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.***
Day 1: Tour begins in Trani, Southern Italy
Highlights: Romanesque cathedral of Trani, introductions & bike fitting, welcome dinnerWe 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.
Lodging: Hotel S. Paolo al Convento
Day 2: Bicycle Trani to Ruvo
Highlights: UNESCO World Heritage Site at Castel del Monte, wine tastingThe 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)
Lodging: Pineta Ruvo
Day 3: Bicycle Ruvo to Matera
Highlights: Ceramics & 13th century cathedral in Ruvo, hilltop towns of Gravina and MateraDuring 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. Dinner is together tonight.
Distance: 76 km (47 miles)
Lodging: Hotel San Domenico
Day 4: Rest day in Matera with optional ride
Highlights: Caves of Matera, guided walk through UNESCO World Heritage SiteMatera 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! Dinner is on your own tonight.
Distance: Your choice on optional ride: 43 km (27 miles)
Lodging: Hotel San Domenico
Day 5: Bicycle Puglia's Trulli Country
Highlights: Enjoy the unique scenery and landscape of Puglia's countrysideHeading 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 tomorrow to learn more about these conical shaped buildings and the people who built these stone houses. Begin your own investigations tonight because we'll stay in trulli in the heart of Alberobello. Dinner together. Distance: 71 km (44 miles).
Lodging: Trulli e Puglia
Day 6: Optional ride to Castellana
Highlights: Limestone grottoes of Castellana, guided visit of the trulliToday is a rest day, but we have planned both a long and short loop ride, as well as a guided exploration of the trulli. We'll pedal past the limestone grotto of Castellana which you might choose to visit. These are among the largest and most beautiful caves in Italy. Our ride there and back takes us through vineyards and olive groves punctuated with whitewashed trulli. If you'd prefer to take the day off, you are welcome to spend the afternoon exploring Alberobello. Dinner is on your own tonight. Distance: 56 km (36 miles), optional.
Lodging: Trulli e Puglia
Day 7: Bicycle to Martina Franca
Highlights: Trulli, vineyards, olive groves, Baroque architecture of Martina FrancaOur ride today will take you first through the small town of Locorotondo. Continuing on through vineyards and olive groves we'll reach our destination for the evening, the hilltop town of Martina Franca. Rich in Baroque architecture, Martina Franca gained wealth during the Middle Ages when the Prince of Taranto gave tax-free status to anyone choosing to live there. We'll visit an olive-oil press in town that has been in the same family for four generations. Special farewell dinner together tonight. Distance: 52 km (32 miles) or more.
Lodging: Park Hotel San Michele
Day 8: Farewell
Highlights:We'll say good-bye after breakfast today. Spend a few days exploring this wonderful 16th century town or head on for further explorations. Whatever you decide, thanks for cycling Puglia with us. Buon viaggio!
HighlightsMixture of Greek & Italian cultures, Classic Puglian landscapes, Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Matera, Vast Olive Groves
Includes8 days, 7 nights accommodation; 5 dinners with wine, 7 breakfasts; wine tasting; guided walk in Matera and the trulli
Arrive/DepartBari Airport (BRI), Rome or Naples Airport (NAP)
Total Distance354 km (218 miles)
Daily DistanceAverage per day mileage 59 km (36 miles).
What to ExpectThree UNESCO World Heritage sites; two - two night stays; great fresh Mozzarella, olive oil, basil...and more!
Undulating terrain every day with short climbs, generally into villages, never longer than 5 miles. One option for a rest day.
NotesIf this sounds great but you'd like a longer tour, check out our Puglia - Cycling Southern Italy Plus! the Ionian Seaside tour, which extends this itinerary by 4 days.
Click on the "pins" for details about each day's highlights.