Puglia and Matera Cycling Holiday

Spend one or two nights in fascinating Matera, Italy’s oldest settlement, before embarking on a cycling tour of Puglia, the heel of Italy. See the charming Trulli houses in Alberobello and visit the white city of Ostuni. Ride along blissfully quiet, picturesque lanes, flanked by ancient olive groves, orchards and wheat fields. See both the Ionian and Adriatic coasts and marvel at the baroque splendour of Lecce.

Puglia is southern Italy’s land of plenty. A warm climate and incredibly rich soil make it a farmer’s dream. It’s not bad for cyclists either – the roads are quiet, the scenery is sublime and any hills are short and shallow.

Torre Sant Andrea - Salento

Your holiday starts in the neighbouring region of Basilicata, in the town of Matera. Abandoned for many years, the haunting, old, hillside town of Sassi (Stones) is a human warren of ancient troglodyte dwellings connected by an intricate maze of corridors and stairways. You can opt to spend one or two nights in this fascinating place before being transferred to Alberobello from where your cycling holiday will begin.

In Alberobello you can admire the charming, naturally air-conditioned Trulli houses, cleverly designed to keep occupants cool in the summertime. You’ll visit Ostuni, the ancient ‘white town’, offering splendid views across the countryside to the Adriatic coast. You’ll cycle along quiet lanes lined with dry-stone walls that wind their way through Puglia’s fertile countryside of ancient, gnarled olive groves, orchards and wheat fields.

The fortified town of Gallipoli marks the beginning of the coastal section of the holiday as the route leads you south along the Ionian coast’s gorgeous beaches. After a night at the very tip of Italy’s heel you turn north and head up the rugged Adriatic coast to the enchanting town of Otranto. As a fitting finale your last night is spent in the ornate and opulent town of Lecce. Lose yourself in the narrow streets and find the perfect restaurant to celebrate your Puglia adventure.

This leisurely cycling holiday can be enjoyed by anyone of average fitness. For the most part the terrain is level and any hills are short and not that challenging.

Puglia and Matera Cycling Holiday

Spend one or two nights in fascinating Matera, Italy’s oldest settlement, before embarking on a cycling tour of Puglia, the heel of Italy. See the charming Trulli houses in Alberobello and visit the white city of Ostuni. Ride along blissfully quiet, picturesque lanes, flanked by ancient olive groves, orchards and wheat fields. See both the Ionian and Adriatic coasts and marvel at the baroque splendour of Lecce.

Puglia is southern Italy’s land of plenty. A warm climate and incredibly rich soil make it a farmer’s dream. It’s not bad for cyclists either – the roads are quiet, the scenery is sublime and any hills are short and shallow.

Torre Sant Andrea - Salento

Your holiday starts in the neighbouring region of Basilicata, in the town of Matera. Abandoned for many years, the haunting, old, hillside town of Sassi (Stones) is a human warren of ancient troglodyte dwellings connected by an intricate maze of corridors and stairways. You can opt to spend one or two nights in this fascinating place before being transferred to Alberobello from where your cycling holiday will begin.

In Alberobello you can admire the charming, naturally air-conditioned Trulli houses, cleverly designed to keep occupants cool in the summertime. You’ll visit Ostuni, the ancient ‘white town’, offering splendid views across the countryside to the Adriatic coast. You’ll cycle along quiet lanes lined with dry-stone walls that wind their way through Puglia’s fertile countryside of ancient, gnarled olive groves, orchards and wheat fields.

The fortified town of Gallipoli marks the beginning of the coastal section of the holiday as the route leads you south along the Ionian coast’s gorgeous beaches. After a night at the very tip of Italy’s heel you turn north and head up the rugged Adriatic coast to the enchanting town of Otranto. As a fitting finale your last night is spent in the ornate and opulent town of Lecce. Lose yourself in the narrow streets and find the perfect restaurant to celebrate your Puglia adventure.

This leisurely cycling holiday can be enjoyed by anyone of average fitness. For the most part the terrain is level and any hills are short and not that challenging.

Itinerary

If you wish to do this same itinerary but starting from Alberobello, without a stay in Matera, then please see our 7 night Puglia Cycling Holiday.

Day 1 : Arrive Matera

You will be picked up from Bari airport and transferred to your accommodation in Matera, one of the oldest settlements in Italy. The rest of the day is yours to explore this fascinating place on foot. Since palaeolithic times man has lived here in dwellings dug into the honey-coloured soft stone of the surrounding hillside. Over centuries more houses were added above and below each other, connected by a maze-like network of stairways and exterior corridors. Looking across the valley, the town looks like a huge human rabbit warren. It’s extremely picturesque and is protected as a world heritage site but not so long ago its inhabitants were amongst the poorest in Italy, living without running water or electricity. You’ll spend the night in this truly unique town.

Day 2 : Matera (this day omitted if 8 day itinerary is selected)

If you opt for the 9 night package you spend another day and night in Matera, allowing you more time to fully explore this magical place on foot.

Day 3 : Transfer to Alberobello

Today you are transferred in the afternoon to the town of Alberobello in Puglia. The journey time is just over one hour. Alberobello is a pretty town famous for its many traditional ‘Trulli’ houses. The clever design of these charming, circular stone dwellings keeps the occupants cool during the summer months. The cycling starts tomorrow so the day is yours to enjoy strolling around this charming little town.

Important: As Alberobello has a traffic-free city centre, as a UNESCO cultural heritage site, the transfer will take you approx. 250/500mt from the hotel. So you will then need to walk this short distance to your hotel.

Day 4 : Alberobello – Ostuni
35 miles/55 kms

Your first ride leads you through the Valle d’Itria dotted with small hamlets and pretty vineyards. We recommend stopping to taste the wine produced in this region, as it really is very good. Take a break in the pretty, hilltop town of Locorotondo before pressing on eastwards. In the early afternoon you arrive in Ostuni, the ‘white town’, so named because of its whitewashed buildings standing out against the sky. From the top of the town you can enjoy superb views out over the Adriatic coastline 6 kms away to the east. The narrow streets of this quaint little place are a pleasure to explore on foot.

Day 5 : Ostuni – Manduria
37 miles/60 kms

Today’s route leads you south along a network of quiet country lanes to the town of Manduria. You will be riding through a landscape of red earth, olive groves and dry stone walls that typifies Puglia’s charm and appeal. Take a lunch break in the charming old town of Oria clustered around the imposing castle before continuing south to Manduria the capital of the Puglia’s Primitivo grape region.

Day 6 : Manduria – Gallipoli
41 miles/70 kms

Today’s quite long but easy ride delivers you to Puglia’s Ionian Coast. We recommend timing your arrival in Porto Cesareo to coincide with lunch as there are some lovely fish restaurants in the pretty little seaside town. A little further along the coast you enjoy a peaceful and scenic ride through the serene Porto Selvaggio nature reserve. You destination today is the fortified port of Gallipoli. The town occupies a strategic position and has a long history of repelling attackers as well as being overrun. A visit to the impressive fortress will provide you with more details on its violent past. The narrow, winding streets of the old town have a Moorish feel to them and are a delight to explore on foot.

Day 7 : Gallipoli – Santa Maria di Leuca
32 miles/50 kms

Continue south along the Ionian coastline, the route passes numerous idyllic beaches so it’s a good idea to have your swim stuff packed in your pannier today. After this lovely coastal ride you arrive in the small town of Santa Maria di Leuca. The town marks the point where the Ionian and Adriatic seas meet and has that lovely end-of-the-earth, remoteness about it. This is probably why it has attracted quite an eccentric population many of whom live in the numerous, quirky but luxurious villas that abound here. Spend the night in this pleasant little town.

Day 8 : Santa Maria di Leuca – Otranto
32 miles/50 kms

Bid the Ionian Sea farewell and say hello to the Adriatic as you head northwards along its rocky coastline. Today is all about superb sea-views, pretty coastal villages and quaint ports. The swim spots are not as frequent as on yesterday’s ride but they do exist so be sure to pack the swim stuff again. You could also stop off at the Zinzulusa Cave, a stunning Grotto with clear turquoise waters and/or the spa town of Santa Cesarea, known for its sulphurous mineral springs and mud therapy treatments. Otranto itself is an enchanting old town and the waterfront promenade is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal after the day’s activities.

Day 9 : Otranto – Lecce
35 miles/55 kms

Your last day of cycling takes you further along the coast to Torre dell’Orso – a great place for a swim by the way – and then inland to the Baroque city of Lecce. The city has been dubbed the Florence of the South and makes a lovely finale to the cycling holiday. Narrow little streets suddenly open up to reveal baroque treasures seething with detail, like the incredible Basilica di Santa Croce. Historically, Lecce was always the powerhouse of Puglia and this is evident in its opulent and ornate architecture. Perhaps celebrate your achievement with a nice meal in one of the town’s many restaurants.

Day 10 : Lecce - end of trip

After breakfast it is time to head for home or your next adventure.

Bikes

Regular bikes provided are modern alloy framed models with 27 speeds. The bikes come equipped with pannier, lock and a repair kit with pump.

Electric bikes are also available.

We suggest you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene reasons, alternatively helmets for adults are available for rent at the time of booking.

Accommodation

Below you will find examples of the types of accommodation typically used on this tour. Please note that the hotels we book for you may differ slightly from those described but they will certainly be of a similar standard.

Comfort: Comfortable hotels and guesthouses

Matera: Hotel Sassi

Alberobello: Trullidea Resort (standard)

Ostuni: Hotel Rione Antico La Terra

Manduria: Sine Tempore B&B

Gallipoli: Hotel Joli Park

Santa Maria di Leuca: Hotel Terminal

Otranto: Hotel Albania

Lecce: Hotel Delle Palme

Superior: Good quality hotels and guesthouses.

Matera: Hotel Sassi

Alberobello: Trullidea Resort (superior)

Ostuni: Sant’Eligio Relais

Manduria: BHB Hotel

Gallipoli: Hotel 33 Baroni

Santa Maria di Leuca: Gran Hotel L’approdo

Otranto: Hotel San Giuseppe

Lecce: Hotel Delle Palme

Local taxes

Some hotels have started to charge a local/tourist tax. These taxes are not included in the sale price of the tour and must be paid directly by you at check-in or checkout at the hotels. This fee varies and is ever changing but as a guide, you may be asked to pay between €1-€4 per person per night

Getting there

Fly to Bari from where you will be picked up and transferred to Matera (this transfer is included in your package). At the end of the trip you can fly home from either Bari or Brindisi airports. Transfers to either airport from your last hotel can be arranged for a supplement. alternatively it is also possible to use public transport.

Research flights from the UK here.

Research trains in Italy here.

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