Set on the shores of Italy's Adriatic coast, Bari is an ancient port city with a youthful outlook. As southern Italy's second-largest city, it's a bustling transport hub for travel all around Puglia. Twisting, narrow streets display the city's rich history, from imposing Norman towers and Byzantine churches to neo-Gothic palaces. Today, Bari is an arts and culture hotspot, with a lively nightlife scene galvanised by its sizeable university population.
Bari hostels are spread out from the old town, spilling over into nearby districts such as Murat. Usually located in historic stone buildings, each one tends to have its own unique character. Stay at a Bari hostel with sea views, a traditional building in the ancient city inspired by Freddie Mercury, a hostel with free local olive oil or a tranquil getaway inspired by Bari's botanical gardens. The majority have social spaces such as common rooms and sun terraces, and many have shared kitchens where you can cook your own meals. Some hostels in Bari provide free tea and coffee for guests, and all have Wi-Fi on tap.
There's plenty to do in Bari. The city's old town, known as Bari Vecchia to locals, is full of medieval buildings. Worth a visit for its atmospheric, twisting streets alone, this area is also home to famous churches such as the 11th-century Basilica of Saint Nicholas. Head south for elegant 19th-century architecture in the adjoining district of Murat, which makes up the heart of modern-day Bari. Lively shopping areas rub shoulders with imposing buildings such as the Teatro Petruzzelli. For a more local experience, you can explore Madonnella's art nouveau architecture and soak up the sun on Pane e Pomodoro Beach.
Bari has lots of historic sights, from 12th-century Castello Svevo looming imposingly over the city to Bari Cathedral, one of the region's most important churches. Underneath the cathedral, ongoing excavations have discovered ancient Roman ruins. Explore Bari Vecchia for a taste of traditional culture, as pasta-makers peddle their wares in narrow alleys and strings of laundry are hung up high overhead.
Bari Airport is located around 8km away from the city centre. Buses run frequently between the two, with a journey time of between 20 minutes (the fast Tempesta Shuttle Bus) to an hour (the cheaper AMTAB bus number 16). The journey by taxi should take around 25 minutes. You can also take a train to Bari Centrale Station from a number of other cities in Italy, or a ferry from countries including Greece, Croatia and Albania.