I wrote as a private message to an area expert about this, but the reply has helpful advice anyway, so here it is (next para). Any other opinions MOST welcome. Extra query: One of the Matera hotels has a video that 'walks you through' how to get to the hotel. It's steep ! Downhill on the video but I'm worrying about uphill. I think I'll be fine, but not sure how my wife will be on steep cobbled roads in the heat. Is it a real pain navigating on foot around Matera? The hotel I'm looking at to stay is in the quieter Rione Casalnuovo. (Near the gorge?) Would it be difficult continually going back and to from here to nearer the centre fo restaurants, groceries etc? I would consider, say L'hotel In Pietra or similar - but would that be noisie, nearer to the centre? Any cave hotel advice welcome ! Must be a cave. (We are late 50s in age, reasonably fit but not super-fit.)
ORIGINAL MESSAGE - On October 27, 2011 3:13 PM cheshiredave wrote:
Next June. I have flights booked to/from Bari, 12 nights apart. I rushed as the flight were disappearing. Now I think a week or more in Matera is too long?
Also, we would like maybe 5 or 6 or 7 nights near the sea - VERY near the sea, with a sea view for my wife. But which seaside towns are best? Bear in mind that Bari and Matera are involved. I really did not want to hire a car, but am starting to think it is essential.
Thanks a million ! David H.
REPLY - Greeting cheshiredave! You should post in the forums so others would have the opportunity to offer information as well.
Puglia is really best seen by car – Puglia is lovely but you work a little harder to see the sights in Puglia.
Not to say you couldn’t plan and travel via public transport, but it would very much depend on your destinations. You might hire the car for some of the time.
Remember that although Trenitalia serves Bari, many areas are served by the Ferrovie Appulo Lucane and the Ferrovie del Sud Est.
Bari is a tough town and not the place to drive!
Matera is phenomenal, but the sassi are compact. You would probably enjoy 2-3 relaxing days – Stay in a sassi hotel in the historic centre and soak the ambiance, tour the sassi and Duomo, enjoy the trattorie…
Parking is challenging in Matera - If you were to decide to hire a car, hire the car departing Matera, or return the car just prior to arriving in Matera. Take the Pugliairbus between Bari’s airport and Matera.
Depending on your arrival and departure times, you may also decide to end in Matera to better position for your departing flight.
Ostuni is lovely, not by the sea, but the nearby beaches are stunning. Monopoli is also a charming town.
Despite arriving in Bari and spending time in Matera, I would still encourage a visit to Lecce and since you’d like a week at the sea, consider Gallopoli or Otranto. Possibly begin in the far south.