Tour description

PUGLIA SMALL GROUP TOURS

Experience the Southern Italy lifestyle with a small group of 12/14 participants only! Distinctive and delightful, with crystalline seas, pretty countryside and endless sunshine, Puglia is a land of natural beauty, warm hospitality and amazing food and wine. A unique, much-loved southern region.Dramatic mountains, Byzantine rock-hewn churches, sun-baked olive groves, stunning Romanesque architecture and some of Italy’s best beaches are tempting more and more visitors to the exciting little-known regions. The high heel of the Italian boot looks and feels like nowhere else in Italy.

Colorful, exotic Puglia is the beguiling and stimulating place, with its own distinctive food, architecture and atmosphere. Its landscapes have an appealingly elemental quality – stark rocks meeting clean beaches lapped by crystal-clear water; gigantic olive trees spiraling up from dark red soil fringed by vivid wildflowers; fragrant pine forests opening onto chalk-white sands. Nature’s colors are bold in Puglia, and man-made shapes are simple – with chunky, cubic houses and conical-roofed cottages dotting the countryside. Its extensive coastline bears the marks of many conquering invaders:the Normans, the Spanish, the Turks, the Swabians and the Greeks.

Sun and sea, food, wine and quality of life – explore this diverse and captivating region with a small group tour.

We have a real passion for Puglia & Basilicata regions and look forward to sharing it with you!

SMALL GROUP TOUR HIGHLIGHTS & INCLUSIONS: 10 DAYS/9 NIGHTS
  • Guaranteed departures small group travel: small, intimate group of 12/14 participants only!!
  • More than 10 included sightseeing tours & cultural experiences
  • Tour of BARI with its historical heritage and the FISH MARKET
  • Wine tasting of PRIMITIVO WINES in MANDURIA & visit to the WINE MUSEUM
  • Visit CASA CISTERNA & CHIESA RUPESTRE in MATERA
  • Home -hosted lunch in a WORKING FARM with taste and demonstration of local BURRATA cheese
  • Marvelling at the Baroque splendor of LECCE
  • Visit to an ancient PALAZZO in LECCE
  • Experience the PAPIER MACHE WORKSHOP
  • Soak up the beauty of MATERA with its CAVE DWELLINGS
  • Discover MARTINA FRANCA and magical TRANI
  • Visit the marvels of GALATINA- A mind-blowing Giotto-like experience!
  • Dine in traditional restaurants and taste authentic REGIONAL CUISINE
  • Fairy tale white city of OSTUNI
  • OLIVE OIL TASTING in Apulian MASSERIA with its OLD OIL MILL
  • Falling in love with POLIGNANO A MARE
  • Admiring the imposing Medieval UNESCO CASTEL DEL MONTE
  • Losing yourself among the iconic TRULLI in ALBEROBELLO
  • BREAD EXPERIENCE in the medieval town center of MATERA
  • Visit popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Local Tour Manager, experienced to accompany you throughout your journey
  • Transportation on tour, via private air-conditioned luxury 9 or 16 seats motorcoach
  • Transfers while overseas, baggage transfers & porterage are included
  • Included gratuity for city guides only
  • No hidden extras
  • Our divine included meals: All breakfasts, 3 foodie experiences,4 lunches, 4 dinners (main meals include regional wine, mineral water, espresso coffee or tea only)
  • Activity level: Good/Moderate
  • Terms & conditions/Single supplement: (View here) & FAQ (View here)
  • Trip interruption & cancellation insurance is not included . We highly recommend Travelex-indurance.com to protect your vacation
  • Purchase of European Travel & Health Insurance is strongly recommended
  • The tour begins on Day 1 in Bari at 10.30 and end with morning transfers at scheduled times to Bari airport and train station from Trani on Day 10.We recommend arriving a day or more prior to the beginning of the tour
  • Personalize your adventure with a Pre-and Post Trip Extension to CALABRIA 4 nights from only € 1,100 per person
OUR UNIQUE ACCOMMODATIONS
DAY-BY-DAY TOUR ITINERARY

 

UNKNOWN PUGLIA & MATERA DELIGHTS TRAVEL ITINERARY

TOUR LIMITED TO 14 PARTICIPANTS ONLY FROM BARI TO BARI

Day 1: BUONGIORNO PUGLIA – WELCOME TO BARI & THE SALENTO PENINSULA

We meet in BARI outside the Palace Hotel at 10.30 for a fascinating panoramic bus tour followed by walking tour through the ancient alleys, visiting the “Basilica of St. Nicholas“, one of the most remarkable examples of Romanesque architecture, the exterior of the “Swabian Castle” built in Norman times and the fish market. Following an experience on seeing making Apulian “Orecchiette” and a taste of local focaccia bread, we’ll drive to the elegant town of LECCE, known as “The Florence of the South“on account of its astonishing number of baroque and Renaissance-style buildings. Spend the first three nights of your tour at the central historical 5 stars hotel “RISORGIMENTO RESORT” or similar. A Welcome drink is included this evening in an HISTORICAL PALAZZO followed by dinner in a local tavern where you’ll feel like one of the family. Eat like a local! Overnight stay in LECCE

Day 2: LECCE AND ITS BAROQUE SPLENDORS

Southern Italians have long known historic LECCE and its glorious profusion of Baroque mansions and churches.A beautiful baroque town with a remarkable architectural confection of palaces and churches intricately sculpted from the soft local sandstone. In the morning, we take a private tour around the city with to have the key sights explained to us. Lecce is known for its crafts, most notably papier-mache’ figurines, and this display is dedicated to explaining the skills and artistry that go into a local product. After an included light lunch in a local bistro, the remainder of the day is free for independent exploration.Dinner tonight is on your own.Overnight stay in LECCE

Day 3: THE MARVELS OF GALATINA, OTRANTO & THE SALENTO PENINSULA

This morning we depart to the town of GALATINA, an important Greek colony in the Middle Ages and nowadays renowned for its splendid church of ST CATERINA D’ALESSANDRIA which contains early 15th-century frescoes with scenes from the Old and New Testaments.A mind-blowing Giotto-like experience!Our second Galatinese gem is the local pastry, a sweet custard treat called Pasticciotto Galatina which we try today. Move to CAPE OTRANTO to visit a recently restored 19th century lighthouse from where on clear days you can see the mountains of Albania. You will end the day in OTRANTO, a charming harbor town overlooking the turquoise Adriatic sea. After an included lunch in a popular fishing restaurant, you’ll have time on your own for visiting the stunning Cathedral where, in the interior you will find a remarkable 12th century mosaic floor depicting the Tree of Life balanced on the back of two elephants or the central Aragonese Castle.The evening is all yours to head to the old town for a meal or taking in the atmosphere of the evening “stroll”-LA DOLCE VITA !!!Overnight stay in LECCE

Day 4: PRIMITIVO WINE TASTING IN MANDURIA, BREAD MAKING EXPERIENCE & BIBLICAL MATERA 

Leaving beautiful Puglia region, we drive to nearby Basilicata and the town of MATERA. Even for Italians, Basilicata is off the beaten track and little known, despite being portrayed as Biblical Palestine in countless film epics.Our first stop is a well-known winery located in the MANDURIA region for a tasting of their wines “Primitivo” and a visit to the wine culture museum. Continue to a local BAKERY in MATERA for hands on making bread made in old wood-burning oven. Our hotel for the next two nights is “CORTE SAN PIETRO HOTEL” or similar, located in the heart of the Sassi district, said to be one of the world’s oldest towns, inhabited since the Paleolithic Age.This evening we will meet for a delicious meal in a local tavern.Overnight stay in MATERA

Day 5: OFF THE BEATEN PATH THROUGH THE SASSI IN MATERA

MATERA is a fabulous troglodyte town of prehistoric grottoes, cave tabernacles, abandoned hovels and Renaissance houses, all excavated into the luminous limestone tufa. The rock-cut cave dwellings known as the SASSI, date back to Byzantine times. With the help of a locally-grown expert, we’ll learn the stories of old and new Matera. We’ll visit “Casa Cisterna” an ancient cave dwelling which tells a tale of poverty, hardship and struggle, whose history is best immortalized in writer Carlo Levi’s superb book “Christ stopped at Eboli“, comparing the Sassi to Dante’s Inferno. Today Matera contains some 3000 habitable caves. After an included lunch with local products, you’ll visit a”Chiesa Rupestre“,a cave church-featuring medieval frescoes with their own legends that we will learn about. Rest of the day is at leisure in beautiful Matera. Overnight stay in MATERA

Day 6: UNESCO ALBEROBELLO, BURRATA CHEESE EXPERIENCE,HOME-HOSTED LUNCH & MARTINA FRANCA

Today’s visit takes you to the town of ALBEROBELLO, famous for its district of Trulli (about 1400), spread over the hillside to the south of the town. These square structures have conical roofs covered with “Chiancarelle”, grey-limestone roof slabs. They are crowned by differently shaped pinnacles, each with a magical significance.Here you’ll enjoy a demonstration of Burrata cheese making in a local working farm followed by an included home-hosted lunch. Our charming local tour guide will show you an 18th century small Trullo house, giving something of the atmosphere of trullo life, with sweet, rounded rooms that include a re-created bakery, bedroom and kitchen.We head on to MARTINA FRANCA in the early afternoon to enjoy the piazza, appreciate the elegant Baroque architecture and wander around its picturesque streets. You’ll spend the next two nights in the white town of OSTUNI at the “HOTEL LA TERRA” or similar. Dinner is on your own this evening. Overnight stay in OSTUNI

Day 7: “WHITE TOWN” OF OSTUNI, OLIVE OIL IN MASSERIA & WINE TASTING IN MAGICAL LOCOROTONDO

Breakfast in hotel. This morning we take a stroll with our local guide through the narrow alleys and steep stairways of picturesque OSTUNI, a town which shines like a pearly white tiara, extending across three hills with the magnificent gem of a late-Gothic 15th century cathedral. Following this, we visit the small village of LOCOROTONDO, considered one of the most picturesque ones in Italy boasting an extraordinarily beautiful and whisper-quiet pedestrianized historical center, where everything is shimmering white aside from the blood-red geraniums that tumble from the window boxes. After lunch on your own and an included wine tasting, we return to OSTUNI to visit a locally MASSERIA farm for an olive oil tastings and viewing an underground ancient olive mill.Dinner is included in a local pizzeria.Eat like a real Italian!! Overnight stay in OSTUNI

Day 8: POLIGNANO A MARE, UNESCO CASTEL DEL MONTE & TRANI

After breakfast, we head north to the MURGIA valley. Wide horizons, bold colors, sometimes harsh and a bit lunar.Such is the landscape of the Murgia Valley from the Imperial Puglia, dominated by the presence of Frederick II .We start the day with a visit to the picturesque fishing village of POLIGNANO A MARE, perched on limestone cliffs, boasting stunning views and colorful narrow streets. After an Italian gelato treat, continue to the unique masterpiece of medieval architecture, UNESCO Heritage site of CASTEL DEL MONTE which dominates the countryside of Andria from its 540 meters on sea level. Spend the last two nights of your tour vacation in the fishing town of TRANI ,staying at the central hotel ” MARE RESORT” or similar.The remainder of the day is at leisure.Overnight stay in TRANI

Day 9:  COLORS OF PUGLIA: LIVE THE MAGIC OF TRANI 

Breakfast in hotel. Morning with your tour guide for a walking tour of beautiful TRANI. Start to explore Trani from the Cathedral of San Pellegrino, a Romanesque gem by the sea, the Swabian Castle, an imposing fortress built by Frederick II. Behind the port, you can explore the Jewish quarter, a maze of small alleyways,synagogues and artisans’shops.The elegant port is the town’s beating heart.Tonight we’ll celebrate your Apulian adventure with a farewell dinner at one of the typical regional restaurants in Trani. Overnight stay in TRANI

Day 10: ARRIVEDERCI PUGLIA!

Morning transfers to Bari airport and train station.Personalize your adventure with a Pre-and Post Trip Extension to CALABRIA 4 nights from only € 1,100 per person

TOUR DATES & PRICING

TOUR PRICE: € 3,100      SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: € 400       Currency Converter 

Price is per person based on double room occupancy for 10 days/9 nights

View our 2020 tour dates and availability here TOUR CALENDAR

PUGLIA & BASILICATA

PUGLIA & BASILICATAMany travelers who claim to “know” Italy have never set foot out of Rome. But plenty of Italophiles say that the fun starts once you leave Rome’s southern city limits. Italians refer to the part of Italy south of Rome as the Mezzogiorno, which means midday and refers to the hot sun that blazes down Read more

Tour review scores and score breakdown

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Guest reviews are written by our customers after their tour of 10 DAYS PUGLIA SMALL GROUP TOUR: "UNKNOWN PUGLIA & MATERA DELIGHTS".

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Guest reviews

  • Small Group Tours & Shore Trips in Sicily, Malta, South Italy & Portugal
    2014-10-12

    "Our South Italy tour was a wonderful experience thanks to the excellent planning by Secret Italia.."-Pamela & Mike Brophy ( CANADA)

    All ECCELLENTE