Discover the most marvellous mountains and beaches on this trip from Rome to Italy’s ‘heel’ and back.
Alberobello - Marvel at Apulia’s unique beehive-shaped houses that look like they were built by fairies.
Lecce – Delight in sumptuous baroque architecture and enjoy the balmy vibes of the town nicknamed ‘Florence of the South’.
Salento Peninsula – The heel of Italy will steal your heart with the turquoise bays of Torre Lapillo, Gallipoli, and Santa Maria di Leuca.
Matera - Step back in time as you explore the town famous for 9,000-year-old cave houses.
Pompeii - Ponder over the everyday life of the Ancient Romans as you stroll through the city that froze in time.
Amalfi Coast – Pastel-coloured houses, steep cliffs, azure seas, lemon groves and a lot of glamour: Feel La Dolce Vita at its finest.
Mount Vesuvius – Vesuvius may look tame now, but this infamous volcano reshaped the ancient world.
Some are enamoured with elevated scenic views, whilst others say nothing compares to an Aperol Spritz served by an ocean of azure blues.
It’s the age-old travel question: Do you prefer mountains or beaches?
Well, on this trip, you don’t have to answer, because you get the best of both.
You listen to folk tales within the wooded slopes of the Majella National Park, visit villages that cuddle the rocky sides of the Lucanian Dolomites, and walk atop the ridges of the volcano of Vesuvius.
At the same time, you see the gentle, lapping waves of Torre Lapillo’s lesser-known beaches; experience the glitz and glamour of the famous Amalfi Coast; and taste every type of seafood you can in the fishing villages of the Adriatic Sea.
What’s more is that we’ve even managed to mix in Pompeii, Montecassino Abbey, and a few historical wonders into this irresistible itinerary.
Take this tour through the best of South Italy and let both their mountains and beaches take your breath away.
You leave Rome and get off the beaten track as you journey east to the Abruzzo region. With the Apennine mountains to the north and forests to the south, this green and wild region makes you feel like you’re miles away from civilisation.
You have a comfort stop in Celano, a lovely little town framed by the Sirente mountain and famous for the grand Piccolomini Castle.
Next, you travel past hill-top villages and silent valleys into the Majella National Park. The name means ‘The Mother of Mountains’. The legend says Maya, the Goddess of the Earth was unable to save her dying son, so she died of deep sorrow and turned into the mountain here.
You stop for lunch around Bolognano. This charming village in the Orta Valley has preserved its medieval character and will surprise you with its cuisine. After lunch, you have a chance to admire the beauty of the national park. From the Orfento gorge to a waterfall near the village, your guide will choose an itinerary to suit your interests.
You stop for refreshments in Caramanico Terme at the foot of Majella. This village is known for its thermal springs and beautiful Gothic and Romanesque churches.
You travel south-east and watch as the diverse landscape of Abruzzo change from mountains to flat and sandy coastline as you arrive in the early evening to Lesina, your home for the night.
You wake up in the stunning region of Apulia and head south to Trani.
Known as the ‘Pearl of Apulia’, this historic stone-built port and fishing village exudes sophistication. Walk along the promenade in the marina or stroll through the historic centre and admire the medieval churches, cathedral, and historic Jewish quarter.
You travel to Polignano a Mare, a small, idyllic seaside town perched on the edge of cliffs. Enjoy your lunch surrounded by sun-bleached stone buildings and enjoy the Adriatic breeze. You should also try to catch the sight of the beach in the centre of the town. Its spectacular location paired with crystal clear emerald waters is a recipe for a perfect photo.
Just when you thought your day couldn’t get any better, your adventure takes you to Alberobello. With over 1,500 small and rounded white houses, this town looks like it was inhabited by gnomes. These beehive-shaped buildings are called trulli and are so unique to Apulia that they were awarded UNESCO status. Take your time to meander around the narrow streets and marvel at the impossibly photogenic nooks.
Feeling that La Vita è Bella, you leave Alberobello and ramble south to the heel of Italy, where Lecce, the ‘Florence of the South’ and your base for two nights awaits. You arrive in the late afternoon, so you’ll have time to spend your evening exploring hidden piazzas and alleys.
Buongiorno! Wake up and start the day with some pasticciotto, the gorgeous breakfast pastry. Enjoy your free time in the morning by strolling through Lecce’s old town and admiring its unique architecture. The city’s Baroque style is so unique it got the name of its own, ‘Lecce Baroque’. Also, while you explore the city, keep your eyes peeled for any cherubs and gremlins.
Next, contrast the splendour of Lecce with the laid-back seaside towns of the Salento Peninsula. You leave at noon and travel through the ochre-coloured fields and olive groves to Torre Lapillo.
This peaceful town is surrounded by beaches, so have your swimwear at the ready. Some time ago, these beaches have appeared on lists of the most beautiful unknown beaches in the world. And when you see the emerald green water and fine white sand, you’ll know why. After a refreshing dip in the water, try some of the fresh local seafood and have a look at the 16th-century Tower of St Thomas.
You continue your journey along the coast via Gallipoli to Santa Maria di Leuca. Located on the southernmost tip of Italy’s heel, the little town sits between two seas. It’s steeped in history and the legends of its origin are influenced by various cultures. You have some time here, so visit the Sanctuary of Santa Maria de Finibus Terrae (“at the End of the Land” from Latin). According to the tradition, the sanctuary was converted from a pagan temple by Saint Peter who landed here.
Cast your eyes for the last time at the magnificent vistas of the coast and journey inland to Lecce, where you arrive in the early evening.
You leave Lecce and head to the UNESCO site of Matera. This city is so perfectly adapted to the terrain that it blends in with its rocky surroundings on a cliff edge. It’s a higgledy-piggledy jumble of sassi, the ancient cave dwellings, houses and churches. And it may have been continuously inhabited for 9,000 years.
Spend your time uncovering the rich history of this place and visit ancient churches with paintings on stone cave walls. You can also check out what the 18th-century dwellings were like and stumble upon locations used in Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ. And before you leave this captivating place, relish some of the local dishes which haven’t changed for centuries.
Your adventure takes you off the beaten track again as you journey into the heart of the Lucanian Dolomites and the village of Castelmezzano. One of the highest villages in the Basilicata region, it’s located on a narrow ledge that drops away into a dramatic gorge. But Castelmezzano wasn’t built here just for the stunning vistas. Find out about its rich history as you explore the village or go for a hike to see the ruins of the castle which gave the village its name. Alternatively, you can take a nature walk along the Path of the Seven Stones, a trail celebrating an ancient path connecting Castelmezzano with a nearby village Pietrapertosa.
After a busy day, you travel through the hills and mountains of Basilicata towards the west coast of Italy, where you spend two nights in Castellammare di Stabia.
You set off in the morning with a mission to discover the many faces of the region of Campania; the ancient, the new, the tragic and the euphoric.
Your first stop of the day is Pompeii. In 79 AD the nearby Vesuvius erupted and buried the Roman city under a layer of pumice stone. There was no time to flee, so the city and its people were tragically frozen in the volcanic ash. Ponder over this phenomenon as you explore the archaeological site. You have three hours to uncover this city, so take a look at the millennia-old buildings and get a glimpse into the way the Ancient Romans lived. After your time travelling in Pompeii, you head to the glamourous Amalfi Coast to celebrate the new and the beautiful. Pastel-coloured houses and villas, chic boutiques, gourmet restaurants; this is La Dolce Vita at its finest. Add mountains plunging into the sea, verdant woodland, and sheer crags and you’ll understand why this Italian heaven boasts the UNESCO status.
You stop in Positano, which looks like a colourful multi-tiered cake dramatically clinging to a sea-cliff. Find a restaurant to enjoy your lunch and drink in the magnificent views over the Tyrrhenian Sea. Then peruse the local boutiques, visit picturesque Santa Maria church, and take amazing photos as you meander through the pastel-coloured streets. Alternatively, walk down the steps to the beach for a swim and some sun.
Reinvigorated after your visit to Positano, you ramble along the dazzling Amalfi Coast and stop for photos on the way. In the late afternoon, you arrive back in Castellammare di Stabia where you can enjoy the rest of your afternoon and watch the sunset with a drink in your hand.
Today it’s time for something more dramatic. In the morning, you travel north to face Mount Vesuvius.
In the ancient times, this mountain was considered to be divine and had connections to the power of Jupiter – god of sky and lightning. Legends say that the giants used to inhabit the volcano, which explained the loud noises and rumbling.
But it was in 79AD when Mount Vesuvius acquired its evil reputation. A violent explosion buried Pompeii in pumice, destroyed a couple of other towns, and pushed the coastline back several kilometres.
Scary as this sounds, the titan is dormant now. So put on your sturdy boots because you can hike up to its crater. You arrive in Vesuvius National Park and walk up the path of the Gran Cono. Feel the thrill as you walk along the crater of this legendary menace, discover its biodiversity and admire unforgettable panoramic views.
After this exciting start of the day, you travel up north and have lunch en route to the Montecassino Abbey.
Sitting atop of the mountain above the town of Cassino, it’s a sight to behold. Destroyed numerous times, it always returns in its stunning form. In the past, a working monastery and a pilgrimage site, this place was a centre of art, culture, and learning. It was also the scene for a decisive battle near the end of the World War II. You’ve got time to stroll through the cloisters of the monastery, admire fabulous frescoes and mosaics, and contemplate the turbulent history and violence of war.
Breathe in the mountain air and cast your eyes on the lovely landscape before you travel north and arrive in romantic Rome in the evening.
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You stay one night in Lesina, two nights in Lecce, and two nights in Castellammare di Stabia.
To get more information about your accommodation, please contact our friendly team 3 weeks prior to departure.
A good night’s sleep is needed for a good day of travel.
So we’ve hand-picked three-star hotels in remote coastal villages, bustling towns, and mountain valleys.
Your accommodation is included in the tour price; and when you book your trip, you can choose whether you want double rooms, twin rooms, or single rooms.
The price you see is for all your tour's accommodation and for the tour itself. This figure is based on shared accommodation. When you're booking your tour and select a single room, an additional single room supplement will be added to the price.
A few European destinations charge tourist taxes. These funds help them keep the locations clean, safe, and beautiful. You usually pay these at the accommodation suppliers, and cost between 1€ and 5€ per night.
You may need a Schengen Visa to travel throughout Europe. Check the official tourism website of the country you’re visiting for up-to-date and reliable information. Travel between countries is easy because there are no passport checks at the borders.
Europe's historic city centres are full of narrow streets and winding roads. So, to speed up your departure and avoid contributing to congestion issues, we only start our trips from the airport hotel specified in your departure information.
Our friendly team will send you more information about your departure location closer to your departure date.
Arrive at the hotel lobby 15 minutes before your departure time. Unfortunately, we’re unable to wait for you if you’re late due to vehicle restrictions. But depending on your situation, we may be able to help you catch up with your tour.
We have a cancellation period of 42 days for our Europe tours. If you cancel your trip before this period, we give you a full refund minus a 10% admin charge. If you cancel inside this timeframe, you’re liable for the cost of the tour package.
We understand how disappointing it is when you have to cancel a trip with us, so please contact our friendly team who will try their best to resell your ticket and refund you.
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It's simple: you book, you go. This means we'll never cancel your tour because of a minimum numbers policy.
Due to logistical reasons, we're unable to let you pre-book a seat on the bus. But our comfortable mini-coaches have huge windows, So you always get a good view.
We like to keep our coaches small, nimble, and odour free. This means we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you frequently stop in local towns and villages for comfort breaks.
Most people can comfortably enjoy our tours, but it's worth bearing in mind that we often include optional short walks in scenic locations. Please also be aware that many of the old European towns are built on steep hills with cobbled lanes, and you may have to carry your own luggage at times.
So that we can ensure you're comfortable travelling with us, please let us know about any special requirements or needs at the time of booking. If you have any more questions, simply email email@example.com .
Unfortunately, we’re unable to have children under the age of five on our Europe tours.
You can ask us about the tours we recommend for younger children. And if your child is less than 1.35m tall, you should let us know, so we can provide them with a suitable booster seat.
We want you to enjoy your trip to Europe. And we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the mini-coach and out exploring. So, we give you plenty of stops to take photos, go walking, and explore ancient ruins.
We exclude visitor attractions in your tour price because it lets you travel your way. It means you can pamper yourself with a luxury lunch or skip an attraction whenever you feel like it.
You don't need to pack or bring along food on the mini-coach. We stop in small European towns, villages, and rural eateries where you can choose whatever meal pleases both your taste buds and your budget.
It’s more enjoyable to travel with light luggage. You can take less by cleaning clothes along the way. Most hotels provide affordable laundry service.
But if you are travelling with more than 20kg of luggage, we are very happy to help you. Options include storing your excess luggage or a courier service to ship it to a destination of your choice.
Let's be honest, our drivers and guides would never refuse a cheeky bonus. But it's up to you, and the amount is entirely at your discretion.
We highly recommend you take out travel insurance, so you can enjoy a stress-free journey.
You're protected by ABTOT when you choose to let us book your accommodation on a multi-day tour. This means you can claim back anything you've paid us if we run into any issues. Read our terms and conditions for more information.
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