13 independent reviews for Puglia small group tour, Italy

Reviews for Puglia small group tour, Italy

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review 24 Sep 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

All of it and enhanced by an amazing guide

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Read the itinerary to be sure itís what you expect . Experiencing the itinerary in real life is wonderful

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. Stayed in local accommodation, ate in local restaurants , 2 local guides for 2 different places., used local transport companies , shared the love between 2 different farms for olive oil tasting and pasta making

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent. Exceeded our expectations!

review 18 Sep 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Matera, a unique town built around caves with a fascinating history.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Just be prepared to soak up the history, food, language and culture

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We had a charming and knowledgeable local guide, ate in local restaurants and had the opportunity to see how local foods were produced. All hotels (bar the one in Lecce) were eco aware and tried to minimise the environmental impact of their guests.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent. For me it had all the elements of a great vacation-a fascinating location, delicious local food and wine, a solicitous and knowledgeable local guide and good company.

review 12 Sep 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The caves of Matera were amazing, as were the Trulli houses in Alberabello and to sleep in to very particular rooms, the cave and the Trulli. More generally the overall opportunity to walk small streets, and particularly in Matera where there was a festival, to mingle with the Italian families enjoying their Saturday night out.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be prepared for a wide variety of experiences. Research the history to understand the current situation of the area.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes probably, though difficult to assess when one is staying and eating in what are primarily tourist areas and not spending more than 48 hours in any one place. We had four overnight stops, obviously in those tourist areas. The only one which did not feel local was the modern, faceless hotel in Lecce, though I am aware that several of those in our group were quite content with it's provision. I suspect the choice may relate to the size of the city and the difficulty of finding an appropriate place. Had no sense that this hotel supported conservation. We were able to eat out at local restaurants and individually could seek out the smaller providers off the immediate tourist trail, with the help of our experienced guide.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

A great vacation, with opportunity to see many and varied tourist attractions, managed well by the providing operator and the Italian guide.

review 9 Jun 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Trullos

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be aware of access issues with hotel in Matera. No notification if this if book tour without flights. A pick-up by hotel is available but we didnít know that either there would be an issue or that a service is available

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Very interesting trip and enjoyable. Optional trip choice from Alberobello extremely badly managed.

review 25 Apr 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Visiting and staying in the Trulli houses.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Ask to stay 2 nights in Ortanto

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

They could use less plastic cups in the hotels and restaurants.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Fascinating trip.

review 3 Sep 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Our time in Matera.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

You get what you pay for. Also there is no need to have a spare day on a 7 day trip.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

No.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

6/10

Read the operator's response here:

Hi Sarah, thank you for your review. On this vacation we do help support the local community by employing local guides, stay in locally owned accommodations (with 2 hotels being family run), eat at locally owned restaurants, visit to a local winery for a tasting which supports the local economy as well as having a lunch with a local family at their farm house which encourages cultural exchange. By traveling in a small group we aim to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment. We work with our partners on the ground to proactively reduce waste and we also rewild 100 square metres per passenger to compensate for all trip and flight emissions. All these certainly help us and you doing our part to support local communities and the planet.

review 24 Oct 2021

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Matera - we really needed an extra day free there to explore.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Ask the guide for multiple options for eating and drinking locally so that you can spend money in a variety of places rather than concentrating in a few.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It benefited some local restaurants that the guide chose or recommended, including ones where the restaurant grew the food locally, and we were encouraged to try the local produce and wine, but there were more opportunities to spend our money in smaller places we passed through , especially the walk on the final day in Montescagliosi - it would have been good to get a drink locally and buy our lunch there - the local people were so welcoming and surprised to see us but we didnít give anything back. And there was no central tip kitty to ensure the local staff received monetary appreciation. Due to covid hotels tackled breakfast in different ways, but I was very concerned that there may have been extra food waste as a result ( pre set on your plate in portions etc even if you didnít want it).

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

There was not as much walking as I had expected, perhaps I didnít read the trip notes sufficiently. But it was a lovely advert for Puglia.

Read the operator's response here:

We would like to thank Stephanie for her feedback, whilst we were pleased that she had a good vacation overall, we are sorry that she was left feeling that her trip could have benefited the local communities and environment more. As much as possible on this trip, we use accommodations and restaurants that are locally owned, employs staff for the surrounding area and uses local produce. However, we are very sorry that she felt that there could have been more opportunities to spend money in ways which would benefit these neighborhoods. On all of our trips, we do advise clients that there is an opportunity to tip their guides in appreciation of their help, should clients feel that they also want to tip any other members of the community for their excellent service, then they are free to do so, but it is not compulsory. However, we are very sorry if this opportunity was not made clearer to Stephanie. We hope to provide as much information as possible on the amount of walking during the trip, and generally receive positive feedback with regards to this, but we sincerely regret if Stephanie felt this was not the case and the amount of walking was not in line with her expectations.

review 29 Sep 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Matera. What a turn around for this town. Loved the buildings, narrow (car free) streets and paths. Something new at every turn.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Take good NON SLIP footwear as the limestone slabs are slippery plus there is some walking (particularly along the costal path) where the gravel/stone underneath are uneven and loose. If you are a little unsteady, take a walking pole. I think a Vegan would find this trip challenging.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Difficult to say as I don't know if the hotels are part of chains/groups. The guide certainly introduced local family run restaurants which were of a good quality and reasonably priced. I was surprised the Masseria Morrone cookery/lunch visit used so much throw away/one use plastics. Water on arrival in a plastic glass - binned. Making the meat dish a throw away plate for each person - binned. Making Bruchette another plate per person - binned. Such time another plastic glass per person - binned. I hope you will be able to address this terrible waste of resources before next season.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Had a fabulous time. The guide worked exceptionally hard to ensure everyone enjoyed the trip. Only the obvious unnecessary use of plastic (at Masseria Morrone) and throw away plates were of concern. Just multiply that out by the number of lessons a week and you'll quickly add to land-fill. This was also a B&B possibly also adding to un-necessary waste of the planets resources. Their carefree attitude to damaging the environment was a grave disappointment.

Read the operator's response here:

We would like to thank Lynda for her review, although we are sincerely sorry that she experienced instances of plastic waste during her trip. Our Responsible Tourism policy is very important to us and we take the issue of plastic waste very seriously, so we would like to thank Lynda for bringing this to our attention. We have passed her constructive feedback on to the product manager for this trip who will be addressing this with our local team.

review 18 Jun 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Most memorable: Castellana Caves for their enormity and age. Then the 3000 year old olive tree still bearing fruit. And the mosaic floor of the cathedral in Otranto. But then there were those fantastic Trulli houses and the Sassi in Matera. Too hard to choose. Every day had something special in store.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

It really was pretty hot in early June. Temperatures were up in the thirties so loose, cool clothing was a must.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Our guide was local to Puglia and very loyal to the area and enthusiastic. She used a local guide in Matera, thus spreading the benefits of tourism. She always recommended restaurants that she'd previously tried and she really emphasised local food. Not sure how our vacation reduced environmental impact other than that we used a small minibus when traveling. We walked a lot. Conservation? I guess that by visiting places such as Matera, we are helping the local people to preserve and improve their town. If we'd only visited for the day, we'd have spent less money there and it was a great place to start (we were on the reverse tour).

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

It exceeded my expectations. Puglia was far more interesting than I'd imagined and the fact that we were part of a very small group made the whole thing quite intimate: like a normal sized family on vacation really!

Read the operator's response here:

We would like to thank Julie for her review of this vacation and we are very pleased to read that overall she had a fantastic time. We are aware that she was not sure how the vacation reduced environmental impact and we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight this. There is a conscious effort to reduce single use plastic bottles on all our trips; our guides will locate water refill points and safe drinking water is readily available in Italy. Walking allows easy access and flexibility for clients to interact with locals, visit local cafes and bars, buy local produce and crafts and our small group size allows us to support small and unique establishments and businesses that do not usually benefit from mass tourism.

review 20 May 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Visiting Lecce and Matera.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Arrive early in Lecce and stay an extra day in Marera. Prepare yourself a bit in advance to allow you to discover the destinations - I found the information provided to be light. I also booked separate tours in Lecce and Matera. I should have done the same for our free day.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Not really other than by encouraging local communities.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

I had a great time! I will go back to this part of Italy!

Read the operator's response here:

We would like to thank Mylene for her feedback, whilst we were pleased that she had a good vacation overall, we are sorry that she was left feeling that her trip had only a slight benefit to the local communities. On this trip there are many activities that engage with local communities and industries, directly supporting their businesses and local production. In Lecce, for example, there is an optional visit to a local laboratory for its famous papier-m‚chť and we also stop by a traditional Masseria (a typical Apulian farmhouse) to visit an ancient underground oil mill which and have an olive oil tasting. Throughout the trip we try to choose accommodations that are locally owned or at least employ local staff and uses local produce. Most of them are small scaled accommodations as we try to reach out to these small local businesses that cannot benefit from mass tourism.

review 30 Oct 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The visit to Metera was the most memorable because it is such an unusual place with a powerful atmosphere, very sensible to do this visit last as it is an absolute highlight.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

This is a busy and rewarding vacation but you do need to be prepared for a lot of walking and for some variable accommodation. Take some sturdy footwear and be prepared to walk even in towns. In Lecce the hotel was 15 minutes from the town center and no bus. All the cities involved walking tours. There was a 5 hour walk from Ostuni and 3km of rather hard work walking in the caves. All this was enjoyable and better than too much coach travel which was kept to a minimum, but if you are of a certain age and not too able to walk, this isn't a good vacation. Also learn a bit of Italian - not much English in cafes etc.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Not hugely. Staying in local hotels was the only option as big chains weren't there. I suppose it helped local businesses to use local hotels. We ate in local restaurants (where else could we eat?) I felt that tourism was eroding some of the places and we added to that a bit - the fine mosaic at Otranto didn't benefit from our walking on part of it and more tourism will rather diminish the authenticity of Matera.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Great region - full of character if no important buildings or historical connections. Still under its spell and highly rewarding. Varied programme - and only one feeble activity - the pasta making- but helped by some nice wine. Pity the pasta was like eating soggy cardboard. Lecce a beautiful Baroque city; Otranto a nice resort and not its fault that it poured with rain; Ostuni looked good; walk to the Masseria though olive groves was nice; Alberobello - well not all that gripping but nice to visit; Free day saw us in lovely town of Martina Franca using the bus; Matera an absolute must. Warm and helpful guide. Choice of suggested restaurants a bit variable - one disaster two very nice and very reasonable. First hotel had dark uninviting bedroom; 2nd at Ostuni more acceptable 4 star; the Trullo was interesting but not very comfortable (no kettle for instance); the cave hotel at Matera had super town view but not much comfort. The free day at Alberobello was not great - nothing to do for so long a time in the town so a bus ride to two other towns which seemed a rather limited option though both were nice and there was a good walk suggested between them but Albeobello transport wise is problematic as no trains for 2 years and only buses which are difficult to use for non Italian speakers. Suggested excursion to sea side depended on enough sharing 80 euro taxi. 5 star for region - don't hesitate. However a bit less for quality of accommodation and a rather cop out 'free day'

review 9 Sep 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

My time in Polignano

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

If you are worried about comfort and quality of the hotels, donít book this tour!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Very disappointing and think the vacation was over priced.

Read the operator's response here:

We would like to thank Verity for her feedback, although we regret that she did not enjoy her tour in Puglia and that it did not meet her expectations. We are very sorry that she was disappointed with the accommodation; the hotels used on the trip are usually seen to be of a good standard by our clients and we have not received feedback of this nature in the past and we feel this is reassuring. We are, however, genuinely sorry that Verity's experience was not so positive; at the beginning of each season use client and staff feedback is used to review each property used on this tour, and if any concerns are raised, these will be addressed and dealt with accordingly.

review 24 Oct 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The varuety of the programme. Towns like Ostuni, Otranto, Matera were fascinatingly different. Also the local experiences of food and wine tasting.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

There's a lot more walking than is indicated in the brochure. Not really suitatble for anyone with walking problems.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Hard to tell, but probably.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Very good. Excellent guide. Nice mixed group. Great taster for an underrated part of Italy.

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