8 Days Guided UNESCO Site Bike Tour in Italy

Unique Bike Tour in Italy

Cycle by the sea and through the hills of the Alta Murgia, among the UNESCO world heritage sites of Apulia and Basilicata! You will visit Trani with its port and splendid cathedral and Castel del Monte, with its mysterious, octagonal-shaped castle built by Frederick II. After crossing the Bradano Valley surrounded by hills of corn, you will head for Matera with its ancient Sassi, dwellings dug out of the rock. The journey ends in the Itria Valley, among the Trulli of Alberobello and Ostuni, the “white town”. The tour unwinds largely on secondary roads with little traffic, mainly on asphalt that is suitable for road bikes. The area is predominantly hilly with short, easy climbs near some of the towns. Enjoy the best way to visit this region of Southern Italy!

Key information

  • Trip type: Guided
  • Lodging: Point to point
  • Terrain: Flat and hilly
  • Difficulty level: Challenging (Cyclist needs to have high level of fitness, must be an active rider, the terrain includes really challenging climbs/or 46-80 or more miles per day)
  • Total Distance: 186.4 Miles / 300 Kilometers
  • E-bike: Available to rent/150 EUR

Highlights

  • 6-day guided cycling tour
  • Guided tour in the Sassi of Matera
  • Services of the cycling guide during the tour
  • Technical and emergency assistance
  • Road book and luggage transfer
  • Transfers from / to the airport
  • Daily dinners

Styles


6 cycling days in English
Spoken languages: English
Airport transfer included: Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport
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Accommodation

During the tour, you will be accommodated in a double room in three or four-star hotels, B&B, and holiday farms.

Program

Day 1: Trani

Individual arrival in Trani and get settled in at your hotel. There will be free time for visiting this old city with its beautiful historical center, splendid Romanesque Cathedral on the sea, Swabian Castle, historical buildings, gardens, and port where Ferula Viagi recommends you taste some fish for dinner in one of the many restaurants.

Day 2: Towards Castel del Monte

Your trip begins crossing the Alta Murgia countryside, not far from Castel del Monte, surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. Before the end of your ride, you will visit the Castle of Frederick II, an amazing site in the list of UNESCO heritage sites which is unique of its kind.

  • Distance: About 45 kilometers
  • Grade: Easy route, almost completely flat with a brief climb to the castle

Day 3: Gravina in Puglia

You will leave the marvelous meadowlands in the park and head on to 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.

  • Distance: About 47 kilometers
  • Grade: Easy hilly route with short climbs

Day 4: Altamura and Matera

You will cycle to Altamura which is famous for its splendid cathedral and bread. You will discover 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 which is just a few kilometers away. You will arrive in the old part of the town called the “Sassi” and the accommodation is in a hotel in the historical center. Don’t miss a visit to the rock churches and city’s museums (ask your local operator for a private guided tour).

  • Distance: 46 kilometers
  • Grade: Easy route with short climbs at the end of the day

Day 5: Enjoy a rest day

You will enjoy a relaxing day visiting the city of Matera. A leisurely walk will enable you to visit museums or rock churches. Alternatively, you have the choice of two routes that give you the chance to explore the surrounding area.

Day 6: Alberobello

You will enjoy breakfast and depart to Alberobello. You will go through the towns of Gioia del Colle and Noci until you reach Alberobello. Accommodation will be in Trulli complex, dating back to 1,600 in the historical center of Alberobello, which is included among UNESCO’s world heritage sites.

  • Distance: About 69 kilometers
  • Grade: Easy with rolling hills and some short climbs

Day 7: Ostuni “the White”

You will be cycling through the Selva (forest) near Fasano and follow the Adriatic coast to 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.

  • Distance: About 45 kilometers
  • Grade: Easy with rolling hills and some short climbs

Day 8: End of the tour

You will enjoy breakfast and end the tour.

Included excursions

This tour includes a guided tour in Sassi of Matera. This is an unusual tour of the Sassi, a UNESCO world heritage site, to discover the hidden city is also available. You will set off from Piazza Vittorio Veneto to visit the city’s two treasures of Romanesque art: S. Giovanni Battista (1233) with its classical, figured capitals, and the Romanesque cathedral (1270), with its impressive façade embellished with a splendid rosette. The road down to the Sasso Caveoso begins at the top of the Cività, the ancient, medieval citadel surrounded by tall defensive ramparts and noble buildings along a scenic route that unwinds through squares, steps, and alleyways which often run over the roofs of houses.

This takes you to the rock church of Santa Lucia alle Malve (eleventh century), a splendid example of negative architecture: niches, apses, domes and capitals created by digging a space out of solid rock. Next, you come to a typically furnished cave-dwelling that was inhabited until 1956 which dates back to 1700, and a craft shop dug out of a cave. Also the seventeenth-century cellars, some of which are up to 100 metres deep, are hypogeums. Finally, you will stop off in a bar, in the Sassi for refreshments after the walk and to get an idea of how the cave dwellings have been renovated and rearranged today.

Location

Trani

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

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.

Gravina in Puglia

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.

Matera

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

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

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.

Food

The following meals are included:

  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

A rest day

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.

Loop 1: San Giuliano Lake, the Matera hills, and the Crypt of Original Sin

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. To reach the crypt, a natural cavern that falls sheer to the “Gravina di Picciano”, you will cross the silent path of Pietrapenta, through cornfields and vineyards. 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 return to Matera back up the hill. Payment will be on entry (8 EUR per person) and subject to booking.

  • Distance: about 29 kilometers
  • Grade: Moderate with a long climb at the end.

Loop 2: Matera, the Bradano Valley, and Montescaglioso

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 5-kilometer climb will take you to the center of Montescaglioso which is dominated by the impressive eleventh-century Benedictine Abbey. You will then return to Matera and stay overnight there.

  • Distance: about 58 kilometers with a short climb at the end (that can be reduced to 40 kilometers with a variation)
  • Grade: Moderate with good climbs for cycling (Matera and Montescaglioso)

Other tours

Castel del Monte visit

Visitor opening hours in Castel del Monte is from 9 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. open all day. The ticket cost is 3 EUR, 1.5 EUR for people aged 18 - 25 years old. Children and people over 65 years old are free. The payment is on the entrance.

Tour to Gravina di Puglia - “Underground Gravina”

Various tours are available ranging from 15 minutes to approximately 2 hours with a chance to sample the different wines in cellars. The prices range from 2.5 to 10 EUR per person

Tour to Matera MuSMA (Museum of Contemporary Art and the Crypt of Original Sin)

The Crypt of Original Sin can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday, prior to booking and the entrance fee is 10 EUR per person. MUSMA is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 to 8 p.m. From November until the end of March, it is only open in the morning from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The entrance fee is 5 EUR per person

What's included

  • 6-day guided cycling tour
  • Guided tour in the Sassi of Matera
  • Cycling guide
  • Luggage transfer
  • Technical and emergency assistance
  • Road book
  • Transfers from / to Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (BRI)
  • 7 nights' accommodation
  • 7 dinners

What's not included

  • Medical / luggage insurance
  • Minivan assistance (150 EUR)
  • Lunches and drinks at dinners
  • Entrance fees
  • Tips
  • Personal extras
  • Everything else which does not come under What's included

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by train

Trani and Ostuni are well connected to the national railway service. There are also other local railways (Gravina, Altamura, Gioia del Colle, Noci, and Alberobello) along the way. Bicycles travel free on trains in Puglia.

Airport: Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport Airport transfer included: Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
8 days / 7 nights
from --
Availability

This vacation is available from March 15 to October 25 with arrival on every Wednesdays and Saturdays. Other days are available upon request. 

 

Pricing information
  • Single room supplement: 260 EUR. 
  • Minivan assistance: 150 EUR. 
  • E-bikes and road bikes: 150 EUR (7 days).
  • Carbon road bikes: 200 EUR (7 days).

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