Puglia small group tour, Italy

“A week long, guided, small group cultural tour of Puglia, Italy’s most elegant heel, staying in a fine mix of traditional and gorgeous places en route. ”

Highlights

Lecce | Salento | Otranto | Ostuni | Agnano | Alberobello and Trulli dwellings | Bari | Castel del Monte | Matera

Description of Puglia small group tour, Italy

This stunning part of Italy is the 400km long heel that is laden not only with coastal but also cultural gems, meaning that Puglia holidays have never a dull moment.

We spend eight days working our way up the ‘east’ coast, although Italians call this side of the peninsula ‘la Costa Adriatica’, starting in the Baroque town of Lecce and working our way up north and finally inland to our final point at Matera. Not that it ever feels like ‘work’ traversing this stunning part of Italy, travelling from one Baroque beauty to the next, including the ‘White City’ of Ostuni and the church filled delight of Otranto, where bells echo out over the Mediterranean.

Puglia is packed with UNESCO World Heritage Sites too. These vary greatly, from unique conical roofed houses, or trulli, in Alberobello, the magnificent Castel del Monte to the aforementioned Matera, where we tour around a wonderfully intact troglodyte or cave dwelling settlement overlooking Gravina canyon. Such natural delights are also a feature of our tour, with a couple of walking trails thrown into this pretty Puglia package, along the stunning Salento coast and through the vineyards and olive groves of the Ostuni countryside. Reminding us that local produce is not thin on the ground in Puglia either, which is why we include a couple of wonderful culinary experiences along the way.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

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13 Apr 2019
£ 1429
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20 Apr 2019
£ 1449
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11 May 2019
£ 1299
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19 May 2019
£ 1399
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25 May 2019
£ 1449
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08 Jun 2019
£ 1299
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06 Jul 2019
£ 1469
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31 Aug 2019
£ 1499
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07 Sep 2019
£ 1449
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14 Sep 2019
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21 Sep 2019
£ 1449
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05 Oct 2019
£ 1379
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19 Oct 2019
£ 1449
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02 Nov 2019
£ 1379
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Puglia small group tour, Italy

Accommodation & meals: During this trip we stay in accommodation that is locally run (sometimes family run) and staffed with people from the surrounding areas, which has a positive effect on employment levels and economy in the region. Most lodgings are located in proximity to the town centers and the UNESCO historic site we visit, which reduces further the need for carbon producing transfer vehicles on the trip. The majority of lunches and dinners are not included on this trip, this benefits the local economy; clients can enjoy various local authentic dishes and at the same time support numerous local businesses.

Community & Culture: There are plenty of opportunities for clients to support local enterprise while discovering the heel of Italy. In Lecce on day three we visit one of the last remaining laboratories where papier-mâché artwork is still created; money spent here directly supports and maintains this very traditional industry. We continue to support traditional industries, in the afternoon we have a tour around an old olive oil mill which concludes with an olive oil tasting. The following day we visit a ‘Masseria’, a typical Apulian farm, here we try their organically farmed produce in a converted Apulian farmhouse. Afterwards a pasta making class lesson is led by a local chef in a traditional trattoria in Ostuni allowing clients to practise and taste traditional recipes. On day 5 we visit a winery in Alberobello and sample the wines from the region.
 
When visiting Otranto and Matera we further support the local tourist industry by having specialist local guides as well as the local leader, this benefits the local community by providing employment opportunities whilst clients have the advantage of in-depth insight of the country.

Social responsibility: Our local partner is an active member of Addiopizzo; a grassroots organisation established by local businesses and private citizens who refuse to pay the ‘pizzo’ – mafia extortion money.

Environment: Buying bottled water has detrimental impacts on the environment; we can make a conscience effort to reduce plastic waste by not buying water. On this trip, water in all the accommodation we stopover in is drinkable. Clients who bring their own water bottles will be able to refill them daily, when out and about the local guide will be able to point out places where they can top up their water bottles, for example, this is possible in a lot of the main squares.

Regional cooking in Puglia has strong links to the land and sea; very little is imported from abroad therefore having a positive impact on the environment.

Group size: This small group tour has a maximum of 18 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people.

Activity: We try to operate on a ‘leave no trace’ basis, which involves being vigilant with proper disposal of waste and being sure to leave any flora, fauna and historical sites undamaged. By using local drivers for transfers, local restaurants and small shops, we make daily contributions to the economy and the community.

UK office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

3 Reviews of Puglia small group tour, Italy

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 30 Oct 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The visit to Metera was the most memorable because it is such an unusual place with a powerful atmosphere, very sensible to do this visit last as it is an absolute highlight.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


This is a busy and rewarding holiday but you do need to be prepared for a lot of walking and for some variable accommodation. Take some sturdy footwear and be prepared to walk even in towns. In Lecce the hotel was 15 minutes from the town centre and no bus. All the cities involved walking tours. There was a 5 hour walk from Ostuni and 3km of rather hard work walking in the caves. All this was enjoyable and better than too much coach travel which was kept to a minimum, but if you are of a certain age and not too able to walk, this isn't a good holiday. Also learn a bit of Italian - not much English in cafes etc.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Not hugely. Staying in local hotels was the only option as big chains weren't there. I suppose it helped local businesses to use local hotels. We ate in local restaurants (where else could we eat?) I felt that tourism was eroding some of the places and we added to that a bit - the fine mosaic at Otranto didn't benefit from our walking on part of it and more tourism will rather diminish the authenticity of Matera.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Great region - full of character if no important buildings or historical connections. Still under its spell and highly rewarding. Varied programme - and only one feeble activity - the pasta making- but helped by some nice wine. Pity the pasta was like eating soggy cardboard. Lecce a beautiful Baroque city; Otranto a nice resort and not its fault that it poured with rain; Ostuni looked good; walk to the Masseria though olive groves was nice; Alberobello - well not all that gripping but nice to visit; Free day saw us in lovely town of Martina Franca using the bus; Matera an absolute must. Warm and helpful guide. Choice of suggested restaurants a bit variable - one disaster two very nice and very reasonable. First hotel had dark uninviting bedroom; 2nd at Ostuni more acceptable 4 star; the Trullo was interesting but not very comfortable (no kettle for instance); the cave hotel at Matera had super town view but not much comfort. The free day at Alberobello was not great - nothing to do for so long a time in the town so a bus ride to two other towns which seemed a rather limited option though both were nice and there was a good walk suggested between them but Albeobello transport wise is problematic as no trains for 2 years and only buses which are difficult to use for non Italian speakers. Suggested excursion to sea side depended on enough sharing 80 euro taxi. 5 star for region - don't hesitate. However a bit less for quality of accommodation and a rather cop out 'free day'

Reviewed on 09 Sep 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


My time in Polignano

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If you are worried about comfort and quality of the hotels, don’t book this tour!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very disappointing and think the holiday was over priced.

Read the operator's response here:

We would like to thank Verity for her feedback, although we regret that she did not enjoy her tour in Puglia and that it did not meet her expectations. We are very sorry that she was disappointed with the accommodation; the hotels used on the trip are usually seen to be of a good standard by our clients and we have not received feedback of this nature in the past and we feel this is reassuring.

We are, however, genuinely sorry that Verity's experience was not so positive; at the beginning of each season use client and staff feedback is used to review each property used on this tour, and if any concerns are raised, these will be addressed and dealt with accordingly.

Reviewed on 24 Oct 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The varuety of the programme. Towns like Ostuni, Otranto, Matera were fascinatingly different. Also the local experiences of food and wine tasting.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


There's a lot more walking than is indicated in the brochure. Not really suitatble for anyone with walking problems.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Hard to tell, but probably.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very good. Excellent guide. Nice mixed group. Great taster for an underrated part of Italy.

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