- Enjoy relaxing train travel through the French and Italian countryside, with lovely views of the Alps
- Take a private walking tour of Lecce, to discover the city’s rich history and Baroque architecture
- Explore hidden sea caves around the Salento coast
- Eat out in the region of Italy most renowned for food (which is saying something)
- N.B. This itinerary can be done entirely by train
Contact one of our Italy specialists + 44 (0) 20 3958 6120
With a night's stay in Milan on both your outward and return journey, and four nights in the sunny southern city of Lecce, this seven-day London to Puglia by train trip blends culture and relaxation in a part of Italy renowned for fabulous food and beautiful beaches.
Your eco-friendly itinerary begins with a train ride from London to Milan, the ultimate slow travel excursion. After an evening spent indulging in authentic Italian cuisine in Milan, head off bright and early on the next leg of your train journey from Milan to Lecce. The scenic route takes you through idyllic Italian countryside, charming medieval villages and abundant vineyards. Upon arrival in Lecce, you’ll be treated to a classic Puglian dinner, often considered to be the best food in the country.
Spend the next four days strolling through Lecce, learning about the city’s rich history and marvelling at its magnificent Baroque architecture. The surrounding regions of Galatina, Gallipoli and Santa Maria di Leuca are equally charming and can also be visited on a day trip. For an extra special activity, explore the hidden sea caves along the coast of Salento with an expert guide.
LONDON TO MILAN
Get ready to set off on your six-day eco-friendly train itinerary to the sunny southerly Italian city of Lecce, in Puglia. Today you will be travelling for just over 12-hours, so kick back with a gripping book while you coast across Europe, from London to Milan. The first leg of your trip is the speedy two-and-a-half hour Eurostar train from London's St Pancras to the Gare du Nord in Paris. From here it's an easy seven-minute ride on the RER - the Parisian metro - to Gare de Lyon (two stops on the Line D), where the next part of your adventure begins. You have enough time here to savour a Parisian lunch (we can recommend a bistro by the station) before boarding your next train.
Paris to Milan on the Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV) will take a little over seven-hours, via Turin. The journey lives up to its grande vitesse name, speeding at nearly 190mph until Lyon, before travelling at a more sedate pace across the foothills of the Alps, through a tunnel into Italy and on to Turin and then Milan. After checking into your peaceful, luxury hotel in Milan this evening, have a comfortable night's sleep before you embark on the next leg of your journey tomorrow.
MILAN TO LECCE
After breakfast this morning you will travel a further nine hours down to your main destination, Lecce, where you will be staying for four nights. Your journey is on the direct Frecciabianca train service, which will see you skipping across the idyllic Italian countryside, passing vineyards, olive groves, medieval villages and woodlands on your journey down the east coast. When you arrive in Lecce, make yourself at home in your hotel room, before heading down to the hotel's restaurant for a rich Puglian dinner. Italians generally consider Puglian food the best in the country, which is saying something. Dine al fresco, enjoying a selection of Puglian classics.
LECCE'S LUSCIOUS HISTORY
After a leisurely breakfast, get ready to stretch your legs on a fantastic three-hour private walking tour. At the core of the city sits its main square, Piazza Sant'Oronzo, home to a Roman era amphitheatre. The theatre, which once held a staggering 25,000 people, is only half-exposed as so many other buildings were built on top of it across the centuries. Sitting on top of the hidden part of the amphitheatre is the Church of Santa Maria della Grazia, built in the late 16th century.
After admiring the sites from the streets, delve below the Palazzo Taurino to its underground museum - housed in a former synagogue - showcasing the Jewish history of medieval Lecce. Your guide will teach you about the history of this rustic city, before treating you to the famous pasticiotto leccese; custard-filled pastries, first created in Lecce, in 1745, and as delicious today as ever. Our Concierge can recommend and reserve a table in one of the city's finest restaurants for dinner in the evening.
DAY AT LEISURE
Today is free for you to spend as you wish. Staying local, take another whirl around the extremely photogenic city of Lecce, brimming with secret doorways hidden down narrow streets of golden sandstone; it is the ideal place for a laid-back passeggiata (evening stroll). Alternatively, you may wish to relax at your hotel. As the evening draws closer, savour an aperitivo in a quaint authentic bar. For those looking to explore further afield, venture further around the Puglia region to Galatina, Gallipoli and Santa Maria di Leuca to enjoy gothic churches, blissful beaches with crystal clear waters, a historic lighthouse and picturesque views. Connoisseurs must also visit Nardo to sample some divine Primitivo wine, and we can recommend a suitable itinerary to make the most of today according to your specific interests.
OTRANTO COAST BY BOAT
Today you will explore the coast of Otranto by boat, an area blessed with pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters and dramatic white cliffs that plunge into the sea. The south of Italy boasts fabulous landscapes and lush vegetation on land, but this boat tour will take you on a magical four-hour journey around the rocky shore, exploring the mystical scenes kept secret by the sea. To the east, from Santa Maria Di Leuca to Otranto and even to Santa Foca, you'll find turquoise water, coves, caves and small charming villages. The exact route is decided on the day according to the weather conditions, but the top spots such as Mulino d’Acqua, Baia Morrone, Baia dei Turchi and Baia delle Orte, in the vast majority of cases, will be included.
LECCE TO MILAN
Make the most of your final full day by kicking off from the heel of Italy's boot and travelling back up to Milan. The journey will take approximately nine-and-a-half hours, ushering you into Milan in time for a wander through this stylish city and a last Italian supper. As ever, ask our clued-up local Concierge for advice on where to eat, and to book you a table. Indulge in a delicious dinner and a negroni sbagliato (Milan's variation on the theme - with prosecco instead of gin) or two, to round off your day.
TRAIN BACK HOME
Today you will be venturing home; this journey will take approximately ten hours in total. Enjoy the trip through the foothills of the Alps in reverse, enjoying lunch on board. For the final leg of your journey, transfer back across Paris on the RER before you board the speedier two-and-a-half hour Eurostar train from Paris to London.
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