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Walking in Puglia & Matera

from $1,649.00

Fairytale trulli houses, picturesque farmland and quaint villages

  • Reviews 9 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Leisurely / Moderate
  • Group Size Small Group
    4 - 16
All about the Walking in Puglia & Matera.

In the heart of the Mediterranean lie Puglia and Basilicata, two unique and still largely undiscovered regions of Italy nestled between the emerald waters of the Adriatic and Ionian seas. This trip gives us the chance to explore the very best that these Italian gems have to offer, from the rock churches and UNESCO Sassi district of the beautiful city of Matera, to the conic Trulli houses of the lush Itria valley and the white hilltop town of Ostuni. Aside from the perfect mix of cultural discovery and gentle walking, we will have the chance to sample the legendary local cuisine and delicious wines that make this region a true food lovers’ paradise.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts, 2 dinners and 1 wine and produce tasting
* 5 nights 3-star hotels and 2 nights converted farmhouse or 4-star hotel depending on departure dates (see accommodation section for more info)
* Airport transfers (at designated times)
* Tour leader throughout. Group normally 4 to 16, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs.

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Local city taxes (approx. €10)

Highlights

  • Visit the UNESCO towns of Matera and Alberobello
  • Walk in tranquil countryside past trulli, vineyards and olive groves
  • Indulge in the succulent and fresh local cuisine
  • 5 nights 3-star hotels and 2 nights converted farmhouse or 4-star hotel depending on departure dates (see accommodation section for more info)
  • 5 days guided gentle walking; 1 free day
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Low altitude throughout
  • Travel by private minivan, bus and train

 

  1. Day 1 Start in Matera.

    Our hotel is located in the heart of the UNESCO listed historic centre. There is usually time to wander through the narrow alleys of the town’s famous cave-dwelling district and enjoy the unique atmosphere of this enchanting city at night.

  2. Day 2 Short walk in Matera’s Rock Churches Park and guided sightseeing in the town's marvellous UNESCO 'Sassi' district; wine and produce tasting.

    We start the week with a short hike to the Murgia plateau, a vast protected area home to over 150 rupestrian churches dating back to the 8th century, once inhabited by hermits and adorned with Byzantine frescoes. We descend down the Matera’s canyon until we reach a suspension bridge which allows us to cross to the other side of the valley. We then hike to the top of the ravine following a pathway which ends with a spectacular viewpoint of Matera’s Sassi district. In the afternoon we walk back to Matera for a guided tour: accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide, we wander through the narrow alleys of the town’s famous UNESCO cave-dwelling district and learn of the history of this fascinating place. The rest of the day is free to discover the city at our own pace. Late afternoon we enjoy a typical produce and wine tasting.** Please note that at the time of writing the suspension bridge connecting Matera to the canyon trail is not accessible due to a landslide. In the event it does not reopen in time for your departure, complimentary transfers will be arranged to the trailhead and back. This would result in the walk being of slightly shorter duration.**

  3. Day 3 Walk in the outskirts of Matera exploring prehistoric caves and rugged landscape; overnight in Matera.

    Today we will transfer by train and bus to the outskirts of Matera, where our walk starts. The trail will take us through dramatic rugged landscape made of limestone, gravel paths, fields and almond and olive groves, in an area which was once home to prehistoric men and cave dwellings. The area is particularity picturesque in spring when many species of butterfly, orchid and cyclamen are found.

  4. Day 4 Morning visit to the white city of Ostuni; afternoon walk through olive groves and vineyards; visit Agnano Archaeological Park.

    In the morning we take a private transfer to the white city of Ostuni, famous for the dazzling effect of its whitewashed houses. After some free time spent discovering this elegant hilltop town at our own pace, we explore the beautiful surrounding countryside on foot, walking through ancient olive groves and vineyards overlooking the Adriatic coast. Along the route we stop for a visit at the archaeological park of S. M. Agnano. This evening we have a delicious dinner and overnight in a beautiful Masseria – a renovated farmhouse typical of the Apulian region**Please note that on selected departures the group will stay overnight in a 4-star hotel in the historic centre of Ostuni instead of the masseria. See the Accommodation section in the Trip Notes for more information**.

  5. Day 5 Free day. Optional activities include visiting the Baroque city of Lecce or the picture-perfect coastal village of Polignano a Mare.

    Today is free to discover the many jewels of this beautiful region. We recommend to take a day trip to the beautiful Baroque city of Lecce, known as the ’Florence of the South’, and home to over 40 churches, countless palaces, as well as a Roman amphitheatre and theatre. Alternatively, you could travel to the picturesque town of Polignano a Mare, a shining gem on the coast of the Valle d’Itria, perched atop a 20m high limestone cliff above the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic. Both of these destinations are reachable by train from Ostuni. In the evening we will regroup to enjoy a delicious dinner in Ostuni or at the masseria.

  6. Day 6 Morning walk to the Adriatic coast; free time at the beach (in season) and transfer to the UNESCO town of Alberobello.

    This morning we walk from the masseria to the coast, where we have time to relax on a beach or swim in the mild waters of the Adriatic sea (depending on the season). In the afternoon we make our way to Alberobello, home to 1500 Trulli (conical roofed houses) that have made its historical centre a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The origin of these funny-looking stone dwellings is obscure, however, local farmers claim they were originally built in an effort to evade taxes. When the tax inspectors were in the area, the dry stone walls could easily be dismantled by simply removing the key stone above the door and quickly rebuilt after the inspection. Overnight in Alberobello.

  7. Day 7 Walk over the hills of the Itria Valley, dotted with olive trees, vineyards and trulli; visit Locorotondo, known for its superb wine.

    Our destination today is Locorotondo. Sitting on the top of a hill, it is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and is renowned for its white wine and Cantina Sociale, the local winery. Following narrow country lanes, we walk over the rolling hills of the idyllic Itria Valley, dotted with olive trees, vineyards and trulli. At the end of the day, we take a short train ride back to Alberobello.

  8. Day 8 The trip ends in Alberobello this morning.

    The trip ends in Alberobello this morning.

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Where you stay

3 and 4-star hotels and converted farmhouse

All hotels on this trip have been specially selected for their location, character and comfort. We stay in renovated traditional buildings which give a real taste of the typical Apullian architecture.

In Matera we usually stay at the 3-star Hotel Sassi which offers tastefully renovated cavelike rooms in the heart of the historic UNESCO district.

In Ostuni we usually spend two nights at Masseria Morrone, a traditional farmhouse surrounded by olive groves and overlooking the sea. On the following departures the group will stay overnight in a 4-star hotel in the historic centre of Ostuni instead of the masseria: 23rd March 2019, 6th April 2019, 25th May 2019, 21st September 2019 and 26th October 2019.

In Alberobello we normally stay at Hotel Ramapendula offering outdoor swimming pool and located within reach of the town centre.

 

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 2 dinners and 1 wine and local produce tasting are included.

In Puglia you will find genuine regional cooking that has strong links to the land and the sea. To give you just a small list of the types of food on offer in Puglia: Bread from the Murge, durum wheat pasta, olives, the pasta delicacy Orecchiette served with a sauce of turnip-tops or fresh tomato and sheep’s ricotta-cheese, Cavatelli with pulses, aubergine and parmesan bake, grilled fish and seafood, burrata (soft mozzarella and cream cheese), plus excellent wines. This region is a food lovers paradise and the abundance of delicious vegetables makes it a perfect destination for vegetarians! On this trip, there will be many opportunities to taste the best local specialties, in particular during the produce and wine tasting and the traditional dinner included in the itinerary.

Activity Level 2, Leisurely/Moderate

During the days we walk for 3 to 6 hours (including lunch and photo stops). The terrain and type of path will vary from manmade paved tracks and tarmac to gravel. Please note that the terrain on the trails near Matera can be uneven or rocky so trekking shoes or boots with good grip are required for these walks. The walks are easy, although some ascents and descents should be expected, so a reasonable amount of fitness is required. Please be aware that Puglia can also be very warm, possibly reaching 30 degrees in the summer months between July and September. Walking hours stated in the itinerary are given as approximates only. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 12/12/2019
5/5

A wonderful week in southern Italy

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I could have spent at least another day in Matera despite a bit of rain and a dramatic thunderstorm. I also liked the peace and quiet at the masseria and walking in the olive groves.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Barbara was a really great tour leader and demonstrated her passion for Italy and for nature with much enthusiasm and knowledge. She supported everyone in the group really well and went out of her way to make sure that every day and every walk was special.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I was glad to have my walking boot in Matera and used these most days. I should have taken an umbrella as we have a dramatic thunderstorm in Matera and a few showers on other days. An umbrella would have worked better than putting on a waterproof walking jacket because it was quite humid.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Matera will be the European capital of culture in 2019

Reviewed On 12/12/2019
5/5

Gentle strolls and some seriously good vegetarian food

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The view of the Sassi district of Matera from our hotel room. Watching the lights come one and people wandering about was fascinating. As very little traffic is allowed in the area, you get a real sense of what life would be before cars. The beauty of the flowers and herbs we saw and smelled as we walked. Poppies, orchids, scabious, valerian, wild fennel. The smell of oregano was wonderful.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Guiseppe was a knowledgeable local man, with a real love of his home area that he was eager to impart to us. He was very friendly, helpful and fun to be with.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Although the weather was warmer in England than Italy at the start of our trip, I'd recommend going early in the year. The flowers are very beautiful and the area is very green. Later in the year the Matera region gets very dry and also can be very hot. Seek out the ice-cream shops. There are a lot, selling an interesting mix of flavours, and we didn't come across a bad one.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you are a keen walker, looking for challenging walks, this might not be for you. If like me, you enjoy ambling through the countryside, I think you would enjoy thsi holiday.

Reviewed On 20/09/2019
5/5

Extraordinary Region of Italy

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I was most overcome by Matera and how this city transformed itself from a slum in the 1950s to the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2019. Seeing frescoes of the Madonna & Child painted on the walls of caves where monks lived in the Middle Ages is transforming. Walking the rocky cliffs from cave to cave took me out of this world.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    I loved Marcella! She clearly loves Puglia & Matera and it shows in her knowledge and exuberance. It was a treat when I could walk with her on a hike and learn about her travel adventures. She also picked the most amazing items at the grocery store for our picnic one day.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a hard trip in July as Italy was experiencing record heat. Two of our walks were quite hard due to the heat. You really need to be able to deal with the hot Italian sun and temperatures.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It is amazing how you travel through time on this Exodus tour of Southern Italy - from Matera (Neolithic & Middle Ages) to Lecce ( Ancient Rome) to Aberobello. Every town was charming. I also loved staying in a masseria and eating Mama’s delicious homemade primi and secondi plats.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

A different view of Italy

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The view of the duomo in Matera from my hotel room (in a cave) window - I couldn't stop looking at it and taking photos in varying light conditions.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Vanessa was a super guide, bubbling over with energy and enthusiasm, very helpful and keen to share typical Italian things with us.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Good walking shoes vital for the rocky limestone paths, and potentially slippy steps in Matera.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Little known gems

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The history of Matera is so interesting and thought provoking. Wandering around the old town and seeing into the 'caves' was such a privilege. The town is incredibly stark built into a cliff with each place a cave transformed into living histories of people going back thousands of years. Alberobello was another wonderful discovery and so beautiful and unusual.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Nino was our guide, he is knowledgeable and extremely helpful. He ensured the group knew what to expect everyday and was very considerate of people's walking abilities.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't expect the walking to be particularly interesting. We had extremely hot weather which made the walking unpleasant for me. The walk was 9 June 2018. The walks overall were the least enjoyable part of the trip. They were not long so we had a lot of opportunity to explore on our own which was great. The villages and history was the surprise for me and made the experience wonderful. The food was disappointing to me as it was fairly plain and was very much localised. While its important to discover new foods i didnt really enjoy it. We did eat at a wonderful fish restaurant and we also got to spend half a day at the beach which was fantastic and really energised the group. One thing despite the guide saying one needs proper walking boots or shoes i think a good pair of trainers would be sufficient as long as they have a hard sole. I swapped mine and immediately felt more comfortable especially in the heat. The whole trip was incredible, it was a small group who got on well together and had many great laughs along the way. Nino was a fantastic guide who made everything wonderful, i would recommend this trip to anyone.

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