- Cycling through wonderful landscapes of ancient olive groves, vineyards and stunning coastlines
- Exploring the UNESCO World Heritage town of Alberobello and the Baroque city of Lecce
- Discovering the traditional Trulli houses of Puglia
- Relaxing each night in comfortable 3 and 4* hotels in authentic Apulian towns and villages
- Stopping at beautiful sandy beaches with turquoise seas
- Tasting delicious Apulian produce, like orecchiette and extra virgin olive oil
I had a really great time, and I’d definitely recommend (in fact already have!) the tour to others. Everything felt very well organised, which was great for someone like me, who had never done a cycling holiday before, and wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
You will be met at the airport and transferred to your accommodation in Lecce (approximately 2 hours).
After a welcome meeting and bike fitting, we’ll have time to explore the historical centre of Lecce on a guided tour. Described as the ‘Florence of the South‘, Lecce is a city that’s bursting with culture. We’ll take in the city’s wonderful palaces and churches, as we meander through its historic old town. Lecce is a vibrant city, packed with bars and cafes; the perfect place to enjoy a welcome aperitivo or coffee should you like.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 250 Metres Approx.
Setting off on our bikes we’ll leave Lecce as we head for the coast. We’ll cycle through the countryside of Greek Salento, where we’ll find traces of former colonies still present in the dialect, cuisine and architecture. Our first stop will be the historic, fortied village of Acaya, famed for its astonishing castle.
As we leave here, the route will take us towards the Cesine Natural Reserve, passing through a sea-pine and eucalyptus forest, all the way to the coast.
The turquoise blues of the Adriatic will be on our left, as we head south, stopping off at the famous Poetry Caves and S. Andrea bay to admire the amazing tuff columns (I Faraglioni). After an undulating ride between the Alimini Lakes, our destination will be Otranto, a Greek-Roman port frequented by merchants and thrill seekers.
As we enter the old town, we’ll notice the wall surrounding the Aragonese Castle. In your spare time we recommend visiting the Cathedral with its awesome rose-window, the UNESCO world heritage mosaic floor and the columned crypt.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 620 Metres Approx.
Today will be our most challenging, as we cycle along the high coastal route and wind our way along the cliff tops. We’ll be riding past rocky coves, heading to the furthest tip of the heel of Italy. On our way we’ll have the opportunity to stop at the eastern light-house of Punta Palascia and we’ll stop for a coffee at the lovely Porto Badisco bay, with its crystal clear waters.
Following this, we’ll stop to admire Santa Cesarea Terme (so called due to its local thermal baths) and enjoy its eclectic villas and the Moorish Palazzo Sticchi. We’ll then head on to the unique sea-caves, known as Grotta Zinzulusa.
After lunch, we’ll reach Gagliano del Capo. From here we can take in the magnificent views from its world-famous bridge, as we enjoy a well-earned coffee.
Arriving in Santa Maria di Leuca, a small village with colourful “mansions” and a beautiful lighthouse, there will be time to dip into the crystal clear sea where the Adriatic and the Ionaian seas divide.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 180 Metres Approx.
Today we’ll leave the Adriatic and start riding north along the coastline of the Ionian sea, past long sandy beaches and little coves. We’ll notice some beautiful beaches, dotted with beach clubs that fill up during the summer months. If time allows, we’ll stop off at one of the more famous beaches, Maldive del Salento. Continuing north, we’ll soon find ourselves at a quiet lunch spot just by the beach, where we’ll have the opportunity for a dip in the warm Ionian waters.
Gallipoli is our destination for the evening, and is known as the “Ionian Pearl”. Throughout history, Gallipoli has been an important fishing and trading port. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you please. You may want to visit one of the ancient underground olive-mills still preserved and open to the public, or take a stroll near the harbor. Or you could meander through the narrow alleys and explore the many little churches, or perhaps just relax in one of the town squares, before taking in the breathtaking sunset from the historic town.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 250 Metres Approx.
Today we’ll leave the Ionian coast, as we start cycling inland, through sparsely-populated flat countryside, littered with olive trees and pine forests. We’ll soon understand why Gallipoli was reknowned for exporting lamp oil made from the olive oil from the rich harvest of this region. We’ll stop off in Nardò, where we can enjoy a coffee in the pretty, Baroque town square.
Once we reach Lecce, we’ll board the train to Ostuni (or jump in the support van, depending on the size of the group). From here we’ll take a short uphill pedal to the town centre and our accommodation (2 Miles/3.2 Kms Approx.). Ostuni, known as the White City, has a rich history and is a beautiful base for the evening. You can spend the evening exploring Ostuni’s narrow streets within its protective walls, stopping to admire the Gothic 15th century cathedral.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 580 Metres Approx.
Today we’ll see the landscape change, as we ride through the historically-rich Valle d‘Itria. Our route follows a roller coaster country lane, as we ride amongst olive groves, vineyards and traditional stone, masserie (typical farm houses of Puglia) and Trulli. If time allows, we may get the opportunity to stop off at a local olive oil making factory, to sample some of the delicious produce. We’ll pass through the medieval towns of Locorotondo, famous for its white wine, and on to Cisternino, which boasts a charming historic centre and will likely be where we stop for lunch.
Jumping back on our bikes we’ll make our way towards Alberobello, passing the famous fairy-tale Trulli houses which awarded Alberobello its UNESCO World Heritage site status. The 1,000 Trulli houses, many of which are still lived in, will transport us to an entirely different time, and we’ll grab the opportunity to explore the Trulli around Alberobello after our cycling.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 280 Metres Approx.
Our destination for today is the Adriatic coast. Leaving Alberobello our route takes us through the distinctive Apulian landscape, via Putignano and Castellana, where we’ll have the option to visit an impressive underground cave system (known as ‘Murgia dei Trulli’) – payable locally. More beautiful olive groves and Trulli houses accompany our route, as we make our way out of the Valle d‘Itria region.
An awe-inspiring descent, will lead us to the coast, as we make our way to Monopoli, passing centuries-old olive trees and lush vegetation. With its charming mix of Norman, Venetian-Byzantine and Arabic architecture. Riding north-west along the coast, the ride will take us to Polignano a Mare, a vibrant fishing village, surrounded by clear blue waters. Polignano a Mare, is perched on beautiful limestone cliffs, offering panoramic views of the Adriatic coastline. With a charming old town, and culture to boot (it’s the birthplace of Domenico Modugno, singer of ‘Volare‘), Polignano a Mare is the ideal location to celebrate our last evening in Puglia.
- Meals: Breakfast
Arrivederci Puglia! Time to head to the airport for flights home (approximately 45 minutes).
Or maybe you’d like to extend and spend the day in Matera? (2019’s European Capital of Culture – highly recommended!) Famous for its historical centre, the inhabitants of this region carved dwellings directly into the ravines made of tuff (tufo in italian), a light coloured soft stone. These dwellings are called “Sassi” and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You’ll ride on a mixture of flat and rolling countryside, mainly on quiet country roads. Some roads will have local traffic especially leading into the towns, but generally the roads in Puglia are quiet. Please be aware that some roads in this area are not in a great condition.
Day 3 will be the toughest, with the longest distance and some steep climbs. Although this may be a challenge for a grade 2 rider, the majority of the route is gentle, hence the overall grade 2 rating. The support vehicle will be nearby to assist those who might need a boost over some of the steeper climbs.
We recommend a hybrid bike for this tour, due to some short sections over gravel / dirt roads, however a road bike would suffice. If you are interested in riding an electric bike on this holiday please click here for more information.
Leisure Cycling Grade
Distances generally between 15-30 miles / 24-48 kms per day
For those looking for an easy-going route
Mainly on the flat
Some undulations and the odd cheeky challenge
Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!
For more information about our grading system click here.
Is this suitable for you?
Maybe you have recently got into cycling and would like to do more over consecutive days, or maybe you‘re looking for a more energetic alternative to your usual holiday? If you‘re looking for an opportunity to try some quiet roads, cycle paths or some accessible, cycle friendly routes these holidays might be for you. You’ll come across some gently undulating terrain and the odd cheeky challenge, so we’d generally expect those on a Grade 2 holiday to ride their bikes relatively frequently at home, perhaps commuting to work or heading out for some leisurely rides at the weekend.
For more information about the grading of this holiday in particular, please check out the terrain section which will give you some specifics of what to expect on this tour.
A big thanks to the local guides – not just for keeping us together, keeping us safe and keeping us fed and watered throughout, but for their good humour, knowledge and evident love of their region that shone through and helped make it a very enjoyable week.
Dates & Prices
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A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms) in good quality 3 and 4* hotels
B) Meals as per the itinerary
C) Full tour service, including English-speaking Skedaddle guides
D) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in first aid
E) Support vehicle and luggage transfers
F) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Bari airport (BRI)
G) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Bari airport (BRI)
What's not Included
A) Bike rental (available if required)
B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)
C) Single room (available if required)
D) Travel insurance
E) Meals not stated in the itinerary
F) Personal clothing and equipment
G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)
H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route
I) Train tickets from Lecce to Ostuni – if required (Day 5 – €10 approx.)
J) Possible city tax to be paid locally in cash (amount varies / couple of euros per day)
K) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days
Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.
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Matera City Guide
Discover 2019 European Capital of Culture, enchanting Matera!
Exploring Puglia, Italy
Our second winning customer story of 2019...
Laurel, Kent, UKExcellent service as always...
Service excellent as always. All the hotels were of a very high standard – spotlessly clean with very comfortable beds and all necessary toiletries provided. The electric bike provided was brilliant with plenty of power for the hills.
Marylou, Armagh, N. IrelandService was exceptional. The guides went far beyond the call of duty ensuring that everyone had the best possible experience...
We got to experience the many wonderful flavours of Puglia and to learn something of its history through fascinating explanations of buildings and customs. All of this was done with an infectious joy and an encyclopaedic knowledge of Puglia. The booking was also excellently supported! The energy, enthusiasm and attention to detail was exemplary.
Tom, Newcastle upon Tyne, UKTruly amazing!...
It was hard to pick out a favourite day or place as everywhere had something to offer, but the countryside after leaving Gallipoli was just how I imagine Italy and I have never seen anywhere quite like Alberobello – the Trulli town is truly amazing!
I would also like to compliment our local guides – not just for keeping us together, keeping us safe and keeping us fed and watered throughout, but for their good humour, knowledge and evident love of their region that shone through and helped make it a very enjoyable week.
Ray, SurreyThis was a wonderful trip!
Arborobello was as good as it gets. Well organised in a lovely part of Italy, The restaurant selection was superb – excellent food at reasonable prices, all the hotels were of a good standard.
Sue, HampshireEvery day was fantastic!!
The cycling was excellent – I just loved the varied scenery. Everything was organised to the last detail with wonderful personal service from the team at Saddle Skedaddle.
I felt very looked after and Tour Leader Alastair was always one step ahead. Saddle Skedaddle are brilliant – I really feel I know the team and have every confidence in them.
Sophie, ManchesterA big thumbs-up from me!
I had a really great time, and I’d definitely recommend (in fact already have!) the tour to others. Alastair was fantastic, so helpful and enthusiastic, and very good at managing the different requirements of the group. Everything felt very well organised, which was great for someone like me, who had never done a cycling holiday before, and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Things like your pre-tour phone call checking to see if I had any questions (even though I didn’t!) were much appreciated too.
Hilary, SussexVery well organised and a wonderful opportunity to explore Puglia region of Italy...
Staying in the wonderful old towns like Gallipoli was a fabulous experience. The guides worked well together. Both having local knowledge and a sense of humour. They made the holiday fun and informative and having never been to Italy before I want to return!
Lily, KentAn excellent holiday!
Our 3 support staff were all very good. Accommodation was clean and comfortable with good sized rooms which were well furnished.
Very difficult to pick a favourite day… all days had something special. Already contemplating Sardinia next spring!
Ray, SurreyThis was a wonderful trip...
This was a wonderful trip. Well organised in a lovely part of Italy. The restaurant selection was superb – excellent food at reasonable prices, and all the hotels were of a good standard.
Marylou, Armagh, N. IrelandEnergy, enthusiasm and attention to detail was exemplary...
Booking was excellently supported and everything was as advertised. The bonus was our guides who brought this trip to new heights for Skedaddle. Their encyclopaedic knowledge of the history and cuisine of Puglia was exceptional, adding immensely to the enjoyment of the trip. In addition to their knowledge, their energy, enthusiasm and attention to detail was exemplary.