Welcome to little Greece
Costa Merlata’s close proximity to Greece gives it a truly unique vibe of both Italian and Grecian influences. The whitewashed buildings, architecture, food and even the locals’ accents are reminiscent of their Grecian neighbour. You’ll find lamb dishes on almost every menu and buildings painted a traditional white with blue shutters.
Costa Merlata’s beach is its main sightseeing spot. Its coast is a mix of both rocks and golden sand, with deep blue seas stretching out in front of you. The beach here is free to access, though you won’t find many facilities around. The coves out into the water are an ideal safe diving spot for both beginner and professional divers. Along the shore are a few spots selling sunbeds and some pop-up cafes with cold drinks and snacks during the peak season.
Inland you’ll find a hilly countryside which leads all the way up to the Alta Margia National Park. This park’s landscape is diverse, with high hills and valleys, grasslands and rocky formations. It’s a perfect spot to explore if you love the great outdoors.
Just a 10-minute drive away is the historic town and commune of Ostuni. It was thought to have been inhabited since the Stone Age, destroyed by Hannibal and then rebuilt by the Greeks. Ostuni is commonly known as the ‘white city’ thanks to its whitewashed classic Greek buildings.
Its central old town, is built on top of a hill and fortified by ancient walls. Inside these walls you can explore the ancient area, first by visiting its largest buildings, the Ostuni Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace.
If you’re visiting in the late summer you can join in with the celebrations of the Saint Orontius Festival. This festival celebrates the patron saint Lecce who helped save the city from a plague in 1656. Today the festivities include streets decorated with light displays, outdoor pop-up concerts, a parade with music and dancing and food stalls along the road.
Indulge your tastebuds
One of the best things about holidaying in Italy has got to be the food. Costa Merlata Italy is no exception, and its mixture of Greek and Italian dishes will have any foodie’s stomach grumbling. If you’re eager to try some locally grown produce visit the weekly food market in Ostuni.
This market sells fruit and vegetables of every colour as well as cheeses, seafood and fragrant herbs. If you’re staying in Self Catering apartments this market will provide all your essentials and plenty of treats too.
Costa Merlata and the region around it is famous for its agriculture. They grow a wide variety here from wheat, grapes and olives. These ingredients in turn are made into local wines, olive oil, pastas and breads, both sold in stores and used in restaurants around the coast. Many of the farms and vineyards will let you tour the facilities, so you can dip freshly made bread in local olive oil, or taste you way through delicious wines.