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Italy

Puglia

Guided Leisure Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

£1,570 P.P.
Italy

Puglia

Guided Leisure Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

£1,570 P.P.
BOOK NOW

A guided cycling holiday exploring the Apulian region of Italy, located in the Southeast, known as the heel of Italy’s boot. The region is steeped in history, governed by the Greeks, Romans and Spaniards, each leaving their own mark. It’s a heady concoction of rich culture, delicious local produce and stunning coastline, and there’s no better way to explore Italy’s best-kept secret than by bike!

 

Our trip begins in the prestigious city of Lecce, known as the “Florence of the South” and the capital of the Salento region. We’ll discover awe-inspiring architecture and traditional restaurants, as we wind our way through the city. The route from here will take us along the Adriatic coast and the heel of Italy, as we explore Otranto and Santa Maria di Leuca, and take in incredible views from our coastal route. Gently looping back up north along the Ionian coast, we’ll head to Gallipoli, a popular fishing port and beach destination on the Salento peninsula.

 

In the second part of the week, we’ll leave the Salento region, making our way through the glorious Valle d’Itria. Our first stop will be Ostuni, the White City, renowned for its dazzling white-washed buildings. Our route will then take us cross country, as we pedal through ancient olive groves and rustic hilltop villages, on country lanes that are scattered with traditional Trulli houses. We’ll soon arrive at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Alberobello, a town made up of these Trulli houses, where we’ll spend an evening. Our ride will finish in the beautiful town of Polignano a Mare, perched on limestone cliffs, with panoramic views of the Adriatic.

 

We'll be exploring on touring bikes, through a mixture of flat and rolling countryside, mainly on quiet country roads with coastal views.

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Holiday Highlights

  • 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

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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.

Sophie, Manchester

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival into Bari Airport - Transfer to Lecce

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.

Day 2
Lecce to Otranto
34 Miles / 55 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

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.

Day 3
Otranto to Santa Maria di Leuca
35 Miles / 60 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

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.

Day 4
Santa Maria di Leuca to Gallipoli
33 Miles / 55 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast

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.

Day 5
Gallipoli to Lecce (Train to Ostuni)
33 Miles / 50 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

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 oil lamps 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 (tickets included). 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.

Day 6
Ostuni to Alberobello
26 Miles / 45 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

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.

Day 7
Alberobello to Polignano a Mare
30 Miles / 50 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

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.

Day 8
Departure from Polignano - Transfer to Bari Airport
  • 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.

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The Cycling

Terrain

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.

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Leisure Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 2: Gentle

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.

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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.

Tom, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

Dates & Prices

Private Departures

Private Departures

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.

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
01/05/2021
Return Date
08/05/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,570.00
Start Date
09/10/2021
Return Date
16/10/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,570.00

Whats Included Tick

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) Train tickets from Lecce to Ostuni – If required (Day 5)

G) Guided tour of Lecce

H) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Bari airport (BRI)

I) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Bari airport (BRI)

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike hire (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) Possible city tax to be locally in cash (amount varies)

J) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days

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The Essentials

Travel Options

Group airport transfers are included in the cost of your holiday. To join the airport transfer on arrival, you’ll need to arrive into Bari airport (BRI) before 12.30 for a 13.00 transfer.

At the end of the tour, we will transfer the group to Bari airport, with an estimated arrival time of 11.00 – please consider this when booking your return travel and allow enough time to check in for your chosen flight. The return easyJet flights from London Gatwick (LGW) into Bari fit well with the schedule.

Please contact us for more detailed information on the specific flight schedules available for your holiday. Please check with us before booking any flights, to make sure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your holiday and to ensure your flights fit with our scheduled transfers. Please note – If you make travel arrangements that fall outside of the above time windows there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.

Accommodation

You’ll be staying in centrally-located, comfortable 3 and 4* hotels, all with en suite facilities which have been carefully selected for their location, cuisine and service.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available to hire. These bikes are typically Specialized Crosstrail Sport hybrid bikes (or equivalent). We can provide a helmet locally on request, please let us know if you’d like to hire when you make your booking.

Hire bikes will be provided with a pannier rack and 1 bag. Your guides will be carrying everything else you’ll need, including all necessary spares.

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