Getting on a plane without knowing where it was going to land is not something I ever thought I would do, but in August, this is exactly what I did, and it was amazing. Back in the summer, I entered a competition to win a holiday to an unknown destination with Wizz Air, and out of the thousands of entries (you had to tag them in a travel related photo on Instagram and use the hashtag #GetLostWithWizz), I WON! I honestly couldn’t believe it. A chartered flight for 180 adventurers on a trip to an unknown destination (that was only revealed upon landing!) sounded like a truly unforgettable trip.. and it was.
I won a two night stay in the Unknown (all will be revealed…) for two (my boyfriend came with me), return flights with Wizz Air, accommodation, luggage and travel insurance included – all we needed to pay for were transfers to and from the airport, food and anything else we wanted to buy. I thought I would include some information about our pre-departure experience, because it was certainly different to a ‘normal’ flight…
We arrived at London Luton airport around 7am on Thursday 2nd of August, and could check-in for our flight from 7:20am. As soon as we arrived at the airport, I went and had a look at the flight information board to see ‘Mystery Flight’ next to the Wizz Air logo, our flight number, and departure time – SO cool. We then went and joined the Wizz Air check-in queue, which was fairly long, and we had to join the queue / check-in desk number that coincided with our surname. Above each check-in desk was a screen with our flight number on, followed by ‘DESTINATION UNKNOWN’. It was so strange to check-in for a flight that you didn’t know where it was going to. After a short wait, it was then my turn to hand over my travel documents and luggage, and receive my purpose-made boarding pass for the flight. It was bright pink and white in colour (the same colours of Wizz Air’s branding), and it just gave the details of our departure date, departing location, followed by ✈️ UNKNOWN. Yep, even at this point, we still didn’t know where we were going!
After we had something to eat, we then made our way through security and into the departures area, where we were told our gate number, and nothing else. I started writing this post up to this point whilst on the flight – STILL with no idea of where we were going! Wizz Air did a fantastic job of keeping everything a secret and organising something as amazing and adventurous as this! When we boarded the plane, the pilot said that our flight would take between one and six hours – still not giving anything away. He gave a few short updates throughout the flight, but not enough information to know where we were heading.
It wasn’t until we landed (just under 3 hours later) that we realised we were in Italy – the Italian flags at the airport were a bit of a giveaway. I’d only been in Rome a month before, but I was super excited to be back in Italy (I was missing their food!), but this time, in a place I’d never been to before. WE WERE IN BARI, ITALY! In the heel of Italy’s boot on the Adriatic coast in the southern Italian region of Puglia, Bari is known for its old town, narrow streets and beautiful beaches. When we landed, we were each given a goodie bag from Wizz Air with a few bits to help us make the most out of this destination. The bag had things like: transfer tattoos, a drawstring bag, and a few challenge cards (we all got different ones to give us some inspiration along the way). It was time to get lost and explore..!
We were only told where we would be staying once we’d taken off, so we found out our hotel details by email when we landed. We got a taxi from the airport to our hotel, which only took about 20 minutes. We checked in, dumped our bags in our room (I did a quick room tour), freshened up, and headed back out to explore the local area. By this point, it was mid-afternoon and we were pretty hungry, so our first mission was to get something to eat. This proved more difficult than we thought. Like I said earlier, we were in Rome just a month before, so we knew that Italian meal times vary, but being in a touristy city like Rome meant that you could pretty much eat something whenever you were hungry. Bari is a much smaller, less touristy and traditional city, serving lunch around 1pm, and dinner not usually before 8pm. We were looking to eat around 3pm, and it was pretty much impossible. We couldn’t find a single café / restaurant that was serving food at this time – not even in our hotel! I was starting to get fairly hangry at this point, and knowing that we still had at least 5 hours to wait before we could eat a ‘proper’ meal didn’t help at all. Thankfully, we passed a supermarket, where we ended up buying cans of drinks, crisps, cakes, croissants – anything and everything in sight! We took it all back to our room and stuffed our faces so that we could actually explore Bari without the hangry feeling!
We decided to walk around the area near our hotel, and we came across a park with a fountain and pretty flowers all around, which was lovely. The buildings in Bari are gorgeous, and it was amazing to explore a new destination without any stress of where to go next. This is pretty much what we did the whole time we were there – wandering around at our own pace, stopping for drinks or food along the way, and allowing ourselves to ‘get lost’ in the beautiful city of Bari.
How to Get There
We flew from London Luton to Bari (Karol Wojtyła) Airport with Wizz Air, but you can also fly with: British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair. The flight time (from Luton) is around 2 hours and 50 minutes. There are many ways to get from Bari Airport (BRI) into the city centre, but we decided to get a taxi to our hotel, which only took about 20 minutes. You could also get a bus or a train – whichever is easiest for you and within your budget.
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Palace Hotel in the heart of Bari’s city centre, which was lovely. We were within walking distance of most of the places we wanted to visit, like the old town and the coast. Our hotel was pre-booked for us, so it wasn’t a matter of comparing hotels before booking, but it was such a wonderful choice, and I would definitely recommend staying there! The rooms were clean and spacious, we had a pretty view from our window, and we also had breakfast included as well, which was a nice bonus (we didn’t know until we checked in). The breakfast area is on the 7th floor of the hotel, and they have a few tables outside with incredible views of the old town and Adriatic Sea, so if you’re lucky (or early) enough, you could always sit out there for breakfast, and soak up the atmosphere from above.
The best way to get around in Bari is on foot, as it’s quite a small destination, and you can explore at your own pace. It’s easier (and nicer) to walk around the city centre, the old town, and along the seafront; soaking up the atmosphere along the way. There are, of course, other ways to get around, if walking is not the easiest option for you. Taxis are a great alternative if you want to go a bit further out-of-town, like we did one day. We took a taxi from our hotel to Polignano a Mare, which took around 30 minutes, but it was well worth it. Public transport, like buses and trains, are also options for how to get around.
As this trip was completely unplanned, I thought I’d write two posts: details of the trip itself (this one!), and the top things to do whilst in Bari, which will be the next post that follows on from this, rather than an itinerary style post like I did for Rome. I’ve included some of my favourite photos from this trip below…
I want to say a huge thank you to Wizz Air for organising this trip and allowing me to be a part of it – I honestly had such a brilliant time! I also want to make it clear that this is no form of collaboration, or paid work (I would always disclose at the start of a post if it was!), but I simply won a competition and decided to write about it on my blog because it was super exciting, and I enjoy writing about travel-related content when I do get the opportunity to travel. If you’re planning a trip to Bari and need inspiration on what to do and see, make sure you check out my next post for my top tips.
I also vlogged my trip to Bari, which you can watch here.