WHO DO I NOT RECOMMEND HOLIDAYS ON THE GARGANO PENINSULA AND WHY?
How is it possible that I don't recommend a holiday in a place I adore? Why do I want to focus on the drawbacks, if there are probably many more advantages? The reason is one: well, if it wasn't for the last day spent exploring and discovering the corners of the peninsula, I would probably return from Italy with a slight disgust. First of all, I had a very limited budget and I couldn't afford to exceed it. Secondly, on the first day I experienced something like the Paris syndrome: before leaving I looked at the pictures and expected constant delight. What I didn't foresee was that I would have to earn it. And so for the first two days everything was against me all the time... nothing went according to plan, which is why I've lost a lot of time. And on such a tightly scheduled vacation time is the most valuable thing! Of course, I can only blame myself and inaccurate preparation due to blind faith in the power of the Internet (which I didn't expect to miss). So who do I not recommend holidays on the Gargano peninsula to?
1. FAMILIES with children.
Gargano is a fantastic place to explore and to contemplate nature. There are not many attractions for children here. Yes, there are beaches, but they are mostly paid or difficult to access. Hotels are not the big ones with slides and swimming pools, but rather boutique guesthouses or private lodgings. This intimate atmosphere is more couples-friendly than for families with children.
Look for a camping site with little houses to rent. I can recommend: Mattinata Camping.
Such camping offers direct access to the beach, football fields and a lot of company!
The bathrooms are shared and in the evenings it can be loud, but if you're looking for a cheerful atmosphere, you will certainly not be disappointed!
2. Explorers of the wild beaches.
The beaches on the peninsula are beautiful! Unfortunately, it's so hard to reach them! The ones I was able to find were paid at the entrance, or public with free entrance but paid sunbeds (in the south the beaches are rocky and it's hard to lie only on a towel) or private (after three attempts to reach the most beautiful beach on the peninsula, belonging to one of the most expensive hotels, I gave up).
Motorboat or pontoon with a motor. Unfortunately, renting them is not cheap, prices start from 80 euros for half a day and you have to know how to drive them or hire a captain!
3. Water sports enthusiasts.
On the peninsula it is difficult to find a water equipment rental, unless you sleep in an expensive hotel, then you can rent for example a kayak for an additional fee.
Here, too, the solution can be renting a motorboat, or booking a trip, for example AirBnb offers these types of attractions, which are also not the cheapest, because for a 6-hour trip you have to pay from 70 euros per person.
4. People with travel sicknesS.
The roads in this part of Italy (though not only here) resemble a snake, creating an endless serpentine! Some of them turn at almost 360 degrees! And at the same time they lead up or down. Even drivers can be dizzy, not to mention passengers who feel all the maneuvers of the car more. It could be worse on the bus, therefore...
It is advices to take pills to prevent feeling sick.
5. Party people.
There are no clubs in small Italian towns. There are also no beach parties. Italians spend the evenings eating dinner and sometimes drinking large amounts of wine. Their hot temper gives an outlet during conversations and hours of meetings with family and friends at the table.
It's worth looking for accommodation in Manfredonia, which is a larger city and offers various types of entertainment, including a funfair. It is situated by the sea and it's easy to reach other places on the peninsula from there.
What's more ach of the cities and towns in Gargano has its patron = guardian, and when it is his name day, the residents organize grand celebrations and party during whole weekend. In Manfredonia this is the last weekend of August, so make sure not to miss it!
6. Online freaks:
As I wrote in the previous post ('What you need to know before you go to Gargano'), the signal on the peninsula is terrible and you lose it just about everywhere. So even if you use LTE, it will be very difficult to "catch" the signal here. In most private guesthouses or restaurants there is no wi-fi available, and when I was able to find a cafe advertising that it has Internet, it turned out that it was out of order...
You can buy a SIM card with mobile internet. Prices range from 15 to 30 euros, depending on the offer of the package. The most popular phone networks are TIM, Vodafone and Wind, but even with an Italian card, signal can be lost.
7. Expecting good quality at a reasonable price.
Looking for accommodation around Mattinata, I most often found medium-quality accommodation, without air conditioning, sometimes with a shared bathroom for a fairly high price. The fact is that the end of August is still the high summer season, therefore so many places have already been booked. However, it seems that Italians don't place too much importance to the appearance of their apartments, not counting the luxury or boutique hotels, which of course offer a very high standards.
In addition to accommodation, you must also take into account other costs, such as paid parking lots, beaches, sunbeds and even beach showers. I think, for example, that Portugal is much more favorable in terms of quality - price in relation to Italy (the exact cost estimate for holidays in Portugal can be found HERE).
Plan your vacation in May-June or September-October, when there are no tourists and prices are much lower. I can recommend the cheapest available accommodation I found in August (with Ms. Guiseppina via AirBnb), so you'll be able to spend more on for example food.
If you fit into any of the above descriptions, you have two options: either you think about another place for your vacation, or try to implement the solutions that I propose. I think Gargano is a fantastic place, but if you have a small budget, it is perfect for 2-3 days stay focused mainly on visiting charming towns and admiring nature. Although I haven't been able to accomplish many of the planned things, the adventures that have happened to me will stay in my memory for a long time! I can't call this trip a disappointment, because at the end it captivated me with its atmosphere and I can honestly say that I would like to go back there. But I would definitely choose to go there again out of season :)