White beaches, stunning cliffs and the most beautiful turquoise sea water. Located deep into the South of Italy in the province of Salento, Otranto is one of the most beautiful coastal places in the area.
The medieval old town with charming streets, some really narrow, that are very well preserved and a treat to wander around. Don’t forget to spend a few hours on the beach or in the water. A perfect holiday vibe and to top it off, lots of restaurants to choose from. Otranto is the perfect spot to enjoy your holidays.
Get inspired to visit Otranto including our restaurant tips for an ultimate gastronomic experience.
Otranto is a well know village near the Adriatic coast mainly visited by Italians. The old fort, Castello Aragonese was built at the end of the 15th century and is one of the major sights of Otranto and in excellent condition. There are no train connections to this area but you can get there by bus in the summer period.
Unfortunately on a Sunday, there is no public transport and let this be the day of our trip that we planned ahead (with a car, of course, it would have been a problem. Don’t know what we are talking about read our previous blog here). After some negotiation with some help from google translate in Italian, we managed to get ourselves a taxi for 50 euro to get us to our destination. A trip of around 50km from the train station of Lecce in we have to say high speed but it got us there.
We decided to spend the last days of our trip in Puglia near the coast for some beach time and a few days to unwind and relax. Again our Air-BnB was excellent and right in the middle of the old town. A perfect base for our last days in Italy to rest and unravel.
The first day we arrived, the weather was kinda windy so we took the day to explore the area; stunning nature and cliffs that surround Otranto in all its diversity. Steep cliffs dropping down to the sea which bangs against the wall of stone. The red sand gives it a surrealistic look. The area of Otranto has many hidden caves and small beaches where you can relax so take your time to explore the area.
This area is especially known for its fresh and local food and it is because of the food that we fell in love with Italy. Therefore we pretty much spend the rest of our days relaxing by the sea, reading some books, doing some yoga and enjoy Italian food and wine.
The local products are all so fresh and the food cooked with so much love you can taste it. As the city is located near the Adriatic sea that has the best seafood you can think of. Beautifully red lobsters, delicious octopus, tasty local clams served with fresh linguini, a kind of flat spaghetti, perfect for seafood dishes. As we mentioned before the Olive Oil that is produced in these regions is one of the best qualities of the Mediterranian and is the perfect topping for your pasta or to dip your bread in.
Did you know that Italian eat multiple small courses for dinner? And pasta is one of these courses and not eaten as a main dish like most people outside Italy do (like ourselves)? The Italian start their evening with an Aperativo. A drink accompanied with some breadsticks and olives to end the day. The meal normally starts with some Antipasto; small cold dishes to start your appetiser. They may vary, but some examples are bruschettas, cured meats, cheeses, grilled vegetables and so on.
The first course, Il Primo, is a pasta dish. In most of the restaurants we could choose for a small or a big plate of pasta and as a starter, a small one is just perfect. The local pasta orecchiette with tomato sauce is perfect in its simplicity, but we can also recommend trying a portion of pasta with shellfish like prawns or clamps. The second course, Il Secundo is a meat or fish dish. We especially liked the steak with black truffle and the local Italian meatballs. The second course is most of the time not accompanied by a potato dish or vegetables, so we ordered a salad side dish for us to share.
If there is any room for some sweets or Il Dolce, you have to try the Tiramisu or a Pannacotta to end your meal. We achieved to share a dessert two times, but we rather have some coffee and the local digestive; Grappa. An aged Grappa, to be specific, is an excellent way to end the evening.
We also learned that the price of a bottle of wine may not cost more than the most expensive dish on the menu, as the Italian thinks that a good bottle of wine is part of a meal. We love this rule and as the grapes in this area are delicious we tried quite a few different wines.
Of course, we will share our food tips with you.
Our restaurant recommendations
- L’ ora di mezzo; This restaurant lies in the middle of the old town at one of the many squares. They are specialised in seafood and it all tastes amazingly fresh. They also have an excellent wine selection. Be sure to make your reservation in advance or wait for a table in front of the restaurant which normally would take around 20 minutes. A perfect spot to watch the people passing by while you enjoy your drinks or food.
- La Bella Idrusa: Our local host pointed out this excellent restaurant for Pizza’s prepared in a traditional wood oven, but you could also order one of there other very tasty dishes. In the evening there will be a waiting line for the restaurant, but it is definitely worth the wait.
- Al Tartufo is located near the boulevard and a typical Italian restaurant. This is the place where we got ourselves some pasta and steak with black truffle. The cook of this restaurant is really passioned about cooking the traditional Italian dishes and including the best truffles that are available. A real treat to taste some of his dishes.
- We started our day with coffee and some sweets from Martinucci. Beautiful and tasty cakes, ice creams and other sweets
- We would also like to point out our special tip for the beach bar Maestrale to enjoy a sunset accompanied by some cocktails or cold beers and some finger food.
We hope you have enjoyed reading about the wonderful area of Puglia and we inspired you to visit it yourself someday. Let us know when you do!
Here ends our trip but we will meet again beautiful Italy.
Lots of love Angelique and Carlo
Missed one of our blogs about Puglia? Check them out here.