Puglia might still be a somewhat under-the-radar destination compared to other Italian regions, but locals know that the country’s easternmost region is emblematic of all the best things Italy has to offer: stunning natural landscapes, millennia-old history, rich folklore and delicious cuisine.

Sometimes also known as the Heel of Italy since most of its territory takes up what is unmistakably the heel of the boot-shaped Belpaese, Puglia is a popular summer spot for Italians, and its gentle Mediterranean weather and cultural treasures mean travelers will find something to fill their days even in the off season.

Whether you're into summer festivals along the beach or nativity scenes at Christmas, here is a guide to help you pick the perfect time for your visit to Puglia.

April to June is best for lovely weather and Easter traditions

The period from April to June is probably the best time of year to be in Puglia. While you might still encounter some rain showers at the beginning of April, each month will get warmer, allowing you to take a dip into the sea and explore the region's enchanting cities and towns – all without the heat and crowds of high summer.

Depending on when Easter falls, you might also be able to catch some of its celebrations in April. Italian schools close in the days leading up to Easter, as do most workplaces for Easter Monday, making that long weekend a bit more trafficked than usual. 

Still, it’s definitely worth witnessing some of the Easter traditions where spirituality and folklore intertwine, like the famous Fracchie in the village of San Marco in Lamis, an event during which huge torches are lit on fire and then hauled along the village’s main streets.

Umbrellas and lounge chairs on the beach of Rodi Garganico in summer
Embrace those relaxed summer vibes in Puglia in July and August © Gina Pricope / Getty Images

July to August is best for a textbook summer vacation

The weather in Puglia is softened by its proximity to the sea, but summer here still gets pretty hot – lean into the languor by dozing on the sand under a beach umbrella or taking a dive into the waters of the Adriatic Sea. July and August provide that quintessential Italian summer experience, but make sure to book in advance as this is high season – accommodations get crowded quickly and prices rise equally fast.

There are many Italians who love to travel to Puglia for their summer holidays – beyond the beautiful beaches and historic towns, the whole region is alight with festivals and events. Don't miss the music festival Notte della Taranta, a string of folk music concerts held in cities and towns across Salento throughout August and that culminates in one big concert in Melpignano.

Workers harvest grapes in Salento in the fall
Fall in Puglia brings harvests and historical events © Cosimo Calabrese / Getty Images

September to October is best for milder weather and fruits of the harvest

Autumn is an excellent time to visit Puglia. While the things can turn chilly and rainy towards the end of October, the weather is overall still lovely, so much so that you can’t really tell that summer has actually ended. With life going back to normal for Italians, who return to work and school, you’ll have a chance to explore the region’s highlights without the crowds.

While September and October are harvest months, one of the most interesting events you can attend to if you happen to be in Puglia around the beginning of September is not harvest related. The Challenge of Barletta is a historical reenactment of the clash that took place at the beginning of the 16th century between thirteen Italian knights and thirteen French ones, complete with heralds, noblewomen and of course, knights.

Christmas lights and decorations in the alleys of the historic center of Locorotondo in Puglia
Feel the holiday magic when you visit Puglia in winter © NurPhoto / Getty Images

November to March is best for budget travel and holiday magic

Autumn officially ends with November and the harvesting of olives from Puglia’s famous olive trees. Winter strolls in, bringing the coldest weather the region experiences throughout the year, but it’s also the perfect season if you’re traveling on a budget and don’t mind skipping the ocean swims. Christmastime sees people returning home to spend the holidays with their families, and several cities and towns put up living nativity scenes where actors recreating the story of the birth of Jesus. 

If you are in Puglia in the first half of January, you might also catch the massive bonfires illuminating the night in the town of Castellana Grotte, a tradition to celebrate the city being freed from the plague at the end of the 17th century.

February is also the month of Carnival celebrations. The largest of these is held in Putignano, with a parade of incredibly elaborate carnival floats and masked groups.

Keep planning your trip to Puglia:

Build your itinerary with the 8 best things to do in Puglia

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