Puglia’s Gargano National Park is one of the largest in Italy, covering more than 467 square miles (1,211 square km) of the promontory in Puglia that looks like the boot-shaped country’s spur. The park is named for Monte Gargano, a mountain peak on the promontory, and includes an archipelago of islands off the coast called the Tremiti Islands.
Like other national parks in Italy, Gargano is popular with visitors (Italians and foreign alike) for the great natural beauty and diversity of terrain, which means there is a variety of outdoor activities you can do in the park. There are two lakes, in addition to all the coastline along the edge of the region, so there are many opportunities to go boating. Hiking is also extremely popular. One of the main attractions within the park, however, is San Giovanni Rotondo, where Padre Pio (now a saint) is buried. It’s a beloved pilgrimage location.
Organized hiking or trekking tours in Gargano National Park are available for those seeking an opportunity to explore the park’s natural wonders. There are also day trips to San Giovanni Rotondo from as far away as Sorrento or Naples.
The Tremiti Islands were once used to imprison people, including those deemed enemies during Mussolini’s reign. Today, there are a few hundred residents on the islands and they are popular tourist destinations.