Puglia, Italy, bus tours

Travel Forums Europe Puglia, Italy, bus tours

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1. Posted by ClashCollins (Budding Member 4 posts) 6w Star this if you like it!

G'day folks.

We've taken three bus tours with varying degrees of success, ie Sicily was brilliant, Morocco was fabulous, decided to take a more expensive one to Portugal and booked Insight. Dreadful.

We're reasonably experienced travellers who have seen a goodly amount of Italia; mostly by train. Haven't really been down to the end of the boot and have decided to go to Puglia and take a tour.

The tours seem to be getting more and more expensive, ie our last tour of Sicily was 2,060 euros for two for 8 days in 2016. Four and five star hotels and it was terrific so this is my question:

1. We're not expecting miracles but most of the tours in Puglia seem to be costing around $360 a day EACH! in 3 and 4 star hotels or BB. Whit in the name of the wee man is going on? I've checked most of the hotels and a 4 star hotel in Bari would cost about $180 for two people... so where is the $720 coming from?

2. We've lived in Australia for yonks and all we want is a bit of culture in Puglia at a reasonable price.

3. The best tours we did don't seem to be on the internet which is why I'm asking if anybody could recommend a bus tour for 6, 7 or 8 days which costs less than an arm and a leg?

4. We're looking at around May to July in 2023.

Thanks in anticipation.

Iain Mcleod

2. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 4153 posts) 6w Star this if you like it!

Obviously, all tours would be much more expensive than they were in 2016 anyway but once you factor in tour operators going bust because of Covid (probably why your 'best tours' aren't on the internet) + the remaining operators needing to make sufficient profit to keep going after Covid destroyed their business for 2 years + remaining operators substantially reducing the number of tours they offer in order to make that profit + tourist numbers not yet returning to pre-pandemic levels it's not really surprising that prices are so high.

If you can't find a tour that suits it is as possible to explore Puglia by public transport using the rail and local bus network (possibly plus the occasional taxi) as the rest of Italy. It makes sense to have Bari as the primary base (international airport + easy daytrips by train to e.g. Brindisi, Alberobello, Lecce, Taranto, Trani) but you could plan to spend a night/nights in other locations as well.

3. Posted by ClashCollins (Budding Member 4 posts) 6w Star this if you like it!

Beautifully concise leics and perfectly understandable.

I'm beginning to think that way, ie using day tours and rail. Usually get a Eurail ticket but we're getting a bit too long in the tooth to drag suitcases all over the shop.

It would be nice to use tour operators but unfortunately the costs are getting too high.

Thanks again.


4. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 4153 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

In 2018 I based myself in Bari (which has a wonderful Citta Vecchia and deserves a full day's exploration of its own) and used Trenitalia trains for daytrips to Lecce, Trani, Brindisi and Taranto. I used the Metropolitana local train to get to Alberobello though there's also a bus service, which would've been faster....but I enjoy train travel and wanted to see the countryside. I deliberately chose a hotel fairly near Bari Centrale station because I knew I'd be using the train a lot.

I'd intended to use the Metropolitana train to visit Matera but decided on Taranto instead because has a) a truly superb Roman museum (part of the National Archaeological Museum), beautifully displayed and full of wonderful things b) a hugely atmospheric almost-untouched Medieval Citta Vecchia and c) a cathedral dating from the 900s (plus several other ancient churches)

For hotels I recommend you use the long-established and 100% reliable Dutch https://www.booking.com/ which lists almost all European hotels + many more in other countries. Most hotels offer free cancellation up to a certain date and, most importantlyimo, reviews can only be posted by people who have booked through the site and completed their stay. Apart from during the pandemic I've used booking.com several times a year for hotels in Europe, the UK & the US ever since it started in 2006 and I've never been disappointed: all my hotels, their services and my bill have been exactly as I expected from the site info and reviews

By the way, Italian train fares are so reasonable that you'd spend much more on a Eurail pass than you would on fares. Eurail passes have long stopped being the bargain they once were!

[ Edit: Edited on 17 Apr 2022, 06:59 GMT by leics2 ]

5. Posted by ClashCollins (Budding Member 4 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!


You're obviously a teacher or travel agent leics2 so thanks for this.

Eurail have priced themselves out of the market as far as I'm concerned. Awful prices now and I thought I was making a ballsup with the Australian prices.

I'm looking at tours based in Bari as you speak because a 4 or 5 star hotel is only around A$200. A lot of the tours tell you they visit Bari, Matera, Alberobello in 6 to 10 hours but that looks a bit hasty doesn't it as we like taking our time in historical places rather than munching. Being history buffs I like the idea of Taranto.

As I said before; we're a bit long in the tooth now so I'm wondering if it would be a good idea to stay in an hotel in Bari for, say, 3 nights, train to Lecce, for 3 nights and then go back to Bari for our flight back to Rome or Paris and then onwards to Edinburgh... which is where I come from originally.

What do you think?

6. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 4153 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

My passions are history and archaeology so imo seeing Bari, Alberobello and Matera in one trip is imo both pointless and ridiculous.

Bari's old city deserves a full day of exploration so do allow yourselves enough time to do that. Lecce, Brindisi and Taranto also deserve full days. Alberbello is somewhat visitor-focused and interesting enough but imo a few hours is sufficient.

Not sure about changing bases for such a short stay, tbh. If you want to go to Alberobello, Matera and/or maximise time in Taranto you really need to go from Bari. All would take longer from Lecce. If it was me for 6 nights I'd just stick to Bari.

Use the official Italian railway website in English to find train (and sometimes bus) times and fares (you don't need to buy tickets online in advance for any of your probable trips):


And you're right about me being a (retired) teacher!

[ Edit: Edited on 17 Apr 2022, 07:26 GMT by leics2 ]

Post 7 was removed by a moderator
8. Posted by ClashCollins (Budding Member 4 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

I'm usually right with professions. Too articulate and far too grammatical to have been anything else.
Wot I thought about doing it all in one day so it looks as if we'll go for six nights in Bari and take it from there. To be honest I'd prefer to, maybe, buy a day tour in each place as you can go in circles and end up where you started having seen nothing.

Booking.com or Hotels.com are the ones I tend to use but I usually contact the hotels websites and tell them the internet prices. That way they can match the prices or tell you to aaaargh. That's from a former teacher and graphic designer who eventually bought an motel in Queensland.