Policoro Travel Guide

Discover Policoro, a hidden gem in southern Italy. Our travel guide includes a list of places to visit, hiking/biking routes, food and drink scene, where to stay, and more!

Introduction to Policoro

Located in the southern region of Basilicata in Italy, Policoro is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. The town offers a perfect blend of culture, nature, and food with a rich history dating back to the Magna Graecia period. With its stunning beaches, scenic views, and delicious cuisine, Policoro is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to southern Italy.

List of Places to Visit in Policoro

There are numerous places to explore and things to do in Policoro. Here is a list of some of the must-visit places in the town:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • National Museum of Siritide: The museum houses archaeological remains from the Magna Graecia period, ancient pottery, and sculptures.
  • Policoro Castle: Built during the Middle Ages, this castle offers breathtaking views of the town and its surroundings.
  • Archeological Area of Hera Lacinia: This ancient Greek temple dedicated to Hera Lacinia is one of the most significant historical sites in Policoro.

Natural Attractions of Policoro: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Policoro Beach: With its crystal-clear waters, golden sand, and blue flag recognition, Policoro beach is a perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing and water sports.
  • Pantano Woods Nature Reserve: This nature reserve is home to numerous flora and fauna species, including many rare and endangered ones. The reserve offers hiking trails through the lush forest, and visitors can also observe exotic birds and animals.
  • Monte Pollino National Park: This National Park is the largest protected area in the Basilicata region, offering stunning panoramic views and hiking trails.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Policoro

Policoro offers various hiking and biking routes for adventure enthusiasts. Here are some of the top routes to explore:

  • Pantano Woods Nature Reserve: As mentioned earlier, the reserve offers numerous hiking trails through the lush forest.
  • The Jewish Trail: A scenic trail which offers views of the countryside and the Gulf of Taranto offering a fascinating insight into the Jewish history of Policoro.
  • Coastal Trail: Starting from the Policoro beach and ending at Rocca Imperiale, this route offers beautiful glimpses of the Ionian Sea and stunning cliffs.

Best Things to Do in Policoro: Activities and Tours

  • Water Sports: Policoro beach offers various water sports activities, including windsurfing, kite surfing, and paddleboarding.
  • Boat Tours: Visitors can book boat tours to explore the beautiful coastline of Policoro and its surroundings.
  • Wine Tasting: Visitors can book wine-tasting tours at local vineyards to taste the traditional Aglianico red wine.

Week-Long Itinerary for Policoro

Policoro can be explored thoroughly within a week with the following itinerary:

Day Activity
1 Visit the National Museum of Siritide
2 Relax at Policoro Beach and indulge in water sports activities
3 Hike the Pantano Woods Nature Reserve and spot exotic animals
4 Explore the Archeological Area of Hera Lacinia
5 Take the Coastal Trail to Rocca Imperiale
6 Visit a vineyard for wine tasting
7 Relax and take a scenic boat tour

Food and Drink Scene of Policoro

Policoro has a rich culinary tradition. Here are some must-try dishes and beverages when visiting the town:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Orecchiette pasta with turnip tops – a typical dish of the Apulian cuisine.
  • Lamb’s cribs – perfect for meat lovers, this dish consists of roasted lamb marinated in various herbs and spices.
  • Eggplant Parmigiana – a local twist on the classic Italian dish, made with fresh eggplant slices, tomato sauce, and grated cheese.

Local Beverages

  • Aglianico del Vulture – this red wine is famous in the region and is the perfect accompaniment to local dishes.
  • Amaro Lucano – a bitter herbal liqueur that can be enjoyed on its own, with soda or in a cocktail.

Where to Stay in Policoro: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Policoro offers a wide range of accommodation options to fit any budget:

  • Hotel Marinagri – luxury hotel located on the beachfront and offers top-notch amenities.
  • B&B La Vecchia Taverna – a rustic guesthouse located in the town center.
  • Camping Lado Verde – for budget travelers, this campground offers tents and bungalows.

What to Buy in Policoro: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Licorice – handcrafted in the town, licorice is a local delicacy and can be found in various flavors.
  • Local Olive Oil – extra virgin olive oil is abundantly produced in the region, and visitors can find it in local shops and markets.
  • Ceramics – Policoro has a local tradition in ceramics that dates back to the Magna Graecia period. Visitors can find handcrafted ceramics in shops throughout the town.

Local Culture and Customs of Policoro

Policoro is a quiet and peaceful town with friendly locals. It is customary to greet people with a smile and a handshake. It is also polite to learn a few Italian phrases to communicate with the locals.

Best Time to Visit Policoro

The best time to visit Policoro is during the spring and autumn seasons when the weather is perfect for outdoor activities. The summer months can be quite hot, but the town’s beaches offer a respite from the heat.

Do’s and Don’ts of Policoro


  • Respect the local culture and customs.
  • Tidy up after you when visiting natural attractions.
  • Try the local food and wine.


  • Dress inappropriately when visiting religious sites.
  • Park your car in prohibited areas.
  • Litter the streets and beaches.

Safety and Health

Safety in Policoro

Policoro is a safe town, but visitors should take the usual precautions when traveling to any destination. It is always best to keep an eye on your belongings and avoid walking alone at night.

Health in Policoro

Policoro has a well-equipped medical center, and visitors can access emergency medical care if needed. It is essential to keep a first-aid kit and sunscreen handy when exploring the town and its surroundings.

Getting to Policoro: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Policoro

The closest airports to Policoro are Bari Palese Airport and Brindisi Casale Airport. Both airports offer connections to major European destinations and are approximately a two-hour drive to Policoro.

Bus Stations Near Policoro

Policoro has a central bus station that offers connections to neighboring towns and cities in Italy.

Other Options

The nearest train station to Policoro is in the neighboring town of Metaponto. Visitors can take the train from major cities in Italy to Metaponto and then take a bus or taxi to Policoro.

How to Get Around in Policoro

Policoro is a small town and can be easily explored on foot or by bike. Visitors can also hire a car to explore the surrounding areas.

Where to Go Next from Policoro: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Policoro is an excellent starting point to explore the wonders of southern Italy. Here are some nearby destinations that visitors can explore:

  • Matera – famous for its cave dwellings and stunning scenery.
  • Taranto – a coastal city famous for its ancient Greek ruins and museums.
  • Alberobello – a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its trulli houses.


Policoro is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered in southern Italy. With its rich culture, stunning nature, and delicious cuisine, it offers something for everyone. We hope this travel guide has inspired you to visit Policoro and explore its wonders.