The Gargano headland has an incredible variety of landscapes and charming places to discover and to enjoy all year round: there is about 140 km of coastline dotted with beaches, inlets, bays and caves, as well as over 40,000 hectares of woodlands and Mediterranean scrub, and even amazing towering cliffs overhanging the sea.
There are giant contraptions along the coastline jutting out over the water: these are the ancient trabucchi, extraordinary fishing systems that are now used as seafront restaurants. If you need to stay the night, there are small renovated homes in Vico del Gargano, which locals have turned into a “scattered hotel”. The historic centres of Vieste and Peschici are a labyrinth of picturesque narrow alleys, while the lakes of Lesina and Varano are an ornithologist’s paradise, perfect for birdwatching. From here you can catch a glimpse of the Tremiti Islands, which are an hour by boat from Rodi Garganico or 20 minutes by helicopter from Foggia. Come and discover these islands by sea, stopping in the deserted coves of Capraia, or climbing up to the town of San Nicola and visiting the church of Santa Maria a Mare with its beautiful medieval cloister.
There are also beautiful wild beaches with crystal clear water stretching farther to the south along the coastline between Vieste and Manfredonia, including the Bay of Pugnochiuso, the Bay of Vignanotica and the charming Bay of Zagare with its famous stacks of amazing white rock.
Nearby you find Mattinata nestled in between two hills and surrounded by olive groves and woodlands, bathed by the beautiful sea. This is the Gargano National Park, the largest regional park in the region. It’s a unique natural treasure trove with an incredible array of landscapes. It is home to over 2,500 botanical species and contains an incredible variety of wild orchids. The beech forests are majestic, but one can also enjoy the scent of the Mediterranean pine forests of Aleppo. Then there’s Umbra Forest, the ancient heart of the Park, this thousand-year old woodland stretches for about 11,000 hectares up to a height of 830 metres, featuring beeches, oaks, sessile oaks, maples and yews.
However, Gargano is also a land of religion, history and sacred art: here you find the charming pilgrimage routes that, today as then, lead to St Michael’s Cave in Monte Sant’Angelo, a UNESCO world heritage site, or to the Padre Pio shrine in San Giovanni Rotondo. The surrounding sanctuaries, monasteries and religious institutes are open to the public offering a unique experience in touch with nature.
Gargano – Follow Your Nature #weareinpuglia