If you’re thinking of renting a car in Puglia then this guide is for you! And, trust me, getting a car rental in Puglia is an excellent idea.
After all, driving in Puglia means that you have the freedom to hunt for charming villages and explore incredible beaches.
Additionally, having your own vehicle allows you to search for the incredible Trulli that made the region famous.
However, just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about, a Trullo is a small, white stone hut with a conical roof,
So, you’ll want to have a rental car in Puglia so that you can visit them and take lots of photos. Yeah, they’re super awesome and a total must-see.
Yeah, the first time I visited the area I chose NOT to get a car rental in Puglia and 100% regretted it.
I don’t want you to make my same solo Italy travel mistakes and want to explain how to get a rental car in Puglia and where to get a rental car in Puglia.
But, first, let’s look at my personal experience and why I recommend Discover Cars for a car hire in Puglia.
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But First…Is It Worth Hiring a Car in Puglia? Do You Need a Car to Get Around Puglia?
So, before we dig into this epic guide on car rentals in Puglia – and my personal experience using Discover Cars – let’s figure out if it’s even worth hiring a car in Puglia.
I mean, the goal here is to help you have the BEST TRIP POSSIBLE. So, I do NOT want you to rent a car in Puglia if you don’t need it.
Well, I definitely think it’s worth hiring a car in Puglia and I do think you need a car to get around Puglia.
Sure, you can absolutely get around Puglia without a car. I mean, the region has an extensive bus and rail network that will take you to some pretty remote locations.
Therefore, if you don’t feel like driving then you can still visit Puglia and have a great time using public transportation. Trust me, still be able to see a lot and have an epic time.
But, if you want to enjoy panoramas of the Apennines Mountains, visit family-owned wineries, explore hidden gems (like the most beautiful beaches ever), and want the freedom to go at your own pace then deffo get a rental car.
Additionally, the cost of a rental car in Puglia is very reasonable, and driving here is relatively easy. So, a rental car in Puglia is a great idea IMHO.
Pro Tip: Definitely research the location of your hotel before booking your car rental in Puglia. That’s because the coast of Puglia is like 800 km long (amazing but vast).
Plus, some of the best hotels are pretty remote. So, many people who stay in these spots 100% need a car hire in Puglia to get around.
Renting a Car in Puglia with Discover Cars
Gosh, it’s crazy but I have been visiting Italy since 2018. So, yeah, I have been there A LOT. Like, well over 10 times.
And I always love renting a car in Italy when I’m there. Sure, there are notable exceptions (I’m looking at you Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre) but Puglia is an amazing place to rent a car.
Now, when I rent a car in Italy I always choose Discover Cars. I have never had a problem with any of the car rental agenices in Puglia that they have recommended.
Yeah, this company helps you get the best price possible since it instantly compares the price of a rental car among hundreds of car agencies in Puglia.
They even offer FREE cancelation up to 48 hours before you grab your car for your Puglia road trip.
Yeah, I have had some BAD car rental experiences in Italy (see my guide to renting a car in Tuscany for more info) and basically will never again rent from an agency directly.
So, always use Discover Cars. I mean, 130,000+ people have given them a 4.6 on Trustpilot and they ALL can’t be wrong.
Now, let’s look at how I book a rental car in Puglia every time I am there.
Quickly Get Your Car Rental in Puglia Online with Discover Cars
When you have your trip dates handy, log on to the Discover Cars website and put in your pick-up location, dates, and drop-off location (if it’s different from the pick-up location).
As you comb through all the different Puglia car rental agencies, look at their individual ratings and avoid booking with any company that has a rating of less than 8.0 out of 10.0.
It’s always tempting to go with the cheapest option so that you can “save money”. But, as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.
So, these super cheap options can offer terrible car rentals in Puglia and usually don’t have stellar customer service.
Pro Tip: Consider the day/time that you pick up and drop off your rental car. Sometimes you will have to pay an extra fee (I only paid $15.00 more) if you drop off/pick up your car outside regular business hours.
Opt for Full Coverage With Discover Cars
Most people do not want to imagine that something terrible could happen during their very merry vacay in Puglia.
However, sometimes – as hard as you try – you miss that giant speedbump and fly over it at top speed. Yup, sad but defintiely happened to me once in italy.
Therefore, ALWAYS opt for full coverage when you rent with Discover Cars – especially since Puglia is filled with narrow country roads that are lined with stone walls and giant olive trees.
In fact, 85% of the people who rent cars with Discover Cars opt for full coverage. Then, you won’t have to worry about paying for dents, scratches, vehicle repairs, flat tires, broken windows, and lost keys.
You’ll also love that full coverage only cost me $6.55 per day the last time I rented a car in Puglia. Yeah, that’s like basically the price of a coffee and a croissant.
Plus, Discover Cars coverage is mega comprehensive and covers up to $3300 worth of damage.
So, save yourself the hassle and go with full coverage when renting a car in Puglia.
What Is and Is Not Covered by Discover Cars?
The Discover Cars website tells me that 94% of customers are happy with purchasing full coverage with Discover Cars. That makes sense since their insurance policy is so dang comprehensive.
So, problems covered under their policy include the car exteriior (no exclusions), the roof, refundable theft deductible, mirrors, the windshield, windows, tires/wheels, the undercarriage, lost keys/lookout fees, taxi fees, admin fees, and loss of use during repairs.
Now, things that are NOT covered under the Discover Cars policy are interior damage, cleaning fees, damages incurred when you don’t adhere to the terms of your rental agreement, and damage from uncontrollable/unforeseeable events.
Do Car Rental Companies in Puglia Accept This Policy?
Umm…by law they kind of have to. Additionally, any company that I used in Puglia had ZERO problem honoring Full Coverage Insurance with Discover Cars.
Typically, I’ve had to pay deductible to the local rental company up front. But, that deposit has always been returned after they looked at the car and found no damages/tickets/fines.
Now, if you drop the car off and it looks like it was chewed up and spit out (aka damaged), then the cost of any repairs will be taken out of your deposit.
However, the good news is that you can get that money back by filing a claim with Discover Cars.
FYI, they usually process claims within 48 hours but they ONLY cover around $3300 worth of damage with their policy.
Now, that’s A LOT but obviously won’t cover the cost of the car if it’s totaled. So, stay safe out there and drive carefully.
Filing a Claim to Discover Cars
To file a claim with Discover Cars, use the login credentials from the confirmation email that you received when you made your booking and log in to their app/website.
Then, submit the necessary info and wait for them to process the claim within 48 hours.
Now, you always have the option of choosing a local company’s insurance. However, it will probably cost between $24 and $55 in Italy.
However, you can always rent a car with Discover Cars and use insurance from a local company.
So, you can get a well-priced car rental from Discover Cars and take advantage of their no-fee cancellation policy.
Disclaimer Before Renting a Car in Puglia
The info I am sharing is based on my personal experiences renting cars in Puglia.
I’ve rented a car in Puglia a couple of times with Discover Cars and haven’t had any issues thus far.
Yeah, I have always had way more issues with I didn’t rent with Discover Cars and waited in line for hours just to pick up my car.
Anyway, your experience with this company might be totally different from mine. And that’s a situation that is well beyond my control.
So, for more info, reach out to the experts at Discover Cars and ask them all the questions you like.
Where to Rent a Car in Puglia
There are many different places to rent a car in Puglia. Personally, I think that the best places to pick up a rental car in Puglia are Foggia Airport, Taranto Airport, Bari Airport, Lecce Airport, and Brindisi Airport.
Yeah, I like picking up my Puglia rental car at the airport so I can avoid driving in congested cities.
But, you can also pick up your rental car in towns like Taranto, Bari, Lecce, and Brindisi.
Pro Tip: It’s worth noting that if you pick up your car in Bari and drop it off in Naples then you will probably have to pay an additional fee for picking up and dropping off your car in two different locations.
This is known as a one-way fee and you can be charged for it when using Discover Cars.
Places To Go with a Rental Car in Puglia
If you want to go on a hella awesome road trip in Puglia then some of my fave stops include:
- Puglia – Visit the Old Town, walk along the waterfront, see Castello Svevo, eat focaccia/panzerotti, and see Spazio Murat.
- Matera – Visit Sassi di Matera and admire ancient carvings inside local caves.
- Taranto – Visit MArTA and learn all about the ancient history of the area.
- Ostuni – It’s the “White Town” and is a stunning place to take lots of photos.
- Santa Maria di Leuca – A charming little village where you can swim near the ocean and explore underwater caves. Swimming at Pescoluse is also a must.
- Alberobello – See the famous Trulli houses and take photos of these ancient homes.
- Itria Valley – Home to tons of quaint villages like Alberobello, Cisternino, Locorotundo, and Castellana Caves.
- Lecce – Lots of great Baroque-style churches and palaces to see.
- Gallipoli – You can drive to this island resort via a bridge and relax on the beach.
Renting a Car in Puglia FAQs
Is it Expensive to Rent a Car in Puglia?
No, it is not expensive to rent a car in Puglia. However, the price depends on the type of car you rent in Puglia, how long you rent your car, and when you rent your car.
I mean, I rented a car in the off-season (at the end of January) and I paid like $10 per day for my car. But, if you rent that same car in the summer then it can cost you around $42 per day.
Additionally, always read your rental agreement and calculate additional fees (insurance, parking, gas, etc) to determine the price of renting a car in Puglia and if it is right for you.
Pro Tip: The high season in Italy is from May through September. So, renting a car anywhere in Italy at that time of year will be way more expensive.
What Do You Need to Rent a Car in Italy?
To rent a car in Italy, you’ll need to be at least 21 years of age, even though Discover Cars lets you rent a car at 18. Plus, if you are under 25, you’ll probably have to pay a fee for being a “young driver”.
FYI, Discover Cars does NOT make younger drivers pay any additional fees.
Also, if you are not a citizen of the EU then you will need an International Driver’s Permit to rent a car in Puglia.
It’s super easy to get from AAA before your trip and is just a translation of your local license for Italian officials.
Other items you’ll need when picking up your vehicle from a car rental agency in Puglia are a passport, a credit card (with the driver’s name for ID purposes), and a driver’s license from your home country.
You’ll also need proof of insurance since a Collision Damage Waiver and Theft Protection are both required in Italy.
However, Discover Car’s Full Coverage plan is VERY comprehensive so you should have no issues with this if you rent with them.
Lastly, you’ll need your booking voucher, flight information, and a utility bill as proof of address if you are renting in Italy.
Can You Drive A Rental Car From Italy to Another Country?
No. In most instances, you cannot drive a rental car from Italy to another country. However, you will need to check your personal rental options on Discover Cars to find out for sure.
However, most rental car agencies in Puglia will not allow you to take the car out of Italy without prior approval. And if you do, you will probably have to fill out additional paperwork and pay additional fees.
What is the Most Popular Type of Car to Rent in Puglia?
Honestly, I would get as small a car as possible when renting a car in Puglia. The roads and parking spots are TINY. So, it will be super helpful to rent a small car.
That being said, just make sure that your car is still roomy enough to fit all of your luggage and passengers. You also won’t use nearly as much gas when driving a smaller car in Puglia.
Does Puglia have Automatic or Manual Cars?
In general, the majority of rental cars in Puglia (and Italy) are manual.
Personally, I only drive automatic and book my rental cars well in advance since automatic cars on Discover Cars are limited for Italy and book up fast.
So, my best advice is that if you are like me then book your rental car in Puglia ASAP.
How Far in Advance Do You Need to Rent a Car in Puglia?
It’s best to book your rental car in Puglia as soon as you’ve booked your trip and planned your itinerary. Do this and you won’t have to worry about car availability and might even score some discounts.
This is especially true in the high season (any time from May through October) since this is when most people rent cars in Puglia.
However, as a rule, I would book your car at least two or three weeks before your trip.
Is Driving in Puglia Difficult?
No, driving in Pulgia is not difficult. However, it is different from driving at home – at least for me and I am from the States.
At any rate, as long as you understand Italian signs, know about parking rules, and are prepared to be a bit pushy on the road then you will have no problems.
You’ll just need to be assertive if you want to get anywhere. LOL. Yeah, I am VERY used to this since I was born and raised in NYC.
Is it Safe to Rent a Car in Puglia?
Yes!!! It is super safe to rent a car in Puglia. I had zero issues booking my rental car online with Discover Cars and then using my car to get around.
In fact, crime and poverty rates are a lot lower in Puglia than in other places in Italy. So, it’s a pretty safe place to rent a car.
That being said, do NOT leave your luggage in your rental. Car theft is a problem and it’s super easy for locals to tell if a car is a rental car. And they WILL target you.
Instead, drop your luggage off at your hotel. Or, put your luggage in your trunk and take all your valuables with you just to be safe.
Are the Roads Safe to Drive in Puglia?
Yes, the roads are safe to drive in Puglia. However, you’ll want to watch out for trash on the side of the road, potholes, bumpy roads, stone walls, and olive trees.
The last two can really scratch your car since country roads (and city roads) are SUPER narrow. Like, the road will only be able to fit one car and there will be stone walls on either side of you.
So, just take it slow, pull over if need be, and always look out for olive trees and stone walls that could tear up your car (thankfully full coverage with Discover Cars covers this type of damage).
Pro Tip: Avoid driving at night if possible since the roads are not well-lit and it can be difficult to avoid obstacles in the road with your Puglia rental car.
Tips on How to Rent a Car in Puglia
1. Read Your Rental Agreement Carefully, Inspect Your Vehicle, and Know How to Use It Before You Leave
It’s always a good idea (even if it is super boring) to slowly read through your entire rental agreement.
This way there are no surprises and you know what is included, are aware of any hidden fees, and know what restrictions apply when it comes to your car rental in Puglia.
It’s also important to examine your car and photograph/video record your car when you pick it up. Do this and you have proof of any damages to the vehicle prior to you renting it.
This way the company can’t charge you for damage you didn’t cause after you return your vehicle.
Additionally, be sure you know how to use your car before you drive away. However, if you don’t understand something then be sure to ask your rental company in Puglia before you drive off.
2. Fill Up the Tank Before You Return Your Car
It’s always a good idea to fill up the gas tank before you return your rental car.
After all, many companies will charge you additional fees if the gas tank is not full when you drop the car off.
This happened to me once when I was renting a car in Puglia and it would have been MUCH cheaper for me to just fill my car up with gas.
3. Know the Traffic Laws in Italy Before You Pick Up Your Rental Car
Here are a list of Italian traffic laws that you should know before picking up your rental car in Puglia.
- Drivers need to have a valid driver’s license, insurance coverage, and registration documents whenever driving
- Everyone in the car must wear a seatbelt at all times when driving in Puglia (and anywhere in Italy)
- You cannot use your cell phone while driving in Italy unless you have a hands-free device
- The speed limit is generally 90 km/h on the highway, between 50 and 70 km/h on smaller roads, and 130 km/h on toll roads. If it’s raining or dangerous, the speed limit on toll roads drops to 20km/h.
- Be careful at roundabouts (they are a nightmare) and always yield to traffic from the left
- Turning headlights on is mandatory during bad weather or when entering a tunnel
- Don’t drink and drive since your BAC cannot exceed 0.05% when driving
- Avoid driving in ZTLs (limited traffic zones) even if Google tells you to. You cannot drive in these areas without permission or you will get a hefty fine.
4. Know Where to Park in Italy
Parking spots in Italy are very tight and hard to get into. So, be sure to rent a small car to make your life easier.
You’ll also quickly see that parking spaces are color-coded in Italy to signal who can and cannot park there.
So, white spaces are free, pink spaces are for moms with kids/expecting women, yellow spaces are for officials/handicapped people, and blue spaces are paid.
Personally, I would park on the outskirts of town to make your life easier. You can always walk or use public transportation to get into the town itself
5. Understand How to Get Gas in Puglia
When driving in Puglia, major highways have full gas stations while you’ll only find smaller pumps on local streets in the city.
No matter what, be sure that you are putting the correct fuel in your car. “Benzina” is unleaded gas while “Gasolio” is what we refer to in the States as Diesel.
“Benzina” typically has a green handle at the gas station and you’ll know you should use it because your car’s gas tank will have green on it. So, match the green with green.
In contrast, “Gasolio” has a black handle at the gas station and you’ll match that to the black on your car’s gas tank.
Pro Tip: It’s always a good idea to carry some Euros with you. This way if the gas station is closed then you can still use the self-service pump to get gas. Yeah, your credit card may not work, so cash is handy.
You also won’t get change when using the self-service machine but will get a credit slip for use at another time.