Things to know and ideas for your own excursion in the capital of Puglia
- Regular berth: Levante Quay
- Regular berth: Intema quay
- Regular berth: Ponente quay
- Harbour shuttle: available
- Taxis: Available at the cruise terminal
- Buses: Well organised bus network
- Car rental*: Sixt, at the airport
- Car rental*: Hertz, Via Luigi Ricchioni 26 and at the airport
- Car rental*: Avis, Via Luigi Zuppetta 5 A and at the airport
- Car rental*: Europcar, Via Giuseppe Palmieri 29 and at the airport
- Car rental*: Budget, Via Giovanni Amendola, 106/A
- Post office: Via Quarnaro, 10
- Tourist information: at the Cruise Terminal and at Piazza del Ferrarese 29
- Banks and ATMs: mainly found in the city centre
- Cruise Ship Berths
Bari is the capital of Italy's south-eastern region of Puglia and a frequent destination on the popular Adriatic routes. The berths of the cruise ships are located in the city's own port of Porto di Bari, to which there are also some important ferry connections. With the Terminal Crociere, cruise guests at Levante Kai have a modern cruise terminal that houses some shops, a local tourist information stand, toilets and ATMs. With the adjacent Intema and Ponente Piers, additional berths are available.
- Harbour Shuttle
The edge of the old town, Citta Vecchia, is only about 500 metres from the cruise port. If you don't want to take the 10- to 15-minute walk, you can take a taxi as an alternative. There are also free shuttle buses from the city to the port exit and often shuttle buses organised by the shipping companies for a fee. A ticket for this, for example, recently cost 10 euros per person with AIDA Cruises* and is valid for the return journey.
After the arrival of a cruise ship, many taxi drivers are usually waiting for their guests at the Cruise Terminal. In addition to simple transfer trips, tours are also offered here. Although fixed prices are called to the main destinations in Bari and the surrounding area, the expected costs should always be clarified with the driver before starting the journey. For example, for a trip from the port to the main station, 12 euros and 60 euros are called for a one-hour sightseeing tour through the city.
A two-hour round trip to Polignano costs 100 euros and the three-hour excursions to Castellana Grotte, Matera and Castel del Monte cost 120 euros each. For Alberobello, which is a little further away, the price is 130 euros. The driver's waiting time on site is included in the price. If you would like to take an additional Bari city tour, after one of these excursions lasting several hours, you will be charged an extra 30 euros.
- Public Transport
The transport company Amtab S.p.A. operates the public bus network in the urban area of Bari with modern vehicles on a large number of routes. A single ticket entitles the holder to one journey and costs 1 euro. The time-limited 90-minute ticket is available for 1.20 euros and a day ticket is available for a reasonable 2.50 euros. In addition, a ticket booklet (Carnet di biglietti) with ten single tickets is offered for 9 euros.
In Bari, too, the well-known small tourist trains are on the road. Here they are organised by two providers, Trenino della Felicita and Bari City Tours. You can board the train at the harbour exit. The trip passes some sights with partial photo stops, takes 90 to 120 minutes and costs 10 euros per person. The small trams can only travel through the old town to a limited extent and so, depending on the tour, it is possible that some sections will also be covered on foot. Usually, linguistically skilled students take over the job of the accompanying guide. Explanations are given in German and/or English.
- Cycle Rickshaw
A comfortable and environmentally friendly way to explore Bari is on the padded back seats of a cycle rickshaw. However, there are only a limited number of these available at the cruise terminal after the arrival of a cruise ship. So, it is better to book a tour on the internet in advance to be sure of getting a vehicle. The 1.5-hour rickshaw tour takes you into the city centre and to the city's most important landmarks. Along the way, the knowledgeable guide explains all kinds of interesting facts. Bookable in several languages, including German and English, one round is charged at 90 euros. The available space per rickshaw is limited to 2 adults and one child up to the age of 10.
Those who prefer to be active can use one of the bicycles provided by Velo Service in the cruise port. The modern bikes are available daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. for 15 euros each and are waiting for interested renters. After presenting a valid identification document and paying a deposit of 50 euros, the excursion can begin on your own. The price includes a helmet, bike lock and a city map. It also makes sense to reserve the desired bike early.
- Hop On Hop Off Buses
As soon as cruise tourists arrive in Bari, open-top buses also operate on a clearly laid out Hop On Hop Off line. These sightseeing tours start at the cruise terminal and cost 10 euros per person. One loop goes around the old town with a long stop of 30 minutes at Piazza del Ferrarese for exploring on foot. The tour continues with short stops at the city beach Pane e Pomodoro and the Basilica of San Nicola. The trip is only worthwhile to a limited extent for a first impression and overview of the city.
Bari's main shopping street is Via Sparano. It runs in a straight line from the old town in the north to the parks of Piazza Umberto I in the south. The wide street is marked as a pedestrian zone, except for small interruptions, and is therefore largely free of motorised traffic. This makes for a pleasant stroll and, in addition to the numerous boutiques and shops, there is also a wide range of culinary offerings in the form of restaurants, cafés and bars. Other shops can be found in the adjoining side streets and on the parallel street Via Argiro.
- Archaeological Museum
Near the harbour exit, in the walls of the former monastery of St. Scholastica, you will find the city's Archaeological Museum. The Museo Archeologico di Santa Scolastica was founded in 1875 and today houses around 30,000 exhibits from over 4000 years of local and regional history. It is open Wednesday to Monday from 10:00-17:00, but on Sundays it is open until 14:00. It is closed on Tuesday. Admission fees are 5 euros per person for adults and 3 euros for children.
- Basilica San Nicola
A little further south is the Basilica di San Nicola (Basilica of Saint Nicholas of Myra). It was built between 1087 and 1106 and houses, among other things, the relics of Saint Nicholas, which are in a sarcophagus in the crypt of the building. The main reason for its construction was the transfer of the bishop of Myra's bones to Bari on 9 May 1087. The mighty building attracts numerous pilgrims to the city throughout the year. The beginning of May is particularly crowded every year. From 7 to 9 May, this historic day is commemorated and celebrated vigorously for three days. The statue of Saint Nicholas is then removed from its regular place in the left aisle of the basilica and carried in procession through the old town to the harbour. Admission to the basilica is free of charge.
- Cathedral of San Sabino
The Cathedral of San Sabino (Cattedrale di San Sabino) is located very centrally in the old town on Piazza dell'Odegitria. It was built on the foundations of a Byzantine predecessor and somewhat later than the Basilica of San Nicola between 1170 and 1178. The subsequent structural changes were removed during the extensive restoration in 1950, and the cathedral was finally restored to its original Romanesque architectural style. Parts of the floor in the transept date back to Byzantine times and the crypt contains the relics of San Sabino di Canosa. In addition, numerous ecclesiastical objects are exhibited in the associated diocesan museum.
- Noodle Street
Bari is famous for handmade pasta, especially the so-called Orecchiette. These eyelet pasta, are pieces of dough about two centimetres in size, made of durum wheat semolina and water. Shaped, they are finally placed in the Italian sun to dry. Salt is only added later during preparation. The traditional pasta is also available in slightly larger versions, called Orecchioni and Cavatelli. Today, you can watch the "pasta women" at work in the south-western part of the old town. In the mornings, you will find numerous tables and stalls busily producing pasta in the quaint, sometimes narrow Via Arco Basso (Strada di Orecchiette). Of course, you can also buy a bag or two of pasta here.
- Castello Normanno-Svevo
To the west of the cathedral rise the mighty walls of Castello Svevo di Bari. Originally built from 1131 to 1132, the castle complex was rebuilt after enemy destruction between 1233 and 1240. In the 16th century, the fortress was considerably extended and strengthened. Among other things, bastions, defence towers and the moat were added. Used in the meantime as a palace, prison and barracks, the modernised rooms are now used for exhibition purposes. For example, a collection of plaster copies of the most important monuments and cathedrals from the Puglia region, archaeological excavations with finds, a photo exhibition on the development of the restoration work on the fort, ceramics and various pieces of jewellery can be viewed. Open daily except Tuesdays from 08:30-18:30 and admission is 9 euros per person.
- San Antonio Fortress and Fish Market
On the other side of the old town is the manageable fortress of San Antonio (Il Fortino di Sant'Antonio). In the 11th century, the Torre di Sant'Antonio was built here, a simple defence tower that was later extended and expanded into a small fortress, with its own garrison, to protect the old harbour. Today, the rooms of the fortification are used for a wide variety of events and from the roof, there is a quite good view of the modernly designed waterfront promenade. At the foot of the walls, the adjacent Molo Sant'Antonio is bustling with activity in the mornings, when fishermen offer their fresh catch for sale.
- Museo Teatro Margherita
A few metres south of the fortress, you come across a not uninteresting and quite large building. After the young predecessor building burned down completely, construction work began in 1912 to build the Museo Teatro Margherita. As before, the building was placed on the wooden piles inserted in the harbour basin and finally opened 2 years later. The location outside the land mass was chosen to circumvent an agreement made that did not allow another theatre on urban land. Over time, the structure was used as a history museum, war museum, film theatre, US Army quarters and cinema. After extensive renovation and modernisation work, the exhibition rooms were reopened in 2018 with a Van Gogh exhibition. Today, temporary exhibitions on the theme of contemporary art are presented here time and again.
- Teatro Petruzzelli
Less than a five-minute walk from the Museo Teatro Margherita, you will come across another stately building. The Teatro Petruzzelli is considered the largest privately run opera house in Italy. It first opened in 1903 and has 1482 seats. Used as a theatre from the beginning, it fell victim to a devastating fire on 10 October 1991, was then faithfully reconstructed and reopened in 2009. Thus, even today, numerous and high-calibre performances are staged.
- Pane e Pomodoro City Beach
If you follow the beautiful waterfront promenade Lungomare Araldo Di Crollalanza from the old harbour, you will reach the city beach Pane e Pomodoro after about 1.5 kilometres and a 20 to 25-minute walk. Translated, it means bread and tomato. The beach section, which is not too big, has fine sand and slopes gently down to the sea. There is also a beach bar, a playground, freshwater showers and toilets. A rental car* can be parked in the adjacent car park for one euro per day. Especially at weekends, the Pane e Pomodoro beach is also popular with locals. It can get quite crowded. The beach is about 3 kilometres away from the cruise port, which is a 40 to 45-minute walk.
- City Beach Lido San Francesco
On the other side of the city is another city beach. The Lido San Francesco alla Rena slopes gently into the often crystal-clear sea and is mostly fine sand. It also has a beach bar, showers, changing rooms, toilets and a lifeguard always watching over visitors. As a private beach, however, access is subject to a fee of 25 euros. The price is for two people. Sunbeds and parasols are included. The small, but public and therefore free beach sections Spiaggia Libera Lato S.Francesco and Spiaggia del Canalone border on either side of the Lido San Francesco. The distance from the cruise ship berths is about 4 kilometres. It takes about 50 to 55 minutes on foot in each direction. A taxi takes only a few minutes and costs 20 euros.
- Polignano a Mare
Those who want to explore the surroundings of Bari on their own, should make a stop in Polignano a Mare. The coastal town is known for its impressive and densely built-up cliffs, which at first glance look like a huge fortress. In the quaint alleys of the old town, you can take a relaxing stroll, stop for a break in one of the taverns, as well as visit the Chiesa Matrice church, built in 1295, and some small shops. In addition, well-placed panoramic terraces offer far-reaching views of the town with its cliffs. There are hardly any bathing opportunities and the small pebble beach on the western edge of the old town is quickly overcrowded on warm days.
Polignano is the annual venue for the Red Bull Cliff Diving, where numerous cliff divers plunge into the depths. It was also the birthplace of singer Domenico Modugno, who became world famous with his song "Nel blu dipinto di blu", better known as "Volare". Polignano a Mare is about 37 kilometres from the cruise port in Bali, which takes about 35 minutes each way by rental car*. The well-located local railway station can be reached in 42 minutes from Bari Centrale main station by the regional trains of the Italian railway Trenitalia. The fare is a reasonable 2.60 euros per person and direction.
South of Polignano a Mare lies the small town of Alberobello with its famous trulli houses. The small, white and round houses with their conical roofs, can be found here in very large numbers and have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. From the Cruise Terminal, it takes 65 to 70 minutes by rental car* or taxi to reach Alberobello. In this case, this corresponds to a distance of about 63 kilometres. A taxi ride costs a total of 130 euros for the outward journey, the driver's waiting time and the return journey. This applies per vehicle and thus for up to four people. A train ride is possible, but not recommended. The journey by train takes at least 95 minutes in each direction and you have to change trains in Putignano in between.
- Grotte di Castellana
Almost halfway between Polignano a Mare and Alberobello lies the small town of Castellana Grotte. The cave system on the outskirts of the town attracts many tourists. It was discovered in January 1938 by Franco Anelli and stretches for several kilometres to a depth of about 70 metres.
The open areas can be visited within the framework of two multilingual guided tours. One is the complete, three-kilometre-long tour. It takes about 100 minutes and costs 18 euros per person. Children aged 6 to 14 pay 3 euros less and infants under 6 are free. The other tour covers only part of the complete route and ends after 50 minutes. This costs 15 euros, or 12 euros for children.
In the Castellana Caves, the temperature ranges from 16 to 18° Celsius all year round and the humidity is around 90 percent. Appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes* are recommended. On the surface, apart from a few small restaurants, there is also a speleological museum with information on the formation of the caves and some finds. The Grotte di Castellana is around 52 kilometres from the port of Bari and the journey time by rental car* or taxi is 50 to 55 minutes. The taxi fare here is 120 euros for the round trip.
- Castel del Monte
At 58 kilometres, a little further from Bari and to the west, is the 13th-century castle Castel del Monte. Built between 1240 and 1250 on a 540-metre-high hill, the structure impresses with its well thought-out and symmetrical design. For example, the eight outer corners of the 25-metre-high building are joined by eight 26-metre-high towers, which are also octagonal in shape. The inner courtyard was also constructed on eight sides and the two floors each have eight rooms/halls.
In 1936, the Castel del Monte was declared a national monument of Italy and in 1996 it received the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was also immortalised on the reverse of the Italian 1 cent coin. Visits to the interior are possible by appointment and Monday to Friday from 09:00-17:45, with a maximum of 28 people admitted only on the hour. Visits are limited to 45 minutes. Adults aged 26 and over, pay an entrance fee of 7 euros. People between the ages of 18 and 25 pay 2 euros each, and children under 18 receive free tickets.
To get there by car, you can expect an hour's drive each way. For a return trip, a taxi from Bali cruise port costs 120 euros. If you are travelling by rental car*, there is limited parking at the foot of the castle. Around 1.5 kilometres to the south, there is an additional spacious car park for 6 euros per vehicle. A small shuttle bus shuttles between the car park and the castle for 1 euro per person.
Also, worth seeing is the old town of Matera with its cave settlements, one of the oldest localities in the world, which lies around 69 kilometres to the south from the cruise port in Bali. People settled here as early as the Neolithic period. The cave dwellings that are preserved today were built from the Middle Ages onwards and in the course of time were given a house facade. So at first glance, they look relatively normal. Until the middle of the 20th century, most of them were even still inhabited. Due to poor hygienic conditions, it was then decided to relocate the inhabitants to modern residential areas of the city. Eventually, the Sassi fell into disrepair.
From the 1980s onwards, restoration work began, and the town was transformed into a museum town, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 and is now a listed building. Among other things, residential houses restored to their original state can be visited. Parts of the area were also used as a backdrop in the feature film "The Passion of the Christ" with Mel Gibson. There is a charge of 3 euros per person for visits to the interior of a rock church. If you want to visit all of them, you can buy a combined ticket for 7 euros at the entrances. The cave settlements of Sassi di Matera can be reached from the berths of the cruise ships by rental car* or taxi in about 70 minutes. A round trip by taxi costs 120 euros for up to four people.
- Excursion Portals and Excursion Providers
Through the tour and excursion providers GetYourGuide*, Meine Landausflüge* and Viator*, you can book various excursions, activities, tours, tickets and entrance fees in Bari, which are often offered at much lower prices than comparable excursions by the shipping companies. Thus, if you book in time, you can realise a variety of excursions on your own.
A small pre-selection of shipping company independent excursion offers for, in and around Bari, can be found under Excursions on your own.
- Cruises and Special Offers
If you haven't booked an Adriatic cruise yet, but would like to get to know Bari personally and go on excursions on your own, you will find great offers with the major cruise operators in the German-speaking countries. Aida*, Costa* and Tui Cruises - Mein Schiff* offer charming itineraries with their modern cruise ships, along with other interesting destinations. Book your next dream holiday directly with your favourite cruise line at fair conditions.
All ocean and river cruises can also be booked conveniently and inexpensively online with the cruise specialist Kreuzfahrten-Zentrale Astoria*. You can choose from a wide range of daily offers from various shipping companies. These include AIDA Cruises, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and TUI Cruises. The popular special offers are also attractive, with which you can travel particularly cheaply and possibly also get a great bargain.
- Museum opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:00-18:00.
- Post office opening hours: Monday to Friday from 08:30-19:00, Saturday from 08:30-12:30.
- Bank opening hours: Monday to Friday from 08:30-13:00 and 14:30-16:00
- Tourist Information Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 09:00-19:00.
- Shop opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:00-20:00.
- Country code: +39
- Taxi Bari: Tel. +39 080 534 33 33 (Radio Taxi Bari)
- Taxi Bari: Tel. +39 080 554 33 33 (Radio Taxi Bari)
- General emergency call: Tel. 112
- Police: Tel. 113
- Emergency doctor: Tel. 118
- Fire brigade: Tel. 115
- Vaccination recommendation: Tropical Institute Italy
- Security advice: Italian Foreign Office
- Public Transport: AMTAB
- Bus timetables: AMTAB lines
- Train connections: Trenitalia
- City map: Bari Map
- Climate table: Bari Climate
- Port occupancy: Cruise ships in Bari
- Webcam: Meteo Bari
- Official language: Italian
- National currency: Euro, 1 EUR = 100 cents
More port information on popular cruise destinations in the Mediterranean