Discover the beautiful area Italy by cycling, the best way to visit Italy! Puglia allows a safe and relaxing cycling tourism in Italy, offering unique landscapes and inviting you to rediscover a more natural pace of life. This Grande Puglia cycling tour starts from the hills of the Alta Murgia and ending in Otranto, the most eastern town of Italy. You will slowly learn the history, cross the wild nature and taste the great food, and falling in love with this area of the “boot” to discover day by day.
Airport transfer available:
Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (US$46 per person)
During the tour, you will be accommodated in three-star hotels and a farmhouse.
Independent arrival in Trani and get settled in at your hotel. Trani is an old town facing the Adriatic Sea. There is a lovely historical center, Romanesque Cathedral, castle, gardens, and old port where Ferula Viagi suggests you to have lunch, choosing from the fish menu at one of the small restaurants. You will stay overnight in Trani and dinner will be on your own.
The route passes through the olive fields and stops in Castel del Monte, a UNESCO site an example of medieval architecture as built by the emperor Frederick II. After visiting the castle, which offers a wonderful view of the “Alta Murgia”, you get settled in at a nice hotel in the country. You will stay overnight here and dinner will be on your own.
You will leave the marvelous meadowlands in the park and cycle through the valley until you come to the town of Gravina in Puglia, along semi-deserted roads where time seems to stand still. The town, which dates back to the eighth century B.C., unfolds over the centuries with amazing evidence of the various civilizations. Don’t miss a visit to the underground town and historical center. You will stay overnight here and dinner will be on your own.
Today first stop is Altamura which is famous for its splendid cathedral and bread. Don’t miss a ride through the streets in the historical center beneath the cathedral bell-tower and taste some fresh focaccia baked in an old wood-burning oven. You will set off again for the countryside towards the built-up town of Matera. You will then arrive in the old part of the town called the “Sassi” and accommodation will be in a hotel in the historical center. Dinner will be on your own.
You will enjoy a relaxing day visiting the city of Matera. A guided walk will enable you to visit museums, caves, or rock churches. Alternatively, you have the choice of two routes that give you the chance to explore the surrounding area.
You will enjoy breakfast and depart for Alberobello. You will go through the towns of Gioia del Colle and Noci until you reach Alberobello. Accommodation will be in a trulli complex dating back to 1600, in the historical center of Alberobello, which is included among UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. You will visit the old quarters. You will stay overnight here and dinner will be on your own.
You will be cycling through the Selva (forest) near Fasano, following the Adriatic coast and reach Ostuni which is reputed an architectural jewel and is commonly referred to as “the White Town” for its white walls and its typically white-painted architecture. You will get situated at your hotel and have dinner on your own.
You will be cycling south through the quiet country lanes to the charming town of Francavilla Fontana and on to Oria, famous for its 13th century’s castle and delightful historic center. You will continue through the countryside to a Masseria, a typical Apulian converted farmhouse and is your accommodation for the night.
Today, your route will pass through Porto Selvaggio and skirt the Ionian Coast to reach Gallipoli, derived from the Greek word "kalépolis" meaning “beautiful city.” You will get situated at your hotel near the seaside and have dinner on your own.
You will reach the Heel of the Boot by cycling near sandy beaches facing the Ionian Sea. Santa Maria di Leuca was called in Latin the “Finibus Terrae”, the end of the land.
You will be cycling to Otranto. The route will take you to the wildest and eastern rocky coast of Southern Italy. The sun and the atmosphere is unique in a place where Turkish and Greeks landed centuries ago. Otranto has a wonderful centre with walls and a castle. A masterpiece is a mysterious mosaic in the Romanesque Cathedral. You will then enjoy dinner on your own and back to your hotel to stay overnight.
Last stage will take you to Lecce, the Baroque town with wonderful façade of buildings and churches. Taste a puccia (local bread filled with salami or vegetables) or a pasticciotto (delicious pastry) and enjoy shopping and walking in the city centre. You will then get situated at your hotel and have dinner on your own.
You will enjoy breakfast and end the tour.
Overlooking an enchanting port in which typical fishing boats swarm and dominated by the impetus of its most distinctive symbol, that of the splendid Romanesque Cathedral, Trani imposes itself with its breathtaking scenery, rich in history and harmonious architectural lines, both permeated of the influence of Frederick II of Swabia, which made Trani its maritime fortress.
Castel del Monte is a medieval castle that overlooks the city of Andria at an altitude of 540 meters. It was built by the emperor Frederick II in the thirteenth century as part of his network of strategically placed defensive castles and residences. Castel del Monte is famous for its mysterious and unique shape. It was built in an octagonal shape, with each of the eight corners sporting an octagonal tower. The castle was declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 199 and it is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Southern Italy.
Located inside the Alta Murgia National Park, Gravina in Puglia is an ancient town whose history has its roots in the eighth century BC. In fact, there are several archaeological finds that testify to the first settlements already from the ancient Paleolithic in the fifth millennium BC. Its beauties on the surface are only the small part of what have been and are still discovered in its underground. The name Gravina comes from the ravines, similar to canyons.
Gravina is a city rich in monuments and churches, which make it appreciated from the cultural point of view, able to offer the visitor a truly impressive panorama, thanks to the rock churches and the different works of art, the archaeological area of Botromagno, the enhancement typical products of the agri-food sector, sporting, folk and cultural events, as well as the enchanting scenery of its natural landscape with the “Difesa Grande” forest and the Alta Murgia Park.
Getting around Matera is like living in a forgotten past. When you visit this evocative city in Basilicata but just 6 kilometers (about 4 miles) from the border with Puglia, the feeling is to enter a crib. For this, Matera is also called “the second Bethlehem” and it was the setting of films like Mel Gibson’s The Passion and The Matthew’s Gospel according to Pier Paolo Pasolini. Until 1950, the population lived in caves dug in the mountain and people were forced to abandon those houses to settle in modern neighborhoods. No one would have thought that those caves, the “stones”, would become the symbol of a city that is reborn, in fact in 1993 UNESCO included the “Sassi” of Matera in the world heritage list, as “an example of a thousand-year life system to be preserved and handed down to posterity”.
Alberobello is known as the city of trulli, traditional dry stone huts whitened with quicklime and capped by conical bare-stone roofs. Situated in the heart of the Murgia dei Trulli, 31 miles (50 kilometers) away from Bari, the capital of the region, Alberobello is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Puglia. The old town center is entirely composed of trulli, with their roofs decorated with crosses, pierced hearts, and zodiac signs.
Ostuni, also known as the White City because of its historic center that was once completely painted with white lime, is a town that is part of the province of Brindisi, Puglia. The municipality extends in the hinterland of the Adriatic coast, on the last offshoots of the eastern Murge. The territory was inhabited since prehistoric times and it was occupied by the Messapians, by the Greek colonists and later occupied by Longobards, Saracens, and Normans. Ostuni’s countryside host a lot of farms, many of which have been transformed into welcoming farms and luxury resorts. Among others is Santa Caterina with the high octagonal tower of the fortified farm, Lo Spagnulo, and Cappuccini Masseria with its trulli.
Located in the hills of the upper Salento, Oria is 35 kilometers (about 22 miles) from Brindisi. The town is divided into four districts: Castello, Judea, Lama, and San Basilico. With its Baroque façade, the Cathedral was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1743 on the remains of a Romanesque temple. At 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Oria stands the Sanctuary of San Cosimo alla Macchia which serves as a backdrop to the traditional fair. You can also get a journey in the federician splendor with the historical parade and the tournament of the districts.
The meaning of the name Gallipoli is Beautiful Town. Located by the Ionian Sea, on the west coast of the Salento, Gallipoli is famous to be a very important touristic place, overall on summer. The town is divided into two parts, the modern and the old city. The new town includes all the newest buildings, including a skyscraper. The old town sits on a tiny island connected to the mainland by a bridge built in the 16th century. It is almost completely surrounded by defensive walls, built mainly in the 14th century.
As you can imagine, in the old town of Gallipoli you can find the most important historic places: the Greek Fountain, a monument which actually dates to the Renaissance and to which a baroque pediment was later added. Behind it, you can glimpse through the float trawlers to the Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Canneto and the Chapel of Santa Cristina, dedicated to the town’s patron saint and the favorite saint of sailors.
Leuca is a little town 83 kilometers (52 miles) from Lecce and is the most southerly located town of Salento peninsula. Now, it is a fantastic place for summer holidays with tourist facilities, worldliness, dance, sea, events, beaches, sun, and festivals. To visit Leuca also means retracing a centuries-old path in which each era and population has left tangible traces of its passage; to admire architectural beauties, unique, and wild landscapes; and to immerse oneself in particular and involving atmospheres, inebriating with typical perfumes of characteristic sounds or unique flavors.
Otranto is situated on the easternmost point of the boot. It’s called the city of the Martyrs and it’s a jewel of Salento, a bridge between the West and the East, a territory full of beaches, and a place rich in history, art, culture. The town, overall in the summer, sees its population multiplied by the beauty of the places, the uniqueness of the sea, and the importance it covers within the economy and tourism of Salento.
Lecce is for sure one of the most important places to visit in Southern Italy. It’s known to be the Baroque masterpiece of Southern Italy and is also called “Florence of the South” for its famous architectural features, typically from the 17th century.
On day 5, you will enjoy a rest day where you will have the choice of two routes that give you the chance to explore the surrounding area.
You will follow the beautiful, deserted road around the San Giuliano Lake, a peaceful wildlife reserve for migratory species from Africa. You will stop to watch the herons, cormorants, storks, and ospreys. A stop-off at the lake is recommended for a picnic. Don’t miss a visit to the Crypt of Original Sin. This fascinating rock oratory represents one of the oldest examples of rock art in the South of Italy. Its extraordinary cycle of frescoes painted five hundred years before Giotto, highlights the typical features of Benedictine Beneventan art (eighth - ninth centuries). You will then back to the hill of Matera and stay overnight there.
You will cycle along the valley of the Rock Church Park, stopping off for a picnic break and a dip in the pool of a tourist farm along the way (subject to booking). If you still have enough energy, a five-kilometer climb will take you to the center of Montescaglioso which is dominated by the impressive eleventh century Benedictine Abbey. You will then back to Matera and stay overnight there.
Please book your flight to arrive at Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (BRI).
Transfer from the airport to Trani is available for 40 EUR per person with minimum 2 participants. For the departure day, the transfer from Lecce to Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (BRI) is also available for 90 EUR per person with minimum participants.