The Sun Mountain is a hiking paradise in Puglia
GARGANO, THE SPUR OF THE ITALIAN BOOT, IS A LITTLE KNOWN HIKING PARADISE, EVEN THOUGH IT IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT VACATION PLACES IN ITALY. A PROMONTORY SURROUNDED BY DEEP BLUE SEA, BREATHTAKING TRAILS ON THE DRAMATIC COASTLINE OR IN THE INLAND OF THE GARGANO NATIONAL PARK.
GARGANO OFFERS ALSO IDEAL PLACES FOR OPEN-AIR STOPS SUCH AS FARMHOUSES (MASSERIE), TRABUCCHI (TRADITIONAL FISHING MACHINES) AND MOUNTAIN HUTS, WHERE YOU CAN TASTE TYPICAL TRADITIONAL DISHES, HANDMADE ORECCHIETTE PASTA, FAVA BEANS AND CHICORY, PANCOTTO AND LAMPASCIONI, A PARTICULAR KIND OF PIQUANT ONIONS YOU CAN FIND ONLY IN PUGLIA. YOU WILL FIND GENUINE FLAVORS ALSO IN THE MILK PRODUCTS SUCH AS PODOLIC CACIOCAVALLO, SHEEP BASKET-CHEESE AND OTHER CHEESE KINDS PRODUCED WITH THE MILK OF GARGANIC GOATS. BUT ALSO BAKERY PRODUCTS ARE REALLY GOOD: THE BIG BREAD WHEELS BAKED IN THE WOOD OVENS OF MONTE SANT’ANGELO, THE TYPICAL FOCACCIA FROM SAN MARCO IN LAMIS AND THE PAPOSCIA SANDWICH FROM VICO.
Scannamugliera – Pilgrim’s Way
THE SO-CALLED “HOLY STAIRS” (SCALA SANTA) IS SURELY THE MOST IMPORTANT HIKING TRAIL IN THE GARGANO. IT LITERALLY FOLLOWS THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE PILGRIMS ON THE PATH CONNECTING THE UNESCO SITE OF SAINT MICHAEL’S GROTTO IN MONTE SANT’ANGELO TO THE GULF OF MANFREDONIA, WHERE THE ANCIENT CITY OF SIPONTO WAS THE MAIN PORT TO THE HOLY LAND. THE NAME SCANNAMUGLIERA (OR SCANNAMOGLIERA) PERHAPS COMES FROM THE LANGOBARD ‘SCAHNDERH MULELERH’ (STRONG CLIMB).
THE FOUR BEACHES TRAIL IN MATTINATA AND THE SENTIERO DELL’AMORE
WE CAN CALL IT A HIKE-TO-BEACH TRAIL, A PERFECT COMBINATION OF ACTIVE HOLIDAY AND RELAX IN FRONT OF THE SEA IN THE SHADOW OF THE WHITE CLIFF OF THE BAYS OF VIGNANOTICA AND OF CALA DEI MERGOLI (BAIA DELLE ZAGARE).
YOU CAN START FROM THE DOWNTOWN OF MATTINATA AND WALK ALL THE 20 KM UNTIL THE TRATTORIA LA MONTAGNA (FERROVIE DEL GARGANO BUS STOP) OR DO ONLY THE LAST PART CALLED “LOVE PATH” (OR SENTIERO NATURA MERGOLI-VIGNANOTICA ON GOOGLE MAPS) IN ABOUT TWO HOURS.
THE SFILZI RESERVE in Foresta Umbra
Another day hike with good parking possibilities and close to a mountain hut with a restaurant and a coffee bar, the Rifugio Sfilzi. The route is a ring around the Biogenetic Sfilzi Reserve, one of the most important natural spots of the Foresta Umbra hosting a magical source of water, the Sfilzi “fountain”.
Perimetrale San Domino at the Isole Tremiti
Yes, you can spend a whole day in the Tremiti Islands first visiting San Nicola with its Benedectine monastery and then San Domino hiking the “perimetric” path circumnavigation the tiny island riddled with caves and exclusive swimming spots.
The Romandato is a route full of geological charm as well as an into-the-landscape attraction. You will be moving into the ancient riverbed, nowadays drained, floatings from the Foresta Umbra above Vico del Gargano through Ischitella unil the sea in Rodi Garganico. During geological eras, the powerful erosion shaped the vertical walls of this stunning canyon with flint and limestone designing whirlpools, veinings and colors in the rock. The stream is enriched by an explosion of flora and fauna and the occasional emergence of small water sources.
And much more …
We wanted to give you just some ideas of day hikes you can do during a holiday. Indeed, there are many more walking and trekking trails in Gargano such as Monte Saraceno and the wild orchids’ path of Monte Sacro in Mattinata or the Citrus and Olive groves path in Rodi Garganico. The Sentiero dei Trabucchi between Vieste and Peschici in an interesting project you can try offseason (it passes across beach clubs), better if you have a guide or a tour leader with you.
There are many more paths you should do with an expert outdoor guide, not only naturalistic tracks because Gargano is also a promontory full of history: for example, the hermitages of Stignano and Pulsano are worth a visit. Last but not at least, the Sun Mountain has its pilgrim route, the Via Francigena del Gargano or “Via Micaelica”.