With countryside that’s blanketed with olive groves, a collection of historic cities and fairytale towns, and a coastline stretching for 800-odd kilometres, Puglia is a rich region filled with simple pleasures.
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Departs From Glasgow, Edinburgh or Aberdeen. 16th May 2022 for 8 Days . Prices From £1,579 per person
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With countryside that’s blanketed with olive groves, a collection of historic cities and fairytale towns, and a coastline stretching for 800-odd kilometres, Puglia is a rich region filled with simple pleasures. You’ll spend eight days winding through its quiet landscapes, discovering baroque Lecce (the ‘Florence of the South’) and the traditional trulli houses of Alberobello. You’ll even stretch into the neighbouring region of Basilicata to visit Matera and explore its ancient cave dwellings.
7 nights in hotels (accommodation as specified or similar)
International flights. Prices are based on return flights with British Airways from London Gatwick. Supplements may apply from other airports
12 meals: 7 breakfasts (days 2-8) 5 dinners (days 1, 3-5 and 7)
Portable audio headset system on excursions
VIP door-to-door travel service
Services of a tour manager
Travel in destination by coach
11 excursions and visits
Guided tours of Lecce, Otranto and Matera
Visits to Ostuni (with olive oil tasting), Cisternino, Locorotondo, Alberobello (with wine tasting), Bari and Ruvo du Puglia
Excursions to Castellana Caves and Castel del Monte
Day 1 UK - Bari - Lecce
VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your flight to Bari. On arrival you’ll transfer to your hotel in Lecce.
Day 2 Lecce - Otranto
This morning, you’ll enjoy a guided tour of Lecce, known as the ‘Florence of the South’ for its baroque architecture. After admiring its honey-stone palazzi, you’ll make your way to Otranto. Here, you’ll step inside the magnificent Romanesque cathedral. It houses a vast mosaic floor dating back to 1166, which depicts a multi-coloured ‘Tree of Life’ amongst other scenes of myths and legends.
Day 3 Ostuni - Cisternino - Alberobello
This morning you’ll travel to Ostuni, a city which has been occupied since the Stone Age. Commonly known as ‘the white city, Ostuni’s hilltop citadel is encased in white walls and surrounded by white-painted architecture. The 15th-century cathedral is distinctive for the green, yellow and white slate tiles that encase it and the nearby buildings. You’ll enjoy an olive oil tasting before travelling on to Alberobello, with a break to stretch your legs in Cisternino, a historic whitewashed town.
Day 4 Locorotondo - Alberobello
Explore the pretty, whitewashed maze of Locorotondo, before you drive to Alberobello (there’s a 15-minute walk to the town from the coach). Dozens of quirky trulli - circular, conical-roofed houses - can be found in and around the town. You’ll visit a winery here for a tasting and light lunch.
Day 5 Matera
Today you’ll travel to the 2019 European Capital of Culture, Matera, famous for its ‘sassi’ - neighbourhoods of ancient cave dwellings. Monks first created this maze of living spaces and churches as they sought refuge from infidels at the end of the first millennium. Miraculously, they are still largely intact. After your guided tour of the rock church and caves, you’ll enjoy a tasting of local wine and freshly baked focaccia, before returning to your hotel.
Day 6 Castellana Caves - Bari - Ruvo di Puglia - Trani
You’ll journey to the Castellana Caves today, a series of limestone caverns accidentally discovered in 1938. A guide will accompany you as you descend to explore the caves. You’ll then travel to the old port city of Bari. The Romanesque Basilica di San Nicola is dedicated to St Nicholas, or Father Christmas, and was built to house his remains (which still lie in the crypt). You’ll continue to Ruvo di Puglia, where you may like to visit Ruvo Cathedral, a 13th-century cathedral built in a late Romanesque style, or the Jatta Museum, where terracotta figures and pots decorated with mythical scenes give insight to early life in Magna Graecia. You’ll travel on to the harbour town of Trani, your base for the next two nights.
Day 7 Castel del Monte - Trani
This morning you’ll depart for a guided tour of Castel del Monte. It was built by Frederick II in the mid-13th century, most probably as a hunting lodge, and crowns a medieval hilltop village. You’ll return to Trani for time at leisure to explore the historic centre, stroll along the yacht-lined marina and perhaps visit the castle of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II.
Day 8 Trani - Bari - UK
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. Upon arrival, your vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.
In many cities in Italy, a room tax of between €1-5 per person per night (subject to change), is payable directly to the hotel on check-out.
Puglia - Discover the Heel of Italy is located in Escorted Tour, Italy. Accommodation rating is the operators own rating and may not be the official rating. Hotel details correct at 24/05/2020