Avoid Bustling Crowds At This Italian Beachside Hot Spot By Visiting This Time Of Year

Without question, "La Dolce Vita" summers in Italy are unequaled anywhere else in the world — the hot sun tempered by cool winds from the Mediterranean, the clink of ice in the most perfect Aperol spritz you've ever tasted. It makes us not give a hoot if we're a tad bloated from our fifth plate of pasta this week. What isn't so "La Dolce Vita," though, are the crowds.

Everyone wants that sweet taste of Italian summer, but nothing is worse for a limoncello hangover than the feeling of a hundred sweaty bodies squeezing past you and the incessant chatter of other well-intentioned, but oblivious, tourists. Rather than brave the heaving crowds of tourists at Amalfi, Sorrento, and Cinque Terre, you should visit Puglia.

Don't just head there any old time of the year, though. To avoid the crowds and get the most out of this spectacular region, head there during October. 

Here's why October is the best time of year to visit Puglia

Puglia is a region located along the "heel" in the southern part of the Italian peninsula. In other places in Italy, many kiss the summer sun goodbye come October. In Puglia, this is not the case. Here, the weather remains warm in the afternoon, and the waters along its coastline are similarly pleasant. And since Italian kids are already back in school by then, there are fewer crowds, meaning cheaper prices for accommodation and food. 

However, you should keep your expectations for activities open to other things besides lounging on the beach, since the lidos (stands that offer beach chairs and umbrella rentals) may be closed. However, you can bring your own towel to sit on in the public beach areas. There may also be the occasional rainy day. However, even the wettest of weather can make cities in Italy feel cozy. Besides, there's always plenty to do inside, like drinking local wine, eating good cheese and cured meats, or finding some museums to visit. If it does rain, think on the bright side — the sunny days will be so much sweeter.

Though October is the beginning of the off season in Italy, businesses will still be open and operating throughout Puglia. Clothing boutiques may even have seasonal sales going on! The only exceptions will be a select few hotels and restaurants that are only open during the high season.

Best beach cities to visit in Puglia in October

It will be hard to choose which city to visit when planning your trip to Puglia. Each one holds a similar promise of beautiful sunsets and sandy beaches. Some of the more popular places people go to are Bari (the capital), Brindisi, and Lecce. However, if you want the best beachside experience in Puglia, head to Polignano a Mare or the lesser-known city Santa Maria di Leuca.

Polignano a Mare is a beachside city that is absolutely loaded with Italians and foreigners alike during the summers but dies down as the season wanes. With fewer people around, you'll get unadulterated views of Lama Monachile, a famous beach cove that has cliffs topped with buildings, appearing as though they grew from the very soil they stand on. As soon as you see photos of it, you'll go, "Oh! That's in Puglia?" Yup, that's in Puglia.

If you're the kind of person who likes to explore lesser-known places and is a bit of a history nerd, let us introduce you to Santa Maria di Leuca. Located in the southernmost tip of the heel, this location was described in the 3rd book of "The Aeneid" as the hero approached the shores. Though the world has changed a lot since Virgil began writing the poems in 30 B.C., today, you can still explore the many hidden coves, beaches, and grottoes that dot its shoreline or the city's Moorish and art nouveau architecture.