The Gargano Peninsula
A forested peninsula surrounded by sparkling waters, white limestone cliffs and pretty fishing villages, criss-crossed by ancient pilgrim trails, Gargano is a perfect place to go hiking.
The Gargano is a forested peninsula in the north of Puglia. The ‘spur’ on the boot of Italy, it is an expansive promontory covered by one of Italy’s oldest national parks. It is surrounded by sparkling waters, white limestone cliffs and pretty fishing villages. With its strategic position, Gargano has a rich history. It has been inhabited since Neolithic times and has towns that were founded by the ancient Greeks and Romans. However, it was under Norman rule during the Crusades that Gargano reached its greatest glory when the sanctuary of Monte San Michele became one of the most important pilgrim destinations in the Middle Ages.
The tour starts with a transfer from the nearby town of Foggia, which is connected to Rome by regular trains. You’ll be met here and driven up to a small town perched on the western end of the Gargano peninsula. The first three walks follow the route of a Medieval pilgrim trail, the Sacred Lombard Trail with wide views south over the Adriatic coast, staying in two very buzzy and interesting pilgrim towns along the way.
The next two walks skirt around the edge of the Foresta Umbra, an ancient beech forest that was recently World Heritage listed by UNESCO, following the Trail of the Pilgrims of St Michael. The last walk is a spectacular descent down to the sea, finishing at the dramatically located town of Vieste, where you’ll spend the final two days, including a morning tour in a private boat exploring the bays and grottoes of some of the most beautiful natural coastline in southern Italy on Day 7 and a transfer back to Foggia on Day 8.
The walks are long, contemplative rambles through beautiful countryside and forests. They cover a range of terrain, following marked trails. You pass through rolling farmlands and woodlands for the first three days. The next two days take you through beautiful beech forests. The last walk is an easy descent down a wide trail with spectacular views over the Adriatic Coast. The itinerary mostly follows unsealed country lanes. There are some sections of asphalt going into and out of the towns. There is a short but steep descent down into a gully and climb back up again at the beginning on the walk on Day 4. You will need to take lunch and snacks each day as the walks don't pass through villages. This is categorised as a Grade 3 walk (please click here for details).
The self-guided itineraries are rewalked and the notes updated each year.
The accommodation is a mix of well-located hotels. On Days 1, 2 and 3 you stay in excellent 4-star hotels (each with a swimming pool); on Days 4 and 5 you stay in two very comfortable, family-run ‘agriturismos’ while, for your last two nights in Vieste, Days 6 and 7, you stay in a very comfortable hotel in the centre of this buzzing coastal town.
The food and wine
Pugliese cuisine is simple, rustic and cheerful, based on the abundance of its fertile plains and coast line. As Italy's wheat belt, pasta and a variety of excellent breads are pillars of Pugliese diet, as is olive oil (Puglia has over 50 million olive trees, some over 2000 years old). Although wine-making in Puglia stretches back to the ancient Greeks, for a long time Puglia was a source of robust red wine sent north to cut the pallid wines of Tuscany and Piedmont. In recent times the industry has been revolutionised and Puglia now produces some excellent reds (Primitivo and Negroamaro), whites (Fiano and Vermentino) and some very good roses. You’ll experience the whole range of Puglia's offerings on this walk.
Support on the walk:
To guide you through this wonderful walk, you will receive: the Hidden Italy roadbook (an eighty-page A5 booklet that includes comprehensive daily walking notes accompanied by detailed maps, updated and revised each year); access to the exclusive Hidden Italy App to complement the roadbook (the App is downloadable to Apple and Android devices and features information about the routes: maps, GPS tracks, altimetric profiles, etc; GPS navigation on all the routes; an alert function if you stray off the track; and an emergency function); twenty-four-hour phone support from our Florence-based Operations Manager.
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This 8 day/7 night walk can be personalised to meet your interests and travel dates.
• Pick up at the beginning and drop-off at the end at Foggia railway station
• Seven nights’ accommodation
• Seven breakfasts and six dinners (3 courses)
• Reading lists and historical and cultural notes
• Maps and detailed walking instructions
• Daily transfers of baggage between hotels
• 24-hour backup from local manager
$1985 B&B only p/p
$2180 with 6 dinners included p/p (please note dinner is not provided on Day 6).
Single supplement - $600
5% discount applies when booking for a group 4 or more
“We are back in Australia after our fabulous walk in Puglia. We really enjoyed it - so many wonderful memories. We just loved walking through peoples’ farms, the livestock & the coastline is just majestic.” CB + RLB
3. Southern Italy: Puglia 1, exploring the Gargano Peninsula FAQs
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