Come and explore the heal of Italy on this fabulous holiday walking in Puglia. This little-explored corner of Italy is fast becoming more popular with the international tourist so now is the time to discover the history, culture and scenery on this self-guided walking holidays in Italy. On this hiking tour, you will certainly experience a unique countryside on the Coastal trail from Otranto to Gagliano del Capo. Not only this, but you can enjoy wonderful views and many chances for a swim!
After an enchanting circular walk among oranges and olive trees, you leave Otranto to follow a red-earth coloured trail along the coast, leading towards the lighthouse of Punta Palascia, the easternmost point of Italy, and on to the tiny cove of Porto Badisco.
In the following days of your walking holiday in Apulia, you will pass tiny fishermen hamlets, coastal towns famous for their spa’s and ancient Messapian villages, to end your trip in Lecce, with its baroque palaces and Roman masterpieces.
You will find the route is an ever-changing one, as well as the surrounding landscape: from a coastal shepherd’s path along a low jagged cliff to the open grasslands of an Apulian “Savana”, though stone-walled roads carved by the passage of ancient carts and lush forests of tall trees, hiking in Puglia is never monotonous!
A walk which is also a real feast for the senses: the presence of nature is more and more vivid with each step, accompanying you with the rustle of ancient olive trees, the screeching of crickets, the smell of wild fennel and liquorice and the azure twinkle of the sea. A hiking vacation in Apulia will awaken the senses and reinvigorate the sole.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Hooked on Walking that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the chosen activity and for emergency evacuation and hospital care.
If you arrive early enough why not visit Otranto’s historic centre, and in the evening, let all your senses be delighted as you prepare for your phenomenal walking adventure ahead.
You shall find today’s walk a good warm-up hike, it takes you to discover the small Idro valley, that gives Otranto (Hidruntum) its name. The Idro river spring is about 5km from Otranto, in a location called Monte S. Angelo. The land you will be walking in is very fertile where you shall find orchards, olive trees, oranges and a variety of vegetables. You begin the hike on the orographic left side of the river, upstream, cut into the olive tree’s fields and pass by the S.Angelo rock church, then descend along the right side of the stream, back to the Otranto, known as the “Pearl of the Orient”.
Walking in Puglia you will walk through the maze of the narrow alleys of the old town you reach the new port. Here a flat, gravel coastal path contours around a series of coves. You pass by several WWII bunkers and you can make a short detour to an interesting “bauxite lake”, going slightly inland. Following the coast, you have several possible beach stops, with crystal clear waters. You continue along the coast towards the clearly visible Punta Palascia Lighthouse. At some points the knee-high Mediterranean vegetation becomes thick and you need to find your way, but as long as you have the lighthouse in front and the sea on your left you are on the right track! On clear days you can see the Albanian mountains across the Adriatic Sea. Punta Palascìa lighthouse is the easternmost point of Italy and 71km away from Albania.
The first stop of today’s walk is the beautiful inlet of Porto Badisco, just before the local bar/newsagent/supermarket where they make great coffee and sandwiches for today’s picnic. You then continue to follow the coast following a shepherd’s path where you will see the typical “pagliari”, a round, flat-topped, dry stone building where the shepherds used to sleep. After 6km you leave the coast, climbing up to the inland plateau. Here you follow narrow paths through the fields and at around 8.5 km there is a good picnic spot in a little pine tree forest that offers great shade on sunny days. The last section is on a surfaced road, descending to the Spa town of Santa Cesarea Terme. Here there are many great swimming spots.
You leave Santa Cesarea, climbing uphill on the surfaced road until you reach an old gravel/grass dry-stone walled road. Staying inland follow narrow paths through the fields until the Ancient Messapian town of Castro, with its imposing high walls. Spend some time exploring the old town and maybe having lunch before descending to the port where you can go swimming. Continue along the coast on an uneven, rocky trail to the Acquaviva cove. A beautifully hidden inlet and a fantastic swimming spot where a freshwater spring comes out at sea level, a. The last part of the path climbs up the thickly forested Acquaviva valley towards Marittima.
After buying a good sandwich in Marittima you initially follow a surfaced road that winds through orchards of immense olive trees. You then pass the first of several traditional “tratturi”, a system of ancient roads and footpaths used by the locals to go down to the sea or to connect villages and orchards. Each stone tells the story of a hard peasant life. The sea is in front of you when you descend to Tricase Porto, where you can taste a good “cafè in ghiaccio” (iced coffee) and go for a swim. From here you have some asphalt to today’s final destination Marina Serra a small coastal hamlet with some great swimming spots
The last day’s walk starts with a short uphill trail called “enemy’s path”, Sentiero del Nemico: the ideal place to lay an ambush to unexpected visitors in the old times…After some asphalt on the coastal road, the walk goes back inland on more ancient “tratturi”, finally reaching Novaglie, a nice rocky beach stop. Here starts the breath-taking “Cipolliane path”, named after the caves you can visit along the way, that leads you to the Ciolo bridge, the last great swimming spot on this trip. From the tiny Ciolo cove, you walk up the Ciolo valley to Gagliano del Capo where you take the train to Lecce (fare not included) for your last night in the beautiful Baroque city
Depart after breakfast.
Fly to Bari and then by train to Leece and then a local bus to Otranto.
2024 Prices – For a complete tour price breakdown please click the book now button and select your holiday tour date. Prices will then be listed.
|Tour Code||Prices From (per person)||Book Now|
|Apulia (7 Nights)||from £784||Book Now|
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