Explore a land laden with ancient castles and medieval fortresses, drive through nature reserves and along the striking Adriatic coastline, uncover the regions history and origins, taste the local delicacies and get a true feel for some of the most enchanting regions southern Italy on this self-guided tour of Puglia and Basilicata. This is Italy at its most authentic, where you’ll discover new places, people and experiences as you road trip through this fascinating region.
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Day 1: Fly to Bari or Brindisi Airport. On arrival, make your way to the car-rental office at the airport to collect your hire car. Drive from the Airport, passing olive and citrus groves, to your accommodation in Bari for your first night’s dinner and stay.
Bari Airport – Bari Area (approx. 20km / 25 minutes) or Brindisi Airport – Bari Area (approx. 100km/1h30 minutes)
Day 2: After breakfast head in to Bari to spend the morning exploring Puglia's Capital. Make your way through the narrow-cobbled streets of the old town and ancient fortified citadel where you’ll find the striking white stone Basilica di San Nicola, home to the relics of Saint Nicholas. while your're here why not try delicious seafood dishes such as ciambotta the local fish stew and sample the local street foods such as wood fired focaccia (payable locally). Drive inland towards the Alta Murgia National Park to the 13th Century Castel del Monte. The lavishly designed octagonal castle stands today as one of the best-preserved medieval castles in southern Italy. Continue on to the historic fishing port of Trani, set on Italy’s beautiful Adriatic Coastline. Wander through the limestone lanes soaking up the towns historic charm. You can’t miss the striking cathedral that towers over the waterfront. Begin your drive back towards your accommodation in the Bari Area.
Bari Area – Castel Del Monte (approx. 60km / 1 hour) – Trani (approx. 35km / 40 minutes) – Bari Area (approx. 50km / 45 minutes) Total: approx. 145km / 2 hours 25
Day 3: This morning, continue your journey northward through the agricultural landscape that leads to Barletta. In the heart of the town is Castello Svevo di Barletta where you can walk along the battlements whilst looking out across the sea. Next explore the unique landscape Margherita di Savoia salt flats, with its shallow pools that take on a subtle pink hue and the white rocky hills of harvested salt. You may even spot pink flamingos. The town of Lucera was founded by the Romans in the 4th Century BC and has a rich, yet tumultuous history having been conqured by the Lombard, the Byzantium, the Swabian and Charles the II of Anjou. Explore the Roman Amphitheater before heading to your accommodation in the Gargano area.
Bari Area – Barletta (approx. 65km / 50 minutes) – Magerita Di Savoia (approx. 15km / 20 minutes) – Lucera (approx. 90km / 1 hour) - Gargano Area (approx. 70km/1h20) Total: 240km / 3 hours 30
Day 4: Spend the day taking in the sights of the Gargano National Park. At the very tip of the Gargano peninsula is the costal town of Vieste. Perched atop the Pizzomunno cliffs jutting out into the turquoise sea, the town is flanked by two sandy beaches. Spend your morning soaking up the Apulian sunshine or head to the historic centre to experience it’s truly authentic and local feel, then head to the next cliff clinging seaside town, Peschici. In the walled old town, the white washed Arabesque buildings nestle closely together. Head for the Torre del Ponte bridge tower that marks the gateway to the maze of steps and lanes carved into the hillside. Later, drive further inland to Vico del Gargano with its well-preserved historical centre and finaly drive back to your accommodation in the Gargano area through the green Umbra Forest of Oak and Beech trees.
Gargano Area – Vieste (approx. 75km / 1 hour 30) – Peschici (approx. 23km / 30 minutes) – Vico del Garno (12km / 25 minutes) – Umbra Forest – Gargano Area (approx. 60km / 1 hour 25) Total: approx. 170 km / 3 hours 50
Day 5: Take a scenic drive through the the Gargano national park following the pilgrims path to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Monte Sant’Angelo. Explore the white washed town, stacked on the hillside and enjoy some of the best views of the gulf of Manfredonia. Continue on to San Giovanni Rotondo the birthplace of Padre Pio a well-known Italian saint, known for his care of the sick, who lived here until his death in 1968. Today, about seven million pilgrims flock here each year, to pay homage to the saint at the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where he’s buried. San Marco Lamis with its 10th Century Monastery of San Matteo, is another stop on the pilgrims trail. Finally head to the medieval town of Rignano Gargarnico, known as the balcony of Puglia, to enjoy spectacular views across the surrounding countryside, before making your way to your accommodation in the Gargano area.
Gargano Area – Monte Sant’Angelo (approx. 35km / 45 minutes) - San Giovanni Rotondo (approx. 25km / 30 minutes) - San Marco Lamis (approx. 12km / 20 minutes) - Rignano Gargarnico (approx. 8km / 15 minutes) – Gargano Area (approx. 15km / 20 minutes) Total: approx. 95km / 2 hours 10 minutes)
Day 6: At the base of the extinct volcano Monte Vulture lies the city of Venosa, where you’ll make your first stop. It was one of the largest Roman colonies and the birthplace of the Roman Poet Horace (65-8 BC). See the remnants of the town’s rich history, from the Castle of Pirro del Balzo - which now houses the archaeological museum, the Abbey of the Holy Trinity – with its frescos and mosaics and the ancient Roman settlement and amphitheatre. Next on to Melfi, once the Capital of the Normans, which is still evident today in the Castles architecture - an imposing structure of eight towers that dominates the town. After a heavy day of history, make your way to Rionero in Vulture, known as the capital of Aglianico del Vulture, the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of the local wine. The town looks over the Montucchio Lakes that fill the craters of the former volcano, offering a beautiful view. Finally make your way to your new accommodation in the Matera area.
Gargano Area – Venosa (approx. 125km / 1 hour 30) – Melfi (approx. 20km / 30 minutes) - Rionero in Vulture (approx. 13km / 20 minutes) – Matera Area (approx. 110km – 1 hour 30) Total: approx. 268km 3 hours 50
Day 7: Begin your day with a visit to Altamura. One of the most notable structures in the town is its cathedral, which was built in the 13th century by Frederick II of Swabia. Take a moment to look up and admire Its two striking towers are caved with scenes of the new testament. The town is famed for its bread, a visit here wont be complete without tasting the wood fired Pane di Altamura. On to the city of rock cut churches, Garvina. Explore the ancient settlements and religious builfings that date back to pre history. Here, there is evidence to show that wines were being traded even durng antiquity. This is a practice that continues today. In the afternoon make your way back to Matera to explore the web of streets that wind their way through the Sassi.
Matera Area – Altamura (approx. 20km / 30 minutes) – Gravina (approx. 13km / 20 minutes) – Matera (approx. 27km / 30 minutes) Total: approx. 60km / 1 hour 20
Day 9: Explore the Valle d'Itra visiting the island of Taranto, linked to the mainland via bridge. It is home to a significant Archaeological Museum and 15th-century Aragonese Castle. See the rural settlements of Massafra where bridges link the hilltop town that is split by a ravine. Visit the beautiful Naroque town of Martina Franca, bursting with elegant palaces and and ancient churches. End your day visiting some of the "Borghi più Belli d'Italia", towns and villages that have been named some of the most beautiful in all of italy, Locorotondo and Cisternino. Finally make your way to your accommodation in the Ostuni area.
Matera Area - Taranto (approx. 70km / 15 minutes) - Massafra (approx. 20km / 35 minutes) - Martina Franca (approx. 25km / 30 minutes) - Locorotondo (approx. 6km / 10 minutes) - Cisternino (apporx. 12km / 15 minutes) - Ostuni Area (approx. 17km / 25 minutes) Total: approx. 150km / 2 hours 10
Day 10: See the 'Florence of the south' Lecce. Stolling through the ancient streets, marveling at the architecture, a few steps from the Duomo and Piazza Sant’Oronzo you'll see the Ancient Roman theatre that was built in the 2nd century AD. In the afternoon visit the medieval town of Otranto , Make sure you visit the beautiful Basilica with its intricate mosaic floors.
Ostuni Area - Lecce (approx. 105km / 1 hour 15) - Otranto (approx. 45km / 40 minutes) - Ostuni Area (approx. 150km / 1 hour 50) Total: approx. 300km / 3 hours 45
Day 11: On your last full day start by seeing the Castellana Grotte. The caves with their beautiful stalagmite and stalagtite rock formations are over 60 metres deep. As you have explored the region you'll have noticed traditional conical houses called Trulli, today visit 'the capital of Trulli' Alberobello. See the whitewashed town of Ostuni and end the day in Cisternino, where you can enjoy a tasting of the fresh local olive oil.
Ostuni Area - Castellana Grotte (approx. 20km / 25 minutes) - Alberobello Castellana Grotte 15km / 20 minutes) - Ostuni (approx. 35km / 50 minutes) - Cisternino (approx. - 15km / 23 minutes) Ostuni Area (approx. 15km / 25 minutes) Total: approx. 100km / 2 hours 23
Day 12: This morning after breakfast, make your way to the airport to return your hire car and fly home.
Ostuni Area - Bari Airport (approx. 80km / 1 hour) or Ostuni Area - Brindisi Airport (approx. 65km / 50 minutes)
- Car hire with unlimited mileage
- 11 nights’ 4* accommodation on a half board basis (optional B&B reduction)
- Detailed driving instructions, maps and suggested itineraries
- Olive oil tasting with a small gift
- Any extras, drinks and personal expenses
- Parking costs (where applicable)
- Tourist Tax
Bari Area – UNA Regina
Gargano Area - Ariae Hotel
Matea Area – Hotel Sassi
Monopoli Area - Hotel Tenuta Monacelle
- Flexible departure dates