Polignano a Mare is best explored during this time of year | Daily Express

Finding a holiday to please the whole family can be a challenge.

Yet the tiny town of Polignano a Mare in Italy covers all bases, especially during one week of the year.

The famous Red Bull Cliff Diving Championships, which tour around the world head to the Puglia region for two days only, attract many of the locals to watch the thrill-seekers jump into the water.

With the lack of tourism saturating the town, holidaymakers can experience the beauty of a European break without the busy crowds.

The small location just 45 minutes from Bari attracts spectators to watch from the jagged cliff edges and hotel balconies, or travellers can join a lilo or boat and watch the action up close.

The annual event tours the world, with other locations such as Mexico and Texas being lucky enough to play host to the adventurous athletes.

As they each perform three dives per round, a buzzing atmosphere is created by the exciting music played on the rock faces and beaches between dives, and only stops with a bell chime to signify the players being ready. 

The athletes then perform awe-inspiring feats of athleticism, fitting in more twists and turns than thought possible when jumping 27m above ground before a nerve-wracking ending as they break the water.

Each dive ranges in difficulty and skill as both men and women compete before being ranked out of 10 by the judges.

One of the best in the world is British champion Gary Hunt, six-time winner Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series who sadly was knocked out of the dives in Polignana a Mare this year.

The championships are well under way, and die-hard fans can follow the divers around the world to other exotic locations that each offer something different.

Polignano a Mare remains a favourite for many of the divers due to its beautiful location nestled in a cliff lined alcove.

However, if the adventure sport gets too much, the small town of Polignano a Mare has more to offer.

The quaint alleyways are surprisingly untouched with tourist shops and restaurants, as it hasn't yet become overcrowded with foreigners over-saturating the tiny paths.

Therefore walking through the winding roads ends up being a journey with the local residents and rarely a crowd to be seen.

For fine Italian food, there are many restaurants to choose from.

In the main square, restaurant Neuro is worth visiting for lunch or dinner, with their huge and creamy buffalo mozzarella on top of some salty parma ham, as well as rich authentic Italian pasta dishes and steak.

Otherwise, for a somewhat fancier option, Begula's starter of mushroom pate, almond crusted prawns and goats cheese is the perfect end to the evening.

Of course, no trip to Italy is worth it without gelato, so jump to Bar Riviera where they slap on rich dark chocolate ice cream for just a few euros.

The town lends itself to a calm evening, and with the Red Bull Championships being what it is so well known for, many of the cafes and bars offer Red Bull cocktails in a variety of flavours such as berry, tropical and lime.

Otherwise, spending an evening after the event watching the sunset from one of the cliff faces is the perfect way to end a trip.

Whilst there are many hotels to stay in within the town, a stay at the new Cala Ponte hotel a bit further out is a better choice.

The white chalet rooms tucked away behind a large pool under the restaurant balcony, the delicious buffet breakfast spread with Italian delicacies and tuk tuks to travel the ten minutes journey into town; it's a simple break from the exciting days of thrill-seeker watching.

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Kara Godfrey