Salento Coast, Otranto to Lecce

Level
2
Distance
71 km
Duration
8 days | 7 nights
period
Mar Apr May Jun Jul Sep Oct
price from
€ 773
CO2 footprint
141 Kg/person
  1. Italy
  2.  | 
  3. Self-Guided
  4.  | 
  5. Tourcode ITSW300

This coastal route from Otranto to Gagliano del Capo is a perfect synthesis of everything wonderful Puglia has to offer: beautiful views, crystal clear sea, little-known villages waiting to be explored and an untamed nature to be walked through. 

After a delightful loop tour through orange and olive groves, you leave Otranto to follow a terracotta-colored path bordering the sea and leading you towards the lighthouse of Punta Palascia, the Easternmost point of the Italian peninsula, and then to the small cove of Porto Balisco. 

In the following days you walk through small fishing villages, thermal towns and ancient Messapian cities, to then conclude your trip among the Baroque palaces and Roman remains in the center of Lecce

This trip is a celebration for all senses - nature gets more vivid and present with each step, accompanying you with the sea-scented breeze gently blowing through the olive trees, the song of the cricket, the aroma of wild fennel and licorice and the azure twinkle of the sea

Highlights

  • Fabulous walks along the “Tratturi”, ancient roads and footpaths running through orchards and olive groves;
  • The “Cipolliane path”; a breath-taking walk overlooking the sea and named afer the caves you can visit along the way;
  • Historical sights of all ages, from Roman masterpieces and Messapian towns to the present day: churches, fortresses, villas;
  • The buzzing city of Lecce, with its baroque palaces, delicious food and artisan shops.
  • Great beaches for swimming with crystal clear waters.

Itinerary

Day 1

Otranto

Otranto

As soon as you get settled in your accommodation, step outside and breathe in the incredibly fresh, crisp air of the Mediterranean Sea. In the afternoon you can visit the historic centre, and in the evening, let all your senses be delighted as you prepare for your phenomenal walking adventure ahead.

Day 2

Otranto circular walk, 7,5 km

Otranto circular walk, 7,5 km

Today's walk is a good warm-up hike, it takes you to discover the small Idro valley,  that gives Otranto (Hidruntum) its name. The Idro river spring is about 5km from Otranto, in a location called Monte S. Angelo; the land you will be walking in is very fertile, with orchards, olive trees, oranges and a variety of vegetables. You begin the hike on the orographic left side of the river, upstream, cut into the olive tree's fields and pass by the S. Angelo rock church, then descend along the right side of the stream, back to the Otranto, known as the "Pearl of the Orient".

Distance: 7,5 km

Elevation gain: +96/-96 m

Day 3

From Otranto to Porto Badisco, 12,5 km

From Otranto to Porto Badisco, 12,5 km

Walking through the maze of the narrow alleys of the old town you reach the new port. Here a flat, gravel coastal path contours around a series of coves. You pass by several WWII bunkers and you can make a short detour to an interesting "bauxite lake", going slightly inland. Following the coast you have several "beach stop", with crystal clear waters. You continue along the coast towards the clearly visible Punta Palascia Lighthouse. At some points the knee high Mediterranean vegetation becomes thick and you need to find your way, but as long as you have the lighthouse in front and the sea on your left you are on the right track! On clear days you can see the Albanian mountains across the Adriatic Sea. Punta Palascìa lighthouse is the easternmost point of Italy and 71km away from Albania.

Distance: 12,5 km

Elevation gain: +271/-239 m

Day 4

From Porto Badisco to Santa Cesarea Terme, 13 km

From Porto Badisco to Santa Cesarea Terme, 13 km

The first stop of today's walk is the beautiful inlet of Porto Badisco, just before the local bar/newsagent/supermarket where they make great coffee and sandwiches for today’s picnic. Continue contouring the coast following a shepard's path where you will see the typical "pagliari", round, flat topped, dry stone building where the shepherds used to sleep. After 6km you leave the coast, climbing up to the inland plateau. Here you follow narrow paths through the fields. At 8,5 km there is a good pic-nic spot in a little pine tree forest that offers great shade on sunny days. The last section is on a surfaced road, descending to the Spa town of Santa Cesarea Terme. Here there are great swimming spots.

Distance: 13 km

Elevation gain: +202/-170 m

Day 5

From Santa Cesarea Terme to Marittima, 11,5 km

From Santa Cesarea Terme to Marittima, 11,5 km

Leave Santa Cesarea, climbing uphill on the surfaced road until you reach an old gravel/grass dry-stone walled road. Staying inland follow narrow paths through the fields until the Ancient Messapian town of Castro, with its imposing high walls. Spend some time exploring the old town and maybe having lunch before descending to the port where you can go swimming. Continue along the coast on a uneven, rocky trail to the Acquaviva coave. A beautiful hidden inlet and a fantastic swimming spot where a fresh water spring comes out at sea level, a. The last part of the path climbs up the thickly forested Acquaviva valley towards Marittima

Distance: 11,5 km

Elevation gain: +309/-243 m

Day 6

From Marittima to Marina Serra, 13,5 km

From Marittima to Marina Serra, 13,5 km

After buying a good sandwich in Marittima you initially follow a surfaced road that winds it’s way through orchards of immense olive trees. You then the first of several traditional "tratturi", a system of ancient roads and footpaths used by the locals to go down to the sea or to connect villages and orchards. Each stone tells the story of a hard peasant life The sea is in front of you when you descend to Tricase Porto, where you can taste a good "caffè in ghiaccio" (iced coffee) and go for a swim. From here you have some asphalt to today’s final destination: Marina Serra a small coastal hamlet with great swimming spots.

Distance: 13,5 km

Elevation gain: +313/-372 m

Day 7

From Marina Serra to Gagliano del Capo, 12,5 km

From Marina Serra to Gagliano del Capo, 12,5 km

The last day’s walk starts with a short uphill trail called "enemy's path", Sentiero del Nemico: the ideal place to lay an ambush to unexpected visitors in the old times. After some asphalt on the costal road the walk goes back inland on more ancient "tratturi", finally reaching Novaglie, a nice rocky beach stop. Here starts the breath-taking "Cipolliane path", named after the caves you can visit along the way, that leads you to the Ciolo bridge, the last great swimming spot on this trip. From the tiny Ciolo cove, you walk up the Ciolo valley to Gagliano del Capo where you take the train to Lecce for your last night in the beautiful Baroque city.

Distance: 12,5 km

Elevation gain: +429/-381 m

Day 8

Lecce

Lecce

Last day included. Service ends after breakfast.

Details

Is this for me?


If you love the sea, this is the trip you should choose. It follows the coast of Salento between Otranto and Gagliano del Capo, with the sea always insight and the chance of bathing every day of the trip. In some sections you will walk on the rock and the ground can be slippery and uneven - it may also be a bit challenging for vertigo sufferers. 

Included


What is included

  • 7 nights in double room in **/*** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast
  • Luggage transportation from day 3 to day 7
  • 2 dinners (Porto Badisco, Marina Serra)
  • Maps and detailed description of the itinerary in digital form, app
  • Medical and luggage travel insurance
  • 24h phone assistance

What is not included

  • Transfers to the starting location and from the arriving location of the tour
  • Lunches and dinners, if not otherwise stated.
  • Visits and entrance fees - tips
  • Personal expense
  • Possible sojourn taxes
  • Everything that is not mentioned in the "What is included" section. 

Optional Services

These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:

  • Single room supplement
  • Cancellation insurance
  • Transfers to reach the starting location or to leave the arriving location of the tour, which will be quoted on request.
  • travel documentation in printed form (maps and detailed description of the itinerary), shipped to the first hotel

Accommodation


Hotel San Giuseppe Otranto
Hotel San Giuseppe - Otranto

Hotel San Giuseppe is set in a 16th-century farmhouse typical of the Puglia region and it's a well-finished and relaxed location in Otranto's historic center just a few steps from the sea. Rooms are well-furnished and beautifully decorated with air conditioning/heating, TV, free Wifi. Quality breakfast is rich. Staff is helpful and courteous. 

www.hotelsangiuseppeotranto.it

Masseria Panareo Porto Badisco
Masseria Panareo - Porto Badisco

Masseria Panareo is surrounding by olive trees overlooking the sea. Rooms are furnished in rustic style and at the same time are elegant, well-finished and spacious with free Wifi, telephone, TV. The structure has an external swimming pool and a restaurant with a view on the sea that proposes regional and Italian dishes, made with fresh, local ingredients. Breakfast is very good with fresh products. 

www.masseriapanareo.com

Grand Hotel Mediterraneo Santa Cesarea Terme
Grand Hotel Mediterraneo - Santa Cesarea Terme

Grand Hotel Mediterraneo offers beautiful views of the coast of Salento, from its terrace and some of the rooms. Rooms are basic and funtional with TV, air conditioning, free Wifi, telephone with direct line. Breakfast buffet is good and it is served on the terrace with sea view. 

www.grandhotelmed.it

B&B Palazzo Vecchio Marittima
B&B Palazzo Vecchio - Marittima

B&B Palazzo Vecchio is an historic castle renovated situated in the historic center of the city and just 10 minutes from the beach and 2 km from Adriatic Sea. The environment is relaxed with external swimming pool and it offers rustic style rooms with air conditioning, TV, free Wifi. Breakfast is served in the courtyard. 

www.bebpalazzovecchio.it

B&B Il Rifugio dei Lavaturi Marina Serra
B&B Il Rifugio dei Lavaturi - Marina Serra

This B&B is just 3 minutes by walk from beach of Marina Serra. Rooms are spacious and furnished in a simple way overlooking the garden and have free Wifi and TV. Breakfast is served together at the other guests. 

BB-Rifugio-dei-Lavaturi

Grand Hotel Di Lecce Lecce
Grand Hotel Di Lecce - Lecce

Grand Hotel is located in the historic center just 200 m from Lecce Railway Station. The location is elegant and refined with Leccese Baroque architecture. Rooms are spacious, well-finished and beautifully decorated and have these comfort: air conditioning, telephone, TV, free Wifi. Breakfast is rich of savory and sweet dishes served at the poolside or into a loggia. 

www.grandhoteldilecce.it

When to travel


Throughout Central-South Italy you can expect temperatures between 10° and 25°C in spring and autumn and up to 35°C in July and August. Mornings can be chilly but they quickly warm up as the day goes by. Showers are common in early spring and from September on and throughout the autumn, although not every day, and they tend to be either short and intense or prolonged but light. Because you are by the sea, the sea breeze tends to make the long summer days less hot. The weather can change very quickly and you must be prepared for rain, mist, wind, fog (and even hail or snow at higher elevations) –especially in spring and autumn. When windy or walking at altitude, temperatures can be much cooler. You should always carry a fleece/warm clothing in addition to a wind breaker and/or rain jacket and, when cool, gloves and a warm hat.

What to bring


Clothing and other items
You will need your regular walking/cycling gear, including some sort of reflective garment. For the evenings, smart outdoor style trousers (or shorts) are invaluable, as are quick-dry t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town.

Take as little as possible to avoid potentially lugging a heavy suitcase up three flights of stairs at the end of the day. Please be aware that laundromats (“Laverie”) are not common in rural areas, so plan to do handwashing of small items.

Lightweight walking shoes/ trainers
For wearing around towns & villages. They can also be a back-up pair.

Socks & underwear
Take only good quality socks with quick-dry and insulating qualities. Road test them before you go on the trip. Take a suitable quantity of underwear as washing facilities are limited.

Warm jacket, hat, gloves
Bring a fleece, Polartec or warm layers for the evenings especially in spring or autumn; be sure it is totally suitable for your needs.
A fleece jacket which blocks the wind (Wind-stopper) is the most preferable. In the summer months a lightweight jacket is suitable for evenings.
If you are cycling/walking in mountainous or coastal areas, even in the height of summer, the weather can change very quickly and unexpectedly and you should be prepared for fog, mist, rain, snow or hail at any time. Always take an extra layer with you, as well as a warm hat and gloves.

Waterproof jacket & trousers
If you are caught in heavy rain, with good waterproof clothing you should remain dry. Remember that most garments will lose their properties over time. Few will remain waterproof for more than five years and many deteriorate in three years or less. We recommend a rain jacket with a good hood and collar and waterproof or thermal walking/cycling trousers or tights.

Dress code
In general, you should wear suitable clothing when entering a church (in many places, it is considered unacceptable to go inside wearing shorts or a tank-top). We suggest that women carry a shawl to cover up bear shoulders or low-cut tops. It also comes in handy when your shoulders get sunburned!

It is considered inappropriate for men to go without a shirt / T-shirt (other than at the beach).

Trekking poles (adjustable)
Highly recommended. A pair works best, depending on what you are comfortable with. If you suffer from back or knee pain this should be considered essential. Remember to practise walking with your pole(s) on different types of terrain in the months preceding your trip.

Walking boots
The importance of good footwear cannot be stressed enough. Your boots should be sturdy and of good enough quality to handle all types of terrain. Lightweight boots, (cordura/leather boots) which have Gore-Tex or sympatex water-proofing are most suitable for this trip. They should provide good ankle protection and be well broken in. Waxing leather boots regularly prolongs their life.

Walking tops & trousers
We recommend walking trousers and shorts and quick-dry wicking t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town. Wicking T-shirts are fast drying, keep moisture away from your skin and are available at outdoor stores. You should also bring one pair of loose-fitting trousers to wear in cities and for evenings out, etc. Shorts or zip-off trousers are useful in warmer weather.

Practical info

How to arrive


If you land in Brindisi, you have several alternatives:

  • Salento Easy Shuttle, which connects Brindisi Airport to Otranto;
  • STP bus or taxi to Brindisi train station, and then a Marozzi direct bus to Otranto;
  • train from Brindisi train station to Lecce and then direct bus to Otranto.

In you land in Bari, you need to reach Bari Centrale train station by either train or bus. From there, you catch a train to Lecce, and then a direct bus to Otranto.

On departure, you can take a train from Lecce to either Brindisi or Bari train station and then a bus to the relative airport.

Mobile App


Use the SloWays APP for iOS and Android smart phones in combination with the written documentation provided.

The App has the detailed tracks and maps that you can use offline and without roaming. Thanks to the phone’s internal GPS, you can check your exact position on the map, so you always know exactly where you are. It also helps you self-navigate you way while travelling. More information on how to use the App inside the roadbook documents.

The navigation features include:

  • Offline navigation. Mobile data not required after initial download
  • Accurate GPS tracks
  • Autorotation of the maps
  • Daily route summary and elevation chart
  • Panorama of the track and at street level
  • Alarm and vibration that alerts you in case you go off track.
  • Emergency SMS button with position coordinates
  • Possibility to record and take georeferenced photos of problems on route alerting fellow travelers
  • Hotel information
  • Points of interest along the way
  • Historical background

Wanderlust Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
Wanderlust
Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
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Touroperating
S-Cape Countryside Travels srl
Borgo Allegri 16R
50122 Firenze FI
P. IVA 05227330486

 
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Touroperating S-Cape Countryside Travels srl Borgo Allegri 16R 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
VAT Nr 05227330486
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