Camping in Italy: Best Campgrounds in the Puglia Region

Cool breezesâÂ?¦lush forestsâÂ?¦jagged peaksâÂ?¦.and YOU: roughing it out in the wild. That’s a pretty good description for several of the national parks in the Puglia region. If you’re a camping enthusiast you’re going to love it here! There are at least two decent areas that put you right in the path of mountains or the beach and there are dozens of other areas that are quite attractive in their own right. It all depends on where your interests lie. But first, let’s discuss some basic terminology because many times when you see the term “camping” or “campeggio” it can something entirely different than what you were expecting.

You need to understand first, that in Puglia the beach rules. The Adriatic coast offers some of the finest beaches to be found in all of Italy. But that doesn’t help you if you’re looking to rub two sticks together and bar-b-q some wieners.

You’re bound to notice, that throughout the Puglia region there are several top-notch areas referred to as ‘campeggio”. Meditur (www.campingmeditur.it/Puglia) near Brindisi has an excellent reputation for a campeggio. Come to think of it if you take a leisurely drive down SS 16 which is the super-strada that takes you from Bari all the way down to Brindisi – there are no less than 20 areas labeled as ‘campeggio”. At a campaggio you CAN do some camping – in as much as you can pitch a tent and sleep. But for the most part – the campeggio is geared for families or individuals with campers. Typically, you rent a space for a week or two or a month or an entire summer and you have access to a pool, a private beach, a fast-food restaurant, coffee bar, newsstand and even entertainment every evening. Three good guides that I suggest you check out are:

www.campeggio.it/puglia

and

www.guideuro.it/puglia

and

www.tuttocampeggio.it/ puglia

All three can provide you with a wealth of resources (including prices) on campeggio’s where you can spend a night or more. But is it “camping”? Again, it depends on what you’re definition of camping is.

My idea of camping doesn’t involve a trailer. I like being in the outdoors. I enjoy not knowing when my next shower is 9my wife does not share those sentiments unfortunately) I enjoy knowing that outside my humble little tent there may be a raccoon helping itself to my leftovers. Fortunately in the south you don’t find many raccoons. Nor are there any bears poking around. Come to think of it I don’t know what animals are prancing about beyond the perimeter of my campground. But I CAN tell you – the National Park of Gargano and the National Park of Abruzzo are the two areas where you won’t walk away disappointed.

Gargano National park boasts two lakes (Lago di Lesina and Lago di Verano) and also is in close proximity to the Gargano coast and the Tremite Islands. Gargano is extremely well manicured and offer plenty of recreational pursuits. I don’t know exactly how much “roughing it” you can do when the beach is about 5 minutes away. But check out:

ufficiostampa@parcogargano.it

For complete information (in English). Or read my recent story on Rodi Gargano for some more backround.

Not too far away sits the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo (which was founded in 1923) and is one of the most famous parks in all of Italy, not just the south. It sits on 50,000 acres, and you have your pick of forests, lakes and mountains. You can enjoy trekking, canoing, some low-degree-of-difficulty rock climbing among other activities.You can park you tent under a tree or rent a cabin or bring your trailer. For more information on the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo log on to:

info@parcoabruzzo.it

But remember, I am talking about the South. The Puglia region in particular. And the farther south you go, the more coastline you’re going to find. My wife, and daughter and I have spent many an impromptu night in a tent on any number of beaches and we never got harassed by the Carabinieri or anyone else for that matter. But I’d recommend if you are going to do something like that – pay your 30 euro a night at a campeggio and THEN put down stakes on the beach (if that’s what you want to do). At least you’ll know you’re relatively safe.

I offer the same advice to travelers regarding camping that I give regarding any summer vacationing in Italy: you’ll beat the crowds and save some money if you get out before the middle of June. After that the crowds seem to double exponentially every week through August (when every Italian and their brother takes a vacation) and you can’t even go the restroom without bumping into someone. The crowds suddenly thin out again in September and life once again is good. So remember: before June and after August. In between is fun – – but for campers it might be a bit unruly.

Having said that, the Central and Northern parts of Italy have a different kind of terrain and offer more conventional kinds of camping. But I’ll save THOSE stories for another day!

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