Hiking tours


Puglia & Basilicata Hike

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  • Location: Italy
  • Duration: 8 Days/7 Nights
  • Departing from: Bari at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, Day 2
  • Tour finishes: Potenza train station at 10 a.m. on Day 8
  • Departures 2024: April 13 & 27, May 4, Sept 15, Oct 13 plus private departures.
  • Price 2024: Euro €3,700 per person in double occupancy. Single Supplement Euro €480. One guide accompanies departures of 2 - 8 people, two guides for 9 or more.

Discover two of Italy’s most beautiful (and uncrowded!) regions in the “heel of the boot.” Puglia (also called Apulia in English) offers the best of Southern Italy. White-washed villages, Baroque architecture, delicious cuisine, and the region's powerful red wines ensure a rich sensory experience, while the neighboring province of Basilicata features the dramatic cave-city of Matera as well as the surprising alpine scenery of the “Dolomiti Lucane.” Other highlights include Bari’s historic medieval port, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Alberobello and its “trulli” houses, and the lovely seaside village of Monopoli. Perhaps best of all is the fabulous, warm, genuine hospitality of the locals who are very proud to welcome you to their southern homeland.

Puglia & Basilicata Hiking Tour Includes

  • Accommodation: 7 nights accommodation in 3- and 4-star hotels (1 night 4-star in Bari, and 2 nights 4-star hotel or equivalent in Monopoli, 2 nights 4-star hotel in Matera, and 2 nights in 3-star country hotel in Trivigno)
  • Meals: 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 5 dinners
  • Luggage: Bags are transferred starting from pick-up at Bari hotel on Day 2 to drop-off at Potenza train station on Day 8.
  • Special events: Guided visit of Alberobello and Matera, cooking class, guided hike of National Nature Reserve of Torre Guaceto
  • Transport: Private van transfers as indicated in the itinerary
  • Active days: 6 days of guided hiking
  • Guides: At least 1 bilingual Customwalks guide accompanies departures of 2 - 8 people; 2 guides accompany departures of 9 or more people
  • Max group size: Tours are capped at 14 people

Booking: Please e-mail us at info@customwalks.com to receive a booking contract or simply click on the BOOK NOW button or the 'Contact Us' tab. Thanks!

Puglia & Basilicata Hike itinerary Request full itinerary

Day 1

Independent arrival in Bari and check-in at the Dilman Luxury Boutique Hotel (or similar/Sept 17, 2023 at 4-star Hotel Oriente), located near the medieval city center. Formerly the domain of smugglers and brigands, Bari’s quaint and atmospheric historic center has been revitalized during the past decade. Cafés, wine bars, and trattorias line the labyrinthine streets, all of which eventually lead to the remarkable Romanesque architecture of the 12th century Basilica di San Nicola. Depending on your arrival time, the afternoon and evening are open for sightseeing or just relaxing after your journey. Dine independently tonight in one of the many local restaurants. All meals and transfer to Bari on your own.Hike: No hike today.  Overnight Bari. Hotel included. Dinner not included. 

Day 2

Meet your guide(s)and the other hikers at 9:00 a.m. and transfer 45 minutes by van to the beginning of our first walk. The path follows the ancient trail of the Via Francigena. The route brought pilgrims from the north of Europe to the medieval ports of Monopoli and Brindisi from where they embarked on boats destined for the Holy Land. Our destination is instead the cliffside village of Polignano Mare. The hike follows the coast line and drops down to inlets and bays, and passes a Medieval watchtower before arriving at the outskirts of Polignano. A new purpose built pedestrian pathway takes you along the cliff edge and into the whitewashed village. Your guide/s will lead you through the labyrinthine alleyways of the old town to overlook the famous Lama Monachile, a narrow cove known for its shimmering turquoise water and pebble beach, flanked by dramatic, rugged cliffs surmounted by whitewashed dwellings. After lunch in Polignano we have a short train ride to the adjacent town of Monopoli. Your hotel for the next two nights is the charming Hotel Palazzo Indelli (or similar). The hotel is located within the 14th century town walls and within site of the castle of Carlo V. Dinner tonight is in the hotel restaurant with views onto the medieval port. Overnight Monopoli. The hike: 8 kms/5 miles. Elevation: negligible. Flat terrain. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included

Day 3

Today’s walk takes you through farmland and forests along the Pugliese aqueduct. At the end of the walk, we have a short transfer to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Alberobello, whose center consists of over 1,500 “trulli” houses. Trulli are unique to this area and are derived from a prehistoric dry-stone technique where round limestone dwellings are surmounted by a conical or domed roof. Lunch at a trattoria with a local chef with vision. Having travelled and worked abroad for many years chef Alessandro returned to his hometown to open his own trattoria, but also to farm, in order to produce the most genuine and fresh ingredients for his kitchen. This is the place to try the homemade orriechiete con cima di rape. After this delicious lunch you’ll have a short guided visit of town with our friend and guide Marcello. Some free time to further explore on your own or enjoy a coffee or gelato in a sunny square before a transfer back to Monopoli. Dinner tonight in Piazza Palmieri, the oldest piazza in Monopoli through which pilgrims and crusaders once passed. The hike: 9.2 kms/5.7 miles. Elevation gain/loss: negligible. Duration: 3 hours. Flat terrain except for a very short climb up onto the aqueduct.  Overnight: Monopoli. Hotel, breakfast, dinner included.

Day 4

Transfer this morning from Puglia to Basilicata and the amazing city of Matera. We arrive at the Murgia Park Visitors’ Center, where we will be given information about the area before beginning our walk in a seemingly wild ravine, only to find it honeycombed with shelters and thousand-year-old rock-hewn churches. Inhabited since Paleolithic times, the ravines were colonized in the 8th and 9th century by monastic orders. Descend into the ravine and then walk back up to arrive at the amazing town of Matera where we stop for a light lunch at one of the nice bars of the old district. In the afternoon we enjoy a couple of hours of "urban trekking" to explore the famous "Sassi," another UNESCO World Heritage site. Matera’s inhabitants lived for centuries in stone dwellings partially excavated from the rock along the two steep ravines that slice through the landscape. The city is riddled with caves, churches, houses and noble homes dug out of the stone. It is said that Matera is the only place in the world where people still live in the houses of their ancestors 9,000 years ago. Our accommodation for the next two nights, the fabulous Hotel San Pietro (or similar) has been central to the revival and restoration of the old town. The owners have lovingly restored a complex of buildings to provide their guests with a unique experience. We dine tonight at a local "enoteca" (wine shop) where you can taste some of the most exciting wines from the region. Hike: 6 kms/4 miles. Elevation:245 m/784 feet uphill/same downhill. Rocky terrain, uphill into Matera. Additional 3kms/2miles of urban walking, up and down.Overnight Matera at four star Corte San Pietro. Hotel, breakfast, light lunch and dinner included.

Day 5

Our walk today takes us along the valley through woods and olive groves, and past stone farmhouses to reach the hilltop village of Miglionico, where we follow a walkway along its 14th century walls to the imposing castle. Then we have a transfer for lunch at a local farm where we are treated to home-cooked local specialties. In the afternoon you have free time to explore Matera’s shops and sites, or relax on the terrace of the hotel and watch the light change as the rays of the setting sun caress the honey-colored stonework. Tonight is a free night and your guide can recommend nice restaurants for your dinner. Hike: 10 kms/6 miles. Elevation:296 m/947 feet uphill/negligible downhill. Gently uphill for most of hike. Overnight Matera at four star Corte San Pietro. Hotel, breakfast, lunch included.

Day 6

Depart after breakfast for a two-hour transfer out of the lowlands and into the surprising heights of the Dolomiti Lucane, and you will see the landscape change dramatically as we go. Our hike takes us through the peaks and meadows of the Parco Gallipoli-Cognato along the crests of the mountain. The whole way we have wonderful views onto the surrounding hills and villages, stopping occasionally to make friends with the goats and sheep along the way. We end up in Pietrapertosa, which has a jagged spine of rock that shoots upwards while its houses sit clustered beneath. After lunch at a local trattoria you can opt for another hour’s walk to reach the neighboring village of Castelmezzano or just rest the legs and make the trip by van. For the next two nights we are guests of Peppino and Maria Giovanna at the Foresteria di San Leo (or similar). Dinner is at the hotel. Hike: 8 to 10 kms/5 to 6 miles. Elevation:150 m/500 feet uphill 320 m/1,024 feet gently downhill. Overnight Trivigno. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 7

Our final walk is a loop that begins and ends right at our hotel, so we can forget about the van for a while. Hike through the woods and fields of the beautiful countryside to get to the shores of a man-made lake, where we enjoy a lovely picnic lunch prepared by Maria Giovanna. Back at our hotel, you have time to enjoy a swim in the pool before joining a cooking class with Grazia who will help you to prepare a sumptuous meal for our final dinner. Hike: 12 or 15 kms/8 to 9.5 miles. Elevation:uphill/negligible. 278 m/889 feet downhill. Opitonal return hike 278 m/889 feet uphill. Overnight Trivigno. Hotel, breakfast, picnic lunch and dinner included.

Day 8

We transfer this morning to Potenza for 10:00 train departures to Naples, Rome, and beyond. We can also arrange a transfer to the Bari airport (at your own expense). Breakfast and transfer included.

Please note: Some details of the itinerary may change according to the departure date of your tour. Whenever we run a tour we make new discoveries. Sometimes they are good discoveries, like a wonderful new trattoria, and sometimes they are bad, like a trail has been washed away. The result is that we sometimes change our itinerary to improve it by adding new wonderful elements to the tour or by removing something that does not work anymore. Rest assured, our goal is to always provide you with the best possible experience. We will advise you of any changes to the original itinerary prior to departure.  

Activity Level 2 out of 5= Easy to Moderate: 
In general: This is an easy to moderate tour for fit hikers, and will be do-able with some effort by less fit hikers.
Terrain: Flat to gently rolling terrain with some rocky areas. Perhaps some short, relatively steep climbs and descents, but nothing longer than 20 minutes.
Actual hiking time: Between 2 - 4 hours per day, mostly in the morning but sometimes also in the afternoon
Distances: Usually 7 - 10 km (4.5 - 6 mi). Max distance is 12 km (7 mi).
Surfaces: Trails consist mainly of compact earth and/or gravel and sometimes gravel roads
Footing: Easy/good. Proper hiking shoes with thick soles and good treads are required. Sport sandals, running shoes and tennis shoes are not adequate.
Specifics: This is our easiest walking tour. Flat to rolling terrain, with daily activity between 2 - 3.5 hours. Max distance 12 kms. We also spend time walking in the beautiful villages that we visit, so you'll get plenty of excercise.  
Hiking Poles: Not required, but if you habitually use hiking poles then you will find them helpful.  
Compared to the Cinque Terre: This tour is significantly easier than the hikes in the Cinque Terre.
Other: This tour is appropriate for fit, first-time “hikers” who enjoy walking. 
Easy to Moderate Tours: Puglia & Basilicata, Piedmont Walk. All of our boat–based tours in Turkey, Croatia, and Greece Dodecanese Islands would be “easy to moderate” IF you decide to skip the one or two of the more challenging hikes. Note: on our boat-based tours we usually do a walk in the morning, return to the boat for a swim and then lunch, then cruise, and then occasionally drop off for late afternoon hike. Your guides of course can advise you of the difficulty level and the terrain and footing of each walk.
As a point of reference, what is a 1 out 5 Activity rating? A 1 out of 5 rated tour is a tour without any hiking. Walks would be in towns, cities, and villages, and the countryside walks would be on paved, or gravel/dirt roads, and occasionally on some packed earth trails. Elevation gain and loss would be negligible.
As a point of reference, what is a 5 out 5 Activity rating? A 5 out of 5 rated tour is a tour that would be physically challenging and technically difficult even for very fit and experienced hikers. The hikes would have steep ascents and descents on narrow, exposed trails with challenging footing, such as on scree fields, or through rock falls and boulders. Distances would be up to 25 km/16 miles per day and feature ascents of over 1,000 m/3,200 feet in a day. A 5 out of 5 tour would also mean that you would be carrying a heavier-than-normal pack. None of our tours are rated 5 out 5. Our most challenging tours are 4.5 out of 5, and they are the Dolomites Alta Via (because of some exposed trail that requires some technical expertise) and our Republic of Georgia tour which has some long hikes with over 1,000 meters of elevation gain.

Getting There: Make your way independently to our pre-booked hotel in downtown Bari, which is easily reached by direct flight or else by train from other cities in Italy.

Air: The Bari Airport is well connected with other Italian cities and there are a bunch of low-cost flights from European hubs such as London, Paris, Brussels, Barcelona, Frankfurt and Munich with carriers such as EasyJet, RyanAir and Vueling. For a complete list of Italian airports and a selection of low-cost airlines, see our "Transport Info" page.

Train: There are several trains a day to Bari from other Italian cities. Travel time from Rome and Milan by Eurostar train is about 5 hours and 8 hours respectively. The hotel is a 5-minute cab ride from the train station (a taxi is advised), and should cost no more than €10. See the Trenitalia website (in English) at this link. For alternative high-speed rail travel, see the Italo website.
For complete information on using the Italian train system, see our blog post.

Getting away at the end of the trip: The trip ends on Saturday morning with a shuttle to the Potenza train station. You can get the 10:00 train departures to Naples, Rome (arrives 14:10) and beyond. We can also arrange a transfer to Bari airport (at your expense).

If you should book a trip with us you will receive detailed information about how to get to the start of your trip. Please e-mail us with any specific travel questions.

5 out of 5
Ratings based on 8 Verified Reviews

Average ratings
Quality of itinerary
Food quality & variety
Value for money
Right amount of activity
Overall satisfaction

by B. Broom
Posted Nov 15, 2017

Six of us from San Diego enjoyed this fascinating area of Italy. We particularly enjoyed our tour of the trulli houses in Alberobello and our tour of Matera--both World Heritage sites. The local guides for each were excellent. This was our second Custom Walks trip and as usual, the hotels, hikes, and food were excellent. Our guide, Francesca, was knowledgeable, fun, and flexible. A rainy morning cancelled a hike but the museum was very interesting.

by D & K McKenzie
Posted Jun 28, 2016

What an amazing part of Italy to experience!! Without the tourist crowds that visit the better known regions, it equals and in some ways surpasses it's better known rivals. Rich in history, scenery and amazing & unique areas to visit. We were blessed with Sara as our guide who took us on a memorable series of walks. The whole itinerary was amazing along with great accommodation and fantastic food. We especially loved Matera and Monopoli along with the unique Trulli houses.

by Melting
Posted Oct 15, 2015

We could not have been more pleased or had more fun! Sara and Claire, our guides, were outstanding in every aspect. They educated us, encouraged us, and became an integral part of our group of friends. Puglia was special for all of us and we were surprised and fascinated with Matera. Accomodations, food and venues for hiking were all very well chosen. We are all planning where to go next year with our group AND Sara and Claire!

by Gabrielle, Australia
Posted Apr 27, 2015

Southern Italy – my second walk with Customwalks covered a unique part of Italy. In Matera, people lived in caves as far back as 9,000 years ago, and when early morning mists crept in and swathed the rock walls and labyrinth of narrow alleys, it was magical. Some of the caves have frescoed walls depicting visual tales of Christian folklore, and many people still lived in converted caves, making it like no other place in Italy. Alberobello’s Trulli houses with their distinctive conical roofs was also fascinating. The walk from Pietropertosa to Castelmezzano – a town where houses perch one above the other below the Lucanian Mountains, was a particularly good walk climbing down into a valley and then up to heights giving fabulous views. The accommodation was different, but very good - as was the food and wine. Claudia and Michele knew the area well and guided us well. An excellent walk experiencing a part of Italy with amazing history and geography.

by Joan
Posted Feb 08, 2015

A great experience. Excellent guides, including having the area guides for particular cultural and historical perspective and their specific knowledge. Great opportunities to enjoy local food and wine - some memorable meals. Being welcomed as part of the CW family by local people was a privilege. Enjoyed the variety of walking terrain each day.

by Jo
Posted Jan 31, 2015

A really memorable and enjoyable experience. Fantastic guides, varied and beautiful scenery, wonderful food and amazing history and culture.

by MSL
Posted Jan 31, 2015

Highlights of the trip were our guided tours of Alberobello and especially Matera with its ancient cisterns, former primitive cave dwellings, and visiting the regional park near Matera for lunch prepared by the manager's wife. Another highlight was seeing the frescos in the 9th century Cave Church of the Original Sin which was abandoned in the mid 800's. We also enjoyed the the cooking lesson on our hike when visiting the “Dolomiti Lucane” area

by S Lane
Posted Jan 30, 2015

I would have preferred more walking and less eating- there were a lot of long lunches as well as the group dinners in the evening. Matera was amazing and it was wonderful to stay in a hotel right in the old town. I loved the walks in the Dolomiti Lucane, a beautiful area and a wonderful way to end the trip.

If you have any questions or specific requests about any of our tours, we’re here to help. You can fill in the form below, send us an email, or call us and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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Six of us from San Diego enjoyed this fascinating area of Italy. We particularly enjoyed our tour of the trulli houses in Alberobello and our tour of Matera--both World Heritage sites. The local guides for each were excellent. This was our second Custom Walks trip and as usual, the hotels, hikes, and food were excellent. Our guide, Francesca, was knowledgeable, fun, and flexible. A rainy morning cancelled a hike but the museum was very interesting.
by B. Broom

What an amazing part of Italy to experience!! Without the tourist crowds that visit the better known regions, it equals and in some ways surpasses it's better known rivals. Rich in history, scenery and amazing & unique areas to visit. We were blessed with Sara as our guide who took us on a memorable series of walks. The whole itinerary was amazing along with great accommodation and fantastic food. We especially loved Matera and Monopoli along with the unique Trulli houses.
by D & K McKenzie

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Polignano mare vista
Monopoli from sea
Monopoli harbor  blue boats
Pax at dinner
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Alberobello trulli
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Corte san pietro matera courtyard
Corte san pietro matera
Cat on trullo
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