Cycle Puglia

Cycle Puglia

Trip Highlights

  • Cycling along the Ionian and Adriatic coasts
  • Viewing typical trullo in Alberobello and the surrounding countryside
  • Discovering the ancient cities of Gallipoli and Leece
  • Enjoying the local delicacies including olive oil, fresh vegetables and wine
  • Exploring the Puglia region which is largely unspoiled by tourism

Trip Summary

Puglia in south eastern Italy encompasses the heel of Italy's boot and is bordered by the sea on two sides (the Adriatic Sea in the east and the Ionian Sea to the southeast). The region is characterised by endless olive groves, long fields of grain and vineyards. This cycle tour delves into this region of scenic beauty, which is still unspoiled and retains a rich cultural legacy. From Matera and Alberobello where you can marvel at the traditional Trulli and Sassi houses, the route follows both the Ionian and Adriatic coasts and spans the distances between ancient cities. Ending in Lecce, often referred to as the Florence of the south, this is an ideal holiday for those seeking the less known pockets of Italy with all the historic highlights. Staying in atmospheric hotels, including a typical Trulli in Alberobello (subject to availability), ensures you gain a full appreciation of this special region.

Suitability

This trip involves 6 days cycling with daily distances between 45 and 70km/28 and 43.5mi. The route is mostly in the lowlands, although it is sometimes hilly. You will cycle almost always on asphalt roads. Traffic is almost non-existent in Puglia, except during the high season. The route includes very beautiful stretches along the coast. It requires a reasonable level of fitness to fully participate in this adventure. You need only carry your camera and water bottle. Your luggage is transported for you between hotels. *For safety reasons, we insist that cycle helmets be included as a compulsory item on your equipment list.

Itinerary

Make your own way to Matera (local train from Bari). For millennia, inhabitants of this region have carved dwellings directly into ravines and gullies made of tuff (or tufa), a characteristic honey-coloured soft stone. These houses are called "Sassi" and are today a World Heritage site. Take the time to walk around the historic centre before returning to your comfortable hotel.

Meals:  Nil

Today you will cycle to Alberobello. It is the most challenging day of the tour. For the first 35 km the route is mainly flat. The last part from Gioia del Colle is slightly more difficult because of some long but not steep climbs. Alberobello is known for its trulli, which were generally constructed as dwellings or storehouses. It is situated upon two hills which were once separated by a riverbed. On the eastern hill is the new town, with modern architectural features, and on the western hill, the trulli are lined up in an urban conglomeration subdivided into two districts: Monti and Aia Piccola. Both districts are World Heritage sites. Please note we cannot guarantee you will stay in a Trullo this evening (it's subject to availability). The alternative is a comfortable hotel in walking distance of the main centre. Elevation +400m/1312ft

Meals:  B

A fabulous cycle through winding country lanes, past trulli, vineyards and olive groves to Ostuni, an architectural jewel. Crossing the last part of Murge, you will pass through the towns of Martina Franca, Locorotondo and Cisternino before arriving at the white city of Ostuni. The most challenging part is between Locorotondo and Cisternino. Elevation +460m/1509ft

Meals:  B

This morning you travel by train to Lecce (approx 70km, 1hr, ticket included). Start cycling from this amazing Baroque town and head deep into the 'Salentinian countryside' before heading to the Ionian coast and your destination for today, Gallipoli. The almost flat cycling trail winds along country roads and unpaved trails. Gallipoli is an ancient Greek city, a fishing town divided into two parts: the new town and the old town, connected by a 17th century bridge to the mainland. Elevation +70m/230ft

Meals:  B

Today you'll continue cycling along the coast to Santa Maria di Leuca. It is the easiest day of the tour, completely on paved roads and mostly flat with some short ups and downs at the end of the stage. Santa Maria di Leuca was named by ancient Greek sailors: they said it was enlightened by the sun and therefore called it "Leukos", meaning white. Today it is a famous seaside resort and fishing area. There is ample opportunity to swim and relax at the beach in the afternoon. Elevation +50m/164ft

Meals:  B

Another superb day of cycling as you follow the Adriatic coast northwards. The most challenging stretches are a short climb to leave town and a continuous but regular slope after Santa Cesaria Terme. Following the coast road, you'll pass by small towns, impressive grottoes, inlets for swimming and small cafes and soon arrive at Otranto, the most eastern point of Italy. Here you can visit the beautiful Cathedral and the great Aragonese Castle. Elevation +460m/1509ft

Meals:  B

Today is an easy stage. Leave lovely Otranto to discover the Alimini Lakes nature reserve, the old hunting ground of the Swabians and the Aragonese. With their unique Mediterranean scrub the area is an important habitat for migratory species such as white storks, flamingoes and cranes. Continue to Lecce which, thanks to its Baroque style, has earned the nickname "Florence of the South". You can appreciate the rich sculpted motifs from the 17th century made with the local stone while exploring its old town, enclosed by what is left of ancient walls. Elevation +100m/328ft

Meals:  B

The trip concludes after breakfast. Lecce is well connected by train with the airports of Bari and Brindisi, or we can assist with booking extra nights' accommodation if you'd like to linger.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 7 breakfasts - varied buffet breakfasts are served in each hotel
  • 7 nights accommodation in mainly 3 star hotels and a typical trullo in Alberobello (subject to availability) on a twin share basis with private facilities (upgrade to mainly 4 star hotels - supplement applies)
  • Luggage transfers
  • 27 gear bicycle rental with puncture resistant tyres, pannier, gel saddle and helmet (ebike available on request - supplement applies)
  • Welcome briefing
  • Digital information pack including route notes, maps, navigational App (can be used offline), GPS Tracks and travel guide per room booked
  • Train Transfer Ostuni to Lecce
  • Emergency Hotline
  • Bike insurance against theft and damage

What's Not Included

  • Travel to and from Matera / Lecce
  • Lunches, dinners and drinks
  • Local hotel taxes approximately €10-15
  • Train transfers other than Ostuni- Lecce
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Guide - this is a self guided cycle

Upcoming Travel Dates

Reviews

Wonderful trip. Highly recommended

L. Giddy, Kew, VIC, 08 Oct 2018


I had a wonderful, unforgettable adventure filled to the brim with the most amazing sights and places full of charm, character and history. Basilicata & Puglia are a must-see region in Italy that most people (on this side of the world anyway) don't know about. From the rural landscapes to the rugged coastline. Always something different - to step back in time & take in & photograph! Our fellow bikers were great company too.

P. Wilson, Auckland, New Zealand, 18 Jun 2017

AT A GLANCE

Duration:8 Days
Countries:Italy
Starting Point:Matera
Finishing Point:Lecce
Activities:SELF GUIDED CYCLE
Grade:moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:PUG
Prices From:GBP£950 Per Person
Single Supplement:GBP£200  Click for more information
Please do not book any flights or extra arrangements until such time that your booking is confirmed by Sherpa Expeditions by phone or email.