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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 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. At the same time, the neighboring province of Basilicata features the dramatic cave-city of Matera and 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 people you will meet. They are very proud to welcome you to their southern homeland.

Puglia & Basilicata Hiking Tour Includes

 

  • Accommodation: 7 nights accommodation in 4-star hotels and Agriturismo (1 night 4-star in Bari, and 2 nights 4-star hotel in Locorotondo (or similar in Monopoli), 2 nights 4-star hotel in Matera, and 2 nights in 3-star country hotel in Trivigno)
  • Meals: 7 breakfasts, 3 lunches & 1 picnic lunch, 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, and cooking class.
  • Transport: Private van transfers as indicated in the itinerary
  • Active days: 6 days of guided hiking
  • Guides: At least one bilingual Customwalks guide accompanies departures of 2 - 8 people; 2 guides accompany departures of 9 to 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 4-star Dilman Boutique Hotel (or similar) 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, eventually leading 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 relaxing after your journey. Dine independently tonight in one of the many local restaurants. All meals and transfer to Bari on your own. Overnight Bari. Hotel included. Dinner is not included. 

Day 2

Meet your guide(s)and the other hikers at 9:00 a.m. and transfer 35 minutes by van to the stunning seaside town of Polignano a Mare. Your guide/s will lead you first to overlook the famous Lama Monachile, a narrow cove known for its shimmering turquoise water and pebble beach, flanked by rugged cliffs surmounted by whitewashed dwellings. Then, onto a new, purpose-built pedestrian pathway along the cliff edge and into the whitewashed village. We wander through tiny alleyways, from one charming piazza to another, and past 16th-century palazzi to join the ancient “Via Francigena”. Pilgrims came from the north of Europe along this route to the medieval ports of Bari, Monopoli, and Brindisi, where they embarked on boats destined for the Holy Land. You will follow in their footsteps along the coastline, dropping down to inlets and bays and passing Medieval watchtowers before arriving on the outskirts of Monopoli. Our van meets us to save a few ugly km of walking through modern Monopoli. Instead, we are whisked directly to the charming heart of old Monopoli for lunch in an excellent fish restaurant. Afterward, you will have time to explore Monopoli’s authentic medieval and baroque architecture. We then drive to the countryside and the Masseria Grofoleo, our gorgeous lodging for the next two nights. The Masseria Grofoleo is an 18th Century Pugliese Manor house of “Truli” and “Cummerse,” the distinctive buildings peculiar to this small part of Puglia. Our hosts, the Spagnuolo family, treat us to a home-cooked meal of regional specialties prepared in their wood-fired oven. The Hike: 9 km/5.6 miles. Elevation: negligible. Flat terrain.  Overnight Masseria Grofoleo. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included

Day 3

Today’s walk takes you through farmland and forests along the “l’Acquedotto Pugliese.” The aqueduct was one of the most significant infrastructure projects undertaken in 20th-century Italy. It still brings water from the mountains east of Naples to the riverless Puglia region. Twenty thousand workers started construction in 1906. It took them ten years to build the 2189 km of lines, which include hundreds of elegant arched stone bridges. 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 a conical or domed roof surmounts round limestone dwellings. After a lovely lunch, you’ll have a short guided visit of the town followed by free time to further explore on your own or enjoy a coffee or gelato in a sunny square. Then we have a transfer back to the Masseria Grofoleo, where you might enjoy a dip in the pool. This evening we walk into Locorotondo village for a wine tasting followed by dinner. Overnight Masseria Grofoleo.  Hike: 9.2 km/5.7 miles. Elevation: negligible. Flat terrain. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.

Day 4

Transfer from Puglia to Basilicata and the “Alta Murgia” National Park this morning. The Murgia is a vast karst plateau that gives this region special features of unexpected ravines and gorges. We hike into a seemingly wild ravine, only to find it honeycombed with shelters and thousand-year-old rock-hewn churches. Indeed, this area has been inhabited since Paleolithic times, and more recently, the ravines were “colonized” in the 8th and 9th centuries by monastic orders. We return to the high plateau, where we are rewarded with mesmerizing views of distant Matera. A short transfer takes us to the ancient city, where we have lunch. In the afternoon, we enjoy a couple of hours of "urban trekking" in the company of a specialist guide. She takes us through the famous "Sassi," where Matera’s inhabitants lived for centuries in stone dwellings partially excavated from the rock along the steep ravines that slice the landscape. The city is riddled with caves, churches, and houses dug from the living rock. Our accommodation for the next two nights, the 4-star 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 centuries-old buildings to give their guests 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 gain 245 m/784 feet uphill/same downhill. Rocky terrain. Duration: About 2.5 hours. Additional 3km/2miles of urban walking in the afternoon, up and down. Overnight Matera at four star Corte San Pietro. Hotel, breakfast, light lunch, and dinner included.

Day 5

We have permission to access private land and hike to an incredible site that is hidden far from view in the tortuous landscape of the Murgia. Our destination is called the Villaggio Saraceno. It is a vast complex of around 70 cave dwellings dug into the rock on both sides of a small ravine. Amongst the caves are the rock church of San Nicola al Saraceno, the crypt of Vitisciulo, and the rock church of San Luca alla Selva. Ascending the trail to the north, the vegetation suddenly opens up, leaving room to admire numerous caves and the rock church of Cristo la Selva, which is on the opposite side of the ravine. We eventually emerge from the canyon to have lunch at a local farm, where we are treated to home-cooked local specialties. Afterward, we return to Matera so you can have time to explore more of this incredible place. Or, you can relax on the hotel terrace and watch the rays of the setting sun caress the honey-colored stonework of the Sassi. Tonight is a free night, so you can eat when and where you like. Your guide will have recommendations for you.  The Hike: 10 kms/6 miles. Elevation gain/loss:296 m/947 feet. Duration: About 3 hours. Overnight Matera at four star Corte San Pietro. Hotel, breakfast, and lunch included.

Day 6

After breakfast, we have a scenic two-hour transfer to the surprising landscapes of the ”Dolomiti Lucane”.  We hike along the crest of a high ridge, which offers epic views over the spectacular terrain of the Parco Gallipoli-Cognato. Spikey, rocky peaks pierce the horizon, verdant forests cover the flanks of the hills, and distant honey-colored villages are sprinkled across the hills and valleys. As we hike,  we occasionally stop to make friends with the goats and sheep we encounter. We end up in Pietrapertosa, whose houses sit clustered beneath a jagged spine of rock. 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 will be Peppino and Maria Giovanna guests at the Foresteria di San Leo (or similar). They greet us with open arms and make us feel welcome at their family-run “Agriturismo.” Dinner is in the dining room or on the terrace if weather permits. 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 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 an artificial lake, where we enjoy a lovely picnic lunch prepared by Maria Giovanna. Back at our hotel, you have time to swim in the pool before joining a cooking class with Grazia who will help you prepare a sumptuous meal for our final dinner. The cooking “event” is a fun and instructive occasion to learn some secrets of Puglia’s superb cuisine. Overnight Trivigno. Hike: 12 or 15 km/8 to 9.5 miles. Elevation:uphill/negligible. 278 m/889 feet downhill. Optional return hike 278 m/889 feet uphill. Duration: About 3.5 hours.  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 promising 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 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 of 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 of 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.

5/5
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5 out of 5
Ratings based on 8 Verified Reviews



Average ratings
4.6
Guides
4.9
Quality of itinerary
4.8
Food quality & variety
4.5
Value for money
4.5
Right amount of activity
4.6
Overall satisfaction

Reviews
4.8
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.

5
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.

5
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!

5
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.

4.8
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.

4.8
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.

4
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

3.6
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
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Alberobello trulli
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