Benvenuti in Puglia - welcome to Puglia
Puglia has two international airports. Bari International Airport-Karol Wojtyla and Brindisi's Salento airport. As well as a number of international flights both have regular connections to and from Rome and Milan as well as other destinations in Italy.
Assuming suitable availability and pricing, which airport should you fly to? Having a little insider knowledge will help inform you...
The choice will be obvious in most cases. If you are travelling to Ostuni or anywhere south of Ostuni (Gallipoli, Lecce, Otranto) Brindisi's Salento airport will make better sense. If you are heading to Gargano or north of Bari, or travelling directly to Matera, Bari airport is better placed.
But for destinations in the heart of the popular Valle d'Itria either airport might be suitable. Counterintuitively, even when your destination is geographically closer to Bari, Brindisi airport might be better. The main difference is the traffic. Heading south from Bari airport will take you onto the Bari tangenziale ring road almost immediately, the busiest stretch of road in our region; heading north from Brindisi airport means you bypass the city and the traffic flow around it.
As a general rule of thumb: by journey time Bari airport is better suited for destinations north of Monopoli. Destinations south of Monopoli will be quicker from Salento airport. For Monopoli itself we would always choose Brindisi - Bari airport may be slightly closer, but avoiding the busy Bari ring road means the drive from Brindisi is much more straightforward.
By car Alberobello is quicker from Brindisi airport than from Bari airport (but only just), with the same extra benefit of avoiding the Bari tangenziale.
At the time of writing fourteen car hire companies operate from Bari airport twelve from Salento airport. The major companies operate from both. Bari is the larger and busier airport. Pick-up and drop-off points are closer to arrivals/departures at Brindisi, a more modern and compact (and less busy) airport.
Traffic! Heading south from Bari airport will put you straight onto the Bari tangenziale ring road, the busiest stretch of road in our region. Bari has a population of just under 320,000. During peak commuter times and holiday periods the 20-25 minute drive around Bari can take up to 50 minutes, significantly adding to your journey time.
Brindisi has a population of just under 88,000. The traffic flow around the city is always much easier, even at peak times. And if you are heading north from Salento airport you completely bypass Brindisi.
Our insider tip | Avoiding the Bari tangenziale ring road always makes for an easier drive, especially if you are still acclimatising to driving in Italy.