Puglia All Inclusive
Low Deposit £50pp
Situated in the 'heel' of Italy, lesser-known Puglia is a glorious region of labyrinthine ports, whitewashed villages and ancient historical dwellings. Take in its fabulous attractions during an all-inclusive stay on the coast.
Depart on your flight to Bari then transfer to the 4* Pietrablu Resort & Spa, which enjoys a splendid coastal setting close to Polignano a Mare. Puglia is nicknamed the 'wine cellar of Italy', and you may notice that the railway lines run through the middle of vineyards and among the olive groves. The region's rugged, bright coastline is home to secluded, deserted beaches - landing points for 2,000 years of invasion - and there is an unhurried and relaxed way of life here, as you will see in the day-to-day activities of friendly locals. Your stay is on an all inclusive basis, and after checking in you are free to unwind ahead of dinner.
This morning you visit the beautiful village of Locorotondo, considered to be one of the most beautiful towns in the whole of Italy, offering mesmerising views across the surrounding valley.
Continue to Martina Franca, with its stunning Old Town, a warren of narrow lanes where each twist and turn brings you face to face with extravagant baroque architecture.
Later enjoy a visit to Polignano a Mare, historically one of the most important ancient settlements in the area, and admire this beautiful little town perched on top of a cliff. Here you are at leisure to explore the centre with its charming pavement cafés or perhaps make a visit to some of the prehistoric caves that litter the coastline.
Today's excursion is to Lecce, a beautiful city known for its baroque streets, attractive squares and leafy lanes. The rail journey down from Polignano a Mare is impressively scenic; travelling along the coast, the train passes villages of whitewashed houses and olive groves. In Lecce you have a guided tour, with sights including the Piazza del Duomo, the main square dominated by the bell tower of Lecce's cathedral, and the quaint Old Town, before time at leisure to get lost amidst the stone gargoyles and gremlins adorning the unique 17th century buildings.
You could also perhaps visit Lecce's Roman amphitheatre - an archaeological treasure part excavated in 1938 which tells the story of the spectacles on show here to entertain the soldiers stationed in the town.
Enjoy an excursion to Alberobello, a charming town packed with as many as 1,400 'trulli' - peculiar cone-shaped stone houses. These unusual homes line the surrounding hillsides, and have UNESCO World Heritage status. Resembling large stone beehives, they were originally built without any kind of mortar so they could be quickly dismantled and easily rebuilt. This allowed the occupiers to evade tax collectors when word spread of their approach and the countryside here is covered in thousands of trulli. After a half-day tour, your afternoon is at leisure.
Travel to Bari, Puglia's capital where you enjoy a tour of the Old Town, tucked onto a headland edging out into the Adriatic Sea. Home to the city's 11th century church, the Romanesque Basilica di San Nicola, Castello Svevo, or 'Swabian Castle', as well as a couple of grand piazzas, you'll be transported back in time as you hear about the stories that rose this old port city to economic prominence.
After your guided tour you have some time at leisure to explore the delightful port town of Bari, before you travel back to Polignano a Mare by train.
Your tour today visits remote Matera, a town in Basilicata set in a small canyon. Much less visited than other destinations in Puglia, Matera best known for its 'Sassi' - ancient troglodyte caves used as dwellings since the Palaeolithic era. Over the last decade many of the Sassi have been adapted into fantastic houses, hotels and restaurants and you enjoy a guided tour before an afternoon to explore at your own pace.
Now deserted, these dwellings were inhabited as recently as the 1980s and are a wonderfully-well preserved reminder of the past, so much so that in 1993 they were awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.
You are free to relax at the hotel today, why not head to the private beach and relax before your journey tomorrow, soaking up the last of the Italian atmosphere. This evening enjoy a final group meal together.
After breakfast this morning, check out and transfer to Bari airport for the flight back to the UK, where your tour comes to an end.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.
This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 30 verified reviews
Chosen places to visit gave a good insight into the history and culture of the area. The guides were humorous and generally easy to listen to (however vox boxes are easier to follow guided tours) The chosen accommodation was good and gave us evening chances to socialise with other members in the group over dinner and drinks.
Loved the area unspoilt by tourism
Very professional and organised.
Great tour manager. Good all inclusive hotel but with rather restricted times eg restaurant opening. Food in hotel good but packed lunches poor. A la carte restaurant was excellent. Water in room never replenished so had to buy it from bar. WiFi poor. Train travel, very ordinary. Lovely excursions with, generally excellent guides.
The weather was very poor for the first 3 days - not your fault but it spoiled the overall experience.
It was an enjoyable holiday and a new experience for us. However, we felt some of the trips were a bit ordinary inasmuch on the first day were went to three different places but after walking around the streets in each village were saw a lot of similar things - same architecture, similar churches. The train journeys were ok but we could have made the arrangements ourselves to visit the places on the itinerary. I must say the trips to Alberobello and Matera were excellent. We had three first class tour guides covering trips but because of the size (41) and age (70 years plus) of the party it was difficult to hear their commentaries.
I filled in a survey while on holiday, before holiday and after holiday. I don't think I need to fill in any more. One survey per holiday should be enough
Great resort and trips but rather busy
This was our 6th holiday with Great Rail or Rail Discoveries and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Our Tour Guide Judith was friendly, informative, organised and the holiday went splendidly. Puglia was a lovely place to visit, our first time there, but our 16th visit to Italy. The tour group of 19 were all very friendly and I feel we got on really well. Much better to travel with a smaller group we think.
The holiday was exactly as the brochure. The tour manager collected us all at Gatwick and stayed with us until we had all been through baggage reclaim on the return trip. The accommodation was very good. The only thing that went wrong was that the coach coming to take us from the resort to the local rail station was involved in an incident on the dual carriageway and this could not deliver us on time. The coach company sent another coach which took us to our destination and stayed to return us to the resort. Could not ask for better.
The coastal gems of undiscovered Italy