fbpx
Skip to content
Puglia Highlights: Matera to Lecce 33

Puglia Highlights on Foot: Matera to Lecce

Overview

This walking holiday in Puglia and Matera will take you on some of the most spectacular paths of Southern Italy and let you visit two UNESCO towns – Matera and Alberobello, as well as the beautiful samples of the southern Baroque architecture – Lecce and Martina Franca. In the last few days, you will enjoy the cooling presence of the Adriatic and Ionian sea.

  • The rock churches of Matera
  • The fairy trulli of Alberobello and Ostuni (the White City)
  • Otranto and its beautiful coast
  • The city of Lecce with its Baroque palaces, Roman masterpieces and delicious cuisine

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Matera

Individual arrival to Matera and accommodation at your hotel. The so-called City of Rocks has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1991 and the European Capital of Culture 2019. Walking through Matera, you can find the ancient public oven where the housewives used to bake bread until the 1950s. Don’t miss the chance to taste the local bread!

Day 2: The Park of Rock Churches | 10 km

You will start your walking holiday in Puglia by hiking down and up the ravine and coming up to Murgia Timone, inside the Natural Park Chiese Rupestri (Rock Churches) of Matera. Today’s route will take you along an enchanting panoramic trail, rich in naturalistic and stunning views over the Sassi, in frescoes and cave churches. After walking, devote the last hours of the day to exploring the history of Sassi. To get a good knowledge of Matera, we recommend a visit to Casa Noha, a site preserved by the Italian FAI, where video presentations illustrate the evolution of the Sassi over time.

Day 3: Matera – Locorotondo – Alberobello | 14 km

In the morning private transfer to the Itria Valley, a territory that tries to keep its ancient balance between man and nature, focusing on a local development that emphasizes its architectural and craft peculiarities. The path will take you to the village of Locorotondo by a walk onto the Greenway of Puglia Aqueduct, the longest aqueduct in Europe. In Locorotondo, called so because it was “Luogo Rotondo” (round place) on the ancient lithographs, we suggest you visit the historic centre, made of concentric lanes and unusual low-roof houses, the “cummerse”. Back by train to Alberobello, where you will spend the next two nights.

  • Overnight in Alberobello (Hotel Trullidea or similar)
  • Walking for the day: 14 km, 3 hrs, ↑140 m ↓110 m

Day 4: Alberobello – Martina Franca – Alberobello | 17 km

Today’s walk will start from Alberobello to proceed southward along country roads and short stretches of gently sloping paths. One of the most beautiful views will be the Bosco Selva, the “green heart” of the area and a rare example of the vast oak forest that once covered the entire surrounding area. You will continue towards Martina Franca among the high dry stone walls typical of this area and the wide pastures that preserve ancient Trulli, you will climb to Monte San Martino to reach the elegant old town, a splendid example of Puglia Baroque art. Return to Alberobello for overnight by public transport (train or bus).

  • Overnight in Alberobello (Hotel Trullidea or similar)
  • Walking for the day: 17 km, 4.5 hrs, ↑130 m ↓100 m

Day 5: Alberobello – Ostuni | 12 km

After breakfast, private transfer to the starting point close to a Masseria, an old farmhouse, in the Natural Park Dune Costiere. Hike through fields and crops – here, the soil is rich and generous, and each season can give an incredible variety of fruits and landscapes. After a short break in a small family-run farm with some tasting of local products, you will continue up the hills, through the forest, climbing slowly towards the white Ostuni and its hilltop old town. On the way, you can also take a detour to the Sanctuary of San Biagio, an almost hidden rock settlement dating back to the Middle Ages. You will also pass close to the Archaeological Park of Santa Maria di Agnano.

  • Overnight in Ostuni (Hotel La Terra or similar)
  • Walking for the day: 12 km, 3 hrs, ↑160 m ↓70 m. In order to guarantee the tastings, we may change a bit the programmes on days 5 & 6

Day 6: Ostuni – National Park Dune Costiere – Lecce | 7 km

Today a short trail, mainly on gravel roads downhill towards the sea, will take you to the edge of the Regional Natural Park Dune Costiere. This protected area between Ostuni and Fasano, with its numerous natural habitats, ancient olive groves, historic Masseria farms and underground oil mills, develops an important role in environmental protection and relevant, sustainable economic development. In an ancient farmhouse, you will taste extra virgin olive oil, visit the underground oil mill supposedly dating back to Roman times, the private museum, and the small 18th-century church with its altar made of a white Lecce stone. A private transfer to Lecce. After check-in, you will have time to explore the capital of Salento Baroque, where you will stay for the last two nights.

  • Overnight in Lecce (Arco Vecchio B&B / B&B Palazzo Bignami or similar)
  • Walking for the day: 7 km, 2 hrs, ↑10 m ↓140 m. In order to guarantee the tastings, we may change a bit the programmes on days 5 & 6

Day 7: Lecce – Otranto – Lecce | 8 km

After breakfast, you will reach Otranto by train or public bus. You will spend the day in and around the most eastern city of Italy. There will be unexpected discoveries and unspoiled landscapes down the coast until you see the most eastern tip of Italy: the fascinating Cape of Otranto. Here the currents of the two seas, Adriatic and Ionian, separate and come together in the incredible scenery. You will head back to Otranto, not before an impressive detour to its now-famous, abandoned bauxite quarry or Blue Lake for a breathtaking picture full of colours.
Before returning to Lecce, still by local transport, we recommend visiting Otranto’s Cathedral with the impressive mosaic of Pantaleone and the Castle.

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.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in a mix of charming guesthouses and 3-star hotels and guesthouses. 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.

Click to view default hotels

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.

Meals

Breakfast is included every day, as well as tastings on days 5 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.

Difficulty & terrain

The route is fairly easy and accessible; Puglia is relatively flat, and the elevation gains and losses will be minimal. The tour is suitable for anyone with a minimum of training. The length of a walking day ranges from a minimum of 7 to a maximum of 17 km, and walking times are between 2.5 and 4 hours. You follow mainly dirt paths and country lanes; rarely, and only when strictly necessary – busier roads (read more about difficulty grades). Important: in order to guarantee the included tastings, we may reverse the programme and the route of days 5 & 6.

When to go

You can start your holiday every day year-round. However, please note that in July and August it is quite hot for walking. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

The closest airports to the starting point are Bari and Brindisi.

By train or bus
  • The Bari Palese airport is located at about 60km and is connected by shuttle services of various companies or, having reached the central station of Bari with the Ferrovie del Nord Barese, you can take the FAL train to central Matera (about 80 min). NB: on Sundays and public holidays there are no trains but only a few buses.
  • Brindisi Casale airport is about 150 km away, from here you can reach Matera by bus passing Bari Palese airport.
  • From Lecce you can take the train to Bari Central Station and then change. Or use the local bus company Elios. There are direct buses from Lecce to Brindisi airport by SITA
  • Up-to-date train time tables are available at  www.trenitalia.com

Inclusions

Included

  • 7 nights in charming guesthouses and hotels
  • 7 breakfasts
  • Tasting on day 5 and olive oil tasting on day 6
  • Luggage transfer on all walking days (1 piece up to 20 kg per person)
  • Private transfers and public transport as per itinerary
  • Travel app with maps, route notes and tracks (please note, no paper documents are provided)
  • Phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Flights, trains or buses wherever necessary
  • Lunches and dinners not listed as ‘included’ above
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment
  • City tourist taxes – payable on the spot
  • Any items not explicitly mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Private airport transfers can be arranged upon request
  • Additional nights before, during or after the walk
  • Local tourist taxes
  • Entrance fees for attractions and museums

Reviews

[WPCR_INSERT] Read more reviews