See our boutique hotel deals
Smith Exclusive: Early bird: stay 2 nights and save 30% - Daily breakfast and 30% off stays of 2 nights or more
PlanesPalese airport in Bari is served by British Airways from London Gatwick (www.britishairways.com) | or Ryanair from London Stansted (www.ryanair.com). The airport is 15km from the city centre; taxis cost around €20. Ryanair flies to Papola Casale airport in Brindisi. The city centre is 7km away – taxis are around €15–€20.
TrainsIf you want to travel by Eurostar part of the way, sleeper trains from Paris connect to Italy’s major cities. Direct trains run from Bari to Matera (www.ferroviedellostato.it).
AutomobilesYou’ll want a car for exploring the mountain ranges | ruins and ravishing coastline | but watch out for driving in the small hamlets and towns – the streets are narrow and winding | and finding parking space can be challenging.
TaxisYou can flag taxis by bus and train stations – since they’re not particularly wallet-friendly, they’re best for short journeys.
Sleeping in a cave might not sound seductive, but when you’ve bedded down in the cliff-carved caverns of Matera, you feel differently. For the most romantic of entrances, arrive by night, when Matera twinkles with lights and a stone staircase dotted with flickering candles signposts the reception. Once inhabited by prehistoric creatures, then by monks and now by travellers in search of the most atmospheric bedrooms in Europe, these nougat-coloured caves have a church-like serenity, aided by dark wood pews, altar-style tables and thick white candles in the stone walls’ natural nooks and niches. Suite 13 has its own balcony overlooking the ravine, and the bathroom has its own fireplace beside the big-enough-for-two tub.