Puglia - Cycling Southern Italy

  • Itinerary Summary

    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.***

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    1. 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.Lodging: Hotel S. Paolo al Convento

    2. 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: 60 km (37 miles)Lodging: Pineta Ruvo

    3. 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. Dinner is together tonight.

      Distance: 76 km (47 miles)

      Lodging: Hotel San Domenico

    4. Day 4: Rest day in Matera with optional ride

      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! Dinner is on your own tonight.

      Distance: Your choice on optional ride: 43 km (27 miles)Lodging: Hotel San Domenico

    5. Day 5: Bicycle Puglia's Trulli Country

      Highlights: Enjoy the unique scenery and landscape 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 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

    6. Day 6: Optional ride to Castellana

      Highlights: Limestone grottoes of Castellana, guided visit of the trulli

      Today 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

    7. Day 7: Bicycle to Martina Franca

      Highlights: Trulli, vineyards, olive groves, Baroque architecture of Martina Franca

      Our 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

    8. Day 8: Farewell


      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!

    • Highlights

      Mixture of Greek & Italian cultures, Classic Puglian landscapes, Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Matera, Vast Olive Groves
    • Includes

      8 days, 7 nights accommodation; 5 dinners with wine, 7 breakfasts; wine tasting; guided walk in Matera and the trulli plus "The Usual"
    • Countries

    • Begin/End

      Trani/Martina Franca
    • Arrive/Depart

      Bari Airport (BRI), Rome or Naples Airport (NAP)
    • Total Distance

      354 km (218 miles)
    • Daily Distance

      Average per day mileage 59 km (36 miles).
    • Rating

      201-301 Undulating terrain every day with short climbs, generally into villages, never longer than 5 miles. One option for a rest day.
    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes

    * 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.

  • Stories

    • Lookin' forward to next year's adventure!

      Russ B., Arcadia, CA
    • What was your favorite experience on this trip? The tour through Matera ...such a fabulous site. The backroad biking and meeting locals.

      Geraldine M., New York, NY
    • The arrows...we love them. There is no substitute! We cannot imagine biking the routes we took and and roads we were on with any kind of written directions. It would take dozens of pages, we would have spent all our time looking at the maps and not the beautiful scenery... and we would never be sure we were on the right road = stress...just what we wanted to avoid. Bikes...the equipment was excellent. The quality of the bikes and the condition of the bikes are very important to us. This is a bike trip after all. One last thought: Some (many) bike companies have decided to market to people who are more interested in their hotel rooms and the restaurants than the biking itself. Don't "dummy down" your trips. You have a very nice balance of nice hotels, very good restaurants....and, importantly, outstanding routes and wonderful biking.

      Jim B., Incline Village, NV
    • I am ecstatic about the tour. The leaders were the best...the rides were fabulous... the arrows were essential and allowed freedom and security.

      Sherry B., Newton, MA
    • I loved Puglia... frequently felt I was seeing things that the typical tourist would not get to experience in the same way. Everything was just right all around. Each day mixed just the right amount of riding , with just the right amount of cultural experience.... and so much food!! The guides were exceptional!

      Ginny R.
      Flemington, NJ
    • This was a wonderful tour. The leaders were the best I've had. We also enjoyed the area and the mileage we rode. It is a very interesting part of Italy. Staying two nights in the same hotel is also very nice. Loved the tour.

      Barbara W.
      Lafayette, CO
    • What more can I say, ExperiencePlus! organizes the best vacations you will ever have the pleasure of participating in! So much fun, so well organized, great locations, great routes, truly spectacular dining!, comfortable hotels - and most important of all, very caring and supportive staff.

      Catherine P.
      Boston, MA
    • Guides were very good. Maybe best we have ever had.

      Russ A.
      Seattle, WA

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