Along the Southeast Coast of Puglia
8 days self-guided Walking tour
A walking holiday in the Natural Park Otranto-Leuca and Tricase Forest, 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 and its white splendor. A week to be taken by the sweetest sea winds and enchanted by the warm colours of this land.
Day 1. 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.” Welcome to Lecce, a city that will surprise with its peculiar Baroque style and the whiteness of its stones.
Day 2. Lecce – La Cutura – Otranto (3.5hrs walking: +20m -100m, 13km)
After breakfast a private transfer will take you to the La Cutura Botanical Garden, with its amazing private collection of succulents from all five continents. 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 St.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.
Day 3. Otranto – Uggiano La Chiesa (3.5hrs walking: +60m -30m, 14km)
After breakfast, you must visit the small Byzantine Basilica of St. Pietro, comparing it with the majestic Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata; it 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, immerse yourself in the beautiful unspoiled landscapes described by Maria Corti in her masterpiece “L’ora di tutti”. Admire the tunning lunar landscape offered by the Blue Lake; recall the past by spying on the ruins of the ancient Abbey of Casole; and 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, included a mozzarella tasting in a farm, before you reach your accommodation near the village of Uggiano La Chiesa.
Day 4. Uggiano La Chiesa – Santa Cesarea Terme (3hrs walking: +100m -80m, 12km)
Today you will resume your walk against the backdrop of the scenic Saracen Tower of St. 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 Appian Way of Salento 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.
Day 5. Santa Cesarea Terme – Castro (2.5hrs walking: +90m -90m, 8km)
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 illage 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.
Day 6. Castro – Tricase (4hrs walking: +110m -30m, 15km)
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 piece 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.
Day 7. Tricase – Novaglie – Santa Maria di Leuca (3hrs walking: +150m -40m, 11km)
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. 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 of country roads will take you to the Sanctuary of Santa Maria di Leuca. In the afternoon you will enjoy a boat trip discovering the sea caves along the coast of Leuca.
Day 8. 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
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. We will take care of your luggage while you are walking.
In case of need you can call our emergency number 24/7 , anytime, our staff will be available to make your holiday quiet and serene.
Departure dates: Every day from 24 March to 13 July and from 03 September to 03 November 2018
Price per person (min 2 people twin share): A$1230 Standard(3*) OR A$1720 Superior (4*)
Cost per person (Standard/Superior)
The Standard tour offers accommodation in pretty B&B and 3* hotels.
The Superior tour offers accommodation in charming 4* hotels.
All rooms are ensuite.
Accommodation layout :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