Puglia offers some absolutely stunning scenery and some superb walking territory. Nestled between the Adriatic on one side and the Ionian Sea on the other, the region is surprisingly varied and there can surely be no better way to appreciate the beautiful scenery and countryside than on foot. You have the option of enjoying one of the many coastal routes on offer or instead you could opt to head inland and enjoy a more rural hike.
Unfortunately though, this region isn’t as well organised as other parts of Italy in terms of having marked trails and maps of paths easily available to access. It is worth you visiting the local tourist information offices on arrival. They will hopefully be able to help point out some good local walking trails near you.
However, if you can, I’d certainly aim to base your stay near to one of the National Parks in the region if you are planning on doing some serious walking during your stay.
One of our favourite destinations if you’re wanting to enjoy a number of good walks is the Gargano National Park. The landscape is simply stunning with white limestone cliffs overlooking bright blue seas contrasting with the dense forests and lush green meadows. The Umbra Forest that lies within the promontory covers an area of over 15,000 hectares and is protected as a national park. It’s a paradise for walkers and cyclists with plenty of paths and tracks for everyone to enjoy, and maps of the trails and paths are available to collect from the visitor centre and museum located in the middle of the forest.
Further South is the Parco Nationale dell’ Alta Murgia. This extends from the Adriatic coast to the uplands of Luciano and is where walkers will come across wildlife in abundance, including a variety of mushrooms as well as wild asparagus. The crowning glory of the park is the Castel del Monte, built by Frederick II in the 13th century and now a UNESCO world heritage site.
If you’re looking to enjoy some longer and more strenuous hikes during your stay, we would recommend travelling in either the Spring or across late Summer and early Autumn when temperatures tend to be kinder. Some may well argue that the best time to visit is in the Spring, when you will be treated to a glorious abundance of wildflowers and green countryside. However, others prefer September. However, after the dry hot weather of July and August, you may find the landscape rather dry and scorched at this time of year.