Thursday, April 30, 2009

flights to Puglia's best beaches

Ryanair flights to Puglia's best beaches:

Ryanair's flights to Brindisi’s Papola Casale Airport from London Stansted. The airport is a 13.5-mile (22km) drive from Torre Guaceto. Bari’s Palese Macchie Airport is further away (68 miles/ 110km), but is also served by flights from London Stansted and London Gatwick by Ryanair and BA respectively.

What is there to do?
Aside from the usual Mediterranean beach pursuits (the sea here is clean, warm and perfect for swimming), the visitor centre, two miles (3km) inland at Serranova, organises nature walks (from €11 for adults and €6 for children), cycle trekking (from €17 for adults and €8 for children, including bike hire and safely equipment) and guided snorkelling trips (from €20 for adults and €14 for children, including equipment). There is also a small museum at the visitor centre that provides information on the history of the area and the different plant and animal species to be found there.

Why go?
Torre Guaceto is a nature reserve and protected area, so while the rest of the surrounding coastline is now home to countless bars, restaurants and hotels, this patch of sand and sea has remained blissfully free from development. Anyone who has experienced frustration at the strict organisation of most Italian beaches will revel in the freedom that Torre Guaceto offers. The fact that it is a nature reserve means that there are plenty of opportunities to observe plant and animal species usually scarce in this part of the world.

Who goes?
The relative lack of amenities for tourists means that only those prepared to rough it a little venture to Torre Guaceto. The beach is popular with Italian families happy to haul a full day’s food and drink with them and set up camp with cool boxes and portable beach furniture. This area of Puglia is becoming increasingly popular with second-home-owning Britons, so expect to hear the odd British voice. Although the visitor centre runs a mini-shuttle service from the distant car parks to nearer the beach, anyone considering coming to Torre Guaceto should be prepared to walk a considerable distance in the hot sun to find their perfect patch of sand.

Bars and bites
The area’s nature reserve status means that you won’t find any restaurants nearby, but there is a snackbar that serves drinks and sandwiches, which is open every day. At the visitor centre there is an informal barbeque restaurant serving meat and not much else. For more complete meals there are beachside eateries further up and down the coast at Specchiola and Apani.