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Best month to visit Puglia region- October or April

Hi all. I've been considering a visit to the Puglia region of Italy for a while now. I'm not one for hot weather, so was thinking about February or March of 2025, but I joined a FB group for the region and the more I read, the more I wonder if either October or April would be a better time based on all the reading I've been doing this morning. It sounds like plenty of things are closed in February and March and November might be too rainy and cold. I looked at monthly weather in various cities around the region (Lecce, Polignano a Mare and Bari), which is why I came up with October or April. Both seem to have reasonably mild weather, although I've read several warnings to make sure wherever I stay has heat since it gets cold at night. I suppose April has the advantage of spring flowers blooming, but October might be less crowded yet everything would still be open. Has anyone visited the region in those months? I'd love some feedback if possible. Thank you in advance!

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16931 posts

I can only speak from personal experience, one trip in late February-early March last year (2023). The weather was great. We had one day of rain—-actually a few hours, but it was a “gullywasher” to use a quaint expression. We had a cooking class booked and had to walk about 8 blocks in Lecce, with water coursing down the street and rain pounding our heads. But we have good Patagonia rain jackets and only our feet got actually wet.

Apart from that we enjoyed pleasantly warm sunny weather every day—-like mid-sixties up to 70 (F). On February 24 my husband actually went for a quick swim at a little beach in Monopoli, and he was not the only person in the water. We did not notice a lot of places being closed, but there certainly were no crowds. And we felt very welcomed everywhere we went.

Of course next year could be totally different.

In looking at weather charts, I find monthly averages a bit difficult to interpret. Are they averaging the daily highs and lows over a period of X years? And how is the rainfall—-light rain all day, or a gullywasher for an hour or two now and then? Normally those charts state the average total rainfall during each month, but is that spread evenly over the month, or concentrated at the beginning or end of the month?

I find it more useful to get descriptive information from locals, like “well March is usually a rainy month and then it tapers off in April”. But sometimes that kind of information is difficult to find. And of course anecdotal information on precipitation can be skewed in peoples’ memories toward one particular year, which might have been an outlier.

I know this isn’t much help! I guess I would just suggest that you consider late March as well as April. And be careful about late April. As I was advised on my own thread about Tuscany and Umbria, between the late Easter (April 20), the Jubilee Year, Liberation Day on April 25, and the May Day holiday, late April will be very busy—-with many of the tourists being Italians.

As for October, it seems like that is no longer shoulder season in Italy; crowds persist well into the month. Jour recent experience has only been in northern Italy, in late September 2022 and 2023. The weather was perfect, but the crowds were still there. Maybe by late October that has changed. But by then the days are noticeably shorter.

Posted by
538 posts

I agree that weather charts can only tell you so much. My concern about February-March was more based on the comments in the new FB group I joined. Of course, there's no guarantee as far as weather, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask. I'll admit, I'm resisting the urge to jump on google flights and looking for flights today, since maybe finding a good deal would help me decide which month I want to go. :)

Posted by
15491 posts

Last time I went there was last July. 40 to 45 degrees Celsius every day (104-113F) . Couldn’t ask for better weather. It was a pleasure jumping in the water at the beach.
In your case I would choose April, but October is not bad provided it’s early in the month.

Posted by
343 posts

We usually go to Puglia from mid-September to mid-October and love it. Usually the weather is excellent, warm without being too hot, also because the days are shorter. It's still warm enough to swim and the crowds gradually disappear. (our first week is always in Vieste where beach clubs are already closing)
We spent a week in Bari at the beginning of April a few years ago and the weather was surprisingly chilly, enough to need some sort of heating in the accommodation and locals still wearing end of winter clothes. Although it was warm enough to eat outside when we were sheltered from the wind and in a sunny position. I've never needed heating in October because even if the weather is cooler outside houses are still warm from the summer.
In October there are no public holidays, whereas April usually includes Easter, then there's 25th April which is a holiday often tagged on to the nearest weekend to make a 'ponte' or long weekend, sometimes combined with Easter. And the same May 1st. So generally more Italians about than in October.
October shorter days. April already light in the evening.
This was our April trip: https://slowtravelitalyspain.blogspot.com/2019/11/puglia-bari-in-april-trip-report.html
We also had a week in Brindisi in November but that was a bit cool and rainy.
Here are more posts about Puglia: https://bit.ly/3BkumFp

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15716 posts

When I was in Puglia a few years ago, it was early May and it wasn't too hot yet. Had great weather.

Just be aware that even if your hotel has air conditioning, it may be turned on. My hotel didn't turn it on because, they claimed, it was too early based on a city ordinance. Luckily, I travel with a small fan.

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11368 posts

We spent ten days in Polignano a Mare in October and had wonderful weather the whole time.

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1486 posts

We’ve spent several weeks in Puglia on three different trips, one in late March to early April, and two in late October to early November — the weather was great all three times, cool mornings and evenings, but very little rain. I also really do not like hot weather!

Late March to early April — yes, there will be wildflowers, and also some interesting spring foods to eat in restaurants like roasted wild hyacinth bulbs and poppy leaves.

If a spring trip includes Easter Sunday, note that Easter Monday (La Pasquetta) is a national holiday in Italy so schools, banks, government offices, etc. will be closed. It’s a long weekend in which Italians will visit the countryside and other towns. For instance, we were staying in the historic center of Ostuni for a week ending in Easter weekend — the town’s wonderful restaurants were all open all week but the old town was little visited until lots of people arrived on Saturday.

During our trip from the end of October to early November, Puglia was busy harvesting and pressing olives. November 1st is All Saints Day, another national holiday. People visit cemeteries and we ate some traditional colva (or grano dei morti) on All Souls Day on November 2nd --- it's made ​​with cooked wheat grains, raisins, chopped walnuts and almonds, dried figs, chocolate, pomegranate seeds, and vincotto : https://lestradedelvinopuglia.com/en/la-colva-the-grain-of-the-dead/

Polignano a Mare — This town is a zoo in the summer, but it was fun for us on a day trip in early April and there were few people on the beach or in the town. As pretty seaside towns go, we much preferred Trani (there’s a train from Bari) and for years now I’ve had my eye on Giovinazzo (half an hour from Bari by train) but haven’t made it there yet.

Otranto is famous for the mosaic floor of its cathedral, a wild mix of real and imaginary creatures: elephant and peacocks, mermaids and centaurs, and animals with human body parts.

The problem with Alberobello is not so much the crowds of people, even in late fall and early spring, but the stuff for sale spilling out of every shop up and down almost every street. However, a recent trip review here convinced me that an overnight in Alberobello does work for wandering there before it gets cluttered up in the early morning and evening. The other side of the big main street is more residential and very photogenic. Throughout the area, you will see both abandoned trulli and fixed-up trulli along the roads.

Lecce is an excellent place to stay a bit longer.

If I really had to choose, I guess I’d choose a spring trip.

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308 posts

We were in Puglia mid to late April 2024. We had days well into the 70s and days in the low 60s. We had a bit more rain that was "typical" with some rain on about 5 of 10 days - and one VERY rainy day.

On the assumption that April and October are comparable in tems of "averages," and for that you should check the weather charts available on Google, there is one factor that may "tilt" the balance: the sea temperature. The Adriatic and Ionian seas are likely warmer in October, as they will have spent the summer warming up. Six or seven weeks ago, wading knee-deep in the Adriatic on a nice day was the most we did. We saw VERY few actually swimming.

Posted by
538 posts

Thank you for all the replies! It sounds like either time of year would be good (is there ever a bad time to go to Italy), so I'll have to look at possible flights, but since Easter isn't until later in April, an early April trip might fit nicely into my schedule.

I've started making my list of places I want to see and things I want to do, but I'm sure I'll have questions as it starts to come together. The more research I do, the more excited I get!

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1176 posts

If you want to go swimming then check to see if the water is warm in April. And if you like some greenery then In April the hillsides may have some green from the winter rains the same way the Los Angeles area hills do. We were in Puglia last Sept and by the end of the summer the heat has dried everything out and the scenery had a dried brown appearance for the most part. So if I were doing it again I would choose April/May.