Otranto – A Southern Puglia Paradise

By admin | May 16, 2016 | Posted in: Borgo Egnazia

Approximately ninety minutes away from the stunning Borgo Egnazia resort, the curious explorer of Apulia must consider the wealth of excursions available, either organised by the hospitable and efficient resort staff, or, for the footloose and unfettered, by rail or hire car. The small, perfectly-formed beaches and beautifully clear seas of Otranto provide a particularly memorable destination that combines the best of provincial Lecce’s culture, offering sun-bleached Southern Italian spirit and adventure in abundance.

Otranto is situated in the southern province of Lecce, or specifically, where locals describe ‘Salento’ – Italy’s most recognisable peninsula – the very tip – in fact. Overlooking the Adriatic sea, the small port town has remained an important place of connection by sea in Puglia’s long and colourful, historically dominated past. It is possible to see the coast of Albania when the warm, coastal breeze and haze diminishes for long enough – if one isn’t already distracted by the immediate, close-range beauty of this Adriatic seaside town.

Otranto’s appeal and fame within both Puglia’s history and attracting locals and tourists – both over the years to this very day – are easy to recognise.  Reading, relaxing, whilst supping iced-cold drinks or gelato that soothe the warm, sun-drenched bones will always compliment this perfect backdrop; the sound of gentle waves and the small of salty air to create those life-affirming, flashbulb memories to dream of in the years to come.

Otranto’s large place of historical interest is widely regards as the town’s Cathedral, featuring a large scale mosaic from the 12th Century. Crafted by a monk named Pantaloene, the pictures within the work depict Noah’s Ark, Alexander the Great and even pagan mythological characters such as King Arthur. The nearby Museo Diocesano exhibits even earlier fragments of Puglia’s history, including 4th and 5th Century mosaic-like design.

Otranto’s significant need for defence in former war-torn eras is symbolised by the 15th century Castle of Otranto, or “Castello Aragonese”, which stands firmly as a reminder of the battles and hardships faced by the Puglia ports back in the middle ages. The Castle is open for public viewing, as is the Cathedral. Whether hoping for an exploration of the back streets and lanes, or a light lunch set high above the walls with scenery stretching over the harbour, all the cafes and restaurants are beautifully enclosed by ancient walls surrounding the outskirts of the old town.

If beaches are your raison d’être, both Otranto beach and its surrounding coastlines can provide a wealth of sun-worshipping and bathing hotspots. The ‘Baia de Turchi’ and ‘Laghi Alimini’ are both easy shuttle rides away from Otranto town that consist of larger, predominantly sandy lake-side beaches, whilst towards the south of the town, the same service can shuttle the beach bags of the curious, the inquisitors, the photographers, divers and snorkelers alike, to further explore the strikingly beautiful coves of Porto Badisco. In peak season Otranto’s beach becomes very busy, and the hustle and bustle of people watching itself can become an addictive activity.

Perhaps suited to the curious, romantic couple with impulsive spirits or a sense of adventure, Otranto is highly recommended amongst visitors to the Borgo Engazia resort. With excursions available by enquiring at the reception, or if your party wish to explore independently, a wanderlust roam of this remarkable area would never be misguided. It is worth mentioning that in 2012, Conde Nast Traveller voted southern Puglia within the top 20 of the most beautiful places in the entire world for tourists to visit.

Whether you hire a tour guide, or some chic, nippy, Fiat 500 to hotfoot it around the area yourself, Otranto is a town of famous natural beauty, charm and magnetism, and attracts both Italians and tourists alike.

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