Roca, Puglia : Tips, secrets and useful information
Where to park in Roca? What’s the difference between Roca vecchia and Roca Nuova? How to get there and what to visit in Roca?
The essential information to best plan your visit to Roca (How to get there, where to park, what to visit, and where to eat)
One of the most beautiful coastlines in Salento is undoubtedly the one that starts at San Foca and runs across the coast, passing by Roca Vecchia and Torre dell’Orso.
Roca vecchia is located in the coastal zone, facing the sea to be clear. Roca Nuova is a delightful abandoned medieval village that has been the subject of many studies due to the excellent preservation of it’s buildings.
In particular, Roca Vecchia that presents the old maritime village of Melendugno, which deserves at least one visit because it offers a scenic landscape that’s almost wild and genuine with its countless cliffs overlooking the sea.
But let’s go slowly, here’s all the information you need to make the most of your visit to this beautiful place.
WHERE: How to get to Roca
Roca is located on the eastern side of Salento, 20km higher than Otranto. The most suggested transportation method is without a doubt a car, even if you go during summertime (from the 1st of June to September 30th) and the bus line is active. The “Salento in Bus” covers a large area of local points of interest. To find out more, here’s the link to their site: link .
From Gallipoli, Roca is about 50 km away which by car takes about an hour. This is why it’s better to take the smoother SS 101 highway going towards Lecce, and then follow the directions for Melendugno onto the provincial road 145.
PARKING: Is there a parking area? Do you have to pay?
As in every place by the sea, there are paid parking lots and free ones, but it’s necessary to me to clarify that the checks by the municipal police are severe enough that it’s advisable to follow the rules and avoid the usual “wild” parking lots.
As for the paid lots, there are two main ones: a smaller one in Larco near the Pizza del Mare, and another much more spacious one about 500 meters from the famous “Grotta della Poesia”.
Want a little trick? Get going at non peak hours, i.e with just a little effort in the morning and an alarm clock you can get to the beach at 9:00 am instead of waking up at 9:00 am. I know you’re on vacation, but the peacefulness of finding a secure spot to enjoy the sea is priceless!
ATTRACTIONS: What to do in Roca?
Definitely the first thing to do,if the heat allows it, is to take a wonderful stroll right next to the sea, on the cliffs, in order to enjoy the fresh and crisp scent of the sea air. Here you’ll find a breathtaking landscape.
An important foreword, Roca is a rocky environment so if you decide to visit, know that you won’t find any beaches. (The nearest is in Torre dell’Orso which takes 10 minutes by car from here),
The best known attraction of this area is “La grotta della Poesia” which is a natural pool in a cliff. It’s know above all else because it’s possible to dive into the water from 5 meters high.
For the bravest, there’s a small underwater tunnel that leads directly from the cave towards the sea. Before and after this cave, you can see some spectacular ruins that date back to the Bronze Age, although there is no exact date as it has been built and destroyed many times over the years.
At the moment, most of this area which is art of the archaeological site of Roca is closed to the public because it will be the subject of a state intervention to create a more controlled and safer area.
Another important part of this place is Roca Nuova (4 km from Roca Vecchia). It’s a small abandoned medieval village that has been recently restored and made open to the public with guided tours inside.
WHERE TO EAT in Roca?
If you find yourself anywhere near it, I’ll recommend a bar that’s not actually in Roca but is only a few minutes from here: The “pasticceria Dentoni” bar. Its location is fantastic because it’s right in front of the beach in Torre Dell’Orso, nestled between the cliffs of Roca Vecchia and the Faraglioni of Sant’Andrea. A little piece of advice? Try their artisanal gelato (very tasty) and famous crepe cakes!
If you are planning your trip to Salento and want to choose a hotel with a strategic position that allows you to reach the most beautiful destinations, such as Roca, I suggest that you look at our Prices page, and put the dates of the days your interested in to see the various rooms at your disposition.