How did YOU get to Puglia?

Old Aug 28th, 2014, 10:57 AM
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How did YOU get to Puglia?

I am usually good at this kind of stuff, but I am at a loss when trying to get myself to Puglia next (late) May or (early) June. I think my best bet for a 10-day trip is to fly round-trip to Bari from Washington, DC. I would like to pay around $1500 per ticket. Yes, I am picky--I only want one plane change, so beggars cannot be choosers I guess.
I thought a quick poll night bring up some ideas I had not considered. Puglia is popular here, so did most of you come (*as part of a longer trip) via Rome or Naples, or fly to Bari from another European city? Obviously with only 10 days I don't have that luxury, as I want to devote all 10 days to the region (and I know that will be woefully inadequate). Thanks for any advice!
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 11:07 AM
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I started in Bologna and then traveled by train to Pescara where I picked up a car. I spent a night in Molise (not needed but I wanted to for various reasons) and then visited the Gargano peninsula -- which I personally considered a huge disappointment and a total waste of my time. I went to Bari after that -- which I enjoyed a great deal and would happily revisit some day. Were I returning to Puglia I would certainly opt for entry via Bari. (I also visited Brindisi and found it a bit dispiriting but it has its own flavor).

Worth mentioning I think is that I left Puglia and headed to Matera and then after that drove from Matera to Salerno. That staggeringly beautiful and fascinating drive from Matera to Salerno turned out to be one of the highlights of my jaunt . It made wish I had visited Basilicata instead of Puglia.

But the real point of my story about leaving Puglia is that if you can more cheaply get a flight to Naples (or even Rome) than Bari then it is a short hop by train to Salerno for picking up a rental car. In the bargain you get to see Paestum if you make time for it and haven't seen it before.

So consider starting on the Mediterranean side and flying out of the Adriatic side.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 11:20 AM
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I have visited the amazing Paestum (visited Naples, the AC, Salerno, and Cilento in 2013), but that is one thing I have been thinking--as I can get pretty good flights to Naples. But then I have the need to spend more time there, as I only spent one night last time!
More important, I would love to hear more about your disappointment in Gargano. That is a place I was considering, as I am a nature nut and like small towns.
I make the knowing error many do in lumping Matera in with the attractions of Puglia--and although I like to be close to he sea, I would love to hear your list of places to research in Basilicata (I follow your posts and know we have some things in common). We do like to skip the rental car, but I know we may have to give in on this trip.
thanks!
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 11:31 AM
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You may have noticed my trip report, which included a week in Puglia at the end of May this year. We flew into Naples from the U.S. West Coast (with a stop in Frankfurt), spent a week on the Sorrentine Peninsula, then picked up a car in Naples and drove to Puglia via Matera, where we spent a couple nights. After our week in Puglia we drove to Rome, where we dropped the car. See my report for details. The drives weren't arduous in any way. You could easily fly into and out of Naples--we were flying on to Athens so Rome made the most sense for us in terms of flight availability.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 11:34 AM
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I spent 9 days there in October last year. I flew from LA to Bari via Germany which was the most direct route. Hoe the same way. I too looked at all the other options but in the end that worked best for me.
BTW, for me a rental car is pretty much a must have in this area. Too hard, too slow, and too limiting to do it with public transportation.

My trip report is here if you are interested:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...basilicata.cfm
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 11:51 AM
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I don't think you can avoid renting a car if you want to tour Puglia. Since I didn't explore the public transportation options I can't say it is impossible however. It might be highly dependent on what you want to see and what you are willing to miss. I think there are many trip reports from people who did go without a car. Also biking is extremely popular in Puglia.

Unlike Aprillilacs I found driving in Puglia a drain. Where I went the roads were poor and pot-hole but I take a lot of back roads. But certainly they are not stressful in the way that driving in Rome or Milan can be. There are traffic tie up around places like Lecce or Bari but that's about it.

Regarding Gargano: The coastline has been thoroughly developed with very cheap modern development low cost tourism. It is not exactly package tourism but it is the same feel. Scenically I think it falls short of a lot of other "undiscovered" coastal beautify spots. It is very time consuming to drive around. The oft touted forest in the interior is a kind of forest barrens (f you are familiar with such landscapes). It is not the kind of forest that one needs to travel thousands of miles to Italy to see. What I did regret about my visit is that I didn's visit the cultural sights and shrines. I have heard they get a lot of tour buses but they might have interested me.

I was fascinated by the green mountains and Dolomiti landscape of Basilicata however. Since I only drove from Matera to Salerno I can't give many pointers. But if you have a chance to start in Naples or Salerno and then cut across Basilicata then you might find in quite interesting and lovely. Food is every bit as good and wine is arguably even better in Pugia. Whatever the architectural attractions of Puglia I still think Matera in Basilicata is the great sight in southern Italy to see as an artifact of human settlement -- so even if you start in Bari then try to include it.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 11:54 AM
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Sorry -- I meant to type:

But if you have a chance to start in Naples or Salerno and then cut across Basilicata then you might find it quite interesting and lovely. Food is every bit as good and wine is arguably even better THAN Puglia.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 11:58 AM
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Over the years:
- hitchhiking from Naples and from Corfu
- driving from Rome and from Naples
- cheapo charters from Gatwick and Luton
- train from Milan

Well, that's the question you asked.

Wouldn't it be easier to ask for advice on getting to Bari from - well, wherever you might be prepared to start from (is BWI out of the question, for example?)

The key resource, as always, is the relevant destination airport website: in Apulia, all four airports share a common homepage - astonishingly, aeroportidipuglia.it.

That will help you rule out transatlantic flights (to Heathrow, for example) that don't go to an airport with flights to Apulia.

Then reconstruct flights that do.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 11:59 AM
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Thanks--I have read both trip reports with great interest, and aprillilacs, your more recent one is why I am on my Puglia kick today. By he way, do you have any more info on that hiking area near Martina Franca?
I usually wait until at least January before nailing down airfare, so I have time to hope for a Lufthansa sale.
DH swears he can do the driving without acting like a psychopath, but I truly doubt it. The thing is, we don't do a whole lot on trips, other than walk and walk (or bike), and we like to stay put in one place for a few days--but if the itinerary calls for it, we will end up with a car.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 12:00 PM
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We flew from So Cal to Los Angeles first, then Montreal, then Rome. We stayed the night in Rome then decided we wanted another day in Rome after the long haul to get there. We boarded a train around 8:30 in the morning (more or less) from Rome and stopped in Trani for three nights. We did our whole trip by public transportation. We also stayed in Peschici (Gargano) for five nights and really liked it a lot. You can click on my name and read my long and detailed report on our month in Puglia. We spent the month of June there (with a visit to Matera also). You will love the area. It's still off the beaten path. Beautiful towns. The people are so nice and the accommodation costs are much lower than other parts of Italy where I have traveled before.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 12:07 PM
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thanks for the airport link, flanneruk. I was only checking Bari and Brindisi, so perhaps this might help me piece something together.
BWI is out, yes--it takes me almost as long to get there as the fight, haha.
Perhaps the lower costs in Puglia might make up for a more expensive flight that is optimal in convenience...
thanks again, everyone.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 01:01 PM
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We flew from IAD via UA. We changed planes in Frankfurt and flew on Luthansa into Naples where we spent several days -- loved Naples. We rented a car and drove around Puglia with a few days in Matera. Of all the places we went the Gargano peninsula was the only one that was a tad disappointing.
I think driving is very easy and there is very little traffic. All the roads we were on were fine and we mostly took back, small roads wherever we could. Click on my name and you can read our TR from Sept/October 2012. Have a great trip.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 01:33 PM
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yorkshire, the hiking area near Martina Franca is on ss581, halfway to Massafra (sw of Martina Franca). It's called the Bosco delle Pianelle. Not much info about it, but here's a brief description: http://www.visit-puglia.it/at/31/par...elle-Forest%29

The tourist office in Martina Franca had a brochure and can give you more information if you want to walk there.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 04:21 PM
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I took a train there from Matera, which I reached by bus from Salerno.

I flew out of Bari.

Enjoy!
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 04:40 PM
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This is a great question.
I flew to Istanbul from London. Buses to Ayvalik. Ferry to Lesvos. Ferry to Athens. Bus to Patras. Ferry to Bari.
Got around by trains....mainly the little FCE that goes all over the Salento.
Flew out of Brindisi on Ryanair (gasp) to Stockholm.

Never did a trip report because I didnt think there was a market on Fodors for this kind of thing.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 04:50 PM
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We aren't going until Sept.26 but this is how we are doing it: flying from Vancouver to Rome with a short stop in Toronto. Then from Rome a flight to Brindisi, pick up our Fiat 500 and head off to our first stop: Lecce. ( we are doing this flight because we are using points and this is what we could get making the most of our points and also with the least hassle)

We have 9 days in Puglia in two different locations then we are driving up the coast to Le Marches and other places. We hope to see Matera while we are in Puglia and on a future trip I'd like to do as sandra suggests and drive through Basilicata to Naples.

I would love to stay in Palazzo Margherita in Basilicata one day.(Francis Ford Coppola's divine looking hotel)

Good luck with your planning yorkshire, sounds like a direct flight to Bari would work well if you can get the price you want.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 05:17 PM
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@ gertie -- my oh my oh my!
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 05:18 PM
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Kja
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 01:07 AM
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Trip 1) with bicycles, Flight Leeds to Naples, train to Gravina, train back from Taranto
Trip 2) No bikes, Flight to Rome, Flight to Brindisi, the flights to and from Rome are incredibly cheap via Al Italia (has been bust for years and you can see why as they just charge to little)

Caught the bus from Brindisi (dead easy meets all the flights in) to Lecce as having a car in Central Lecce was going to be a pain and finally hired a car in Lecce to move on.

Friends of our also took the Bari flight and it seems to be as easy to get there as Brindisi.

All of the Puglia airports are linked up by an airport bus that also goes to all the main towns (look on the airport website for their link throughs)

We rode our bikes along the Murge but I guess walking will be fine. http://www.mybikeguide.co.uk/Puglia_Guide.php
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 04:50 AM
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Three times, flew from JFK to either Bari or Brindisi, depending on first destination in the region, with change of plane in Rome. Flew home from either of those two airports, again changing plane in Rome. I was limited to 9 days, maximum, on those three visits, but now would have more time to cover other areas of south, perhaps flying into Lamezia Terme, etc.

Always rented car for entire trip,, picking up and returning at airport. No problems at all.

So glad you are planning a return; agree that Basilicata merits a visit.
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