MATERA travel tips

Hello there, fellow adventurer! 😄 Are you ready to embark on a journey to one of the most captivating destinations in Italy?

🌐 This post forms part of the Planning a trip to Europe guide that helps you to explore hotels, Travel essentials, and Top attractions . To Make Hotel reservations in advance & Save Money also 🧳Pack wisely. Plus Explore Unusual Europe Holiday Destinations and Hidden gems of Europe, Bon voyage!

Look no further than Matera, a city steeped in history, beauty, and cultural significance.

🌐 This post forms part of the Planning a trip to Europe guide that helps you to explore hotels, Travel essentials, and Top attractions . To Make Hotel reservations in advance & Save Money also 🧳Pack wisely. Plus Explore Unusual Europe Holiday Destinations and Hidden gems of Europe, Bon voyage!

In this ultimate travel guide, I’ll be your virtual tour guide, sharing everything you need to know to make the most out of your visit to Matera.

From the ancient Sassi districts to the mouthwatering local cuisine, Matera has it all. Let’s dive in and explore this extraordinary city together!

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  • 🚕 If you are not keen to drive in Europe, you can use the website to purchase train tickets between the city and for day trips The OMIO website also allows you to book train tickets between the cities and other destinations. It is quite simple, and it is in the English language.
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Welcome to Matera, the hidden gem of Italy! Nestled in the southern region of Basilicata, Matera is renowned for its unique cave dwellings known as “Sassi.”

These ancient dwellings have a history that dates back thousands of years, making Matera one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the world.

Prepare to be awestruck as you wander through its labyrinthine streets and discover a city frozen in time!

MATERA travel tips

Getting to Matera

Getting to Matera is an adventure in itself! Located in the southern region of Basilicata in Italy, Matera is well-connected to major cities and transportation hubs.

Here’s a guide on how to reach this captivating destination:

The journey from Bari to Matera takes approximately one hour, allowing you to soak in the picturesque landscapes of the Italian countryside along the way.

  1. By Air: The nearest airport to Matera is Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (BRI), which is approximately 65 kilometers away. From the airport, you can choose between various transportation options:
    • By Train: Take a shuttle or taxi from the airport to Bari Centrale train station. From there, you can catch a direct train to Matera. The journey takes approximately one hour.
    • By Bus: There are direct bus services from Bari Airport to Matera. The journey takes around one and a half to two hours, depending on traffic conditions.
    • By Car: Renting a car from the airport gives you the flexibility to explore the region at your own pace. The drive from Bari to Matera takes about one hour, mainly on the SS96 and SP99 roads.
  2. By Train: If you’re traveling from other parts of Italy, the train is a convenient option. Matera is well-connected to major cities such as Rome, Naples, and Bari. You can take a train to the nearby city of Bari, and then transfer to a regional train that will take you to Matera. The journey from Bari to Matera by train takes approximately one hour.
  3. By Car: Driving to Matera gives you the freedom to explore the surrounding areas and enjoy the scenic countryside. Matera is accessible via the SS7 and SS99 highways. The city has designated parking areas, both paid and free, where you can safely park your vehicle.

Once you arrive in Matera, you’ll be greeted by the city’s unique charm and beauty. Whether you choose to arrive by air, train, or car, the journey to Matera will be filled with anticipation and excitement. Get ready to immerse yourself in the ancient wonders and enchanting atmosphere of this remarkable destination!

Getting to Matera from Venice Italy

If you’re planning to travel from Venice to Matera, you have a few transportation options available. Here’s a guide on how to reach Matera from Venice:

🎐👉🏻 This post forms part of my comprehensive Travel guide to Venice and covers many aspects of Planning a trip to Venice, such as Venice hotels, Transportation, Venice tours & Activities, or Venice Attractions. Together, these posts offer a wealth of information and insights for anyone planning a trip to the City of Canals- Venice, Italy.
  1. By Air: The most convenient way to reach Matera from Venice is by taking a flight. There are no direct flights from Venice to Matera, so you’ll need to make a connecting flight. The closest airport to Matera is Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (BRI). You can book a flight from Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) or Treviso Airport (TSF) to Bari. From Bari Airport, you can follow the instructions mentioned earlier to reach Matera.
  2. By Train: Another option is to travel by train. Start by taking a train from Venice Santa Lucia train station to Bari Centrale train station. The journey takes approximately 6-7 hours, depending on the train connections. From Bari, you can catch a regional train to Matera, which takes around one hour.
  3. By Car: If you prefer a road trip and want to enjoy the scenic views along the way, you can drive from Venice to Matera. The drive is approximately 750 kilometers and takes around 7-8 hours, depending on the route and traffic conditions. Take the A14 highway from Venice and then connect to the A16 highway towards Bari. From there, follow the signs to Matera.

Regardless of the mode of transportation you choose, both air and train travel offer convenient options for reaching Matera from Venice.

Driving allows you the freedom to explore the Italian countryside, but it’s important to plan your route and consider traffic conditions. Once you arrive in Matera, get ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting atmosphere and discover the ancient wonders of this captivating city.

Where to Stay

When it comes to accommodation in Matera, you’re in for a treat! The city offers a wide range of options to suit every budget and preference.

For a truly immersive experience, consider staying in one of the beautifully restored cave hotels that blend modern comforts with historic charm.

Alternatively, there are cozy guesthouses, boutique hotels, and luxury resorts scattered throughout the city. Whatever your choice, you’re sure to find a delightful place to rest and rejuvenate after a day of exploration.

Top Attractions

Prepare to be mesmerized by Matera’s top attractions!

The city’s most iconic feature is undoubtedly the Sassi, a complex network of cave dwellings, churches, and winding streets. Explore the Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano districts, marveling at the unique architecture carved into the rocky cliffs.

Don’t miss the breathtaking view from the Belvedere, where you can witness the city’s beauty in its entirety.

Matera is a city rich in history and cultural treasures, offering a plethora of fascinating attractions to explore.

Here are some of the top attractions that you shouldn’t miss during your visit to Matera:

  1. The Sassi: The Sassi of Matera are the star attractions and a UNESCO World Heritage site. These ancient cave dwellings, carved into the limestone cliffs, date back thousands of years. Explore the Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano districts, wander through narrow alleyways, and marvel at the unique architecture that has been preserved over time.
  2. Matera Cathedral: Located in the heart of the city, Matera Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria della Bruna, is a stunning example of Apulian Romanesque architecture. Step inside to admire its beautiful interior, adorned with intricate frescoes and impressive artwork.
  3. MUSMA: The Museum of Contemporary Sculpture Matera (MUSMA) is a unique museum housed in a former 17th-century church. It showcases contemporary sculptures and artwork, creating an intriguing juxtaposition between modern and ancient elements.
  4. The Rupestrian Churches: Matera is home to numerous rupestrian churches, which are ancient churches carved into the rock formations. Visit churches such as the Church of San Pietro Caveoso and the Church of Santa Maria de Idris to admire the well-preserved frescoes and experience the spiritual ambiance of these historic sites.
  5. Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario: Step into a traditional cave dwelling at Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario. This museum offers a glimpse into the daily life of a Matera family from the 18th century, showcasing original furniture, tools, and household items.
  6. Belvedere: For panoramic views of Matera’s breathtaking landscape, head to the Belvedere. Located on the edge of the city, this viewpoint offers a stunning vista of the Sassi districts, the Gravina River, and the surrounding countryside. It’s an ideal spot to capture memorable photographs.
  7. Palombaro Lungo: Explore the underground cisterns of Palombaro Lungo, an engineering marvel of Matera. Descend into the depths and witness the intricate system of water storage that once supplied the city.
  8. Tramontano Castle: Located on the highest point of the city, Tramontano Castle is a medieval fortress with commanding views over Matera. Although partially in ruins, it provides an interesting glimpse into the city’s past and offers a serene setting for a leisurely stroll.

These are just a few of the many attractions Matera has to offer. Take your time to explore the city’s hidden corners, engage with its history, and soak in the unique ambiance of this extraordinary destination. Each step you take in Matera will reveal a new layer of its captivating story.

Exploring the Sassi

Put on your walking shoes, as the best way to truly experience Matera is by exploring the Sassi on foot! Lose yourself in the narrow alleyways, stumble upon hidden courtyards, and soak in the ambiance of a bygone era.

From Matera: Sassi di Matera Tour with Entry to Cave Houses- Book here

As you wander, you’ll encounter traditional cave dwellings that have been transformed into museums, art galleries, and cozy cafés. Let the charm of the Sassi envelop you as you step back in time.

The Rupestrian Churches

Matera is home to numerous rupestrian churches, which are ancient churches carved into the rock formations.

Step inside these remarkable places of worship and marvel at the well-preserved frescoes that adorn the walls.

The Church of San Pietro Caveoso and the Church of Santa Maria de Idris are must-see highlights that offer a glimpse into the spiritual and artistic heritage of Matera.

Traditional Cuisine

Prepare your taste buds for a culinary adventure like no other! Matera’s gastronomy is a reflection of its rich history and local traditions.

Indulge in the flavors of traditional Lucanian cuisine, characterized by simple yet incredibly delicious dishes.

Try the famous “pane di Matera,” a rustic bread with a crunchy crust and a soft, flavorful interior.

Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the local cheeses, cured meats, and hearty pasta dishes that will leave you craving for more.

Local Festivals

Immerse yourself in Matera’s vibrant cultural scene by participating in one of its lively festivals.

The city comes alive with music, dance, and celebration during events such as the Festa della Bruna, a spectacular procession honoring the city’s patron saint.

Witness the streets adorned with colorful decorations, join the locals in traditional dances, and experience the contagious joy that fills the air during these festive occasions.

Day Trips from Matera

While Matera itself is a captivating destination, there are also incredible day trips you can embark on to explore the surrounding areas.

Visit the enchanting town of Alberobello, known for its iconic trulli houses with cone-shaped roofs. Take a scenic drive to the beautiful coastal town of Polignano a Mare and revel in its breathtaking views and charming atmosphere.

Each day trip promises to unveil new wonders and provide you with unforgettable memories.

Shopping in Matera

Take a break from sightseeing and indulge in some retail therapy in Matera’s quaint shops and boutiques. Discover unique handicrafts, locally made ceramics, and exquisite jewelry that reflect the artistic heritage of the region.

Don’t forget to sample the local products, such as olive oil, wines, and traditional sweets, which make for perfect souvenirs to bring back home.

Nightlife in Matera

As the sun sets and the city lights up, Matera transforms into a captivating nightlife destination. Enjoy a leisurely evening stroll through the illuminated streets, stopping by lively bars and cozy wine cellars.

Experience the warm hospitality of the locals as you socialize and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere.

Whether you prefer a relaxing evening with a glass of wine or dancing the night away, Matera offers something for everyone.

Outdoor Activities

Matera’s natural beauty extends beyond its architectural marvels. Surrounding the city, you’ll find breathtaking landscapes and opportunities for outdoor adventures.

Lace up your hiking boots and explore the Murgia National Park, a stunning natural reserve dotted with caves, rocky outcrops, and ancient rupestrian settlements.

Enjoy panoramic views, spot local wildlife, and bask in the serenity of nature.

Practical Tips

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip to Matera, here are some practical tips to keep in mind. Remember to wear comfortable shoes, as the city’s terrain can be uneven.

Carry a bottle of water with you to stay hydrated during your explorations. Don’t forget your camera to capture the beauty of Matera from every angle.

Lastly, be respectful of the locals and the historic sites, as Matera holds immense cultural significance.

Best Time to Visit

Matera welcomes visitors year-round, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences.

  • Spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) offer pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the city’s charm.
  • Summer (July to August) is the peak tourist season, with warmer weather and a lively atmosphere.
  • Winter (November to February) brings a quieter ambiance, with the chance to experience the magic of Matera covered in a dusting of snow.


Congratulations! You have completed your virtual journey through Matera, Italy.

I hope this ultimate travel guide has ignited your wanderlust and provided you with valuable insights into the captivating city of Matera. From the ancient Sassi districts to the mouthwatering cuisine and vibrant festivals, Matera offers a truly unforgettable experience.

As you explore the narrow alleyways, step into the rupestrian churches, and indulge in the flavors of traditional cuisine, you’ll witness the fascinating blend of history, art, and culture that makes Matera so unique. The warm hospitality of the locals will make you feel right at home, and the city’s charm will leave an indelible mark on your heart.

So pack your bags, prepare for an adventure, and set off to discover the hidden wonders of Matera. Get ready to create lasting memories, immerse yourself in a rich cultural heritage, and be awestruck by the beauty that awaits you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. Q: Is Matera suitable for family vacations?
    • A: Absolutely! Matera offers a variety of attractions and activities suitable for families, including guided tours, interactive museums, and outdoor adventures. It’s a destination that will enchant both young and old.
  2. Q: Are there any accessibility considerations for visiting Matera?
    • A: While Matera’s historic center can be challenging for individuals with mobility issues due to its uneven terrain and stairs, efforts have been made to improve accessibility. Many attractions and accommodations have adapted facilities to accommodate visitors with disabilities. It’s recommended to check in advance and plan accordingly.
  3. Q: Can I visit Matera on a day trip from other cities in Italy?
    • A: Yes, Matera is a popular day trip destination from cities like Bari, Naples, and even Rome. However, to fully appreciate Matera’s beauty and immerse yourself in its atmosphere, it’s recommended to spend at least a couple of days exploring the city and its surroundings.
  4. Q: Is it possible to visit the rupestrian churches?
    • A: Yes, most of the rupestrian churches in Matera are open to visitors. Some may require an entrance fee or guided tour, but it’s well worth it to witness the stunning frescoes and architectural marvels that lie within these ancient rock-hewn structures.
  5. Q: What is the best way to get around Matera?
    • A: Matera is best explored on foot, as many of its attractions are within walking distance. The city center is pedestrian-friendly, and wandering through its narrow streets is part of the charm. However, if you need to travel longer distances or explore the surrounding areas, taxis and rental cars are available.

About the Author: Div Acharya

Div is an entrepreneur, influencer, blogger, marketer, & fashionista.

Div loves Blogging about Travel, Lifestyle, Fashion, Style, decor Gift Ideas, Home decor Finds from her own experience. Hence, Div wants to share her joy and interests with as many people as she can.

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