy clubs, very popular among young people, is a beach that turns into a disco on the sea already in the afternoon and which organizes sunset beach parties / Address: Via Antonio Sforza, 7 (Get directions) / Facebook page
  • Prickly pear Salento Beach: bathing establishment that organizes themed evenings with the best DJs, in the northern area of ​​the coast a few km from Otranto, one of the most popular places / Address: Contrada Alimini (Get directions) / Facebook page

Plan your stay in Otranto: info and useful tips

  • by plane to Lecce San Cataldo Airport, from here you can take the direct train from the center of Lecce to Otranto station (1 h, € 3,00 each way) by car, along the SS16 Adriatica Lecce-Maglie-Otranto
  • Getting around: on foot inside the city center as it is small and has a limited traffic area; by car to move to neighboring towns and to reach the nearby beaches
  • Where to park: near the port area in Via Orte (€ 0,80 per hour, € 7,00 daily rate - Get directions); near the historic center in Via Catona (€ 5,00 daily rate, open only during the summer season - Get directions)
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 35,00 per room -
  • What to see in the surroundings: Lecce (45 km), Galatina (31 km), Melendugno (25 km), Torre dell'Orso (18 km), Santa Cesarea Terme (16 km)

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