Puglia itinerary help

May 25th, 2018, 02:05 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 125
Puglia itinerary help

Dear Fodorites,
Like so many of you in the throes of planning a trip, I've started to obsess about how many days/nights in certain locales. Here's our general itinerary - I would welcome any thoughts on timing/length of stay. Thanks in advance! (We are active, love good, local food, beautiful scenery, a bit of history and culture).
day 1: arrive/spend one afternoon/night in Bari citta vecchia
days 2,3,4: bike trip through towns of Itria Valley (e.g, Alberobello, Locorotondo, Martina Franca, Ostuni)
day 5: rent car in Bari, drive along coast, stopping at Polignano a Mare, Monopoli, stay Lecce
day 6: Lecce and environs
day 7: drive to Gallipoli, coastal spots we missed yesterday, end in Matera
day 8: Matera
day 9: Matera and Castelmezzano
day 10: drive back to Bari to drop off rental car.
Just wondering if 3 nighs in Matera is too much. I know it's a very subjective choice - is the drive to Castelmezzano worth staying the extra night in Matera? Am I shortchanging the area around Lecce?
Thanks very much!
joangk is offline  
May 26th, 2018, 08:51 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,073
Bike trip? Hadn't thought of that. Is it an organized group? I am always afraid of cycling on narrow roads. Puglia is not very hilly, so that should be an advantage. And, we see a lot of positive reviews online from other cyclists. We drove all over Puglia in the fall and don't recall seeing a lot of cyclists. Anxious to hear about your experience.

Your itinerary seems reasonable to us, given the amount of available time. Here is a link to our trip report on our week in Puglia: 7 days/6 nights in Puglia

We loved Lecce as a base for the southern areas of Puglia. Matera, which is in Basilicata, and therefore not part of our trip report was one of our favorite places ever in Italy. Since you are active, you should enjoy the hiking in the nearby hills, where there are caves, even a cave church and the site of more than one Biblical crucifixion scene from a major Hollywood film. I would want at least 2 full days there. We spent 2 nights there (and therefore 1.5 days) and felt a bit rushed.
whitehall is offline  
May 27th, 2018, 07:47 AM
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Your 3 nights in Matera mean 2 half days (max) and one full day. We spent 2 full days in Matera which we found just right. We did not hike in the nearby hills, so it was just for exploring the two sassi. Magical place, BTW.
MyriamC is offline  
May 30th, 2018, 07:43 AM
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Hi Joan - I am curious as to where you're renting your bikes?
Rocket79 is offline  
May 30th, 2018, 09:52 AM
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I've cycled through that area, most of the roads are narrow and quiet while the local car drivers are well behaved (generally), depending on your specific route you need to look out for the Murge (pron the e) this is a high level plateau and a real pain to cycle up to if you drift off it towards the sea.

You are visiting all the usual draws, you might add Gioia for example with its Norman castle and Roman remains (plus the buffalo cheese is to die for). Many of the local towns look a bit naff from the outside. Don't panic, the centres are often little pearls.

bilboburgler is offline  
May 30th, 2018, 02:04 PM
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Posts: 125
Thank you all for your great suggestions.
joangk is offline  
May 30th, 2018, 02:05 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 125
We are going to go on a self-guided bike tour with Puglia Cycle Tours.
joangk is offline  
May 30th, 2018, 02:27 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Originally Posted by joangk View Post
We are going to go on a self-guided bike tour with Puglia Cycle Tours.
Ah, OK...Sounds like a lot of fun, I looked into that myself when we were thinking about Puglia.
Rocket79 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2018, 07:58 PM
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Posts: 22,019
Just wondering if 3 nighs in Matera is too much.[/QUOTE]

Chiming in a bit late -- but I thought 1 full day sufficient for Matera. JMO.
kja is offline  
Jun 5th, 2018, 06:51 AM
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I could spend a week in Matera! Go an enjoy it before it becomes overwhelmingly crowded, which I fear it will be one day soon. You will likely arrive late the first day, spend the second day exploring the sassi and the park across the gorge, and the next day is the trip to the mountains. You may want to do mor research for your Lecce days to be sure though.
Another option near Matera is the abandoned town of Craco, where we enjoyed a fascinating tour.
yorkshire is offline  
Jun 5th, 2018, 10:29 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Not sure where you will go but this might interest "Salento Bike Cafè" its a sort of coop where they have tried to develop a cycling culture for kids but some of the guys also organise learning "italian while you cycle". Good guys if passing try a coffee.
bilboburgler is offline  
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