Located along the Ionian Sea, Gallipoli is a large town on the west coast of the Salento region. Puglia’s Gallipoli divides into the modern and old towns, but don’t confuse it with its namesake in Turkey!
Sitting on a limestone island, the old town links with the mainland by a 16th century bridge. It’s a town in and of itself, away from the modernity of the other side of the area. Jutting out into the sea you can see some of the most famous beaches of Puglia’s Ionian coast, stretching out like a white ribbon. These especially include Baia Verde, Samsara Beach, and Lido Punta della Suina.
In Gallipoli’s centro storico (‘historical centre’), you’ll feel a sense of timeless intimacy as you wind around the streets. Take in the medieval buildings, which give glimpses of the sparkling sea at the ends of streets. A bustling local community reminds you that Gallipoli is still fairly untouched by tourism. As a result, at times it almost seems like you’ve been transported back to the 16th century.
Gallipoli is a definite must-see for foodies because of its famous fish and seafood.
One of the lesser-known gems of Gallipoli is first of all the fish market. Open daily, the tiny corner of the port becomes home to a myriad of independent stalls selling fresh, local fish and seafood caught that morning.
There are pop up ‘restaurants’ where you can order platters of raw seafood (or plates depending on how hungry you are); and oysters, mussels, prawns, sea urchins are all on the menu. Raw seafood is perfectly safe to eat here simply because it’s so fresh. We can recommend the local red prawns due to their superb creamy finish. Perfetto!
The fish market closes around lunchtime, so we recommend getting there late morning for an aperitivo platter with chilled white wine. Finally, walk it off before heading off to a restaurant for a fish feast.