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Gallipoli, Italy is a serene seashore town along the western coast of the Salentina Peninsula (which is better known as the Heel of Italy’s Boot). The quaint Gallipoli Old Town occupies an island, which is connected to the mainland via a bridge. Along with the turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea, the historic town boasts just a handful of sights and things to do.
Day Trip to Gallipoli, Italy
Gallipoli, Italy is a top destination for a day trip adventure or a weeklong stay. An ideal seaside escape in the Puglia region, we planned a day trip to Gallipoli during our month-long stay in Lecce, Italy.
Although our visit to Gallipoli, Italy was in the off-season when the town was quiet, the weather was perfect. With the sun shining and endless views, we happily explored the streets and discovered 10 must-see Gallipoli sights.
How To Get to Gallipoli
Getting to Gallipoli, Italy is fairly simple from other destinations on the Salento Peninsula. Travelers can arrive to the beautiful city on the west coast by bus, train, taxi or car.
Gallipoli and Lecce are connected via a highway and a train. From Lecce, it’s just a short (and inexpensive) train ride to Gallipoli, Italy. We hopped on the old diesel locomotive for the one-hour journey from Lecce to Gallipoli and the Ionian Sea.
From the Gallipoli, Italy train station, it is a pleasant walk through the modern mainland town to the bridge that crosses over to the historic island. Our Self-Guided Gallipoli Walking Tour begins before walking across the bridge to the Old Town.
Visit Gallipoli on a Road Trip from Lecce
Travelers with a car can make the trip between Lecce and Gallipoli in about 30 minutes. Taxis between the two cities cost about $100 USD (so it could be cheaper to rent a car). Buses from Lecce to Gallipoli take about an hour or longer.
Things To Do in Gallipoli, Italy: 10 Sights To See
Once only accessible by drawbridge, the old walled city of Gallipoli, Italy contains a labyrinth of alleys. Gallipoli sights are found within the lanes – like the recently resorted castle, century-old churches and the fish market.
During our one day in Gallipoli, Italy, we routed our way through the Old Town to the top sights. The sights are listed in order so that you can follow in our footsteps on your own Self-Guided Gallipoli Tour. We have provided a link to each sight to help you find your way. You can also use the helpful Gallipoli map – including a link to walking directions – at the end of the post.
#1 The Greek Fountain
MAP. The large 16th century Greek fountain features stone carvings. One side is etched with characters from mythology, while the town’s coat of arms graces the side facing north.
#2 Chiesa di Santa Maria del Canneto
MAP. The small church on the mainland seaside, Chiesa di Santa Maria del Canneto, dates to the 17th century. A destructive fire in the Gallipoli port left an image of the Virgin Mary unscathed. To honor the miracle, the church was built. Inside, the simple interior has embellished stone arches and a designed, wooden ceiling.
#3 Gallipoli, Italy Fish Market
MAP. Crossing the bridge, enter the historic walled island. The 14th century walls, which at one time had 12 lookout towers, are no longer needed for protection, so they only extend from the sea up to road level.
Gallipoli, Italy has long been a fishing town – and the Fish Market sits right at the end of the bridge. Heaps of fresh fish is brought into the market daily – and small on-site restaurants cook up seafood feasts.
#4 Castle – Castello di Gallipoli, Italy
MAP. Over the many centuries, the Castello di Gallipoli and its uses have changed drastically. The Gallipoli Castle dates to Medieval times – and today serves as a history museum, allowing visitors a glimpse into the past.
Castle guests can explore the various rooms; each one has excellent explanations of what the room would have been used for.
Sights at the Gallipoli Castle that should not be missed are the castle’s original entrance point, remnants of the drawbridge, the salt warehouse and the echoing towers (where the cannons were located). Visitors can also access the roof top for astounding views.
Hours vary depending on season and there is a small entry fee. Find more info on the Castle Facebook Page.
#5 Fishermen Port, Gallipoli, Italy
MAP. From the castle, stroll clockwise along the water’s edge, admiring the endless Ionian Sea views. Pass the port filled with fishing boats and notice the fisherman working on their boats. The thriving little port is evidence that Gallipoli is still very much a fishing town!
#6 Chiesa di San Domenico al Rosario, Gallipoli, Italy
MAP. The Chiesa di San Domenico al Rosario was built in the 17th century facing the sea. The façade was constructed using Italian carparo stone.
#7 Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi, Gallipoli, Italy
MAP. Parts of the Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi date back to the 13th century, but it was renovated in the 17th and 18th centuries.
#8 Gallipoli, Italy Beach and Marina
MAP. Continuing in a clockwise direction, make your way to the picturesque Gallipoli beach, Spiaggia la Puritate. During our wintertime visit in January, the beach was empty (except for a few birds), but we are certain it is the place to be in the height of the summer season!
Next to the beach is the Gallipoli Marina; wander through the marina for fabulous views of the city back over the water.
Pro Tip: More Gallipoli, Italy Beaches
While Spiaggia della Purita is the best beach in Gallipoli Old Town, there are many wonderful beaches to the south, along the long stretch of mainland coastline. Punta della Suina beaches are tucked into coves and the Baia Verde beaches have white sand. Samsara Beach is the site of legendary Gallipoli nightlife.
#9 Gallipoli Cathedral – Cattedrale di Sant’Agata
MAP. From the marina, head into the Gallipoli Old Town interior. Ramble through the narrow alleys, past traditional Gallipoli restaurants and city center B&Bs. Make your way uphill to the Gallipoli Cathedral, which is located on the highest point of the island (on an area thought to be sacred land since the island was originally inhabited).
The Cattedrale di Santa’Agata was built between 1629 and 1696, replacing a previous church. The church architecture was designed by Giovan Bernardino Genuino, but constructed by local builders, who used local stone. Inside, paintings adorn the interior…but the church was unfortunately closed during our visit.
Nearby Bonus: Convent and Church of St. Teresa
MAP. Just around the corner from the cathedral is a small convent and church, St. Teresa. The church was also designed in the Leccese Baroque style.
#10 Gallipoli Old Town Lanes and Modern New City
Spend some time walking aimlessly through Gallipoli, not looking for anything in particular, but simply seeing where the next turn might lead. After exploring the Old Town, make sure to go back across the bridge and do a loop through the new, more modern part of town – which sits in striking contrast to the historic island.
Gallipoli, Italy Map
Use this link to Google Maps for walking directions to the sights in Gallipoli, Itlay.
Does your Puglia trip include Lecce, too? Check out our tips for the Best Things To Do in Lecce, Italy!
More Tips For Your Trip to Gallipoli, Italy
Staying longer than a day? Use our tips for planning your trip to Gallipoli!
Gallipoli, Italy Hotels
There are many choices for accommodation in Gallipoli, Italy. Although we didn’t stay overnight, we noted the many guesthouses, Airbnb apartments and hotels throughout the Old Town – which we think would be the best place to stay. Visitors can find vacation apartments and hotels in Gallipoli, Italy on Booking.com. – but first use our Tips for Finding the Best Hotels.
Restaurants in Gallipoli, Italy
Italian cuisine – focused heavily on seafood – is the most popular fare in Gallipoli. Meals are highlighted by regional wine. Whether looking for fine dining or fast food, there are numerous Gallipoli restaurants to satisfy your craving! Find top-rated places to eat on TripAdvisor.
Gallipoli, Italy Weather
The city enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with hot sunny summers and mild winters. Find the current weather forecast on Weather.com.
Gallipoli, Italy History
Gallipoli travel is a bit more interesting if you understand a little about Gallipoli history. The city has a long history that dates to ancient times. Due to its ideal geographic location, the city was built up, fought over and destroyed several times. Since the 19th century, however, it has been part of Italy and has served as a lovely seaside holiday destination.
Pro Tip: Travelers often wonder if there was a Gallipoli, Italy war – but they are likely remembering the Battle of Gallipoli in Turkey.
We want to know: Have you visited Gallipoli, Italy? Is there anything you would add to our list of Gallipoli things to do? Tell us in the comments!
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