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The Essential Puglia

Daily Schedule
Tour Dates & Cost

Puglia is an ancient land on the heel of Italy, washed by the Adriatic and
Aeolian Seas


It is the sunniest area in the whole of Italy, so the glorious clear water
and sweeping beaches are a real magnet, especially during a
New Zealand winter!


The food is simple, distinctive and very tasty, and the wines have been
sought-after since the very first Greek settlers hit these shores.


Our tour takes in the three distinct sub-regions of Puglia – the forested
Gargano Peninsula, surrounded by magnificent beachesthe Murge, a
flatter area with a strong agrarian tradition and traditional Trulli houses built from stone; and further south, close to Greece, the Salento where seafood is king


Explore sea-caves, walk the rural pathways, relax poolside or by the turquoise sea, pedal a bike if you feel so inclined. 


We will also venture to neighbouring Matera to see the houses built into the rocks and the mysterious painted churches. Matera is joint European City of Culture for 2019.


There will be many opportunities to sample the regional specialties in a range of eateries, and several chances to learn new cooking and foraging techniques guided by friendly locals.


We will be staying in a variety of carefully restored properties in the heart of the old towns in this region, and on an organic family estate or masseria where the gnarled old olive trees produce deep, pungent oils.


Interested in this tour? Contact Gail for more information.


The Essential Puglia – Daily Schedule


Day 1

Meal/s included: DINNER

Arrive in the ancient seaport of Vieste not far from Bari Airport in the
afternoon. Explore the historic town, have an introduction to the local
wines and enjoy your first Puglia dinner in a magnificent setting.


Day 2
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER

See the old harbour and take a coastal trip on a traditional boat to

sea caves and secluded beaches. Spend the afternoon as you feel inclined before

the evening cocktail party.


Day 3
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER

Off to explore the walking tracks through the mighty forest of Umbra (shadows) home to many species of plants and animals, including local cows, complete with bells.


Lunch will be at a traditional fishing trabucco.


Day 4 – transfer day
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / DINNER

Transfer to our new base on an organic agriturismo farm, full of surprises.


Then on to Castellana Grotte, where we will visit the 90 million year old
karst caves which give the town its name.


Dinner at our agriturismo, eating organic produce from the farm.


Day 5
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER

A day out in trulli country by bike or mother-ship (Alberobello,
Martina Franca and  Locorotondo) – interesting coned roofed dwelllings,
great food, exquisite aged olive trees.



There will be an option to return on the small local train.


Day 6
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER

A free day – so many special places nearby to choose from – 
Monopoli, Polignano al Mare or Conversano. Bike, walk or travel
in the comfort of the support vehicle.


A very special local event tonight!


Day 7
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / DINNER

A day trip to Matera, with a guided tour of this resurrected  town.


Day 8
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / DINNER

This morning, a visit to the local cheesemaker before heading to the
white-washed hilltop town of Cisterino to visit the local market.
Return to the masseria for a cooking session and dinner.


Day 9 – transfer day
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH

Today, an opportunity to spend some time in the white town of Ostuni on the way south to Gallipoli, considered to be the most beautiful town in the Salento zone. 


En route, pause at Punta Prosciutto for an impromptu picnic and a swim in the totally clear sea.


Explore the old port area and enjoy a stunning seafood meal before settling into your sensitively-restored hotel. 


Day 10
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / DINNER

This morning visit the fish market, and the ancient underground olive oil mills. Later, head to a nearby beach resort (lido) or to further explore the local highlights.


A bike ride to the local wine centre of Manduria is another possibility.


Day 11 – transfer day

Travel north, by bike or support vehicle, around the Gulf of Salento, keeping close to the sparkling sea. Enjoy lunch with your toes in the water.


On to Lecce, called ‘the Florence of the south’ because of its splendid
Baroque architecture, and maybe something to do with quality shops...


Our final stay is in a castle built in 1479. Put on your coronets!


Tonight cook up a feast of Salentan delicacies under the guidance of Gianna.


Day 12
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / DINNER

Explore the sights of Lecce and its coast – shopping, lounging on the beach,

checking details of a very, very long history...

Day 13
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST

After breakfast in our castle, off to explore the rest of the world!


For a larger tour map click here.




Tour Dates & Cost

Monday 20 May to Saturday 01 June, 2019
NZ$6400 pp twin share or double basis 

A single supplement applies (if you prefer an individual room)

Included in each 13-day tour: 
  • Daily support vehicle (no panniers or backpacks needed).

  • Luggage transfer between localities.

  • Option to drive your own rental vehicle (surcharge applies).

  • Any purchases you make in the markets and antique shops can easily be transferred.

  • Hire of quality mountain bikes.

  • Quality accommodation in properties of character, mostly with private facilities. We stay two to three nights on average in each place, using the base to explore the environs.

Food and wine
  • Eleven gourmet dinners featuring the best of regional specialties – not forgetting the special arrivederci feast on our final night.

  • Six lunches including spectacular picnics.

  • Several times you’ll get the chance to ‘follow-your-own-nose’ for midday and evening meals.

  • All breakfasts, including exquisite homemade preserves.

  • Wine tastings, olive oil tasting and cooking sessions, plus an introduction to the local music and dance.

  • An experienced facilitator with knowledge of the attractions, the people, and the history of the area.

  • Our active gourmet tours offer a range of routes from undemanding to taxing, through the very heart of stunning countryside. High fitness levels aren’t essential though reasonable fitness is preferable.

  • Pre-trip guidance (and cycle instruction is available if required).

  • Daily briefing and guidance.

  • Rest days and independent exploration possible (we supply very detailed maps which allow a choice of routes).

  • Literature, including a detailed itinerary, clothing guide, use of large-scale maps of the area, and general advice on travelling in Europe.


A sense of adventure is compulsory!


  • Travel insurance (mandatory)

  • Transfers and flights

  • Castle and museum entry fees – you choose which to visit

  • Gratuities (tips) and drinks

  • Golf club hire and green fees, kayak hire where applicable

  • Visas and passports (as necessary)

  • Personal items, eg. laundry, telephone, internet charges

  • Optional extras


A limited number of days available?

You can join in for a shorter time. We also offer associated walking or car itineraries for non-cycling partners.


Footnote: Please note that there may possibly be changes outside the organiser's control, such as fluctuations between the NZ dollar and the overseas supplier's currency, or changes in prices or services. Prices shown are correct as at  July 2019. The organiser reserves the right to change any details in this outline, should this prove necessary, at any time until full payment is received.


See our FAQ page for more information or email Gail to book.

Historic Vieste in the sun

Departing for a day of cycling

Setting off into the forest of Umbra

The beautiful town of Gallipoli

Lecce cooking class

The hill town of Ostuni

Tulli houses

Keen on a personalised tour?


We will design an itinerary for you, tailormade to suit your needs, interests and time frame. You decide when and how long you wish to tour for, who with and on what mode of transport.


Or we can help you select the most suitable tour from our extensive portfolio of the very best of worldwide activity holidays.

The Essential Puglia – Daily Schedule
Tour Dates & Cost
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