Some people looking to book accommodation in hotels in Puglia wonder just what’s involved in driving there and then around the region once you’ve arrived. Here, we can help answer some of those questions.
Driving to the south
Italy has a great motorway network (Autostrada) and you can take the A14/A16 down to, say, Taranto or points of Puglia further north. Stretches of the motorway network are toll-roads.
At the time of writing, a single-leg journey in terms of road and tunnel tolls (excluding fuel) from Calais to Taranto via Mont Blanc/Aosta is likely to cost somewhere in the region of 220-250euros – say 400-500 round trip. Keep in mind that it’s a long drive at around 2100kms (1300 miles) from Calais to Taranto. Theoretically it could be driven in around 18 hours if you drove continuously, but that might be dangerous unless you had changes of driver – and even then possibly exhausting. Perhaps it would be better to plan an overnight stay or two en route, although that will add to your travel costs of course.
Driving in the region
Broadly speaking, driving systems are more or less familiar all over Europe these days, but there are some cultural issues to keep in mind. As some staff in the hotels in Puglia might be willing to admit (albeit privately), adherence to the driving laws isn’t perhaps always entirely as it should be and that can be something of a shock to foreign drivers.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that some of the regional towns are ancient, with very narrow and congested streets in their centres. Give way signs can be hard to spot, and priorities in a piazza can be very confusing and subject to local variations and custom.
In some larger towns, the traffic systems can be even more confusing and urban driving can be fast and sometimes aggressive. City centres are perhaps worth avoiding in your own car, particularly if right-hand drive, unless you have strong nerves; they are certainly worth avoiding with towed caravans due to the risk of getting stuck. Make sure you have thoroughly researched your route first and have an excellent street-map or sat-nav if transit is unavoidable in any of the major cities. In many cases, hotels in Puglia just out of the centres are often a good bet to consider.
Of course, much of the region is rural and a car is essential for much exploring outside of town centres. For the most part this is not an issue and you can enjoy driving around the relatively uncluttered roads. If you do wish to visit some of the larger town centres, you might want to ask your hotel for advice. In some cases local public transport might be available; in others your hotel might be able to recommend secure parking spots on the less congested outer areas of your destination, from where you’ll be able to take a bus or taxi into the centre (or walk). That option may avoid you needing to do battle with unfamiliar cramped and congested streets – stress is not what holidays here are meant to be about!
Do use the staff of your hotels in Puglia as a great source of local traffic advice and directions to local larger towns and cities – they’ll probably be only too pleased to offer assistance.