Galatina: what to do and see, how to get there and surroundings [2023]

Galatina is one of Salento’s most cherished jewels, the third most populous town in the province of Lecce, after the capital itself and Nardò. The city holds an ancient history and numerous artistic and cultural beauties. But not only that, it is also known for being the true home of the “pasticciotto leccese”, the typical dessert of Salento. That delicious little bundle of short pastry filled with custard was born in Galatina and differs from the pasticciotti made in the rest of the province. Curious to find out why? We’ll tell you later, so read on to find out all about this Salento wonder.

Where is Galatina located?

Surely you must be wondering “where is Galatina”? The city is located in the heart of Salento, in the province of Lecce, in a fairly central position on the peninsula, on a slight rise.
The municipal territory covers 81.86 km² and is bordered to the north by Copertino and Lequile, to the east by Soleto and Corigliano d’Otranto, to the south by Sogliano Cavour, Cutrofiano, Aradeo and Seclì, and to the west by Galatone and Nardò. In short, an excellent location that allows you to discover the beautiful towns in the surroundings. Moreover, Galatina is only 25 km away from Lecce.

Galatina: how to get there

Since it is one of the most important towns in Salento, getting to Galatina is quite easy, thanks to the different train and bus connections. If you are travelling by car, you will have to arrive in Bari and then take the highway to Lecce. Without entering Lecce, then take the western ring road and finally take the S.S. 476 exit for Galatina.

How to reach Galatina from Lecce?

You can reach Galatina from Lecce by train with FSE in about 1 hour. Visit the website to check the timetables www.lefrecce.it.
You can also get to Galatina from Lecce by bus. The bus leaves from the Palazzetto dello Sport. In addition, there are several school buses to Galatina in winter. We suggest you take a look at www.fseonline.it.

How to get to Galatina by plane?

To get to Galatina by plane you need to land at Brindisi “Papola-Casale” (BDS) airport and from there take the train or bus to Lecce. From Lecce you can then follow the directions above. If there are no flights to Brindisi from your airport, you can arrive at Bari ‘Karol Wojtyla’ (BRI) airport. From Bari you can then take a train to Lecce and from there take another train to Galatina.

Galatina Airport

Although there is an airport, it is a military airport not open to commercial traffic. The activities carried out are exclusively military activities, such as advanced training and hunting.

What to see in Galatina, Apulia

Galatina old town

The old town centre of Galatina is one of the most beautiful and best preserved in Salento, characterised by splendid churches, Baroque architecture and sumptuous palaces. Experience it by walking slowly through its white narrow streets and let yourself be enveloped by the authentic and evocative atmosphere amidst the perfume of Salento cuisine and the smell of freshly baked hot pasticciotti.

galatina centro storico

Basilica of Saint Catherine of Alexandria

If you want to know what to visit in Galatina, here is something you absolutely cannot miss: the enchanting Basilica of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, a masterpiece born from the combination of Gothic and Apulian Romanesque. Although the exterior is rather “simple”, with three portals carved in Lecce stone and a central rose window, the interior is a riot of colour. The walls are completely decorated with a cycle of frescoes second only to that of the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi. If you are an art lover, we suggest you visit it with a guide, who will be able to explain the meanings of the frescoes so that you can better appreciate it.

Basilica di Santa Caterina d’Alessandria galatina

Mother Church dedicated to the Apostles Peter and Paul

Another church we suggest you visit is the one dedicated to St Peter and Paul from 1633, located in the town’s main square. The Baroque façade is richly decorated with statues, while inside are frescoes dedicated to the life of St Peter. The church appears elegant and refined and is definitely worth a visit.

Chiesa Madre dedicata agli Apostoli Pietro e Paolo galatina

Pasticceria Ascalone

What else to do in Galatina but eat the real pasticciotto?

Then head to the historic Ascalone pastry shop, which has been carrying on this mouth-watering tradition handed down from generation to generation since 1740. This typical Salento dessert can be found anywhere and at any time of year, but we suggest you try it in the place where it was born. The difference? You’ll notice it immediately! Pasticciotto Ascalone is made with a shortcrust pastry base, a sweet custard and a fragrant, slightly ‘burnt’ dome, which is exactly what sets it apart from all the others. This does not mean that it is not good elsewhere, but simply that here you will find the original one!

pasticceria ascalone

Clock Tower

The Clock Tower was built in 1861 and is a tribute to Victor Emmanuel II, King of Italy. Today it houses the Tourist Information Office and is located a few metres away from the Ascalone pastry shop.

Palaces

Strolling through the streets of Galatina’s old town centre, you will realise the many splendid palaces. Here are some that deserve special attention: Palazzo Baldi, Palazzo del Sedile, Palazzo Ducale, Palazzo Orsini and Palazzo Tafuri-Mongiò.

palazzo galatina
Foto di Ilaria Rizzo

City gates

Until the first half of the 19th century, the city was enclosed in a defensive wall structure in which there were five gates: to the northwest Porta della Piazza, to the west Porta Luce, to the north Porta Nuova, also known as Porta San Pietro, to the south Porta Santa Caterina, and to the southeast Porta dei Cappuccini. Today only three gates remain: Porta Luce, Porta Nuova and Porta Cappuccini.

Galatina sea nearby

Galatina is located more or less halfway between the Ionian and Adriatic seas, so you can choose the coastline you prefer as the sea is the same distance away. You can go to Gallipoli, Otranto or Santa Maria al Bagno, which is a little closer, Porto Cesareo, Porto Selvaggio, Torre dell’Orso, Santa Cesarea Terme.

Galatina where to eat

There are many excellent places to eat in Galatina, you just have to choose whether you prefer typical cuisine, pizza, pubs, fish or trattorias. So, here are our tips:

  • Anima & Cuore Ristorante Trattoria
  • Tipozerø
  • Corte del Fuoco
  • Le Tre Grazie Wine Restaurant
  • Al Posticino | Birra & Spiriti

What to see near Galatina

Want to discover the surroundings of Galatina? Great, because you will have many things to do and see nearby.

Among the various places we suggest:

  • Neviano 11 km away;
  • Lecce 26 km away;
  • Matino 20 km away;
  • Parabita 18,5 km away;
  • Specchia 38,6 km away;
  • Presicce 45 km away;
  • Martano 12 km away;
  • Carpignano Salentino 16,7 km away;
  • Cutrofiano 7 km away;
  • Nardò 16,6 km away;
  • Galatone 10 km away;
  • Gallipoli 30 km away;
  • Otranto 33 km away;
  • Maglie 14,6 km away;
  • Melpignano 11,8 km away;
  • Calimera 15,6 km away;
  • Giurdignano 27,5 km away.

Are you looking for a structure in Salento? Browse our categories!

Team HDSalento

Team HDSalento

Articles by the HDSalento team

Table of Contents

Personalized vacation?

Do you have specific needs and would you like to be assisted free of charge by one of our consultants? Click below and request a personalized quote!

Hai bisogno di Informazioni?