Cycling Puglia in Southern Italy
On the Adriatic Coast, Puglia occupies the "heel" of Italy's boot. Here, ancient Greek and Italian culture mingle in hillside vineyards, olive groves, and whitewashed villages nestled against the blue of the Mediterranean. Join us as we pedal through a landscape filled with unique conical shaped dwellings known as trulli, explore a fabulous limestone grotto, and visit three UNESCO World Heritage sites in Castel del Monte, Matera, and Alberobello. Along the way, we enjoy meals prepared with Italian, Greek, and Middle Eastern influences and discover the warmth and hospitality of Southern Italy's friendliest people.
***Extend this bicycle trip 4 more days. Click here to review our Puglia - Cycling Southern Italy Plus! the Ionian Seaside tour details page.***View Day-by-Day ItineraryHide Day-by-Day Itinerary
Day 1: Tour begins in Trani, Southern Italy
Highlights: Romanesque cathedral of Trani, introductions & bike fitting, welcome dinner
We gather today on the Adriatic Coast in Trani, at one time the principal commercial port in southern Italy. Trani's Romanesque cathedral, dating to the late 12th century, is not only one of the finest early Romanesque churches in Puglia, but its position at the edge of the sea makes it especially unique. We'll fit bicycles this afternoon and then enjoy dinner together this evening.
Distance: Test Ride. Meals: D
Lodging: Hotel Regia
Day 2: Bicycle Trani to Ruvo
Highlights: UNESCO World Heritage Site at Castel del Monte, wine tasting
The classic Apulian landscape unfolds before us today as we cross the Appian Way and pedal past centuries-old olive groves and hillside vineyards. We'll suggest a lunch stop at Castel del Monte, built by the Emperor Federico II. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the castle is unique in Europe for its simple octagonal shape and for the eight octagonal towers that ring it. Arriving in Ruvo mid-afternoon, we'll enjoy a wine tasting before dinner together.
Distance: 60 km (37 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Pineta Ruvo
Day 3: Bicycle Ruvo to Matera
Highlights: Ceramics & 13th century cathedral in Ruvo, hilltop towns of Gravina and Matera
During the 3rd and 4th Centuries, Ruvo was the principal supplier for classical Greek pottery. You can visit the National Ceramics Museum and the town's spectacular 13th century cathedral this morning. Then, we'll enjoy a ride through fields of wheat and hay as we cross the high Murgia plains to the hilltop towns of Gravina and Matera.
Distance: 77 km (48 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Hotel San Domenico
Day 4: Rest day in Matera with optional ride
Highlights: Caves of Matera, guided walk through UNESCO World Heritage Site
Matera is unique in all of Italy for the cave dwellings that ring the central city. Inhabited by refugee clerics and monks from Greece and the Balkans during the 8th and 9th centuries, the cave churches and domestic dwellings carved into the town's sandstone cliffs at one time housed as many as 25,000 people. Today, the churches and caves are preserved as a World Heritage Site. We'll take a walking tour of the area together, then you're free to spend the rest of the day exploring on your own, to take a loop ride, or to do both! .
Distance: Your choice on optional ride: 43 km (27 miles). Meals: B
Lodging: Hotel San Domenico
Day 5: Bicycle Puglia's Trulli Country
Highlights: Enjoy the unique scenery and landscape of Puglia's countryside
Heading out across the Murgia plains again today you'll enjoy a gentle downhill ride to Gioia del Colle and into the heart of the trulli area. Trulli are conical shaped rural dwellings unique to this part of Italy. Originally used as storage sheds for farmers, they quickly became popular as temporary shelters. Today the landscape in central Puglia is dotted with these unique structures, now used as weekend retreats and permanent homes. We'll have a guided tour today to learn more about these conical shaped buildings and the people who built these stone houses. With your newfound knowledge, you'll enjoy tonight's accommodation inside one of these unique trulli in the heart of Alberobello.
Distance: 70 km (44 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Trulli e Puglia
Day 6: Bicycle to Ostuni
Highlights: Trulli, vineyards, olive groves, la cittá bianca
Our ride today will take you first through vineyards and olive groves to the whitewashed town of Ostuni. Our hotel is in the center of this amazing village which spans three hilltops and is crowned by a gothic cathedral.
Distance: 69 km (43 miles) or more. Meals: B, D
Lodging: Ostuni Palace
Day 7: Farewell
We'll say good-bye after breakfast today. Spend a few days exploring this wonderful town or head on for further explorations. Whatever you decide, thanks for cycling Puglia with us. Buon viaggio!
***Extend this bicycle trip 4 more days. Click here to review our Puglia - Cycling Southern Italy Plus! the Ionian Seaside tour details page.***
HighlightsMixture of Greek & Italian cultures, Classic Puglian landscapes, Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Matera, Vast Olive Groves
IncludesUse of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 7 days, 6 nights accommodation; 5 dinners with wine, 6 breakfasts; wine tasting; guided walk in Matera and the trulli plus "The Usual""The Usual" (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)
Arrive/DepartBari Airport (BRI), Rome (FCO) or Naples Airport (NAP)
Total Distance302 km (186 miles)
Daily DistanceAverage per day mileage 61 km (38 miles).
Rating201-301 Expect some climbing most days and several optional opportunities to take a day off the bike.
TermsTerms & Conditions
Dates Price Single Supplement Notes May 7-13, 2016 $3450 $550 Guaranteed to Go! Book it Sep 24-30, 2016 $3450 $550 Guaranteed to Go! Book it Oct 8-14, 2016 $3450 $550 Book it Nov 5-11, 2016 $3300 $550 Book it
* We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the single supplement rate. This fee will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available this fee will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.
Cycling Puglia – The Charms Of Southern Italy
Puglia, which straddles the Adriatic Coast between the spur and heel of Italy’s "boot", is still one of the lesser-known, but richly-rewarding, and soon to be discovered gems.
Cyclist Seeks Puglian Cheese and Curious Cows
Julie Horton, our Purveyor of Cycling Adventures, shares her quest to find cheese and curious cows on the ExperiencePlus! Cycling Puglia Plus! the Ionian Seaside tour in southern Italy.
Italy Trip Planner
Read up on country customs, transportation information, culinary specialites, and more!
Meals on Your Bicycle Tour
Information on how meals work on ExperiencePlus! Bicycle tours
Per la Cena or What's for Dinner?
Bea Tassinari coordinates meals for our tours in Italy and shares her secrets for ordering a great meal.
Puglia - The Secret Charms of Southern Italy
Puglia, which straddles the Adriatic Coast between the spur and heel of Italy's "boot", is still one of the lesser-known, but richly-rewarding, and soon to be discovered gems.
The Emperor and The Saint
Paola Malpezzi Price reviews this biography of two of histories most important men, Frederick II and Francis of Assisi combined with a detailed description of history and monuments. Many of you have been to the places that the book mentions on our tours in Italy!
We Are ExperiencePlus! Meet your Tour Leaders
We'd like to introduce you to your tour leaders. We believe we have the best bicycle tour leaders out there, click through to see a slideshow about them.
10 Reasons to Head to Puglia
This 2016 article from Traveller points out some of the things we love about cycling in Puglia
A Cave with a View
Matera, once seen as uncivilized, is now prized for its ancient ways. A great article from the New Yorker's D.T. Max.
Cheese Making in Puglia
How is cheese made? Step into a cheesemaker's shop in Italy here.
Italian Recipes from Paola
University of Oregon's Alumni Magazine highlights three of Paola's recipes
Of the Earth - The Ancient Sassi
Once derided and a source of shame, the ancient sassi - or cave dwellings - of Matera are now a source of pride and wonder. A fascinating article from the Globe and Mail.
Pasta for Dinner
A simple and tasty pasta for an Italian-themed meal as you plan your trip to ride bikes in Italy.
Traveler David Neuburger's Cycling Puglia Video
David joined ExperiencePlus! in May 2015 and sent us this video from the trip.
- Cycling Puglia – The Charms Of Southern Italy
Excellent in every way. An amazing experience, thank you.Stephen F., East Greenwich, RI
Incredible experience. Just enough support to not feel totally babysat but very well taken care of. A huge thank you to the entire ExperiencePlus! team.Leslie C., Bend, OR
Lookin' forward to next year's adventure!Russ B., Arcadia, CA
What was your favorite experience on this trip? The tour through Matera ...such a fabulous site. The backroad biking and meeting locals.Geraldine M., New York, NY
The arrows...we love them. There is no substitute! We cannot imagine biking the routes we took and and roads we were on with any kind of written directions. It would take dozens of pages, we would have spent all our time looking at the maps and not the beautiful scenery... and we would never be sure we were on the right road = stress...just what we wanted to avoid. Bikes...the equipment was excellent. The quality of the bikes and the condition of the bikes are very important to us. This is a bike trip after all. One last thought: Some (many) bike companies have decided to market to people who are more interested in their hotel rooms and the restaurants than the biking itself. Don't "dummy down" your trips. You have a very nice balance of nice hotels, very good restaurants....and, importantly, outstanding routes and wonderful biking.Jim B., Incline Village, NV
I am ecstatic about the tour. The leaders were the best...the rides were fabulous... the arrows were essential and allowed freedom and security.Sherry B., Newton, MA
I loved Puglia... frequently felt I was seeing things that the typical tourist would not get to experience in the same way. Everything was just right all around. Each day mixed just the right amount of riding , with just the right amount of cultural experience.... and so much food!! The guides were exceptional!Ginny R.
This was a wonderful tour. The leaders were the best I've had. We also enjoyed the area and the mileage we rode. It is a very interesting part of Italy. Staying two nights in the same hotel is also very nice. Loved the tour.Barbara W.
What more can I say, ExperiencePlus! organizes the best vacations you will ever have the pleasure of participating in! So much fun, so well organized, great locations, great routes, truly spectacular dining!, comfortable hotels - and most important of all, very caring and supportive staff.Catherine P.
Guides were very good. Maybe best we have ever had.Russ A.