Cycling Puglia in Southern Italy Plus! the Ionian Seaside

Cycling Puglia in Southern Italy Plus! the Ionian Seaside

Situated on the Adriatic Coast between the spur and heel of Italy's "boot" lies Puglia. Here, ancient Greek and Italian culture mingle among hillside vineyards and olive groves, and whitewashed villages nestle against the brilliant blue of the Mediterranean. Join us as we pedal through a landscape filled with unique conical shaped dwellings known as trulli, explore fabulous limestone grottoes, and visit Lecce, the baroque Florence of Southern Italy, and three world heritage sites in Castel del Monte, Matera, and Alberobello. Along the way, you will enjoy meals prepared with Italian, Greek, and Middle Eastern influences and discover the warmth and hospitality of Southern Italy's friendliest people.

If this sounds great but you don't have time for the full 11 days, check out our Puglia - Cycling Southern Italy tour, which features the first 7 days of this itinerary.

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  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
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Trip At-A-Glance

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 11 Days
  • Total Distance / 552 km (341 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / Average daily mileage 61 km (38 miles). per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 1.0
  • Countries / Italy
  • Begin/End / Trani/Lecce
  • Price / From USD$4650
Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    • Mixture of Greek & Italian cultures
    • ,
    • Classic Puglian landscapes
    • ,
    • The beautiful scenery of the Adriatic and Ionian coasts
    • ,
    • Hillside villages
    • ,
    • Three World Heritage sites
  • Includes
    11 days, 10 nights accommodation; 7 dinners with wine, 10 breakfasts; wine tasting; guided walk in Matera and trulli in Alberobello

  • Arrive / Depart
    Bari Airport (BRI), Rome (FCO) or Naples Int'l Airport (NAP) / Brindisi Airport (BDS)
  • Overall Tour Level
    1.0 difficulty level 1.0
  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    8
    9
    10
    11

Terrain Legend

Gentle Gentle

Rolling hills Rolling hills

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary
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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

  • Meals: Dinner

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: 62 km (38 miles). Meals: B, D

Lodging: Pineta Ruvo

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 4: Rest day in Matera

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: 43 km (27 miles). Meals: B

Lodging: Hotel San Domenico

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 5: Bicycle Puglia's Trulli Country to Alberobello

Highlights: Enjoy the unique scenery 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

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 7: Loop ride through Valle d'Itria

Highlights: Ancient Olive Oil mill, Ride to the beach and Carovigno

We'll take a loop ride from our hotel today through the Valle d'Itria. The loop will take us to the Adriatic Coast and then continue to the medieval town of Carovigno and back to our hotel.

Distance: 42 km (26 miles), optional. Meals: B

Lodging: Ostuni Palace

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 8: Bicycle to Manduria

Highlights: Ceramics of Grottaglie, Ionian Coast

It's a pleasant ride this morning to Grottaglie, Puglia's most famous pottery town. Visit the local studios there, and learn about pottery, painting and firing. Our accommodation tonight is a Masseria, another example of typical Apulian architecture. Once a wall-fortified working farm with barns, stables, and houses for the peasants and for the landlord, now it's a great hotel with lovely swimming pool that was featured in the New York Times in October 2014.

Distance: 88 km (55 miles). Meals: B, D

Lodging: Masseria Bosco

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 9: Bicycle to Gallipoli

Highlights: Scenic bicycling along the Ionian Coast, whitewashed villages, ancient Gallipoli

Small fishing villages dot the landscape today as we pedal along the coast past sand dunes and forests of Mediterranean pine. Our destination is Gallipoli, derived from the Greek word kalépolis meaning "beautiful city." Our hotel is located near the heart of old Gallipoli, so you can explore the city sights this afternoon.

Distance: 57 km (35 miles). Meals: B

Lodging: Palazzo del Corso

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 10: Bicycle Gallipoli to Lecce

Highlights: Lecce, farewell dinner

We'll pedal inland to our final destination, Puglia's most beautiful city - Lecce. Also known as the baroque Florence of Southern Italy, Lecce's pink sandstone buildings and pedestrian city center make for an inviting afternoon of exploring. This evening, we'll celebrate the end of our journey with a farewell dinner tonight.

Distance: 66 km (41 miles). Meals: B, D

Lodging: Hotel Santa Chiara

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 11: Tour ends in Lecce, Southern Italy

Highlights:

We'll say good-bye after breakfast today. Spend an extra day exploring Lecce, head south to Otranto, or just enjoy some R&R back on the coast. Whatever you decide, thanks for cycling Puglia with us. Buon viaggio!

Meals: B

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To Do Today!

3–6 Months Prior to Departure

  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed. As you make your plans refer to the Getting To and Away sent to you in your booking confirmation email it provides meeting times and the starting and ending hotels and shuttle information when applicable.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights. Please refer to the Getting To and Away sheet you received in your Reservation Confirmation Email.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program www.experienceplus.com/training.
  • Final payment is due 90 days prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 Weeks–2 Weeks Prior to Departure

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your Getting To and Away information and one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

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