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Puglia Cycling Tour in Italy

Enjoying at first the beautiful town of Lecce, the “Florence of the South”, and its surroundings, you will cycle through art, culture, traditional and tasty food, open countrysides, breathtaking coastlines and a surprising nature, the only one able to survive in this extremely sunny and windy land.

Key information

  • Trip type: Self-guided
  • Lodging: Point to Point
  • Terrain: Mostly flat with wavy lines.
  • Starts in: Lecce
  • Ends in: Lecce
  • Difficulty level: Easy (Cyclist doesn't need to have certain level of fitness, mostly flat terrain though occasionally they will ride in unpaved or hills, 10-30 miles per day)
  • Total Distance: 177 Miles / 285 Kilometers
  • Type of bike: Trek bike (80 EUR hire) or road bike (130 EUR hire)
  • E-bike: Available to rent / 150 EUR per week
  • Self-guided tour

Highlights

  • 6 days on the bike along sea coast
  • Luggage transportation hotel to hotel
  • Roadbook and information material plus phone assistance 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.
  • All the coasts of southern Puglia, traces of ancient pilgrimages, and more
  • Visit the cities and countryside of Southern Italy: Lecce, Gallipoli, Leuca, and Otranto
  • Listen to local stories and legends, visit castles, abbeys and old towers
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Daily breakfast

Skill level

  • Beginner

Styles


6 days with instruction
Airport transfer available:
Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (US$105 per person)
Airport transfer available:
Brindisi – Salento Airport (US$52 per person)
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Accommodation

You will be accommodated in various accommodations along the way as follows:

  • 3 nights in Lecce
  • 1 night in Gallipoli
  • 1 night in Leuca
  • 2 nights in Otranto

The superior tour offers accommodation in charming B&B and 4-star hotels.

All rooms are ensuite.

Program

Itinerary

Day 1: Lecce

Welcome to the capital of the Salento Peninsula, the elegant Lecce.

Lecce was founded around 2,000 years old and by the 15th century had become one of the most important cities in southern Italy. Over this period Lecce was decorated with important Baroque monuments and under threat from an Ottoman invasion, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, rebuilt the defenses of the city along with a new castle. A well-preserved Roman Amphitheatre and a smaller Greek Theatre, important buildings, churches, craft shops will turn your peeks around into continuous and nice discoveries.

Day 2: Once upon a time and still today - Lecce countryside (about 45 km)

A day in the countryside between Lecce and the closest coast to the town, where locals can enjoy the sea even if there is no much time available. Frigole is probably not the most famous marine resort but the area around it deserves to be known for its hidden treasures. Cultivated fields and renewable energy plants coexist with old and new olive trees, ancient ruins and protected areas part of the Regional Natural Park “Woods and Marshes Rauccio”. You will go back in time through the visit of Santa Maria in Cerrate, a Medieval settlement where monks lived, worked and prayed. It’s on the route of the old southern Via Francigena.

You can make a tasty stop in a surprising bakery in an old Masseria, a big agricultural centre during the Second World War, to buy baked goods and fresh products from the farm.

Day 3:To the sea: Lecce - Gallipoli (about 50 km)

You will leave the main city to go towards the sea on the Ionian coast. But first you have to pass vineyards, olive groves, crops and small villages. Copertino has a pretty small historic centre and a well-preserved Angevin castle: quick stop for a coffee with ice and almond milk in Lecce style! From here you will cross Nardò that deserves a look on its magnificent Baroque square, Piazza Salandra, maybe with a nice glass of wine of local production sitting at one of the numerous bars. You will reach the sea at the edge of the Reserve of Porto Selvaggio, a real green lung defended and wanted by the population. This coast is famous for its sunsets: arrived to Gallipoli enjoy it from the small bay of Purità, down from its walls.

Day 4: Ionian coast: Gallipoli - Leuca (about 50 km)

The “Beautiful City” of Gallipoli has been the most important Mediterranean olive oil trade centre in the past: the underground oil mill at Palazzo Granafei will tell you this piece of history.

From Gallipoli you will cycle along the road parallel to the coastline passing Torre San Giovanni, a small harbour between volcanic low cliffs and fine white sand. Keep going straight to Punta Ristola, the extreme edge of Salento peninsula, a small rocky boss, place of legends and numerous finds dating to the Neolithic. From here a wonderful view of the harbour of Leuca and, even further, of Punta Melisso.

Now it would be perfect a boat trip to discover the many sea caves.

Day 5: Up to the Adriatic sea: Leuca - Otranto (about 55 km)

Up to the Sanctuary of Santa Maria di Leuca, white and blue are the colours all around: you can breathe calm and spirituality looking at this infinitive horizon made of the various shades of blue from sky and sea. Prepare yourself to get surprised many times today along the path. A panoramic stretch of road overlooking the sea will take you until the end to the beautiful Otranto, but before hidden bays and caves, breathtaking cliffs and canyons, enchanting villages full of history will give you many chances to get a break for a WOW!

Among gentle ups and downs you will reach your final goal of the day, your “home” for the next two days.

Day 6: Stories and tradition from inland - A day around Otranto (about 30 km)

A day around Otranto, an important little town always been, thanks to its position, a connection point for trades, cultural exchanges, invasions between the western and the eastern world. You will explore magical places such as the Megalithic Park near the village of Giurdignano, that preserves an evocative atmosphere of rituals and legends, myths and pagan cults related to the peoples who over the millennia have inhabited and traversed these lands. Then a farm in the middle of nature, that promotes social activities ranging from biodynamic agriculture to handicraft production of rare fabrics.

Before returning to Otranto, you can decide to visit La Cutura Botanical Garden, born from the love of a man for travels and… succulents!

Day 7: Bye bye sea! Otranto - Lecce (about 55 km)

One last greeting to Otranto, its castle, and its imposing cathedral, an incredible but especially free museum. You can see the largest and most complex paved mosaic in southern Italy, realised by a monk, Pantaleon, today considered a true encyclopedia of images of the time and culture of the Middle Ages. You will cycle close to the two Alimini lakes before riding again along the coast. Admire the wonders of the bay of St. Andrea and of the Cave of Poetry near the archaeological site of Roca Vecchia, maybe trying the experience of a jump in the sea.

A regenerate ride through the Natural WWF Park “Le Cesine”, along with the discovery of Acaya, a fortified town where time seems motionless, will make gradual your return to the modern civilization and the charming Lecce.

Day 8: Lecce

Last morning…it’s time for shopping! Papier-mâché, coloured pottery, objects made of Lecce stone, textiles….among the many handicraft shops and the local food stores, you will probably need another suitcase to fill!

Tour programme variations

Due to organizational reasons, weather conditions or provisions issued by local authorities, the itinerary may be subject to some changes before and/or during the holiday.

Along the way you may find temporary deviations (for example road works) which cannot be foreseen; in this case each biker can decide autonomously how to deal with these stretches.

Technical data

This Puglia tour is suitable to anyone with a minimum of training to the bicycle. The daily mileage goes from 30 to 55 daily kilometers, with programmed pauses for visits and refreshments.

The bike will be a way to work off the good food and enjoy the many landscapes offered by this land. There will also be strictly cultural moments and the possibility of a refreshing swim in the clear sea of Puglia.

Support

The morning of the second day, after breakfast, you will have a welcome meeting. Slow Active Tours will take care of your luggage while you are walking. In case of need you can call their emergency number on from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Anytime, the staff will be available to make your holiday quiet and serene.

Location

Food

Daily breakfast is included in the price.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast

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)

You can also ask for a local guide to travel with you and your family, your colleagues and friends. They will be your group mediator, facilitating and encouraging a truly authentic trip, relaxing and funny holiday.

What's included

  • 6 days of biking tour along the Ionian and Adriatic sea cost
  • 7 nights with breakfast
  • Welcome briefing and bike fitting
  • Luggage transportation hotel to hotel
  • Roadbook
  • Smartphone offline GPS app (on request)
  • Phone assistance 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.

What's not included

  • Transfer in and transfer out
  • Bike rental
  • Meals and drinks other than breakfast
  • Entrance fees and tips
  • Hotel tourist taxes (about 14,00 EUR)
  • Insurance and everything not listed as included

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Driving directions from A14 Bologna-Taranto and the A16 Napoli-Canosa

  • Exit the motorway in Bari and continue along the highway to Brindisi
  • Then take the SS613 towards Lecce

Arrival by train

Trenitalia connects the main Italian cities with the capital of Salento.

Arrival by airplane

The closest airports are Bari International Airport-Karol Wojtyla (BRI) and Brindisi Salento Airport (BDS), both connected with the most important Italian and foreign cities.

The Salento airport of Brindisi is about 40 kilometers from Lecce and is well connected to the city by a shuttle bus service or private transfer.

The airport of Bari-Palese is about 160 kilometers from Lecce. From Bari and Brindisi you can also reach Lecce by train or taxi service.

Arrival by bus

Lecce is also accessible by bus from Campania, Basilicata, Puglia or from Sicilia.

Airport: Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport Airport transfer available: Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (US$105 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.
Airport: Brindisi – Salento Airport Airport transfer available: Brindisi – Salento Airport (US$52 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 25% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 10 days before arrival.
8 days / 7 nights
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In August ask for special departures.

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