9. From Lecce: Otranto, S.M. Leuca, Gallipoli & Galatina Tour
Visit 4 of the most picturesque towns in Salento on your own—Otranto, Santa Maria di Leuca, Gallipoli, and Galatina. Take a scenic route from the Adriatic to the Ionian Sea, between rocky coasts, small bays, and white beaches.
Head to your first stop of Otranto, a town in Salento full of history. Every corner highlights the passage of different civilizations, including the Romans, the Byzantines, the Ottomans, and the Aragoneses.
Enjoy free time to visit the splendid Cathedral, the Church of Saint Peter in perfect Byzantium style, the Castle, the Towers, the mighty Pelasgi Bastions, and the walls that surrounded the ancient city.
Next, reach Santa Maria di Leuca, along the wonderful Adriatic coast, characterized by cliffs overlooking the sea, caves, and bays with a rocky bottom. Along the way, admire Santa Cesarea Terme, Castro Marina, and the Ciolo Fiord.
Explore Santa Maria di Leuca, the heel of Italy, where the Ionian Sea meets the Adriatic Sea. From this tip of Puglia, soak in spectacular views of the harbor and the sea, as well as the sanctuary of Santa Maria de Finibus Terrae.
Continue along the Ionian coast to Gallipoli. This Greek city can be divided into 2 areas: the new village, where the tourist facilities and modern buildings arise, and the old city. The old city is located on a limestone island connected to the mainland by a 17th-century bridge.
During your free time, explore the historic center through a labyrinthine weave of narrow streets. Pass by traditional handicraft shops, impressive churches, and aristocratic palazzi. Also worth seeing are the Baroque Cathedral dedicated to St. Agatha, the Angevine Castle, and the Greek Fountain, one of the oldest fountains in Italy.
End the tour with a visit to Galatina, a real gem of art, history, and culture. Step inside the Basilica of Saint Catherine of Alexandria to marvel at the frescoes created by Giotto's disciples. You can also visit the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, and the monuments in the historical center.