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 IN MONTE SANT’ANGELO
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’ (heavy climb).
THE FOUR BEACHES TRAIL IN MATTINATA
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).
THE SFILZI RESERVE IN THE 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”.
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.