Puglia & Basilicata Self-Drive

  • Tours & Multi-centres in Italy

Spend the week exploring southern Italy's Puglia and Basilicata regions. We’ve planned a self-drive route through vineyards and olive groves, across mountainous landscapes and along stunning coastal roads - which means you’ll get to see the very best points of interest as well as those less well known. With the organising done for you, all you need to do it collect your hire car and get exploring. Visit the ancient cave dwellings of Matera, see the famous Trulli houses of Alberobello, taste fresh local olive oil and admire the many, striking medieval castles, all at your own speed.

Tour highlights

  • This wonderful self-drive itinerary immerses you in the authentic regions of Puglia and Basilicata
  • Explore the coastal towns and hilltop cities at your own pace
  • You'll stay in well-located three and four-star hotels with breakfast included
  • Receive detailed maps with driving directions and suggested places to visit on route
  • Explore the stunning towns of Alberbello, Otranto and Lecce
  • Discover the natural wonders of the Gargano National Park and Castellena Grotte
  • Visit the cultural capital of Basilicata, Matera and see the ancient cave dwellings

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Day 1: UK to Puglia

Fly to Bari or Brindisi Airport and collect your hire car to begin your week long self-guided tour of Puglia and Basilicata. Make your way to Matera, the capital of Basilicata – you’ll spot it high on a rocky outcrop as you approach. Spend your first night in the area.

Bari Airport - Matera (approx. 70 km / 1 hour 15) or Brindisi Airport - Matera (approx. 140km / 2 hours) 

Meals included: (Dinner if choosing half board)

Day 2: Altamura, Gravina and Matera

This morning, head towards the border between Puglia and Basilicata to the town of Altamura – it’s up on the hillside of the Murge plateau. The ancient town was a settlement for the “Peucezi” people – so it’s steeped in history. The ornately decorated 13th century cathedral’s a must see – it’s so peaceful inside. Later on, in Gravina, visit the rock cut churches and buildings carved into the stone. Human settlement here dates back to pre-historic times. Once you’ve seen it from above, head underground to see how cave dwellings were constructed. Back in Basilicata, spend the afternoon getting to know Matera. The ancient Sassi district’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the towns been noted for it’s history and culture since being named European Capital of Culture in 2019.

Matera - Altamura (approx. 20km / 25 minutes) - Gravina in Puglia (approx. 13 km - 20 minutes) - Matera (approx. 27 km / 30 minutes) Total: approx. 60km / 1 hour 15

Meals included: Breakfast, (Dinner if choosing half board)

Day 3: Taranto and Gallipoli

Hit the coastal roads. Thanks to its Greek and Roman beginnings, in Taranto you’ll find one of the most notable Magna Grecia Museums in Italy. Wander across the lagoon, over the bridge to the centro storico - with its striking 15th Century Aragonese Castle. Find a spot to have lunch, pop into artisan shops or just soak up the atmosphere before making your way to the island town of Galappoli. A 16th Century bridge links the mainland to the old town – where you can weave your way through narrow alleyways and discover hidden nooks. There’s another amazing fortress to see - Castello Angioino. 

Matera - Taranto (approx. 75km / 1 hour 15) - Gallipoli (approx. 145km / 1 hour 45)  - Salento Area (approx. 40km / 40 minutes) Total: approx.  260km / 3 hours 40

Meals included: Breakfast, (Dinner à la carte, payable locally)

Day 4: Salento, Santa Maria di Leuca and Otranto

Drive down to the southernmost tip of Italy’s heel, where you’ll reach Santa Maria di Leuca. Join the ranks of the wealthy Puglian people, of the 18th Century, who holidayed here. Their opulent Art Neaveau villas still line line the water’s edge. Walk up to the lighthouse – it marks the point where the clear waters of the Ionian and Adriatic Sea meet. Drive on to the spa town, Santa Cesarea Terme. The 19th-century Villa Sticchi with its ornate Moorish dome is a real treasure to see. Further along the coastal road visit Otranto, Italy’s easternmost town. It’s a laid back place with lots to see. The Cthedral of Santa Maria Annunziata has this amazing medieval ‘tree of life’ mosaic that covers the floor.

Salento Area - Santa Maria di Leuca (approx. 7km / 10 minutes) - Otranto (approx. 50 km / 1 hour) - Salento Area (approx. 50 km / 1 hour) Total: 107km / 2 hours 10

Meals included: Breakfast, (Dinner à la carte, payable locally)

Day 5: Lecce, Martina Franca and Alberobello

Venture through the olive groves, wooded slopes and vineyards of the Itra Valley dotted with white washed cone roofed trulli houses. Begin in Lecce – it’s famed for its Roman Theatre and Cathedral. Further north, see the ornate baroque architecture in Martina Franca and finally reach Albrerobello, ‘the capital of trulli’.

Salento Area - Lecce (approx. 85 km / 1 hour) - Martina Franca (apporx. 100km / 1 hour 25) - Alberobello (approx. 15km / 20 minutes) - Monopololi Area (approx. 12km / 20 minutes) Total: 212km / 3 hours 5 

Meals included: Breakfast, (Dinner if choosing half board)

Day 6: Bari, Castel Del Monte and Trani

Visit the capital of Puglia, Bari – it’s a bustling city on the coast. Just outside Bari, towards the Alta Murgia National Park you’ll find the beautiful Castel del Monte. It’s pretty unique - The King and Roman Emperor Frederik II designed it in an octagonal shape. Today it’s a UNESCO Site – so get out an explore. Next stop, the historic fishing port of Trani. Wander through the limestone lanes soaking up the town’s history - the Cathedral here towers over the waterfront. At the marina there’s nice bars and cafés – so why now stop for a drink and watch the fishing boats in the harbour?

Monopoli Area - Bari (approx. 60km / 55 minutes) - Castel del Monte (approx. 55km / 1 hour) - Trani (approx. 35km / 40 minutes) - Monopoli Area (approx. 110km / 1 hour 25) Total: 260km / 4 hours 

Meals included: Breakfast, (Dinner if choosing half board)

Day 7:Castellana Grotte, Polignano a Mare, Ostuni and Cisternino

Venture into the limestone Grotte di Castellana – an interlinked cave system. Spend the morning exploring the caverns, with their stalactite and stalagmite formations. Next, head for Polignano a Mare, where sun bleached buildings teeter on the clifftops above the sea. Grab a coffee or ice cream in the main square, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, and soak up the buzzing atmosphere of this seaside town. The beach in the cove below is the perfect place to catch some sun and have a swim. In the afternoon, make your way to the whitewashed old town of Ostuni. The Cathedral is a mix of Gothic, Romanesque and Byzantine architecture – so you’ll get a feel for all the different cultural influences in the region. In the evening we’ve planned a tasting for you, where you can sample some of the locally produced olive oil.

Monopoli Area - Castellana Grotte (approx. 20km / 25 minutes) - Plignano a Mare (approx. 20km / 30 minutes) - Ostuni (approx. 45km / 45 minutes) - Cisternino (approx. 20km / 25 minutes) - Monopoli Area (approx. 20km / 25 minutes) Total: 125km / 2 hours 35

Meals included: Breakfast, (Dinner if choosing half board)

Day 8: Puglia to UK

After your final breakfast, say your farewells to the sun kissed lands of Puglia and Basilicata and head to the airport for your flight home.

Monopoli Area - Bari Airport (approx. 80km / 1 hour) or Monopoli Area - Brindisi Airport (approx. 65km / 50 minutes) 

Meals included: Breakfast

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Your holiday includes

  • Car hire with unlimited mileage
  • 7 nights’ accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis (5 nights half board available for a supplement*)
  • Detailed driving instructions, maps and suggested itineraries
  • Olive oil tasting with a small gift

Your holiday excludes:

  • Any extras, drinks and personal expenses
  • Dinner at the Hotel Montecallini is not included in the optional half board supplement
  • Parking costs (where applicable) 
  • Tourist tax

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★★★ Hotel Sassi, Matera (2 nights)

★★★★ Hotel Montecallini, Salento Area (2 nights)* 

★★★★ Tenuta Monacelle, near Monopoli (3 nights) in 2021

★★★★ Città Bianca Country Resort, near Ostuni (3 nights) in 2022

Your Meals: Breakfast in the hotel's is usually buffet style and includes options like fresh bread, fruit, cereals, yoghurt and a selection of teas an coffees. If you upgrade to half board you'll have dinner included on five nights of your seven night trip.

* Hotel Montecallini in the Salento area is not included in the optional half board upgrade. If you'd like dinner here you can eat in the hotel's à la carte restaurant or a local restaurant and pay locally.  

Please note that these hotels are subject to availability at the time of booking. If they are not available, they'll be changed to hotels of a similar standard and location. Not all hotels have a swimming pool and some use outside restaurants if you choose half board.

Departure dates

Flexible daily departures from May to October

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This accommodation is not available to be booked online, please call our Reservations Team on 01483 791111 to book or for further information

Due to the constantly changing nature of the COVID-19 crisis, we may need to change or withdraw at short notice some advertised accommodation facilities and resort services to help keep everyone safe.

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