The Gargano’s tranquil limestone hills rise to over three thousand feet and manage to pack an unbelievable flora into an area only fifty miles across. From the beautiful cool green beech and oak forests and limestone karst moonscapes of the higher reaches, the hills plunge towards a deep blue Adriatic where the local inhabitants cling to the cliff-tops in stunning jumbled white-walled towns.
No less than 72 orchid species have been recorded and we should see over 48 during our stay. The sheer abundance of Pink Butterfly Orchids and Green-winged Orchids is a revelation and amongst these we can find swarms of the Gargano’s speciality – Bee Orchids. Many are found only in this region – Ophrys apulica, Ophrys archipelagi, Ophrys parvimaculata, Ophrys promontorii and the abundant and aptly-named Ophrys garganica. There’s Serapias apulica, improbably decorating a motorway verge, and Serapias laxiflora, also Ophrys virescens, rare Ophrys sipontensis, Ophrys funerea and the lovely Spectacle Ophrys. In Southern Murgia we shall find the local endemics Ophrys tarentinaand Ophrys celiensis. But orchids are only part of the show. Swathes of Anemones, Cyclamens, Violas and Narcissus poeticus decorate the woodland floor. Woodpeckers, Hawfinches and Flycatchers inhabit their newly leafy boughs. Swallowtails and Southern Festoons sail across fields adorned with superb shows of Irises and Wild Tulips.
We’ll find the huge blooms of Paeonia mascula and gorgeous Paeonia peregrina, endemic Campanula garganica, half a dozen Star-of-Bethlehem’s, Tulipa sylvestris, and amongst several irises are fine groups of Iris pseudopumila, Iris lutescens and the endemic Iris bicapitata. Rare Arum apuluminhabits the lovely Itria Valley. We have chosen very peaceful hotels so that you can enjoy the wonderful fauna, flora and scenery of the Gargano right up to your hotel balcony!
Dates and Prices
8th April - 15th April 2024 (8 days)
* doesn't apply if you're willing to share and a room-mate can be arranged
Orchids and Spring Flowers. Also Birds, Butterflies, Reptiles and Landscapes. Just a little culture too!
One leader for a group of up to 6, two leaders up to the maximum group size of 12.
All flights. All transport, accommodation and meals in Italy. Services of your leaders. Please note: items of a personal nature including travel insurance, drinks and tips, are not included. Flower, butterfly and bird checklists are available.
We start at the Hotel Poggio Degli Ulivi, situated on a hill just west of Rodi Garganico and with wonderful views out over the Adriatic. We’ve three nights to enjoy the restaurant which serves great local cuisine, the swimming pool (if it’s warm enough!) and the bright modern air-conditioned rooms. Later we’ll move south to the Palace Hotel San Michele, over 2,500 feet above sea-level, and with magnificent views south to the Golfo di Manfredonia. This very comfortable hotel has a fine restaurant, orchid-filled terraces in one direction and the lovely old town-centre of Monte Santangelo a short walk in the other! Both are quality four-star hotels and all rooms have en-suite facilities.
Relaxed and easy. Always at a slow pace, ideally suited to photographers. Much of the time will be spent in fields and terraces on limestone where the ground may be a little rough.
UK return flights are direct from London Gatwick to Bari. Add-ons are available from various UK airports*. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Rather variable. Mostly warm and sunny, but sometimes cooler with showers or even occasional rainy days.
Contact us to check if there is availability for the number of places you require. Click on the ‘Book this Tour’ button on this page to be taken to the online booking form or contact us and we will send one to you which you can complete and send back to us. You will receive confirmation of your place, and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information.