Spectacular natural world matched with ancient heritage
- Taste wine among Matera’s UNESCO wonders
- Discover ancient Greek bronze statues with a local archaeologist
- Explore medieval villages with a local guide
- Relax with golden beaches and quiet fishing villages
- Knit it all together with scenic coastal drives
- 2 Nights Tropea
- 3 Nights Reggio Calabria
- 2 Nights Isola di Capo Rizzuto
- 1 Night Policoro
- 2 Nights Matera
- 1 Night Bari
Food & wine | History & culture | Natural world | Off the beaten track | Self-drive
Head off the beaten track to Italy’s south, discovering its medieval castle towns, fishing villages and spectacular beaches. It’s all linked together by super-scenic coastal drives and stays in hand-picked hotels, from seaside villas to boutique spas. You’ll relax on golden sands, take in ancient Greek necropolises and explore Matera’s ancient cave churches to learn why it was named European Capital of Culture 2019. It’s all brought to life by included tastings and archaeologist-led tours.
Day by day itinerary
After enjoying your complimentary lounge access, fly out to Lamezia, picking up your hire car at the airport. Perhaps pause to enjoy its beaches, Norman castle and historic cathedral before sweeping along the coast, maybe stopping at Piedigrotta – an underground cave filled with carved tufa stone statues. You’ll arrive at Tropea and your luxury accommodation. Both our options are boutique jewels with magnificent sea views, with the infinity pool and Mediterranean gardens of the Deluxe villa particular highlights. You’ll then have plenty of time to relax on Tropea’s gorgeous beaches and explore its old-town puzzle of piazzas and laneways.
Stay: Hotel Rocca della Sena (Superior) or Villa Paola (Deluxe)
After breakfast, you’ll drive out along the ultra-scenic Costa Viola, perhaps stopping at Casa della Cultura art museum and the fishing-village charm of Scilla. You’ll arrive in Reggio Calabria and your central accommodation – an early-20th-century jewel capped with a sea-view terrace. The next day, there’s a private archaeologist-led tour included, beginning with a walk along the scenic seafront – billed as “the most beautiful mile in Italy”. You’ll then focus on the National Archaeological Museum and its Bronzi di Riace statue masterpieces, dating to the 5th century BC. On your last day, we recommend driving to Bova – a thousand-year-old hill-top commune that tumbles among the peaks of Aspromonte National Park.
Stay: Hotel Medinblu (Superior)
Isola di Capo Rizzuto
After breakfast, drive out along the Jasmine Coast, admiring its endless sand-dune beaches. Be sure to stop off at Locri Epizephiri – an ancient Greek city immortalised in a superb archaeological museum. A stop at the medieval town of Gerace, famed for its clifftop poise, will then see you to Isola Capo Rizzuto, where you’ll stay by the sea among the region’s historic villages. Your beach resort is the perfect place to take in the rays, enjoying a chance to relax on the golden sands. The five-star Deluxe property is a luxurious favourite. Don’t also miss out on the unique sea life of the Capo Rizzuto Marine Resort and the medieval Castello Aragonese – a spectacular “floating island” castle.
Stay: Le Castella Village (Superior) or Praia Art Resort (Deluxe)
Driving along the cragged Ionic Coast, you’ll arrive into Basilicata with Policoro. It’s a treasure trove of classical finds, showcased best at the National Archaeological Museum of Siritide. It brings the Greek colonies of Siris and Heraclea to life across mosaics, statuettes and an impressive necropolis. Then, relax on the coast or at your hand-picked accommodation, perhaps enjoying a treatment at your spa accommodation. Our Deluxe offering is particularly impressive for its sunset cocktails.
Stay: Heraclea Hotel (Superior) or Hotel Marinagri (Deluxe)
Driving towards the imposing Lucanian Dolomites, you’ll pause at Castelmezzano’s medieval charms. It consistently tops lists of Italy’s most beautiful villages. Then, continuing on to Matera, you’ll explore its UNESCO-listed treasures with an included private tour. You’ll focus on its ancient sassi cave dwellings. First inhabited 7,000 years ago, they’ve been converted into houses, churches and even your luxury hotel. It’s all watched over by a gracious cathedral. You’ll also be treated to a food-paired wine tasting. The next day has been left free, perhaps for a gentle hike to panoramic viewpoints over this most spectacular, Biblical city.
Stay: Sextantio (Superior) or Sant’Angelo Resort (Deluxe)
On your way into Puglia, the region at the heel of Italy’s boot, you’ll stop in Altamura. Here, you’ll enjoy an included tour of its historic medieval centre, tasting its famous bread, admiring views over the Murge Plateau and touring its archaeological museum, host to the remains of the oldest Neanderthal man. It’s then on to Bari, its old town a labyrinth of narrow streets, host to everything from basilicas and spectacular cathedrals to charming convents and craft shops. You’ll end the day in your handpicked central accommodation after indulging with an included dinner at a private house. Expect the best in traditional orecchiette pasta and other local classics.
Stay: Hotel Oriente (Superior) or Grande Albergo delle Nazioni (Deluxe)
Meals: B D
Depart for UK
After breakfast, drive to Bari International Airport, drop off the hire car and fly home.
Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.
from £1,565 pp. incl. flights
from £2,030 pp. incl. flights
April to October, but not daily departures
- Complimentary UK airport departure lounge access
- Return flights from UK to Lamezia Terme and back from Bari
- 11 nights accommodation on a BB basis
- 12 days car hire - experience a scenic drive through a stunning off-the-beaten track region and enjoy time at leisure to explore some of Italy's most beautiful villages
- Half day private guided excursion in Reggio Calabria
- Half Day private guided excursion in Matera
- Half Day private guided excursion in Altamura including a traditional bread tasting experience
- A private home hosted dinner in Bari
Low Season: April, May & October
High Season: June, July, August and September
Terms & Conditions
Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.
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