Overview for Puglia Coastal Trails: Otranto to Finisterra
The coastline of Puglia between Otranto and Gagliano del Capo offers superb walking opportunities taking in all the diversity that the region is famous for. Enjoy stunning views, crystal swimming spots, unknown villages waiting to be discovered and untouched nature. End your trip in glorious Lecce, with its Baroque palaces and Roman masterpieces.
- Walk along the fabulous Tratturi – ancient footpaths that run through orchards and olive groves
- Discover the Cipolline Path, a breathtaking walking trail overlooking the sea
- Explore historical sites including Roman villas, churches and fortresses
- Experience the city of Lecce with its Baroque palaces, Roman masterpieces and delicious cuisine
Itinerary for Puglia Coastal Trails: Otranto to FinisterraGo to top of page
Day 1: Arrival Otranto
Your Apulia walking holiday begins in the town of Otranto. If you land in Bari, you need to reach Bari Centrale train station by either train or bus. From there, you catch a train to Lecce, and then a direct bus to Otranto.
- Accommodation: Hotel San Giuseppe or similar
Day 2: Otranto Circular Walk
Today’s walk is a good warm-up hike, it takes you to discover the small Idro valley. The Idro river spring is about 5km from Otranto, in a location called Monte S. Angelo; the land you will be walking on is very fertile, with orchards, olive trees, oranges and a variety of vegetables. You begin the hike on the orographic left side of the river, upstream, cut into the olive groves and pass by the S. Angelo rock church, then descend along the right side of the stream, back to Otranto.
- Accommodation: Hotel San Giuseppe or similar
- Walking for the day: 8 km, 2-3 hrs, ↑100m ↓100m
Day 3: Otranto to Porto Badisco
Walking through the maze of the narrow alleys of the old town, you reach the port. Here a flat, gravel coastal path contours around a series of coves. You pass by several WWII bunkers and you can make a short detour to an interesting bauxite lake, going slightly inland. Following the coast, you have several swimming spots with crystal clear waters. You continue along the coast towards the Punta Palascia lighthouse. On clear days from here you can see the Albanian mountains across the Adriatic Sea – Punta Palascìa lighthouse is the easternmost point of Italy, only 71 km away from Albania.
- Accommodation: Tenuta Sant’Emiliano, Masseria Panareo or similar
- Walking for the day: 13 km, 4-5 hrs, ↑270m ↓240m
Day 4: Porto Badisco to Santa Cesarea Terme
The first stop of today’s walk is the beautiful inlet of Porto Badisco, just before the local grocery where you can take some great coffee and sandwiches for today’s picnic. Continue contouring the coast following a shepherd’s path where you will see the typical “pagliari”, round, flat-topped, drystone buildings where the shepherds used to sleep. After 6km you leave the coast, climbing up to the inland plateau. Here you follow narrow paths through the fields. At 8.5 km there is a good picnic spot in a little pine-tree forest that offers great shade on sunny days. The last section is on a surfaced road, descending to the Spa town of Santa Cesarea Terme. Here you can enjoy some great swimming spots next to the hotel.
- Accommodation: Grand Hotel Mediterraneo or similar
- Walking for the day: 13 km, 4 hrs, ↑200m ↓170m
Day 5: Santa Cesarea Terme to Marittima
Leave Santa Cesarea, climbing uphill on the surfaced road until you reach an old gravel/grass dry-stone walled road. Staying inland, you will follow narrow paths through the fields until you reach the Ancient Messapian town of Castro with its imposing high walls. Spend some time exploring the old town and maybe having lunch before descending to the port where you can go for a swim. Continue along the coast on a rocky trail to the Acquaviva cave; discover a beautiful hidden inlet and a fantastic swimming spot where a fresh water spring comes out at sea level. The last part of the path climbs up the thickly forested Acquaviva valley towards Marittima.
- Accommodation: Palazzo Vecchio B&B or similar
- Walking for the day: 12 km, 4-5 hrs, ↑310m ↓245m
Day 6: Marittima to Marina Serra
Today you initially follow a surfaced road that winds its way through olive groves. You then reach the first of several traditional “tratturi“, a system of ancient roads and stone-walled footpaths used by the locals to go down to the sea or to connect villages and orchards. The sea is in front of you when you descend to Tricase Porto, where you can taste a good “caffè in ghiaccio” (iced coffee) and go for a swim. From here you have some asphalt to today’s final destination: Marina Serra, a small coastal hamlet with great swimming spots.
- Accommodation: Il Rifugio dei Lavaturi or similar
- Walking for the day: 13.5 km, 4-5 hrs, ↑310m ↓370m
Day 7: Marina Serra to Gagliano del Capo/Lecce
The last day’s walk starts with a short uphill trail called “enemy’s path”, Sentiero del Nemico: the ideal place to lay an ambush to unexpected visitors in the old times. After some asphalt on the coastal road, the walk goes back inland on more ancient “tratturi”, finally reaching Novaglie, a nice rocky beach. Here starts the breath-taking Cipolliane Path, named after the caves you can visit along the way, that leads you to the Ciolo bridge, the last great swimming spot on this trip. From the tiny Ciolo cove, you walk up the Ciolo valley to Gagliano del Capo from where you take the train (2.5h, 5-10 EUR pp, not included) to Lecce for your last night in this beautiful Baroque city.
Note: there are limited train services to Lecce on Sundays during the spring and autumn. We will advise you upon booking whether booking a private transfer to Lecce with us is recommended.
- Accommodation: Grand Hotel di Lecce or similar
- Walking for the day: 12.5 km, 5 hrs, ↑530m ↓380m
Day 8: Departure
The trip and our services end after breakfast. Depart for the airport with public transport or book a private transfer with us.
Hotels for Puglia Coastal Trails: Otranto to FinisterraGo to top of page
Accommodation is in a mix of charming 3 and 4-star hotels and B&Bs. Many of the places chosen have a swimming pool. All rooms have en-suite facilities. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.
Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is included every day, dinner is included on Days 3 and 6. Throughout the trip, there are plenty of opportunities to taste the great local food and either pre-order a packed lunch at your accommodation or buy groceries from the villages you visit.
Travel for Puglia Coastal Trails: Otranto to FinisterraGo to top of page
If you land in Brindisi, you have several alternatives:
- Salento Easy Shuttle, which connects Brindisi Airport to Otranto
- STP bus or taxi to Brindisi train station, and then a Marozzi direct bus to Otranto
- Train from Brindisi train station to Lecce and then direct bus to Otranto
If you land in Bari, you need to reach Bari Centrale train station by either train or bus. From there, you catch a train to Lecce, and then a direct bus to Otranto.
Up-to-date train time tables are available at www.trenitalia.com
Airport transfers by public transport are recommended for this trip, as they are much cheaper compared to car transfers. You can also book a private airport transfer with us.
Hotel to hotel luggage transfer is included on all walking days. Please note however that when taking the train to Lecce on Day 7, you will be carrying your own luggage (which will be transferred from the hotel to Gagliano train station while you walk), so please pack accordingly.
Language: Italian. In big cities and resorts, many people speak English, but in remote areas, this might not be the case. However, most of the hotel personnel where we stay speak English and are ready to help you. You can always call our 24/7 helpline if there are any problems. Electric supply and plugs: 220V, 50hZ, two-pin round plugs. Currency: We strongly advise taking sufficient cash for your daily requirements. Banks and ATMs are available, and credit/debit card payments are widely accepted in towns and cities and big petrol station chains but might be limited at some of the villages we visit. Up-to-date travel advice on Italy is available here. Detailed travel information and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.
A comprehensive and reputable travel insurance policy is essential to your enjoyment and peace of mind while on an active holiday. It is highly recommended when booking with us that all group members have valid travel insurance which includes cover for all activities included in your trip. We have teamed up with to offer you adequate cover at a great value from a reputable insurer, and it takes only a few minutes to buy online.
Trip Info for Puglia Coastal Trails: Otranto to FinisterraGo to top of page
Difficulty Grade: Easy to Moderate
The route is relatively easy and accessible; Puglia is relatively flat and the elevation gains and losses will be minimal; on average you will walk 4-5 hours per day. The whole itinerary is mostly on paths and gravel roads with some tarmac sections. A basic level of fitness is required for enjoying the walks to the maximum (read more about difficulty grades).
We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to Go
You can start your holiday every day between 20 March and 27 July and between 1 September and 31 October. It is too hot for walking in August.
What to Bring
We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing no more than 25 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.
- Good hiking boots
- Hiking socks
- Several t-shirts (preferably breathable/fast drying)
- Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
- Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
- Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside the accommodation
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
- Hat/Baseball cap
- Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)
Included for Puglia Coastal Trails: Otranto to FinisterraGo to top of page
- 7 nights in charming B&Bs, 3 and 4-star hotels, some of them with swimming pools
- 7 breakfasts
- 2 dinners
- Luggage transfer on all walking days (from Day 3 to Day 7 Gagliano train station)
- Holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route notes and maps (digital copy sent by email and a hard copy delivered at first hotel)
- 24/7 phone support by our local office/representative
Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements
- Where individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable.
- This holiday is available for solo travellers. As costs are not shared, a supplement is payable on the standard trip cost
Please click the CHECK AVAILABILITY button above to see the price of the holiday and the different options, extras and supplements for your desired dates.
Options and Extras
- Private airport transfers can be arranged upon request
- Private transfer to Lecce on Day 7
- Additional nights before, during or after the walk
Other Trip-Related Costs
- Airport train and bus fares
- Train to Lecce on Day 7 (EUR 5-10 pp)
- Entrance fees for attractions and museums
- Flights, trains or buses wherever necessary
- Lunches and dinners not listed as ‘included’ above
- Drinks and snacks
- Personal equipment
- City tourist taxes
- Any items not explicitly mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme
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