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The beautiful spur of the Italian boot - the Gargano peninsula


Gargano peninsula
Gargano peninsula

Where are we going this time? To one of the lesser-known areas in Italy, at least to Slovenians. If Italy looks like a cowboy boot on a map, then the Gargano region is the spur of that boot. And a symbol for good vacation.

It is the northernmost part of the Apulia region, closest to the Croatian island of Palagruža, and consists of a wide isolated mountain massif made up of high mountains and several peaks, as well as beautiful beaches and lush forests.


Most of the peninsula's mountainous area is part of the Gargano National Park, created in 1991. The Gargano peninsula is partly covered by remnants of the ancient Foresta Umbra, the only remaining part of Italy's ancient oak and beech forest, which once covered much of central Europe. In addition to its outstanding beaches, the peninsula is also home to the two major salt lakes of Lesina and Varano in the northern part of the peninsula.


Why take time for Gargano?


Gargano isn't exactly close to north of the Country, and if you drive a bit faster, you'll definitely need at least 6 hours from Venice airport to get to the peninsula, but before you roll your eyes and say this is definitely not for you, read the following lines and take a look at the beautiful photos from the peninsula.


The Gargan coast has many beautiful beaches and tourist facilities, and a nice mix of very attractive towns built on white cliffs, such as Vieste and Peschici. Some of our highlights can be seen in the gallery below.



The two towns have a lot in common, as they have evolved from former fishing towns into real tourist hubs with huge beaches and tourist complexes. But they have certainly retained their old, endearing souls. Both are built on white cliffs and therefore consist of many narrow streets linked around the typical white buildings of Apulia, as well as plenty of open spaces where you can see the open sea spectacularly from the cliffs.


Among other things, Vieste is famous for the 26-metre-high rock in the middle of the beach called Pizzomunno, which, of course, has its own legend as one of its main attractions.


Pizzomunno beach
Pizzomunno beach

This one is connected to the fisherman Pizzomunno, whose love was caught by the sirens and imprisoned under the sea. Legend has it that he swam out to rescue her, but became exhausted and gave up hope, turning to stone.


From this beach onwards, you can see several other natural sights in the water. These include the natural rock arch of the Arco di San Felice and the two giant rock mounds on the delle Zagare beach, which are probably the most photographed sights in the Gargano. So don't be surprised if you see lots of photography enthusiasts at the cliff.


#hint This is the #mustsee point for Instagram enthusiasts. The photos are really beautiful and there's no shortage of sunny days.

Baia delle Zagare
Baia delle Zagare


The centre of the peninsula is covered by a huge forest, which is also a nature park called Foresta Umbra. The drive through the park itself is very interesting, and you can cross paths with many animals, from goats to cows.


As well as holiday accommodation and seaside resorts, Gargano has the oldest temple in Western Europe, dedicated to the Archangel Michael. It is located in Monte Sant'Angelo sul Gargano, which is in itself a place to visit for its originality and its charm, but this temple is quite special on a global scale.


According to a legend, its location was chosen by the Archangel Michael himself, and it is located underground, with many steps leading up to it through an entrance with a remarkable portal. The temple is then located metres underground and is practically built in living rock.


#hint We guarantee to impress people of faith and non-faith, and it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011. Beautiful trip.

Sanctuary of Monte Sant'Angelo
Sanctuary of Monte Sant'Angelo

Descending from Monte Sant'Angelo towards Foggia, it is essential to stop for a while in San Giovanni Rotondo, where you can see one of Italy's largest churches, dedicated to the 20th-century monk and one of Italy's most venerated saints, Padre Pio.


The church covers 6000 square metres. The place is entirely marked by the work of Padre Pio, including the hospital he founded during his lifetime. It is one of the largest pilgrimage sites in the whole of Italy, so it's no wonder that the hotels here are growing by leaps and bounds.


WE RECOMMEND

🍷 Drinks: this time, definitely a glass of red wine from Puglia - Primitivo.

🥗 Food: We recommend the orecchiette con cime di rapa - traditional pasta from Puglia with broccoli and chilli.

📷 Must-see: Monte Sant'Angelo and the Basilica in the cave. Amazing!

🏨 Accommodation: we recommend San Giovanni Rotondo, as hotels are open all year round and prices are at least 30% lower than in coastal towns. In addition, from San Giovanni you can make a nice tour around the whole peninsula.

🔝 Top experience: the dragon experience at the Al dragone restaurant in Vieste. Have you ever eaten in a restaurant made in living rock? Well, this, is your chance for a top experience ...

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