Guided Walking Tour in Salento and Via Francigena, Puglia

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Guided Walking Tour in Salento and Via Francigena, Puglia

Days / Nights
8 / 7

Level 3: Intermediate

Ideal for physically fit and healthy people who can walk 2-5 hours per day. Walking on a variety of paths, with light gravel, some stony segments. Ascents or descents of 1 to 2 hours.


This guided walking tour in Salento is an exciting experience that will take you along, like ancient pilgrims, the section of the Southern Italian Via Francigena that connects Lecce to Leuca. This fascinating journey through history, and almost mostly next to the sea, begins with a not-to-be-missed visit to the elegant Baroque capital, Lecce, to the furthest tip of Puglia, also called Finibus Terrae, in the town of Leuca.

The tour continues along the Adriatic coast, maintaining almost constant contact with the crystal-clear sea that characterizes this area. Along this coastal strip you will find numerous lookout towers, a striking touch in the landscape, and numerous reefs and sea caves among the most beautiful in the world. Their fascinating shapes and colors capture the imagination and provide a striking backdrop for anyone venturing on this guided walking tour of Salento.

However, the charm of Salento is not limited to the coast alone. The region’s hinterland, with its countryside dotted with “pajare,” characteristic stone buildings used as shelters or agricultural storage, is also worth exploring.

In addition, along the tour route, you will have the opportunity to visit small towns such as Otranto, Castro, Tricase that seem to be out of time. These charming villages will welcome you with their authenticity and tranquility, offering you the chance to immerse yourself in the daily life of its inhabitants and the traditional cuisine that characterizes Salento.

This guided walking tour in Salento will take you on an unforgettable adventure in the deep south of Puglia where spectacular views, ancient history and culinary delights blend harmoniously. Ready to hit the road?


Guided tour that can be activated with a minimum of 4 people.


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Arrival and accommodation in Lecce. Welcome briefing with an operator from Puglia Hiking Tours who will provide the group with all information about the trip.



14.3 km

After a pleasant evening spent in Lecce’s wonderful baroque historic center, we are ready for the first day’s walk. By private transfer we will head to San Foca, where the first fascinating walk will begin. The route begins at the majestic medieval coastal tower, one of several military constructions erected around 1500 to protect the Salento coast from Ottoman incursions. After a few kilometers, we will reach Roca Vecchia, an important archaeological park that houses the excavations of a settlement dating back to prehistoric times that continued to exist until the medieval period. We will visit together the fascinating ruins of Roca within its archaeological park where you will find the famous “Cave of Poetry,” one of the ten most beautiful natural pools in the world according to National Geographic.

From here, the trail winds through cliffs and a lush pine forest, giving you breathtaking views of the vibrant colors of the surrounding nature. Along the way, we will pass through Torre dell’Orso, a renowned seaside resort that boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in Puglia. Here we can take a break, perhaps enjoying a delicious pasticciotto on the terrace of Caffè Dentoni.

Continuing the walk, we will admire the famous white stacks in the hamlet of Sant’Andrea, before concluding the first leg of the tour in Frassanito, a locality near the picturesque Alimini lakes.

Height difference: +109/-95 m



15 km

The second leg of your Salento walking tour will reveal the extraordinary diversity of the Salento landscape. Leaving the coast for a moment but not straying too far, we will spend the entire day walking along the Alimini lakes, coastal lakes connected to the sea by a canal. We will continue our route through the typical Salento countryside where you cannot help but notice a crop unique to this area: vine shoots. These shoots are prepared here to be transplanted and become the basis for new vineyards throughout Italy. You will walk among these fields, admiring the majesty of the vines and being enveloped by the authentic, rural atmosphere of Salento.

At the end of the day we will finally reach beautiful Otranto, also called the Gateway to the East and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will visit together the historic center, overlooking the sea, and the Castle (ticket included in the package), which often hosts modern and contemporary art exhibitions.

Elevation gain: +116/-117 m



15.3 km

The third stage is one of the most beautiful coastal routes along the Adriatic because it encompasses extraordinary places and stories in just a few kilometers. We will begin the day by passing the center of Otranto and immediately entering the “Costa Otranto-Santa Maria di Leuca e Bosco di Tricase Regional Natural Park.” From here we will continue, still within the boundaries of the park, for our day of discovery: the first sighting is the Torre del Serpente, a partly ruined coastal tower followed by two of the most hidden and unusual naturalistic pearls of Apulia, the small lake of Orte or also called bauxite quarry and, further on, Punta Palascìa. This is the easternmost point in all of Italy where an imposing lighthouse seems to dive into the sea, as well as being the first to see the sunrise every morning.

A few more kilometers of walking and we can finally admire Torre Sant’Emiliano, which dominates the coast from the top of a cliff. A few kilometers and we reach the end of the stage, at Porto Badisco, a small fjord with crystal clear sea where Aeneas, the hero of Virgil’s poem, is said to have landed. Here, in a typical local bar where time seems to stand still, we will enjoy an aperitif with typical products and local cuisine (included in the package).

Elevation gain: +211/-214 m



15.9 km

Your fifth day of walking on this guided walking tour of Salento still promises plenty of sea. We will walk for the first few kilometers just a few meters from the water, following ancient tracks and encountering along the way the inevitable medieval watchtowers such as Torre Minervino and Torre Specchia di Guardia. Halfway along the route we will make a stop in Santa Cesarea, a renowned spa town with splendid Moorish-style villas where we suggest you stop and enjoy one of the most authentic specialties of Salento, “caffè leccese,” an espresso coffee poured over ice cubes and sweetened with almond milk. Just beyond Santa Cesarea, this rocky stretch of coastline offers one of the most spectacular sea caves in the Mediterranean: the Grotta Zinzulusa. Discovered by the bishop of Castro in the late 1700s, it has been open to visitors since 1957 and is well worth a guided tour (included in the package). A few hundred meters after the cave, our stage ends with the arrival in Castro.

Elevation gain: +278/-233 m



17.9 km

This day begins in wonder, with an initial exploration of the majestic Angevin castle of Castro, which gives the village its name (derived from the Latin word Castrum, meaning fortress). Built around the 12th century on the top of the promontory, the castle stands imposingly, and around it develops the village, with a spectacular view of the sea.

Next we will head to the pretty village of Marina di Marittima, from which a typical stretch of Salento countryside opens up, offering rural glimpses of the “pajare,” ancient circular or square rural constructions made entirely of stone in past centuries by local farmers. Before reaching Tricase last stop of the day where we will have an ice cream break (included in the package), we will discover together an authentic vegetal monument, a thousand-year-old Vallonea Oak that will leave you absolutely breathless.

Elevation gain: +258/-215 m



15 km

Today’s stage involves walking along the last stretch of the Via Francigena, until you reach the mighty yet essential Sanctuary of Santa Maria de Finibus Terrae in Leuca. These are the last kilometers that in ancient times took pilgrims from Canterbury to Rome, and then from Rome to ports farther east to undertake the journey to the Holy Land. Today this last stretch from Rome to Salento, called the Southern Via Francigena, has become part of the official route and is listed as one of the Council of Europe’s Cultural Routes.

You start walking from Tricase, with a short train ride to the most remote train station in Italy, often aboard small trains with only one carriage. Through the windows you can admire the typical landscape of the picturesque Salento countryside. Once you arrive at your destination, you pass through the quaint village of Gagliano del Capo (where “Capo” denotes a “promontory”) and suddenly the panorama is transformed in an extraordinary way: from the placid countryside you find yourself immersed in the blue sea, among caves and cliffs. It is a dreamlike experience that, after an ascent to Gagliano, allows one to resume the Via Francigena route to Leuca.

The arrival in Leuca is an authentic leap into the Mediterranean, with the last steps to be taken in the square and among the arcades of the sanctuary of Santa Maria de Finibus Terrae. Here, depending on weather conditions, a boat ride or, alternatively, a group dinner at a typical local osteria awaits you (Included in the package).

Elevation gain: +198/-328 m



After breakfast, check out and end of service.

1,790€ on promotion at 1,450.00€

The starting days for this guided tour in 2024 are:
– May 11, 2024
– October 12, 2024

The tour is activated only for a group consisting of a minimum of 4 people and a maximum of 8 people.

This tour is also available at other times of the year upon request for a group of minimum 4 people and maximum 8 people.

  • 7 nights in typical dwellings /agriturismi and masserie / hotels 3-4*, with breakfast
  • Private transfer to San Foca on day 2
  • Entrance to the Archaeological Park of Roca Vecchia on day 2
  • Entrance to Otranto Castle on day 3
  • 1 typical aperitif on day 4
  • Entrance to the Grotta della Zinzulusa on day 5
  • Train ticket from Tricase to Gagliano del Capo on day 7
  • Boat tour or dinner (depending on weather conditions) on day 7
  • Luggage transport
  • Local Guide (English speaking)
  • Water bottle
  • Power bank
  • Medical and luggage insurance
  • Full assistance
  • Tourist taxes to be paid locally, where applicable
  • Tips

These are some extra services you can add to your trip. If you are interested please contact us.

  • Hiking sticks: 20.00 €
  • Emergency kit: 15.00 €
  • Extra power bank: 15.00 €
  • Extra water bottle: 8.00 €
  • Single room supplement: from € 30.00 per night
  • Private transfers: on request
  • Extra nights: on request

The formula of this tour is guided, that is, it allows you to walk together with an experienced, multilingual local guide who will coordinate the pace of the group. We at Puglia Hiking Tours will also book all hotels and take care of luggage transportation while you walk at your own pace.

Together with the guide, you will define the departure times for each day.

Our tours represent Puglia in every way-even in elevation! Puglia is a hilly region surrounded by the sea: this is what you will find day after day. Some of these stages are almost completely flat, some are fun climbs and descents, and some have short climbs and or scenic views that will bring out the adventurer in you, if only for a few hundred meters.

We have created an itinerary to achieve a very difficult goal: to show you the most beautiful corners of our region, walking on the most striking trails.

The tour is suitable for everyone who is relatively used to walking, whatever their age.

In any case, it is always a pleasure for us to listen to your needs and customize the tour, giving you the best experience ever!

Lecce can be reached from Bari by train and is connected by Trenitalia.

Train schedules may vary, so before your trip we will be happy to help you with any updated information you need.

In any case, a private transfer service with driver is also available upon request from all airports, stations and ports in Puglia and beyond.

On the day of arrival, guests will meet the guide for a welcome briefing, during which useful information about the route and travel program will be provided.

In case of unforeseen problems, the guide will contact the booking office who will solve the problem or suggest the best solution.

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