Secrets of Malta & Puglia



per person
Duration: 14 Nights
Destination: St Julians, Malta
Region: Europe
Deal Code: PA1F4IJ7




Explore the wonders of Malta on this incredible tour – from the capital, Valletta, to the historically rich towns of Birgu and Mdina, and the villages of Gozo. Along the way you’ll see picturesque harbours and indulge in cheese and wine tastings, with plenty of time to visit the hidden coves and beaches of this charming archipelago.

The enchanting Italian region of Puglia is famous for its historic cities, quaint fishing villages and exquisite cuisine. From Naples to Bari, Lecce, Martina Franca, Matera and back again, we’ll delve into the area’s many splendours – touring historic towns, discovering local traditions and indulging in a tasting or two along the way.

Your Fly & Tour Package Includes:

  • $1000 flight credit
  • 8 day Malta Highlights guided holiday with Back-Roads Touring, St Julian’s return
  • Includes accommodation, 11 meals, select activities including a scenic cruise around the Blue Grotto plus more
  • 8 day Secrets of Puglia guided holiday with Back-Roads Touring, Naples return
  • Includes accommodation, 11 meals, select activities including a local tasting of Manduria’s famous Primitivo wines plus more

Pricing is based on per person twin share for travel 10-24 September 2022

Malta Highlights

Tour Highlights:

  • Uncover the rich history and magnificent Baroque architecture of Valletta with a local guide
  • Enjoy a scenic cruise around the breathtaking Blue Grotto
  • Try your hand at making your own pizza at a traditional pizzeria in Valletta


Day 1 - St Julian’s

We’ll meet the group in the picturesque resort town of St Julian’s and get to know one another over a delicious welcome meal. Welcome to Malta!

Accommodation: The George Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Dinner

Day 2 - St Julian’s – Mosta – Mdina – St Julian’s

We’ll begin our second day together with a visit to the stunning Mosta Church, before we move on to the beautiful wilderness of the Buskett Gardens. Enjoy some free time wandering the only woodland area in Malta before we continue to the island’s old capital: Mdina, also known as the ‘silent city’. Here we’ll explore the extraordinary mix of medieval and Baroque architecture with a local guide and have some free time to enjoy lunch at our leisure. On this afternoon’s agenda: an indulgent wine tasting at a local winery. You’ll find it difficult to find a bottle of Maltese wine back home, so we recommend purchasing a bottle before we return to St Julian’s for an evening spent relaxing at our hotel or exploring the array of restaurants and waterfront bars.

Accommodation: The George Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast

Day 3 - St Julian’s – Valletta – Birgu – St Julian’s

Our third day of exploration will begin with a locally guided walking tour of Valletta. We’ll stroll by the New Parliament Building, Upper Barrakka Gardens, Grand Harbour and Grandmaster’s Palace, uncovering the tiny capital’s rich history as we go. Then, we’ll enjoy free time to wander the stunning Baroque architecture of St John’s Co-Cathedral. For lunch, unleash your inner chef at a Maltese pizza-making class before sitting down to enjoy your creation. Continuing on, we’ll visit the oldest area in Malta: Birgu – commonly referred to as Città Vittoriosa (Victorious City). We’ll enjoy a walking tour through the city’s ancient narrow streets with a local guide – visiting the likes of the Inquisitor’s Palace and panoramic Gardjola Gardens. After a full day, enjoy an evening spent at your leisure back in St Julian’s.

Accommodation: The George Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 4 - St Julian’s

Today is yours to spend entirely at your leisure. You may want to explore on a harbour cruise around the ports of Valletta – a natural treasure trove for photographers. Alternatively, you could spend the day enjoying the stunning views from our hotel’s rooftop terrace or relaxing by the swimming pool. This evening, we recommend venturing out in search of a waterfront alfresco restaurant for some delicious local seafood.

Accommodation: The George Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast

Day 5 - St Julian’s – Qrendi – Cirkewwa – Xaghra

Today’s agenda begins with a stop at the Hagar Qim temples, where we’ll have the opportunity to explore this remarkable site with a local guide. Then, we’ll journey onwards the mesmerising Blue Grotto. Enjoy a locally guided boat trip around the phosphorescent coloured bays and complex of limestone caves – before continuing on to the ferry point at Cirkewwa, with a photo stop at Popeye’s Village along the way. After a speedboat transfer to Gozo, the evening in Xaghra will be ours to spend exploring at our own pace.

Accommodation: The Cornucopia Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast

Day 6 - Xaghra – Victoria – Xaghra

Today we’ll visit the spectacular megalithic temple complex of Ggantija – the most ancient temples in Malta and boasting an ancient history that’s older than the pyramids of Egypt. After moving on to the imposing Old Citadel in Victoria – the ancient fortified city that can be seen from almost anywhere on Gozo, we’ll roll up our sleeves for a hands-on cheesemaking experience at a local restaurant and enjoy a delectable Maltese lunch. After stopping off for a photo or two at the peaceful village of Sannat, we’ll round off a busy day with a visit to the Dreams of Horses Farm, where we’ll be guided around the equestrian therapy centre by a member of the team. Later, an evening of leisure time is in store for us back at the hotel.

Accommodation: The Cornucopia Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 7 - Xaghra – San Lawrenz – Marsalforn – Xaghra

We may be nearing the end of our journey, but there’s still plenty to explore! First, we’ll stop to visit Fungus Rock – an islet off the coast of San Lawrenz that holds a peculiar history. After hearing the stories from our local guide, we’ll move on to the unusual Xwejni Salt Pans. A 350-year-old checkerboard of rock-cut salt pans, the production of sea salt here has been passed from generation to generation and is a fascinating sight to behold. Before returning to Xaghra, we’ll make a refreshing stop at Xwejni Bay for a dip in the crystal-clear water. Later, we’ll come together for one last dinner together, sharing stories of the week’s adventures.

Accommodation: The Cornucopia Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 8 - Xaghra – St Julian’s

After a final breakfast and leisurely morning, we’ll catch the ferry back to St Julian’s – where our tour will end later this afternoon.

Meals: Breakfast

Secrets of Puglia

Tour Highlights:

  • Immerse yourself in the fascinating history of the Sassi di Matera cave dwellings
  • Sample the rich flavours of Manduria’s famous Primitivo wines with a local tasting
  • Explore the awe-inspiring expanse of Castellana Caves

Day 1 - Naples

A hub of intoxicating culture and historic masterpieces – we’ll meet the group in the vibrant city of Naples. After settling in, tonight we’ll have the opportunity to get to know one another over a delicious welcome meal.

Accommodation: Palazzo Alabardieri (or similar)
Meals: Dinner

Day 2 - Naples – Andria – Bari

After breakfast, we’ll board the mini-coach and hit the road to the first stop of our journey: Andria. Whilst we’re here, a local expert will reveal how mozzarella and burrata are made – and we’ll have the chance to taste both delicious cheeses before we move on to bustling Bari. First, we’ll uncover the city’s seaside charms and rich history with a local guide. Then, we’ll enjoy the rest of the evening to delve into the vibrant food scene at our leisure. As the birthplace of orecchiette pasta, we recommend sampling the local hand-made delicacy in one of the trattorias of Bari’s Old Town.

Accommodation: Bari Palace (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast

Day 3 - Bari – Ostuni – Lecce

Today, we’ll leave Bari behind as we make tracks to Ostuni – also known as the ‘White City’ thanks to its plenitude of white-washed houses. Upon arrival, we’ll learn the secrets behind some traditional cuisine at a cooking demonstration and savour our sumptuous creations for lunch. Appetites satiated, we’ll move on to magnificent Lecce – where we’ll have the rest of the evening to explore the impressive sandstone buildings, upmarket boutiques, winding alleyways and spectacular piazzas.

Accommodation: Hotel Santa Chiara (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 4 - Lecce – Gallipoli – Lecce

This morning, we’ve an appointment to keep at an underground olive mill museum in the historic fishing port of Gallipoli. Here, we’ll uncover the age-old technique of how local farmers extracted ‘green gold’ to be exported across Europe. Then, we’ll enjoy some free time to wander at our leisure – before returning to Lecce for an in-depth walking tour. Resplendent church facades and intricately detailed gargoyles – our local guide will take us around the exquisite Baroque architecture that gives the city its distinctive character.

Accommodation: Hotel Santa Chiara (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast

Day 5 - Lecce – Manduria – Martina Franca

Today, we’ll make our way into the stunning Manduria region. We’ll savour a tasting of the region’s famous Primitivo wine – a unique blend that draws its intense flavours and deep colours from the region’s indigenous grapes. Following that, we’ll move on to our final stop of the day: the beautiful Martina Franca.

Accommodation: Relais Villa San Martino (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 6 - Martina Franca – Alberobello – Castellana Caves – Martina Franca

Our first stop of the day will be Alberobello – a UNESCO World Heritage site that’s famous for its charming cone-topped trulli. After learning more about the limestone buildings on a locally guided walking tour, we’ll move on to the spellbinding Castellana Caves. This expansive cave system boasts a unique landscape of stalactites and stalagmites that have formed over 2 million years. You’ll have some free time to explore at your own pace – however visiting the breathtaking Grotta Bianca is a must! Back in Martina Franca, we’ll have the evening to explore the city at our leisure or relax back at our hotel after a busy day.

Accommodation: Relais Villa San Martino (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast

Day 7 - Martina Franca – Altamura – Matera

This morning we’ll explore the medieval streets of Altamura with a local guide – with an included bread tasting session at a quaint local bakery to round off our visit. Then, our journey continues onwards to the mesmerising city of Matera: the jewel of the Basilicata region. We’ll embark on a walking tour of the ancient Sassi cave dwellings – with our local guide providing a fascinating insight into Matera’s extraordinary history. Later, we’ll enjoy some relaxation time back at our hotel – before coming together for tonight’s final group dinner.

Accommodation: Palazzo del Duca (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 8 - Matera – Naples

After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll say goodbye to beautiful Matera as we hit the road again. Coming full circle this afternoon – our tour will end in Naples.

Meals: Breakfast

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Terms & Conditions

* Conditions apply. Offer is limited, subject to availability and change without notice. Promotion is correct and valid at the time of publication. Booking and full supplier terms and conditions apply. Valid for new bookings only and not combinable with any other offer (unless stated).

Prices listed are per person in Australian/New Zealand Dollars, based on twin occupancy, including all discounts unless otherwise stated. The offer is subject to availability at time of booking.  Fares are capacity controlled and are subject to change at any time without notice. Prices/Offers are correct as at 25 November 2021 and can be withdrawn without notice. Hotels may charge resort fees not included in this package, payable direct upon check in. Air credit is applicable on airline of choice, subject to availability and subject to the carriers’ flight schedules and conditions. Visas are not included. Payments made by credit card will incur a surcharge.