Puglia, the sun-soaked heel of Italy’s boot, is not just a destination for its picturesque landscapes and rich history, but also a hub for travelers exploring the Adriatic and beyond. Airports in Puglia play a pivotal role in this, serving as gateways to the region’s charming towns, pristine beaches, and culinary delights.
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Puglia is served by several airports, with the most notable being Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport, Brindisi-Salento Airport, and Foggia Gino Lisa Airport. Each of these airports offers a unique entry point into the region, catering to both domestic and international travelers.
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Which airport do you fly to for Puglia Italy?
- Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (BRI): The main gateway to Puglia and your best bet if you want to start from the capital. It’s well connected, and you can easily grab a train or a car from here to other parts of Puglia.
- Brindisi-Salento Airport (BDS): This one’s further down the heel of the Italian boot, ideal if you’re targeting the southern parts of Puglia. It’s smaller than Bari but cozy and efficient. A great choice if you’re heading to places like Lecce, known as the ‘Florence of the South’.
- Taranto-Grottaglie Airport (TAR): This one’s a bit more off the beaten path and mainly handles charter flights. But hey, if you’re up for an adventure and Taranto is on your radar, why not?
- Foggia Gino Lisa Airport (FOG): A smaller option, mainly for domestic flights. It could be a convenient choice if you’re exploring northern Puglia.
The Best way to get to Puglia from the US
The best way to get to Puglia from the US depends on your preferences and travel plans. Here are three options to consider:
- Fly directly to Puglia: There are two main airports in Puglia: Bari International Airport (BRI) and Salento Airport in Brindisi (BDS). You can find flights from the US to these airports, but they may have less ideal arrival and departure times. To get the best Puglia flight deals, fly from your largest international airport in the US.
- Fly to Rome and take a train: A popular and affordable way to get to Puglia is to fly into Rome (FCO), take the airport rail to Termini train station, and then train to Puglia. This option allows you to explore Rome before heading to Puglia.
High-Speed Trains (Frecciarossa or Italo): These are the Ferraris of the Italian railway, zooming across the countryside. If you’re headed to Bari, the capital of Puglia, a direct high-speed train can get you there in about 4 hours. Super comfy and a great way to see the Italian landscape whizzing by.
- Fly to Europe and take domestic transportation: Another option is to spend a few days in a European town of your liking and then fly or train into Puglia. When flying from within Europe, you will have the option to fly into smaller airports like Taranto, Salento, Lecce, etc., which may be closer to the towns you plan to stay in within the region1.
Keep in mind that the best option for you will depend on factors such as your travel dates, budget, and personal preferences.
Which Airlines Fly to Puglia from the US?
I don’t see direct flights to Puglia from Miami, the major airport near me, so I compare how much it would be to book the flight directly to Puglia knowing I will have a connection versus booking the flight directly to any other European city and flying from there. So here are some options I see.
- American Airlines: They offer flights to major European cities like London, Madrid, or Rome, where you can then connect to a flight to Bari or Brindisi.
- Delta Airlines: Similar to American Airlines, Delta flies into key European airports from various U.S. cities. From these European hubs, you can find connecting flights to Puglia.
- United Airlines: United provides service to several European destinations, which can then connect you to a flight to Puglia.
- Alitalia: Although an Italian airline, Alitalia offers flights from the U.S. to Rome or Milan, from where you can get a domestic flight to Puglia.
- Lufthansa, British Airways, Air France: These European carriers offer flights from major U.S. airports to their respective hubs in Frankfurt, London, and Paris, with onward connections to Puglia.
I also see flights from Turkish Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines, British Airways, Iberia, and Virgin Atlantic. As you can see below, that is super long commute time and pricier tickets.
The shorter route was only giving me two options when I checked for April 2024, which would be different vs the summer when it’s busier.
Once you land in a major European city, you can catch a short-haul flight to either Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (BRI) or Brindisi-Salento Airport (BDS) in Puglia. Airlines like Ryanair, EasyJet, and Wizz Air often have frequent and affordable flights to these destinations from various European hubs.
Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport ( BRI) Info
Bari Airport, named after Pope John Paul II, is Puglia’s largest airport and a testament to the region’s growth and modernization. With a rich history dating back to World War II, the airport has evolved significantly, now boasting state-of-the-art facilities, diverse dining options, and extensive connectivity across Europe and beyond.
Getting from BRI Bari City Center
- By Train: The airport is equipped with its own train station, conveniently named ‘Bari Aeroporto’. The train ride to Bari Centrale, the main train station in the city center, is super quick – only about 15 minutes. Trains run regularly, making it a hassle-free option for travelers. Check their website for more info and train times.
- By Bus: If you’re looking for a budget-friendly choice, the AMTAB city buses . They link the airport to Bari city center and take about 30-40 minutes, depending on traffic. It’s a great way to soak in the local vibes and maybe strike up a conversation with fellow travelers or locals.
- By Taxi or Rideshare: For a more direct and private option, taxis and rideshare services are readily available at the airport. The ride to the city center takes about 20-30 minutes. Sometimes, depending on the time we arrive, we prefer to hire a driver, so check out this one here.
- Car Rental: As a travel writer and photographer, I appreciate the flexibility of having my own car, and we plan to rent a car while visiting Puglia this year. We like finding car deals on Expedia or finding a local car rental company in a Facebook group. Learn more about Driving in Italy.
Accommodations Near BRI Airport
Brindisi-Salento Airport: ( BDS Transportation Options)
Brindisi-Salento Airport, located in the heart of Puglia, serves as a crucial link for tourists and locals alike. Known for its efficient services and passenger-friendly amenities, the airport is conveniently located, offering easy access to some of Puglia’s most famous destinations, like Lecce and the Salento Peninsula.
Alright, let’s zoom into Brindisi-Salento Airport (BDS), another key portal to the enchanting region of Puglia. This airport may be smaller than Bari’s but it’s big on convenience and charm, making it an ideal starting point,
- Proximity to City Center: BDS is quite close to the heart of Brindisi. It’s just about 6 kilometers (around 3.7 miles) from the city center. That’s practically a stone’s throw away, making it super convenient for travelers. Lecce is approximately 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) from Brindisi, making it an accessible and highly recommended destination for anyone visiting the region.
- By Bus: A local bus service operated by STP Brindisi connects the airport to the city center. It’s an economical choice and gives you a chance to experience local life. The journey to the central train station takes about 15-20 minutes, depending on traffic. There are also bus services that run from Brindisi to Lecce. This can be a more economical option, though it might take a bit longer than the train.
- By Taxi or Rideshare: For a more direct and comfortable option, taking a taxi or rideshare directly from BDS to Lecce is a solid choice. The drive takes about 30-40 minutes. This option offers convenience and flexibility, especially if you’re traveling with luggage or photography equipment for your blog.
- Car Rental: Like at Bari’s airport, car rental services are available at BDS. Renting a car gives you the flexibility to explore Brindisi and the wider Puglia region at your own pace. It’s perfect for capturing those off-the-beaten-path moments and scenic drives.
Brindisi itself is steeped in history and culture. It’s a gateway not only to Puglia but also to the East, historically serving as a major port for Roman troops. The city’s close proximity to the airport means you can start your Puglian adventure almost as soon as you land. Imagine capturing the essence of this ancient port city, from its Roman columns to the picturesque seafront.
Accommodations near BDS Airport
- Hotel Orientale: A popular choice among travelers, this hotel offers comfortable rooms and convenient access to the airport.
- Grande Albergo Internazionale: This hotel features elegant rooms and a central location near the airport1.
- Palazzo Virgilio: A boutique hotel with a unique atmosphere, Palazzo Virgilio offers a comfortable stay close to the airport.
- Penthouse Station Luxury Suites & Spa: A luxury option, this hotel offers high-end amenities and a relaxing spa experience.
- Calamaterdomini a 2 passi dal Mare. Has an airport shuttle.
- Casa Cocoon. Apartment close to the airport.
Exploring Foggia Gino Lisa Airport
Smaller yet significant, Foggia Airport serves the northern part of Puglia. It’s an essential component of the region’s air travel infrastructure, providing access to both commercial and private flights. Though currently undergoing developments, it promises an enhanced travel experience in the near future.
Gino Lisa Airport, primarily serving domestic flights, is like a quaint Italian trattoria amidst a sea of bustling, tourist-packed restaurants. Currently, its main connections are within Italy, such as flights from Rome or other major Italian cities. This focus on domestic travel makes Gino Lisa a convenient entry point for visitors coming from other parts of Italy, offering a more relaxed and hassle-free experience compared to larger, international airports.
Facilities and Ambiance: The airport, though small, is equipped with the essential amenities to cater to the needs of modern travelers. Its compact size contributes to a smooth, swift check-in and boarding process, a luxury rarely found in larger airports. The staff are often locals from Foggia and the surrounding region, providing a warm, welcoming atmosphere that starts your journey on a delightful note.
The Advantage of Domestic Travel: While international travelers will need to connect through a larger Italian airport, Gino Lisa’s domestic focus is a boon for those already in Italy. It offers a quick and convenient route to Puglia, bypassing the often overwhelming crowds and complexities of international hubs. For Italian residents or those spending an extended time in Italy, Gino Lisa is a gateway that simplifies the journey to Puglia.
Transportation between airports in Puglia
Traveling between these airports is facilitated by an efficient network of road and rail links. Shuttle services and public transportation options are readily available, making inter-airport travel convenient for passengers.
Traveling between Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (BRI) and Brindisi-Salento Airport (BDS) offers a neat opportunity to explore two distinct parts of the Puglia region. Here are the main transportation options for this journey:
- By Train: The train is a convenient and scenic way to travel between Bari and Brindisi. However, there are no direct train services from either airport to the other. You’ll first need to get to the central train stations in Bari or Brindisi. From there, Trenitalia offers regular train services between Bari Centrale and Brindisi, with a journey time of approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. Remember, you’ll need to factor in the additional travel time to and from the airports.
- By Bus: There are bus services that operate between Bari and Brindisi, though they might not be as frequent as trains. The bus journey can take approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. Like with the train, you’ll need to travel from the airports to the respective bus stations in the city centers.
- By Car: Renting a car could be an excellent choice, especially if you’re interested in flexibility and the chance to explore the region at your own pace. The drive between Bari and Brindisi takes about 1.5 hours via the E55 highway and is quite straightforward. This option allows you to make stops along the way and potentially explore smaller towns and countryside vistas.
- Private Transfer or Taxi: For a more direct and comfortable journey, you can book a private transfer or catch a taxi. This is the most convenient option, albeit the most expensive. The journey time is similar to driving – around 1.5 hours. Check out this option for private diver.
Each of these options offers a different experience of the journey between Bari and Brindisi, adding variety to your travel adventure in Puglia.
Air Travel Tips for Visitors to Puglia
Timing is key when flying to Puglia. The region is a popular summer destination, so booking flights in advance is advisable. Additionally, understanding local travel requirements and airport facilities can significantly enhance your travel experience.