Low Salento tour

2 weeks roadtrip from Otranto to Santa Maria di Leuca

Here we are! We share with you an incredible itinerary we have done last July!
14 stops on the coastline of Low Salento, in the Nature Regional Park from Otranto to Santa Maria di Lauca (website only ITA), with the company of a bright turquoise sea and your camera. Almost all of these stops are beaches where you can relax and get some regenerative sun, but if you’re a photo lover, you cannot miss bringing your camera with you: you’ll see some of the most instagrammable places of Puglia!

Ready? Let’s begin!

Hi there!

Plan with us your trip from the old town of Otranto driving by the coastline to Santa Maria di Leuca.
Beaches, nature, sea, sun, and local culture!

Equipment

  • Backpack
  • Swimsuit
  • Comfy shoes
  • Camera and tripod
  • Beach towel
  • Sun lotion
  • Water bottle
  • Food

“No frills and comfy shoes” will be the mantra of this holiday!

You don’t need a cute dress or fancy bag: you need to be comfortable with your equipment. So, you actually need just a few stuff to enjoy this route. A good backpack where to put food, the water bottle, your camera, a beach towel, and a sun lotion it’s perfect and enough. You can travel pretty light, dressing your swimsuit under a t-shirt and shorts. Remember to put the sun lotion on your skin before starting your day and after every two hours. The game is made!

Way to travel

Car or bike

The easiest way to travel around Puglia is by car, so have a look at the services suggested here. But a lot of o people choose a more responsible and slow way to travel: bike. After arriving at the Airport of Salento Brindisi-Casale, you can get to Lecce by bus of the Sita Sud line, checking the timetable time table here, or grab a taxi ride calling by telephone the number 039 0831597901.

In Lecce, you should walk or bike from Piazzale Carmelo Bene to the Main Railway Station, so you can get a train to Otranto. When in Otranto, you can finally start your tour following our itinerary.

Season

Spring and summer

Spring is the best season to enjoy Puglia and its coastline. Beaches are not crowded, but the sun is warm and delightful yet, temperatures are perfect around 18° C and 25° C. But during Spring, there’s still the risk of a rainy day, and probably you cannot get your holidays in April or May. Summer, it’s a good time too! Maybe too hot if you’re not used to it, and a bit crowded, but still enjoyable.

Low Salento step by step

Step 1 • Otranto

Start your tour from Otranto.

Visit the old town with its incredible belvedere that overviews the seaside. Full of the many narrow streets made colorful and lively with the little gift shops and restaurants. Don’t miss to visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata, characterized by a magnificent mosaic floor; and the Aragonese Castle, a fortress built in a strategic location to protect the town and source of inspiration for the first Gothic novel “The Castle of Otranto” written by Horace Walpole (1764).

The second stop after Otranto is reachable a few kilometers out of the town: the Bauxite Cave. An unreal and exciting place characterized by bright red rocks in contrast with a spectacular emerald lake.
Take your time to visit it on a little hiking tour and admire the sea in sight!

Go on with your tour getting to Punta Palascìa, the easternmost point of Italy. Here, following a light and short hiking or biking trail, you can get to the iconic lighthouse, the night reference point for sailors since 1867 when it was built.

The last stop in the Otranto area we advise you to visit is Porto Badisco (Badisco harbor), also known as the Aeneas’ landing. Such a beautiful destination with a small sandy beach and a bathing rocky coastline where is nestled the famous Grotta Dei Cervi (Deer Cave).

Step 2 • Santa Cesarea Terme

It’s the turn of Santa Cesarea Terme: a little town on the Adriatic coastline,  which is a hydrothermal and very relevant tourism site.
You find it on the coastal road from Otranto to Santa Maria di Leuca, exactly where your tour will end.

While you are in Santa Cesarea Terme, book a reservation at the Lido Caicco as a gift to yourself. Lido Caicco is a terraced seashore in a little but marvelous natural pool you can dive in enjoying the clear sea of Santa Cesarea Terme.

Looking above you at the incredibly blue sky, you are captured by the Moorish stylish dome of Villa Sticchi: your next stop in the tour of the magnificences of the Low Salento coastline.

Villa Sticchi was built between 1894 and 1900 on a 20 m high rocky spur, in a perfect combination of western and eastern cultures. It overviews the Adriatic sea, and with its magnificence, it is now a landmark in Puglia for all photo lovers.

Before leaving the Santa Cesarea Terme area, don’t miss spending some hours under the sun and into the sea of Porto Miggiano Bay, such a fantastic place!
Getting to the beach is a bit hard, but it is worth it!  You should climb the rocks, and it is not easy for people with walking problems or disabilities. If you cannot climb down to get to the beach, you can still enjoy the view from the white cliff that holds the bay. That’s incredible!

Step 3 • Castro Marina

Going forward on the coastline road, you get to Castro: the ancient Castrum Minervae. It is also known as Aeneas’ Landing since Virgil wrote in the Aeneid that Castrum Minervae is the first Aeneas’ Landing and, in 2007, archeologists found some ruins of Minerva’s temple confirming this theory. But before reaching the Aeneas’ Harbour, there’s a stop you must see: Zinzulusa Cave.

The Zinzulusa Cave is a natural cave on the coastline. Its name Zinzulusa comes from “zinzuli”: rags in Salentino (the dialect from Salento). This was the name given to the stalactites and stalagmites from the sailors boating there in the old days. The Cave can be visited on an exciting walking tour, which also gives you the chance to visit the Aragonese Castle of Castro on the same ticket, which we recommend. The tour takes 40/45 minutes, after which you can move to the Aeneas’ Harbour in Castro Marina and see the floating boats.

It sounds odd, but at the Aeneas’ Harbour, the seabed is so clear that, for an optical illusion, it looks like boats are floating on air.

Step 4 • Marittima Marina

Here you are at your ten stop at Cala dell’Acquaviva. This cute bay is a rocky beach famous for its water springs that make the seawater always fresh and clear; the name: Acquaviva literally means living water indeed.

This is one of the beaches we fell in love with!

We actually prefer strolling around finding the best places to get some photos, not to lie on the beach under the sun for hours. But, here, we decided to take some hours from our intense timetable to dive into that incredible sea.

Anyway, another good entertainment is watching the many local guys diving from the cliff to catch the attention of their beloved girls!

Step 5 • Tricase

Next stop? Tricase Porto, a district of Tricase famous for being one of the most beautiful and authentic beaches of Low Salento. What is very interesting here, is that it’s not only a beach or a little harbor, but also a museum.
It has been recognized as “Ecomuseum of Regional Interest” and it’s the unique sample of a harbor that gets the title of a museum for its natural and human asset.

After visiting Tricase Porto, in 3 km, you arrive at Marina Serra, another little district of Tricase, famous for its natural swimming pool. This place is magical!
Frequented mostly by locals, it’s a cute place with a little old fashioned atmosphere. The beautiful turquoise seawater is surrounded by some coves: remains of an ancient quarry. Here you don’t find fancy sunbeds and umbrellas or vain girls. At the Natural Pool of Marina Serra, life is simple and authentic.

Step 6 • Gagliano del capo

Your tour is almost done! Only three fantastic stops to the end.
Another location on your way is Il Ciolo: a rocky cove crossed by a bridge. People use to come to Il Ciolo to dive from the cliff or (the bravest) even from the bridge that is 40 m high.
It is attended by climbing and hiking lovers who are used to climb the beautiful cliff full of many Mediterranean Machis species. So, we suggest spending a couple of hours hiking the trail on the cliff and getting a bath in the fantastic pebbly bay.

Step 7 • Santa Maria di Leuca

Your last stop on this tour is in Santa Maria di Leuca.
One of the most famous panoramas of Low Salento is the Basilica Shrine of Santa Maria de Finibus Terrae, where there’s also a beautiful lighthouse that is the reference point for sailors and faithful. Few steps out of the square that hosts the Basilica, there’s a stunning belvedere from which you can enjoy Santa Maria di Leuca and its beautiful harbor from above.

Leave your comments, feedback, and feelings about this itinerary!
Contact us by the form below if you need to know more about it or if you want us to customize a tour for you!

Leave your comments, feedback, and feelings about this itinerary!


Contact us by the form below if you need to know more about it or if you want us to customize a tour for you!

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