Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Highlights of Puglia tour
Alberobello  Matera Highlights of Puglia Trip
Cultural Cycling Highlights of Puglia package

Highlights of Puglia

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4.6 . Excellent
96%
Travel Style: For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
8 days
From: $ 1,430 $ 179 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Matera - Discover the fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Listed ancient troglodyte sassi quarter
  • Alberobello - Explore the unique beehive-shaped trulli houses and enjoy a wine tasting
  • Lecce - Take a guided walking tour of the 'Florence of the south' to see the Baroque architecture
  • Otranto - Relax on the sandy beaches or take a coastal walk to the scenic bauxite quarry in Otranto
  • Food - Sample delicious Altamura bread, taralli biscuits, olive oil, homemade cheese and wine

Short Description

The 'heel of Italy' is more densely populated by olive trees than by people; it has a relaxed atmosphere, sunny climate and rolling countryside. This trip offers the perfect balance of culture, food and the Adriatic coastline.

Matera - In Basilicata discover the fascinating UNESCO-Listed ancient troglodyte sassi quarter
Alberobello - Explore the beehive-shaped trulli houses that are unique to Puglia and enjoy a wine tasting
Lecce - See the Baroque architecture in the 'Florence of the south' including the magnificent cathedral square.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City Bari
End City Bari

Destinations

Italy

Cities & Attractions

Alberobello Matera

Activities

Cycling Hiking Trekking

Age Requirement

14

N/A
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Itinerary

Day 1 Join trip in Bari

Join the trip in the Adriatic port city of Bari and check-in to our hotel. The transfer from Bari Airport to the city centre will be by train. Our Explore Leader or an English speaking representative will meet you at the airport to give instructions on which train to catch and to supply you with your train tickets. It'll be a short 5-minute walk from the train station to our hotel. The old town area of Bari Vecchia is located next to the harbour and is a tangled maze of old streets. One of the main highlights is the Basilica of San Nicola, which legend has it, contains some of the bones of jolly old Saint Nick. The Lungomare seaside promenade is a great place for an evening stroll. Tasty culinary options include orecchiette pasta (known as small ear pasta due to its shape), which is normally served with a sauce made from turnip tops or you could try meat and rice stuffed peppers or a large array of seafood dishes. In Puglia the food revolves around local produce, so the dishes on offer will vary depending on what's in season. A lot of the cuisine is vegetable or cheese based and of course they make good use of all the olive oil produced from the 60 million olive trees in the region. Over the next week you could sample a range of dishes such as fried polenta, tubs of ricotta and mozzarella balls stuffed with cream. The wine is also delicious with Primitivo red wine being a popular choice.

Meals Provided : None

Day 2 Food tasting in Altamura and visit to the medieval Castel del Monte

This morning we leave Bari and drive to Altamura, which is a city famed for its bread and we'll get the chance to try it along with a selection of other specialities like taralli savoury biscuits flavoured with fennel seeds, focaccia, pizza and wine. Pane di Altamura is a very filling bread and loafs on average weigh a kilo and traditionally would have been eaten by workers out in the fields. The bread is cooked in 'forni' stone oven using oak wood. Next we have a guided visit of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Castel del Monte. It is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Southern Italy and is an unusual octagonal shape with a tower in each corner and there's no roof over the large central courtyard. The architectural design suggests Arabic influences as well as more classical Italian features. It was built by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and was of huge importance to the region. It is believed to have been a cultural centre for ancient scholars coming from all over the world and that each part of the castle conceals philosophic and alchemical meanings within its unique design. Later this afternoon we arrive in Matera, which is just over the regional border in Basilicata and where we will spend the next two nights. The town is impressively located on the side of a gorge eroded by the Gravina River and is famous for its ancient sassis, a UNESCO-Listed troglodyte quarter, which originates from prehistoric times. Stepping into the city is like stepping back in time, and it feels as though the cobbled narrow streets and meandering buildings have changed little over the past 7,000 years. It's a place that has to be seen to be believed and we have the wonderful experience of staying in a hotel within these ancient sassi cave dwellings.

Meals Provided : Breakfast

Day 3 Guided tour of the caves and rock carved churches of Matera

This morning a local guide will takes us on a walking tour of the sassi quarter which is split into two halves - Sassi Caveoso and Sassi Barisano, with the cathedral sitting between them. The city is so unchanged over the centuries that it has frequently been used as a film set for biblical scenes. It's hard to believe it now, but in the 1950s Matera was an embarrassment to the Italian authorities, as many families were living in one room caves, in poor conditions and poverty was rife. The families were helped and re-housed and the city cleaned up and it's now a treasured historic city that will become the European Capital of Culture in 2019. After spending the morning exploring the cobbled lanes, rock carved churches and caves we have the afternoon free to discover more or you might choose to take a train to neighbouring Gravina (the journey is around 45 minutes each way). Gravina is a historic town that has retained much of its character. The buildings here line the sides of a deep river gorge with a Roman bridge connecting them. The highlight of the town however is the Gravina Sotterranea, which is an underground network of meandering passageways that run beneath the city through caves and cellars where you can find rock carved churches under the houses above. This remarkable underground labyrinth has only recently discovered.

Meals Provided : Breakfast

Day 4 Cheese and wine tasting; walk through the trullis of Alberobello

This morning we drive to an agriturismo in Putignano or in the surrounding area for a cheese tasting. Agriturismos are traditional country farms that have opened up their doors to visitors, everything here is homemade. After seeing how the cheese is produced and exploring the farm and gardens we'll sample their delicious food, which usually includes freshly braided mozzarella. Our first stop in the UNESCO World Heritage Listed town of Alberobello is in the Cantina Albea Winery and Museum. After having a guided tour and learning about the different wines of Puglia we'll then get to sample the award-winning wines that they produce. The small town of Alberobello is famous for its unusual trulli round houses with their white washed dry stone walls and pointed 'witches hat' tiled roofs and we spend the next two nights in these unique buildings. After our wine tasting we will take a pleasant walk through the trullis to our hotel. Trullis or trullos as they're also known are either built singly or in groups of up to five which would have originally been occupied by a single family. After checking in to our trullis our Explore Leader will take us on a walk of the town to learn about the history and to help us get our bearings. The town is divided into two districts - Rione Aia Piccola and Rione Monti. On our walk we'll see Trullo Sovrano, built by a wealth priest in the 18th century it is the only two floor trulli house and it's now a museum, and the Trullo Church with its domed towers and curved windows it looks like a stretched trulli and was built far later in 1927. This evening is free for you to experience more of the town. There are a number of restaurants and shops and typically Italian bars along the main street of Largo Martellotta.

Meals Provided : Breakfast

Day 5 Free day in Alberobello; chance to visit the Castellana Caves

Today is free for you to relax among the trullis or perhaps to travel further afield for more sightseeing. You could take the train (around 10 minutes each way) to the pretty town of Locorotondo. Although it's only a short distance from Alberobello a completely different building style has been used with tall, narrow rectangular buildings packed together with their tiled gable roofs and whitewashed walls. The formation of them and their hilltop location makes the town resemble a white fort. Alternatively, you might like to take the train to the Castellana Caves (taking about 35 minutes per way). You can join an English speaking guided tour of one of the most amazing natural wonders in Puglia and see the array of stalactites, stalagmites and fossils that can be found in this underground grotto which started to form about 90 million years ago. Or perhaps you'd like to spend the day on the coast and take a taxi to Monopoli, which is approximately 30 minutes' drive away, and home to defensive sea walls, a cathedral and even a castle. The tall white buildings and rocky walls are offset by the bright blue waters of the Adriatic Sea dotted with traditional fishing boats and lined with narrow sandy beaches from where you can take a dip in the sea.

Meals Provided : Breakfast

Day 6 Olive oil tasting; visit to Otranto and chance for a coastal walk

We leave the trullis and head to Masseria Frantoio Ipogeo, which an underground olive press originally created by monks in the limestone caves that form here naturally. The monks released the importance of keeping the olive oil at a constant temperature in order for it to last and to get the best flavour, and the caves offered the perfect solution. We'll have the chance to sample the olive oil with taralli biscuits and wine. We drive on to the historic seafront town of Otranto where our Explore Leader will take us to visit the cathedral to see the amazing 'tree of life' mosaic floor and to have a brief orientation walk through the maze of the narrow alleys. After free time for lunch there's the chance to take an easy coastal walk along flat, gravel roads to the old bauxite quarry lake before returning back to Otranto. The almost turquoise waters of the lake are surrounded by the red earth of the old quarry walls, which makes it a very photogenic spot. Along the way to the lake there are spots ideal for swimming or paddling along the coast. The route takes around an hour each way, covering a total distance of seven kilometres. If you don't fancy joining the walk then you can further explore the town or relax on the sandy beaches. Later this afternoon we drive on to Lecce, which is nicknamed the 'Florence of the south' due to its rich Baroque heritage seen in the city's palaces, churches and statues made from the local cream coloured limestone. This evening is free for you to have dinner and explore the city.

Meals Provided : Breakfast

Day 7 Walking tour of Lecce; free afternoon to visit the Museo Faggiano

We start today with a guided walking tour of Lecce to see the Basilica di Santa Croce, Piazza del Duomo (cathedral square) and the cathedral itself. The Baroque basilica took over two centuries to construct and has a richly decorated facade with carved figures and topped with a large rose window. Following our tour the rest of the day is free. In the city you'll find a Roman amphitheatre, a statue of Saint Oronzo, which is said to have healing powers and the Triumphal Arch, which is one of the three main gates into the old centre. You might choose to visit the Museo Faggiano, which will give you an even greater insight into the city's long history.

Meals Provided : Breakfast

Day 8 Train to Bari where the trip ends

This morning we will take the train to Bari Central Station with our Explore Leader where our trip ends. For those departing early you will continue by train straight to Bari Airport. If your flight isn't until later today then there are luggage storage facilities at the station that you could use and then go into the city for your free time. Your Explore Leader will give you your train ticket for the journey to the airport and advise you on when the trains will be departing.

Meals Provided : Breakfast

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 1,430
Price Per Day: $ 179 per day
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Start DateFinish DateBase PriceSingle Room (Optional)Departure GuaranteedAvailability 
Aug-04-2019Aug-11-2019$ 1,430$ 330Yes13 Spaces Left Reserve
Sep-01-2019Sep-08-2019$ 1,430$ 330Yes12 Spaces Left Reserve
Sep-15-2019Sep-22-2019$ 1,430$ 330Yes3 Spaces Left Reserve
Sep-29-2019Oct-06-2019$ 1,430$ 330YesSold Out Reserve
Oct-13-2019Oct-20-2019$ 1,430$ 330Yes13 Spaces Left Reserve
May-03-2020May-10-2020$ 1,450$ 340Yes16 Spaces Left Reserve
May-31-2020Jun-07-2020$ 1,450$ 340No18 Spaces Left Reserve
Jun-14-2020Jun-21-2020$ 1,450$ 340Yes18 Spaces Left Reserve
Aug-02-2020Aug-09-2020$ 1,450$ 340Yes18 Spaces Left Reserve
Aug-30-2020Sep-06-2020$ 1,450$ 340Yes18 Spaces Left Reserve
Sep-13-2020Sep-20-2020$ 1,450$ 340Yes18 Spaces Left Reserve
Sep-27-2020Oct-04-2020$ 1,450$ 340Yes18 Spaces Left Reserve
Oct-11-2020Oct-18-2020$ 1,450$ 340Yes18 Spaces Left Reserve
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Stride Featured in

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73 Explore! Travel Reviews & Ratings

96%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 55
Great 11
Average 3
Disappointing 3
Terrible 1
Value
4.5
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.3
Transportation
4.5
Meals
4.4

Highlights of Puglia

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5.0
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Excellent

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Mohammed was excellent!

Enjoy the trip

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Meals5.0
The highlight of this trip was seeing Machu Picchu, which I loved it.

Great Tour Leader will come back in 2017

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A great tour leader - friendly, personable, approachable, knowledgeable of the local area, sights and people. We plan to come back and cycle with Andrew again in 2017.

Pleasant surprise experience

5.0
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Meals5.0
It is hard to say because each outing was a pleasant surprise. The best experience was a workshop on feltmaking in Kazbegi town Georgia) where, as a group, we made the felt from scratch and created our own design. A great opportunity to discover a local craft. It is also an excellent example how this diverse group got along like a house on fire. In Armenia my fqvourite outing was the walk along the Garni river gorge with a local guide. The scenery was breathtaking.
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Details

Guides

Explore Tour Leader, Driver(s), Local Guide(s)

Age Notes

Min. Age: 14

Trip ID#:

explore_new-PUL

Meals Included:

  • Breakfast : 7
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