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2
introductory to moderate

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 7 nights B&Bs and hotels
Meals
  • 2 Dinners
  • 7 Breakfasts

8 Days£885GBP

Overview

Trip Code: PGC

Trip highlights


  • Walking along the fabulous "Tratturi" or ancient footpaths that run through orchards and olive groves
  • Discovering the "Cipolline Path", a breathtaking walk overlooking the sea
  • Exploring historical sites en route including Roman masterpieces, churches, fortresses and villas
  • Experiencing the buzzing city of Lecce with its baroque palaces, delicious food and artisan shops

The coastline of Puglia between Otranto and Gagliano del Capo offers superb walking opportunities taking in all the diverse elements that the region is famous for. Enjoy sensational views, crystal clear swimming spots and little known villages as you explore this untouched landscape. Walk along the traditional tratturi, ancient roads and footpaths running through orchards and olive groves, and along the Cipolliane Path, a breathtaking walk overlooking the sea and named after the caves you'll discover along the way. After an enchanting circular walk among oranges and olive trees, you leave Otranto to follow an earth red coloured trail along the sea leading towards the lighthouse of Punta Palascia, the eastern most point of Italy. In the following days you'll pass tiny fishermen hamlets, coastal spa towns as well as ancient Messapian villages before concluding your walk in Lecce, known for its baroque palaces and Roman masterpieces. The landscapes along the route are ever changing, from coastal shepherd's paths along the open grasslands of the Puglian savanna; stone walled roads carved by the passage of ancient carts and lush forest trails with towering trees. Along the way you'll be kept company by the rustle of ancient olive trees, the sounds of crickets, the smell of wild fennel and liquorice, and the twinkle of the azure sea. With handpicked accommodation awaiting each evening, be indulged as you dine on freshly prepared seafood and sample an array of gelato flavours.

Starting Point:

Otranto


Today you will make your own way to Otranto and check-in at the first hotel. When you've settled in you can step outside and breathe in the incredibly fresh, crisp air of the Mediterranean Sea and explore Otranto, known as the "Pearl of the Orient". We recommend visiting the historic centre with its famed cathedral, and in the evening delighting your senses as you sample the local delicacies.

Meals:  Nil

Today you head out on a great warm up walk where you will discover the small Idro valley, which gives Otranto (Hidruntum) its name. The Idro river spring is about 5km from Otranto, in a location called Monte S. Angelo. You'll walk through fertile land rich with orchards, olive trees, oranges and a variety of vegetables. The walk starts on the left side of the river, then heads upstream, across fields of olive trees and passes by the S. Angelo rock church. Finally you descend along the right side of the stream as you head back to Otranto. Overnight Otranto. Walk: 7.5km/4.5mi, ascent: 96m/315ft, descent: 96m/315ft.

Meals:  B

Leaving from Otranto you will walk through the maze of the narrow alleys of the old town until you reach the new port. Here a flat, gravel coastal path contours around a series of coves. You'll pass by several WWII bunkers and can make a short detour to visit an interesting "bauxite lake". Walking along the coast you have the option to take several "beach stops", where you can swim in the clear waters. Continue along the coast towards the clearly visible Punta Palascia Lighthouse. At some points the knee-high Mediterranean vegetation becomes thick and the route may become hard to see, but as long as you have the lighthouse in front and the sea on your left you are on the right track! For the last 2km (1.25mi) before reaching the lighthouse you can follow an alternative route along the main road to avoid the more challenging steep rocky section to the lighthouse. On clear days you can see the Albanian mountains across the Adriatic Sea. Punta Palascìa lighthouse is the easternmost point of Italy and just 71km from Albania. Overnight in Porto Badisco. Walk: 12.7km/7.9mi, ascent: 270m/886ft, descent: 240m/787ft. Note: On occasion, this night may be in Santa Cesarea Terme where you stay on day 4, subject to availability. In this case return transfers are included between Porto Badisco & Santa Cesarea Terme but dinner is not included.

Meals:  B,D

The first stop of today's walk is the beautiful inlet of Porto Badisco, just before the local bar/newsagent/supermarket where you can buy a coffee and panino for today’s picnic. Continue along the coast following a shepherd's path, where you will see the typical "pagliari", a round, flat topped, dry stone building where shepherds used to sleep. After around 6km/4mi you leave the coast, climbing up to the inland plateau which is a moderate ascent. Here you follow narrow paths through the fields and will come across a lovely picnic spot in a little pine tree forest that offers shade. The last part of today's walk is on a surfaced road, descending quite steeply to the spa town of Santa Cesarea Terme, which has many great swimming spots. Overnight Santa Cesarea Terme. Walk: 13km/8mi, ascent: 200m/656ft, descent: 170m/558ft.

Meals:  B

On leaving Santa Cesarea, you'll start climbing uphill on a surfaced road until you reach an old gravel/grass dry-stone walled road. Staying inland, you'll follow narrow paths through the fields until you reach the ancient Messapian town of Castro, with its imposing high walls. You can spend some time here exploring the old town and maybe have lunch before descending to the port where you can go swimming. This afternoon, continue along the coast on a uneven, rocky trail to the Acquaviva cove - a beautiful hidden inlet and fantastic swimming spot where a fresh water spring comes out at sea level. The last part of the path climbs up the thickly forested Acquaviva valley towards Marittima, where you will stay tonight. Walk: 11.5km/7mi, ascent: 309m/1014ft, descent: 245m/804ft.

Meals:  B

After buying picnic supplies in Marittima, start your walk for the day. Initially following a surfaced road that winds its way through orchards of olive trees, you'll then see 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 sample a great "caffè in ghiaccio" (iced coffee) and go for a swim. From here you have some asphalt walking to today’s final destination, Marina Serra, a small coastal hamlet with great swimming spots. Walk: 13.5km/8.5mi, ascent: 310m/1017ft, descent: 370m/1214ft.

Meals:  B,D

The last walk of your trip starts on a short uphill trail called Sentiero del Nemico ("enemy's path"), which was once the ideal place to lay an ambush on unexpected visitors. After walking on some asphalt on the coastal road, the trail heads inland on another ancient "tratturi", finally reaching Novaglie, a lovely rocky beach. From here you start walking on the breathtaking "Cipolliane path", which is named after the caves you can visit along the way. This path leads you to the Ciolo bridge, the last great swimming spot of the trip. From the tiny Ciolo cove you walk up the Ciolo valley to Gagliano del Capo. Collect your luggage at the train station (Gagliano Leuca) and take the train to Lecce (approx. 2hrs)*. Overnight in the beautiful Baroque city of Lecce. Walk: 12.7km/7.9mi, ascent: 429m/1407ft, descent: 380m/1247ft. *Note: In Spring and Autumn there is no public transport on Sundays from Gagliano del Capo train station to Lecce and a private transfer is required - supplement applies.

Meals:  B

The trip concludes this morning after breakfast in Lecce. If you'd like to stay an extra night in Lecce please ask for our rates.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 7 breakfasts, 2 dinners (or 1 dinner if staying at Santa Cesarea Terme on day 3): Breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of breads, tea, coffee & juices. Dinner will consist of 3 courses, usually starting with a salad or pasta dish, followed by either a chicken, red meat or fish dish with seasonal vegetables & finishing with a dessert of fruit or cakes
  • 7 nights in 3-4 star hotels and B&Bs on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
  • Luggage transfer (max 1 piece, max weight 20kg and max size 60 x 50 x 40 cm per person) note: on Day 7 to Gagliano train station only. Supplement applies for excess
  • Digital information pack including navigational app, route book and maps
  • Emergency hotline

  • Travel to and from Otranto / Lecce
  • Meals not listed as included, drinks
  • Entrance fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Guide - this is a self guided tour
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Excess luggage
  • Tourist Tax - allow EUR12-15 pp - payable directly to the hotels
  • Transfers using public transport: day 7 train from Gagliano del Capo to Lecce (with your luggage)
  • Private transfer on day 7 Gagliano to Lecce - supplement applies (required if day 7 is a Sunday when the train does not operate)
  • Items of a personal nature

Suitability

introductory to moderate

2

The walking is introductory to moderate (2) grade with daily walks between 2 and 5 hours, with a few coastal sections on more difficult rocky paths requiring care (days 3 & 4). During the tour you will walk 70km/43.5mi over 6 days (an average of 11.5km/7mi per day). The walks mostly follow rocky coastal footpaths, sometimes through low vegetation/bushes, mule tracks and footpaths and a few sections of secondary surfaced roads as you enter the villages/towns. Though the distances and elevation are generally short, some of the terrain can be rocky and the trail not always obviously visible. The accent is on keeping a steady pace with time to stop and take photos (subject to weather conditions). You will need a reasonable level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure. We recommend that you have some previous experience of trekking. Waymarking - there are no official walking trails maintained by the government in Puglia nor waymarking.


Departure dates

Daily from 20 Mar to 31 Oct (except 27 Jul to 31 Aug)

Notes

M
Mid Season
H
High Season
Note:
High season is 27 Jun to 26 Jul, mid season is 24 May to 26 Jun and 1 to 30 Sep - season supplement applies
Note:
In Spring and Autumn there is no public transport on Sundays from Gagliano del Capo (where the last walk ends on day 7) to Lecce and a private transfer is required - supplement applies

Priceper person from

£885GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • Private transfer Gagliano-Lecce at 16.00 (1-3pax) day 7 - see noteGBP£100
  • Single supplement - low seasonGBP£280
  • Single supplement - mid and high seasonGBP£390
  • Solo traveller supplement - low seasonGBP£410
  • Solo traveller supplement - mid & high seasonGBP£540
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Personal Experience

We've been walking and cycling the planet for over four decades and are passionate about delivering exceptional service. Combined, we’ve travelled to virtually every corner of Europe, and are eager to share the many benefits of travelling on foot or by bike.

Great Value & Quality

Our well priced trips offer great value for money. Included in your package are comprehensive route notes, maps & guide books along with bag transfers and locally run accommodation. We take the stress out of organising your holiday.

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We have been operating active self guided holidays since 1973. We handle all the necessary logistics so that you can relax and explore your destination at your own pace. Many of our tours depart daily, giving you even greater flexibility.