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Puglia and Basilicata

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4.2 stars(21 reviews)
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Small Group

Immerse yourself in the culture of the unspoilt ‘heel’ of Italy.

You are viewing the 2022 itinerary. Select your departure year
20212022
12 days From £2,495 per person

2022 Tour code: PBS22

About the tour

Immerse yourself in culture on the unspoilt 'heel' of Italy, exploring ancient Rome before travelling to Puglia in Italy's rich agricultural heart. Admire Baroque architecture and UNESCO-listed ancient dwellings, see through the eyes of a local on a unique guided tour and enjoy a taste of Italy as we try delicious local produce.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 – London and Lyon

After meeting at London St Pancras, we take the Eurostar to Paris. Changing trains, we continue to Lyon, a pretty riverside city, where we spend the night at a local hotel.

Includes
  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 2 – Rome

Leaving Lyon, we travel to the 'Eternal City' of Rome, where we check into our hotel for the next two nights. Once the largest city in the world and the centre of the powerful Roman Empire, the city's architecture charts the passage of time through its wonderfully preserved Roman monuments and buildings with distinctive medieval, Renaissance and Baroque features. No other city boasts as many world-class sights as Rome, making it a true wonder to behold.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 – Rome

We discover the many famous sights of Rome on a guided tour. We pass the incredible Colosseum, Italy's most famous classical sight, and the Roman Forum, the ancient power centre of Rome, as well as Piazza Venezia and the Pantheon. Later, you're free to savour Rome's beauty at your own pace. The city is rich in world-class museums and galleries, though simply walking through the atmospheric streets is a treat. Perhaps find an alfresco cafe and enjoy a slice of crispy pizza al Tagli and a glass of excellent local wine, or take the opportunity to sample some of the diverse street food.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Lecce

Leaving Rome, we travel across Italy by rail - a fantastic journey which takes us along the gorgeous Italian-Adriatic coastline. We travel into Puglia, the 'heel' of Italy - a rural region with an undiscovered feel. We arrive in the town of Lecce in southern Puglia, our base for five nights. Home to a quaint, compact Old Town, and boasting elaborate Baroque architecture, Lecce has been dubbed 'the Florence of the South', and the city centre's narrow alleys are ideal for exploring on foot.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Lecce

We get to know Lecce on a guided walking tour. We visit the Chiesa di Santa Croce, with its intricately carved rose window and grand, elaborate chandeliers, and Piazza del Duomo, the main square dominated by the towering bell tower of Lecce's cathedral. We finish by sampling some Leccese coffee, made with almond milk over ice, and 'pasticciotto', a local custard pastry, in a traditional cafe. Your afternoon is free to explore. Perhaps visit the Roman amphitheatre, an archaeological treasure excavated in 1938.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 6 – Otranto

We travel to Otranto, a stunning coastal town with a palm tree-lined promenade and pretty azure harbour, where 15th-century walls surround a charming, car-free centre. We're introduced to Otranto on a guided tour before you enjoy some free time to explore. Perhaps take a stroll on the town's white, sandy beach, admiring the views over the turquoise waters of the Adriatic. Later, we visit an olive mill for a guided tour, gaining an insight into how the oil is created, before enjoying a tasting of some authentic local produce.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Alberobello and Matera

We visit Matera in Basilicata, which sits in a small canyon and is famous for its 'sassi', a collection of ancient cave dwellings that have UNESCO World Heritage status. We explore the maze of winding streets and Paleolithic-era abodes, some of which date back to the 8th century and were inhabited until as recently as the 1950s. We continue to Alberobello, a town unlike any other. The town is packed with hundreds of 'trulli' - cone-shaped, limestone houses built in a style that dates to prehistoric times. We meet our guide, Mimmo Palmisano, also known as 'Mr Alberobello'. We sit down to a delicious lunch in his family's restaurant before a guided tour, with Mimmo's unique and fascinating insights.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 8 – Lecce

Today is free to spend as you with in Lecce. You could spend a relaxed day at the hotel, perhaps lounging around the outdoor pool. Or, head into the city for a day of making your own discoveries. With a history as a flourishing and wealthy city, Lecce has a number of fine buildings and grand palaces to admire. Today, its quaint narrow streets and unique architecture - known as 'Leccese Baroque' - make it a delightful place to spend a day.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 9 - Vieste

We bid farewell to the sights of Lecce, leaving by train for our journey up Italy's picturesque coastline. After winding along the stunning Italian-Adriatic coast, we arrive in the attractive town of Vieste. Located on the 'spur' of Italy's heel, on the scenic Gargano Peninsula. Vieste boasts a well-preserved historic centre and a magnificent 13th century castle, which although closed to the public, dominates the skyline and can be seen rising almost vertically from the sea. We check into our hotel here, where we spend the next two nights.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 – Gargano Peninsula Cruise

We explore the breathtaking Gargano Peninsula by boat, admiring the coastline from a unique vantage point. The Gargano Peninsula is part of a large national park that's brimming with pine forests and lined with long, sandy beaches. Our relaxing cruise introduces us to many of the picturesque villages found perched on the cliff tops, as well as the stunning hidden caves and grottos dotted along the coast.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11 – Turin or London

Leaving Vieste behind, you either transfer to Bari airport for your flight back to the UK or take the train north to Turin, close to the French border. We spend the night here at a local hotel.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12 – Turin and London

Our holiday comes to an end today as we take the train from Turin to Paris. In the French capital, we change trains and board the Eurostar service to London St Pancras.

Includes
  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar Meal

Additional information

Flight Option - Flight Option

This tour also has a fly home option. If you return by air your tour will end on Day 11, when you transfer to Bari airport for your flight to London.

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.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Hotel Massimo D'Azeglio, Rome

Hotel Massimo D'Azeglio, Rome

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Palace Hotel

Palace Hotel, Vieste

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Grand Hotel di Lecce, Lecce

Grand Hotel di Lecce, Lecce

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Trains

Eurostar
TGV

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

Inclusive Luggage Upgrade
London Hotels
UK rail connections

Reviews

4.2 stars4.2 / 5 · 21 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (8)
  2. 4 stars
    (11)
  3. 3 stars
    (1)
  4. 2 stars
    (1)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

Mr K Davies

5 stars

Submitted 11 Oct 2019

An excellent company to deal with

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr J Oakhill

4 stars

Submitted 11 Oct 2019

Some of the rail journeys were too long but necessary. Food was ok but not generally very good. Enjoyed Lecce and Vieste. Vieste was the real Italy. Hotel at Lecce was a bit dated. Vieste’s hotel was good.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr R Whyte

4 stars

Submitted 13 Oct 2018

Very interesting and enjoyable visit.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

ML Royle

4 stars

Submitted 13 Oct 2018

Enjoyed everything except the food which was poor for vegetarians and the lack of swimming pool in the 2 main hotels.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr D Lightowler

4 stars

Submitted 12 Oct 2018

The food in the Vieste Hotel was not vey good and we felt we needed more meals out. The journey home was too long and neede to be broken into a further day

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs J Fosbeary

5 stars

Submitted 05 Oct 2018

Extremely well organized, good hotels, excellent itinerary, first class rail travel and excellent tour manager

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

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Europe by Rail 2022

Europe by Rail 2022

The definitive guide to our 2022 summer rail holidays to a wide range of destinations in Europe. When ordering for postal delivery, you will only receive our collection of European holidays. If you are interested in UK holidays, these are available on the website.

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Puglia and Basilicata

Immerse yourself in the culture of the unspoilt ‘heel’ of Italy.

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