In the heart of the Mediterranean lies Puglia, a unique landscape sandwiched between the Adriatic and Ionian seas. We explore the very best of this captivating region and begin by cycling through two towns that both possess UNESCO world heritage sites. The region is mainly flat, which lends itself perfectly to the self-guided cycle ahead; filled with spectacular views; beautiful coastline and mouth-watering cuisine.
All accommodation, All listed activities, All transport, Tour leader (on guided trips), Some meals (details available on request)
* 7 nights comfortable hotels * 6 days cycling with luggage transfers * 99% asphalt, 1% unpaved roads * Gentle undulations throughout * Self-guided holiday. Min age 14 yrs
Cycle at your own pace through UNESCO historic Italian villages and idyllic coastline
Days : 8
Price : From AED 4,630*
*Per person twin sharing and excluding flights
Trip Style : Basic
Trip Type : Self guided
Physical Grading : 2
Make your own way from Bari or Brindisi airport to Matera by train (see joining info below).
On leaving Matera you will pass through what makes this town so special. For millenia, inhabitants of this region have carved dwelling directly into ravines and gullies made of tuff (or tufa), a characteristic honey-colored soft stone. These houses are called 'Sassi' and are as today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Matera is the only place in the world where people can boast to be still living in the same houses of their ancestors of 9,000 years ago. From one famous world heritage site to another, heading towards Alberobello, you will pass the famous fairy-tale trulli houses that have also made Alberobello a recognised world heritage site.
Cycle through the lush Valle d'Itria and one of the prettiest cultural landscapes of the south past more trulli houses to Ostuni - offering breathtaking coastal views. Along the way we pass the famous wine town of Locorotondo, regarded as one of Italy's most beautiful villages. After sampling some of the local sparkling white wine, the route heads to the white city of Ostuni - famous for the dazzling effect of its whitewashed houses.
In the morning you will take a train transfer with your bike to the the fascinating baroque town of Lecce. From here we cycle deep into the Salentinian countryside before approaching the Ionian coast. Here you will reach beautiful Gallipolli, known as the 'Ionian Pearl' with its old town situated on a rocky island and offering fantastic views both from the north and the south. The town itself has many churches, narrow alleys and was the largest exporter of lamp oil made from olives in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Today you cycle to the most southerly point of Salento at Santa Maria di Leuca, where the crystal waters of the Ionian and Adriatic seas merge. This village is home to one of the most important lighthouses in Italy and the architectural delights of numerous villas built at the turn of the century. Inhabitants of this area were quite eccentric people who loved the peace and quiet and wanted to enjoy the sea and the town.
Our route continues along the south coast of the Adriatic sea through charming landscape to the ancient Messapian town of Otranto. The old town is surrounded by a mighty wall containing the impressive Hapsburger Castle. En route to Otranto there is the opportunity to visit the famous Grotta Zinzulusa, the only coastal grotto that is open to the public, and also the thermal baths of Santa Cesarea Terme.
We follow the shoreline through innumerable olive groves to the Baroque metropolis of Lecce. A relaxing way to end the week is at the beach of Torre dell'Orso surrounded by limestone cliffs and with many ancient caves to discover. The final destination is Lecce, the capital of Salento, and as well as being home to over 30 churches and countless palaces, there is an ampitheatre and Roman theatre dating back to Emperor Augustus.
Finish your trip in Lecce and make your own way back to the airport for your flight home.
|Title :||Varied and interesting landscapes|
|Summary :||Every day delivered a new experience and interesting cycling challenge. The bikes were excellent quality - though at first I was a bit concerned about the weight of it and the traditional style - but they were robust! No one had a puncture and given how rough the roads were, that was impressive. The hotels were all a high standard and in good locations. It was good that it was B&B as it meant the accommodation was central and left you free to do your own thing in the evening. The guide notes were good and the yellow arrows on posts along the route were a reassurance. The route and places we visited were all very good and certainly on anyone's list for Puglia. Every cycle was rewarding and we felt we had achieved something every day.|
|Title :||Great way to see the unique landscape and towns of this part of Italy|
|Summary :||There is great variety on this trip with a good combination of towns, beach and countryside. The architecture is stunning, from baroque churches in Lecce, to the sassi in Matera, the trulli around Alberobello and the little squares in villages like Acaya. The beaches vary from tiny, like the ones in St Caterina or Tricase Porto, to big expanses around Otranto and then the coves around St Foca - something to suit everyone. The hotels are high standard with good breakfasts to set you up for the day.|
|Title :||Puglia cycling|
|Summary :||A very well organised trip. A good pace visiting the main sites. All instructions clear and detailed.|
|Title :||Puglia cycling|
|Summary :||Very well organised. Lovely scenery and locations. Unfortunately had poor weather the week we were there - but no fault of anyone!|
|Title :||A fabulous way to see a less travelled part of Italy|
|Summary :||A great tour of some unique and interesting towns, all with something to see and explore. The cycling was mostly easy and fun on empty roads (in May). The hotels were all different and of a really good standard, and the food and wine was excellent.|
|Title :||Cycling in Pulia|
|Summary :||Beautiful scenery, comfortable hotels, excellent route maps and written instructions. Very interesting and picturesque stopovers. Loved every minute of the trip we were also very lucky with the weather.|
|Title :||Puglia: A great way to discover it|
|Summary :||Brilliant idea to self guide ourselves around this little known area of Italy, which has so much to discover. The cycling routes were really well thought out and lots of fun to follow. A mix of challenging and easy, so something for everyone, which optional extra bits such as off-road sections. Stunning countryside and castles. A mix of hotels, some of which were excellent, most good.|
|Title :||Fantastic holiday|
|Summary :||A great way of exploring the country, though some beautiful scenery staying in hotels that matched the character of the towns.|
|Title :||Cycling Puglia Heel of Italy|
|Summary :||So glad we cycle during the month of October, weather was very comfortable. Fabulous cliffs with majestic sea views at every tops. Hotel selection was spectacular and authentic to region. Plenty of time to visit sites and explore during the day and left over energy to take advantage of nightlife of all the charming cities. Self-guided was simplyfie by accurate maps and practical stickers of an arrow on strategic intersections. Oh yes, we also made friends from all around the globe !|
|Title :||Fantasic scenery, wonderful trip|
|Summary :||We are a couple who went on the self guided heel of Italy cycling trip. We loved it, it was such a great experience, waking up every day and cycling in such a wonderful part of Italy. The first couple of days through olive groves and vineyards and the next days by the coast (which was my favourite as the scenery was amazing and stopping to swim in the coves that we came across was so much fun. Everyday we got to a great destination, and it was brilliant, just to have a wash and then go out and explore such wonderful and historic places. The hotels are a mixture of old and new, always in good locations. Breakfasts were full of different fruits, pastries, breads (loads of it to set us up for the day) I couldn't resist Italian ice cream and made sure I tried it every evening to check that it was still as delicious as the last place.|
|Start Date - End Date||Availability||Price|
*Per person twin sharing and excluding flights
|2019-03-23 - 2019-03-30||8||AED 4,630|
|2019-03-30 - 2019-04-06||8||AED 5,042|
|2019-04-06 - 2019-04-13||8||AED 5,042|
|2019-04-13 - 2019-04-20||8||AED 5,042|
|2019-04-20 - 2019-04-27||8||AED 5,042|
|2019-04-27 - 2019-05-04||8||AED 5,042|
|2019-05-04 - 2019-05-11||1||AED 5,145|
|2019-05-11 - 2019-05-18||8||AED 5,145|
|2019-05-18 - 2019-05-25||6||AED 5,145|
|2019-05-25 - 2019-06-01||4||AED 5,145|
|2019-06-01 - 2019-06-08||8||AED 5,145|
|2019-06-08 - 2019-06-15||1||AED 5,145|
|2019-06-15 - 2019-06-22||8||AED 5,145|
|2019-08-24 - 2019-08-31||8||AED 5,145|
|2019-08-31 - 2019-09-07||6||AED 5,145|
|2019-09-07 - 2019-09-14||4||AED 5,145|
|2019-09-14 - 2019-09-21||2||AED 5,145|
|2019-09-21 - 2019-09-28||8||AED 5,145|
|2019-09-28 - 2019-10-05||6||AED 5,145|
|2019-10-05 - 2019-10-12||8||AED 5,042|
|2019-10-12 - 2019-10-19||8||AED 5,042|
|2019-10-19 - 2019-10-26||8||AED 4,630|