Puglia Discovery Tour

Uncover the rural charm and rich culinary heritage of Puglia in the heel of Italy's 'boot'


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Activity types:

  • Central location
  • Hills & moorland
  • History
From £1,099.00 - 7 nights


Prices are per person

Room 1:
Room 2:
Room 3:

Holiday overview

Uncover the rural charm and rich heritage of Puglia on our Discovery Tour. Visit Matera and its ancient cave dwellings, Alberobello and Alta Murgia National Park. This holiday offers an authentic Italian experience in a still relatively undiscovered area of Italy.

Holiday highlights

  • Discover the conical-roofed trulli buildings in Alberobello.
  • Explore the alleyways and staircases of Matera and its ‘sassi’ cave dwellings.
  • Uncover the atmospheric old town of Bari with our Local Guide.
  • Visit the 13th century, UNESCO listed, octagonal-shaped Castel del Monte.

Price includes

  • Good quality en-suite accommodation in one of our European partner hotels
  • Half Board – continental breakfast and evening meal
  • The services of an experienced HF Holidays’ leader
  • Full day excursions with all essential transport in resort
  • ‘With flight’ holidays include return flights from the UK and hotel transfers

In pictures...


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. 

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


Your room

There are 27 modern en-suite bedrooms.

All bedrooms are equipped with a:

  • Phone
  • Air conditioning
  • 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)


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 courtyard dining room. 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 a local restaurant that serve local dishes and specialities. A 3-course dinner will be served at the Tre Archi Restaurant every evening except on Saturdays and Wednesdays when we will be dining at the newly refurbished restaurant at Hotel San Nicola. 

This restaurant is 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.


Altamura Dining Room

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

Porta Bari and the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and Pulo

Today we explore our base for the week: historic 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.


An ancient town and UNESCO World Heritage Site

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.

Alta Murgia National Park

The ruined fortress at Garagnone, the Alta Murgia National Park, the necropolis at San Magno Corato and the UNESCO Heritage Site of Castel del Monte

Today we travel into the Alta Murgia National Park, passing the ruined fortress at Garagnone on our way. Built on one of the highest points above the National Park, the fortress is thought to be of Norman origin and was one of many that were located along the border areas of the region. After our picnic lunch we’ll continue through the National Park to San Magno to view a necropolis dating back to the 5th and 7th Centuries B.C. Our day also includes a visit to 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.

Alberobello's historic Trulli villages

Rione Monti, Rione Aia Piccola and Trullo Sovrano

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.

On the coast at Bari andTrani

Castello Svevo, Basilica di San Nicola and the beautiful Piazza Mercantile 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 €50 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.

We loved the location of this holiday, it felt like we were seeing the real Italy, not many tourists in Altamura so no exceptions made. The town was celebrating a religious festival, the main square where we stayed was particularly beautifully decorated with special light features - a bit like Christmas! We ate, drank and shopped the same as the locals and people were very welcoming. The area was full of little churches you could pop into and one afternoon we heard singing and went in to listen to a group of nuns singing – it was very memorable. The sightseeing days were exceptional and the trulli really were special. The places we ate were full of local diners and delicious puglian cuisine. We went on to spend a week in Sorrento which provided a great contrast and chance to experience the variety of Italy. (Caryl and Chris, Oxon)

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.

Our hotel is based within the historic walled old town of Altamura, as buses are unable to access this area you will be dropped off just outside in the Plazza Unita and enter the town on foot via the archway, Porta Bari. Here you will get your first glimpse of this fascinating town on the short walk to the hotel San Nicola.




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 £20.
  • Why not let us book you a private taxi transfer at a cost of £90 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


Gordon Simmonds

Gordon Simmonds enjoys travel and is delighted to share his experiences with HF Holidays' guests. He has been an HF Holidays' leader since 1999 and has led many holidays, especially in Italy. For thirty years, his job gave him Europe wide responsibilities and scope to enjoy different cities and friendships with people of many nationalities. A great plus of leading for HF Holidays is being able to enjoy the diverse food of our many regions. He is fascinated by the variety as well as the common threads of our different histories, art and architecture. His background as a research engineer gives a slightly different slant and understanding of these aspects of our shared culture. He speaks Italian, French and German. His knowledge and enjoyment extends beyond the city, for he loves the natural world and counts gardening as a hobby.


Read more reviews from feefo

Dates & Prices

Date Description Nights Brochure price Book
23 May 2020 PULEL - Discovery Tour Puglia - Without Flights 7 £1,099.00 Book Now
23 May 2020 PULEL - Discovery Tour Puglia
(Travel included - Departs from: London Gatwick)

Flight - Outbound


  • Depart: 23 May 2020, 6:30 a.m.
  • Arrive: 23 May 2020, 10:20 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Gatwick
  • Arrive at: Bari Palese Maccie

Flight - Return


  • Depart: 30 May 2020, 11 a.m.
  • Arrive: 30 May 2020, 1 p.m.
  • Depart from: Bari Palese Maccie
  • Arrive at: London Gatwick
7 £1,299.00 Book Now
30 May 2020 PULEL - Discovery Tour Puglia - Without Flights 7 £1,099.00 Book Now
30 May 2020 PULEL - Discovery Tour Puglia
(Travel included - Departs from: London Gatwick)

Flight - Outbound


  • Depart: 30 May 2020, 6:30 a.m.
  • Arrive: 30 May 2020, 10:20 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Gatwick
  • Arrive at: Bari Palese Maccie

Flight - Return


  • Depart: 6 Jun 2020, 11 a.m.
  • Arrive: 6 Jun 2020, 1 p.m.
  • Depart from: Bari Palese Maccie
  • Arrive at: London Gatwick
7 £1,299.00 Book Now

Prices are per person


  • Double room for sole occupancy: £9 per night
  • Allow €50 for entrances 
  • Non-member associate fee: £10 per person

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