"Puglia, Matera & Basilicata"
Our small group walking tour Puglia, Matera and Basilicata is located in the heel of the Italian peninsula surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea and blessed with sun, sea and dramatically changing landscapes. A traveler exploring on foot can enjoy breathtaking sea views, rugged coastal scenery and vast expanses of ancient olive groves seemingly untouched by time.
This coastline boasts an ancient strategic importance and a rich historical heritage dating back to the Greeks, Roman civilization and others seeking passage to the East across the Mediterranean Sea. Among the highlights of our tour are the famous Trulli houses of Alberobello (UNESCO heritage site). Trulli are limestone rock buildings curiously cone-shaped to insulate against extreme summer heat, harsh winters and allow for the collection of rainwater. Our journey in Puglia is one of the best hiking tours in Europe with Trani & Otranto, Frederic II’s imperial Castel del Monte (UNESCO heritage site), the decorative baroque town of Lecce known affectionately as the Florence of the South, the spectacular Castellana Caves and two National Parks. We cross the fertile plain of the Tavoliere and the plateau of the Murge, exciting ecological diversity punctuated by Bronze Age, Greek and Roman archaeological sites, medieval castles and cathedrals. Before ending our beautiful journey we stop to explore the ‘Sassi’ cave dwellings of Matera.
Hospitality in Puglia is a Trulli memorable experience! Our accommodations are in the region’s traditional Masserie – agricultural estates where, during the 19th century, extended families lived and worked protected from pirates and brigands. We are welcomed with open arms by the locals and fed an abundance of delicious Pugliese specialties favoring ingredients like beans, figs, melons, grapes, olives and a whole variety of particularly delicious cheeses – leaving us satisfied and sometimes a little over-full! No problem, our walks are just vigorous enough to work up an appetite for each feast!
from € 3,300
per person shared occupancy
Included in the Tour:
♦ All accommodation
♦ All meals – except one lunch & one dinner
♦ Wine, water & coffee with meals
♦ All transport within the tour
♦ Everything except postcards, stamps and phone calls
♦ No hidden extras!!
| DAY 1 | Bari airport – Otranto
Rendezvous at 14.00 at Bari airport. Transfer by luxury minibus. Then walk into the old town of Otranto, the most eastern town in Italy and a prosperous trading port on the narrowest straight between Mediterranean Europe and Asia Minor.
| DAY 2 | Porto Badisco to Otranto
Stunning walk from the beautiful cove of Porto Badisco with aqua marine reflections along a dramatic coastline of cliffs with watch towers. According to Homer Aeneas landed here. Picnic lunch and free time in the afternoon to explore Otranto. In 1481 the Turks attacked and slaughtered the population. The bones are kept in the Duomo and a visit to see its amazing Byzantine mosaic floor portraying the tree of life is a must. (walk 4hrs/13km)
| DAY 3 | Lecce – Coastal coves and Dunes walk
We visit the baroque city of Lecce, sometimes called the Florence of the South. The historic center is a great place for strolling to admire handcrafts and spotting Roman remains. We then head to the coast for a beautiful walk in a protected marine nature reserve known as Torre Guaceto. Along this short piece of coastland with exceptional sandy and rocky backdrops, we walk through maquis and olive groves and fresh water lagoons where migrant birds stop to feed. At the end of the walk is a 16th-century Aragonese defensive look-out tower. (walk 3hrs/11km)
| DAY 4 | Ostuni – Olives groves & Dolmen*
Free morning to explore the narrow alleyways of the beautiful little town Ostuni known as La Citta Bianca with lots of places to enjoy a bite to eat. A twentyfour thousand year old skeleton of a prehistoric pregnant woman was recently found here. In the afternoon we stop to admire the ancient olive groves where prehistoric stone Dolmen and crypts dating from the Neolithic Age (4000-3000 BC) can be found. (walk 2hrs/6km) *lunch independently.
| DAY 5 | Walking among the conical shaped Trulli
A day spent in the the Murge dei Trulli a landscape of olive groves, orchards, vines and trulli houses. A short drive brings us to Alberobello where
the highest concentration of these dry stone huts with conical roofs is to be found – even a Trulli church. A visit to Locorotondo is the start of our
walk through Trullo country to reach the beautiful whitewashed old town of Cisternino. Transfer by minicoach to Matera.
| DAY 6 | Matera and the cave dwellings
A fascinating walk among Matera’s Sassi, the best surviving and most complete examples of rock-cut settlements in the Mediterranean basin. Developed in close harmony with the natural environments the caves here have been used since prehistoric times. At first bare cave dwellings, they were used as early Christian churches or to house flocks of sheep and later they were developed into house-like structures. This setting has inspired film directors for decades and was used for the film ‘The Passion’. (walk 3hrs/10km) Enjoy a free evening to have dinner in the old city of Matera.
| DAY 7 | Castel del Monte to Trani
A half days’ walk in the National Park of the ‘Alta Murgia’ Mediterranean Prairie with a picnic lunch and then a visit to the mystical and interesting Castel del Monte. This 13th century castle built by Frederick II (UNESCO) which stands out against the natural backdrop of the surrounding Apulian hills. and one of the most sophisticated secular buildings of the middle ages. We end the day in the coastal town of Trani with its stunningly located 12thC Norman cathedral. Time to enjoy this unique seaside setting and explore this historic port town before dinner. (walk 3-4hrs/11km)
| LAST DAY |Departure from Bari airport or Trani station
Scheduled drop off at Bari airport at 9.00am (or earlier as long as this accommodates everyone in the group). Trani station is only a short walk. If you wish, we can help you to extend your stay or make other independent departure arrangements such as early taxis to the airport.
The secret of our small group walking tours lies in choosing exciting itineraries and turning them into relaxing vacations for others to enjoy. A journey with us is like a chapter in a good book you cannot put down, a discovery trail of treasures, an active vacation outdoors where you meet like-minded people and create wonderful memories to take home.
• WHAT WE OFFER YOU •
We offer you the luxury to relax, be carefree and totally immerse yourself in the local atmosphere, making the most of your precious time.
We take care of all the logistical arrangements and tiny details you would hope to think of if only you had the time.
• VALUE FOR MONEY •
Our priority is to give you a tour of the highest standard and excellent value for money; prices are fully inclusive with no hidden extras. We believe you will only need to buy postcards and the occasional cappuccino.
• WE ARE UNIQUE •
We are unique through our personal devotion to your tour. We don’t rely on others to provide the quality and service we expect, we make sure it happens ourselves.
We spend a lot of time finding attractive walks and seeking the best places to visit. We take small groups and guide all our own tours employing local experts where detailed knowledge is beneficial.
Other small group tour ideas:
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Walking and hiking among wild flowers, figs and caper bushes cascading onto the tombs of settlers from 6000 years ago. A historical and mythological journey among seven volcanic islands, the sleeping giants of the emerald blue Mediterranean.