Gallipoli is a great place to visit, stroll along the island town walls and find a fabulous place for lunch.
Not to be confused with Gallipoli in Turkey where the Battle of Gallipoli took place during the first Wold War, the Gallipoli in Salento used to be an island and retains some of its faded island charm. Located on the Ionian Sea, the town is divided into two parts, the modern part and the old city which is on a limestone island linked to the mainland by a bridge.
The name of this evocative coastal town comes from the Greek, “kalli poli”, meaning beautiful city. The whitewashed town centre and fishermens’ port are indeed reminiscent of a Greek of a village, and the oldest part of the town has treasures such as a Byzantine castle, a baroque cathedral and an ancient Greek fountain.
We have spent many a pleasant day in Gallipoli. There is a very good parking area near the old port from where you can go up the steps to the walls of the old city. Turn right at the top and walk alongside the city walls. The view over the Ionian sea is amazing. We tend to start our leisurely visit to Gallipoli with a coffee or a beer at the Caffe del Molo, before continuing a stroll along the Riviera Sauro, taking advantage of great photo opportunities of the town beach, the sea and some of the quirky street scenes, before stopping for lunch. Along the harbour walls, there are a number of restaurants, most with outside dining overlooking the Ionian sea. Alternatively, wander into the tiny streets of the medieval old town and you will find cheaper eating places where the food is just as good.
Skip dessert, after lunch continue strolling along the harbour walls with the sea on your right and you will find a fantastic ice cream parlour to keep you going as you continue around the city and end up at the steps down to the parking area.
Previously Gallipoli’s economy was based on international wine and oil trade. Now it relies heavily on tourism, which due to the mild climate, the excellent food, and the hospitable nature of the local people is busy year long. The main season runs from May to October when the town is very busy with tourists.
There are many, some quite spectacular, festivals both civil and religious. These include the carnival and Easter. Not to be missed in July are the Santa Cristina celebrations; held over three days you will find market stalls, parades in the historic town and of course firework displays.
For more information read Gallipoli Travel Guide