Puglia & Basilicata Self-Drive - 11 nights

  • Tours & Multi-centres in Italy

Feel that sense of freedom as you explore a land of ancient castles and towns while driving through nature reserves and along coastal roads. We’ve planned an 11-night self-drive itinerary around Puglia and Basilicata so that you can make the most of all that these regions have to offer. After spending a few weeks here you’ll get a real feel for the history and culture of the place visiting towns like Bari, Vieste, Matera, Lecce and Ostuni to name just a few. This is Italy at its most authentic, where you’ll discover new places, people and experiences.

Tour highlights | Itinerary | Your holiday includes | Hotels | Departure dates

2022 Departures on sale now!

From £1,119 per person

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 four-star hotels with breakfast (and dinner on half board) included
  • Receive detailed suggested places to visit on route
  • Explore the stunning towns of Alberbello, Otranto and Lecce
  • Visit some of the regions Borghi più Belli d'Italia 
  • Discover the natural wonders of the Gargano National Park and Castellena Grotte
  • Spend time in the cultural capital of Basilicata, Matera
  • Try the fresh local olive oil, with a tasting experience

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Day 1: UK to Puglia

On arrival in Puglia make your way to the car-rental office to collect your hire car. Drive from the airport to your hotel in the Bari area for your first night’s stay.

Distances: Bari airport to Bari area 30km (25 mins) or Brindisi airport to Bari area 100km (1 hour 30 mins)

Meals included: (Dinner if choosing half board)

Day 2: Bari, Castel del Monte to Trani

Wake up to explore Puglia's capital, Bari, weaving your way through narrow-cobbled streets of the old town. The white stone Basilica di San Nicola’s an interesting church to have a look in. If you’re peckish while you’re in town we’d recommend trying ciambotta, a local fish stew, for lunch (payable locally). Drive inland towards the Alta Murgia National Park to visit the 13th Century Castel del Monte before continuing on to the historic fishing port of Trani. Wander through the limestone lanes and check out the cathedral that towers over the waterfront.

Distances: Bari area to Bari 15km (20 mins); Bari to Trani 55km (50 mins); Trani to Bari area 65km (50 mins)

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

Day 3: Barletta, Magherita di Savoia to Gargano

The road trip continues northward to the Castello Svevo di Barletta - walk along the battlements and take in the views out to sea. As you drive to Margherita di Savoia you’ll notice the landscape change into shallow pools that take on a subtle pink hue – they’re salt flats and you might even spot flamingos here. Later you’ll have time to explore the Roman town of Lucera – it has a rich, yet tumultuous history having been fought over and conquered many times. Its Roman Amphitheatre’s a pretty impressive sight.

Distances: Bari area to Barletta 65km (50 mins); Baletta to Magerita di Savoia 15km (20 mins); Magerita di Savoia to Lucera 90km (1 hour); Lucera to Gargarno area 60km (50 mins)

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

Day 4: Gargano National Park

Take a panoramic tour of Gargano National Park. At the very tip is the coastal town of Vieste. It’s surrounded by beautiful coastline so once you’ve seen the historic town spend your morning soaking up the sunshine at the beach. Head over to Peschi, a walled town, packed with white washed Arabesque buildings. Walk across to 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 before driving back through the Umbra Forest.

Distances: Gargarno area to Vieste 80km (1 hour 30 mins); Vieste to Peschici 25km (30 mins); Peschici to Vico del Gargano 12km (25 mins); Vico del Gargarno to Gargarno area 60km (1 hour 15 mins)

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

Day 5: Monte Sant'Angelo, San Giovani Rotondo and Rignano Gargarnico

Take a scenic drive through the Gargano National Park to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Monte Sant’Angelo. Explore the white washed town and some of the best views of the gulf of Manfredonia. Continue to San Giovanni Rotondo, the birthplace of Padre Pio a well-known Italian saint. Today, about seven million pilgrims flock here each year to pay homage at the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Don’t miss the medieval town of Rignano Gargarnico, it’s known as the balcony of Puglia. From up here you’ll have spectacular views across the region.

Distances: Gargano area to Monte Sant’Angelo 30km (35 mins); Monte Sant'Angelo to San Giovanni Rotondo 25km (30 mins); San Giovanni Rotondo to San Marco Lamis 12km (20 mins); San Marco Lamis to Rignano Gargarnico 8km (15 mins); Rignano Gargarnico to Gargarno area 15km  (20 mins)

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

Day 6: Venosa, Melfi and Vulture

At the base of the extinct volcano Monte Vulture lies the city of Venosa – it was one of the largest Roman colonies. Explore the remnants of the town’s rich history including the Castle of Pirro del Balzo, the Abbey and ancient amphitheatre. Next, drive to Melfi, once the Capital of the Normans. After a heavy day of history, make your way to Rionero in Vulture, which is the perfect place to seek out a glass of the local wine.

Approximate distance travelled: Gargano area to Venosa 125km (1 hour 40 mins); Venosa to Melfi 20km (30 mins); Melfi to Vulture 13km (20 mins); Vulture to Matera area 115km (1 hour 35 mins)

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

Day 7: Altamura, Gravina and Matera

Begin your day with a visit to Altamura. It’s famous for its bread, so a visit here won’t be complete without tasting the wood-fired Pane di Altamura (payable locally). Next, stop off at Garvina - explore the ancient settlements and historic religious buildings. In the afternoon make your way to Matera, Basillicata’s capital of culture. The ancient Sassi district is UNESCO protected. Discover the history of the town and its ancient cave dwellings built into the rocks.

Distances: Matera area to Altamura 25km (30 mins); Almatura to Gravina 13km (20 mins); Gravina to Matera area 27km (30 mins)

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

Day 8: Lucanian Dolomites

Drive into the Lucanian Dolomites – you’ll find rocky peaks and mountain villages. Start in Acerenza to see the cathedral. The on to Lagopesole castle – it towers over the Valle di Vitalba. If you’re up for an adrenaline rush, visit Pietrapertosa or Castelmezzano, to see the Il Volo dell’Angelo (Angel Flight). A zip line glides from one side of the valley to the other connecting the two Borghi più Belli d'Italia – watch the action or take a flight yourself (payable locally). Alternatively, if you want to get out into nature, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the hiking trails of the Dolomiti Lucane National Park.

Distances: Matera area to Acerenza 80km (1 hour 15 mins); Acerenza to Lagopesole 30km (40 mins); Lagopesole to Pietrapertosa 59 km (1 hour); Castelmezzano to Matera area 85km (1 hour 10 mins)

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

Day 9: Taranto to Valle d'Itria

Today, start in the seaside town of Taranto. If you’re interested in history there’s a great archaeological museum here, as well as another beautiful 15th-century Aragonese Castle. Continue on to the baroque town of Martina Franca in the Valle d'Itria, bursting with elegant palaces and ancient churches. End your day visiting Locorotondo and Cisternino – they’re considered to be among the most beautiful towns in Italy.

Distances: Matera area to Taranto 70km (15 mins); Taranto to Martina Franca 30km (35 mins); Martina Franca to Locorotondo 6km (10 mins); Locorotondo to Ostuni area 20km (25 mins)

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

Day 10:  Lecce to Otranto

Today you can visit Lecce, the 'Florence of the south'. Stroll through the ancient streets and marvel at the city's 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 and its beautiful basilica – make sure you look at the floors, they’re decorated with intricate mosaics.

Distances: Ostuni area to Lecce 85km (1 hour 15 mins); Lecce to Otranto 45km (40 mins); Otranto to Ostuni Area 130km (1 hour 40 mins)

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

Day 11: Castellana Grotte, Alberobello and Ostuni

On your last full day start by seeing the Castellana Grotte. These caves with their beautiful stalagmite and stalactite rock formations are over 60 metres deep. After, visit 'the capital of trulli' Alberobello. As you’ve explored the region you'll have noticed traditional conical houses called trulli, dotted about the countryside – here you can see them in all their glory as you wander through the pretty town. See the whitewashed town of Ostuni and to end the day we’ve planned a tasting for you to try the fresh local olive oil. 

Distances: Ostuni area to Castellana Grotte 40km (50 mins); Castellana Grotte to Alberobello 15km (20 mins); Alberobello to Ostuni area 30km (40 mins)

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

Day 12: Puglia to UK

This morning after breakfast, make your way to the airport to return your car and fly home. 

Distances: Ostuni area to Bari airport 100km (1 hour 15) or Brindisi airport 45km (45 mins)

Meals included: Breakfast

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Your holiday includes

  • Car hire with unlimited mileage
  • 11 nights three and four-star accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis (half board available for a supplement)
  • Detailed suggested itineraries and information
  • Olive oil tasting

Your holiday excludes:

  • Any extras, drinks and personal expenses
  • Parking costs (where applicable) 
  • Hotel city tax

Please note that the distances between destinations are estimates and may vary. 

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★★★★ UNA Hotel Regina, Bari area (2 nights)

★★★★ Ariae Hotel OR Palace San Giovanni Rotondo, Gargano area (3 nights)

★★★ Hotel Sassi, Matera area (3 nights)*

★★★★ Città Bianca Country Resort, Ostuni area (3 nights)

*Hotel Sassi in Matera - guests choosing the optional half board will have dinner in a local restaurant. 

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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