The coastal gems of undiscovered Italy
Situated in the 'heel' of Italy, lesser-known Puglia is a glorious region of labyrinthine ports, whitewashed villages and ancient historical dwellings. Take in its fabulous attractions during an all-inclusive stay on the coast.
Depart on your flight to Bari then transfer to the 4* Pietrablu Resort & Spa, which enjoys a splendid coastal setting close to Polignano a Mare. Puglia is nicknamed the 'wine cellar of Italy', and you may notice that the railway lines run through the middle of vineyards and among the olive groves. The region's rugged, bright coastline is home to secluded, deserted beaches - landing points for 2,000 years of invasion - and there is an unhurried and relaxed way of life here, as you will see in the day-to-day activities of friendly locals. Your stay is on an all inclusive basis, and after checking in you are free to unwind ahead of dinner.
This morning you visit the beautiful village of Locorotondo, considered to be one of the most beautiful towns in the whole of Italy, offering mesmerising views across the surrounding valley.
Continue to Martina Franca, with its stunning Old Town, a warren of narrow lanes where each twist and turn brings you face to face with extravagant baroque architecture.
Later enjoy a visit to Polignano a Mare, historically one of the most important ancient settlements in the area, and admire this beautiful little town perched on top of a cliff. Here you are at leisure to explore the centre with its charming pavement cafés or perhaps make a visit to some of the prehistoric caves that litter the coastline.
Today's excursion is to Lecce, a beautiful city known for its baroque streets, attractive squares and leafy lanes. The rail journey down from Polignano a Mare is impressively scenic; travelling along the coast, the train passes villages of whitewashed houses and olive groves. In Lecce you have a guided tour, with sights including the Piazza del Duomo, the main square dominated by the bell tower of Lecce's cathedral, and the quaint Old Town, before time at leisure to get lost amidst the stone gargoyles and gremlins adorning the unique 17th century buildings.
You could also perhaps visit Lecce's Roman amphitheatre - an archaeological treasure part excavated in 1938 which tells the story of the spectacles on show here to entertain the soldiers stationed in the town.
Enjoy an excursion to Alberobello, a charming town packed with as many as 1,400 'trulli' - peculiar cone-shaped stone houses. These unusual homes line the surrounding hillsides, and have UNESCO World Heritage status. Resembling large stone beehives, they were originally built without any kind of mortar so they could be quickly dismantled and easily rebuilt. This allowed the occupiers to evade tax collectors when word spread of their approach and the countryside here is covered in thousands of trulli. After a half-day tour, your afternoon is at leisure.
Travel to Bari, Puglia's capital where you enjoy a tour of the Old Town, tucked onto a headland edging out into the Adriatic Sea. Home to the city's 11th century church, the Romanesque Basilica di San Nicola, Castello Svevo, or 'Swabian Castle', as well as a couple of grand piazzas, you'll be transported back in time as you hear about the stories that rose this old port city to economic prominence.
After your guided tour you have some time at leisure to explore the delightful port town of Bari, before you travel back to Polignano a Mare by train.
Your tour today visits remote Matera, a town in Basilicata set in a small canyon. Much less visited than other destinations in Puglia, Matera best known for its 'Sassi' - ancient troglodyte caves used as dwellings since the Palaeolithic era. Over the last decade many of the Sassi have been adapted into fantastic houses, hotels and restaurants and you enjoy a guided tour before an afternoon to explore at your own pace.
Now deserted, these dwellings were inhabited as recently as the 1980s and are a wonderfully-well preserved reminder of the past, so much so that in 1993 they were awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.
You are free to relax at the hotel today, why not head to the private beach and relax before your journey tomorrow, soaking up the last of the Italian atmosphere. This evening enjoy a final group meal together.
After breakfast this morning, check out and transfer to Bari airport for the flight back to the UK, where your tour comes to an end.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 28 verified reviews
Well organised, interesting tour of some beautiful cities and towns in Puglia Including Alberobello and Matera
It was an interesting area to visit. The weather could have been a little better.
Package was great lovely hotel our guide very good friendly and efficient but the 3"local guides were very poor, no"whisperers" and with 36 people in the group most could not here them. Got the places at the wrong time for example a cathedral was closing as we got there and she knew what time it wa due to close another finished the tour a long way from where it was suggested we could eat our packed lunches were a slight alteration could have ended up close, big thing in Bari is the remains of the city walls and the one remaining gate but we went nowhere near them, in one cathedral we were taken to the crypt to see St Nicolas tomb but the was a Mass on and there was a mass, could not move or see a thing and It was quite disrespectful for those participating in the ceremony. Also they all stopped not always interesting places and talked to long.
Excellent in every respect
Good food and lovely room. Disappointing walking tours which were too long and we couldn't hear the guides
Excellent organisation and stress free experience
Good tour although sometimes a little too much in one day. Why the rest day on the last day? Felt that half a day at the resort would have been enough. Polignare nearest town not Very interesting. Two train journeys in one day too much and I see this has been altered for next year. Matera very tiring. However we really enjoyed the holiday and saw so much. Your tour leader was exceptional. Not sure about the hotel.
Mostly very good. Unfortunately the 4 star hotel was completely isolated and in our opinion, the quality (not the quantity )of the food provided was not 4 star standard. Opinions amongst the guests were mixed about this, Due to the hotel's isolation, it was not possible to go out at night to eat at a restaurant, unless one booked a taxi
Chosen places to visit gave a good insight into the history and culture of the area. The guides were humorous and generally easy to listen to (however vox boxes are easier to follow guided tours) The chosen accommodation was good and gave us evening chances to socialise with other members in the group over dinner and drinks.
Loved the area unspoilt by tourism
The coastal gems of undiscovered Italy