Cycling Puglia's White Villages Plus! the Salento

Cycling Puglia's White Villages Plus! the Salento

Beautifully situated on the Adriatic Coast between the spur and heel of Italy's "boot" lies Puglia. Nestle against the brilliant blue of the Mediterranean ancient Greek and Italian cultures mingle among hillside vineyards, olive groves, and whitewashed villages. Join us as we begin our bicycling journey in Matera, a world renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site, where dwellings carved into limestone caves create an enchanted and ancient stone city. We’ll pedal east toward Alberobello, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, through a landscape filled with unique conical shaped dwellings known as trulli. Continue to the striking “Città Bianca” or “White City” of Ostuni before heading south to Grottaglie, famed for its ceramics, and the important coastal towns of Gallipoli and Otranto where you'll revel in impromptu stops at some of the beautiful beaches that attract visitors from all over Italy. Our final stop brings us back inland to Lecce, the baroque Florence of Southern Italy where palatial streets welcome us. Along the way you'll 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 prefer a longer ride join us on the extended Cycling Puglia's White Villages which extends this trip.

Tour Dates & Prices

Date
Price
Private Room Fee
Note
Sep 9-19, 2018
USD$4495
USD$650
Guaranteed to Go!
Sep 23-Oct 3, 2018
USD$4495
USD$650
Sold Out.
Apr 28-May 8, 2019
USD$5050
USD$650
 
May 19-29, 2019
USD$5050
USD$650
 
Sep 15-25, 2019
USD$5050
USD$650
 

* 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 private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 11 Days
  • Avg. Distance / 49 km (29 miles) per riding day
  • Difficulty / 201
  • Countries / Italy
  • Price / From USD$4495
More Photos
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Map
  • Reviews
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Tour Summary

Daily Ride Summary

Distance

1 No cycling today.
2 21-29 mi / 34-46 km
3 32 mi / 51 km
4 38 mi / 60 km
5 31 mi / 50 km
6 28 mi / 45 km
7 24 mi / 38 km
8 46 mi / 74 km
9 34 mi / 55 km
10 34 mi / 54 km
11 mi / km
  • Highlights
    UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Sassi of Matera and trulli of Alberobello, White city of Ostuni, Cheese tasting, Locorotondo, Ancient olive mill visit, Via Traiana, Otranto, Lecce - the baroque Florence of Southern Italy, The tip of the heel of Italy's boot, Grottaglie and its ceramics

    Keep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

    There is a van shuttle on Day 3 and 7.
  • Includes
    Use of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 11 days, 10 nights' accommodation; van support; 2 or 3 bilingual tour leaders; 7 dinners with wine, 1 lunch, 10 breakfasts; guided visit of Matera; guided visit of Alberobello; 1 wine, 1 cheese tasting; and olive mill visit plus "The Usual"

    The Usual (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)

    • Superb tour leaders who are fun, bilingual and avid cyclists.
    • Help with flights, trains and pre/post tour hotels.
    • Comfortable lodging in 3-4 star hotels. 
    • All breakfasts and at least half of your dinners.
    • Use of a high quality 27-30 speed bike.
    • Full van support to carry luggage – and tired cyclists, too! 
    • Special events like wine tastings, cultural visits and chocolatiers.
    • All tips and gratuities at tour hotels and group meals.
    • Unique routes, marked with our famous chalk dust arrows.
    • Daily mileage options.
    • Detailed route map and free use of our traveling resource library.

    What's not included:

    • Transportation to and from the bicycling tour including airfare, or train travel
    • Helmets - we ask that you bring your own to ensure the best fit
    • Meals not listed in the itinerary
    • Tour Leader gratuity

    See the complete list of what's included with every ExperiencePlus! Tour.

  • Countries
    Italy
  • Begin/End
    Matera / Lecce
  • Arrive / Depart
    Bari (BRI), Naples (NAP) or Brindisi Airport (BDS)
  • Total Distance
    417 - 437 km (257 - 269 miles)
  • Avg. Distance
    49 km (29 miles) per riding day
  • Difficulty
    201
    201 gentle hills that will require that you use your gears to reach the top. Pavement may be rough or uneven in places.
  • Terms
Daily Itinerary

DAY 1: Welcome to Matera

Highlights: Welcome drink, bike fitting, dinner in the “Sassi” of Matera

Arrive in Matera, 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 calcarenite or semi-sandstone cliffs at one time housed as many as 25,000 people. Today, the churches and caves are preserved as a World Heritage Site as being the “most outstanding, intact example of a cave-dwelling settlement in the Mediterranean.” Settle into our non-cave dwelling hotel and enjoy our welcome dinner after fitting bikes.

DAY 2: Matera

Highlights: Guided walk of the Matera's “sassi”, lunch at rural agriturismo, swimming pool

We'll start the morning with a fascinating guided walk through town, including a visit to an enormous man-made water cistern dug under the town. Though the cistern is obsolete, it is a fascinating view into ancient workmanship. After our walk, we'll hop on the bikes and ride to a rural working farm restaurant for a refreshing (and yummy!) poolside lunch. From here, you can choose whether to head back to Matera, or do a loop ride up to nearby Montescaglioso, a small hill town that was home to one of the oldest and richest Benedictine communities.

DAY 3: Locorotondo

Highlights: Cheese tasting, trulli, vineyards

Our ride today starts with a shuttle and features olive groves and vineyards as we head toward the “Valle d’Itria” which is the heart of Puglia's trulli region. 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. We’ll arrive near the small but vibrant town of Locorotondo where we’ll sample fresh mozzarella, burrata and straciatella and learn more about how they are produced. Settle into our hotel and enjoy dinner together tonight.

DAY 4: Loop ride to Alberobello

Highlights: Guided tour of Alberobello and learn more about trulli

We’ll pedal to the iconic "trulli" town of Alberobello where we'll have a guided tour to learn more about these conical shaped buildings and the people who built them. Take time to explore this unique town and have lunch on your own before getting back on the bike and heading back to Locorotondo. This afternoon get lost in the whitewashed maze of lanes and historic buildings towering over them.

DAY 5: Bicycle to Ostuni

Highlights: Ostuni - La cittá bianca

Our ride today will take you first through vineyards and olive groves to the whitewashed town of Ostuni. Our hotel is located in the center of this amazing village which spans three hilltops and is crowned by a Gothic cathedral. Destroyed by Hannibal during the Punic Wars in 1st and 2nd Centuries BC, Ostuni was rebuilt by the Greeks and takes its name from them as “Astu néon or "new town". Rebuilt by the Normans in the 10th Century, Ostuni then flourished during the Italian Renaissance under Duchess Isabella of Bari. This is an imposing and beautiful city from afar and within.

  • Distance: 31 mi / 50 km
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

DAY 6: Loop ride through the Valle d'Itria

Highlights: Ancient olive mill, the beach, Carovigno

We'll take a loop ride from our hotel today through the Valle d'Itria. The first stop will be to visit an underground olive press dating to pre-Roman times and used until the 19th C. Our ride continues on the Via Appia Traiana just before reaching the Adriatic Coast. Built by order of the Roman Emperor Traiano in the 2nd century A.D., the Via Traiana connected Rome to Brindisi, one of the most important ports for commerce with the Middle East. We’ll parallel the coast today with a possible dip at a local beach before continuing to the medieval town of Carovigno and back to our hotel.

  • Distance: 28 mi / 45 km
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 7: Gallipoli

Highlights: Ceramics of Grottaglie, Ionian Coast, ancient Gallipoli

It's a pleasant ride this morning to Grottaglie, Puglia's most famous pottery town. Visit the local studios, and learn about painting and firing techniques. The use of the abundant clay in the area, has long been an economic driver for the town. In fact, during the 18th century, employing over 5,000 people. Once your pottery curiosity has been satisfied, we’ll shuttle to the coastal town of Gallipoli. Our hotel is located near the heart of old Gallipoli, a small island connected to the mainland by a bridge.

DAY 8: Masseria Ruri Pulcra

Highlights: Scenic beaches, overnight in a working farm or “Masseria”

We’ll leave the small island city of Gallipoli to pedal along the Gulf of Taranto, the largest gulf in the Ionian Sea. We are in the Salento, home to a wide variety of beautiful beaches including the “Salento Maldives” which resembles the tropical islands so much they’ve been named after them. Our lodging tonight is not on the beach but rather in a renovated luxury working farm or, locally known as a “masseria”. We’ll enjoy the fruits of their harvest with a home cooked meal this evening.

DAY 9: Otranto

Highlights: Riding along the Adriatic Coast, and between ancient fortresses and guard towers, Otranto

Upon leaving our masseria we'll reach the small town of Leuca which is very near the tip of the heel of the boot. From here you can continue south to land's end and the sanctuary Santa Maria di Leuca, or start your journey north. Our route to Otranto is along the jagged coast, dotted with karstic caves and ancient defense towers or castles. Arrive in Otranto, historically one of the most important trading cities in Puglia. Enjoy the seafront promenade and the city perched on the waterfront.

DAY 10: Lecce

Highlights: Lecce, nature reserve

Continue pedaling north along the coast in between defense towers and scenic cliffs. Our route also includes a car-free section through a nature reserve before turning inland to reach our final destination, arguably 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 exploration. This evening, we'll celebrate the end of our journey with a farewell dinner.

DAY 11: Lecce

Highlights: Buon viaggio!

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

  • Distance: mi / km
  • Meals: Breakfast
Map

Map

Reviews

Reviews

  • Great! Highly recommended. Plenty of really interesting sites and beautiful country. Routes were almost all not on trafficked roads.

    Keneva K., Kopavogur, Iceland - April 2018
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