14-night Puglia & Sorrento Guided Walking Holiday

Duration: 14 nights
Type: European Multi-Centre
Walking Grade: 2 & 3

Discover two contrasting parts of Italy in one holiday. We’ll start in Puglia to enjoy a wonderful mix of guided walking and sightseeing. This charming and relatively undiscovered part of Italy has many delights. Traditional Trulli houses with their appealing stone walls and cone-shaped roofs dot the landscape while the partially abandoned town of Matera is famed for its 'Sassi' cave dwellings, hewn out of the soft tufa cliffs. We’ll visit the unusual octagonal-shaped Castel del Monte and set foot in Alta Murgia National Park - Italy’s last example of Mediterranean steppe, rich in flora and fauna. Moving on to Sorrento we’ll enjoy walks along the stunning ‘Path of the Gods’ to admire the stunning Amalfi Coast. A fascinating sightseeing day to Herculaneum reveals how this Roman settlement was engulfed when Mt Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD.

Holiday Highlights


  • Discover an area of Italy that is still relatively undiscovered and fringed by mountains and turquoise seas
  • Walk through the rolling landscapes of the Alta Murgia National Park, dotted with ancient towns steeped in history
  • Uncover rural charm and rich culinary heritage by its quaint trattorias and great food
  • Visit the Sassi at Matera, UNESCO listed cave dwellings lived in until the 1960s
  • Socialise in the evenings when the town comes alive, Italian-style

Sorrento Peninsula

  • Stunning coastal scenery of the Sorrento Peninsula
  • The remarkable cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum
  • Walk the Path of the Gods
  • Visit the chic towns of the Amalfi Coast and explore the enchanting Capri on your free day
  • Pick wild figs by the path and stop for fresh orange juice

What’s included

  • A full programme of guided walks with 2 options every walking day
  • All transport to and from the walks
  • The services of experienced HF Holidays' leaders
  • "With flight" holidays include return flights from the UK and hotel transfers
  • 14 nights accommodation in en-suite rooms
  • Transport between the two destinations
  • Half Board - continental breakfast and evening meal

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDF’s for each holiday, please click the button below to find the right trip notes for your departure date.

Welcome to Hotel San Nicola. Unpack and settle in.

Today both groups will visit the nearby national park of Alta Murgia to see one of its most spectacular features. Before the walks we visit the Altamura Man exhibition. During both walks we will visit the ‘Pulo’ of Altamura, one of the largest dolines (sink holes) in Italy. The caves in this cliff-lined depression were once home to prehistoric man and we may have a chance to descend into one of the caves to view the doline from the cliffs. The area is a haven for wildlife and flowers, and you may see species of butterfly, orchid, crocus and cyclamen.

Option 1 - Altamura & the Pulo

Distance: 7 miles (11.5km)

Total ascent: 165 feet (50m)

In summary: We’ll start north of the Pulo and after a walk through typical Murgia scenery we will explore the rim of the Pulo with views into the depression. We will then descend through a further area of the National Park, first more steeply across the limestone, then on gravel paths before arriving at the Altamura Man Visitor Centre.

Highlight: The Pulo depression, the largest doline in southern Italy.

Option 2 - Altamura & the Pulo extended

Distance: 8½ miles (14km)

Total ascent: 230 feet (70m)

In summary: The harder walk takes a longer and more securitious route to the Pulo, walking amongst typical Murgia scenery. Along the way we visit a well with a slightly gruesome history. Arriving at the Pulo we explore the rim of the depression before walking to the Altamure Man Visitor Centre by the same route as the easier walk.

Highlight: Visit the ‘Altamura Man Visitor Centre’ to learn about the preserved Genus Homo remains found in a cave near Altamura.

Both groups will travel to the World Heritage Site of Matera, about 11 miles from our hotel. We start from the Jazzo Gattini Visitor Centre outside the town and walk through the limestone scenery on the north of the deep Matera ravine. We visit a number of ancient rock churches and other antiquities and enjoy spectacular views across the ravine to the city. Our picnic lunch is then taken at the Jazzo, where welcome shade, drinks & toilets are available, together with the opportunity to browse local historical exhibits (payable locally).

We then travel to the town at the south side of the ravine, where there is an opportunity to visit more troglodyte houses and churches in Matera. Alternatively, enjoy a drink in a local bar, or explore the town independently.

Matera was selected as European City of Culture for 2019. The whole group will follow the same route accompanied by an experienced and knowledgeable local guide.

Today we visit our second World Heritage Site of the week. Castel del Monte stands as a beacon to beckon us forwards.

Option 1 - Castel del Monte

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Total ascent: 600 feet (180m)

In summary: This walk starts to the east of the castle and wanders on good tracks through olive groves and past many whitewashed ‘Trulli’ houses. Hopefully there will be an opportunity for lunch and drinks to be enjoyed at a remote farmhouse, before ascending to the castle itself, where there will be some time to visit the inside of the castle (payable locally) to speculate on the many oddities of its construction.

Highlight: View Castel del Monte - a World Heritage Site that was completed in 1250

Option 2 - Alta Murgia and Castel del Monte

Distance: 10 miles (17km)

Total Ascent: 1000 feet (300m)

In summary: The Harder walk begins near the small hamlet of San Magno, southeast of the castle and takes a longer route on good tracks throughout to reach Castel del Monte. This route crosses the heart of the park and offers a chance to see the characteristic vegetation and agriculture of the limestone soils, before joining the route of the easier group. After lunch there may be time for an early afternoon drink at a farm. We can enjoy the panoramic views from the castle, before descending to our end point where we can enjoy a drink with the Easier group.

Highlight: Our route to the castle takes us through beautiful scenery - enhanced in the spring by wonderful wildflowers.

Each week there is a free day when no guided walks are offered. This is an ideal opportunity to relax around the hotel, walk independently or visit local places of interest. Some options for your free day may include:

Altamura: You may like to explore the historic town of Altamura, with its spectacular cathedral, archaeological museum, market, shops and ancient walls.

Alberobello: Alternatively, you may like to join an organised visit to the pretty World Heritage town and tourist hotspot of Alberobello, with its many whitewashed ‘Trulli’ houses.

Bari: Easily reached by public transport, this old town and port contains many buildings of historical interest. Puglia’s capital contains many churches but the most well known is the 11th century Romanesque Basilica de San Nicola, dedicated to St Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus. There are also many art galleries and, more recently, the futuristic football stadium was a venue for the 1990 World Cup.

Today both groups will enjoy a circular walk from the town of Gravina in Puglia. We walk through archaeological areas occupied from the 5th century BC, amongst olive groves and pastures used by grazing goats. We can also enjoy far reaching views across the town and beyond. On our return we visit archaeological complexes accompanied by a guide.

Option 1 - Gravina in Puglia & Botromagno Hill

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Total ascent: 800 feet (240m)

In summary: From the centre of Gravina we make our way across an ancient aqueduct to the far side of the ravine. We ascend Botromagno Hill, site of an Iron Age hill fort, to a plateau where we can explore several archaeological sites. Our walk takes us along tracks and paths with lovely views. On our return to Gravina, we visit the amazing Sotteranea archaeological complex before exploring the town and perhaps enjoying refreshments.

Highlight: We'll use an English-speaking guide to tour the Sotteranea - a fascinating underground complex.

Option 2 - Gravina in Puglia, Serra Pendino and Botromagno Hill

Distance: 7½ miles (12km)

Total ascent: 1,100 feet (330m)

In summary: The harder walk starts to the south of Gravina and follows tracks and quiet lanes, traversing the flanks of the Serra Pendino and walking gently uphill to reach the plateau of Botromagno, where it joins part of the route of the easier walk. There are opportunities to visit some of the archaeological remains on the plateau before descending to Gravina and joining the easier party to visit the Sottoranea complex and maybe have refreshments.

Highlight: The summit of Botromagno Hill features the remains of an Iron Age fort.

Today’s walks in the Mercadante Forest provide a contrast to the open landscape of the limestone plateau.

Option 1 - Jazzo and Masseria

Distance: 6 miles (10km)

Total ascent: 560 feet (170m)

In summary: Our route starts in the forest taking us through the northern edge of this woodland and out to open heathland. We continue to a deserted ‘jazzo’ before our route heads back into the woods and returns us to the taverna.

Highlight: This 'artificial' forest is home to many species of birds

Option 2 - Mercadante Forest Exploration

Distance: 9½ miles (15km)

Total ascent: 850 feet (260m)

In summary: We follow the same route as the easier walk to the deserted ‘jazzo’. From here we will continue south of the forest before heading back into the woodland to join the easier party for refreshments.

Highlight: We find a peaceful and sun-dappled spot perfect for a picnic lunch.

There will be a direct coach transfer between the Hotel San Nicola and the Hotel Caravel.

Welcome to Hotel Caravel. Unpack and settle in.

Having explored a little of Sorrento, we take a bus along the peninsula to the village of Massa Lubrense where both walks start.

Option 1 - In the land of the sirens

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Total ascent: 400 feet (120m)

In summary: From Massa Lubrense our route follows a network of easy paths down to the coast at Punta del Capo. As we head along quiet country roads we pass through groves of lemons and olives. After the village of Capo, we start our gradual descent to the Roman village and baths (a natural cove) on the headland overlooking Sorrento. Our route then returns to Capo for the service bus back to Sorrento.

Highlight: Pass groves of lemons from which Limoncello, the local liqueur.

Option 2 - The Massa Lubrense loop

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Total ascent: 1,100 feet (330m)

In summary: This walk also starts at Massa Lubrense but first takes a long loop and descends through lemon groves to the sea at the picturesque fishing harbour of Lobra. We then take a similar route to Capo before walking back into Sorrento.

Highlight: Admire views out to Capri at the start of this walk.

This full day coach excursion takes us to two of the most famous sights in the Bay of Naples - the summit of Vesuvius, one of three active volcanoes in Europe - and the spectacular ruins of Herculaneum - a Roman city buried in ash when Vesuvius erupted in 79AD.

The former fishermen’s village of Positano slopes steeply up from the sea and promotes itself as Italy’s most nearly vertical town. Houses are built on terraces in a Moorish style with flat roofs and balconies beneath arcades. The town was made popular and fashionable by writers and artists, such as Franco Zeffirelli and John Steinbeck.

Option 1 - The Heights of Positano

Distance: 3 miles (5km) 

Total ascent: 800 feet (240m)

Total descent: 1,700 feet (510m)

In summary: We start at the church of St Maria del Castello for our first breath-taking view over Positano. Our walk follows the “Path of the Gods”, a superb mountain path that traverses the hillside enjoying the most wonderful views. We descend on the ancient stepped mule path to the hospitable village of Montepertuso, from where we catch the bus that winds down the hillside of Positano.

Highlight: Positano is known as italy's most vertical town - there's time to explore the Moorish-style streets and arcades.

Option 2 - The Path of the Gods

Distance: 6 miles (9½km)

Total ascent: 1,000 feet (300m)

Total descent: 2,900 feet (870m)

In summary: We also start at St Maria del Castello and follow the “Path of the Gods” along the hillside of Montepertuso but continue our walk down into Positano. This section involves a long, steep descent, much of it on stone steps.

Highlight: The 'Path of the Gods' is a wonderful mountainside pathway with exceptional views all the way along.

Each week there is a free day when no guided walks are offered. This is an ideal opportunity to relax around the hotel, walk independently or visit local places of interest. Some options for your free day may include:

Pompeii: Easily reached using the Circumvesuviana Railway, the ruins of this ancient Roman city provide a fascinating insight into the lives of the residents before they were cut short by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in AD 79. The site is large and includes streets, shops, an amphitheatre and residents' houses.

Amalfi: It is possible to reach charming Amalfi by bus or boat; your leaders can advise.

Sorrento: Enjoy exploring the old town and perhaps a leisurely lunch in the old harbour with views across to Naples and Mt Vesuvius.

Capri: The legendary island of Capri - playground of the rich and famous - can be reached by ferries from the Marina Piccola in Sorrento.

Archaeological Museum in Naples: The museum has an extensive collection of Roman artefacts including many from Pompeii and Herculaneum. Highlights include Roman mosaics, frescoes and sculptures from the ruined cities plus giant Farnese sculptures from ancient Rome. There is also a large collection of antiquities from ancient Egypt. Naples can be reached by train from Sant’ Agnello; the journey takes just over an hour. Alternatively, you could take the fast ferry across the bay.

Today we head for Monte Faito which lies to the northeast of Sorrento in the Lattari Mountains. Soak up the extensive views and perhaps enjoy refreshments before starting the walk. We walk through the beautiful beech woods that cover much of these slopes but still enjoy the extensive mountain views right down the peninsula and across to Capri. Affluent locals live up here in the cooler temperatures.

Option 1 - Monte Faito

Distance: 6 miles (9½km) 

Total ascent: 1,000 feet (300m)

In summary: The walk starts along quiet roads through the pine woods to a point where we strike off into the beech woods to a viewpoint at Casa di Monaco. We then retrace our steps and ascend to the chapel of St. Michael before returning along the ridge to our start point.

Highlight: Extensive views to be enjoyed from the cooling shade of the woods.

Option 2 - Monte Faito Ridge

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Total ascent: 1,600 feet (480m)

In summary: We set along the ridge before going around the mountain and ascending through the trees to a col where there is the option to complete the ascent of Molare. The route then descends steeply before going through the beech woods and returning to the start along quiet roads.

Highlight: The optional ascent of Molare is well worth the effort.

Today we head to the village of Termini, set in an idyllic landscape at the end of the peninsula. Both walks finish at Marina del Cantone before our bus returns to Sorrento.

Option 1 - Monte San Costanzo

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Total ascent: 700 feet (210m)

Total descent: 1,800 feet (540m)

In summary: We leave Termini on the well graded road that zigzags up the hillside behind the village to a spectacular viewpoint. A short descent and a rise through light woodlands will bring us to Monte San Costanzo, with its tiny chapel. We descend back to Termini on an ancient mule track and then down to the beach at Marina del Cantone via the little village of Nerano.

Highlight: The summit of Monte San Costanzo is home to a tiny chapel.

Option 2 - Campanella & Monte San Costanzo

Distance: 6 miles (9½km) 

Total ascent: 1,600 feet (480m)

In summary: We start with a steady descent to the very tip of the Sorrento peninsula at Point Campanella. From here we have a consistent ascent along the rough spine of the ridge to the chapel at the summit of Monte San Costanzo, before following the route of the other party through Termini and on to Marina del Cantone.

Highlight: The views over to Capri from point Campanella are fantastic.

We hope to see you again soon.

Puglia Itinerary Map
Sorrento Itinerary Map

Hotel Fuori Le Mura - Puglia

The 4-star Hotel Fuori Le Mura is located in a residential area outside of the city walls not far from the old centre of Altamura. This purpose-built hotel has 58 comfortable, contemporary bedrooms, 24 hour reception, restaurant, shared lounge, garden and free WI-FI throughout. The restaurant prides itself on fresh quality ingredients carefully selected according to the season you visit.

Hotel Caravel - Sorrento Peninsula

The Liccardi family and their staff have been looking after HF Holidays’ guests for twenty years, and will offer you a warm welcome at 4-star Hotel Caravel. The hotel lies in the residential district of Sant’ Agnello and is surrounded by pleasant gardens with lemon trees. Close by are the shops and Sant’ Agnello railway station. The centre of Sorrento town is about 1 mile away.  

Essential Information

Passport Requirements

You may need to renew your British passport if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021.

On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:

  • have at least 6 months left
  • be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)

Use the government website to see if your passport is valid for this holiday

EHIC cards

The UK government has officially launched the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will replace the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). UK residents can now apply for one of the GHIC cards, which will gradually replace the EHIC cards as they reach their expiry dates. Every family member travelling requires a GHIC. You can make an application for yourself and on behalf of your partner and any dependent children under the age of 16. Both cards will offer equivalent protection for emergency and medically necessary healthcare needs when in the EU on a temporary stay, which includes holiday, study and business travel. Necessary healthcare includes things like

• emergency treatment and visits to A&E
• treatment for long-term or pre-existing medical conditions
• routine medical care for pre-existing conditions that need monitoring
• oxygen and kidney dialysis

The public only need to apply for their free GHIC cards when their current EHIC expires. The process is likely to take two weeks. For more information visit https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-uk-global-health-insurance-card-ghic/.

The GHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. We advise all holidaymakers to also invest in travel insurance that covers healthcare, so they are covered for other issues that may arise, as well as cancellations and lost luggage.

Essential Equipment

To enjoy walking/hiking comfortably and safely, footwear, clothing and equipment needs to be suitable for the conditions. Safety and comfort are our priorities, so our advice is to come prepared for all eventualities.

  • Footwear with a good grip on the sole (e.g.Vibram sole) is the key to avoiding accidents.
  • Walking/hiking boots providing ankle support and good grip are recommended (ideally worn in), and specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed, are better than a single layer (include spares).
  • Fabrics (lightweight and fast drying) designed for the outdoors are recommended.
  • Waterproof jacket and waterproof over trousers.
  • Warm hat and gloves. 
  • Denim jeans and capes are not suitable on any walks.
  • Rucksack with a waterproof liner.
  • Thermos flask for hot drink.
  • Water bottle (at least 2 litre).
  • Spare high-energy food such as a chocolate bar.
  • Small torch.
  • First aid kit – your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication or blister kits (such as Compeed).
  • Sun hat and sunglasses
  • Sun cream.

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles are useful, particularly for descents.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Camera.
  • Gaiters.

Guest Reviews

14 nights
European Multi-Centre
Walking Grade:

Fully Booked

020 3974 8865

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