Puglia Discovery Tour



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Activity types:

  • Food & drink
  • Hills & moorland
  • History

Holiday overview

This holiday offers an authentic Italian experience in a still relatively undiscovered area of Italy.

Holiday Highlights:

  • Enjoy the rolling landscapes of the Alta Murgia National Park
  • See the Sassi cave dwellings of Matera
  • Visit incredible Alberobello, famous its Trulli houses

Great Reasons to Join Us

  • Great value: all prices include Half Board en-suite accommodation, plus five full day excursions with plenty of stops at places of interest and short walks of up to 2½ miles
  • Accommodation: stay at our beautifully renovated partner hotel in the heart of Altamura
  • Knowledgeable leaders: learn more about Puglia’s rich heritage from your knowledgeable leader
  • Sociability: we pride ourselves on the social atmosphere of our holidays – explore together, eat together and relax together


Hotel San Nicola in Altamura, Italy

The 4-star Hotel San Nicola dates back to 1741, it has been beautifully restored and is located in the centre of the picturesque old town of Altamura. 

Altamura is on the doorstep with easy access to its shops, picturesque streets and attractions. Sample some of Altamura is breads and its well known Focaccia de Altamura (topped with tomatoes and herbs).

HF Holidays Europe Partner Hotel Awards 2016 - GoldHF Holidays Europe Partner Hotel Awards 2016
Gold Award for Dining


Your room

There are 27 modern en-suite bedrooms.

All bedrooms are equipped with a:

  • Phone
  • Air condition
  • Flat screen
  • TV
  • Minibar
  • Complimentary toiletries
  • Hairdryer
Hotel San Nicola bedroom


Hotel San Nicola hall The hotel has a:
  • 24-hour reception,
  • Room service,
  • Laundry,
  • Ironing and dry cleaning service (extra charge)
  • Small TV room.


Holidays at Altamura are Half Board with continental breakfast and evening meals at two of Altamura's restaurants.

Continental buffet breakfast: this is served from 7am in the Cavaggio dining room on the 1st floor. This will include cereals, fruit juices, yoghurt, fresh fruit, cheeses/meats, selection of breads and croissants, jams, tea and coffee.

Lunch (payable locally)
Packed lunches can be bought from the local shops a few minutes from the hotel and can also be purchased from the hotel.
Evening meal
One of the highlights of this holiday is that our guests dine out in Altamura at two restaurants that serve local dishes and specialities. A 3-course dinner will be served at the Tre Archi Restaurant every evening and experience the warm Italian hospitality and local dishes.

On Wednesdays our groups dine at the Restaurant Del Corso.

Both these establishments are within easy walking distance of our hotel and guests can experience the "passiagata", an Italian tradition where the locals with their families and friends walk out in the evening socialising, and take in this unique atmosphere.

Your evenings

The friendly atmosphere of our holidays continues into the evening.

Most of our socialising at Altamura is over a relaxed meal, opportunity to talk about your day with your fellow guests and sample some local wines and dishes. See the town came alive in the evening with all the local families walking out, treating their children to ice creams and just sitting over a coffee.


During your Discovery Tour you will have the opportunity to visit many fascinating places of interest. this is the proposed programme, but our HF Holidays' leader may adjust it at their discretion, taking into account factors such as weather or local opening times or the wishes of the group.

Historic Altamura 

Today we explore our base for the week; Altamura. There is plenty here to explore; the historical centre, including Porta Bari, the only surviving gate to the old town; museums, including the Archaeological museum where we can find out about the Altamura man, the only complete skeleton of a prehistoric man, discovered in 1993; and religious buildings including the magnificent cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. In the afternoon we will take a short coach journey to Pulo, the famous karst formation formed by the collapse of an underground network of caves and tunnels.

Trulli village 

Alberobello is protected by UNESCO World Heritage for its monumental Trulli village dating from the 1400s. Made with dry overlapping stones with a whitewashed base and cone-shaped roof with pinnacles of various shapes and symbols, we’ll explore the old town quarter of Rione Monti as well as the quieter neighbourhood of Rione Aia Piccola. We’ll also visit an 18th century two-storey trullo; now a museum, to experience something of the atmosphere of trullo life.

Alta Murgia National Park

Today we travel into the Alta Murgia National Park. Our first stop is the ruined fortress at Garagnone; built on one of the highest points above the National Park.  The fortress, thought to be of Norman origin, was one of many that were located along the border areas of the region. We will learn about the importance of agriculture at that time in this area before continuing to Lama Reale, the largest and most majestic canyon in the region. After our picnic lunch we’ll continue to San Magno to view a necropolis dating back to the 5th and 7th Centuries B.C. Our last stop of the day is Castel del Monte, another UNESCO Heritage Site occupying a spectacular location on a low hill with commanding views over the National Park and towards the coast.

Matera - a truly ancient town

Matera is said to be one of the world’s oldest towns, dating back to the Palaeolithic Age and inhabited continuously for around 7000 years.  The simple natural grottos, or sassi, that dotted the gorge were adapted to become homes, in the 8th Century to Benedictine and Basilian monks. By the 1950s more than half of Matera’s population lived in the sassi. In 1993 the sassi were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will spend a full day here exploring the alleyways and staircases that make up this memorable place.

On the coast at Bari and Trani, the Pearl of Puglia

Today we take a trip to the coast starting in Bari, Puglia’s capital, for a tour of the Bari Vecchia, or old town; an interesting and atmospheric warren of streets. Highlights will include Castello Svevo, Basilica di San Nicola and the beautiful Piazza Mercantile. In the afternoon we continue to Trani, known as the Pearl of Puglia, for a stroll through the yachts and fishing boats in the harbour. 

Holiday information

All transport relevant to the itinerary is included in the price of your holiday, but for flexibility we do not include entrances. Please allow around €38 per person for entrance fees.

Discovery holidays involve active sightseeing and you should expect to spend lots of time on your feet. Optional short walks of approximately 2½ miles allow you to stretch your legs and see the best of the local scenery.

Free day – on our 7 night holidays we allow one free day where there is no organised excursion. This is an ideal opportunity for you to relax, enjoy the hotel facilities or explore independently.

Local area

Explore the narrow streets of this historic town and you will find the interesting Romanesque-Gothic cathedral which has the most intricately carved portal in Puglia, and 14th/15th century miniature sculptures. The alleyways or “claustri”, distinctive to Altamura usually end in small courtyards. This area has prehistoric sites where you can see dinosaurs’ footprints and “Man of Alamura”, a Paleolithic skeleton.

Shops and facilities: Altamura is famous for its bread, made since the time when the town supplied ancient Rome. There is a famous bakery where they make the Pane di Dlamura and Focaccia de Altamura (topped with tomatoes and herbs). Other local specialities include cheeses, fried artichokes, braised chicory, fava beans and fresh ravioli and an array of homemade sweets.

There are many other interesting small shops and cafés.


We recognise that everyone’s travel arrangements are unique, so all our holidays to Europe can be booked ‘with flight’ or ‘without flight’, giving you more flexibility and choice.



Travel by plane


‘With flight’ holidays – the hassle-free option

Book your holiday ‘with flight’ from Gatwick to Bari airport. For flight times and prices please see the Dates & Prices tab.

If you choose this option we automatically include return transfers between the airport and the hotel. The coach transfer takes approx 1 hour to the Hotel San Nicola.

British Airways plane




Driving to us

‘Without flight’ holidays – the flexible travel option

Alternatively, tailor your journey to suit you by booking your holiday ‘without flight’ allowing you the freedom to book your own flights from your local airport.

If you choose this option, transfers are not included in the price. However, below are some suggestions to help you reach your destination:

  • We can book you a seat on the HF Holidays’ transfer coach from Bari airport. This is timed to meet the HF Holidays’ flights* (provisional flight times can be found on the dates and prices tab or you can call us on 020 8732 1220 for more information). Cost per single journey is £17.00.
  • Why not let us book you a private taxi transfer at a cost of £75.00 per single taxi journey?

Transfers must be pre-booked.  Please call 020 8732 1220 for more details

* Please note that HF Holidays is not responsible for your onward travel if you fail to meet the transfer coach

 Coach heading to Glen Coe


Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is a university academic, specialising in geology and environmental sciences, and has written books on these topics. She is particularly interested in the origins of landscape, both natural and human-made. She leads HF Holidays’ Walking and Leisure Activities holidays in the UK, Europe and worldwide.




Alban O'Brien

Alban is an experienced leader of HF holidays who has been able to indulge his own passions for literature , travel and holiday leadership since he took retirement in 2012. He is passionate about all things Italian, from its early history inspired by a classical education, to its culture, its people and its food. As a former teacher he was also one of the leaders of a musical tour, with a school orchestra and choir, to Lake Garda and has visited Verona and Rome pursuing his literary and sporting interests.  

In addition he has had a lifetime of experience as an HF guest. He has travelled with HF as a walking guest to Austria, Australia, Poland, Switzerland and, of course, Italy whose rugged coastline of the Cinque Terre was a particular favourite.  Guests can be assured of being well looked after and discovering some of the most beautiful and interesting places in the south of Italy under his guidance.


Dates & Prices

We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.

Prices are per person


  • Double room for sole occupancy: £8 per night
  • Non-member associate fee: £10 per person

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