Alberobello

Puglia: Discover the Heel of Italy Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
Italy
Programmes:
Culture
Trip Code:
ADE
Activity Level: Leisurely
Leisurely

You are healthy, enjoy the outdoors and want a relaxing trip. No experience is required.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Ages: 16+

Trip Overview

Puglia, known for its whitewashed hill towns, traditional farmland, fine cuisine, and the sweeping Mediterranean coastline is the southern heel of Italy, and until recently, its best kept secret. With a focus on art, architecture, traditions, and local cuisine, this trip explores the region’s highlights. From Matera, a UNESCO listed town carved into bare limestone rock, where centuries-old caves are still inhabited, we travel to the elegant white city of Ostuni and on to the medieval coastal town of Otranto and Baroque Lecce, known as the ‘Florence of the South'.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights 3 and 4-star hotels
  • 8 days land only / 8 days flight inclusive
  • Group normally 6-18, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Travel by air-conditioned private minibus 

Trip Highlights

  • Baroque Lecce and cristal-clear sea in Salento
  • 'Trulli' houses in Alberobello
  • Visit the unique UNESCO town of Matera

Is This Trip for You?

Grade: 1 (Leisurely) This is a busy week where you can enjoy some real Italian hospitality and sightseeing on foot in the best towns and areas of Puglia. All the transfers will be by private air conditioned vehicle. This trip also includes one optional coastal walk (max. 3hrs). Although the distances covered during the sightseeing are not too long, the days can feel busy and you will be climbing a lot of steps, sometimes uneven, in Matera and Ostuni during the sightseeing. Please note that Puglia can be very hot, reaching high 30s in the summer. Overall this trip is suitable for all people who are in good health and fitness.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as not suitable for full wheelchair users, but it may be suitable for other persons of reduced mobility. Please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Group

A local leader will be with the group throughout the week. However, due to Italian legislation, tour leaders are not allowed to guide groups in some cities, museums and churches. A local licenced guide will accompany the group in Matera. On the other days you will be able to sightsee with your tour leader or at your own pace.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
5
Max group size:
18

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Matera
End City:
Lecce

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Matera.

    Our tour starts in Matera, one of the most unusual and memorable tourist destinations in Italy famous for its extensive cave-dwelling districts, the sassi. Our hotel is located in the heart of Matera Sassi UNESCO site, just a few steps from the town's most famous attractions, and offers a terrace with panoramic views across the town. After checking in we enjoy a first glimpse of Matera's enchanting alleys and unique architecture.

  • Day 2

    Full day sightseeing in Matera, including a tour of the UNESCO "Sassi" district; overnight in Matera.

    We start our week with a full day in one of the most interesting, distinctive, and memorable tourist destinations in Italy: Matera. Nestled on a hill, overlooking an impressive canyon in the neighbouring region of Basilicata, Matera has only recently gained the deserved spotlight. In 1993 the town was made a UNESCO World Heritage site, for being the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean region, all carved in bare limestone rock. Accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide, we walk through the town’s famous cave-dwelling districts and learn of the history of this fascinating place. In the afternoon we have time to discover the city at our own pace and visit the world-famous rupestrian churches. Overnight in Matera.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Drive to Alberobello via the charming fishing town of Polignano a Mare; sightseeing and overnight in traditional 'trullo'.

    In the morning we take a private transfer to Alberobello, stopping en route for a visit to the village of Polignano a Mare, located on the edge of a craggy ravine. There will be time to stroll along the white-washed streets and enjoy superb views of the beautiful Adriatic Sea and coastline from one of the panoramic terraces. Later, we transfer to the town of Alberobello, known for its dry-stone dwellings called 'trulli'. Before dinner, we will also enjoy wine tasting at a local winery. Overnight in Alberobello in a traditional 'trullo'.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Free day. Visit the Castellana Caves or Monopoli by the Adriatic Sea.

    Today is free to choose amongst the several activities available locally. You may choose to take a day-trip to the fishing village of Monopoli or visit the Castellana Caves, Italy’s most important and biggest cave system. Located at the entrance of the Itria Valley, these caves began to form about 90 million years ago. There is a tour that takes you to more than 60 meters depth and allows you to explore stalactites, stalagmites, concretions, incredible shapes, fossils, and canyons. Overnight in Alberobello.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Explore the charming hilltop town of Ostuni; olive oil tasting and pasta-making class in traditional masseria.

    In the morning we take a private transfer to the white city of Ostuni. On the way, we stop and visit an ancient masseria (traditional Apullian farm) where we enjoy some olive oil tasting. For lunch, we visit another typical masseria surrounded by olive trees, some of which are more than a thousand years old. Here, we take part in a cooking class followed by a delicious lunch. In the afternoon there will be more free time to visit Ostuni. Overnight in Ostuni.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 6

    Transfer to Otranto; visit the historic centre; afternoon optional coastal walk or relax at the beach (seasonal); back to Lecce.

    Today we transfer to pretty Otranto, the easternmost town in Italy. The day will be spent exploring the town’s mediaeval centre and its pretty architecture, views, sea-front restaurants, and white sandy beaches which make it one of Puglia's most interesting and picturesque towns. We will also visit the Romanesque cathedral, dating back to 1088 and boasting extensive 12th century floor mosaics. After lunch, we have the opportunity to join our tour leader for an optional gentle coastal walk following the Salento coves and creeks (approx. 3hrs walking, 8 km). Those who prefer not to take part in this activity may decide to continue exploring the town at their own pace, or perhaps to relax in one of Otranto’s beaches, famous for the picture-perfect clear water (seasonal). Late afternoon transfer to Lecce, where we stay overnight.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Morning guided tour of baroque Lecce; afternoon free time.

    In the morning we enjoy a guided visit to Lecce, arguably one of the best and most distinctive Baroque cities in Europe. Most of the buildings here are built in the soft local stone, with pretty decorations and cherubs covering facades and doorways. During our walking tour, we will have time to admire several architectural gems, including the best Baroque monument in town: the Basilica di Santa Croce, ornamented with strange beasts and allegories. Lecce is also famous for a centenary tradition of papier-mâché (chewed paper) and you have the option to visit a local laboratory at the end of the tour. The rest of the day is free to enjoy some shopping opportunities or visit other famous monuments such as the Roman amphitheatre. Overnight in Lecce.  

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 8

    End Lecce.

    The tour ends in Lecce the morning of day 8.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotels and Trulli houses

All hotels on this trip have been specially selected for their location, character and comfort. We mostly stay in renovated traditional buildings which give a real taste of the typical Apulian architecture. We spend 2 nights in a comfortable 3-star hotel in Matera's historic centre, 2 nights in authentic Trulli houses (dry stone dwellings) in Alberobello, 1 night in a 4-star hotel in Ostuni, and 2 nights in a modern hotel located in proximity of Lecce’s historic centre.

List of hotels normally used:

  • Hotel Sassi, Matera 
  • Trulli houses, Alberobello (Trulli e Puglia ,Trulli Holidays or La Corte dell’Astore )
  • Hotel La Terra or Sant Eligio Relais or Hotel Palace, Ostuni  
  • Eos Hotel or Hotel President, Lecce 

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £280.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, 1 lunch/cookery class, and 1 wine tasting 

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 made with 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 specialties, in particular during the produce and wine tasting, cookery class, and the traditional lunches included in the itinerary.

Transportation

A private air-conditioned minibus will be used for all transfers during the week. 

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

The Puglia region of Southern Italy enjoys a wonderful Mediterranean climate with all year round sunshine and just enough rainfall to ensure that the green is never too far off. Although Puglia covers a large area it is long and narrow - not more than 30km across. This means that you're never far from the sea which has a moderating effect on the weather. Please note that Puglia can be very hot, reaching high 30s in the summer.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of British Airways or Alitalia (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 8 days starting in Matera and ending in Lecce

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Matera in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

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.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. 

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight - please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

From Bari Airport it's possible to take public transport onward to Matera.

Alternatively, if you prefer to travel in more comfort, Exodus can arrange a private arrival transfer prior to departure. Please contact us if you wish to request it.

Location start:
Matera
Location end:
Lecce

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Comfortable walking shoes, small daypack for camera, guidebook, sun cream, hat, sunglasses, waterproofs.

Water bottle: while mineral water is available at the hotels and shops, it’s safe to drink the local tap water, so remember to bring refillable water bottles and keep hydrated during the day.

Optional Equipment

swimwear and beach towel

coastal walking holiday

Practical Information

Passport

Italy

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Passports: check if you need to renew

You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021.

On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:

  • have at least 6 months left
  • be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)

Certain European nationalities may be able to travel within Europe on their national identity card. Check carefully with the relevant authorities if you intend to do this.

Visa

Italy

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Italy

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

UK-issued European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) are still valid and offer the same cover as GHICs 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, you’ll be able to replace it with a GHIC.

Local Time

Italy's Timezone:
Europe/Rome CEST (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

Italy's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins.

Money

Italy's Currency

The national currency of Italy is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.

 

ATM Availability

In every town, you can withdraw the local currency from a Cash Machine (ATM) but we do recommend you obtain some of your spending money in Euros before you leave the UK. Credit cards are also accepted in most places you visit but cash is easier.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

For the meals not included, allow €10 for lunch and from €15-25 for dinners. We recommend to budget about €250-300 spending money for the week, depending on the standard of the restaurant chosen.


LOCAL TAXES: many Italian cities have recently introduced a tourist tax for non-residents. The local administration is in charge of 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 the number of days of stay. It is usually between €1 and €3 per person per night. For this trip, please allow approx. €10-15 for the week.

Tipping

Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus. Most of our clients wish to give a tip to 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 to budget approx. €15-20 per person for the leader.

Responsible Tourism

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

As much as possible, we try to stay in accommodations that are locally owned or at least employs local staff and uses local produce wherever possible. Our small group size allows us to support smaller hotels and restaurants that do not usually benefit from mass tourism, bringing a positive impact on the overall employment levels and economy in the region.

There are plenty of opportunities for clients to support local enterprise while discovering the heel of Italy. We will have an afternoon tour around an old olive oil mill which concludes with an olive oil tasting. We will also visit a ‘Masseria’, a typical Apulian farm, where we get to try their organically farmed produce. Clients also have the opportunity to learn about traditional recipes through a pasta making class. A visit to the local winery in Alberobello will also be arranged allowing clients to sample wines from the region.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake 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.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances 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.

On all trips

In 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 you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

 

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 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.

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; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, 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.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

Important Notes

In line with our ‘book and travel with confidence’ promise which allows you to cancel free of charge up to 42 days prior to departure, or transfer to another trip free of charge up to 21 days prior to your trip starting in country,  please be aware that this excludes ‘irrecoverable costs’. Details can be found here: https://www.exodus.co.uk/about-exodus/exodus-booking-conditions

 

For this trip, the irrecoverable costs related to in-country operations are outlined below, if booking flight inclusive your sales agent will confirm the terms related to your international flights at the time of booking.

 

Irrecoverable hotel costs  £207 GBP  / €230 EUR / $262.20 USD 

 

Costs are accurate at the time of writing in September 2020

 

If you need to cancel your trip because you or a member of your party is diagnosed with COVID-19 or has received a request from the Government to self-isolate, you will receive a full refund less these irrecoverable costs.

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. Book with confidence: 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 monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.