30km south of Bari and just a few minutes drive from Polignano a Mare is the wonderful coastal town of Monopoli. One of the few towns in Puglia that has laid back beach facilities in addition to a bustling commercial centre. The town has everything you could possibly need - a modern part with chic shops, a sheltered harbour and a quaint centro storico, with some great trattorie and restaurants.
The old town, with its fortified walls has a charming feel, with very little parking and extremely narrow streets making it perfect for a relaxing evening of food and drink, followed by the passeggiata browsing many stalls offering local delicassies.
Walking from the towns mains beach just outside the old town, which will take you behind the walls and onto the Lungomare sea-front promenade, complete with some fine buildings, including the curvaceous Church of Santa Maria della Zaffira, a cannon-mounted bastion and the impressively robust Charles V Castle. Walking through the archway brings you to the Porto Vecchio harbour, with colourful fishing boats and fishermen tending to their nets as has been for hundreds of years.
We highly recommend the Porto Rosso restaurant located right on the waterfronts south side of Monopoli. Offering excellent pizzas, however if you love seafood this is the place to head for, with stunning sea views whilst you dine.
With plenty of unspoilt coast, clear blue seas and the beautiful countryside given over to mainly olive production, orchards and almond trees, it is easy to understand why tourists arrive in droves during the summer, festivals and holidays. There are over 2 dozen sandy beaches dotted along the 8 miles of this part of the coast and many other bathing opportunities from the low lying rocks.
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