Discover 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 Otranto 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 be 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 seas?
Well, on this trip, you don’t have to answer this, because you get both the best mountains and sea vistas of South Italy.
You listen to witches tales within hill-top towns, 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 the Salento Peninsula; 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 Southern Italy and let both its mountains and coasts take your breath away.
You leave the hustle and bustle of Rome and head south towards peaceful Cassino.
Sitting atop of the mountain, the Montecassino Abbey is a sight to behold. 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 World War II. You have your entrance ticket included and get time to stroll through the cloisters of the monastery and contemplate the turbulent history of war.
Then, you visit the overgrown ruins of San Pietro Infine, before you travel past hilltop villages and mountains to Benevento.
Built on a hill with a stunning background of mountains, this timeworn city has a special aura. It’s filled with memories of the ancient Samnites, Romans, and Longobards. Legends also say witches gather from all over the world by an ancient walnut tree by the local river.
After a day of soaking up the history, legends, and stunning views; you travel south-east to Ariano Irpino your home for the night.
Hotel Incontro or similar, Ariano Irpino
You wake up in the stunning region of Campania 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 sight of the brave cliff divers disappearing into a small inlet of water.
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 World Heritage 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 towards the heel of Italy to Lecce, your base for two nights.
Hotel Aloisi or similar, Lecce
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’.
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 Otranto. Enjoy your time here strolling around the fortifications or harbourside promenade and try some local dishes.
You continue your adventure 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. Here, you can climb up the stairs alongside a beautiful man-made waterfall and get rewarded with magnificent views from the lighthouse, located at what was once known as Finibus Terrae (“at the End of the Land” from Latin).
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.
Hotel Aloisi or similar, Lecce
You leave Lecce and head to the UNESCO World Heritage 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.
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.
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.
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 Salerno.
Hotel Plaza or similar, Salerno
Today is all about the glamourous Amalfi Coast.
Pastel-coloured houses and villas, chic boutiques, gourmet restaurants; this is La Dolce Vita at its finest.
You start the day by exploring the gateway to the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento. This town of lemons and plunging cliffs allured literary geniuses from Byron and Goethe to Dickens and Tolstoy. Wander through the sun-drenched piazzas and savour a glass of cold limoncello before you continue your day.
The next stop is Positano which looks like a colourful multi-tiered cake clinging to a sea-cliff. Find a restaurant to enjoy your lunch and drink in the magnificent views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Then, peruse the local boutiques and take photos as you meander through the 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, visit another quaint town, and stop for photos on the way back.
You arrive in Salerno late in the afternoon where you can watch the sunset with a drink in your hand.
Hotel Plaza or similar, Salerno
Today it’s time for something more dramatic.
In the morning, you travel north to face Mount Vesuvius. In ancient times, this mountain was considered to be divine and had connections to Jupiter – god of sky and lightning. Legends say that the giants used to inhabit the volcano, which explained the loud noises and rumbling.
Scary as this sounds, the titan is dormant now. So, put on your sturdy boots and get ready for an unforgettable experience because you can hike up to its crater.
After the exciting start of the day, you go to Pompeii, which fell victim to the eruption of Vesuvius. There was no time to flee, so people and buildings were buried and preserved in volcanic ash. Get a glimpse of the world of the Ancient Romans as you take your time to explore this archaeological site.
Then you leave the past behind and take a road that leads to Rome. Enjoy your leisurely ramble north through Campania and Lazio before you arrive in the Eternal City early in the evening.
You stay one night in Ariano Irpino, two nights in Lecce, and two nights in Salerno. For examples of the accommodation, please see the tour itinerary.
A good night’s sleep is often needed for a good day of travel.
So we’ve hand-picked three-star to four-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 a double room, a twin room, or a single room.
The price you see is for all your tour accommodation and for the tour itself. It also includes a tourist tax. 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
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 start our trip from hotels located conveniently on the edge of cities. We choose hotels with good public transport connections to the city centre, so you can enjoy your evening explorations.
To make your tour more convenient, you can add an optional pre and post-departure accommodation in the hotel we use as a pick up or a drop off point.
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 time frame, 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.
Your friendly driver and guide are passionate about the places they visit and know all the local gossip. This means your tour itinerary can change a little due to festivities, attraction opening hour changes, and spontaneous photo opportunities.
Due to logistical reasons, we're unable to let you pre-book a seat on the bus. But our comfortable mini-coaches offer 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.
We're unable to permit children under 15 years old on our Europe tours due to the nature of the activities that are included.
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've arranged experiences for you on your tour. The 'included activities' are already booked and paid for as part of your trip, whereas you can purchase 'optional activities' while on your tour. You also have free time in many destinations to pick and choose which attractions you visit.
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're travelling with more than 20kg, don't worry! There are left luggage facilities close to the majority of our departure points, and courier companies who could ship your excess luggage on to your chosen destination. Our team are happy to help if you need any suggestions or recommendations.
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 book a tour with us. 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.
Our packages are covered by the Package Travel Regulations. For full details of your key rights please click here.
Travel the local way on small group tours of 16 people or fewer
You'll have a guaranteed experience, or your money back
Guaranteed departures: We’ll never cancel your tour because of minimum numbers
Our eco-friendly tours support local communities