Puglia is a land forged in history by a mixture of civilisations and cultures. This enriching walking trip combines archeological and architectural treasures with hiking through valleys and along coastal paths surrounded by landscapes of red earth, olive groves and vineyards. See the unique dry stone cottages known as trulli in intriguing Alberobello and the cave houses known as Sassi in Matera. Explore the enchanting maze of narrow streets in the 'white city' Ostuni, the seaside village of Otranto facing the Adriatic and visit the elegant Baroque city of Lecce.
The walking is introductory to moderate (2) grade with daily walks between 3 and 4 hours. The accent is on keeping a steady pace with time to stop and take photos (subject to weather conditions). You will need a reasonable level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure. We recommend that you have some previous experience of trekking.
Waymarking - there are no official walking trails maintained by the government in Puglia nor waymarking. We have carefully constructed walking routes on mainly dirt paths and along rural trails but from time to time the farmers who also use these tracks may asphalt them. The maps are not of the same standard you would find in other walking destinations. However the countryside is wonderfully suited for walking and carefully reviewing the notes and visualising the route before you set out will optimise your walking and navigational experience.
Make your own way to Lecce. From the train station you can walk to your accommodation (800m) or take a taxi (allow EUR15). A charming B&B in a 17th century building, located in the historical centre of the city, will be your home for 2 days. This afternoon you are free to discover the main monuments of the capital of the Salento region, which are Baroque style. Dinner in a typical restaurant and overnight in Lecce.
The focus today is Otranto, a little seaside village facing the Adriatic sea. Visit its Norman Cathedral to see the unique 'Tree of Life' mosaic floor. Hike along the coastline, discovering flowers and Mediterranean vegetation and the Saracen watchtowers. Train back to Lecce to your B&B.
Distance 11km, ascent +100m, descent -100m
Attention: No train connection between Lecce and Otranto on Sundays - a private transfer is required.
Private transfer to the station, then take a train to Ostuni. This striking hilltop village, a short distance from the seashore, is known as the "white city" due to its fortress of whitewashed building clustered together on the hillside. Private transfer from the station into town, with free time to discover this fairytale-like town with its enchanting maze of Greek-style narrow streets and fine Mediterranean architecture. Dinner in a typical restaurant and overnight in hotel in Ostuni.
Hike to discover the unique countryside of Ostuni. Enjoy a nice walk through millenary olive groves on red clay-like soil with wonderful views of the Adriatic. At 4pm, private transfer to UNESCO World Heritage listed Alberobello, with its intriguing dry-stone dwellings known as trulli, in the beautifully exotic Itria valley. Your accommodation is in the historical centre. Wine and typical product tasting, overnight in Alberobello in a trullo (subject to availability)
Distance 9km, ascent +100m, descent -100m
Today you discover the Itria Valley, walking along an old aqueduct to Locorotondo. Pass between olive trees, vineyards and trulli through this enchanting landscape. Return by train to Alberobello.
Distance 15km, ascent +90m, descent -70m
After breakfast, transfer to World Heritage listed Matera. Its fascinating 'Sassi', ancient cave dwellings that have been inhabited since Paleolithic times, have been excavated in the rocks facing a deep canyon. Upon arrival, after you check into your accommodation, enjoy a guided visit of the 'Sassi' area and afterwards taste some typical products of the region. Overnight in Matera.
Distance 18km, ascent +140m, descent -120m
A wonderful hike to discover the Murgia plateau facing Matera, admiring rock churches painted with Byzantine frescoes. The landscape here is of pastures and stone farmhouses, and there is the chance to watch the flight of different types of falcons. Dinner in a typical restaurant and overnight in Matera.
Distance 7km, ascent +150m, descent -150m
The trip concludes after breakfast with your transfer to the bus or train station.
We were blown away by the towns on this trip. The historic quarters, fabulous restaurants and views were much better than expected - and without the crowds!
R. Baker., Mosman, NSW. Australia
This was our 5th time to Italy and I have to say it was without a doubt the most enjoyable. Puglia is extraordinary and I'm so glad we chose to walk it. I must admit that I was a little nervous about my ability to 'self guide' but the directions were spot on and the local hosts at the accommodations were so very helpful that I needn't had worried at all. Fabulous trip - highly recommend it.
C. Jahnz., Sydney, NSW. Australia
Our self guided walking tour of Puglia was amazing. We were so impressed with the hotels booked, historical buildings, cave hotels and our romantic trullo. The trip notes were easy to follow, even if we did lose our way occasionally, steps were easily retraced. All part of the adventure. The restaurants booked were impressive. All the bookings and transfers occurred as planned, no hitches at all. Puglia is so interesting and this tour was the best way to see so much of this area.
T Reinhardt, VIC Australia
This was our 47th self guided trip and I wanted to say that this was a superbly memorable holiday for us. We felt we were treated royally in the delightful hotels we stayed in and that their positions in the centre of the historic towns were absolutely brilliant. We saw, in the day, 'snakes' of tour people being led up to a major site then back to the coach to spend the night in the middle of nowhere. Whereas we were there, passegiata-ing with the masses of Italians, seeing the streets and piazzas with the evening lights and, I must say that I could hardly sleep the first night there because of the sheer fun of actually living in a Trullo. We really felt that we had a good sense of actually having experienced these iconic places.
J. Watson., UK
Walking in Puglia was a very well planned trip, visiting the most interesting historic towns in the region - Lecce, Ostuni, Alberobello and Matera. The walks in the surrounding area were varied, interesting and easy, as the region is predominantly flat or undulating. We visited in October when temperatures were perfect for walking, although spring might be even better for wildflowers. The route maps and instructions were good, and clear arrangements for transfers made for a very hassle-free holiday. And of course the food and wine were great!
L. Stewart., Tarland, UK
Our holiday was a perfect mix of adventure and organisation. We felt to be travelling independently but most of the problems this might involve were already sorted. We were taken to new areas we would not have easily visited on our own. The holiday exceeded our expectations.
D. Davie,, UK
The towns visited and the walks on this trip are incredible. The accommodation and food were very, very good. The trip is well balanced with longish but not hard walks through exceptionally beautiful scenery, interspersed with exploring amazing towns. I would do it again with no hesitation! Puglia is so interesting and beautiful.
K Hallam, NSW, Australia
I recently went on an 8 day self guided Walking tour of Puglia with UTracks. I was with my daughter. We started in Lecce, a beautiful town in the southern part of Italy. Then went to Ostuni, Otranto, Alberobello(the town of Trulli) Finally in the amazing Matera. It was a wonderful trip, the walks were not difficult, except for the final walk in the ravine in Matera, it was very steep and quite slippery , even in the dry weather. Matera was wonderful to finish our trip. We made lots of interesting discoveries. The accommodation was very comfortable and most of the staff in the hotels and bnb's were very helpful. We enjoyed the food and the tasting of the local produce in Alberobello was delicious , also stayed in a Trulli in Alberobello. Transfers were great, trains were a bit of an adventure, not always on time and often replaced by buses. Overall a wonderful trip, highly recommend it.
J. Elion., Mosman, NSW. Australia.
Per Person, Twin Share