Check out what to do in Bari in one day: the complete guide in 24 hours (or even less) for an unforgettable day in the capital of Apulia.

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Are you traveling to the splendid Apulia and have decided to take at least one day off to visit its magical capital on the shores of the Adriatic sea? Well, then you’re in the right place! In this guide you’ll discover with us what to do and see in Bari in one day, concentrating the best of this charming seaside city in less than 24 hours.

Get ready for an intense travel itinerary to discover places, stories and flavors that iconically characterize the red & white city, experiencing it like a true barese. Come on now, Bari is waiting for you!

(Credits for the cover picture: Wikimedia Commons)

What to do in Bari in one day: why not doing in by bike?

What to do in Bari in one day

“If we have to leave, let's leave. If we don't have to leave, we don't leave", this is the meaning (in English) of the most traditional popular tongue-twister in the dialect of Bari. A saying that has almost become a proverb, perfectly summarizing the practicality of the citizens of Bari, who have always been accustomed to the meeting between different cultures and welcoming towards the guest. It is no coincidence that St. Nicholas, patron saint of the city, is one of the most iconic of the bond of brotherhood connecting west and east.

Hospitality and smiles, but above all history, culture, excellent food and incredible experiences are in fact the ingredients that have made Bari one of the most famous and appreciated Italian tourist destinations in recent years, with a constant growth of tourism to the city driven by faith and devotion towards the saint of all people, but also by the curiosity to discover the surprising and harmonious aesthetic geometries of the city centre and get lost in the alleys of its old town, which has become very famous on social media for the lively ladies who produce handmade pasta just outside their front doors. Without forgetting, of course, all the delicacies of Apulian cuisine, in particular street food, which you can enjoy in the city!

So here we are ready for this journey to discover the Apulian capital in less than 24 hours - even by bicycle! - a practical guide on what to do and see in Bari in one day.

Book now your bike rental in Bari

What to do in Bari in one day: first of all, a look to the east

If you are lucky enough to come to the city when the first sunlight appears, or simply if you have the good habit of waking up very early in the morning, then a truly exclusive view awaits you to start your one-day trip in Bari the best possible way.

In fact, the red & white city and more generally Apulia, known for being the easternmost region of Italy, are lands famous for the wonderful play of lights that only dawn can offer caressing the surface of the sea, embracing everything in a magical atmosphere of peace and balance.

A true pearl for your itinerary in Bari in one day!

9AM: through the old town walls

Bari, old town

With the suggestive magic of the barese dawn still in your eyes, and of course after having an excellent breakfast made of cornetto and espressino, our guide on what to do and see in Bari in one day finally begins. Obviously, the first stop is the fascinating old town, a real medieval treasure!

Our "gateway" to Bari Vecchia is Piazza Massari, a pleasant green space in the city immediately after the Town Hall which will take you to the Public Gardens of Isabella of Aragon and above all in front of the Castello Svevo-Normanno, the ancient and majestic fortress of the city, a colossus made of stone and history which today houses a lot of artistic and cultural exhibitions.

From the magnificent Piazza Federico II di Svevia, the location of the castle, you can continue your exploration of Bari Vecchia by venturing to the alleys of Arco Alto and especially Arco Basso (better known as Via delle Orecchiette, where you will be able to meet in person the most local ladies of this city!) or towards the welcoming Piazza dell'Odegitria, where to admire the imposing Cathedral of San Sabino - with its bell tower dominating the landscape of the city from its height of almost 70 meters - and discover an extraordinary sweets and candy shop, one of the oldest in Bari!

10AM: an adventure to the town’s underground treasure

Bari and archaeology

Speaking of the Cathedral of San Sabino, this beautiful and very rich medieval church houses in its basement some of the most beautiful and fascinating archaeological treasures of the city, to be discovered by visiting the Succorpo Museum. Particularly interesting from an historical and cultural point of view are also the Crypt and the Diocesan Museum.

Do you want to find out more about Bari's past? From Largo San Sabino, behind the cathedral on the other side of the main gate, head towards Corte Lamberti and turn right to the namesake alley: after a few steps you will find yourself at Palazzo Simi, a structure with purely Renaissance characteristics where you can take a tour in the underground of Bari!

The building stands on an ancient site of Roman origin, which subsequently brought to light a very rich history and numerous archaeological treasures which prove the passage of the Byzantines in this land, as well as the close bond that has always united the city in a mutual exchange with the peoples of the eastern Mediterranean. A real cultural experience not to be missed!

Book now your guided visit to Palazzo Simi

11AM: discovering the ‘saint of all people’

Bari and the saint of all people

Who better than St. Nicholas, the saint of all people, uniquely symbolizes the bond of brotherhood between west and east...the people of Bari know this well, as do so the thousands of faithful devotees who come to Bari every year from all over the world to pay homage to a man whose essence, as a matter of fact, went far beyond religion. Does the name Santa Claus mean anything to you? Yes, him, the nice big man with thick white hair and beard, completely dressed in red, who makes the magical Christmas holidays unique and special!

Right here, in the heart of the old town of Bari, stands the beautiful Basilica of St. Nicholas, an unmissable jewel that boasts more than one thousand years history and represents the most authentic core of culture in Bari. This church is in fact the most important place that serves as the backdrop for religious celebrations on the occasion of the holidays dedicated to Saint Nicholas, in particular on December 6 and May 8, thus transforming into a place of gathering, prayer and festivity.

The interior of the Basilica of St. Nicholas is truly stupendous, and there is no doubt that you will be amazed by the many decorations that embellish its ceilings and walls. A feeling of wonder that will surely continue when you will descend to the underground, into the famous Crypt of St. Nicholas, a place where you can feel the thrill of sacredness on your skin, getting excited in front of the tomb of St. Nicholas, the solemnity of the pilgrims' faith and stories of ancient charm, such as the one related to the miraculous column (located in a corner of the crypt).

Book now your guided visit to St. Nicholas Basilica

A morning spent within the walls, the colors and the emotions of Bari Vecchia can only end with a well-deserved break to finally get something to eat. And it is exactly the perfect time to enjoy the most traditional barese snack, the queen of the city's street food, that over time has also become a real dish to be reinterpreted in a gourmet key. Obviously, we're talking about focaccia barese!

Here we are in the historic centre of Bari, full of bakeries that make hundreds of hot and extremely inviting focaccia wheels every day, so it is a must to enhance your local experience in the city by choosing the original and unique focaccia topped with tomatoes and oregano! And now, with your slice of happiness in your hands, it's time to continue with our one-day itinerary in Bari.

Before leaving Bari Vecchia behind to discover the beauties of the modern city centre, we also recommend to take a walk on the ancient city walls next to the seaside to admire the picturesque colored houses and some prominent historical buildings, in particular the Fortino Sant 'Antonio. To conclude the tour in the old town, don't miss the fantastic Piazza Mercantile and Piazza del Ferrarese, iconic places of the barese nightlife that effectively combine the two souls of the city.

Taste the delicious street food of Bari

1PM: strolling around the geometry of ‘murattiano’

Leaving Piazza del Ferrarese to the central street Corso Vittorio Emanuele II you almost find yourself like passing a kind of imaginary gate between the ancient and the modern, from the historical and medieval charm of the old town to the refined and elegant taste of the twentieth century city centre - the so-called “murattiano”, deriving from Murat.

It is impossible not to notice right away on the left the marvelous Teatro Margherita, almost hanging over the sea on the background of the colorful boats and the iconic street lamps of the seafront, characterized by its iconic color similar to peach pink. Continuing, crossing Piazza Eroi del Mare, let yourself be surprised by the beauty and colors of the public gardens that embellish the highest part of Corso Cavour and the emblematic Molo San Nicola.

Walking around these parts you will be able to admire some of the most beautiful modern historic buildings in the city, such as the Chamber of Commerce, Palazzo dell'Acquedotto Pugliese and above all the beautiful Teatro Petruzzelli, an unmistakable temple of art and cultural entertainment in Bari standing out in the city’s landscape with its red color. Returning to Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, we recommend to take a look also at Palazzo Diana and Teatro Piccinni, as well as the wonderful monument dedicated to the composer adorned with flowers.

Exploring the modern centre of Bari, however, one of the most evident and practical things for visitors is the particular geometric system underlying the construction of the entire neighborhood. In fact, in the murattiano every block and every crossroad are perfectly aligned and squared like a chessboard, making it practically impossible to lose your orientation!

2PM: it’s time for a Bari-style lunch

Bari, spaghetti all'assassina

Are you hungry? Well, then it’s time to sit down for a while at one of the many traditional restaurants you will find in the city centre and enjoy a real barese lunch, trying the most authentic dishes of the local cuisine.

In the top 3 of recipes from Bari to try you cannot miss orecchiette alle cime di rapa, tiella barese - also known as “riso, patate e cozze” (“rice, potatoes and mussels”) - and above all the iconic spaghetti all'assassina, a particular dish based on spaghetti cooked like a risotto in a spicy tomato sauce, so local that it is considered a truly exclusive heritage of murattiano!

Did you know that here in Bari there is a miniature Central Park? Yes, just like in the heart of the most famous American metropolis, the Apulian capital also boasts its own small green lung to offer citizens and tourists a space to relax in touch with nature and practice sport outdoor: we are talking about Parco 2 Giugno, an urban natural oasis designed by the inspiration of the famous newyorker park.

If you are moving around the city by bicycle, starting from the murattiano you can easily reach the park even by riding on two wheels, in particular by leveraging the proper cycle path that from Via Capruzzi flows through Viale dell'Unità and Viale della Repubblica and then the entire perimeter of Parco 2 Giugno. Alternatively, if you prefer moving by public transport you can use the bus which from the centre (Corso Cavour) ends right at the park (and vice versa).

In this little barese Central Park you can relax with long walks following its paths among the trees, or sitting down to read a book or listen to some music directly on the lawn or on one of the many benches around. Among the many attractions to discover in the park, don't miss the turtles lake, the little bridge and some curious monuments, among which the menhir of the Sundial of Bari stands out.

5PM: a walk between shopping and liberty-style architectures

After a relaxing afternoon spent in the park, it's time to return to the centre for a walk through the shopping and luxury streets. As a first step, we suggest to head towards Piazza Moro, the place where lies the central station for trains and buses in Bari, one of the most useful checkpoints in the city where you can also admire the suggestive monumental fountain with its aesthetic games of water and lights.

From Piazza Moro you can go on to Via Sparano da Bari, the most famous street dedicated to fashion and leisure in the city, which like many other streets here in the murattiano completely crosses the centre from one end to another. In particular, walking along this long street you can also visit Piazza Umberto I and, on the left, the University of Bari; continuing, you will find many shops of the biggest luxury brands and elegant cafés for a quick break.

As a matter of fact, the most beautiful attraction in Via Sparano, as well as in the entire modern centre of Bari, is the peculiar liberty architectural style that distinguishes its most iconic historic buildings (including those already mentioned previously in this article). The most famous in this shopping street is the majestic and eye-catching Palazzo Mincuzzi, a building with a century of history behind that was built specifically for commercial purposes, a symbol not only of artistic taste but also of Bari's nature deeply related to commerce.

7PM: enjoy the aperitif at nightfall pampered by the sea waves

Bari, nightfall by the seafront

To end our one-day trip itinerary in Bari the best possible way, there is nothing better than a good aperitif and a walk along its wonderful seafront promenade - the longest in Europe! - pampered by the fresh sea breeze and the waves of the sea, with their infinite symphony, and under the warm light of the lanterns of the iconic street lamps made of black cast iron that dot the border between the sea and the city.

For a drink and typical Apulian appetizers, such as the famous taralli or fried fish, we recommend choosing one of the many places on Via Argiro, a street adjacent to Via Sparano known for the variety of cafes and restaurants that it hosts. Alternatively, you can find many others open all evening already at the Lungomare Araldo di Crollalanza (this is the seafront’s name in the stretch that goes from Molo San Nicola to Piazza Diaz, subsequently Lungomare Nazario Sauro and Lungomare Perotti), with the possibility of having your aperitif overlooking the seaside in one of the most iconic and spectacular settings of the Mediterranean.

What to see in Bari in one day: useful tips for your trip to Apulia

What to see in Bari in one day

Our guide on what to do and see in Bari in one day, indeed, ends here. But there are so many opportunities to best visit and get to know this splendid city and its wonderful region, certainly always to be discovered with us!

If you have more time to stay in Bari and visit it more comfortably, take a look at our itinerary designed to experience a weekend in the city of St. Nicholas. And if you don’t want to miss the best that the city has to offer, we recommend to read our guide dedicated to things to do in Bari to best plan your travel experience.

If you love football and the first thing you look for in every city you visit is the home team's football pitch, then here in Bari (between the districts of Poggiofranco and Carbonara) you absolutely cannot miss Stadio San Nicola, also known as the Spaceship for its particular futuristic design.

Do you want to best personalize your trip to Apulia according to your preferences? Ask Monna Lisa for advice!

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