The Best of Bari on a Cruise: Complete Guide for Cruise Travelers

O que fazer em Bari, Itália, numa paragem de cruzeiro.
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Are you planning to visit Bari on a cruise stop and looking for more information? Keep reading as I have tips to share to help you plan your itinerary in Bari.

Bari is a port city located on the Italian coast and is a popular stop for cruises in the Adriatic. It is the capital of Puglia, or Apulia, and known for its trulli, which are the typical stone cone-shaped houses in Alberobello.

Trulli em Rione Aia Piccola.
Trulli in Rione Aia Piccola, Alberobello.
Tours em Alberobello, Puglia (Itália).
Tours in Alberobello, Puglia (Italy).

The city of Bari was our first stop on the MSC Orchestra cruise. We had departed from Venice the day before, but did not purchase any tours to visit the city.

Therefore, in this article, we will tell you about our experience visiting Bari without taking an excursion, including an itinerary for visiting Bari without fearing to miss the ship.

Furthermore, as I returned to Bari after the cruise and spent a few days in the region, I also include information about what to visit and see around Bari.

What to do and visit in Bari on a cruise stop

Cruzeiro MSC atracado no Porto de Bari, Itália.
MSC cruise docked at the Port of Bari, Italy.
À espera de transporte no Porto de cruzeiros de Bari.
Waiting for transportation at the Bari cruise port.

You should know that when the ship docks at the port of Bari, you’ll find several taxis waiting.

This is because new ships arrive at the port every day. From there, you can not only visit the center of Bari, but also one of the most famous cities in Puglia, Alberobello.

The first time I was in Bari, I only visited the center, but I must say that Alberobello is beautiful! MSC also offers tours to Alberobello if you want to have this experience.

Read also: The trulli of Alberobello: UNESCO World Heritage Site.

So, if you want to visit the center of Bari on a cruise stop, take note that there are two main areas to divide your time: the historic center and the seafront promenade.

The good news is that everything is very close to the port, meaning that on a 4-5 hour cruise stop, you have time to visit the city’s main tourist attractions at a leisurely pace.

Visiting the historic center of Bari: St. Nicholas Basilica, Bari Cathedral, and the Norman-Swabian Castle

Basílica de São Nicolau, em Bari.
What to do in Bari on a cruise stop: visit the Basilica of Saint Nicholas.
A Catedral de Bari, também conhecida como Catedral de São Sabino (Basilica Cattedrale Metropolitana Primaziale San Sabino).
The Cathedral of Bari, also known as the Cathedral of Saint Sabino (Basilica Cattedrale Metropolitana Primaziale San Sabino).
O que fazer em Bari: visitar o Castello Svevo.
What to do in Bari during a cruise stop: visit the Swabian Castle.
Casar em Puglia. Noiva na Basílica de São Nicolau, em Bari.
Bride at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in Bari.
Estátuas de touros na fachada da Basílica de São Nicolau.
Bull statues on the facade of the Basilica of Saint Nicholas.
Cripta na Basília de São Nicolau.
Crypt in the Basilica of Saint Nicholas.
Estátua de São Nicolau no pátio em frente à Basílica oferecida à cidade por Putin.
Statue of Saint Nicholas donated by Putin.
Altar votivo no centro histórico de Bari.
Small altar in the historic center of Bari.

These three monuments, namely the Basilica of Saint Nicholas, the Cathedral of Bari, and the Norman-Swabian Castle, are the main tourist attractions of Bari.

The Basilica dates back to the 11th century and is the resting place of the sacred relics of Saint Nicholas.

It is an important pilgrimage site, especially for Russian Orthodox Christians since Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of Russia. Admission is free.

Not far from the basilica, you will find the Cathedral of Bari, which has a very similar architecture to the basilica.

Finally, the Norman-Swabian Castle, also known as the Swabian Castle and Bari Fortress, currently functions as a museum.

Bilheteira do Castello Svevo.
Ticket office of the Swabian Castle.

It’s an impressive building, with thick stone walls, and it was commissioned in 1132 by Norman King Roger II.

In addition to these monuments, I must say that the streets of downtown Bari are bustling! In fact, watching the hustle and bustle in the streets and enjoying the café terraces of Bari is something all tourists should do.

So, make the most of every minute in the old town of Bari to admire the facades of the houses with all their details, whether in the windows with pots or in the small altars hidden in the most secluded places.

Watching the nonas (grandmothers) making Orecchiette pasta in downtown Bari

A nona de Bari: Nunzia Capoto.
Nunzia Capoto, the famous nona (grandmother) of Via delle Orecchiette.
O que fazer em Bari: fazer massa fresca.
Via delle Orecchiette.
Orecchiette: Massa tradicional de Bari, Itália.
Via delle Orecchiette.
Bari Vecchia em festa.
Bari Vecchia in celebration, the historic center of Bari.

The traditional pasta of Bari is Orecchiette, which translates as “little ears” because this pasta has the shape of an ear.

You can see the grandmothers, or nonnas, rolling out the fresh dough and letting the small orecchiette dry in the air in the center of Bari.

In fact, there is an area called the Orecchiette Quarter, where more ladies gather to make the pasta.

You can just watch this process and listen to their lively conversations, but if you want, you can also buy a bag of pasta to take home.

The Lungomare or seafront promenade of Bari

Lungomare, o calçadão de Bari.
Lungomare, Bari promenade.
Passeio de Barco em Bari, Itália.
Small fishing boats on the Lungomare.
O que ver e fazer em Bari, no Sul de Itália.
What to see and do in Bari, Italy.

The waterfront promenade, known as Lungomare, is a great spot for a stroll.

While there are no sandy beaches, it’s popular for sports enthusiasts and leisurely walkers, as was our case.

A one-day itinerary in Bari during a cruise stop

Arco em Bari Vecchia.
Square in Bari Vecchia.
Igreja em Bari Vecchia.
Church in Bari Vecchia.
O que fazer em Bari num dia: Explorar Bari Vecchia.
What to do in Bari in a day: Explore Bari Vecchia.

If you only have one day to visit Bari while on a cruise in the Adriatic, I suggest starting with the historic center and saving the seaside area for later.

So, upon disembarking, head towards the historic center. The streets are labyrinthine, but you can use Google Maps for orientation or rely on the three most famous monuments in Bari: the Basilica, the Cathedral, and the Castle.

After touring the historic center, you can explore the seaside promenade, and when it’s time, return to the ship.

Everything you need to know about visiting Bari on a cruise stop

Lojas de Souvenirs em Bari Vecchia.
Souvenir shops in Bari Vecchia.
Quando visitar Bari, em Itália?
Visiting Bari on a cruise.
Teatro Margherita.
The Margherita Theater on pillars in the sea, because another theater couldn’t be built in Bari.

How to get to the center of Bari from the cruise port?

Cruzeiro no Porto de Bari.
Cruise at the Port of Bari.

You can take a taxi from the port of Bari or simply walk from the port to the city center. The journey takes only a few minutes, so I think taking a taxi is not justified.

Is a cruise tour in Bari worth it?

If you’re visiting the center of Bari and only want to explore that area, I don’t think buying a cruise tour is worth it.

But if you want to visit Alberobello, then it’s a good idea to purchase the cruise tour.

Advantages (and disadvantages) of exploring Bari independently

Orecchiette con cime di rape e acciughe, no iH Hotels Bari Oriente em Bari.
iH Hotels Bari Oriente: Orecchiette con cime di rape e acciughe.

When visiting Bari independently, you’ll save money and have the flexibility to go wherever you please, including choosing where to have lunch.

However, you need to be aware that you may get lost and won’t have the guidance of a tour guide explaining the history of the place.

Additionally, when you purchase cruise tours, you’re guaranteed not to miss the ship’s departure, meaning if any unforeseen event occurs, the ship will wait for you.

Shopping in Bari: what to buy

Melhor lugar e rua para fazer compras em Bari, Itália.
Shopping in Bari.
Aula de culinária em Bari, Itália.
Buying orecchiette in Bari, Italy.
O que comer em Bari, Puglia: panzerotto.
Gastronomy in Puglia, Italy: Panzerotto. Snack sold in cafes and pastry shops in the center of Bari.
O que fazer em Bari: experimentar Focaccia Barese no Panificio Fiore.
Panificio Fiore, the best place to buy focaccia in Bari.
O que fazer em Bari: ir a Maria delle Sgagliozze.
What to do in Bari on a cruise stop: buy sgagliozze at Maria delle Sgagliozze.

Undoubtedly, the traditional orecchiette are a must-buy for anyone visiting Bari.

You may find them in other cities in Puglia, but purchasing them in the old city of Bari is special.

And if you’re wondering how much these pastas cost, expect to pay around €5 per package, which doesn’t seem excessive considering they are traditional handmade pastas.

Furthermore, in cafes and pastry shops, you’ll find other typical foods of Bari, such as panzerotto (deep-fried turnover filled with tomato sauce), focaccia (a type of flatbread), or sgagliozze (fried polenta pieces).

Staying longer in Bari? Then read the article: 13 Unmissable Things to Do in Bari, Italy (1, 2, or 3 days).

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