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Puglia and Basilicata

4.2 stars(21 reviews)
Small Group

Experience the culture of the unspoilt 'heel' of Italy

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12 days From £2,695 per person
Flexible Booking

Book your 2021 holiday before 31st May and you can transfer your holiday for free - no questions asked. T&C's apply

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2021 Tour code: PBS21

About the tour

Immerse yourself in culture on the unspoilt 'heel' of Italy. We tour the ancient city of Rome before travelling south to Puglia, in Italy's rich agricultural heart, home to beautiful Baroque architecture and some uniquely beautiful UNESCO-listed ancient dwellings.


What’s included


Days 1-2 - London and Rome

We meet at London St Pancras today and take the Eurostar to Paris. We continue by rail to Chambéry, where we spend the night.

On Day 2 we continue our journey to Italy, travelling via Milan to Rome. Our hotel is the 4-Star Hotel Universo, located close to Rome's historic centre. We enjoy dinner together in a local restaurant - a fitting way to start our explorations of the 'Eternal City'.

  • Day 1 - Eurostar meal, Dinner
  • Day 2 - Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Exploring Rome

On our guided tour of ancient Rome today we see some of this remarkable city's fantastic sights and monuments. Rome's architecture charts the passage of time through its preserved Roman monuments and medieval buildings. 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. This afternoon you are free to savour Rome's seductive beauty at your own pace. The city is rich in world-class museums and galleries to explore, though simply walking through the atmospheric streets is a treat. Perhaps find an alfresco cafe and enjoy a slice of crispy pizza and glass of local wine, or sample some of the city's street food.

  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Puglia

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. You will soon find yourself drawn to the idea of 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, 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'. Our early afternoon arrival gives you some free time, and the city centre's narrow alleys are ideal for exploring on foot.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Days 5-6 - Lecce and Otranto

We enjoy a walking tour of Lecce today, visiting the Chiesa di Santa Croce and the Piazza del Duomo, the main square dominated by Lecce's cathedral. We finish by sampling Leccese coffee, made with almond milk over ice, and 'pasticciotto', a traditional local custard pastry, in a traditional cafe. Later you're free to explore. Perhaps visit the Roman amphitheatre - an archaeological treasure excavated in 1938.

On Day 6 we travel to Otranto, with its palm tree-lined promenade and pretty harbour, where 15th-century walls surround a car-free centre. We take a guided tour before some free time. Later, we head into the countryside to sample one of Puglia's famous products - olive oil. We tour an olive mill, gaining an insight into how the oil is created, before tasting some authentic local produce.

  • Day 5 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 6 - Breakfast, Dinner
Days 7-8 - Alberobello and Matera

Our first visit today is to Matera, in Basilicata. The town sits in a small canyon and is famous for its 'sassi', a collection of ancient cave dwellings that have UNESCO World Heritage status, and were inhabited until as recently as the 1950s. We explore the maze of winding streets, delightful frescoes, and Paleolithicera abodes, some of which date back to the 8th century. We continue to Alberobello, an enchanting town unlike any other in Europe. The town is packed with as many as 1,400 'trulli' - peculiar cone-shaped, limestone houses built in a style that dates back to prehistoric times. Today, many of the trulli have been converted into galleries, shops, and cafés.

Day 8 is free to spend as you wish in Lecce or the surrounding area.

  • Day 7 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 8 - Breakfast, Dinner
Days 9-12 - To Vieste and London

We leave Lecce by train, travelling along the picturesque coastline to the old town of Vieste for two nights.

On Day 10 we explore the Gargano Peninsula by boat, admiring many of the picturesque villages that are perched on the cliff tops - a fantastic opportunity to see this stretch of coastline and national park from a different perspective.

We transfer to Turin on Day 11, where we spend the night. On Day 12 we travel by rail to Paris where we board the Eurostar back to London St Pancras.

  • Day 9 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 10 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 11 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 12 - 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 12, 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.


Hotel President, Lecce

Hotel President, Lecce

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Best Western Hotel Universo, Rome

Best Western Hotel Universo, Rome

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Palace Hotel

Palace Hotel, Vieste

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4.2 stars4.2 / 5 · 21 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

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 & UK by Rail 2021

Europe & UK by Rail 2021

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Puglia and Basilicata

Experience the culture of the unspoilt 'heel' of Italy


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