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Active Self-Drive Week in Puglia

Experience some of the highlights of Puglia on this week-long self-drive tour of the heel of Italy's boot, with 3 night stays in both coastal Monopoli and inland Lecce. You'll land at Bari airport then pick up a rental for a short drive south along the coast to Monopoli. Monopoli will be your base for three days as you get to know this idyllic small town, take to the water or bike past centuries old olive groves. Departing Monopoli you'll head next to Baroque gem Lecce. The "Florence of the South" nickname doesn't quite fit, there are fewer crowds for a start, and it's a far more laid back city, as you'll find out during your time there. There are plenty of self-guided day trip opportunities but a guided bike tour in a nature reserve is high on our list of must-dos. All our itineraries are customized to your needs and the below is a starting point for us to craft together to your exact tastes.

One of our team in the region will be available to you leading up to and during your trip to answer any questions and arrange local services. You will receive access to your Guest Page, with its information on the best these destinations have to offer, including things to see and do, and other inside tips from restaurant recommendations to tipping advice. Upon arrival we will provide you with a local cell phone that you can use to reach your dedicated local JayWay contact throughout your trip. In all of our destinations, we offer a variety of memorable 3-5 star accommodation options, including boutique hotels, charming B&Bs, and spacious apartments. With our firsthand experience, we can ensure they are all clean, comfortable, and centrally located, with local ambience.
Route for Bari, Monopoli, Lecce, Bari tour

Day Stop in Bari

Day Stop in Bari

1 days in Bari
1 days in Bari

Day Stop in Bari

At first glance, stepping off a ferry or a train, Bari might seem anything between unexceptional and ugly. But hidden away is a beautiful historic city center that rewards the curious traveler with a number of gems. The final resting place of the bones of St Nicholas, the saint who inspired the Father Christmas legend is in the Basilica that bears his name. Wander through the centro storico and most afternoons you'll find the local ladies sitting outside their homes making orecchiette, the 'small ear' shaped pasta that Puglia is famous for. If you have time a visit to the Norman castle, approaching its thousandth birthday now and still in rude health is worth an exploration to see whatever the current exhibit is.

At first glance, stepping off a ferry or a train, Bari might seem anything between unexceptional and ugly. But hidden away is a beautiful historic city center that rewards the curious traveler with a number of gems. The final resting place of the bones of St Nicholas, the saint who inspired the Father Christmas legend is in the Basilica that bears his name. Wander through the centro storico and most afternoons you'll find the local ladies sitting outside their homes making orecchiette, the 'small ear' shaped pasta that Puglia is famous for. If you have time a visit to the Norman castle, approaching its thousandth birthday now and still in rude health is worth an exploration to see whatever the current exhibit is.

Day 1 - Day Stop in Bari

Day 1 - Day Stop in Bari

You can reach Bari with regular inexpensive flights from several locations within Italy, by changing planes in Rome or Milan after a direct flight from the US, or by direct trains from Rome. Upon arrival to Bari International Airport, you will find most of the main car rental offices at the arrivals area.

The journey to Monopoli takes around one hour. We will provide detailed instructions about how to reach your hotel, which will assist you for parking and pick-up for check-in. We've included a VW Polo or comparable car with manual transmission. If you prefer automatic transmission please let us know and we can advise of the additional cost. Although it is possible to rent a GPS unit we suggest using a GPS app on your smartphone.

3 Nights in Monopoli

3 Nights in Monopoli

4 days in Monopoli
4 days in Monopoli

3 Nights in Monopoli

The heel of the Italy's boot, Puglia has long been off most foreign travelers' radar, but not so for the Italians. This is where they love to go on their own vacations, particularly in summer, because the food down here is just that good. In Puglia you'll find a distinctly Mediterranean approach to life, the clear blue waters of the Adriatic and some fantastic food and wine with cuisine changing almost every few miles. One of our favorite spots on the coast is the small town of Monopoli. The whitewashed and white stone buildings of the old town and the marble-smooth limestone paving have a relaxing effect. Monopoli is popular with Italian vacationers too, but the fact that almost everyone's speaking Italian adds to that "for-locals" feeling. All the bounty of the sea is on menus around the old town, but we'll share the best places with you. You're ideally placed here for day trips either along the coast or inland to some of Puglia's small hilltop towns, the trulli of Alberobello, or the caves of Castellana Grotte.

The heel of the Italy's boot, Puglia has long been off most foreign travelers' radar, but not so for the Italians. This is where they love to go on their own vacations, particularly in summer, because the food down here is just that good. In Puglia you'll find a distinctly Mediterranean approach to life, the clear blue waters of the Adriatic and some fantastic food and wine with cuisine changing almost every few miles. One of our favorite spots on the coast is the small town of Monopoli. The whitewashed and white stone buildings of the old town and the marble-smooth limestone paving have a relaxing effect. Monopoli is popular with Italian vacationers too, but the fact that almost everyone's speaking Italian adds to that "for-locals" feeling. All the bounty of the sea is on menus around the old town, but we'll share the best places with you. You're ideally placed here for day trips either along the coast or inland to some of Puglia's small hilltop towns, the trulli of Alberobello, or the caves of Castellana Grotte.

Day 1

Day 1 - Arrival in Monopoli

Monopoli is a lovely seaside town and an ideal base to explore northern Puglia. The Old Town is mostly pedestrian and access for cars is restricted to residents. According to the hotel you choose, we will provide instructions about parking. In most cases, the hotel will arrange a pick-up by their courtesy vehicle directly at your parking spot, and will help you with luggage.

Day 2

Day 2 - Your First Full Day in Monopoli

Life's a Beach

Suggestion to explore on your own

With more coastline than any other mainland region of Italy, the heel of Italy is a beach-lover's dream. The Adriatic coast is mostly small stone beaches, meaning crystal clear water while the Ionian coast tends to be more sandy. Wherever you're staying you should find some great beaches in easy reach by car and some on foot even. Often you'll find some public beaches as well as private stretches, with beach clubs and full facilities. Your local JayWay contact will be able to advise you where to go.

Life's a Beach
Monopoli Private Walking Tour

Monopoli Private Walking Tour

Included in your vacation package price.

At first glance Monopoli might seem like a run-of-the-mill quaint fishing village but dig beneath the surface (literally) on a walking tour with a Monopoli native and you'll discover that there's more to this city than meets the eye. Given the labyrinthine nature of the narrow streets in the town you'll also find it a helpful way to get oriented and avoid getting lost later on! The tour concludes with a visit to a shop specializing in Apulian products for a tasting of typical foods of the area.


Activity Level : Light
Duration : 1.5 Hours

Day 3

Day 3 - Your Second Full Day in Monopoli

Explore Apulia's History and Coast by Bike and Boat

Suggested activities for an additional cost, depending on your choice

Apulia's charm is in its villages, coast, and deep history, so get on a bike see it for yourself! We offer two bike tours, one of which ends with taking a boat from a charming little fishing village back to Monopoli. Either way, you'll explore medieval sights, and taste local foods and drinks.

Bike Tour Among Olive Trees, Farms and Grotto Churches

Bike Tour Among Olive Trees, Farms and Grotto Churches

Suggested activities for an additional cost, depending on your choice

Get to know the real Apulia on this half-day biking excursion. You'll set off from Old Town and there will be several stops along the way: First at Porto Ghiacciolo, a picturesque beach near the Saint Stephan castle, then at an old grotto church and fascinating oil mill excavated inside the rock. Before going back to Monopoli, you'll visit an authentic Apulian farm and taste some typical regional products. It's a refreshing way to end your day of exploration through this beautiful region.


Activity Level : Strenuous
Duration : 4-5 hours

Monopoli Bike and Boat Tour

Monopoli Bike and Boat Tour

Suggested activities for an additional cost, depending on your choice

Monopoli is a great place to try the best of both ground and sea exploration, and this tour allows you to do just that. Starting in Old Town, you'll enjoy riding a bike through the countryside and then sailing along the coastline, tasting typical Apulian products as you go. From rocky medieval villages, across the Archaeological Park of Egnatia, you'll continue to the village of Savelletri, where you'll board the boat and enjoy a light meal. This will be a day to remember.


Activity Level : Moderate
Duration : 6 hours

Traditional Gastronomy Small Group Tour

Traditional Gastronomy Small Group Tour

Included in your vacation package price.

Take a journey down the Pugliese delicacies road and learn form the best local producers! Your guide Roberto is a specialist in the history of South Italian gastronomy loves to showcase his region’s  flavours and traditions learned directly from his family. 

Together with his partner Brenda, you will explore the scenic countryside covered with olive trees and surrounded by old Masseria (rural houses). In one of these, you will learn all the steps for the production of olive oil, visit a dairy farm and prepare the famous mozzarella. Do you know what the "burrata" is? After this tasting, the regional cheese will hold no secrets for you. Finally, the wine: a relaxing walk in the orchard to visit a winery and discover classic Primitivo and Negroamaro, the most famous varieties of the region.


Activity Level : Light
Duration : 5 hours

Day 4

Day 4 - Traveling to Lecce by Rental Car

The journey to Lecce takes about one and a half hours. We will provide detailed instructions about how to reach your hotel, which will assist you with parking and pick-up for check-in. Along the way, there are plenty of opportunities to stop for a swim, a snack or even a full day of exploration like the splendid Ostuni, "the white city". We will provide more details if you are interested.

We also offer the following excursions in Monopoli

Alberobello and Polignano a Mare Private Excursion
Light8 hours
Castel del Monte and Altamura Private Excursion
Light8 hours
Full Day Private Boat Trip from Monopoli to Polignano a Mare (with possible Gourmet on-Board Meal)
Light8 hours
Half-Day Culinary and Fishing Experience
Moderate4 hours

3 Nights in Lecce

3 Nights in Lecce

4 days in Lecce
4 days in Lecce

3 Nights in Lecce

Lecce is the most important town on the Salentine peninsula, the very heel of Italy. The town's rich history, stretching back to the times of the ancient Greeks, is one of the main attractions. The centerpiece of the old town is a 2nd century Roman amphitheater. The amphitheater was only rediscovered in the early 1900s during construction work for the Bank of Italy building and remains half buried. It is now used for concerts. Much of Lecce's historical center's archutecture dates from the Baroque period and has earned the city the nickname 'Florence of the South'. These beauties stand in stark contrast to some of the edifices erected during Mussolini's reign.

Lecce is the most important town on the Salentine peninsula, the very heel of Italy. The town's rich history, stretching back to the times of the ancient Greeks, is one of the main attractions. The centerpiece of the old town is a 2nd century Roman amphitheater. The amphitheater was only rediscovered in the early 1900s during construction work for the Bank of Italy building and remains half buried. It is now used for concerts. Much of Lecce's historical center's archutecture dates from the Baroque period and has earned the city the nickname 'Florence of the South'. These beauties stand in stark contrast to some of the edifices erected during Mussolini's reign.

Day 4

Day 4 - Arrival in Lecce

Lecce's historic center is subject to access restrictions and pedestrian areas. According to the hotel you choose, we will provide instructions about the best itinerary to reach the hotel and parking options.

Day 5

Day 5 - Your First Full Day in Lecce

Lecce Private Walking Tour

Lecce Private Walking Tour

Included in your vacation package price.

Get to know the charming town of Lecce with your local guide. Splendid historic and artistic attractions of the center of Lecce await, spanning through over 2000 years of glorious history and with a spectacular scenic effect. An experienced guide will show you the main attractions of the Roman and Baroque times.


Activity Level : Light
Duration : 3 hours

Day 6

Day 6 - Your Second Full Day in Lecce

Private Cycling Tour of Lecce and Surroundings

Bike, Hike and Swim in a Coastal Oasis: Le Cesine Natural Reserve

Please ask your travel advisor for the cost to add this to your package

"Oasi delle cesine" is a natural reserve only 15 km from Lecce. We highly recommend visiting. Open mostly on weekends, it contains 350 hectares of coastal scenic beauty to explore on foot or by bike among coastal dunes, orchids, and pine woods. You'll also want to swim in the waters of nearby San Roca. We recommend exploring it with our expert local guide and combining it with a bike trip from Lecce, which includes the medieval fortified town of Acaya, and an opportunity to taste the local cuisine.


Activity Level : Strenuous
Duration : 8 hours

Otranto and Gallipoli, the gems of Salento

Suggestion to explore on your own

Otranto and Gallipoli are ideal destinations for a wonderful day trip exploring the many historic and landscape attractions of Salento. You can decide to dedicate half day to each of them, or visit both enjoying the 2 seas of Puglia. For a comprehensive experience, we recommend a guided excursion with our experienced local guide.

Day 7

Day 7 - Traveling to Bari

The journey to Bari takes about three hours in case of traffic. In case you need to return the car to Bari airport and catch a flight, please make sure to arrive in advance because there can be queues and delays at the airport.

We also offer the following excursions in Lecce

Cooking Class Lunch and Small Group Gourmet Tour
Easy6 hours
Cooking Class and Social Dinner Small Group Tour
Easy6.5 hours
Full-Day Private Sailing Tour
Light8 hours
Ostuni, Alberobello, and Polignano Full Day Group Tour
Light9 hours

Day Stop in Bari

Day Stop in Bari

1 days in Bari
1 days in Bari

Day Stop in Bari

At first glance, stepping off a ferry or a train, Bari might seem anything between unexceptional and ugly. But hidden away is a beautiful historic city center that rewards the curious traveler with a number of gems. The final resting place of the bones of St Nicholas, the saint who inspired the Father Christmas legend is in the Basilica that bears his name. Wander through the centro storico and most afternoons you'll find the local ladies sitting outside their homes making orecchiette, the 'small ear' shaped pasta that Puglia is famous for. If you have time a visit to the Norman castle, approaching its thousandth birthday now and still in rude health is worth an exploration to see whatever the current exhibit is.

At first glance, stepping off a ferry or a train, Bari might seem anything between unexceptional and ugly. But hidden away is a beautiful historic city center that rewards the curious traveler with a number of gems. The final resting place of the bones of St Nicholas, the saint who inspired the Father Christmas legend is in the Basilica that bears his name. Wander through the centro storico and most afternoons you'll find the local ladies sitting outside their homes making orecchiette, the 'small ear' shaped pasta that Puglia is famous for. If you have time a visit to the Norman castle, approaching its thousandth birthday now and still in rude health is worth an exploration to see whatever the current exhibit is.

Day 7 - Day Stop in Bari

Day 7 - Day Stop in Bari

Once you arrive to Bari airport you will need to drop your car off at the rental company's office at the airport.

Sadly the time has come to say arrivederci to Puglia. After dropping your rental off, you should be able to breeze through check in and security to await your departing flight.

What's Included

Here are all the services provided as part of your complete vacation package. See what every JayWay trip includes.
Please let us know if you'd like to upgrade any transfers or add any additional tours or excursions to your itinerary.

Bari

7 day rental of a VW Polo or comparable to be delivered in XXX and returned in XXX.

Monopoli

3 Nights Accommodation
Breakfast (hotels only)
Monopoli Private Walking Tour
Traditional Gastronomy Small Group Tour

Lecce

3 Nights Accommodation
Breakfast (hotels only)
Lecce Private Walking Tour

Bari

The package excludes:

  • Flights to and from Europe.
  • Tips for Tour Guides, Drivers and Local Reps.
  • Meals (other than breakfast if included in room rate and meals listed as included in food tours and excursions, unless explicitly stated otherwise).
  • Parking fees for your Rental Car (if you are booking one with us) unless otherwise indicated. Some hotels provide free parking facilities.
  • Travel Insurance. See the insurance link on our website
Benefits of Traveling with JayWay

A JayWay vacation is more than the sum of its parts. Our team work tirelessly to ensure your experience is memorable for all the right reasons. Your trip is personalized to maximize your enjoyment. You're taken care of every step of the way.

A Travel Advisor who speaks your language
We will make sure that all your requirements and interests are taken into account in preparing your itinerary.
A totally tailored itinerary for your vacation
Your trip is customized for you by  an experienced trip planner and an expert on the region.
A choice of hand-picked hotels and excursions
We've personally inspected and tested all the hotels and local tour providers we work with to ensure quality.
Detailed pre-trip preparation to make the most of every day
Your Europe-based Tour Manager will be in touch by email and phone a month before you arrive to finalize timings.
On-trip Concierge Service to smooth out any bumps in the road
Our local staff are at your service throughout your journey via the local prepaid cellphone which we provide.
Personalized Guest Page to make sure you're not missing out
Packed with detailed information and recommendations curated by locals on the best things to do, see and eat.

Glowing Reviews from Our Guests

5 / 5

Average of our Guest's Ratings of vacation packages including these destinations
Review by Megan & Roby

Megan & Roby

Florida

From the beginning we always felt like a priority with quick and informative responses. We had the most memorable honeymoon thanks to the JayWay Travel team.

From the beginning we always felt like a priority with quick and informative responses. We had the most memorable honeymoon thanks to the JayWay Travel team.

Year : 2018
Visited : Italy
Itinerary : Rome, Bari, Monopoli, Bari, Rome
Rating :
5 / 5
Year : 2018
Visited : Italy
Itinerary : Rome, Bari, Monopoli, Bari, Rome
Rating :
5 / 5
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