Last updated on July 4, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Puglia

Where to stay in Bari – 4 BEST AREAS (and what to avoid)

Wondering where to stay in Bari on your first-time visit? Well, this lively city offers a rich blend of culture, history, and Italian charm, attracting a variety of travellers.

Whether it’s the rustic allure of Bari Vecchia, the modern hustle of Murat, the tranquillity of Umbertino, or the beachside bliss of Pane e Pomodoro, there are indeed some fantastic options when it comes to the best places to stay in Bari.

This guide will give you the lowdown on each area’s pros and cons, attractions, and culinary delights to help you find the perfect fit for your stay in this enchanting corner of Puglia.

Let’s dive in!

The picturesque lanes of the old city of Bari.
The picturesque lanes of the old city of Bari.

Where to stay in Bari – In a nutshell

Let me start straight away with a simple question. Should you actually stay in Bari? The simple answer is yes, it’s a great city for a short breakaway (1-2 nights). I would probably not suggest it for a long stay (a week or so) because you would exhaust your options pretty soon and there are better places to stay in Puglia.

I still remember my first time in Bari, too many years ago (I reckon over 25 years ago). At that time the city was not really a destination and I honestly could not suggest it to any friend (no blog back then).

Today it is a different story and Bari Vecchia (the historic centre) has become one of the must-sees of Puglia, and my suggested area to stay in Bari.

In the table below, I have compared the 4 best neighbourhoods to stay in Bari. It’s a very handy table to keep in mind. Click on the area name for all the pros, cons and a full description with my suggested restaurants and attractions in the neighbourhood.

AreaHighlightProsConsAccessibilityAttractionsRestaurantsFamiliesNightlifeCharacter
Bari VecchiaWhere to stay in Bari for first-time visitorsHistoric, charming, characteristic, expensiveQuite busy during the dayAccessible by foot or car
(far from the train station)
Bari Cathedral, Castello SvevoVery goodGoodModerateHigh
MuratWhere to stay in Bari for shoppingShopping destination, good valueLacks historical characterNext to the Train StationTeatro Piccinni, Teatro PetruzzelliExcellentModerateHighModerate
UmbertinoWhere to stay in Bari for familiesFacing the sea, close to Bari Vecchia and MuratSlightly less touristyNot too far from the Train StationLungomare, Porto Vecchio Fish MarketGoodVery GoodLowModerate
Pane e PomodoroWhere to stay in Bari by the beachClose to the beach, good for parkingA bit far from the city centreGood connections by train or carPane e Pomodoro beachModerateVery GoodLowLow
Best 4 areas to stay in Bari

Once you have seen Bari I highly suggest renting a car in Puglia and starting an itinerary of the region.

Although you can get around Puglia with public transportation, having a vehicle would allow you to experience so much more of the region and honestly driving in Puglia is not that difficult.

Map of where to stay in Bari
Map of where to stay in Bari

Bari Vecchia or Old Bari

  • Best Place To Stay In Bari For First-Time Visitors
  • Pros: Rich historical character, charming narrow alleys, ideal for first-time visitors, parking convenience along the coast
  • Cons: Crowded during peak season, some narrow streets may be challenging to navigate, far from the train station

Attractions

Restaurants and cafes

  • La Baresana
  • Lo Svevo
  • Al Pescatore
  • Colibrio
Craft tables to dry the orecchiette, pasta made by the women in Bari Vecchia
Craft tables to dry the orecchiette, pasta made by the women in Bari Vecchia

Bari Vecchia, or Old Bari, is a treasure trove of history and culture that’s perfect for first-time visitors.

Here, you can walk down charming narrow alleys lined with traditional homes that give you a glimpse of life in times past.

Among the most famous landmarks, you’ll find the Basilica di San Nicola and the Cattedrale di San Sabino, both of which will transport you back in time with their striking architecture.

Navigating the narrow streets is never easy, this neighbourhood is literally a small maze and it can get quite busy too in peak season. But honestly getting lost in Bari Vecchia is one of the best pass-time in the city.

I still remember my first trip to Bari. I rode a motorbike there and every single person was warning me of the local criminality and to never leave the motorbike unattended.

Time has passed and now Bari Vecchia is the place to be, with charming narrow cobbled streets and hidden tiny squares here and there. By the way, I always wonder how the locals can drive inside it (don’t even try to do it)

The old town is also full of delightful eateries, including La Baresana and Lo Svevo. These are great spots to try the local delicacy, orecchiette pasta.

When you’re finished exploring, one of the best things about Bari Vecchia is its proximity to the coast. There are a few spots where you can have a dive, however, for some proper sunbathing, head instead to Pane & Pomodoro Beach, around 1km east of Bari Vecchia.

Despite a few minor inconveniences, the captivating charm and historical appeal of Bari Vecchia more than compensate, making it a must-visit area in the city, and in my opinion a must-stay in Bari.

Bari Old Town hotels

Imagine waking up in the heart of Bari, Italy, just steps away from the enchanting Bari Cathedral and the bustling Ferrarese Square. BLU Experience is your home away from home and one of the best luxury hotels in Bari.

This 18th-century apartment combines the charm of antiquity with modern comfort. Air-conditioned rooms, city views, and free WiFi. The Beppe, the host, is the cherry on top, always ready to help, making the stay truly unforgettable.

Here are other 2 great options:

Arco ($$): 2BR Bari apartment rental, ideal for families or 2 couples, impeccable service, ideally situated in Bari’s vibrant heart.

B&B 62 Marinai ($): fantastic location in Bari’s historic heart, combining comfort, cleanliness, and exceptional service. One of the best budget stays in Bari Vecchia.

Murat, the New Town

  • Best Place To Stay In Bari For Shopping
  • Pros: Shopping haven, less expensive, modern vibe
  • Cons: Less historical character, can be crowded, especially during sales season

Attractions

Restaurants and cafes

  • 22 FraSi
  • Mozzarella e Basilico
  • El Chiringuito
  • Pizzeria d’Autore
A panoramic shot of the Bari Cathedral surrounded by buildings and sea in Italy
A panoramic shot from Muscat of the Bari Cathedral surrounded by buildings and sea in Italy

If your goal is to shop until you drop, Murat is the place to be. Known as the modern heart of Bari, it’s a bustling district filled with high-street stores, unique boutiques, and welcoming cafes.

Via Sparano da Bari is the pedestrian street that you want to visit, with such a wide choice of cloth and shoe shops. Saturday afternoon it gets packed with the Baresi too, giving that nice local vibe.

Key attractions in Murat include Teatro Piccinni, Teatro Petruzzelli, Palazzo Fizzarotti, and Palazzo Mincuzzi, today hosting a Benetton shop.

For foodies, the area has plenty to offer. You can enjoy a beautiful brunch at 22 FraSi, have a seafood lunch at Mozzarella e Basilico, taste the best pizzas in town at Pizzeria d’Autore, or sip on a cocktail while enjoying a stunning sunset at El Chiringuito.

Murat is a very practical place to stay being next to the Train Station, the transportation hub of the city.

However, it’s worth noting that while Murat offers a variety of modern conveniences and is generally less expensive, it may lack the historical character of Bari Vecchia.

And, while it’s a shopper’s paradise, the district can get quite crowded, particularly during the sales season (July and January).

Nevertheless, for its vibrancy, accessibility, and variety of shopping and dining options, Murat is indeed one of the best places to stay in Bari.

Hotels in Bari city centre

You’ll absolutely fall head over heels for LAUS Art & Design. This place is super swanky, sitting pretty right in the heart of Bari. You’ll be a stone’s throw away from the best spots in town.

The apartment is cosy, decked out with modern touches that’ll make you feel like you’ve stepped into an interior design magazine. The WiFi is fast and the host, David, is a champ – he’ll make sure your stay is smooth sailing. A solid choice for an epic Italian adventure.

Here are other 2 great options:

Casa Piacquadio ($): a centrally located gem in Bari with friendly staff, clean rooms and reliable WiFi. Great budget stay in Bari

Deep House ($$): 2BR superb location, clean, spacious, renovated rooms; excellent services, value for money. One of the best Bari hotels near the train station

Umbertino

  • Best Place To Stay In Bari For Families
  • Pros: Sea-facing, close proximity to Bari Vecchia and Murat, calm atmosphere, great value for money
  • Cons: Not as lively, limited nightlife options

Attractions

  • Lungomare
  • Porto Vecchio Fish Market
  • Blue Sky Wheel
  • Church of Saint Anthony of Padua

Restaurants and cafes

  • Ristorante Al Sorso Preferito
  • El Focacciaro
  • Vavì Group, Pizza e Cucina
  • Crema & Cioccolato
Narrow streets of the beautiful city of Bari Vecchia
Narrow streets of the beautiful city of Bari

If you want to stay somewhere that captures the essence of a serene Italian lifestyle, look no further than Umbertino. This district offers a peaceful stay with its sea-facing streets and relaxed ambience.

It’s also conveniently located between the historical charm of Bari Vecchia and the vibrant modernity of Murat. 

If you are wondering where to stay in Bari with family and kids, then Umbertino may be the answer. It’s quiet, overlooking the sea (not too far from Pane e Pomodoro Beach) and next to Muscat and Bari Vecchia.

It’s a small neighbourhood and there is not much happening, besides experiencing the local life. You should definitely check out the Porto Vecchio Fish Market and if you’re looking for a peaceful evening stroll, take a walk along the Lungomare (esplanade), a favourite of the Baresi.

I also suggest having a spin on the Blue Sky Wheel, especially if you are travelling with kids.

There is not that wide selection of restaurants that you can find in the previous two areas, however, you can find here still a few little gems like the Ristorante Al Sorso Preferito where you can plan a traditional Italian dinner, or why not a pizza at Vavì Group.

For a quick lunch, head instead to El Focacciaro for the most traditional focaccia in the city.

Finally, an easy win with kids, and adults alike, is a visit to Crema & Cioccolato for ice cream.

Best accommodations in Umbertino

Looking for a 2BR apartment in Umbertino? Look no further than Carulli Suite Design, a high-tech hideaway in Bari. The fully-equipped kitchen is your playground. But don’t worry about the heat – the air-con keeps it cool.

When you’re ready to explore, you’ll find the beach and Bari Central just minutes away. Plus, you’ll be greeted by 24/7 reception staff, ready to assist at any hour. It’s the ideal mix of comfort, convenience, and cutting-edge cool. One of the best hotels near Bari attractions.

Here is another great option:

Best Stay ($$): 1BR up to 4 people, central location, superb facilities, and pristine cleanliness

Pane e Pomodoro

  • Best Place To Stay In Bari By The Beach
  • Pros: Proximity to the beach, well-connected with the city centre, ample parking facilities
  • Pros: Proximity to the beach, well-connected with the city centre, ample parking facilities

Attractions

  • Pane e Pomodoro Beach

Restaurants and cafes

  • La Terrazza di Luca
  • Bahari Restaurant
  • Taxi Pizza
  • Paninoteca “Al Gabbiano”
The Lungomare of Bari seen from Pane e Pomodoro
The Lungomare of Bari seen from Pane e Pomodoro

Pane e Pomodoro is a delightful spot, especially for beach enthusiasts. If you’re imagining your stay in Bari encompassed by the sight of the azure sea and the soothing sound of the waves, this district is undoubtedly the best choice. Very poetic, I know, but that’s really what you will find in Pane e Pomodoro. 

Certainly, this is not the area of Bari to come for historic architecture or old charm. In fact, this neighbourhood, still under construction, is relatively new, with most of the buildings from the 70s, 80s and 90s.

The main attraction here is, of course, the namesake beach Pane e Pomodoro. It’s a lively spot, perfect for lounging under the sun and taking a refreshing dip in the sea. After a sun-soaked day at the beach, head over to La Terrazza for a delicious seafood dinner or try the traditional Pugliese pizzas at Taxi Pizza.

For a cheap dinner or just some characteristic street food head to Paninoteca “Al Gabbiano”, a food truck positioned almost in front of the beach.

Though it’s slightly further from the city centre, Pane e Pomodoro is well connected with frequent trains making it easily accessible.

The easiest way to get to Bari Vecchia is by direct bus (#569) or even walking there along the Lungomare (2.5km)

Alternatively, take the train from the nearby station of Bari Marconi, which is just one stop away (5 minutes) from the main Train Station of Bari located in Murat. From there it’s a 20-25 minute walk to the Historic Centre.

The district also offers excellent parking facilities, particularly beneficial if you’re planning a road trip through Puglia by car. Despite the convenience, it’s worth noting that Pane e Pomodoro doesn’t offer historic attractions compared to Bari Vecchia or Murat, but its charming beachside character more than makes up for it.

Here are 2 of the best hotels near Bari Beach:

Vista Mare ($$$): if you are looking for Bari hotels with sea views, then you will be pleased by Interno 19 (2BR). Add exceptional cleanliness, and superior facilities for a family stay.

Interno 9 ($$): splendid, clean, and spacious stay in Bari with a beautiful bathroom and convenient location.

Areas to Avoid in Bari

The city of Bari is generally safe and welcoming for tourists. Of course, like most cities in the world, there are a few areas to avoid, especially at night.

The district of San Paolo is one such area. It’s a residential neighbourhood with little tourist interest, and it has had instances of petty crime in the past.

Another area to be cautious of is around the Main Train Station, mostly late at night.

While it’s fine during the day, be sure to be cautious and stay vigilant if you find yourself here after sunset. It can become a bit desolate and might feel uncomfortable.

The industrial areas in the outskirts of Bari are also best avoided, particularly if you’re on foot. There’s not much to see here for tourists anyway, and these areas can be deserted and dark in the evenings.

That being said, Bari is certainly way safer than 25 years ago on my first trip there. My suggestion is to just be a bit more alert after dark.

Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

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