Puglia, the “heel of the boot” of Italy has long been a popular destination for LGBTQ travellers, particularly the gorgeous seaside town of Gallipoli. There are also many cultural gems in the area like the Baroque rich city of Lecce, the many trulli stone huts in Alberobello and a handful of excellent gay friendly beaches.
Quite a lot of the touristic highlights of Puglia are spread out, so the best way to get the most out of your trip is to rent a car and make it a road trip. We also recommend staying in a place which is located in a quiet village or small town for a more authentic Italian countryside experience. These are our 5 favourite gay friendly places to stay in Puglia we found during our road trip, which we loved and recommend you check out.
Trullo Incanto D'Itria near Alberobello
A trullo (plural: trulli) is a traditional Apulian dry limestone hut with a conical roof, unique to the Itria Valley of Puglia. The highest concentration of trulli can be found in the small town of Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The trulli of Alberobello are some of the oldest, dating back to the 1300s. Today most trulli in Alberobello are souvenir shops, cafes or restaurants. Some are also places you can book to stay.
We loved this idea – staying in a stone conical hut that resembles the sort of houses you'd expect Frodo and his fellow hobbits to live in in the Shire; you can't help being charmed by these Hobbit-like houses.
One of our favourite trulli to stay is the luxurious Trullo Incanto d'Itria, located in the countryside, around 5 minutes drive from Alberobello. This trullo has its own private pool and garden area, but still retains a traditional feel in its construction. LGBTQ travellers are welcomed, with no issue about booking a double bed.
Lune Saracene Gay B&B Commenda
Lune Saracene is the guesthouse of gay couple Umberto and Angelo who rent out their 3 guestrooms to LGBTQ travellers. It's perfectly located right by the gay beach of D'Ayala, which is also a popular spot for nudists. This is the best place to stay if you want to be based minutes away from this beach.
Spiaggia D'Ayala is one of our favourite gay friendly beaches in Italy. It is located in Commenda, between the villages of Campomarino and Torre Ovo, around 45 minutes drive south from the city of Tarranto. It's hidden from the main road by a large forest called “Pineta d'Ayala”, and unlike other beaches in Puglia, it's not as well known, so you're guaranteed privacy here.
Monteforte Resort in Ugento
Monteforte Resort is a boutique hotel owned by the charismatic Salvatore. It is in the cute small town of Ugento, which is around 25 minutes drive from Gallipoli. This was one of our favourite gay hotels in Puglia. Both the owner, Salvatore, and the manager Cristian (straight men!) welcomed us with open animated arms and never batted an eye lid that we we are a gay couple who want to share a bed.
This is one which couples will love a lot: the rooms are stylishly decorated with everything matching. The breakfast is a bountiful feast of culinary prizes including an array of cured meats, mozzarella, freshly brewed coffee and the most delicious Italian pastries you'll ever try in your life! The real highlight at Monteforte for us is the rooftop: hot tub with 360 degrees views of the surrounding area.
Luxury Villa Margareta near Ostuni
Ostuni is nicknamed “the White City” because of its famous whitewashed Medieval old town, with flat-topped houses. We loved wondering through the messy narrow web of cobblestone streets here, then getting a coffee at one of the cafes overlooking the sea and watching the world go by.
Surrounding Ostuni is the Valle d’Itria countryside, which is famous for its olive trees. One of the best gay friendly options to stay here is Villa Margareta, which is located right in the heart of an olive grove in the Villa d'Itria, 5 minutes drive away from Ostuni. Villa Margareta was created in the style of a traditional Italian farmhouse and only has 4 rooms available. It also has a large outdoor saltwater pool overlooking the sea, perfect for soaking up the Puglia sunshine.
Both Trullo Incanto D’Itria and Villa Margareta are managed by one of the leading villa rental companies in Europe, so you know you're going to get a first class service.
Tenuta Monticelli resort in Alezio
Tenuta Monticelli is another romantic gem we proudly discovered during our road trip in Puglia. It is a large complex of 6.5 hectares of land filled with olive trees, and just 5 rooms. It also has a large outdoor swimming pool, lounging area, outdoor terrace and plenty of wildlife ranging from rabbits, foxes and falcons. We almost gave up all our other sightseeing plans in Puglia just to hang out here!
Tenuta Monticelli is located in the small town of Alezio, which is around 15 minutes drive away from Gallipoli old town, which has the region's best gay nightlife.
We highly recommend booking the superior room on the top floor because as well as having its own private hot tub, it also has an impressive 360 degrees view of the grounds – particularly stunning during sunset:
STAY WITH A GAY LOCAL
Misterb&b is the Airbnb equivalent for the LGBTQ community. Unlike on Airbnb, you know your host is gay, avoiding any nasty surprises when you check in. It is also a great way to meet gay locals and discover the underground gay scene. Click below to get 10 € (or $10) off your first booking.
OUR FAVOURITE TRAVEL TIPS
⭐️ TRAVEL INSURANCE — We recommend you always take out travel insurance before your next vacation. What happens if you suffer from illness, injury, theft or a cancellation? With travel insurance, you can have peace of mind and not worry. We love World Nomads travel insurance and have been using it for years. Their comprehensive coverage is second to none and their online claims process is very user friendly.
⭐️ SAFETY & SECURITY — All travelers (gay or not) can sometimes encounter danger when traveling. CloseCircle is your “virtual body guard” mobile app which provides security alerts and support wherever you are in the world. They have a 24/7 emergency response team monitoring their users who will contact you immediately if the SOS swipe button is activated. Support can include anything from practical advice, to free evacuation from areas with extreme weather or security risks. You can read more about CloseCircle in our article about how to stay safe whilst traveling.
⭐️ ONLINE ANONYMITY — A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a must in many countries: it allows you to surf anonymously and maintain your privacy whilst traveling. You'll particularly need it in countries where gay dating apps are blocked by the government. We recommend ExpressVPN, a reliable and cost effective service which we used and loved during our travels.
⭐️ HOTELS or APARTMENTS — When we plan a trip, we always look for the best hotel deals. We love Booking.com because not only do they have a comprehensive listing of accommodation options, they also offer the best prices. Added bonus: they provide 24/7 support and free cancellation for most listings.
⭐️ SIGHTSEEING and ADVENTURES — When we travel somewhere, we like to seek out the best experiences, whether it is cooking with locals in Bangkok, hiking on a glacier in Patagonia, or going on a wildlife safari in Sri Lanka. Our favorite place to look is GetYourGuide because they have over 30,000 highly rated activities, a user-friendly booking process with free cancellation and a 24 hour customer support.
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