The best areas to stay in Bari for first-timers are Murat, Barri Vecchia, Porto, Bari Palese, and San Nicola Stadium. These are popular and safe neighborhoods for tourists that offer a wide variety of attractions and amenities. This blog will help you to decide where to stay in Bari for the first time and the best things to do in each area.
A byzantine city built over ancient Roman ruins; Bari is the 2nd most important economic center in mainland southern Italy after Naples and Palermo. While not as famous as some of Italy’s other cities, it offers a unique history and culture that you are unlikely to find elsewhere. Bari is a beautiful Italian town and well worth a visit.
Located on the Adriatic Sea, Bari is the capital city of Apulia. It is an important ferry port in the southern Adriatic that connects with Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, and Albania. Bari is well-connected with the rest of Italy like Rome, Milano, Bologna, Turin, Venice, and Apulia cities through trains and the airport.
Murat, in central Bari is the best area to stay in Bari for first-timers because it is the main shopping district and the nightlife hub of Bari. If you book a hotel here, you will be located in the heart of action within walking distance to many restaurants, bars, and shops. With it central station nearby, you can easily traveling around.
On the other hand, if you are interested in the history and culture, then staying in Barri Vecchia, the old town of the city, will be the best choice. Accommodations are more expensive in the Old Town.
The Bari airport is linked to the most important cities in Italy and Europe (London, Istanbul, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Munich, Barcelona ) by year-round and seasonal services. It’s a 20-minute taxi or train ride from the airport to the city.
If this is your first visit, I recommend spending at least 3 to 4 days in Bari to explore famous tourist attractions, enjoy the food and wine. If you have more time, you can take a day trip to other beautiful towns on Puglia region such as Alberobello, Monopoli, Polignano a Mare, and Lecce.
|💖 Best Area for first-timers:||Murat (Central Bari)|
|💎 Best luxury hotel:||iH Hotels Bari Oriente|
|🏨 Best mid-range hotel:||Fourooms Bari|
|💰 Best budget hotel:||Travel Station|
🎬 To get an overall idea of where to stay in Bari first time, check out this video:
- Where to Stay in Bari, Italy: Best areas & neighborhoods
Where to Stay in Bari, Italy: Best areas & neighborhoods
1. Murat (Central Bari), where to stay in Bari for first-timers
Murat is the best area to stay in Bari for first-time travelers because it is the center of town and the busiest hub of activity. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of action, within easy access to the top tourist attractions, as well as many choices in accommodations, restaurants, bars, and shops.
Murat quarter is the modern and vibrant part of the city. Murat is the New Town, which was built in 1813 during the French domination. It is was named after the Frenchman Joachim Murat, Marshal of France and King of Naples.
Murat neighborhood stretches from the seafront to the railway station. It is bordered by the ocean and the old town in the north; the Carracci, Picone, and San Pasquale districts in the south; Madonnella district in the east; and Libertà district in the west.
Murata district is a convenient place for those arriving in the city by train as it’s bordered by the central train station in the south. You will find the main streets of Murat are Corso Cavour, Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Via Sparano.
If you are looking for nightlife, head to the area around Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Piazza del Ferrarese, and Giuseppe Garibaldi Square, full of busy bars and restaurants. There are also lots of shops, restaurants, and bars around Piazza Umberto I, the Università Degli Studi, Prefecture Palace, and Fizzarotti Palace.
Via Sparano offers excellent shopping opportunities. Spanning from Corso Vittorio Emanuele to the Piazza Aldo Moro, the street is packed with high street shops and designer brands, as well as a wide range of bars, cafes, and restaurants. It is also home to the beautiful buildings such as Palazzo Mincuzzi and the Italian Rationalist architecture San Ferdinando Church.
There are plenty of iconic attractions to keep you entertained as well. Even without venturing into the old town, locations like the iconic opera house, Teatro Petruzzelli, or renowned University of Bari Aldo Moro demonstrate the beautiful architecture of the region.
You can stroll along the 1km long seafront promenade Lungomare Nazario Sauro, and enjoy Bari’s landmarks along the way from Piazza del Ferrarese to Pane e Pomodoro Beach, which is the city beach of the city.
The promenade is home to Teatro Margherita, a historic theater transform into a museum of contemporary art. Next to it, you will see iconic blue fishing boats in the Old Port of Bari. Continue your walking, you will see the San Nicola Pier, Bari’s Ferris Wheel, Pane e Pomodoro Beach, and Torre Quetta Beach.
There area lots of restaurants that serve tradition Puglia food such as Focaccia, Sgagliozze, and Barattiere. Puglia region is also famous for its olive oil and fresh vegetables.
Murat offers a wide range of accommodation options for all budget travelers. It has more affordable hotels than the old town and most accommodation in Murat is within easy walking distance from the Adriatic Sea.
Stay in Murat if you are first-time visitor; you like a great choice of shopping and nightlife; you hope to see a show at the opera house; you are or are visiting, a student at the university.
Best places to stay in Murat (Central Bari):
Luxury ($$$): iH Hotels Bari Oriente This four star luxury hotel is located in the heart of Bari. It provides the rooftop terrace, the air-conditioned rooms with all facilities that you need. It is within walking distance to Bari’s Central Station, historic centre, and seafront promenade.
Mid-range ($$): Fourooms Bari is located close to Pane e Pomodoro Beach, Teatro Margherita and a 13-minute walk from Bari Cathedral, Basilica San Nicola, Petruzzelli Theatre and Ferrarese Square. It is only a short walk away from the historic center and the train station.
Budget ($): Travel Station This bed and breakfast is within a short distance of Teatro Margherita, Bari Cathedral, and Petruzzelli Theatre. Close to the attractions such as the Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas, Ferrarese Square, and Mercantile Square. It offer air conditioning rooms with a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom with a shower and slippers, a fridge, a minibar, and a toaster are also provided, as well as a kettle and a coffee machine.
See more: 20 Best things to do in Bari, Italy
2. Barri Vecchia (Old Town), for history and culture
Barri Vecchia, along with Murat, is the best area to stay in Barri for the first time due to its close proximity to the top attractions such as Basilica Of San Nicola, Cathedral Of San Sabino, and the Castello Svevo di Bari. Barri Vecchia also offers a wide range of restaurants, bars, and shops.
Also known as San Nicola, this is the historic center of the city, located within ancient walls. Featuring a traditional medieval layout, it represents the folkloric portion of the city, where many ancient traditions are still practiced.
The remains of the original Roman city are buried deep beneath the modern one, with very little certainty known about what it would actually have looked like at the time. However, Barri Vecchia still dates back to the Byzantine era, meaning even though it is not as old as some parts of Italy, it is still a long-standing, historic location.
As is common in Italian cities, Romanesque buildings are featured in abundance in this area, as are those with religious significance or background. Perhaps the most famous is the 12th-century Basilica Of San Nicola, which is considered a masterpiece of Apulian Romanesque architecture.
The nearby Cathedral Of San Sabino is another stunning attraction, with its incredible crypt and archives still largely intact. Supporting these prominent sites are dozens of smaller churches, all with their own unique beauty and architecture, which you can stroll through to your heart’s content.
It isn’t just churches that this district has to offer though. Fortifications such as the Norman-Swabian Castle and the Fort Of Sant’Antonio Abate display the rich military history of the area, while an immense collection of Palazzo’s display its more regal side as well.
If you like history, you can visit the Civic Museum of Bari which is housed in the Town Hall, and the Nicolaiano Museum, which collection of artifacts pays tribute to St. Nicholas, Bari’s patron saint.
There is also the Archaeological Museum of St. Colastic where you can learn the history of Puglia’s civilization from the 7th century to the 3rd century BC.
Nearby you also find attractions like the elegant Piazza del Ferrarese, the Piazza Mercentile, and the Castel del Monte. Joined together by a web of piazzas and squares, as well as traditional cafes, shops, and restaurants, Barri Vecchia is the ideal destination for those prioritizing history and culture.
As it is popular with tourists, accommodation is more expensive then Murat, but you wil find many B&Bs or apartments, and no modern high-rise hotels.
Stay in Barri Vecchia if you are interested in the history and culture of the city; you want to see the historic cathedrals and fortifications; you are first-time visitors;
Best places to stay in Bari in Old Town:
Al Pescatore – B&B is in a very nice location in the middle of the old town of Bari. Close to Pane e Pomodoro Beach, Bari Cathedral,Teatro Margherita, Castello Svevo and Ferrarese Square. The hotel offers free WiFi, air conditioning, a restaurant, and a shared lounge.
B&B La Maison Del Borgo Antico offers modern rooms with a roof terrace that looks straight onto the Bari Cathedral & is stunning, very close to Castello Svevo Castle and Bari Harbour, where you can catch ferries to Croatia and Greece. Other attractions nearby including Basilica San Nicola, Mercantile Square, Ferrarese Square, Teatro Margherita, Petruzzelli Theatre, and University of Bari.
Hotel Boston is just a 5-minute walk from Bari’s historic center and St Nicholas’s Cathedral. It is also close to the shopping area of Via Sparano, Bari Centrale Train Station and the beautiful promenade just 3 minutes walk away. Beaches nearby are Pane e Pomodoro Beach and Lido San Francesco Beach.
3. Porto (The Harbour), a port serving Bari
Porto Bari is located to the west of our previous two destinations and centers around a stunning harbor and marina, surrounded by a number of pleasant bars, shops, and restaurants.
Serving more than 2 million passengers a year, the harbor is considered to be Italy’s gateway to the Balkans, with regular ships taking passengers across the ocean on a daily basis. Port Bari is the second-largest cargo port in Italy after Naples.
If you plan to take a cruise while you’re in Bari or are stopping here while already on one, this is an ideal place to stay.
There are ferries to Durres in Albania, Dubrovnik in Croatia, Bar in Montenegro, and many places in Greece including Zakynthos Island, Kefalonia Island, Igoumenitsa, Patras, and Corfu Island.
Meanwhile, its beautiful marina is full of stunning boats, both non-commercial, as well as some providing private tours and trips. This makes it an equally fabulous choice for those either hoping to hire one or who simply enjoy watching the boats bob up and down in the water with a drink or a meal.
You can enjoy stroll along the sea front promenade, Lungomare Nazario Sauro. You can reach beautiful beach Pane e Pomodoro Beach. or Stop some where on the road to grab some food to eat.
Stay in Porto if you are planning to take a cruise or hire a boat; you are making a stop off while already on a cruise; you enjoy watching the boats in the marina.
Best places to stay in Bari in Porto (The Harbour):
B&B Dei Cardinale offers a terrace and a shared lounge, that is complemented with a bar, B&B Dei Cardinale is set in Bari, 600 m from Basilica of Saint Nicholas. Free WiFi is available in the bed and breakfast, located 2.4 km from Petruzzelli Theatre. It also close to Fiera del Levante and just 700m to Bari habour.
Cattedralflats is very well located in the old town, everything is within a 10 minute walk. The rooftop terrace is absolutely stunning!
4. Bari Palese – Karol Wojtyla, where to stay in Bari near airport
Located in the far west of the city, it is largely detached from the rest of Bari, with its only real claim to fame is it is the location of Karol Wojtyla airport (Palese Macchie), named after Pope John Paul the Second. It’s the city’s international airport and Puglia’s main air terminal.
This makes it an ideal place to stay for those on a layover, people who are worried about missing their flight home, or anyone who simply wants to avoid dragging their luggage all over town.
While sightseeing options here are limited and you will need to be willing to travel the 12km into town to see any of the iconic landmarks, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing for you to do or see during your stay.
There is the church of the Annunziata with Apulian Romanesque style. And the festival in August in honor of the patron saint Archangel Michael.
A collection of pleasant local shops, bars, and restaurants are scattered around the area, focused less on tourists than the city center, providing a slightly more authentic feel.
There are also some lidos throughout the area as well, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the ocean and the stunning coastal views, without the crowds you will likely find at the city’s famous beaches.
Stay in Bari Palese – Airport Area if you are on a layover or just want to stay near the airport; you have a car and want to stay outside of the city; you want a quieter destination with a slightly more local feel.
Best places to stay in Bari Palese – Airport Area:
Coco’S Rooms is a great choice for those who want/need to stay near the airport. Coco’S Rooms offers accommodation with free WiFi, air conditioning and feature a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a shower and a hairdryer.
Wojtyla Airport Bari is a sensible place to stay if you have to catch an early plane. Consider getting to or from the airport via the Bari Europa railway station, only a short walk from the accommodation. The local restaurant is also very good.
Airport bari – palese 1 The location is truly convenient should you have either an early or late flight from Bari Airport and you need accommodation close by.
5. San Nicola Stadium, sport facility in Bari & the region of Puglia
San Nicola Stadium is a multi-use, all-seater stadium on the outskirts of the city, capable of hosting events in front of live audiences of over 58,000 people. Designed by Renzo Piano, it has been crafted in the style of a flower, broken up into 26 individual sections that look like petals.
Despite being a multi-use stadium, it is primarily used to host professional football matches, having been originally constructed to host matches at the 1990 World Cup, and is the current home of S.S.C Bari.
The area surrounding the stadium is largely residential, providing a generally quieter experience than many other locations in the city, although that obviously won’t be the case on event days.
Shops, bars, and restaurants are generally catered more to locals than the traditional tourist crowds, who tend to prefer areas in the heart of the city or by the beach.
If you are coming to the city to attend an event at the stadium, staying in the surrounding area will not only provide you with convenience on the day of the event but it will also allow you to get a much more authentic feel of the city, staying and dining with locals.
Stay in San Nicola Stadium if you are attending an event at, or want to see, the stadium; you prefer to stay in a more residential area; you want to stay in a location with a more authentic feel.
Best places to stay in Bari in San Nicola Stadium:
Mercure Villa Romanazzi Carducci Bari Featuring a free wellness center and a large garden with an outdoor pool, Villa Romanazzi Carducci offers air-conditioned rooms 10 minutes’ walk from Bari Centrale Station. The Bari Quintino Sella Station with links to Bari Airport is 5 minutes away on foot.
The Nicolaus Hotel offers stylish rooms, free Wi-Fi, and a fully-equipped wellness area with an indoor pool, gym, sauna, Turkish bath, and hot tub. It is in Poggiofranco, a residential area of Bari. This 4-star hotel has 2 restaurants: The Roof, on the 14th floor with a roof garden, serves high-class cuisine and caters for private functions and banquets. The Seasons restaurant specializes in a mix of Italian and Puglia specialties.
Where should I stay in Bari for the first time?
Murat is the best area to stay in Bari for first-timers due to its prime location. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of everything, within easy access to major sights, as well as many restaurants, bars, and shops.
What are the best areas to stay in Bari?
Murat, Barri Vecchia, Porto, Bari Palese – Karol Wojtyla, and San Nicola Stadium are the best areas to stay in Bari because they are the most popular neighborhoods for tourists that offer a wide range of attractions and amenities.
The Best Time To Visit Bari is between June and August. Not only are these the warmest months of the year, but they are also the driest too. That means you can almost guarantee a beautiful trip soaking up the sun, without ever having to worry about the weather becoming an issue.
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Bari is a beautiful city with a unique history and appeal. While not for everyone, it’s a place that many people love and one that has a number of different sides to explore. First-timers will want to stay in Murat area, while the Old Town is a great spot for history and culture.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you should have determined which side of it you are most interested in and where to stay in Bari in order to take full advantage of that. With that in mind, all that’s left for you to do is go and start getting everything booked, so you can go and explore its wonders for yourself.