Self guided Walking

Wonder Puglia: along the Southeast Coast

Salento - PugliaDifficulty path:
Easy
Self guided · WalkingDuration: 8 daysCode: ws001
from 685 €per person

Highlights

A walking holiday in the Natural Park Otranto-Leuca and Tricase Forest is a journey full of history. Where the signs of the past still remind us that this land was the border between East and West.
Otranto and its cathedral, Punta Palascia and its lighthouse, Cippano and its ruins, Tricase and its castle … and then the sea, the beautiful sea of this corner of Italy. Until you finally reach Leuca, following a stretch of Via Francigena just like pilgrims and crusaders from Rome or the rest of Europe did on their way to Jerusalem, and once you have arrived, you will let yourself be enchanted by its white splendor.
A week to be taken by the sweetest sea winds and enchanted by the warm colours of this land.

 

  • The beautiful Baroque of Lecce

  • Dolmens and Menhirs, evidence of an ancient past

  • Otranto and the Tree of Life

  • Blue sea, stunning cliffs and pristine bays

  • The last stretch of the Via Francigena, an ancient path for pilgrims and crusaders

  • The whiteness of the Finibus Terrae, Santa Maria di Leuca

Program

Day1

Lecce

“Perhaps you know that the Florence of the Baroque is a nice city, the affable spoken, home to a baroque style that is similar to a Spanish city. And maybe you do not know more.”  from Cesare Brandi, art critic and historian.
Welcome to Lecce, a city that will surprise with its peculiar Baroque style and the whiteness of its stones.

Day2

From Lecce to Otranto

(about 13km, 3.5 hours of walking, elevation gain: +20 -100)

After breakfast a private transfer will take you to La Cutura Botanical Garden, with its amazing private collection of succulents from all five continents. From here your walking in Salento will start.
Today’s itinerary evokes rituals and legends, myths and pagan cults related to the peoples who over the millennia have inhabited and traversed these lands.
Your walk brings you to magical places such as the great Massi della Vecchia, the small and remote Dolmen Stabile, and the Menhir of San Paolo. After the small town of Giurdignano you will reach Le Costantine Foundation, a farm that promotes social activities ranging from biodynamic agriculture to handicraft production of rare fabrics. From here it’s a few kilometres to the sea and Otranto, the southernmost city in the east of Italy.

Day3

From Otranto to Uggiano La Chiesa

(about 14km, 3.5 hours of walking, elevation gain: +60 -30)

After breakfast, look for the small Byzantine Basilica of San Pietro, completely frescoed, among the narrow streets, and compare it with the majestic Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata. The Cathedral preserves one of the most important mosaics of Italy, the so-called “Tree of Life”, a symbolic work that collects, like an antique book, legends and symbols of medieval traditions.
Once you leave Otranto behind, you walk immersing yourself in the beautiful unspoiled landscapes described by Maria Corti in her masterpiece “L’ora di tutti”. Admire the stunning lunar landscape offered by the Blue Lake; recall the past by spying on the ruins of the ancient Abbey of Casole, located on an ancient passageway and pilgrimage for crusaders and devotees to the Holy Land. You can reach the Palascìa lighthouse, the easternmost tip of Italy – from here, when the north wind blows hard and the sky clears up, the mountains of Albania become clearly visible (Albania’s shores are only about 70km from this part of the coast). So many emotions in a few kilometres walk, before you reach your accommodation near the village of Uggiano La Chiesa.

Day4

From Uggiano La Chiesa to Santa Cesarea Terme

(about 12km, 3 hours of walking, elevation gain: +100 -80)

Today you will resume your walking in Salento against the backdrop of the scenic Saracen Tower of Sant'Emiliano. Leaving it behind, you will proceed on a dirt road to Porto Badisco, a site inextricably linked to the Neolithic Grotta dei Cervi. Then you will come up the hill walking on the Via Appia Sallentina before taking a dirt path that follows the line of the coast. Here the blue of the sea and the blue of the sky sometimes get confused, making the white Balkan Mountains visible when the north wind blows. And finally you will reach Santa Cesarea with its thermal baths, a place “sacred” to the Apulian actor and director Carmelo Bene, who filmed his dreamlike “Nostra Signora dei Turchi” here.

Day5

From Santa Cesarea Terme to Castro

(about 8km, 2.5 hours of walking, elevation gain: +90 -90)

After a leisurely breakfast with the background of the Moorish dome of Villa Sticchi, now a symbol of Santa Cesarea Terme, you can start again your journey south.
Today the stretch is short, almost all on dirt road and between the hills. Here the landscape changes constantly throughout the year, from the vernal green to the yellow of summer heat, always leaving space for welcome glimpses of the sea.
Once in Castro Alta you will have the time to reflect on the similarities between this village and Otranto, or to get involved by the latest sensational discoveries that have unearthed the remains of a Temple dedicated to the goddess Athena.Then you can descend to the coast, to find refreshment in one of the coves of along its coast.

Day6

From Castro to Tricase

(about 15km, 4 hours of walking, elevation gain: +110 -30)

Early in the morning you will continue for a short distance along the coast, and you will be captivated by the briny scent of its wild herbs. Then you can choose between a short, challenging and exciting trail on the rocks or an easier path to reach the beautiful inlet of Acquaviva, a small beach with a picturesque marina set in the rock. After a recommended and refreshing dip in the sea, you will go up the path until you reach the village of Andrano with its prestigious architectural complex of the Spinola-Caracciolo Castle. Then on a nice stretch of road through the olive groves to reach Tricase, another splendid pearl of Salento history: along the narrow streets of the old town you will feel yourself going back in time along with its beautiful buildings, above all those of the Palazzo Gallone.

Day7

Up to Santa Maria di Leuca

(about 11km, 3 hours of walking, elevation gain: +150 -40)

Last day. After breakfast, a short private transfer will take you to Marina di Novaglie. From here you will take the Cipolliane path, walking along a breathtaking cliff overlooking the sea, with stunning views over the coastline, and rocky cliffs dotted with euphorbia and prickly pear ... very similar to the Path of Gods on the Amalfi coast! After the Ciolo Canyon, you will continue through the olive trees, plants and flowers of the Mediterranean maquis to arrive in the small town of Gagliano del Capo. The last stretch on country roads runs along the end of the Via Francigena del Sud and will take you to the Sanctuary of Finibus Terrae in Santa Maria di Leuca. In the past many penitent pilgrims have gone so far, reaching the Sanctuary along "ways of forgiveness" that could also begin from France.
In the afternoon time for the beach or a boat trip discovering the sea caves along the coast of Leuca.

Day8

Leuca

Leuca, white light. You might have the chance to meet the local fishermen who will gladly tell you about the sea splitting in two, and lots more about this place, made of physical boundaries and endless sensations…
After breakfast end of services.


Tour programme variations
Due to organizational reasons, weather conditions or provisions issued by local authorities, the itinerary may be subject to some changes before and/or during the holiday.
Along the way you may find temporary deviations (for example road works) which cannot be foreseen; in this case each biker can decide autonomously how to deal with these stretches.

What's included

Our offer includes

  • 7 nights with breakfast
  • Welcome briefing in English
  • Boat trip day 7
  • Scheduled private transfers (day 2 and 7)
  • Detailed route description and maps
  • Luggage transportation hotel to hotel
  • Phone assistance 8am-9pm

Not included

  • Transfer IN and Transfer OUT
  • Other meals and drinks
  • Entrance fees
  • Hotel tourist taxes (about € 14,00)
  • Insurance and everything not listed as “Included”

Departure dates

01/03/2020 => 10/07/2020
Standard685 € /pSuperior955 € /p
31/08/2020 => 15/11/2020
Standard685 € /pSuperior955 € /p

Supplements per person

Single room
Standard190 € /pSuperior320 € /p
Transfer Brindisi airport-Lecce (min.2 people)
Standard45 € /pSuperior45 € /p
Transfer Bari airport-Lecce (min.2 people)
Standard90 € /pSuperior90 € /p
Transfer Leuca-Lecce (min.2 people)
Standard50 € /pSuperior50 € /p
Extra night in double room
Standard60 € /pSuperior85 € /p
Extra night in single room
Standard90 € /pSuperior125 € /p
Solo traveller in single room
Standard320 € /pSuperior450 € /p

Other Information

Technical data

The tour is suitable for anyone with a minimum of training. The length of a walking day ranges from a minimum of 8 to a maximum of 15km, with almost undemanding unevenness and travel times between 2.5 and 4 hours.
The tours wind mainly through dirt paths and country lanes; rarely, and only when strictly necessary, on busy roads.
We recommend to wear comfortable walking shoes, better if trekking boots, and to bring with you a hat, drinking water, sun cream, swimsuit and a waterproof jacket in case of rain.

Accomodations & Meals

The Standard tour offers accommodation in simple B&B and 3* hotels.
The Superior tour offers accommodation in charming 4* hotels.
All rooms are ensuite.

1 night in Lecce
1 night in Otranto
1 night in Uggiano la Chiesa
1 night in Santa Cesarea Terme
1 night in Castro
1 night in Tricase
1 night in Leuca

7 breakfasts included. All other meals are not included.

Support

The morning of the second day, after breakfast, you will have a Welcome meeting.
We will take care of your luggage while you are walking.
In case of need you can call our emergency number ON from 8am to 9pm. Anytime, our staff will be available to make your holiday quiet and serene.

Getting There

Lecce is easily reachable by car, train, bus and by air.

BY TRAIN. Trenitalia connects the main Italian cities with the capital of Salento. For the timetable visit www.trenitalia.it. On www.viaggiatreno.it you can find update informations about train routes.

BY AIR. The closest airports are Bari and Brindisi, both connected with the most important Italian and foreign cities.
The Salento airport of Brindisi is about 40 km from Lecce and is well connected to the city by a shuttle bus service or private transfer. The airport of Bari-Palese is about 160 km from Lecce. From Bari and Brindisi you can also reach Lecce by train or taxi service.

BY BUS. Lecce is also accessible by bus. Here some links to the major operating companies.
www.marinobus.it/, www.baltour.it/
For departures and arrivals from Campania, Basilicata, Puglia : www.mymiccolis.com/
For departures and arrivals from Sicilia, Puglia : www.buscenter.it

BY CAR. The main highways are the A14 Bologna-Taranto and the A16 Napoli-Canosa. We recommend you exit the motorway in Bari and continue along the highway to Brindisi, then take the SS613 towards Lecce. maps.google.com can help you with the directions.

 

 


 

Back to Lecce

From Santa Maria di Leuca you can reach Lecce with the Ferrovie Sud-Est (www.fseonline.it). Gagliano is the closest station, reachable in 10/15 minutes by taxi from Leuca (about € 15). The train ticket varies from € 5.00 to € 6.30; the travel time is about 1h40min with a change in Zollino or Nardò. The Ferrovie Sud-Est service is replaced by bus rides on Sundays and public holidays.

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Travel tips

When do you fancy leaving?

The coasts are beautiful all year round and some have asked us to organise their January holiday, but many facilities at this time of the year are “resting ” after the hard work in the warm season … what a pity!
In March the nature wakes up and in April many villages are dedicated to the events for the Holy Week and various celebrations dedicated to the Virgin Mary, as the Annunziata of Castro from 24 to 26 of April with spectacular fireworks from the sea.
In May you will fill your bags of delicious seasonal fruits purchased from vans along the roads and Otranto will host a procession that, as every year, starts from the Hill of Martyrs to arrive to Porta Terra in honour of San Francesco, who tried in vain to alert the duke Alfonso of Aragon on the ongoing massacre of August 1480.
In June, the days seem endless and the sea is a dream … in September the summer hustle and bustle decreases but not festive occasions: enchanting processions on the sea in Santa Cesarea and Otranto. On the contrary if you prefer a total peaceful holiday and early mornings wake up, choosing to leave in autumn could be an excellent solution. You are in the most eastern coast of Italy, where the sun rises first.

Why choose this tour for your holidays 2019-2020?

Because you will walk in the more true Salento to discover art, customs and the most unspoiled nature: the baroque Lecce will enchant you, the cliffs and coastline will take your breath away, and the endless sea, the woods and the countryside will capture you indelibly. You will also walk the ancient routes of pilgrims who came to Puglia to embark from Otranto or Leuca for the Holy Land, such as the Via Francigena of the South and the Via Sallentina, historic paths that will take you for a walk in time.
If you fancy coastal walks, look at our tour along the Amalfi coast.

Comfortable and cheap

Traveling with us you will have the convenience of following safe routes especially designed from us, of taking with you only the minimum required every day and finding your luggage at the next hotel, of knowing that for every little emergency or any discomfort we will always be ready to answer through a phone number dedicated to you. You will know also that our packages have the right price, in the respect of those who travel with us and who work to offer the best.

Local specialties

Salento enchants with its uniqueness such as the lovely “zeppole” typical of Lecce and surroundings and only available in March in honour of St. Giuseppe. If you choose this tour for Easter holidays 2020 your lunch bags will be completed by Easter specialties such as “Quaresimali“, special biscuits made with almonds, sugar, flour, eggs, or the aromatic almond paste in its various forms.

Better than “All inclusive”

All done for you! Our packages generally include just enough to make your holiday safe and serene, and the bare minimum to make you feel free to choose where to stop and when to walk again, where and what to eat. We give you all the information for this, for a holiday “flavoured” all inclusive, but leaving the choice to you.