Walking in Puglia & Matera

8 days
from
£1,049
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Traveller ratings
4.7 / 5 from 62 reviews >
Trip code: 
TEV
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Walking & Trekking
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Fairytale trulli houses, picturesque farmland and quaint villages

In the heart of the Mediterranean lie Puglia and Basilicata, two unique and still largely undiscovered regions of Italy nestled between the emerald waters of the Adriatic and Ionian seas. This trip gives us the chance to explore the very best that these Italian gems have to offer, from the rock churches and UNESCO Sassi district of the beautiful city of Matera, to the conic Trulli houses of the lush Itria valley and the white hilltop town of Ostuni. Aside from the perfect mix of cultural discovery and gentle walking, we will have the chance to sample the legendary local cuisine and delicious wines that make this region a true food lovers’ paradise.

Highlights

  • Visit the UNESCO towns of Matera and Alberobello
  • Walk in tranquil countryside past trulli, vineyards and olive groves 
  • Indulge in the succulent and fresh local cuisine

 

Key information

  • 5 nights 3-star hotels and 2 nights converted farmhouse or 4-star hotel depending on departure dates (see accommodation section for more info)
  • 5 days guided gentle walking; 1 free day
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Low altitude throughout
  • Travel by private minivan, bus and train

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 2 dinners and 1 wine and produce tasting 
  • All accommodation
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Transfers for group flights

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Local city taxes (approx. €10)
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

5

Days of Walking & Trekking
Pace:

Leisurely: 3-4km/2-3miles an hour

Terrain:

Low altitude; well marked trails; some uneven rocky terrain

Day by day breakdown
Day 27.0km/4.0miles
Day 312.0km/7.0miles
Day 46.0km/3.0miles
Day 610.0km/6.0miles
Day 713.0km/8.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Matera
to
Alberobello
  • Day 1

    Start Matera.

    Our hotel is located in the heart of the UNESCO listed historic centre. There is usually time to wander through the narrow alleys of the town’s famous cave-dwelling district and enjoy the unique atmosphere of this enchanting city at night.

  • Day 2

    Short walk in Matera’s Rock Churches Park and guided sightseeing in the town's marvellous UNESCO 'Sassi' district; wine and produce tasting.

    We start the week with a short hike to the Murgia plateau, a vast protected area home to over 150 rupestrian churches dating back to the 8th century, once inhabited by hermits and adorned with Byzantine frescoes. We descend down the Matera's canyon until we reach a suspension bridge which allows us to cross to the other side of the valley. We then hike to the top of the ravine following a pathway which ends with a spectacular viewpoint of Matera's Sassi district. In the afternoon we walk back to Matera for a guided tour: accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide, we wander through the narrow alleys of the town’s famous UNESCO cave-dwelling district and learn of the history of this fascinating place. The rest of the day is free to discover the city at our own pace. Late afternoon we enjoy a typical produce and wine tasting.

    ** Please note that at the time of writing the suspension bridge connecting Matera to the canyon trail is not accessible due to a landslide. In the event it does not reopen in time for your departure, complimentary transfers will be arranged to the trailhead and back. This would result in the walk being of slightly shorter duration.**

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Walk in the outskirts of Matera exploring prehistoric caves and rock villages.

    Today we will transfer by train and bus to the outskirts of Matera, where our walk starts. The trail will take us through dramatic rugged landscape made of limestone, gravel paths, fields and almond and olive groves, in an area which was once home to prehistoric men and cave dwellings. The area is particularity picturesque in spring when many species of butterfly, orchid and cyclamen are found.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Morning visit to the white city of Ostuni; afternoon walk through olive groves and vineyards; visit Agnano Archaeological Park.

    In the morning we take a private transfer to the white city of Ostuni, famous for the dazzling effect of its whitewashed houses. After some free time spent discovering this elegant hilltop town at our own pace, we explore the beautiful surrounding countryside on foot, walking through ancient olive groves and vineyards overlooking the Adriatic coast. Along the route we stop for a visit at the archaeological park of S. M. Agnano. This evening we have a delicious dinner and overnight in a beautiful Masseria – a renovated farmhouse typical of the Apulian region

    **Please note that on selected departures the group will stay overnight in a 4-star hotel in the historic centre of Ostuni instead of the masseria. See the Accommodation section in the Trip Notes for more information**.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Free day. Optional activities include visiting the Baroque city of Lecce or the picture-perfect coastal village of Polignano a Mare.

    Today is free to discover the many jewels of this beautiful region. We recommend to take a day trip to the beautiful Baroque city of Lecce, known as the 'Florence of the South', and home to over 40 churches, countless palaces, as well as a Roman amphitheatre and theatre. Alternatively, you could travel to the picturesque town of Polignano a Mare, a shining gem on the coast of the Valle d’Itria, perched atop a 20m high limestone cliff above the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic. Both of these destinations are reachable by train from Ostuni. In the evening we will regroup to enjoy a delicious dinner in Ostuni or at the masseria.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

    Morning walk to the coast; free time at the beach (in season) and transfer to the UNESCO town of Alberobello.

    This morning we walk from the masseria to the coast, where we have time to relax on a beach or swim in the mild waters of the Adriatic sea (depending on the season). In the afternoon we make our way to Alberobello, home to 1500 Trulli (conical roofed houses) that have made its historical centre a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The origin of these funny-looking stone dwellings is obscure, however, local farmers claim they were originally built in an effort to evade taxes. When the tax inspectors were in the area, the dry stone walls could easily be dismantled by simply removing the key stone above the door and quickly rebuilt after the inspection. Overnight in Alberobello.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Walk over the hills of the Itria Valley, dotted with olive trees, vineyards and trulli; visit Locorotondo, known for its superb wine.

    Our destination today is Locorotondo. Sitting on the top of a hill, it is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and is renowned for its white wine and Cantina Sociale, the local winery. Following narrow country lanes, we walk over the rolling hills of the idyllic Itria Valley, dotted with olive trees, vineyards and trulli. At the end of the day, we take a short train ride back to Alberobello. 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    End Alberobello.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Combine this trip with

Essential Info

Visas

Italy

No visa required for British passport holders.
Please note in Italy it is compulsory to carry ID with you at all times.

Vaccinations

Italy

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 2 dinners and 1 wine and local produce tasting are included.

In Puglia you will find genuine regional cooking that has strong links to the land and the sea. To give you just a small list of the types of food on offer in Puglia: Bread from the Murge, durum wheat pasta, olives, the pasta delicacy Orecchiette served with a sauce of turnip-tops or fresh tomato and sheep's ricotta-cheese, Cavatelli with pulses, aubergine and parmesan bake, grilled fish and seafood, burrata (soft mozzarella and cream cheese), plus excellent wines. This region is a food lovers paradise and the abundance of delicious vegetables makes it a perfect destination for vegetarians! On this trip, there will be many opportunities to taste the best local specialities, in particular during the produce and wine tasting and the traditional dinner included in the itinerary.

Weather

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level 2, Leisurely/Moderate

During the days we walk for 3 to 6 hours (including lunch and photo stops). The terrain and type of path will vary from manmade paved tracks and tarmac to gravel. Please note that the terrain on the trails near Matera can be uneven or rocky so trekking shoes or boots with good grip are required for these walks. The walks are easy, although some ascents and descents should be expected, so a reasonable amount of fitness is required. Please be aware that Puglia can also be very warm, possibly reaching 30 degrees in the summer months between July and September. Walking hours stated in the itinerary are given as approximates only. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

3 and 4-star hotels and converted farmhouse

All hotels on this trip have been specially selected for their location, character and comfort. We stay in renovated traditional buildings which give a real taste of the typical Apullian architecture.

In Matera we usually stay at the 3-star Hotel Sassi which offers tastefully renovated cavelike rooms in the heart of the historic UNESCO district. 

In Ostuni we usually spend two nights at Masseria Morrone, a traditional farmhouse surrounded by olive groves and overlooking the sea. On the following departures the group will stay overnight in a 4-star hotel in the historic centre of Ostuni instead of the masseria: 22nd Sep and 13th Oct  2018; 23rd March 2019, 6th April 2019, 25th May 2019, 21st September 2019 and 26th October 2019.

In Alberobello we normally stay at Hotel Ramapendula offering outdoor swimming pool and located within reach of the town centre.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed November 2018
    Pauline Upstone

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    This was an excellent holiday with a good combination berween culture , walking and relaxing

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably Matera

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Guiseppe was an excellent tour leader. He was very solicitous to some members of the group who had dietary needs. He went to a lot of effort to ensure everyone enjoyed themselves and that things went smoothly
  • Reviewed October 2018
    BRIAN MCGHEE

    RAMBLING IN PUGLIA

    Booking efficient; follow up was not - I had to chase; maybe the late switch from Headwater to Exodus was to blame. An interesting and varied trip, with the leader Luigina Geusa contributing a lot to that plus a good group of fellow walkers. Matera hotel (Hotel Sassi) was not good, but the hotels in Ostuni (La Terra) and Alberobello (Ramapendula) were much better.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Inspirational is too strong a word, but there were memories to retain from all of Matera, Ostuni, Lecce and Alberobello.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She, Luigina Geusa, was pivotal to the success of the trip. Her network of contacts was excellent, and she made a really successful job of understanding the different participants on the trip and building rapport with each of them. Her commitment and passion for the environment showed through clearly

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    For this trip in mid October, the weather can fluctuate so think carefully about what you bring. In the event, the weather worked out well.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think all 16 of the participants on the trip will think back on it as enjoyable
  • Reviewed September 2018
    PHILLIP BUCCHI

    Walking in Puglia & Matera

    Vanessa was a wonderful guide and very aware of the needs of of all the participants. everyone got along well. The places we stayed were excellent. The overall experience was lot of fun

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting the city of Matera

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader, Vanessa, is a dynamo. She is upbeat and considerate and made the entire experience a joy.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Christine Brown

    Heat among the olive trees

    An exploring holiday, not a 'wow' one but full of delights. Matera was a long-desired destination, because of Carlo Levi, and spectacular. Sleeping in our massive cave in Hotel Sassi! Walking endlessly through olive groves brought home to me the privations of former Puglian peasants, but also amazement at the great age and variety of shapes of the trees. I loved the small towns, their architecture, narrow streets, the ingenuity of the construction of the Trulli. Hotel Sassi was wonderful, the masseria was beautiful, food good and choice of restaurants gave variety. I liked the multiple starters.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Matera, comparing the town at present with the description by Carlo Levi. And exploring Polignano completely alone on our free day

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vanessa was a great leader, knew a lot about the area, encouraging when we were faltering in the heat. She seemed interested in all of us as individuals, talked to each of us separately. Great company, set a good pace, bought excellent picnics.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Possibly August may not be the right time for walking in Puglia - but if you go then, carry plenty of water, a good sun hat, and be prepared to be hot!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The walk from Montescoglioso would be better reversed, with the difficult walking to the rock villages before lunch, finishing in the town with ice creams and a cool drink.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Terri Markle

    Extraordinary Region of Italy

    I chose the walking tour of Puglia & Matera because I had never seen Southern Italy. I was intrigued by the UNESCO World Heritage cities as well as the unusual architcecture such as Trulli houses. It is hard to believe the range of homes and times traveled - from Neolithic to present in just 7 days. My two favorite cities were Matera and Aberobello. The food was incredible. I ate great vegetarian dishes and seafood dishes all week!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I was most overcome by Matera and how this city transformed itself from a slum in the 1950s to the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2019. Seeing frescoes of the Madonna & Child painted on the walls of caves where monks lived in the Middle Ages is transforming. Walking the rocky cliffs from cave to cave took me out of this world.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I loved Marcella! She clearly loves Puglia & Matera and it shows in her knowledge and exuberance. It was a treat when I could walk with her on a hike and learn about her travel adventures. She also picked the most amazing items at the grocery store for our picnic one day.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a hard trip in July as Italy was experiencing record heat. Two of our walks were quite hard due to the heat. You really need to be able to deal with the hot Italian sun and temperatures.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It is amazing how you travel through time on this Exodus tour of Southern Italy - from Matera (Neolithic & Middle Ages) to Lecce ( Ancient Rome) to Aberobello. Every town was charming. I also loved staying in a masseria and eating Mama’s delicious homemade primi and secondi plats.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Ruth Morgan

    A different view of Italy

    This trip was exactly what I had hoped for - a fascinating and varied tour of a part of Italy which hasn't yet become too full of tourists. Our three centres were well chosen and close together - Matera was so interesting just to wander and get lost among the tiny winding lanes and steps, the old fortified farmhouse set in olive groves near Ostuni was so peaceful and in Alberobello we did meet tourism but worth it just to see the trulli. The walks were great - not too challenging and only took up part of the day so we had chance to explore by ourselves as well. I didn't expect to see so many wild flowers in June. We had excellent food in a wide variety of restaurants, wine-tasting and two super picnics. We used a variety of transport, including local buses and trains, and all went very smoothly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The view of the duomo in Matera from my hotel room (in a cave) window - I couldn't stop looking at it and taking photos in varying light conditions.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vanessa was a super guide, bubbling over with energy and enthusiasm, very helpful and keen to share typical Italian things with us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Good walking shoes vital for the rocky limestone paths, and potentially slippy steps in Matera.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Rachel Stanfield

    Fantastic trip

    Wonderful trip in a beautiful part of Italy. The walking was not challenging, which was a good thing given the heat in mid-June, and covered some stunning and scenic routes. Great food and accommodation in all three locations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views from Montescaglioso at the start of our walk

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vanessa was fantastic - knowledgeable, patient, and full of passion for her native country and region
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Tara Taylor

    Little known gems

    Walking in Matera was an interesting and eye opening experience. I knew nothing of the history of this facinating "heel of Italy' so was extremely surprised and delighted to discover it in the company of 5 other travellers and our wonderful guide Nino.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The history of Matera is so interesting and thought provoking. Wandering around the old town and seeing into the 'caves' was such a privilege. The town is incredibly stark built into a cliff with each place a cave transformed into living histories of people going back thousands of years. Alberobello was another wonderful discovery and so beautiful and unusual.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nino was our guide, he is knowledgeable and extremely helpful. He ensured the group knew what to expect everyday and was very considerate of people's walking abilities.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't expect the walking to be particularly interesting. We had extremely hot weather which made the walking unpleasant for me. The walk was 9 June 2018. The walks overall were the least enjoyable part of the trip. They were not long so we had a lot of opportunity to explore on our own which was great. The villages and history was the surprise for me and made the experience wonderful. The food was disappointing to me as it was fairly plain and was very much localised. While its important to discover new foods i didnt really enjoy it. We did eat at a wonderful fish restaurant and we also got to spend half a day at the beach which was fantastic and really energised the group. One thing despite the guide saying one needs proper walking boots or shoes i think a good pair of trainers would be sufficient as long as they have a hard sole. I swapped mine and immediately felt more comfortable especially in the heat. The whole trip was incredible, it was a small group who got on well together and had many great laughs along the way. Nino was a fantastic guide who made everything wonderful, i would recommend this trip to anyone.
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Nicola O’Rourke

    Walking in Puglia and Matera

    This was a fantastic trip with three very different locations to stay in and experience. The accommodation in each location was original and very comfortable. The walking, itinerary and our guide, Nino, were just excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Enjoying the sights and views of Matera. I’d love to go back.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nino was excellent. He was very caring and thought everything through thoroughly. He catered for everyone’s needs and tastes.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take non-slip shoes for Matera (no high heels and nothing without a non-slip sole.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Christine Lewis

    A wonderful week in southern Italy

    I really enjoyed our week in Puglia and Matera and getting to know southern Italy with great company and a fantastic guide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I could have spent at least another day in Matera despite a bit of rain and a dramatic thunderstorm. I also liked the peace and quiet at the masseria and walking in the olive groves.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Barbara was a really great tour leader and demonstrated her passion for Italy and for nature with much enthusiasm and knowledge. She supported everyone in the group really well and went out of her way to make sure that every day and every walk was special.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I was glad to have my walking boot in Matera and used these most days. I should have taken an umbrella as we have a dramatic thunderstorm in Matera and a few showers on other days. An umbrella would have worked better than putting on a waterproof walking jacket because it was quite humid.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Matera will be the European capital of culture in 2019

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

 

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Call us on 020 8772 3936