We were on the Puglia, Lecce and Vieste tour in early September and thoroughly enjoyed the tour. I would like to commend our tour guide, Paula and driver, Angelo who were both excellent throughout the trip. All the locations visited were excellent, and the highlights were probably the troglodyte city of Matera, the trulli houses of Alberobello and the seaside town of Vieste.
Review by: Stuart & Linda, Bletchley Park on 01/09/2018
We had a great time on our recent tour, which was expertly led by Paola. The places we visited offered a fascinating mix of histories and architectures, with Matera seeming to be everyone's highlight. The hotels were all very good quality, and the coach travel was always comfortable, with hardly ever more than a couple of hours between stops. Our driver, Salvatore, always made you feel safe, and always managed to stick to schedule. Meals were always enjoyable and satisfying, and the evening excursions to carefully chosen restaurants outside the hotels were particularly pleasant. We would strongly recommend this holiday, as it has confirmed again our high opinion of Riviera Travel.
Review by: Martin and Felicity Hancox on 18/06/2018
I have just returned from a magnificent week in Puglia. It is the first time I have used Riviera Travel but cannot fault the holiday at all. The organisation was first class, and catered for all tastes, and the tour Manager Paula was superb, very knowledgeable on the country and kept us entertained with her witty tales. The hotels were very comfortable and meals arranged in restaurants by Paula were superb and gave us a wonderful insight of the true Italy. I will certainly be looking for another Riviera holiday very soon.
Review by: Paula Whitehouse on 16/06/2018
I have just returned from this holiday and can think of nothing to complain about. The customer service we received on this holiday was second to none. Paula our guide is wonderful and Riviera are very lucky to have such a kind caring person working for them. This lady goes out of her way to make sure everyone is having a good time. The hotels were fine and the places we saw were so interesting. I suggest visit this area of Italy before the secret is out how beautiful and interesting it is. This is my first trip my friend and I had taken with Riveria and it wont be our last.
Review by: Janet Rowland on 09/06/2018
Driving back from Manchester after our recent tour in Puglia Lecce and Vieste we asked each other if we could fault Riviera. The answer was decidedly NO. In no way. Fantastic service, value, company - really everything (except the weather - and Ryanair's late-as-usual last flight of the day!)
The value was also excellent (we have been wth Riviera once before but generally we book our own tours in France and Italy) and so were the three knowledgeable guides in Lecce, Matera and Bari. Pur tour
manager-Paula- was excellent, and so was the driver.
We were lucky with the company too. Several 80- plusses and quite a lot of ladies on their own. Paula coped with everything expertly with tact, discretion and good humour.
I could go on-but at least I have made contact to express well deserved praise.
Long may Riviera Travel thrive. We shall go on one of your tours again - please!
Review by: Ann and Clive Fewins on 07/05/2018
We had a fantastic time in Puglia our tour manager Paula was so knowledgeable ,helpful and friendly. The whole group were great and we made a lot of friends. The hotels were excellent as was the food in the restaurants would definitely recommend this tour.
Review by: Gerald white on 09/06/2018
We have just returned from a fantastic holiday in Italy. The tour was run at a very good pace allowing plenty of time to take in the sights and atmosphere. The choice of locations provided a wonderful contrast of scenery. The visit to the Agriturismi farm was the highlight of the tour, the food was fantastic and the staff made you feel really welcome. Finally, I must make a special mention to our guide, Paola who was very informative and went out of her way to make the tour so enjoyable and also to our driver Donnatto who did a fantastic job especially on the narrow roads and made us all feel very safe.
Review by: Steve and Hazel Hill on 06/06/2018
Have just returned from Lecce/Vieste trip which was excellent. Hotels chosen were good although the middle hotel in Matera was not 100% satisfactory with the service and food which might have been better. My wife was on crutches after a recent operation so the trips to see the Trulli houses and the rock houses in Matera were quite a tortuous exercise. But Nikki the tour guide was exceedingly kind and helpful when my wife had to give in and abandon the Matera tour very close to the end.She was a superb guide throughout and the driver Pinot was also excellent . Overall the trip was very good and varied in a less touristy part of Italy .Very good value for money. Have travelled with Riviera many times before and would have no hesitation to do so again.
Review by: Stella/Geoff Davies on 08/06/2018
We were very happy with the tour overall. The two Hilton Garden Inn hotels, though rather faceless business hotels, had good facilities and the food was mostly fine. The Vieste Hotel, degli Aranci, was pleasant but the food somewhat lacking. We were so disappointed with our meal on the first evening that we ate out on the last evening rather than repeat the Degli Aranci dining experience. We really liked the inclusion of meals at local restaurants in each of the three locations we stayed at, in fact this was a major factor in our choosing Riviera over its competitors.
We would like to make a special mention for our tour guide, Paola, and the driver, Rocco, who went the extra mile to return a mobile phone left on the coach on arrival at the airport - quite literally in Rocco's case, as he was on his way out of the airport when alerted by Paola and drove back to the airport in order to deliver the errant mobile. This was typical of the excellent service provided by Paola and Rocco throughout,
Review by: Keith and Viv Wiggall on 04/10/2017
This was our 4th trip with Riveria travels. Each one of the previous ones have been outstanding. This one again was very very good. Both Franco the driver and Alessia our tour guide from start to Finish were exceptional.
The selection of hotels, visits with tour guides, free time, comfort breaks,
visits to various sites, and planning were exceptional. I will be booking yet another trip with Riveria. Thanks to Alessia for getting the jacket left in our hotel cupboard brought 100miles away and reunited with us.
Review by: 23vaneet on 22/09/2017
Having recently returned we should like to thank Riviera Travel for a well planned , good value tour in this scenic area of Italy.
We particularly appreciated the half board basis which included dinner in three local restaurants, and lunch at the delightful Osteria Pane e Vino in its rural location outside Peschici. This enabled everyone to mix creating an excellent and enjoyable atmosphere.
We liked the chosen hotels, although of the two Hilton Garden Innes we found public space to relax rather wanting in Lecce. This was certainly not the case at the Hotel Degli Aranci in Vieste.
The organised tours with a local guide were excellent and the provision of "personal radios" to amplify the sound made all the difference. We would recommend to everyone the boat trip along the coast from Vieste visiting the caves in the limestone cliffs.
We were very fortunate to have Paula for our Tour Manager who was excellent. She made it possible for all of us to get the most from our holiday and we are very grateful to her.
Review by: Nick & Bridget Clarke on 30/06/2017
This was another excellent experience with Riviera. The itinerary was well thought-out and very interesting, the local guides were expert, and two of the three hotels were very good. The restaurants that we ate in on several occasions were very good, with delicious local food and drink, and speedy friendly service.
And our Riviera guide, Paula, was just brilliant. Everything worked like clockwork, and we learned so much from her - she wears her learning lightly but she is extremely well-informed about Italian life, history, and culture, all delivered with a smile.
Review by: Louise on 10/06/2017
My wife and I have just returned from our trip to Apulia and would like to express our thanks to Paula and our driver Pinot ( not sure how to spell his name ) for what proved to be an unforgettable experience. The schedule was extremely well managed in a wonderfully relaxed manner by Paula and history was brought to life by the use of local guides in Lecce, Matera and Bari. Little touches like making sure we dined out 3 times in local restaurants ensured that our culinary awareness was dealt with perfectly and this was endorsed on our last day of the tour with an incredible lunch in an olive grove.
This is probably one of the best tours we have ever done, and we will certainly be going back to Italy with Riviera Travel in the future.
Review by: Peter Hales on 17/06/2017
We'd just like to say how much we enjoyed our recent trip to Puglia during May 5th-12th.
Our tour manager Paula was excellent - informative, very helpful and great fun. Also it was a great piece of driving by Franco.
We hope to travel with Riviera again in the near future.
Review by: Jonathan Morgan on 05/05/2017
Just a note to say how impressed I was with this trip, and the superb tour manager and the individual tour guides. I say this as a tour guide! The hotels were very good, the meals excellent and the timings of our visits were great. I was a bit taken aback about being amongst 50 people but they were a wonderful group to travel with. Well done.
Review by: Revd Charles Bradshaw on 20/05/2017
I would like to compliment all the people who dealt with my holiday (above) as everything
went smoothly from start to finish. The courier Paola was absolutely well organised, a happy
cheerful and considerate person. The coach driver (Franco) was great driving us through awkward regions and
felt very safe with him. It is the first time I have been on holiday with Riviera Travel and
would highly recommend your company.
The three hotels we stayed in were really good, the food was good and where we ate at
restaurants were really out of this world. Fabulous.
Look forward to considering another holiday with your company.
Review by: Mrs V Curnin on 13/05/2017
We went to Puglia in May 2014 and had a wonderful time - the places we visited and the tour manager were excellent. Based on this experience we thought we'd go on another of your tours. We have not long returned from Monet's Garden and the Loire Valley. Again, we had a superb time, the places we visited were truly memorable for their beauty, history and settings. Bill, the tour manager, was knowledgeable and very helpful, ensuring our needs and comforts were catered for - a Gold Star for his hard work. Bill's commentaries were interesting and delivered in a friendly and relaxed manner.
As with many tours there rarely seems to be enough time spent at locations but that is something that little can be done about. For the Loire Valley tour I would suggest a hotel with a larger bar for the four night stay, this would allow the group to socialise in a relaxed environment.
All in all we had an excellent time and are now considering our next Riviera Travel holiday.
Thank you to all involved in the organisation of the holiday and to Bill, not forgetting the wonderful driver, Dirk.
Review by: Juliet and Steve Shaljean-Tilley on 11/05/2017
What a super holiday. All the meals were of excellent quality and served by friendly staff. A big thankyou to Paula, the tour manger who was there to guide our feet every inch of the way. Her knowledge of Italy and amusing anecdotes helped the miles to fly by during the coach trips and transfers. Surely our two coach drivers couldn't have been Italian, there skill and patience were exemplary, nothing like the other drivers that you see battling for space in the streets!
We shall certainly book with Riviera again. Thank you.
Review by: Jim & Vera on 02/06/2017
This was our second time with Riviera travel so we knew it would be wonderful and we were not disappointed. Lovely hotels especially the Palace Hotel Vieste. We've always wanted to see the Truli houses and the medieval cave village in Matera, absolutely breathtaking.
The scenery changed from flat to mountainous with so many hairpin bends but we were not worried as our coach driver Franco was so good.
We loved Bari, Lecce and Vieste and the people, restaurants and icecream were amazing.
We cannot thank Marthese our rep enough as she was so knowledgeable about the area, people, history and so much more. She was like a mother hen to us all, nothing was too much trouble.
Well done Riviera Travel again.
Review by: Susan Williams on 20/05/2017
A wonderful holiday. Fascinating sights, marvellous food and the guide, Sergio, absolutely made it for us. Lots of information and such humour! We knew nothing about the Sassi or Truli both, UNESCO sites, before we went. Unspoilt Italy, such a gem of a region.
Review by: Rosemary on 06/05/2017
CONGRATULATIONS, WELL DONE and THANK YOU to EVERYONE at RIVIERA TRAVEL, .......
and to say how much we enjoyed the ‘Undiscovered Italy Tour’
Although we travelled many miles we saw so much of the Puglia area, gaining an insight into the culture, the countryside, the local dishes and wines guided by an excellent tour manager and coach driver with a great mix of travelling companions making it a complete package!
A couple of extra comments:
The booking and subsequent correspondence was most efficient and any problems were soon sorted.
It was a good idea to include visits to local restaurants in addition to hotel dinners, this certainly enhanced our knowledge of the Italian dining experience and gave a variation to the menus. We understand why the extra lunch was included at Lecce but felt it was too much food on that day when the quantity was repeated in the evening. We were ‘past-ad’ out!!
The Italian guides were informative and knowledgeable of their subject though at times their accents were a little difficult to understand. However it did give a contrast with our own very knowledgeable tour manager. There was a good mix of organised trips and free time.
We all appreciated the later time of departure from the Hotel Palace Vieste on the last day. This certainly gave us much less time to waste at the airport. We were able to use our rooms up to 1 o’clock and 3 o’clock if we paid a little more.
Driver JP was friendly, humorous, considerate and courteous to other road users. We felt very safe in his hands. His experience was evident when negotiating some of the mountain roads.
Finally, Paula is an excellent tour manager, always ready to help with a cheery smile and great sense of humour. She was obviously very knowledgeable on this corner of Italy and gave us a great insight into the customs and way of life of the local people.
All in all a very memorable trip.
Best wishes and thank you to all,
Review by: Judi and Neil Cripps on 25/08/2016
The tour to Puglia, visiting Lecce, Matera and Vieste was excellent. It was interesting and informative and well organised by our Tour Guide, Paula, who made the trip fun and friendly. The driver, known as JP, was careful and gave his passengers a comfortable and safe journey. A thoroughly enjoyable week in a lovely area of Italy.
Review by: Joan Tomlinson on 25/08/2016
A most enjoyable experience. Stacks of fascinating and interesting historic places. Comfortable hotels and superb food. Particularly enjoyed dining out in three different local underground cavern restaurants, with lovely ambience. These were included in the tour.
Nikki , our tour manager was first class, keeping us informed, and letting us have quiet time on the coach in just the right measure. Our driver, Danilo, was very professional, and we felt utterly safe in his care. We have had Riviera holidays before, but feel this has been the best so far.
We also thought the idea of allocated seats being changed each day on the coach a very good and fair way of seating people.
I have been recommending this tour to all of our friends.
If you are thinking about it, go for it. You won’t be disappointed. First Class! Enjoy!
Review by: Patrick & Jennifer Russell on 11/09/2016
Outstanding scenery and beautifully planned tour. It was made extra special by Nikki, who was exceptional. She was very personal, fun and accommodating. She welcomed everyone. Local tours and meals were also of a high standard.
Review by: Julia and Tamara Stanton on 17/09/2016
Apulia is a beautiful region of Italy and has a more rustic existence than the north. Travelling to the south always feels more exciting. The centre of Lecce is typical of what you expect, beautiful old facades, amiptheatres, narrow winding streets and a beautiful park. Excellent food and drink at good prices even at the woeful exchange rate! Matera is definitely a jaw-dropper from the balcony overlooking the town. Very photogenic. The Trulli at Alberobello are definitely another highlight.
Vieste is wonderful. Sandy beaches, a beautiful old town and a vibrant newer part. The sea was warm and inviting but I may have scared the locals with my lack of tan. Trulli white… Go on the optional boat trip if it is running. The caves and the calm Adriatic make for a change of perspective. Plenty of time after to explore Vieste.
The hotels were good. Of course, price and location to keep prices reasonable have to be taken into account. The Lecce one was only about 20 mins walk (passing gelaterie a plenty) from the centre and modern. The Matera hotel was a little in the middle of nowhere but you are only there for a couple of nights. Vieste’s hotel is perfect as it is centrally located and the staff are very helpful and good fun.
Our tour guide Sev, was excellent. The tour went without any major incident and she was always calm and assured. She always gave enough information but never too much with a good broad knowledge of the area and history. She was always easy to approach and really cared about us enjoying the holiday. Toni was a great driver too!.
Definitely up around the top of the list for Riviera holidays for us.
Review by: Brian on 10/10/2016
Just returned from another superb Riviera holiday. Highly recommend this tour. Our guide Paula definitely knew Italy and gave us a good insight with great humour.
Review by: Angela Rudd on 11/10/2016
This was our first trip with Riviera but certainly won’t be the last.It was beautifully organised with Nikki our tour manager and Mariano our driver being outstanding. Nothing was too much trouble and Nikki kept us in stitches during the quite long coach journeys. The tour was most interesting and although some of the countryside around Lecce and Matera was not the most beautiful in Italy those two places together with Alberobello were fascinating.
The hotels were good and the food was perfectly adequate although we don’t need another pasta dish for a while. Vieste was a complete change and the boat trip another highlight but for us the whole trip was made by Nikki who was the epitome of a friendly professional who loves her job.
Review by: Keith and Lynda Thatcher on 20/10/2016
I was a participant in the above holiday the other week.
I must tell you that I found Paula to be very efficient at her job, she paid great attention to our needs and she was also great fun. Mariano was a very skilful and attentive driver.
It was a lovely holiday.
Review by: Lynn Johnson on 11/10/2016
Many thanks to Paula who was a brilliant guide. We loved her friendly relaxed style and the care she took to ensure that everyone had the best experience possible. Organisation was faultless and she and our driver Daniello were a great team.
Review by: Colin and Mary Millett on 23/10/2016
Having just returned from a holiday to Apulia, Lecce and Vieste I would just like to let you know how much we enjoyed the tour. The hotels were all of a very high standard and the food excellent - especially on the three evenings we dined out. Jeff, our tour manager, made the holiday with all his local information and his witty comments. He was ably assisted by our driver, Franco, who coped well with the tricky roads round the Gargano peninsula. We felt perfectly safe in his hands.
Review by: J. Hutchison on 20/10/2016