The Delights of Puglia - Italy's Best Kept Secret

16 days from £1,349 pp.


Alberobello

Visit: Alberobello, Italy

About the Tour

Uncover the delights of Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot. It boasts the country’s longest coastline, where the beautiful cities of Trani and Vieste lie, a superb climate, endless olive groves, fairy tale towns such as Alberobello, of whitewashed ‘trulli’ houses, ancient Baroque city of Matera and charming Bari, with its spectacular Castel del Monte. With visits to the beautiful shores of Lake Garda, Ferrara, and the capital city of Rome, all included, this is the perfect holiday for anyone looking to discover the very best of Italy. This holiday is part of our GRAND EXPLORER range.

Tour Includes


  • 15 nights hotel with continental breakfast
  • 13 evening meals
  • Convenient local joining points
  • Travel by Silver Service or upgrade to Luxuria
Dates & Prices

Once you have booked your tour either online, or by telephone ( 01709 787 463 ), you have the flexibility of how you pay off the remainder of your balance. You can:

  • Use our balance payment facility online to make and track your card payments. You can pay as much as you want up until your final due date or pay it all, the choice is yours.
  • Send payments via online banking.
  • Send payments via cheque.
  • Call us and make a card payment, either a small amount or as lump sum until your final due date.

Our contact and online banking payment details will be on your confirmation invoice to remind you of your choices.

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Your Itinerary

Local departure by coach or Door-to-Door service, then to northern France for an overnight stay.

We travel to the Parma area for an overnight stay.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

We continue to the outskirts of Rome or the spa town of Fiuggi, south-east of Rome, for a two-night stay.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Rome

Rome

Today you have the full day to discover the Italian capital city of Rome on our included excursion. The historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with wonderful palaces, churches, basilicas, Roman ruins, monuments and fountains. It has an immensely rich historical heritage and cosmopolitan atmosphere. There will be ample free time for you to explore this wonderful city at your leisure. To make the most of your visit, why not join our optional guided sightseeing tour. The sightseeing tour takes place by coach and on foot and will introduce you to the city’s wonderful sights, including Piazza Venezia and the imposing Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of Italy. We also see the exterior of the mighty Colosseum (entrance at extra cost).

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Trani

Trani

We travel south into the Puglia region of Italy’s ‘boot’ visiting the city of Trani. Known as the ‘Pearl of Puglia’, Trani has a pretty medieval quarter and cathedral, literally perched on the water’s edge. The marina is the perfect place to relax and watch the white yachts and fishing boats in the harbour, while the historic centre, with its medieval churches, glossy limestone streets and faded, yet charming, Palazzi is an enchanting area to explore. We continue to our hotel in southern Puglia for a four-night stay.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Castellana Grotte

Castellana Grotte

Today’s included excursion begins at Castellana Grotte where we visit the famous network of caves created by underground rivers. ­­­­­­These caves are amongst the deepest caverns in Europe. We continue through the countryside, seeing a landscape dominated by the ‘trulli’, whitewashed cones made of stones held together, traditionally without mortar. Alberobello is the best place to see and visit the famous trulli houses – there are over 1300 of them here. These cylindrical whitewashed buildings with grey conical roofs tapering out to a point or sphere are often adorned with painted symbols and are the true image of Puglia – one of the most unique towns in Europe. We then visit Ostuni, a charming town, perhaps one of the most stunning in southern Italy. The bright, whitewashed houses create a perfect contrast to the green of the surrounding countryside and its maze of well-preserved, winding streets provides hidden delights around every corner.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Lecce

Lecce

Enjoy a day at leisure or why not join our full-day, optional excursion? We start by visiting Lecce, commonly nicknamed the ‘Florence of South Italy’ due to its rich architecture and monuments. Lecce is the main city on Puglia’s Salento Peninsula and because of the soft limestone which is easy to work, it became the centre for the ornate architecture called the Barocco Leccese, and the city is filled with Baroque monuments. The historic centre is compact, making it a great place for walking, and its restaurants offer and abundance of fine food typical of Puglia. We then continue to Otranto, which lies at the most easterly point of mainland Italy, on the Adriatic Sea. The imposing castle with its thick perimeter walls and robust towers, dominate much of the town. Otranto is home to a small port with a series of sea-front promenades and excellent fish restaurants. Spend time exploring the town at your leisure before returning to our hotel.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Matera

Matera

Today, our included excursion takes us to the cities of Matera and Taranto. We start in Matera where you can see the fascinating Sassi district, the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean region (entrance included). Now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sassi district is one of Southern Italy’s most important attractions. We then continue to Taranto, one of Italy’s oldest and most beautiful port cities. Taranto is also called ‘The City of Two Seas’ due to its location on a spit of land that separates the open sea into what is known as the Mar Grande and Mar Piccolo. The artificial channel that connects them is surmounted by the famous swing bridge. Beyond the bridge, lies the heart of Old Taranto, an ancient medieval town comprised of the Cathedral of San Cataldo and the Castel Sant’Angelo.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Bari

Bari

En route to our hotel in the Vieste area of northern Puglia, we call at Bari, the capital of Puglia. Its labyrinth of seemingly endless passages weave through courtyards and under arches where you are likely to see local artisans making their wares or people making pasta. Continue to Castel del Monte, where we visit the most splendid of all Puglia’s castles and one of the finest surviving examples of Swabian architecture. We stay for three nights in the Vieste/Rodi Garganico area.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a day at leisure.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Vieste

Vieste

Today, join our included scenic coastal tour. Enjoy the fabulous coastal city of Vieste, with its ancient centre, set above towering, sheer white cliffs. The old town sits on the easternmost of the two promontories, at the tip of which stands the Chiesa di San Francesco, once a thriving monastery. There will be free time in Vieste before we continue to the small town of Peschici, perched on top of an impressive cliff overlooking the bay and filled with whitewashed houses which cling to the rocky headland. The old town of Peschici climbs from the harbour to the fortifications of the Swabian Castles. Here, there will be time for you to explore the narrow alleys and hidden squares.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

We leave Puglia and travel up to the eastern Marche region for an overnight stay.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Ferrara

Ferrara

En route to our hotel on Lake Garda, we visit Ferrara, an outstanding Renaissance city rich in history and regarded as one of Italy’s hidden treasures. There will be free time for you to explore the sights such as the San Giorgio Cathedral which dates back to the 12th century and the Este Castle complete with towers, moat and drawbridges. Later today we continue our journey north to Lake Garda for a two-night stay.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Lake Garda

Lake Garda

Enjoy a relaxing day in resort or join our full-day optional excursion along the shores of Lake Garda, visiting some of the picturesque villages on its shoreline. Spend time exploring the narrow streets or relax in one of the many cafés. During the day, we take to the water on a boat cruise where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the picturesque views of the surrounding area from the lake itself.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel north to Belgium and our overnight stay.

  • Included meals: Breakfast

Return home.

  • Included meals: Breakfast

Your Excursions

Included Excursions & Visits

  • Rome
  • Trani
  • Castellana Grotte, Alberobello & Ostuni
  • Matera
  • Taranto (2017 departure only)
  • Bari
  • Castel Del Monte
  • Vieste & Peschici
  • Ferrara

Optional Excursions & Visits

  • Lecce & Otranto - Florence of South Italy and pretty harbour towns
  • Lake Garda - Pretty lakeside resorts
  • Rome Sightseeing - See the famous sights

Notes

Please note; for departures in 2018/19, the itinerary will no longer feature Taranto. 

Travel Insurance from £38.00 (16 days). Single Room Supplement from £269.00 (16 days).

Local departure by coach or Door-to-Door service, then to northern France for an overnight stay.

We travel to the Parma area for an overnight stay.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

We continue to the outskirts of Rome or the spa town of Fiuggi, south-east of Rome, for a two-night stay.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Rome

Rome

Today you have the full day to discover the Italian capital city of Rome on our included excursion. The historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with wonderful palaces, churches, basilicas, Roman ruins, monuments and fountains. It has an immensely rich historical heritage and cosmopolitan atmosphere. There will be ample free time for you to explore this wonderful city at your leisure. To make the most of your visit, why not join our optional guided sightseeing tour. The sightseeing tour takes place by coach and on foot and will introduce you to the city’s wonderful sights, including Piazza Venezia and the imposing Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of Italy. We also see the exterior of the mighty Colosseum (entrance at extra cost).

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Trani

Trani

We travel south into the Puglia region of Italy’s ‘boot’ visiting the city of Trani. Known as the ‘Pearl of Puglia’, Trani has a pretty medieval quarter and cathedral, literally perched on the water’s edge. The marina is the perfect place to relax and watch the white yachts and fishing boats in the harbour, while the historic centre, with its medieval churches, glossy limestone streets and faded, yet charming, Palazzi is an enchanting area to explore. We continue to our hotel in southern Puglia for a four-night stay.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Castellana Grotte

Castellana Grotte

Today’s included excursion begins at Castellana Grotte where we visit the famous network of caves created by underground rivers. ­­­­­­These caves are amongst the deepest caverns in Europe. We continue through the countryside, seeing a landscape dominated by the ‘trulli’, whitewashed cones made of stones held together, traditionally without mortar. Alberobello is the best place to see and visit the famous trulli houses – there are over 1300 of them here. These cylindrical whitewashed buildings with grey conical roofs tapering out to a point or sphere are often adorned with painted symbols and are the true image of Puglia – one of the most unique towns in Europe. We then visit Ostuni, a charming town, perhaps one of the most stunning in southern Italy. The bright, whitewashed houses create a perfect contrast to the green of the surrounding countryside and its maze of well-preserved, winding streets provides hidden delights around every corner.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Lecce

Lecce

Enjoy a day at leisure or why not join our full-day, optional excursion? We start by visiting Lecce, commonly nicknamed the ‘Florence of South Italy’ due to its rich architecture and monuments. Lecce is the main city on Puglia’s Salento Peninsula and because of the soft limestone which is easy to work, it became the centre for the ornate architecture called the Barocco Leccese, and the city is filled with Baroque monuments. The historic centre is compact, making it a great place for walking, and its restaurants offer and abundance of fine food typical of Puglia. We then continue to Otranto, which lies at the most easterly point of mainland Italy, on the Adriatic Sea. The imposing castle with its thick perimeter walls and robust towers, dominate much of the town. Otranto is home to a small port with a series of sea-front promenades and excellent fish restaurants. Spend time exploring the town at your leisure before returning to our hotel.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Matera

Matera

Today, our included excursion takes us to Matera. See the fascinating Sassi district, the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean region (entrance included). Now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sassi district is one of Southern Italy’s most important attractions.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Bari

Bari

En route to our hotel in the Vieste area of northern Puglia, we call at Bari, the capital of Puglia. Its labyrinth of seemingly endless passages weave through courtyards and under arches where you are likely to see local artisans making their wares or people making pasta. Continue to Castel del Monte, where we visit the most splendid of all Puglia’s castles and one of the finest surviving examples of Swabian architecture. We stay for three nights in the Vieste/Rodi Garganico area.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a day at leisure.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Vieste

Vieste

Today, join our included scenic coastal tour. Enjoy the fabulous coastal city of Vieste, with its ancient centre, set above towering, sheer white cliffs. The old town sits on the easternmost of the two promontories, at the tip of which stands the Chiesa di San Francesco, once a thriving monastery. There will be free time in Vieste before we continue to the small town of Peschici, perched on top of an impressive cliff overlooking the bay and filled with whitewashed houses which cling to the rocky headland. The old town of Peschici climbs from the harbour to the fortifications of the Swabian Castles. Here, there will be time for you to explore the narrow alleys and hidden squares.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

We leave Puglia and travel up to the eastern Marche region for an overnight stay.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Ferrara

Ferrara

En route to our hotel on Lake Garda, we visit Ferrara, an outstanding Renaissance city rich in history and regarded as one of Italy’s hidden treasures. There will be free time for you to explore the sights such as the San Giorgio Cathedral which dates back to the 12th century and the Este Castle complete with towers, moat and drawbridges. Later today we continue our journey north to Lake Garda for a two-night stay.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Lake Garda

Lake Garda

Enjoy a relaxing day in resort or join our full-day optional excursion along the shores of Lake Garda, visiting some of the picturesque villages on its shoreline. Spend time exploring the narrow streets or relax in one of the many cafés. During the day, we take to the water on a boat cruise where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the picturesque views of the surrounding area from the lake itself.

  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel north to Belgium and our overnight stay.

  • Included meals: Breakfast

Return home.

  • Included meals: Breakfast

Your Excursions

Included Excursions & Visits

  • Rome
  • Trani
  • Castellana Grotte, Alberobello & Ostuni
  • Matera
  • Taranto (2017 departure only)
  • Bari
  • Castel Del Monte
  • Vieste & Peschici
  • Ferrara

Optional Excursions & Visits

  • Lecce & Otranto - Florence of South Italy and pretty harbour towns
  • Lake Garda - Pretty lakeside resorts
  • Rome Sightseeing - See the famous sights

Notes

Please note; for departures in 2018/19, the itinerary will no longer feature Taranto. 

Travel Insurance from £38.00 (16 days). Single Room Supplement from £269.00 (16 days).

Certain excursions are included in the price of your holiday. If you choose not to go on an included excursion, for whatever reason, no refunds will be made.
Yes, you will receive one with your Travel Documents, which are sent 7-10 days before departure.
We believe that our holidays may not be suitable for children under 8 years old (except for Disneyland Paris bookings) however, we will consider individual requests on application. Customers aged 18 and under at the time of travel must be accompanied by an adult, parent or guardian aged over 18 years old.
You can check weather averages at here.

Accommodation

You will stay for four nights in southern Puglia in a minimum 3-star hotel, such as the Hotel Lo Smeraldo in the Cisternino area, followed by three nights in northern Puglia in a minimum 3-star hotel, such as the Villa Americana Park in Rodi Garganico. You will also stay for two nights in the Lake Garda area. Overnight stays in Italy, northern France and Belgium will be in minimum 3-star hotels.

All hotels will have a restaurant and bar.

Italy

Lo Smeraldo Hotel

Lo Smeraldo Hotel

Italy

Villa Americana Park Hotel

Villa Americana Park Hotel

Lo Smeraldo Hotel


Situated in the Cisternino Hills surrounded by pine forests, the hotel lies in the heart of Puglia and is less than half hour drive from the coast. Enjoy typical Italian cuisine in the restaurant, and the hotel also has its own excellent pizzeria and bar. Stroll around the hotel gardens or relax by the outdoor swimming pool.The hotel offers a shuttle bus (at small additional cost) which takes you to the charming medieval town of Cisternino, with its ancient walls and pretty narrow streets. The town is the perfect spot to sit and watch the sun set after a day of sightseeing.

  • English Speaking Staff
  • Guest Lounge
  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Lift
  • WiFi Available
  • TV
  • Hairdryer
  • Bath and/or Shower
  • Telephone

Villa Americana Park Hotel


The Park Hotel Villa Americana is situated in the centre of the Puglian resort of Rodi Garganico. A walk down the flight of steps takes you to the beach of the resort. The hotel has shops, bars and restaurants within easy walking distance. Enjoy the food served in the spacious restaurant. Relax in the lounge or by the outside pool. All bedrooms have satellite T.V., air-conditioning and some have balcony.

  • English Speaking Staff
  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Lift
  • WiFi Available
  • Hairdryer
  • Bath and/or Shower
  • Telephone

If you prefer, then you can join the tour at the hotel. To do this, we will require a copy of your passport for identification purposes and you must advise us at the time of booking.

No reduction will be given if you should choose to do this.

All hotel rooms benefit from private bathroom facilities.
Some hotels have tea and coffee making facilities. Please check the tour pages for more information or call our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333.
Most hotels have a lift, please call our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333 for more information.
Some hotels have ground floor rooms. Please email for information on individual hotels or call our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333.
Your hotels will supply towels in your room.

We are unable to guarantee that the hotel will be able to meet your dietary requirements. We find that the majority of European countries do not generally cater for vegetarians and that the meal supplied may well be what everyone else is having minus the meat.

We will of course endeavour to arrange for a vegetarian meal at the hotel. We do however suggest that you advise us of your dietary requests at the time of booking and recommend that you speak to the receptionist on arrival with regard to your request.

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Travel Information

Departure times given for each region are approximate. Please check your travel documents to confirm the actual timings.

Front row seats can be reserved for £14pp (up to 6 days' duration), £22pp (7 & 8 days' duration) and £25pp (9 days' duration and over) on all European tours. This offer is only available for bookings of two or four persons on the front row and is subject to availability. In addition to this, seats on the second row can be reserved for £7pp (up to 6 days duration), £14pp (7 & 8 days duration) and £17pp (9 days duration and over). Guaranteed front/second row seats cannot be reserved on transfer journeys to/from the interchange. Children under 15 years cannot occupy a front row seat due to French Law. Central view seats are free.

Please note: On some coaches the legroom on front seats may be slightly less than that available on other seats due to the presence of a modesty board in front.

If your tour is cancelled for any reason and front/second row seats are not available on your new tour, you will be refunded the supplement. No other compensation will be payable.

Alternatively, we can take seating requests on your booking. However, requests are not guaranteed. All seat numbers are confirmed on travel documents approximately 7-10 days prior to departure.

We guarantee that all passengers on the same booking will be seated together on the main tour coach. Seats on the transfer coaches to and from the interchange are not allocated.
Hot and cold drinks are served on your main tour coach. Prices are approximately £1 or €1.25 Euro per drink. Prices will be confirmed by your driver.

Transfer coaches are routed approximately 2-3 weeks before departure. The route taken depends on where paassengers are booked to travel from on any particular date as to which route is taken. If you require further detailed information regarding the route to the port you can contact our Customer Service Department on 01709 830333 two weeks before you are due to travel.

With regard to the route taken by the main tour coach, this is determined by the driver.

All main tour coaches have on-board toilets. Transfer vehicles to and from the interchange may not have on-board toilets. When non-British coaches are used on transfers and tours (air holidays only) an on-board toilet may not be available. However, comfort stops will be made during long journeys.
All coaches feature air-conditioning. Should the air-conditioning system break down for a period exceeding 12 hours, compensation will be awarded up to a maximum of £10 per fare-paying passenger per tour.
All our coaches and transfer vehicles operate a 'no smoking on board policy'. The use of electronic cigarettes is strictly forbidden.
In the interest of fellow guests, do not take hot food or ice cream on board.
alcohol can only be taken on board our vehicles at the discretion of your driver.
Depending on the location of your pickup point, you may be picked up by coach (not necessarily the on you are touring on), minibus, taxi, National Express or Megabus service. You may then be taken to another centralised pickup location or service station. We operate a passenger interchange at Stop 24 Services, where you will meet the tour coach you are holidaying on and then continue on with your outbound journey. Similarly, on the way home, you may also change transfer vehicles at another location, to take you to your final drop off point.
Your allowance is one medium sized suitcase per person, which should weigh no more than 20kg when full. We may refuse to carry larger or heavier cases. Hand luggage should be stored in the overhead racks aboard the coach. Nothing should be stored under your seat.

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