Puglia – Cycle The Heel of Italy

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Puglia – Cycle The Heel of Italy
From £690.00 Apr to Oct
Accommodation Type:
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Moderate Trip code - IP12

Apulia (Italina name: Puglia) is bordered by the sea on two sides (the Adriatic Sea in the east and the Ionian Sea to the southeast). The region is characterized by endless olive groves, long fields of grain and vineyards. The charm of this cycling tour is that it leads you into a region of scenic beauty, which is, by today’s standards, still unspoiled by the unattractive aspects of tourism and retains testimony of its great and ancient culture.

Heralded as the new Tuscany, Puglia is fast becoming Italy’s fashionable heel.  An architectural jewel with dwellings carved directly into ravines and gullies and white washed baroque towns, you explore both the Ionian and Adriatic coastlines before heading deep into the salentinian countryside. Parts of this trip go through World Heritage sites and you cycle through the town of Lecce – known as the Florence of the South.

Fishing boats pull up in ancient harbors where locals eat the daily catch in tiny restaurants along with delicacies such as succulent mozzarella, stuffed zucchini, cured meats and crunchy fennel.

Greek sailors saw this place as being, lighted by the sun take a look at the azure sea, olive groves, vineyards and long fields of grain and you’ll see why.

This self guided cycling tour encompasses everything you would need from a bike tour, with magnificent scenery, beautiful and historic towns and great food and wine.

  • The carved dwellings - A World Heritage Site
  • The baroque town of Lecce - Florence of the South
  • The famous seaside resort of Santa Maria di Leuca
  • The Cathedral and Aragonese Castle of Ontranto
  • Riding along the Alimin Lakes
  • The spectacular views of the coastlines

What people have said

“Thank you for all your help, we had a great time exploring Puglia”
S Carson, Scotland
   Dates Adult(PP)
From 1 March 2017 to 31 October 2017
(Casual) Saturday departures
From 1 March 2017 to 31 October 2017
(Casual) Any day departures - please enquire
From 1 March 2017 to 31 October 2017
(Comfort) Saturday departures
From 1 March 2017 to 31 October 2017
(Comfort) Any day departures - please enquire


Hybrid bike rental with 24/27 speed (Shimano Alivio/Deore gear ) with rear pack frames and side bags: £80.00 (7 days)
E-bikes and Road Bikes: £150.00 (7 days)
Transfer from Bari APT to Matera: £35.00 (per person with 2 pax travelling min.)
Transfer from Lecce to Bari APT: £90.00 (per person with 2 pax travelling min.)

Pre tour extra night in Matera or Lecce

Casual tour: £50.00 in double room – £75.00 in single room
Comfort tour: £70.00 in double room – £95.00 in single room

Guided Tour:

Casual tour
£1120.00 (minimum of 6 participants)
Single room supplement: £240.00

What’s included
7 nights in double rooms, transfers from/to Bari airport, cycling guide, minivan assistance, luggage transfer, guided tour in the Sassi of Matera, technical and emergency assistance, road book.

What’s excluded
Medical/Luggage insurance, all meals, entrance fees, tips, personal extras, everything else which does not come under the heading “the fee includes”.

Other supplements
Hybrid bike rental with 24/27 speed (Shimano Alivio/Deore gear ) with rear pack frames and side bags: £80.00 (7 days)
E-bikes and Road Bikes: £150.00 (7 days)

What's included

  • 7 nights hotel accommodation
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • Emergency Telephone Number
  • Local representative
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Trip planner with route notes and maps

What's not included

  • Bike hire
  • Drinks
  • Insurance
  • Local hotel taxes
  • Lunches & evening meals
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Day 1 – Welcome to Matera

Independent arrival to Matera and get settled in at your hotel. Upon request: guided walking visit of the Sassi (ancient Matera districts) and the Park of Rupestrian Churches. Dinner (on your own) in a typical Sassi restaurant carved out in the Rock. Overnight stay.

Day 2 – From Matera to Alberobello - 69km

You will pass through the small villages of Gioia del Colle and Noci and on to Alberobello, the capital town of Trulloes and a UNESCO’s world heritage site. Accommodation in a Trullo house or a restored farmhouse. Dinner on your own and overnight stay. Distance: about Km. 69 Grade: Hilly route on stretches that are almost flat with brief climbs Distance: 59 km Grade: rolling hills with short climbs

Day 3 – Ostuni “the White” - 45km

Cycling trough the Selva (forest) near Fasano, you follow 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. Get situated at your Hotel. Dinner on your own and overnight stay. Distance: about 45 km Grade: easy

Day 4 – Castles and farmhouses - 55km

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 centre. We continue through the countryside to a Masseria, a typical Apulian converted farmhouse and our accommodation for the night. Distance: about 55 km Grade: easy

Day 5 – Gallipoli and the Ionian Coast - 60km

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.” Get situated at your Hotel near the seaside. Dinner on your own and overnight stay. Distance: about 60 km Grade: easy

Day 6 – Far East - 71km

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 the mysterious mosaic, in the Romanesque Cathedral. Dinner on your own. Back to your hotel and overnight stay. Distance: about 71 km Grade: easy to moderate

Day 7 – Lecce, the Baroque gem - 45km

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. Get situated at your Hotel. Dinner on your own and overnight stay. Distance: about 45 km Grade: easy

Day 8: Departure

Breakfast and end of services.
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What people have said

“Thank you for all your help, we had a great time exploring Puglia”
S Carson, Scotland

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What people have said

“Thank you for all your help, we had a great time exploring Puglia”
S Carson, Scotland

Frequently asked questions

1. How fit do I need to be for these holidays?

Our Bikecations are designed to attract people of all ages and levels of fitness. All the holidays can be enjoyed by anyone who is reasonably fit. Some holidays involve greater distances or frequency of cycling and some will cover hillier terrain than others. Our tour gradings and itinerary descriptions should help guide you towards the most suitable holiday options for you. If you are not sure, give us a call.

2. How many miles a day can I expect to cycle?

This depends on the Bikecation you choose. These have been graded so you know what to expect.

For a bikecation leisure cycling holiday a gentle pace is about 7-8 miles per hour, so, if you cycle for four hours, you can expect to cover 25-30 miles comfortably. This leaves plenty of time for sightseeing, picnics, visiting castles or churches, stopping for morning coffee or whatever you want to do. You have all day to get to your next stopover, so you can relax and enjoy the countryside. We can also include rest days when you can enjoy other activities if you require.

For our road cycling and bespoke tours for groups we will advise you what is best for the particular trip you wish to ride on. Usually we try to cover 60-100 miles at an average speed of 13.5 to 14.5 mph but this can be slower or faster depending on the group.

3. What do I wear for leisure cycling ?

It is important to be comfortable when cycling so we suggest wearing thin layers of clothing. Padded cycling shorts, a zipped top, windproof light jacket and trainers are standard fare. Fast drying and hardwearing synthetic fabrics are ideal as a base layer as these allow your skin to breathe and wick the moisture away from your skin to the next layer, avoiding the chill which cotton T-shirts can cause. In mid-summer you may just need shorts and a t-shirt. Safety helmets are strongly recommended on all Bikecation holidays and are a legal requirement in some countries so please bring your own helmet. We will send out a What to wear document to you well in advance of your Bikecation.

4. Are cycling holidays suitable for children?

Cycling can make an ideal family holiday, provided the right distances are chosen for the younger members of the party. We would suggest that you call us to discuss the most suitable tours for your children. In most places we are able to offer children’s bikes and child seats, if you have toddlers or babies.

5. How much luggage can I bring?

Your luggage is transported for you every day so bring what you need to make your holiday relaxing and comfortable. Please try and limit it to one item of luggage per person and that it is clearly labelled. On some tours there is a weight limit per item.

6. What happens to my luggage?

We want you to enjoy your Bikecation to the full so, for your comfort, we arrange the transportation of your luggage from one hotel to the next. The only thing we ask is that you leave your suitcases in reception on setting out each morning, and the hoteliers will ensure that it is waiting for you at your next hotel. We will provide luggage labels for you. All you need carry with you are drinks, a camera, waterproofs and sun cream.

7. Is my money safe if anything happens to Bikecation?

Your money is safe when you book your Bikecation. To protect your payments fully, all monies paid by you to us for your holiday are held in a separate Client’s Trust Account and are not released to Bikecation until your holiday has taken place. This practice fully satisfies the requirements of EC and UK law. Please call us if you would like to discuss this further.

Bikecation is also fully licensed by ATOL ( no. T7462) that is issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). for full details how how your payments are protected, please read our Your Financial Security page.

8. Do I need to bring my own bike? What type of bike should I bring?

We arrange for hire bikes to be provided for your holiday or tour. However, if you would prefer to bring your own bike then by all means bring it with you, but it must be in good working order. We recommend either a hybrid or a mountain bike fitted with road tyres for our leisure cycling holidays.

For our road cycling trips we can advise on what is best for your situation but we regularly transport bikes to the start destination.

If you do bring your own bike, you should insure it separately. Most household insurance policies can be extended to cover your bike whilst on holiday.

9. What happens if I have a problem with the bike or any other problem en route ?

If you are provided with a bike it will be well-maintained and serviced before being rented out so there should be no problems however, there are emergency numbers provided in the Route Notes for more complex problems.
If you have brought your own bike and you are unable to fix it, we will find you a replacement for the rest of your holiday.

Our road cycling trips will also have back up support with a mechanic unless requested otherwise with a possible spare bike for any major problems.

10. What should I do about holiday insurance?

If you choose a holiday abroad, you should have adequate insurance to cover you for medical expenses and for cancellation or curtailment of your holiday. For holidays in the UK we recommend everyone should have holiday travel insurance. Not all insurance policies cover cycling daily so we recommend Campbell Irvine. For full information, please read our ‘Trip Preparation’ page

11. Where will I leave my car for the duration of the leisure cycling holiday?

In most cases you can leave your car for the duration of your holiday in the car park of the hotel used for the first night’s accommodation. Where parking is not available at the first hotel, you will be advised of the alternative arrangements made for you.

12. I’m on my own – Which holidays are best for me ?

Nearly all our holidays are open to single travellers, but our Group guided holidays may be of most interest. Group holidays give you the opportunity to meet others of like mind and to enjoy cycling together. The group ‘vibe’ continues into the evening if you decide to eat together. A guide will help you appreciate the history and culture of the area you’re visiting.

13. What type of accommodation can I expect?

There is a variety of accommodation ranging from Castles and Chateaux to small boutique hotels and good quality B&Bs, thereby offering a range of different priced holidays. If you have any questions regarding which accommodation is used in the trip you are interested in riding please contact the office.

14. What are the routes like?

The descriptions of our Leisure Bikecations indicate the main types of routes we use on each holiday, such as provincial roads, country lanes, dedicated cycle ways, some tracks and Casa Verdes (disused railway tracks). While we try to use quiet routes wherever possible, you should be comfortable riding occasionally in traffic. Traffic volumes can vary even on minor roads, especially in more popular tourist areas; we sometimes have to use short sections of busier roads to cross rivers or connect scenic routes, and traffic will inevitably be heavier in and near towns.

Some routes include occasional sections on unsurfaced tracks, but these don’t require any specific technical riding skills. If you are unsure of your level, or would like to know more about the cycling on specific holidays, then please do not hesitate to contact our knowledgeable reservations team.

15. Do I need to bring money for food?

All the holidays include a hearty breakfast each day. Some also include lunch and an evening meal. Where they are not included, you are free to choose where and when to eat. Some hotels will provide you with a packed lunch on request, but most people like the freedom of stopping at the place of their choice to experience the local cuisine. Some routes have been designed to incorporate gastronomic delights and will include an evening meal. Details are given with each individual tour.

16. Is it possible to extend one of the holidays from a few days to a full week?

We have the resources to design a tour to suit your requirements, incorporating rest days if desired, taking in places that are of interest to you. Give us a call and we will try to accommodate your wishes. The only constraint may be the availability of the accommodation.

17. Can you arrange flights for the overseas tours?

Flights are not included in the tour price, however we can book flights for you. Holding an ATOL licence means that if you book a tour and flight together with us you will have the added piece of mind of the financial protection offered by ATOL. If you prefer to book your own, we recommend that you wait until your tour booking is confirmed before you book any flights and booking separately means you will not be covered by ATOL. For full information on our flight services please contact us on email@bikecation.co.uk

18. When are the tours available?

Departure dates are shown for all tours. Please be aware that the holidays are very dependent on the availability of the selected accommodation. These have been chosen carefully, looking for a high standard to ensure you are comfortable at all times. During busy periods this is not always available, so we advise that you should book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

What people have said

“Thank you for all your help, we had a great time exploring Puglia”
S Carson, Scotland

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