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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Tour Style: Hold-A-Space/Questions Request Custom Date Download Itinerary Tour Map
  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
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  • Reviews
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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
  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    8
    9
    10
    11

    Tour Level Note:

Terrain Legend

Gently rolling Gently rolling hills

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

What's Included

For a full list of what's included before, during and after your bike tour, visit our What's Included page.

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To do right after you booked!

6 to 3 Months Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Check the online itinerary of your trip and review the arrival and departure information under the "Travel Information" tab to see meeting place and time, if a reservation on a complimentary ExperiencePlus! Shuttle (if applicable) is required, and other important information to help you plan your arrival and 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.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights.
  • Begin your chosen training program.
  • Final payment is due 90 days (120 days for Bike &Barge/Boat tours) prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 to 2 Weeks Prior to Tour Start Date

Day of Your Flight

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

What to Expect on Tour

Bicycles

Your bike will be equipped with: a men's or women's saddle, a quick release style seat post adjustment, rear rack and expandable pack, pump, patch kit, spare tube, cable lock, cyclometer, rear lights, a water bottle cage (or two), one water bottle , and a bell. If you would like to bring your own pedals and shoes we recommend doing so—your tour leaders will install them during the bike fitting. We have flat pedals with or without cages available. For safety and hygiene reasons you are responsible for bringing a helmet.

Daysheets

Each day you'll receive a daysheet with information on the day's activities, meals and ride. These also include Tour Leader phone numbers, hotel information and interesting historical and cultural information about sites that you may want to stop and see along the route. Your Tour Leaders will also post daily announcements in the hotel lobby with information about sightseeing in town or restaurant recommendations for dinners on your own as well as important information about breakfast, luggage down and "arrows down" time.

Navigating on Tour

Each day we will provide you with a route map with the day's ride highlighted route. Of course, we also mark the route every day with our signature chalk dust arrows. Our arrows make navigating very easy—you may never need to look at the map! The arrows also allow you to ride at your own pace. There is no need to "keep up" with the group—this is your ride!

But what if it rains? What happens to the arrows? In a light rain, the arrows actually "set up" and become more permanent. In a heavy rain, they do wash away. If that happens, we'll re-group to cycle together for those who want to continue cycling while those who prefer to stay dry can shuttle.

For the tech-loving riders out there we offer the opportunity to download GPS tracks of most tour routes to your personal GPS device using RideWithGPS.com.

Van Support

The van carries luggage and supports cyclists. It also has water, fruit and snacks. Though the van has snacks, we encourage you to stop and enjoy markets and find your own favorite local specialty.

Hotels

We have carefully chosen all of our accommodations for their charm and location. They are typically small, family run hotels that offer you a glimpse into the local culture.

We prefer hotels near interesting sites in the center of town located along the best cycling route in the area. Because many of the hotels are small not all of the rooms will be exactly the same. We keep this in mind and do our best to distribute rooms fairly by the end of the tour. Our itinerary lists our primary hotels. On rare occasions, listed hotels are subject to change.

Meals and Restaurants

Breakfasts: we work hard to arrange complete breakfasts but some hotels still serve continental style breakfasts; cycling is energy intensive so we do recommend you plan for a morning or mid-morning snack on the road at a local café or market.

Water is OK in almost all hotels and in country fountains; if there is a problem, we will advise you.

We'll recommend lunch locations en route and most itineraries include a few group picnics. We limit the number of picnics so you don't feel pressured to be at a certain place in the middle of your ride.

Dinners together are often pre-planned and pre-ordered. We'll ask you prior to your trip if you have special dietary requirements. Preplanned meals allow us to provide a variety of regional specialties and facilitate efficient service. Water, wine and beer are included.

Tipping Your Tour Leader Team

If you feel your tour leader team has demonstrated great expertise and service, common practice within the travel industry is to tip. Tipping is voluntary and greatly appreciated, and gratuity amounts vary widely. Should you decide to leave a tip, as a guideline, we suggest 5% of the tour cost per traveler – this for the entire tour leader team, not each Tour Leader. If you’d like to show your gratitude for your Tour Leaders’ excellent service you can give the tip to any member of the tour leader team, as they share it evenly. In order to avoid social tensions, we encourage you to tip as individuals and not as a group. If you feel your Tour Leaders did not quite meet your expectations, then we would like to know about it. You will also have the opportunity to leave your comments in our evaluation survey which we email to you after your trip.

Photos

By reserving space on tour, you agree that ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours may use, re-use and reproduce any images, photos or videos that you send to us, or that are taken by our guides and/or other travelers of you individually or in a group, in any medium, including but not limited to print, electronic media, or Internet, free of charge and without your right to inspection, for promoting and publicizing our travel products and services worldwide. If you do not want us to use any images of you that are taken by us or other participants during the tour, you must inform us or your tour leader in writing at the start of the tour.

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