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. Nestled 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 shorter ride check out the 7-day Cycling Puglia's White Villages.

Tour Dates & Prices

Private Room Fee
Apr 23-May 3, 2023
Departure confirmed.
May 7-17, 2023
Departure confirmed.
Sep 10-20, 2023
Departure confirmed. Sold out. Waitlist available.
Sep 24-Oct 4, 2023
  Departure confirmed to go!
Oct 1-11, 2023
Departure confirmed to go!
Apr 21-May 1, 2024
May 5-15, 2024
Sep 8-18, 2024
Sep 22-Oct 2, 2024
Sep 29-Oct 9, 2024

* 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.

** For information about what your tour status means please see our FAQ page.

Tour Style: Classic Hold A Space Request Private Departure Download Itinerary Tour Map
  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
  • Similar Tours
Trip At-A-Glance

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 11 Days
  • Total Distance / 422 km (260 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 47 km (29 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 2.0 Classic
  • Countries / Italy
  • Begin/End / Matera / Lecce
  • Price / From TBA
More Photos
Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • 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
    11 days, 10 nights' accommodation; meals as noted in itinerary; guided visit of Matera; guided visit of Alberobello; 1 cheese tasting; and olive mill visit; and the usual (see below).

    Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Classic tour at the Classic Tour Style page.
  • Arrive / Depart
    Bari (BRI), Naples (NAP) or Brindisi Airport (BDS)
  • Overall Tour Level
    2.0 difficulty level 2.0

    Pavement may be rough or uneven in places.

  • Daily Ride Summary




    Day Level


    Test ride
    41km / 315m
    difficulty level 2.5
    47km / 370m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    45km / 435m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.0
    Today's ride is an optional loop ride
    38km / 382m
    difficulty level 2.5
    42km / 361m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 1.5
    Today's ride is an optional loop ride
    38km / 374m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 1.5
    61km / 450m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 2.0
    56km / 582m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.0
    54km / 312m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    Last day

Terrain Legend

Gentle Gentle

Rolling hills Rolling hills

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary
Download 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 hotel and enjoy our welcome dinner after fitting bikes.

DAY 2: Matera

Highlights: Guided walk of the Matera's “sassi”, Appian Way

We’ll start the morning with a loop ride exploring Matera’s surroundings. Sights along the way include the fortified Massaria Jesce, which was an ancient Roman “post office” on the Appian Way - one of the most important Roman Roads. We’ll also visit the cave crypt of San Michele Arcangelo with frescoes dating to the 14th century. This afternoon features a guided walk exploring Matera’s history including a typical sassi, a cave dwelling house. Fodor’s has described the sassi as “one of the most unique landscapes in Europe,” on this tour we’ll gain a better understanding for the living conditions of what is believed to be one of the first human settlements in Italy.

  • Distance: 41km (26mi)
  • Gain: 315m (1033ft)
  • Terrain: Hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.5
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

DAY 3: Locorotondo

Highlights: Trulli, vineyards, Locorotondo

Enjoy this ride through olive groves and vineyards on the way to the “Valle d’Itria” which is the heart of Puglia's trulli region. Trulli are conical shaped dwellings unique to this part of Italy. Originally used as storage sheds for farmers, they quickly became popular as temporary shelters. Our destination is the small but vibrant town of Locorotondo which we’ll call home for the next two nights. This afternoon get lost in the whitewashed maze of lanes and historic buildings towering over them.

DAY 4: Loop ride to Alberobello

Highlights: Guided tour of Alberobello and trulli, cheese tasting

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. Before dinner together, we'll learn more about and sample the fresh mozzarella, burrata and stracciatella for which Puglia is renowned.

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: 38km (24mi)
  • Gain: 382m (1253ft)
  • Terrain: Hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • 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.

The October 1, 2023 departure will be at Vico Bianco.

  • Distance: 42km (26mi)
  • Gain: 361m (1184ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 7: Gallipoli

Highlights: Ceramics of Grottaglie, Ionian Coast, ancient Gallipoli

It's a relaxing and pleasant ride this morning to Grottaglie, Puglia's most famous pottery town. Be sure to visit one of the many local studios and learn about their painting and firing techniques. The abundant clay in this area, has long been an economic driver for the town. During the 18th century, there were over 42 ceramic related companies in Grottaglie which employed more than 5,000 people. Once your pottery curiosity has been satisfied, we’ll have lunch together in a typical Masseria before shuttling 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.

  • Distance: 38km (24mi)
  • Gain: 374m (1227ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
  • Lodging:

DAY 8: Santa Maria di Leuca

Highlights: Scenic beaches, coastal towers

We’ll leave the small island city of Gallipoli to pedal along the Gulf of Taranto, the largest gulf in the Ionian Sea. Our ride today explores 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. We encourage you to stop and take a swim along the way! Our lodging tonight is in Santa Maria di Leuca, the town at the very bottom of the "heel" of Italy.

  • Distance: 61km (38mi)
  • Gain: 450m (1476ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 9: Otranto

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

Upon leaving the small town of Leuca, 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.

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Welcome to Matera

Meeting time 2 p.m. - on Day 1, meet your fellow cyclists and Tour Leaders at the Day 1 Hotel specified on the itinerary.


As you are planning, remember that the hotels listed in our itineraries are our primary hotels and are - in rare cases - subject to change. Before you make arrangements, check with us if your tour departure is guaranteed. If your tour departure is out further than 6 months, please also check with us as there might be slight changes to the itinerary.

The below information will help you plan your arrival. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio. The fare and timing information listed below is approximate.

We suggest flying into the Bari’s Karol Wojtyla Airport, also called Bari Palese (BRI).

  1. Bus from Bari airport to Matera (view PugliAirbus schedules here). The result list will show "Bari Aeroporto" as the departure station and "Matera Piazzale Matteotti" as the arrival station (1 hour 15 min/EUR 3-6)
  2. *Taxi from Matera Bus Station to Day 1 Hotel (10 min/EUR 10-15).
  • or private transfer from the Bari airport to the Day 1 Hotel - contact us (1 hour 15 min/EUR 70-100)

*Note: There is a taxi operator on the square where the bus drops off but the office might not be attended on weekends. If you have a reliable arrival time, we will gladly pre-arrange a transfer for your (around EUR 20).

Day 11: Departure Information


Your trip ends on the final day after breakfast.

The below information will help you plan your departure. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio

Flying out of the Brindisi-Salento Airport (BDS):

  • Taxi from the ending hotel to the Brindisi Airport (40 min/EUR 90); hotel can help arrange this.

Or public transportation

  1. Taxi to the bus terminal (10 min/EUR 10)
  2. Airport Bus to the Brindisi-Salento Airport (45 min/EUR 7.50)

Flying out of the Bari Airport (BRI):

  • Taxi from the ending hotel to the Bari Airport (2 hours/EUR 160/2 persons); hotel can help arrange this.

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.

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To do right after you booked!

6 to 3 Months Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Refer to your Tour Packet/Itinerary to see step-by-step arrival and departure information for your tour, 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 we send 10 days prior to the due date for detailed instructions.

6 to 2 Weeks Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Start reading one of the books or watching one of the movies from our Reading and Movie Lists:
  • Plan what you are going to pack and start packing! Refer to the Packing Lists on our website at
  • We'll email you your access code to Digital Daysheets, Hotel Itinerary, Participant Roster, names and contact information of your Tour Leaders, emergency phone numbers, and other important departure information about 2 weeks prior to your tour start date. All this will be provided to you via a feature called Experiences via the RideWithGPS App (tracks available but not necessary for navigation on Classic, Expedition and Bike & Boat tours).

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

Classic Tour Style

Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Classic tour at the Classic page.





  • The location was amazing, the leaders were wonderful. The food was great!!! This was my first trip so I didn't know what to expect. I used the training program you had on the web page to prepare. I really worked well. I didn't have any problem riding the terrain.

    Nancy S., Colorado Springs, CO - Sept 2019
  • Started in the majestic city of Matera and treated to walking tour of city by a guide who lived through the city’s transformation. Cycling routes were all fantastic with breathtaking views throughout

    Norm H., Hammonton, NJ - Sept 2019
  • A great way to explore Puglia. The tour takes you on quiet roads with beautiful scenery around almost every corner. You also experience some very interesting cultural experiences every day of the tour.

    Barbara and Jim B., Longmont, CO - Sept 2019
  • Good introduction to bike touring because the pleasure-pain ratio is very high: beautiful country, fascinating history, interesting towns, good, varied food and lodging, benign weather, in a terrain and involving distances that were not too physically challenging.

    Dirk S., San Francisco, CA - Sept 2019
  • A beautiful and educational tour with gorgeous routes to follow and wonderful food experiences as well. The entire trip was one of our favorites!

    Martha A., Charlotte, NC - May 2019
  • The days along the coasts were spectacular. Your leaders are multi dimensional with so many other interests that it makes for a great experience

    Marty S., Princeton, NJ - May 2019
  • Amazing. I absolutely love cycling holidays with you.

    Valerie M., Paris, France - September 2018
  • Beautiful scenery, delicious food, interesting history and culture.

    Linda Z., Sherborn, MA - September 2018
  • Outstanding.

    Douglas B., Wellesley, MA - September 2018
  • 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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