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Puglia & Basilicata

(Tour code: PBS6)Experience the culture of the unspoilt 'heel' of Italy

Immerse yourself in culture on the unspoilt 'heel' of Italy, a rugged, rural and breathtakingly beautiful area. We tour the ancient city of Rome before travelling through the olive groves, vineyards and almond trees of a region referred to as 'the breadbasket of Italy' on a wonderful adventure exploring Puglia & Basilicata.

Tour Highlights
  • Strasbourg
  • Rome
  • Lecce
  • Otranto
  • Matera and the ‘Sassi’
  • Alberobello and the ‘Trulli'
  • Vieste
  • Gargano Peninsula boat cruise
  • Turin
What’s Included (Full details)
  • First Class Rail
    Eurostar Standard Premier
    Eurostar Meals
  • 3-4* Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
    Selected Evening Meals
  • Optional Bag Concierge

Itinerary & Map

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Departure Times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Days 1-2

Eurostar and First Class rail to Rome

We meet our Tour Manager at Great Rail Journeys' dedicated departure office in London St Pancras today, departing by Eurostar for Paris. On arrival in the French capital, we cross the city by coach, and join our onward rail service to Strasbourg, where we spend the night. On Day 2 we continue our scenic journey south to Italy, travelling via Basel and Milan to Rome. Our hotel is the 4-Star Hotel Universo, located close to the railway station and Rome's historic centre.

  • Day 1 - Eurostar meal, Dinner
  • Day 2 - Breakfast, Dinner
Rome's Colosseum
Day 3

Exploring Rome

On our guided tour of the ancient city of Rome we explore some of the many fantastic sights and monuments in this remarkable city. Rome's architecture charts the passage of time as clearly as anywhere in Europe; with preserved monuments from the early Romans and buildings with medieval, Renaissance and Baroque features. We pass the incredible Colosseum, Italy's most famous classical sight, and the Roman Forum, the ancient power centre of Rome, as well as the Piazza Venezia and the vast St Peter's Square. This afternoon you are free to savour Rome's seductive beauty.

  • Breakfast
  • Tour of Rome
Day 4

First Class rail south to Puglia

Leaving Rome, we travel across Italy by rail - a fantastic journey which takes us through Foggia and along the gorgeous Italian Adriatic coastline. We travel into Puglia, the 'heel' of Italy - a wonderful, rustic, rural region which has an incredibly undiscovered feel, even in the more developed areas. Puglia is known as the "wine cellar of Italy", where the railway lines run through the middle of vineyards and among the olive groves which produce more than half of Italy's olive oil. The region's rugged, bright coastline is home to secluded, deserted beaches - landing points for 2,000 years of invasions by Greeks, Romans, Turks and Venetians. The unhurried and relaxed way of life, practiced by friendly locals, has an irresistible charm. You will soon find yourself drawn in to the fashion for long, lazy lunches and gentle evening strolls, thanks to the appeal of the local atmosphere, climate and cuisine. We arrive in the town of Lecce in southern Puglia. Home to a quaint, compact Old Town and boasting elaborate Baroque architecture, Lecce has been dubbed 'the Florence of the South'. Here we transfer to the 4-Star Hotel President. Our early afternoon arrival gives you time at leisure - the city centre's narrow alleys are ideal for exploring on foot.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5

Exploring Lecce

This morning we enjoy a guided walking tour of Lecce, during which we see many fine examples of Baroque architecture and beautiful sandstone buildings. We visit the decorative Chiesa di Santa Croce, with its intricately carved rose window and grand, elaborate chandeliers, and the Piazza del Duomo, the main square dominated by the bell tower of Lecce's cathedral. In the afternoon you are free to continue exploring Lecce. Perhaps visit Lecce's Roman amphitheatre - an archaeological treasure excavated in 1938.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Tour of Lecce
Day 6


This morning we travel to Otranto, a town which lies at the most easterly point of the Italian mainland, whose 15th century walls surround a tightly packed, car-free historic centre. Otranto has long since expanded beyond its walls, creating a lovely, seaside resort with a small fishing harbour and palm tree lined promenade. We enjoy a guided tour of the walled town before continuing into the countryside to sample one of Puglia's most renowned products - olive oil. We take a tour of an olive mill, gaining an insight into how the famous oil - used all over the world - is created. Following the tour, we enjoy a tasting of authentic local produce.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Tour of Otranto
  • Olive Oil Mill
Days 7-8

Alberobello and Matera

Our full-day coach tour takes us to explore some of the region's most fascinating heritage destinations. We travel first to Matera, located in Basilicata. The town sits in a small canyon and is most famous for its 'Sassi' - ancient troglodyte caves used as dwellings and churches since the Palaeolithic era. Over the last decade many of the Sassi have been adapted into fantastic houses, hotels and restaurants. We have time to explore the caves and the town itself, where you will find a number of artisan craft shops. We continue to Alberobello, a charming town packed with as many as 1,400 'trulli' - peculiar coneshaped houses built from stone. These unusual homes, which resemble large stone beehives, were originally built without any kind of mortar - quickly dismantled and easily rebuilt, allowing the occupiers to evade tax collectors when word spread of their imminent arrival. The countryside surrounding Alberobello is covered in thousands of trulli. Day 8 is free for you to relax and enjoy Lecce at leisure.

  • Days 7-8 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 7 - Matera
  • Day 7 - Alberobello
  • Day 8 - Free Day
Day 9

To Vieste

We leave Lecce this morning, travelling in First Class along the picturesque Adriatic coastline and through Bari before we arrive in Foggia. From here we transfer by coach to the old town of Vieste, located on the Gargano Peninsula. This is the 'spur' on the heel of Italy, part of a large national park, brimming with pine forests and lined with long sandy beaches. One of Vieste's most recognisable features is the Pizzomunno; a large white limestone stack that stands proudly on the beach. We spend three nights at the 4-Star Palace Hotel Vieste.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Gargano Peninsula
Day 10

The Gargano Peninsula by boat

Our excursion today takes us along the fascinating Gargano Peninsula by boat - a fantastic opportunity to see this incredible stretch of coastline and national park from a different perspective. Our boat trip passes the many caves cut into the cliffs and the idyllic, secluded coves that feature regularly on the shoreline. We also see many of the picturesque villages that are perched on the cliff tops.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Gargano Peninsula Cruise
Day 11

A day at leisure

Today you have the chance to relax at the hotel or explore Vieste and its ancient city centre, set above and alongside the towering, sheer white cliffs. Alternatively, visit the small town of Peschici, where white-washed houses cling to the rocky headland at the end of the sweeping sandy bay. Here you could relax in a local café and admire the views or take a walk along the beach.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Free Day
Days 12-13

First Class rail and Eurostar to London

We travel by coach to Foggia and board the train via Milan to Turin, where we overnight. On Day 13 we travel by TGV to Paris and connect with the Eurostar to London.

  • Day 12 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 13 - Breakfast, Eurostar meal


Lynne Broadley
James Eaton
Kathryn Cambridge
Julie Longfield

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