Waterfront Promenade at Bari, Italy

Bari Italy Cruise Port Guide: Old Town, Beaches & Boardwalks

Docked in Bari, Italy, for the day? Get ready to dive into the best this enchanting port city has to offer! From the winding streets of Bari Vecchia (Old Town) to sun-soaked beaches and mouthwatering local cuisine, we’ve got your perfect day in Puglia mapped out. Follow this essential guide to navigate Bari’s top attractions and hidden gems, ensuring you experience the true essence of this vibrant destination.

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Bari (Italy) Cruise Port: Is a DIY Excursion Easy? 😎😎😎😎 (Smooth Sailing)

If your cruise ship is making a port of call at Bari, then you’ll be happy to know that it’s 😎😎😎😎 very straightforward to plan your DIY shore excursion in Bari:

  • Local Bus Outside Cruise Terminal: Bus #50 is your best friend for the day! It’s on a continuous loop from Bari cruise terminal to the city centre and the central station. €1 a ticket. What a bargain!
  • Walkable Old Town: Bari Old Town is fun to explore and it’s compact enough to be walkable. Read my recommendations below on what local specialities to try, as you walk and munch your way through Bari Old Town!
  • Beaches close to Bari Cruise Port: Bari’s waterfront promenade is wonderful to stroll through and you’ll end up in a lovely beach called “Bread and Tomato”! (Pane e Pomodoro) 😁

So you can easily split your port day into half sightseeing and half day at the beach 🏖️ !

Bari Cruise Port Essentials: All You Need to Know

  • Bari Cruise Port Address: Terminal Crociere, 70123 Bari, Metropolitan City of Bari, Italy – see this marked on my Bari cruise port map below 📌🗺️👇
  • Currency: Euros
  • Language: Italian
  • Official Websites: Search for local buses and timetables at MyCicero.it (English) or download bus timetables here.
  • Recommended Transport App: Use Google Maps to walking directions and public transit – live departure bus times will show
  • eSIM for roaming in Italy: For a great data connection without the huge roaming fees, use an eSIM data pack from Airalo. I always recommend having a smartphone with a valid data connection when you’re at port touring independently. Get US$3 off your first eSIM data pack from Airalo when you use ROXANN1666 when you sign up or apply it at checkout

Bari (Italy) Cruise Port Map

  • On Desktop | Laptop? Use buttons on bottom left to zoom in/out. Click on the upper right hand corner to see a bigger version.
  • On Tablet | Mobile? Pinch your screen to zoom in/out and use two fingers to move map around. If you have Google Maps installed on your tablet/mobile, my map will open in your Google Maps app if you click on the upper right hand corner.
  • If map is not loading correctly, click here to see it directly on Google Maps

Bari Cruise Port to City Centre: Your Options

Until you have a particular wish to stretch your sea legs, I would recommend taking the bus outside Bari cruise terminal! It’s quick and it’s cheap!

  • Walk To City Centre In 20: Walking from Bari Cruise Terminal to the “start” of the city centre takes about 10 minutes. Note that it’s not a particularly scenic walk and there’s virtually no shade if you’ve arrived on a particularly hot day. However, there are pavements for the walk.
    • Follow the road outside the cruise terminal until you reach the port gates. Then take the first left and you’ll be on a main road called “Corso Antonio De Tullio”. Make another left and you’re in Old Town.
    • To walk to the landmark Basilica Pontifical San Nicola (roughly the centre of Old Town) will take 20 minutes.
  • Local Bus #50 (aka Circolare Porto): This handy bus route runs on a circular route to Bari Centrale (main train station) and then back to Bari cruise terminal (“Stazione Marittima”) on a loop.
    • Frequency: Runs approximately every 20 minutes – download timetables here. Alternatively, just use Google Maps to get live departure times.
    • Tickets: €1 for a single ticket (lasts 60 minutes), or pay for a day ticket €2.50 if you think you’ll take other buses
      • DropTicket App: Download the DropTicket app to purchase tickets.
      • Online on your phone: Purchase tickets at https://shop.dropticket.it/ and select Bari.
      • Tickets Onboard: There’s a surcharge for paying onboard a ticket with cash – a single ticket costs €1.50.
    • Where to Get Off: Alight at “S. Chiara Fronte” for Basilica Pontifical San Nicola (2 stops) or “Massari (B)” for the south part of Bari Old Town (3 stops) for Castello Svevo di Bari.

What to See & Do in Bari – Top Attractions for Cruisers

1. Roam Around Bari Vecchia (Old Town)

Aerial View of Bari Old Town, Italy
Photo by Kelly

Lose yourself in the maze-like alleyways and sun-drenched piazzas of Bari Vecchia. Here are the must see sights in Bari Old Town:

  • Basilica Pontificia San Nicola: Built in the 11th century to house the relics of Saint Nicholas and it’s been a pilgrimage destination for Christians from Eastern Orthodox traditions ever since. The Basilica is in classic Romanesque style, with solid sturdy columns and decorative arches. The facade has two tiers, intricate sculptures and a central rose window. The tomb of St Nicholas – the patron saint of children and charities – is in the crypt.
    • Opening Hours: Open daily from 6:30am to 8:30pm – note Basilica may be closed when services are being held. Free to enter.
  • Cathedral of San Sabino (aka Bari Cathedral): Built in late 12th century on top of ruins of an earlier Byzantine cathedral, this Cathedral is also in the Romanesque style. €7 entrance. It’s famous for the Icon of the Madonna Odegitria (“Our Lady who shows the way”), a Byzantine icon believed to possess miraculous powers. If you’ve only got time for one church, then I’d pick the Basilica of St. Nicolas.
  • Castello Svevo (Swabian Castle): Svevo refers to the Swabian dynasty, as this castle was rebuilt by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II of Swabia in the 13th century. Since then, it’s been used as a royal residence, a military fortress and even a prison. You can climb to the top of the ramparts for breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea and Bari Vecchia.
    • Opening Hours: Closed Mondays. Open 9am to 6pm Tuesday to Sunday.
    • Tickets: €10 adults. Free for kids. Also free on 1st Sunday of each month. EU citizens aged 18-25 qualify for €2 entry – show your passport.
  • Museo Archaeological di Santa Scolastica: If you can’t get enough of Roman history, then this former Benedictine monastery is for you! There’s a vast collection of artefacts from the prehistoric era to the Roman period, specifically from the Peucetian Civilisation – the ancient indigenous people of Puglia.
    • Opening Hours: Closed Mondays. Open 9am to 7pm Tuesday to Saturday. 9am to 1pm on Sunday.
    • Tickets: €5 entry
  • Piazza Mercantile: The main Piazza in Bari. Look out for Colonna della Giustizia (Column of Justice) which was once used as a pillory where debtors were publicly shamed. The Fontana della Pigna is a good place to fill up your water bottle before we head down to the Waterfront Promenade.
Castello Svevo in Bari, Italy
Castello Svevo | Image by Filip Filipović from Pixabay

2. Stroll Along The Lungomare (Seafront Promenade)

Known as Lungomare Araldo di Crollalanza, the Lungomare is a picturesque seafront promenade that stretches for about 2 miles along Bari’s coastline. From Piazza Mercantile, walk towards the harbour and continue on the seafront promenade. You’ll then hit the first beach, “Pane e Pomodoro” (Bread and Tomato 😁) in about 30-40 minutes.

Numerous cafes and restaurants line the Lungomare, so enjoy a coffee, gelato or seafood lunch here. There’s also a giant Ferris wheel, the Ruota Panoramica.

3. Relax at Beaches near Bari Cruise Port

There’s two beaches close to Bari Cruise Port if you’d like to have a beach day:

  • Pane e Pomodoro: This is the most popular city beach! The beach is wide and sandy, with calm waters. Beach amenities include showers, restrooms and beach bars.
    • How to Get There: Walk for 30-40 minutes from Piazza Mercantile, after your DIY tour of Bari Old Town. If you’re coming directly from Bari Cruise Terminal, then take Bus #50 to Massari (3 stops) and change to Bus Line B – it will drop you off directly at the beach. Takes about 30 minutes. See above for how to get tickets.
  • Torre Quetta: This is the next beach down from Pane e Pomodoro. I personally like Pane e Pomodoro better, as I think Torre Quetta is a bit more pebbly.
    • How to Get There: Take Bus #50 from Bari Cruise Port to the last stop – Bari Centrale station. Then take the regional train to Bari Torre Quetta station and the beach is opposite the train station.

What to Eat in Bari (Italy) – Local Specialties to Try

Plate of Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa, with ear shaped pasta tossed with broccoli, garlic and olive oil.

There’s a LOT that the Puglia region is famous for! Here’s your checklist for what to indulge in – the places I mentioned below are all marked on my map:

  • Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa: This iconic pasta dish features ear-shaped orecchiette pasta tossed with a slightly bitter lime di papa (broccoli rabe), garlic, olive oil and chilli flakes. Even if the sauce isn’t to your liking, definitely eat orecchiette here – it’s what Puglia is famous for.
    • Like Your Pasta with Seafood? Then try it at Orecchietteria San Nicola.
  • Focaccia Barese: Unlike its fluffy Tuscan counterpart, Bari’s focaccia is thin and crispy, topped with juicy tomatoes, olives, oregano and a generous drizzle of olive oil. It’s typically even thinner than the Focaccia alla Genovese – the kind famous in Genoa. Grab a slice at L’arte della Focaccia as you’re wondering through Old Town and munch away.
  • Tiella Barese: Baked rice with potatoes, mussels, onions and tomatoes flavoured with parsley and garlic 😋
  • Panzerotti: These deep-fried pockets of dough filled with mozzarella and tomato are a popular street food snack. Eat it at La Puccia or Venezia 40. Both are cheap and cheerful type places where you can just grab one and take it with you – it’s meant to be eaten as street food after all!
Panzerotti (dough deep fried with mozzarella and tomato) in a shop window in Bari, Italy
Image by Alessandro Piccoli from Pixabay

Gluten Free? Then head to Colibrio in Old Town – it’s a dedicated GF Pasticceria. There’s all sorts of pastries and baked goods for munchies but also more substantial dishes for lunch. They also have panzerotti. If you’re closer to Bari Centrale, then go to La Gouterie.

Featured Photo by Chandra

I hope this guide helps you plan an unforgettable day exploring Bori during your cruise! If you have any questions, please drop me a comment below. I’d be delighted to hear from you! Bari was not on my list of port guides to write (because I didn’t think there’s interest in this some port). But a reader got in touch with me, asking for recommendations, so voila here is the DIY guide! Wishing you a fantastic port day filled with awesome memories. Buon viaggio!

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