At the very tip of the Gargano peninsula, the medieval town of Vieste features bluffs, cliffs and calm blue sea. Surrounded by the Parco Nazionale del Gargano, one of Italy’s most unspoiled natural spaces, it offers activities for every vacationer, from water sports to sightseeing to sunbathing. Visit for the beaches and stay for the historic architecture and Puglian hospitality.
Wander through the narrow streets of the Old Town. Walk along the southern peninsula to the ancient monastery Chiesa di San Francesco, which looks east across the sea to Croatia and north to the stunning lighthouse Faro di Sant’Eufemia. See the walls of the 13th-century castle and visit the Romanesque cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, crowned with an unusual dome that resembles the swirls of ice cream for sale near the beach.
Spend the afternoon lounging on the sun-drenched Baia di San Felice south of Vieste, surrounded by natural sandstone arches rising from the bright blue sea. Relax at Castello Beach and read a book in the shade of the Pizzomunno. The enormous stone monolith is said to be what remains of a young fisherman who was turned to stone by jealous mermaids. Rest under an umbrella at the lido or rent a canoe to row across the crystal clear water. Meander to the town square, tanned and content, and watch the sunset as you enjoy famous Puglian seafood to the strains of local bands and cabaret.
Drive to Vieste in 2.5 hours from the closest international airport in Bari or in 3.5 hours from Naples. Train service is available from Bari and other cities to the nearby town of Foggia, a 3-hour scenic bus ride from Vieste. Walk to places in downtown Vieste easily. Taxi services are available to go to beaches farther away.
Rent a water taxi to the pilgrimage site of St. Michael’s Grotto on the sides of Monte Sant’Angelo. Look back at Vieste’s white rocks and almond groves receding at the horizon.