Walking in Puglia & Matera

Walking in Puglia & Matera Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
Italy
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
TEV
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

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

Trip Overview

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 trulli houses of the lush Itria valley and the white hilltop town of Ostuni to the rock churches and UNESCO Sassi district of the beautiful city of Matera. 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.

At a Glance

  • 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

Trip Highlights

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

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 man-made 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.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
4
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Alberobello
End City:
Matera

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Alberobello

    The trip starts in 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.  Our hotel is located in proximity of the historic centre. In the afternoon after the group's arrival there is usually time to wander through the narrow alleys of the town’s centre and enjoy the unique atmosphere of this enchanting town at night.

  • Day 2

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

    We start the week with a walk to the town of 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 Itria Valley, dotted with olive trees, vineyards and trulli. At the end of the day, we take a short train ride back to Alberobello where we stay overnight.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 13 km / 8 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    150
    Total descent (m):
    150
    Activity (hours):
    4.5
  • 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 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 Santa Maria di 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
    Distance covered: 6 km / 3 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    100
    Total descent (m):
    100
    Activity (hours):
    2
  • 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 over 40 churches and countless palaces, as well as a Roman amphitheatre and theatre. Alternatively, you could travel to the picturesque town of Polignano a Mare on the coast of the Valle d’Itria, perched atop a 20m high limestone cliff rising from the Adriatic. Both of these destinations are reachable by train from Ostuni. In the evening we regroup to enjoy a delicious dinner in Ostuni or at the masseria.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 5

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

    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 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.

     * TEV 4th December only - This morning we walk from the masseria to the coast, where we have time to relax on the white beaches. At the end of the walk, private transfer to Matera, one of the most unusual and memorable tourist destinations in Italy famous for its extensive cave-dwelling districts, the Sassi, and stop for lunch along the way. 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.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 10 km / 6 miles
    Total descent (m):
    100
    Activity (hours):
    3
  • Day 6

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

    Today we enjoy 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. 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 at our own pace. Overnight in Matera.

    *Customers with vertigo or have difficulty with heights may wish to not participate in this part of the itinerary; if this is the case please speak to your tour leader at the start of the trip and they will be happy to explain the suspension bridge in more detail, and what options may be open to you if you choose not to take part.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 7 km / 4 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    350
    Total descent (m):
    350
    Activity (hours):
    3.5
  • Day 7

    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 of limestone once home to prehistoric settlements of cave dwellings. Today we navigate the gravel paths, fields, and groves of almonds and of olives as we pass through. Here, spring is particularly impressive with many species of butterfly, orchid and cyclamen.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 12 km / 7 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    180
    Total descent (m):
    370
  • Day 8

    End Matera.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

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

In Ostuni we usually spend two nights at Masseria Morrone, a traditional farmhouse surrounded by olive groves and overlooking the sea. On selected departures (19th Mar 2022, 22nd Oct 2022) the group will stay at the 4-star Hotel La Terra in Ostuni and not at Masseria Morrone.

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. 

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 £275.00

Food & Transport

Eating & 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 lover's paradise and the abundance of delicious vegetables also 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.

Transportation

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

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

Puglia 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 Alberobello and ending in Matera

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Alberobello 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.

It is possible to make your own way to Alberobello from Bari airport although the journey by public transport requires a few changes. First you will need to travel from Bari airport to Bari central station by train. (transfer 20 min. - ticket:€6 http://www.ferrovienordbarese.it/).

From Bari central station there are regular trains to Alberobello although most require a change in Putignano or Fasano, and often the second leg of the journey is operated by a bus rather than train. Info and timetables at https://www.fseonline.it/ (approx. journey time 2hrs, €10-15).

Alternatively, if you prefer to travel in more comfort, Exodus can arrange a private arrival transfer prior departure for a price of approx. £100-120 for the vehicle. Please contact us if you wish to book this service.

Location start:
Alberobello
Location end:
Matera

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Small rucksack (for water bottle, camera etc)

Lightweight waterproof jacket and wind stopper

Trail shoes or walking boots with sturdy soles

Long walking trousers as some paths may be overgrown

A warm jumper or fleece (for the evenings and for winter departures)

A sun hat and other sun protection equipment.

Waterbottle: while mineral water is available at the hotel 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

Walking poles

A small umbrella in case of unexpected showers

Swimming costume (for summer departures)

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.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

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.

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 CET (GMT +01:00)

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 lunches and dinners not included, please allow about €200 for the week depending on the standard of restaurant chosen.

Optional activities:

Return train to Polignano a Mare: €7-10

Return train to Lecce: €12-15

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 number of days of stay. It is usually between 1 and 4 euros per person per night. For this trip, please allow approx. €7-10 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 allow approx. 20€ per person for the guide.

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. 

On this trip, we get to experience the typical Apulian architecture. In Ostuni, we stay in Masseria, a traditional farmhouse while in Matera we stay in cave-like rooms. As much as possible, we try to choose accommodations that are locally owned or at least employs local staff and uses local produce. This ensures that our visit directly benefits the local community. When food is not provided, there are plenty of opportunities to try a range of delicious Italian food at various local restaurants and cafes. A regional wine and cheese tasting is also included on this trip, which is an excellent way to support local production. Additionally, our visit to numerous historical sites, attractions and parks ensures that the community benefits from our tourism.

Water is especially important and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital to not cause too much waste from single use plastic bottles. Tap water in Apulia is drinkable hence, we strongly encourage clients to bring their own reusable bottles for that reason otherwise, we will provide large water containers.

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.

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. Swimming results in more tourists deaths than any other activity. All customers should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim, and are requested to treat the sea with extreme caution if they choose to enter the water. Details on how to keep yourself safe while swimming are shown here.

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  £162 GBP  / €180 EUR / $205.20 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.