Puglia’s rugged and beautiful landscape is well-suited to a huge range of activities perfect for a group villa holiday. Venture out from your private “trulli” villa and explore the huge range of things to do in Puglia. See the historic towns and cities by bike, or jump aboard a boat to check out the hidden caves and beaches along the unspoilt coastline. Foodie groups will love trips to the hills to taste the incredible olive oil produced here, or take a cooking class to learn how to make the most of all the local delicacies.
1. Get on your bike with Velo Service
Eco-tourists, rejoice! You can now see the very best of Puglia completely guilt-free with the green-thinking Velo Service company, which offers ‘zero emissions tours’ of Puglia via bicycle or rickshaw. You can rent a bicycle for anything from 24 hours to a week and the knowledgeable team will help you plan a cycle route that ticks off all the sights on your wish list, and probably plenty more you hadn’t even thought of. Alternatively, you can plump for a two-hour guided group tour from a long list of possible town, coast and countryside routes in and around Bari and Lecce.
2. Master Italian cooking with The Awaiting Table Cookery School
While most cooking schools focus on how their food is made, the team at The Awaiting Table Cookery School in Lecce are more interested in teaching you why. Their day-long food and wine classes don’t just cover ingredients and methods, but put both into context, with explanations of the traditions and history behind them. You’ll leave this cooking course up to speed on Puglia’s culture and how everything from migration to climate affects what goes on the plates and in the wine glasses in this part of the world. You’ll probably never look at the Italian wine aisle in the supermarket in the same way again.
3. Snorkel with LEUCA Explorer
Explore the coastal caves and underwater marine life of Puglia’s turquoise waters with Leuca Explorer boat trips. You can sail on either the Ionian or Adriatic seas, with both routes serving up stunning views of the coastline and close encounters with Salento’s trademark caves. Expert guides reveal hidden caves you wouldn’t even know were there, some housing secret beaches, and will swim inside them with you to help you get a closer look. You can make numerous stop-offs for snorkelling in the crystal-clear water and, if you fancy it, equipment is also available to hire for trolling, jigging and bottom fishing. For an alternative perspective, sign up for a sunset tour and enjoy a romantic sailing trip at dusk.
4. Learn to kitesurf with Locals Salento Kitesurf
Never tried kitesurfing before? Not a problem. The experienced, certified and seriously enthusiastic instructors at Locals Salento Kitesurf offer courses for every age and ability, including advanced, intermediate and complete beginner. Whatever stage you’re at, you will be kitted out with equipment that’s handpicked for your weight and the wind condition, before heading out for one-to-one tuition with a tutor. At the end of your course you’ll receive a video recording of you demonstrating your skills and a licence recognised by kitesurfing outfits worldwide that details what level you’ve reached.
5. Taste liquid gold at Azienda Olearia Schirinzi
Puglia is Italy’s olive oil capital, with millions of olive trees and dozens of high-quality home-grown varieties produced across the full length of the region. If you want to leave the area with some insider knowledge on this liquid gold, head to the HQ of the Schirinzi olive oil brand, where you can take a guided tour of the mill. The team here has been producing olive oil since the 1960s, so it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about the process. They’ll guide you through it, from harvesting and extraction to storing and bottling, before showing off their product with a tasting of oils, pickled olives and paté.
6. Charter a yacht with Selavì
Make like a celebrity and take to the waters around Puglia on a luxury yacht. Kitted out with double cabins, bathrooms and a huge sundeck, the 14-metre yacht offers the chance to sail the beautiful waters of the Ionian Sea in complete comfort. With only a limited number of passengers, these day trips have an exclusive air to them and for special occasions, you can hire the whole boat for a romantic dinner or small private party. Days on the yacht include an expert crew, lunch and drinks, and can be as relaxing or lively as you like.
7. Go gourmet with Artisans of Taste
If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to cherry-pick the best produce at the market, this is the day trip for you. Italian foodies and wine experts lead these compact but comprehensive half-day tours in Lecce, which are packed with insider information on the local food and drink scene. Choose from the wine tour, where you’ll visit beautiful wineries, sample the best vino from Primitivo and Negroamaro and learn about terroir and local production methods. Or, join one of the three-hour food tours, where you will visit markets that only the locals know about and become an expert at buying the best produce on offer. There is a gourmet tour too, which reveals the best local producers with visits to cheesemongers, artisans and pastry shops.
If you can’t wait to get started planning your next group holiday to Puglia, check out our amazing range of traditional and modern villas or ask our concierge team for help. We can also help you to check out the best foodie experiences, or get the best tips from a local.