Current as of: July 23, 2024 - 01:52

Walking in Puglia & Matera

Walking in Puglia & Matera Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: Italy
  • Programmes: Walking & Trekking
  • Activity Level:

    2 out of 7 - Easy & Moderate

  • 8 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 8 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 16+
  • Trip Code: TEV
  • Carbon Footprint: 14kg CO2e

Trip Overview

Walk through the South Italian countryside and stay in the fairytale trio of Alberobello, Ostuni and Matera 

The heel of Italy’s boot, formed of the Puglia and Basilicata regions, offers trails through olive groves and towns seemingly plucked from a storybook – ideal for a culture-packed walking adventure. This trip begins among the fairytale trulli houses of Alberobello and continues to the highlights of the region: the Itria Valley hills; the white city of Ostuni; and the cave town of Matera − 10,000 years old with a spectacular ravine-edge location.  

At a Glance

  • Five nights in three-star hotels and two nights in a converted farmhouse or four-star hotel
  • Five days of guided walking; one free day
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus local leader. Minimum age: 16
  • Travel by private minivan, bus and train
  • Option to travel by train to your adventure

Highlights

  • Walk among the trulli houses of Alberobello
  • Discover Matera, a UNESCO-listed town dug into caves
  • Explore the all-white hilltop town of Ostuni
  • Walk over the Itria Valley hills to Locorotondo

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is rated Activity Level 2 (Easy & Moderate). For more information on our trip gradings please visit our Activity Level Guidelines page. If you have any queries about the difficulty of the trip please do not hesitate to contact us.

  • Walking hours: Three to six, including lunch and photo stops. Walking durations stated in the itinerary are approximations and vary depending on the group’s pace.
  • Terrain and path type: Vary from paved tracks to gravel. The terrain on the trails near Matera can be uneven or rocky, so trekking shoes or boots with good grip are required. The walks are easy; however, there are some ascents and descents, so a reasonable level of fitness is required.

Adult min age: 16

Min group size: 4

Max group size: 16

Itinerary

Map TEV

Land Only

  • Start City: Alberobello
  • End City: Matera

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start Alberobello
Walking in Puglia & Matera

This walking trip starts in Alberobello, a town almost entirely formed of trulli, fairytale-like dwellings with conical grey-stone roofs. The origin of these UNESCO-protected limestone houses is obscure; however, local farmers claim they were originally built to evade taxes. When the tax inspectors were nearby, the dry-stone walls could easily be dismantled by removing the keystone above the door, and quickly rebuilt after the inspection.

Accommodation: Hotel Ramapendula or Hotel Silva (or similar)

Day 2
Walk over the Itria Valley hills; visit Locorotondo, known for its superb wine
Walking in Puglia & Matera

We start with a walk to Locorotondo. Sitting on a hilltop, our destination is among the most beautiful villages in Italy and renowned for the white wine produced at Cantina Sociale, the local winery.

Following narrow country lanes, we walk over the Itria Valley hills, which are dotted with olive trees, vineyards and trulli. At the end of the day, we take a short train or bus ride back to Alberobello.

Accommodation: Hotel Ramapendula or Hotel Silva (or similar)

Distance covered: 8mi (13km)

Ascent: 492ft (150m); Descent: 492ft (150m); Activity hours: 4hr 30min

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3
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 whitewashed hilltop city of Ostuni. After free time, in which you can visit viewpoints and centuries-old churches, we explore the surrounding countryside on foot, walking through ancient olive groves and vineyards overlooking the Adriatic.

Along the way, we stop at Agnano Archaeological Park, where we walk a winding path to see church ruins and the bones of a lady within a cave. This evening, we have a delicious dinner and stay either in a beautiful masseria – a renovated farmhouse typical of the Apulian region – or in a four-star hotel in the historic centre of Ostuni.

Accommodation: Masseria Morrone or Hotel La Terra (or similar)

Distance covered: 4mi (6km)

Ascent: 328ft (100m); Descent: 328ft (100m); Activity hours: 2

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4
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 a day trip to the beautiful baroque city of Lecce, known as the Florence of the South, and home to more than 40 churches and countless palaces, plus a Roman amphitheatre. Alternatively, travel to the picturesque coastal town of Polignano a Mare, which is perched atop a limestone cliff rising from the Adriatic. Both destinations are reachable by train from Ostuni. In the evening, we regroup for a delicious dinner.

Accommodation: Masseria Morrone or Hotel La Terra (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5
Morning walk to the coast; transfer to Matera
Walking in Puglia & Matera

This morning, 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 head to the cave town of Matera, which is thought to have been inhabited for around 10,000 years, making it one of the oldest towns in the world. James Bond fans may recognise it as the scenic background for a thrilling car chase in No Time to Die (2021), while scenes for Wonder Woman (2017) and The Passion of the Christ (2004) were also shot here.

Its crumbling beauty is undoubtedly a lure for film directors and location scouts, but it’s the ancient Sassi districts, formed of ancient cave dwellings dug into the limestone, that are the true star here. Our hotel is in the middle of the sassi; after check-in, we enjoy our first glimpse of the enchanting alleys and unique architecture of this troglodyte town.

Accommodation: Hotel Sassi or Fra I Sassi Residence (or similar)

Distance covered: 6mi (10km)

Descent: 328ft (100m); Activity hours: 3

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6
Short walk in Matera’s Rock Churches Park and guided sightseeing in Sassi district; wine and produce tasting

Today we enjoy a short hike to the Murgia plateau, a vast protected area home to more than 150 Rupestrian churches dating to the eighth century, adorned with Byzantine frescoes and once inhabited by hermits. We hike to the top of the ravine, following a pathway that ends with a spectacular view of the Sassi district. In the afternoon, we walk back to Matera for a guided tour.

Accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide, we wander the narrow alleys of the cave-dwelling district and learn about the history of this fascinating place. Back in Matera, we enjoy a delicious produce and wine tasting in the historic centre and the rest of the day is free to discover the city independently.

Accommodation: Hotel Sassi or Fra I Sassi Residence (or similar)

Distance covered: 4mi (7km)

Ascent: 1,148ft (350m); Descent: 1,148ft (350m); Activity hours: 3hr 30min

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7
Walk in Matera and its surroundings, along sections of the Cammino Materano
Walking in Puglia & Matera

Today we explore Matera and further afield, walking sections of the Cammino Materano – a hiking trail linking Matera and Brindisi. After a hearty breakfast, we set off from our hotel and cross two of the Sassi’s historic quarters: the Civita, dominated by the duomo (cathedral), and the Caveoso with its caves. We head towards the ridge of Matera’s ravine and continue along a route characterised by Mediterranean scrub and cave complexes dating to the 11th century. We continue the walk surrounded by olive groves and arable land until we reach Serra Pizzuta forest. We return by public bus to our hotel.

Accommodation: Hotel Sassi or Fra I Sassi Residence (or similar)

Distance covered: 8mi (13km)

Ascent: 427ft (130m); Descent: 820ft (250m)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 8
End Matera

The trip ends in Matera after breakfast. If you’d like to explore this wonderful destination a little longer, speak to your sales representative about extending your stay.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation

Three- and four-star hotels

Walking in Puglia & Matera

Stay in three unique destinations: the trulli town of Alberobello, the white city of Ostuni and the cave town of Matera. Below are the hotels typically used on this trip.

Alberobello: Hotel Ramapendula or Hotel Silva (nights 1-2)

Walking in Puglia & Matera

We start either in Hotel Ramapendula (above) or Hotel Silva. The former has an outdoor swimming pool, Apulian restaurant and a location close to the UNESCO-listed centre of Alberobello. The latter is also a short walk from the centre, with individually themed rooms and a bar.

Ostuni: Masseria Morrone or Hotel La Terra (nights 3-4)

Walking in Puglia & Matera

Our second accommodation is either Masseria Morrone or Hotel La Terra (above). The first is a 18th-century farmhouse outside Ostuni. Now run by the Laera family, it has a pool in the garden and rustic rooms. The second is set within a 13th-century building in the historic quarter of Ostuni. Along with an ideal location, it has a bar serving Apulian aperitifs and wine.

Matera: Hotel Sassi or Fra I Sassi Residence (nights 5-7)

Walking in Puglia & Matera

Our final nights are spent in either Hotel Sassi (above) or Fra I Sassi Residence. Opened in 1996, Hotel Sassi took over a series of dwellings, some of which date to the 1500s. There’s an Italian spread for breakfast (most of the produce locally sourced) and wonderful views of Matera from the terrace. The 15-room Fra I Sassi offers similarly spectacular views plus rooms built from the caves themselves.

Single supplement from £ 325

Food & Drink

All breakfasts, two dinners and one wine and local produce tasting are included.

The regional cuisine has strong links to the land and sea. This area is a paradise for food lovers and the abundance of delicious vegetables also makes it a great destination for vegetarians.

A selection of the food on offer includes: the pasta delicacy orecchiette, which is typically served with a sauce of turnip-tops or fresh tomato and sheep’s ricotta; cavatelli pasta with pulses; aubergine (eggplant) and parmesan bake; grilled fish and seafood; burrata (soft mozzarella and cream cheese); plus excellent wines.

Transport

A private minibus is used for the airport transfers. We use a mix of private and public transport (train and bus) during the week.

Weather & Seasonality

Puglia has a Mediterranean climate with year-round sunshine and just enough rainfall to ensure the green is never too far away. Although Puglia covers a large area, it is long and narrow – not more than 18mi (30km) across. This means you’re never far from the sea, which has a moderating effect on the weather. Please note, Puglia can be very hot, particularly in summer when temperatures can near 40C (104F).

Joining Instructions

Key information

Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time today. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately
Airport: Bari Airport (BRI)

Walking in Puglia & Matera

Getting to the start hotel

The start hotel is approximately a 1hr 10min drive from the airport. Your options for this journey are:

Take an Exodus transfer 

Exodus provides one group arrival transfer from the airport, which is timed to coincide with the arrival of a chosen flight from London, UK. You may join this transfer at no extra cost, provided you can be at the airport before the transfer leaves. Speak to your sales representative for the group arrival transfer times or to arrange a private transfer.

Make your own way 

It’s possible to reach the start hotel by public transport, but the journey is complicated. We therefore recommend joining the group transfer where possible. If not, we can arrange a private transfer prior to departure for approximately €90-€105 for the vehicle. If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.

Catching your return flight

The trip ends in Matera, approximately 45 minutes from Bari Airport. There’s a group departure transfer to the airport for customers who Exodus booked onto a chosen flight to London, UK. Please speak to your sales representative if you wish to join. If the group departure transfer does not suit your flight time, speak to your sales representative to arrange an alternative transfer.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Alberobello
Location end: Matera

What To Take

Essential Equipment

  • Small backpack (for water bottle, camera etc)
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket and wind stopper
  • Trail shoes or walking boots with sturdy soles
  • Long walking trousers (pants) as some paths may be overgrown
  • Warm sweater or fleece (for evenings and winter departures)
  • Sun hat and other sun protection
  • Water bottle: it’s safe to drink the local tap water, so remember to bring refillable water bottles and keep hydrated during the day

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles
  • Small umbrella for unexpected showers
  • Swimwear (for summer departures)

Practical Information

Passport

Remember to check the expiration date of your passport if travelling internationally. Many countries require your passport to be valid for at least six months after the date of your scheduled return.

Visa

Italy

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter Italy. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/europe/italy
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/italy
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy/entry-requirements
• USA:  www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Italy.html

Please note: it is compulsory to carry ID with you at all times in Italy.

Vaccinations and Health

Italy

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus, rabies and tick-borne encephalitis. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

Ticks are known to be present in this region and can carry lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis and other diseases. Please take care to protect yourself. You can read more about ticks here.

If you’re a UK citizen, please note that your UK-issued European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) are still valid and offer the same cover as the Global Health Insurance Cards (GHIC) in the EU. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and in some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance. Once your EHIC has expired, replace it with a GHIC.

Local Time

Italy's time zone: Europe/Rome (UTC +02:00)

Electricity

Italy's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins, European standard), F (two round pins), and L (three round pins in a row) – 230V, 50Hz

Walking in Puglia & Matera

Money

Italy's currency: Euros (EUR)

ATM Availability

You can withdraw euros from an ATM in every town, but we recommend collecting some before leaving your home country. Credit cards are accepted in most places you visit, but cash is often welcome.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

For the meals not included, allow €10-€20 for lunch and €20-€30 for dinners. A coffee costs around €1-€1.50 and a beer is usually €4-€5.

Optional activities:

  • Round-trip train to Polignano a Mare: €7-€10
  • Round-trip train to Lecce: €12-€15

Local taxes: Many Italian cities have introduced a tourist tax for non-residents. The local administration oversees the tax, which will be collected by the accommodation provider at check-in or check-out. This fee varies depending on the hotel category, the season and number of days of stay. It is usually between €1 and €4 per person per night. For this trip, please allow approximately €7-€10 for the week.

Tipping

Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work. Most of our travellers wish to tip their guides in appreciation of their help and friendliness. This, of course, is in no way compulsory and depends on the service received. For this trip we recommend a starting point of €20 per person for the guide.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips that have a positive impact on the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Learn more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • Local guides keep you well informed about local traditions and cultural-social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally owned hotels, restaurants, and other enterprises, and by championing locally produced food wherever possible.
  • We visit a winery in Alberobello, which supports the local economy.
  • At Masseria Morrone, we have lunch with a family at their farmhouse, which provides for cross-cultural interaction.
  • Read more about our other initiatives

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively reduce waste; this includes eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles by providing refills for reusable bottles.
  • The payment of entrance fees to natural reserves and archaeological sites generates income, which is used for upkeep and development of these important sites.
  • With our partners, Rewilding Apennines, we rewild 100 square meters (1,075 sqft) of land per passenger who travels with us.
  • Read about our commitment to nature protection and restoration here, including our rewilding commitment for every customer who travels with us.

Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • We use public transport where possible during this trip to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Walking trips like this have very little detrimental impact on the environment and the locals, as it is a quiet, low impact activity requiring comparatively few resources to support.
  • Read about our climate action here, including our carbon reduction and compensation commitments.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: we do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: please bring a reusable water bottle on this trip, also consider avoiding single-use hotel toiletries, which generate a large amount of plastic waste.

Important Information

Water safety

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. You should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim. Open-water or wild swim spots should be treated with extreme caution. Information on how to keep yourself safe while swimming is shown here.

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.