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From Lecce: Otranto, S.M. Leuca, Gallipoli & Galatina Tour

1. From Lecce: Otranto, S.M. Leuca, Gallipoli & Galatina Tour

This tour will give you the opportunity to visit 4 of the most picturesque towns in Salento on a comfortable minivan with air conditioning and a professional driver who will give you information about the history of the towns and the places to visit. A scenic route from the Adriatic to the Ionian Sea, between rocky coasts, small bays and white Caribbean-style beaches. The first stop of the tour is Galatina a real gem of art, history and traditions. The wonderful Basilica of Saint Catherine of Alexandria is second only to the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi for the presence of many frescoes inside, which were created by Giotto's disciples. Other monuments to visit are the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, and the ancient "courtyard houses" and the buildings situated in the historic centre. The second stop is Otranto, one of the most beautiful coastal villages in Salento.The town of Otranto is full of history and every corner highlights the passage of different civilizations, including the Romans, the Byzantines, the Ottomans and the Aragoneses. You will have free time to visit the splendid Cathedral, the Church of Saint Peter in perfect Byzantium style, the Castle, the Towers, the mighty Pelasgi Bastions and the Walls that surrounded the whole of the ancient city. After Otranto you will reach Santa Maria di Leuca, along the wonderful Adriatic coast, characterized by cliffs overlooking the sea, caves and bays with rocky bottom. Along the way you will admire Santa Cesarea Terme, Castro Marina and the Ciolo Fiord. Santa Maria di Leuca is truly the heel of Italy, the place where the Ionian Sea meets the Adriatic Sea. From this tip of Puglia, you will admire spectacular views of the harbor and the sea, as well as the sanctuary of Santa Maria de "Finibus Terrae". After Santa Maria di Leuca, along the Ionian coast, you will reach Gallipoli, considered the pearl of the Ionian Sea. This Greek city can be divided into two areas: the new village, where the tourist facilities and modern buildings arise, and the old city. The old part of the city is located on a limestone island connected to the mainland by a 17th century bridge. You will have free time at disposal to explore the historic centre characterized by a labyrinthine weave of narrow streets, home to traditional shops of local handicrafts, numerous impressive Baroque churches and aristocratic palazzi. Also worth seeing are the Cathedral dedicated to St. Agatha, one of the best examples of Baroque in Salento, the Angevine Castle built in the 13th century and the Greek Fountain, one of the oldest fountains in Italy.

Otranto: 1.5-Hour Guided Walking Tour

2. Otranto: 1.5-Hour Guided Walking Tour

Discover one of Italy's most beautiful towns in the company of a local guide. Located at the easternmost point on the heel of the country, Otranto has always been considered the gateway to Italy. Learn about the town's interesting past from your guide as you meander through its center. During your walking tour, admire the old churches and quaint buildings that make Otranto the picturesque place it is. See the 15th-century Aragonese castle, whose towers and walls formerly served as protection for the city, and visit the Cathedral of the Annunciation where you can admire a stunning mosaic. From time to time, you will have spectacular glimpses of the landscape where the town meets the surrounding crystal-clear sea.

Vlorë: Speed Boat Trip to Karaburun Peninsula

3. Vlorë: Speed Boat Trip to Karaburun Peninsula

You will be located on the Ionian Sea, at the eastern end of the Otranto Channel, in the center of the Bay of Vlora. Here we have the Marine Protected Area of Karaburun. A natural park that was established in 2010 by the Ministry of the Environment of Albania in order to preserve the characteristic features of this area. Where we find uniqueness and biodiversity. Visit the Pirate's Cave You will leave by boat in the early morning from Vlora, to reach the Haxhi Ali Cave, located at the end of the Karaburun Peninsula, after about half an hour on the water. Arriving at the cave by boat is a unique experience. You enter a cubic-shaped area that extends for 30 meters in length, with a maximum height of 18 meters, and 12 meters in width. Inside this cave, the view is lost between the rock formations and the stalactites, the result of the constant work of water on the rocks over thousands of years. In addition, at the end of the cave there is a source of freshwater. After a half-hour guided tour, the participants are free to choose between snorkeling in the wonderful crystal clear water, full of life, of the cave, or enjoy a pleasant drink on the boat. The best beaches on the Karaburun peninsula After the stop, you will set off again to travel along the wild coast of Karaburun. Here you will have the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful beaches with caves, of the peninsula up close. Corners of paradise such as Shen Jani, Aquamarina Beach, and San Basil Beach. After lunchtime, you will stop on the beach of Zhanpovel Beach, refreshing yourselves with the best specialties of the local gastronomic tradition at the restaurant located on the beach. Returning in the early afternoon, you will cross the bay, flanking the Vlora coast, approaching the beaches with caves, of Zhironi and Kalasa and skirting the entire Cold Water district. The story of the pirate Haxhi Ali cave owes its name to the legendary pirate Haxhi Alia Ulqinaku. Born in Calabria in 1569, he moved with his family to Ulcinj, Albania and received military education under the Ottoman Empire. After serving in the Ottoman fleet, in 1609 he moved with his children and some Albanian sailors to the Karaburun peninsula. Here he began to defend the coasts from the incursions of the Venetians and the French, cooperating with the local population, which supplied the pirate with timber and raw materials. It was an episode that handed him over to the legend. Haxhi Alia was attacked in 1623 off the coast of Otranto by a powerful fleet of Venetians and British, but he heroically defended himself, until he earned legendary fame among the inhabitants of the Karaburun peninsula, who still sing songs in his honor.



The tour on board our van is characterized by numerous free stops of variable length between 1 hour, 30 minutes and very short spot stops to take a nice photo, therefore giving you the opportunity to take advantage of perfect organization of time and visit as many places as possible , optimizing your day as best as possible. We leave at 9.30 from Lecce, the first stop is Otranto with its rich historic center where you can visit the Cathedral, the Castle, the Basilica of St. Peter. We then begin the journey along the Adriatic Coast, admiring landscapes, natural views and small villages that leave you breathless, you can stop at the Palascia lighthouse, the easternmost point of Italy. The longest stops are in Castro, a jewel nestled on the coast, where, if you want, you can enjoy a lunch overlooking the sea (extra, not included). We set off again for Santa Maria di Leuca which celebrates the meeting between the two seas, the Adriatic and the Ionian. Here the Sanctuary square with the lighthouse welcomes the tourist who is fascinated by an extraordinary panorama. The last stop on the tour is Gallipoli, whose ancient village, an islet connected to the mainland thanks to a seventeenth-century bridge, houses historic buildings, courtyard houses, small churches, the Aragonese Castle and the baroque Basilica of Sant'Agata. The return is at approximately 6.30 pm in Lecce.

Van Tour Adriatic Coast from Roca to Otranto

5. Van Tour Adriatic Coast from Roca to Otranto

Embark on our VanTour Costa Adriatica for a hassle-free exploration of Salento. Departing from Lecce, choose between morning or afternoon shifts for a 5-hour tour. The tour kicks off with Roca and its Grotta della Poesia, a natural swimming pool nestled amidst breathtaking rocks (entrance ticket not included, available for purchase on-site). Descending along the Adriatic coast, our next stop is Torre dell'Orso, home to Le Due Sorelle, two twin rocks steeped in legend. According to folklore, these rocks represent young women who tragically drowned and were transformed into stone by the gods. Torre Sant'Andrea follows, boasting awe-inspiring sandstone stacks sculpted by wind and sea over centuries. Concluding our journey is Otranto, where you'll have approximately an hour to explore its enchanting historic center. Wander through narrow alleys, visit the Cathedral, the Castle, and St. Peter's Basilica, soaking in the town's rich history and charm. Return to Lecce with a heart full of memories and a camera full of stunning photographs capturing the beauty of Salento's Adriatic coast. Experience the wonders of Salento effortlessly aboard our VanTour, offering convenience and exploration in equal measure.

Otranto: Dining Experience at Local Home

6. Otranto: Dining Experience at Local Home

Get ready for a culinary experience like no other at a local home in Otranto. Over 3 hours, enjoy exclusive cooking instruction from your genial host and taste authentic Italian dishes. Treasured in family cookbooks, these recipes have been passed down from generation to generation.  Feel the warmth of Italian hospitality as you make a genuine connection with locals. Enjoy a 4-course menu including a starter, pasta, a main course with a side dish, desert, plus a selection of regional wines and coffee.

Otranto: 2-Hour Guided Walking Tour

7. Otranto: 2-Hour Guided Walking Tour

Described as the “Gateway to the East” and the most Oriental of all Italy’s cities, Otranto was founded by Greeks from Crete thousands of years ago. Explore this fascinating history on a 2-hour walking tour of all its main sights. Discover the Norman cathedral, consecrated in 1088 and still the largest Romanesque building in Apulia. Admire the mosaic floor, formed of thousands of pieces of stone that depict scenes from the Old Testament and figures from Breton legends. Admire columns that are said to have come from a Temple of Minerva, and the bones and relics of the Martyrs of Otranto, who perished in the 15th-century siege of the city. Marvel at the 42 marble columns that support the crypt, and more. Continue to the Church of St. Peter and the Aragonese Castle, reinforced by Emperor Frederick II and rebuilt by Alphonso II of Naples in 1485-1498. Look at the irregular plan of 5 sides, with a moat that runs along the entire perimeter. Enjoy the panoramic views out to sea. If the weather is good you can see all the way across the Adriatic to Greece and Albania.

Otranto: Cooking Class at a Local's Home

8. Otranto: Cooking Class at a Local's Home

Immerse yourself in a cooking class at a local home, learning the secrets of the most famous dishes of regional cuisine and taste the fruits of your labor, accompanied by local wines.  During the lesson, the cook will reveal the tricks of the trade for three authentic local recipes. Have fun putting your cooking skills to the test.  You will have a workstation equipped with utensils and all the ingredients to make the dishes. Taste everything you have prepared with a selection of local wines. Instead of loading your suitcase with souvenirs, take home Italian cooking skills that will stay with you for life.

Lecce: Tour Salento coast to coast

9. Lecce: Tour Salento coast to coast

Chera Dreams infopoint in Lecce offers a tour of Salento, departing from Porta San Biagio at 9.15am. Our Driver will pick you up and from there your journey of fun and discovery will begin. After having admired some areas of the Adriatic coast, the first stop with a one-hour stop will be one of the most evocative cities, "Otranto" which will enchant you with its village. Continue to the wonderful Castro marina, where you will visit the Aragonese castle, its panoramic terrace and the caves, the most famous of which is the Zinzulusa Cave. The journey continues towards the end of the heel of Italy "Santa Maria di Leuca" which from its terrace you can admire the line where the two seas meet, finally proceeding towards the famous Gallipoli, the Pearl of the Ionian. Today Gallipoli is one of the most attractive centers of tourism in Puglia and Salento, in particular with its port which has landing places for both pleasure boats and fishing and merchant vessels. The return to Lecce is expected at 6.30pm.

Boat trip to Santa Cesarea Terme from Castro

10. Boat trip to Santa Cesarea Terme from Castro

We will depart from Castro's Porto Vecchio and head north. We will first reach the Grotta Palombara, characterized by a beautiful triangular entrance, and then the Grotta Azzurra, which owes its name to the intense blue of its waters. Our next stop allows you to see the impressive Zinzulusa Cave, so-called because of the stalactites hanging from its ceiling like rags, called "zinzuli" in the local dialect. Your skipper will then take you to the beautiful inlet of Porto Miggiano, where you can dive into the crystal-clear water of this area. Once everyone is back on the boat, we will head towards Santa Cesarea Terme, stopping a short distance from its sulphurous springs. Our return trip will now begin and, along the way, we will be able to admire an old watching tower in Porto Miggiano before being back in the port of Castro.



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What people are saying about Otranto

Stefano, our tour guide, was very friendly and was able to tell us a lot about the country and its people. We are glad that we didn't do this tour in our own car, because our guide drove us straight to the right places. This meant we didn't have to look for a parking space, we could enjoy the drive through the countryside and we were picked up again at agreed meeting points. Since the group was very small (there was only one other couple with us), it was a very relaxed day trip. The pick-up at the hotel went well, the tour guide spoke English and was easy to understand.

I received a message the day before confirming that everything was ready for our trip. We could add one person last minute and was not problem at all. Stefano was extremely good, the passion he put in the trip and explanation was amaizing, he made it very special! We heard all details of the visited cities and also extra information! This trip is great, you should not miss it.

Beautiful day in Salento region ! Stefano, our guide was great, friendly, funny and professional. He gave us relevant and interesting information about the history of the cities we visited, and many other information. Fellow passengers were great, we talked about all kinds of things. It was a comfortable ride. We recommend this trip!

Top class guide and excellent way to cover the towns at the southern tip of Italy in 8 hours, would be impossible to do it on your own. Stephano shared much of the history of each place and gave us time to walk around and recommended lunch spot with stunning vista. Highly recommend.

Every thing was excellent. Lunch was beautiful spot great food and wine.