8 Wonderful Things to Do in Vieste Italy

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Vieste Italy is a pretty seaside town that sits on a white cliffed promontory jutting into the sea.

It has a picturesque old town featuring an 11th-century Cathedral and long sandy beaches on each side.

It’s the ideal base for exploring Puglia’s Gargano Peninsula, a mountainous area where you can walk in dense forests, scuba dive in the Adriatic Sea, and relax on beaches backed by white limestone cliffs.

We spent a week in Vieste in late May and explored the Gargano from there.

In this guide, you’ll find tips on the best things to do in Vieste, as well as where to stay and eat and how to get there.

Near the end of the post is a Vieste map with everything mentioned.


Best Things to Do in Vieste Italy

1) Wander Vieste Old Town

Side street in Vieste old town in the Gargano, Puglia, Italy

Vieste old town is an atmospheric maze of steep staircases and alleyways with washing dangling from the simple white houses.

It’s the perfect place to just wander, but there are a few sights including the 11th-century Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, built in Puglia’s Romanesque style.

Vieste Cathedral in Vieste Old Town, Puglia, Italy
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

A more gruesome landmark is the Chianca Amara (Bitter Stone) a historic site on Via Cimaglia next to the Cathedral where thousands of people were beheaded when the Turks invaded in the 16th century.

If you want to learn more about the town’s history, book a guided walking tour of Vieste.

2) Enjoy a Sea View Walk

View of Castello Beach and the Pizzomunno rock from the castle in Vieste Italy
View of Castello Beach and the Pizzomunno rock from the Vieste castle

One of our favourite things to do in Vieste was walking around the edge of the town for stunning views.

For a scenic walk start near the Norman castle—it’s a military installation and closed to the public, but take the stairs to the left of the entrance down to reach a viewpoint overlooking Castello beach with its iconic Pizzomunno rock formation.

View of Vieste old town from Via Judeca (Belvedere Ripa), Gargano, Puglia, Italy
Simon enjoying the sights of Vieste old town viewpoint on Via Judeca

From the castle walk around the edge of the old town to the viewpoints of Belvedere Ripa (on Via Judeca) and Belvedere Piazza Seggio on either side of Hotel Seggio.

Here you can see the whitewashed houses of the old town perched on the rocky promontory.

View from Via Ripe in Vieste old town, Italy
View from Via Ripe in Vieste old town

Continue to walk along Via Ripe, a path overlooking the sea, until you reach the furthest point at Punta San Francesco.

Here there’s the simple peach-coloured Church of San Francesco, dating back to 1438, and views of the lighthouse.

To the right of the church go down the stairs to see the trabucco, a wooden fishing platform, and for views back to town.

Punta San Francesco and the trabucco wooden fishing platform in Vieste in Puglia, Italy
Punta San Francesco and the trabucco wooden fishing platform

If you want a longer walk, you can continue to follow the sea along the other side of the headland and over to the modern part of town and the port.

On Via Pola there are some restaurants and bars with beautiful sea views. You’ll also pass the Museo Malacologico, a museum of shells.

3) Relax on Vieste Beaches

Castello Beach (also known as Scialara or Pizzomunno beach) in Vieste Italy
Castello Beach (also known as Scialara or Pizzomunno beach), the main Vieste beach

The beaches are the main reason people come to the Gargano, especially Italians in July and August when they get very crowded.

June and September are better times for enjoying the beaches in good weather without the crowds.

There are two beaches in walking distance of the centre of Vieste.

Spiaggia del Castello (Castle Beach) is south of town and is also known as Scialara Beach or Pizzomunno Beach after the towering white rock in front of the cliffs that Vieste is built upon.

Pizzomunno rock at the end of Castello beach and the castle just above it in Vieste Puglia in southern Italy
Pizzomunno rock at the end of Castello beach with Vieste castle just above it

The golden sandy beach is 3km long, so it’s good for walking or running (I ran here from our hotel on the hill above it).

There are many places to rent sunbeds and umbrellas with bars for a drink or meal or head to either end of the beach for free sections of sand. The sea is calm and it’s popular with families.

On the north side of town is San Lorenzo Beach, also known as Spiaggia del Convento. It’s another sandy beach with calm water and a few campsites and beach resorts.

If you have a car, there are many more beaches in the Gargano to explore—north to Peschici they tend to be sandier and south to Mattinata they are more likely to be pebbly with scenic cliff backdrops.

Pick up a map of the beaches from the tourist information office on Piazza Kennedy.

4) Take a Boat Trip to the Grottoes

The view of Vieste from our Desiree grotto boat tour, which is one of the best things to do in Vieste Italy
The view of Vieste from our Desiree grotto boat tour

One of the most popular things to do in Vieste is a boat trip along the coast to Baia delle Zagare, one of the most scenic beaches in the Gargano with its dramatic sea stacks.

Along the way you can enjoy views of stunning white cliffs and beaches and sail inside sea caves where the water and rocks are surprisingly colourful.

In the summer there are breaks for swimming (in late May it was too cold for the Italians).

There are a number of companies offering similar boat trips at the Vieste Port—we went with Desiree.

The tours run from April to October and depart at 9.30am and 3pm. The trip lasts three hours and costs from €28 per person.

We booked a day ahead, but in shoulder season the boat wasn’t very full (in July and August booking is a good idea).

The boat has no shade so bring a hat and suncream. There’s a toilet on board and you can buy coffee and water for €1 each.

5) Shop For Foodie Souvenirs

If you are self-catering or looking for foodie souvenirs, visit the vegetable market on Via Jenner for fresh produce, local olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, cheese, pasta and more—they are happy for you to sample before you buy.

La Massaia cheese shop (Viale XXIV Maggio, 9) is a good place to try local cheeses like Caciocavallo Podolico made from the milk of a rare breed of cow—ask the owner to show you his basement cheese cave. They also sell delicious fresh pasta for an easy meal if you have a kitchen.

6) Water Sports

From Vieste you can kitesurf, windsurf, scuba dive, jet ski or kayak.

Free Surf at the private beach club Capo Vieste offer rentals and lessons.

At the port you can rent a boat which we’d like to do next time to explore the coast on our own.

7) Explore the Gargano Peninsula

The view from the mountain town of Monte Sant'Angelo in the Gargano, Italy
The view from the mountain town of Monte Sant’Angelo

There are lots of beautiful places to visit in the Gargano, from ancient forests to medieval villages, as well as dozens of beaches.

It’s much easier to get around if you rent a car but some day trips are possible by public transport or tour.

These are some ideas on the best day trips from Vieste:

  • Monte Sant’Angelo – a picturesque mountain town.
  • Foresta Umbra – an ancient forest in the heart of Gargano National Park.
  • Peschici – another historic seaside town perched on craggy rock.
  • Vico del Gargano – beautiful small hill town nicknamed the ‘village of love’!
  • Tremiti Islands – archipelago of five tiny islands perfect for a tour to swim and scuba dive.
  • Mattinata – coastal town ideal as a base for hikes.

Read our Gargano Italy travel guide for more details on the best Vieste day trips.

8) Sample Wine and Olive Oil

Next time, we’d love to take these olive oil and wine-tasting tours in the countryside near Vieste.

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Where to Stay in Vieste, Puglia

Vieste has a wide range of accommodations, including B&Bs, hotels, self-catering apartments, and campsites.

You can choose to stay in the centre and be able to walk to restaurants and shops, on one of the nearby beaches, or up in the pine-covered hills above town.

Residence Maresol Review

Residence Maresol review - the bedroom of our apartment in Vieste Puglia, Italy
The comfortable bedroom of our apartment at Residence Maresol

We wanted to stay somewhere quieter with more of a countryside feel than the town centre, so we chose Residence B&B Maresol up a steep hill above Castello beach with its iconic Pizzomunno rock.

The hotel is surrounded by pine trees and has gorgeous sea views. It’s just a seven-minute drive from the centre and close enough to the beach that I could run there (it’s a steep climb back up though).

Hosts Giovanna and Francesco and their son are super friendly and happy to give tips on the area.

We stayed in a modern, bright one-bedroom apartment with a comfortable bed, ensuite, small but well-equipped kitchen, and a large terrace with a table, chairs, and sun loungers where we could enjoy the sea views.

Residence Maresol Vieste review - our one bedroom apartment with terrace, Puglia, Italy
The terrace leads to the kitchen and bedroom beyond that

The WiFi was better than we expected (we did request a room with good signal) and although it cut out a few times we were able to stream Netflix.

We enjoyed being able to cook and eat on our terrace so we didn’t have to eat out every night.

They can also order you a pizza which was very convenient, but it was the worst pizza we’ve eaten in Italy!

Our terrace with a sea view at Residence Maresol Vieste. There are also sun loungers on the right.
Our terrace with a sea view at Residence Maresol Vieste. There are also sun loungers on the right.

The only downside at Residence Maresol was that we could hear our neighbours on the terrace, so it’s not entirely private. I would also have appreciated cushions on the plastic sun loungers. 

They also have rooms without kitchens and can provide breakfast on the sun terrace with gorgeous views.

Residence Maresol is excellent value and we highly recommend it. 

Check the latest prices for Residence Maresol here

Vieste Hotels in the Centre

The pool at the cliffside Hotel Seggio in the heart of Vieste old town, Puglia, Italy
The pool at the cliffside Hotel Seggio in the heart of Vieste old town

If you’d prefer to stay in the centre of Vieste, here are a few B&Bs and hotels in great locations walkable to everything. 

Parking in the centre is difficult so ask your hotel for advice before you arrive.

  • Relais La Pretura – Elegant rooms, a roof terrace for breakfast with a view, and helpful owners. In the summer the rate includes sun loungers at a nearby beach. 
  • Casa Giulia – Simple, affordable rooms with sea views and breakfast on the roof terrace. 
  • Hotel Seggio – A perfect location on a cliff in the old town with a swimming pool, private beach area, and stunning views.
  • Navicri B&B – This friendly place has a swimming pool, rooftop jacuzzi, and it’s near the beach. It’s a 15-minute walk from the centre but that makes parking easier. 

Search for more hotels and B&Bs in Vieste here.

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Where to Eat in Vieste Italy

As you’d expect from a seaside town, restaurants in Vieste focus on fish. While they do offer vegetarian options, we chose to eat at agriturismo in the countryside instead.

These farms have simple restaurants and guest accommodation and focus more on food from the land—vegetables and meat—rather than seafood.

Away from the sea Puglia is very vegetarian-friendly—see our guide to Puglian food for dishes to try.

Countryside Restaurants Near Vieste

Agriturismo Chalet degli Ulivi

Agriturismo Chalet degli Ulivi in Vieste Puglia, Italy

Simon dining at Agriturismo Chalet degli Ulivi on their outdoor terrace surrounded by olive trees

The highlight was the vegetable antipasti plate with lots of grilled and marinated vegetables, frittata, bruschetta, and the Puglian classic fava e cicoria (mashed fava beans with bitter greens).

Afterwards we shared their primo of the day (the classic orecchiette pasta with tomato sauce), a margherita pizza, and homemade chocolate fondant.

At the time of our visit we got all that food for only €35 plus half a liter of house wine and complimentary limoncello, it was very good value.

Details: Open daily 7pm – midnight, bookings recommended.

Country House Tavernola

For an unforgettable experience and enormous amounts of food, head to Country House Tavernola.

This farmhouse feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere and is surrounded by olive tree covered hills with pigs, ducks, chickens, dogs, and goats running around.

It’s a shame there’s no terrace to enjoy the views—just a rustic indoor dining area.

I recommend booking in advance—the son is responsive to messages on their Facebook page—as they seemed taken back by our appearance and we were the only guests all night.

Mattia still managed to cook us up a feast and through the evening, she, her husband and their son all came out to chat to us.

We weren’t given a menu, just asked if we wanted antipasti, and in Puglia the answer to that question is always yes.

We have enjoyed many large antipasti plates in the region, but nothing had prepared us for the comically large portions at Country House Tavernola.

The plates just kept on coming and each one was piled high with food—bread and olives, marinated vegetables, bruschetta, cheeses, fried zucchini and potato chips, baked potatoes with cheese, zucchini frittata, focaccia with cheese…

It was all good, simple home-cooking, but although we have big appetites, we had to send back more than half of what was brought to us and we didn’t have space for pasta.

We did manage to squeeze in some of their excellent homemade ricotta and fruits of the forest tart—it’s worth saving space for dessert.

At the end of the meal they brought us five bottles of homemade digestivi—fennel flower, laurel, cinnamon, almond, and prickly pear (our favourite)—and left us to help ourselves.

All this food was excellent value (€25 per person at the time of our visit) including wine, water, coffee and cover charge, but as we rolled away, we did find ourselves wishing the portions hadn’t been quite so excessive.

Details: Valle della serlaina. Open Mon – Fri 8pm – late, Sat – Sun 12.30pm – 4.30pm/ 8pm – late. Call or message them on Facebook to book a table. It’s a 15-minute drive from central Vieste. 

Website: Facebook

Restaurants in Vieste Centre

Pizzeria Notte e Di

The only place we ate in the centre of Vieste was this friendly takeaway pizza place with a few outdoor tables on the street.

The pizza was decent and inexpensive, and it’s a good place to try the local speciality paposcia—big focaccia sandwiches—which we had stuffed with vegetables and mozzarella.

Details: Viale XXIV Maggio, 26.  Open daily 12pm – 3pm/ 6pm – midnight.

Website: Tripadvisor

Sweet Temptations – Le Dolci Tentazioni 

Nutella cornetto at Cornetteria Chianca Amara in Vieste Italy
Nutella cornetto at Sweet Temptations

In the heart of the old town is this little shop selling a wide range of biscotti (cookies) and cornetti (Italian croissants).

The cornetti are huge and you can have them stuffed with cream, nutella, or various jams.

Details: Lungomare Europa, 5. Open Tues – Sun 6am – 12.30pm. Closed Mondays.

More Vieste Restaurants

Other suggestions for food and drink in Vieste that are on our list for next time:

  • Tutto in un Calice – A wine bar that offers generous platters of antipasti to accompany tastings.
  • Antichi Sapori – Cafe that offers freshly baked paposceria (like ciabatta) sandwiches.
  • Piétra Vieste – Small pizzeria with a cosy room with vaulted ceilings.
  • La Viestana – A pizzeria recommended by one of our readers for its super fresh ingredients.
  • Ritual – A restaurant and beach bar north of Vieste that offers a vegan multi-course menu upon request.
  • Europa – Another reader recommendation for fans of seafood with their pasta.

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How to Get to Vieste Italy

The view of Punta San Francesco and Vieste old town from our boat trip in Vieste Puglia, Italy
The view of Punta San Francesco and Vieste old town from our boat trip

Vieste by Car

If you want to explore the Gargano, I highly recommend renting a car as public transport is limited and slow.

If your trip is over 10 days you could combine Vieste with these other beautiful places to visit in Puglia.

For our two-week Puglia road trip, we rented a car one way from Lecce (in the far south of Puglia) and dropped it off after the Gargano in Foggia (a 1 hour 40 minute drive from Vieste) where we caught the three-hour train to Rome.

I use Booking.com Car Rentals to search for cheap car rentals.

In central Vieste you have to pay for parking almost everywhere from mid-May to mid-September (another advantage of staying slightly out of town).

It costs €1 an hour along the beach and €2 an hour in the centre—make sure you carry change for the machines. Daily rates range from €5-€10.

The nearest international airport to Vieste is Bari (BRI), a 2.5-hour drive away. You can rent cars at the airport.

Search for the cheapest flight deals on Kiwi.

Vieste by Public Transport

You can reach Vieste by public transport and this is a decent option if you don’t want to visit many other places in the Gargano.

The Pugliaairbus runs from Bari airport to Foggia from June to September and costs €11.90 one way. It takes around 1 hour 20 mins.

You can also take the train to Foggia to transfer onto the bus to Vieste.

SITA bus 744 runs from Foggia to Vieste in 2 hours 45 mins. You can check timetables on the SITA Sud website (Italian only)—choose Puglia where it says “SELEZIONA LA TUA REGIONE”. 

To Peschici the Ferrovia del Gargano bus takes 45 mins. 

From Vieste you can take the ferry to the beautiful Tremiti Islands from July to mid-September. The Navigazione Libera del Golfo ferry takes 1.5 hours and costs around €23 – €35 in high season. 

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Vieste Italy Map

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Is Vieste Worth Visiting?

Yes, Vieste is definitely worth visiting. Vieste is a lovely seaside town that’s not very well known to non-Italians.

It’s a great base to explore the Gargano Peninsula for a trip that can combine beaches, historic towns, forests, mountains, and food.

I hope this travel guide has given you some ideas on what to do in Vieste. Leave a comment below if you have any other suggestions.

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Other Puglia Posts


General Puglia Tips

Central Puglia

Salento Peninsula

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Vieste Guide Pinterest pin


  1. Hello Erin,

    My wife and I are going to San Giovanni Rontodo this Sunday from Naples airport and staying there until Friday. We are still tyring to find where to go until return to Naples 3rd September for flight back home to ireland. I looked at Vieste and it looks like a lovely place and i just read your article. We are looking for some where for down time but also to be able to go for a meal and a few drinks some where with an atmosphere in the evenings. Is Vieste good for same? As we will be doing public transport we will have to look into a bus from San Goivanni (Padre Pio guide us). We would like to stay in the centre, all the places you recommended are gone. Any advice or would you recommend other places we should spend the week before we go back to naples. Thank you. Seán

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  2. Thank you for the information. My husband and I will be arriving in June 2023 to meet a plethora of maternal family for the first time! I am so excited. The town seems beautiful and a lot to do in the area. Looking forward to olive oil tasting and the caves. I’ve been taking Italian classes for years waiting for this trip!

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  3. Thank you for this guide. Vieste is my ancestral town. My father and I are planning a 2022 trip (for his 80th birthday). Do you know anything about Manfredonia? While both my fathers grandmothers (my great grandmother’s) are from Vieste. His father was born in Manfredonia. We’d like to visit there as well.

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    • We haven’t been to Manfredonia but it’s not far from Vieste (about an hour) so you could easily take a day trip (easiest with a rental car). It sounds like it’ll be a great trip – enjoy!

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  4. My husband and I are visiting Vieste soon. I’m wondering if there are any cooking lessons or demonstrations, or wine or balsamic vinegar tastings in the area. How would I find out?

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    • We don’t have any personal experiences of those but you could try asking at your accommodation. There aren’t as many options in the Gargano as it receives fewer foreign tourists.

      I found this wine tasting on Airbnb Experiences: https://www.airbnb.co.nz/experiences/406915

      There won’t be any balsamic vinegar tastings as the real stuff is only made in Modena, Emilia-Romagna.

      Enjoy your stay and I’d love to hear back on what you find!

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  5. Very informative. But question remains: if you have two weeks in Puglio and enjoy seeing the sights, is time better spent solely in the south, or should we include three days or so in and around Vieste? I know the answer is that it depends on what you like, but just from a scenic perspective, is the Vieste area as stunning? Thanks in advance.

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    • I think the Vieste area is more about beaches and natural beauty. The southern part of Puglia has more beautiful towns (in my opinion). If you don’t mind moving around then it’s worth including Vieste. But you could easily occupy two weeks in the rest of Puglia if you prefer to just have one or two bases.


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  6. We will be we 14 Gargano’s vacationing in Gargano where our relatives were born & raised. Our first trip. We would like a new hotel with large rooms, bar, room svc, restaurant, smoke area , pool with chair and towel and cocktail service provided at pool and beach. We request 7 rooms one or two will be for 3.

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  7. Thank you for your article. It is hard to find detailed info on Vieste. I have longed to go there for years but haven’t made it yet. We came close in 2016 but ran out of time. I am also interested in the beautiful Foresta Umbra. Do you know if there is hiking trail access from Vieste, as we will be traveling by public transport.
    Thank you again for your informative article.

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    • Hi Mike,
      I’m not sure if it’s possible to reach Foresta Umbra from Vieste by public transport. Routes are pretty limited in this area. I recommend asking your hotel or the tourist office once you are there.

      We didn’t find any hiking trails from Vieste, but again I recommend asking when you get there. It is difficult to find information online about the area but we found our hotel super friendly and helpful. Enjoy!

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    • I think this is the only article I’ve ever seen on Vieste and it was so exciting to see it! My father-in-law was born and raised in Vieste. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1993 but my mother-in-law bought an apartment there in 1997 just a few minute walk from Pizzomunno beach. I have been so blessed to be able to spend a couple of weeks there almost every summer since then. It has such a chill, laid-back vibe and is the perfect place to disconnect and recharge. We rent chairs and an umbrella by the Pizzomunno rock and walk the 3km beach back and forth every morning…oftentimes in the afternoon as well (have to burn off all that food!). The beach is wonderful for small children because the sand is soft and there’s no drop-off when you walk into the water. At low tide, there are little pools that form where toddlers can play with no worry. Pizzeria notte e di is one of our favorites and the owners, who are brothers, are awesome. If you ever go back, you have to try the Pizza Viestana. It’s very simple but so tasty with fresh garlic and the best cherry tomatoes!! Walking up the hill from there toward the center and heading straight down the other hill a little way, there is a restaurant called Europa. They have the best Pepate di Cozze (Peppered Mussels), Spaghetti alle Vongole (Spaghetti with Clams), and Orechiette con Cime di Rape (Orecchiette with Turnip Tops)…just to name a few things. I don’t eat mussels or clams but the broth from the mussels is delicious to dip bread into and the spaghetti from the clam dish is very tasty as well. I usually order the orecchiette which is always superb and I make sure to get it with anchovies. Otherwise, I get the Orecchiette Pomodoro or Orecchiette con Sugo. Their pizzas are amazing, too, as are their French fries with mayonnaise which we often order as an appetizer along with their bruschetta. Can’t forget about the local wine, either, which is always spot on! Can’t wait for summer!!

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  8. Very well written blog on Vieste, among the very few! Planning a trip a trip there and found it very useful. Many Thanks!

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