I discovered Costa Garganica by chance. Two years ago, I had my first taste of the beautiful drive when coming from Rome to a tiny city on the Adriatic Coast. I was hooked, although my stomach wasn’t pleased with all the curves and bends in the road. In 2013 I did another part of the coast by car.
A bit of geography
Costa Garganica stretches from Mattinata (Italy) to Hvar (exactly , Croatia) . And thank you , Google, as I didn’t know exactly where it stops. I’ve been exploring only a small portion of it, from Mattinata to Peschici via Vieste.
For the best views of the Adrian Sea and Costa Garganica, you should be driving on SP53, then move to SP54 (those lovely curves!) , then back to SP53 and then follow SP52 all the way to Peschici.
Confused much? See the map below.
Two of the most visited places on this amazing coastal drive are Vieste and Peschici. Manfredonia is also among the favorites in the region of Gargano although not technically on the coast (but do make sure to visit the castle).
A drive on Costa Garganica
Starting our drive in the wide gulf of Mattinata , we go north following the coastal line , to discover some very interesting places, each with its own cultural heritage. Make a point to stop at one of the towers on the road – close to the entrance to Vieste – to take photos of the sea and coast.
Pictured above is “Arco di San Felice” which can be seen as you are standing in front of Torre din San Felice. Coming from the water , there’s a nice angle in which you can see the Tower right inside the arch.
Your next stop should be Vieste. Its old town is a pleasure to visit. Just try to make your way here during the tourist season. It may be busy but it’s also bustling with life and you will enjoy it. From the many small stores selling every souvenir imaginable , to the pizzerias which will make your mouth water and to the incredible architecture…all will make your stop worth while. Find the Belvedere. You’ll be rewarded with incredible views of the sea.
Expect to spend anything from 2 hours to 5 hours in the area. And you should consider an overnight.
Start your next day with cappuccino and cornetto in one of the cafes. Then , you can enjoy a bit of time one Lungomare, the longest beach on the Garganic Coast.
Continue your drive to Peschici, although I can recommend another stop right when the sign to exit Vieste is placed. Chiesa San Lorenzo or the Church of San Lorenzo. Unfortunately it is never open but the views towards the city and its commercial port are just amazing. Now you can continue to Peschici.
I had the pleasure to visit Peschici in 2013. I loved the tiny cobblestone streets, dotted with souvenir shops and , of course, pizzerias. Yes, it’s a touristy town. But it is lovely.
Make sure to visit the Castle with its torture chamber. And don’t forget to go in the gardens. Now, take a look at the beach and at the sea.
Tired already? Right at the entrance to the Old Town there is a gelateria. And although I am not much of a foodie, I am certainly a big fan of some Italian staples: pizza, gelato and cornetto. And Italy does all of these great!