Cycling Puglia

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Biking Italy Tour BikeHike Feature photo 1
Biking Italy Tour BikeHike Feature photo 1
Biking Italy Tour BikeHike Feature photo 1
Biking Italy Tour BikeHike Feature photo 1
Cycling Puglia
Duration:
9
Days
Priced from:
3399.00
USD

Cycling Puglia

Trip Overview

The Cycling Puglia trip offers a unique opportunity to explore the “heel of the Italian boot,” a lesser-traveled region in Southern Italy. We’ll begin our exploration of the region by starting out from the maze-like port city of Bari. From there, we'll cycle through the back roads of the region, from the countryside to the coast, including local stops such as at an olive orchard for an olive oil tasting. There will also be a chance to dip into the crystal clear Ionian Sea, and soak in the scenery of rugged limestone cliffs and beaches. The Puglia region offers a history-lovers delight as well. In various towns along the way, we’ll visit medieval castles and citadels, gorgeous cathedrals, pilgrimage sites, and even sleep in traditional dry stone huts called Trullies. You'll feel immersed in the real Italy over these 9 days, encountering countless opportunities to get a true taste of Italy.

WOW FACTORS

  • Explore 3 different UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Castel del Monte, a hilltop citadel built by Emperor Frederick II
  • Enjoy true home-cooked meals in charming, countryside farmhouses   
  • Delve into the ancient cave dwellings carved into the mountainside of Matera, named a 2019 “European Capital of Culture” city

     

     

    For more highlights, listen to an audio interview with our Italian guide here

 

Activities

Difficulty Level

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Questions?

Itinerary & Map

Day 1

Bari - Ruvo
Arrival, Biking
Upon arriving in Bari, you will be met by a BikeHike Adventures representative, at either the train station or airport. Plan your arrival by 1:30pm to connect with our scheduled group transfer to your countryside farmhouse hotel near Ruvo di Puglia. After a short stop to get checked in, we’ll get fitted on our bikes and go on a short afternoon warm up ride to Castel del Monte. Built by the Emperor Federico II and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this castle is unique in Europe for its simple octagonal shape and the eight octagonal towers that surround it. This ride starts the trip with a nice introduction to the rolling hills of the region. Tonight, we’ll savour the tastes of Puglia and its local specialties with a true home-cooked meal at the farmhouse before overnighting at this charming, typical Italian countryside accommodation (near Ruvo).
 

Distance: 36 km / 22 mi 
Ascent:
+373 m (1,225 ft)
Descent: -373 m (1,225 ft)
Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: Countryside Hotel

Day 2

Ruvo - Matera
Biking

After breakfast, we’ll have an early start to ride through the area’s wide, open farmland and cross the Murgia National Park – the high plateau that extends from Castel del Monte to Matera, through picturesque karst scenery. We will stop for an early lunch break in Gravina, a town known for the beautiful gorge cutting right through its center. We will then continue riding on to Matera. After we have arrived in Matera, we’ll have a short stop at our hotel directly in the town before enjoying a guided tour of the city to learn about its history and highlights. Named a 2019 “European Capital of Culture” city, Matera is unique in all of Italy for the cave dwellings that ring the city’s center. At one time during the 8th and 9th centuries, these caves carved into the town's sandstone cliffs housed as many as 25,000 people, primarily refugee clerics and monks from Greece and the Balkans. Today, the churches and caves are preserved as a World Heritage Site. Afterwards, the evening is at your leisure to explore town, with dinner on your own. There will be plenty of chances to explore local specialties including local wines to satisfy your culinary interests. 
 

Distance: 71 km / 44 mi
Ascent: +753 m (2,470 ft)
Descent: -679 m (2,228 ft)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 3

Matera – Alberobello
Biking
After a hearty breakfast, we’ll start the trip’s longest ride, through a variety of beautiful landscapes to the town of Alberobello, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll ride from the expansive scenery around Matera to the rolling hills around Alberobello. As we enter Trullie region, you’ll notice the red dirt landscapes and olive groves beautifully contrasting the white stone and Trullie along the small roads. Trullie are traditional Apulian dry stone huts with conical roofs, an architecture style dating back to the 16th century, something else unique to Puglia. Once reaching Alberobello, we’ll have time for a short rest and recharge. Our night’s accommodation will be in some of these huts so we'll have the opportunity to truly experience them and their history. Late afternoon, we’ll enjoy a guided walk through the narrow, medieval streets of Alberobello, all lined with traditional Trullie. Afterwards, the evening is at your leisure to explore town, with dinner on your own. 


Distance: 74 km / 46 mi
Ascent: +503 m (1,650 ft)
Descent: -485 m (1,590 ft)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 4

Alberobello – Ostuni
Biking
After breakfast, we'll continue riding the area’s rolling hills, passing through whitewashed villages and along quiet roads lined before reaching the beachside, and the beautiful seaside town of Ostuni. Somewhat resembling Greek island villages, Ostuni is known as the “white city,” for it gleaming jumble of white houses, churches, and charming piazzas spread over a hilltop facing the sea. After being destroyed by Hannibal during the Punic Wars in the 1st and 2nd Centuries BC, Ostuni was then rebuilt by the Greeks. Ostuni takes its name from the Greek expression “Astu neon,” meaning "new town." Ostuni later flourished during the Italian Renaissance under Duchess Isabella of Bari. After lunch, the final part of the afternoon will be spent visiting an area olive mill set amid ancient olive orchards. There, we’ll have the opportunity to do an olive oil tasting. Tonight, we’ll settle into a cozy countryside hotel not too far out of Ostuni where we’ll also enjoy dinner together. The remains of the evening are at your leisure to explore town or relax at the hotel.

Distance: 45 km / 28 mi
Ascent: +329 m (1,080 ft)
Descent: -708 m (2,323 ft) 
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Countryside Hotel

Day 5

Ostuni - Gallipoli
Train Transfer & Sightseeing
After breakfast, we will have the day off riding and will set out on a train journey to Gallipoli. The train heads south from Ostuni, leaving behind the murgia plateau and the olive groves. On the way we’ll transfer in the bustling town of Lecce before catching our local train to Gallipoli, a beautiful town surrounded by defensive walls built in the 14th century. The town’s labyrinthine, narrow streets lead to a gorgeous seaside promenade, and the old town center actually sits on a tiny island connected to the mainland by a 17th century bridge.  After arriving in town this afternoon, you’ll be able to explore the “old” village of Gallipoli right outside your hotel. The evening is at your leisure to explore town, with dinner on your own.

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 6

Gallipoli - Leuca
Biking
After feasting on a hearty Italian breakfast, we're back on our bikes today cycling along the Gulf of Taranto, the largest gulf in the Ionian Sea. On our way to Leuca, we'll first pedal to the southeastern tip of Italy and look out on the Ionian Sea and, if it is a clear day, we’ll be able to see Albania and Greece from there. This area is home to a wide variety of beautiful beaches including the “Salento Maldives,” an area resembling the tropical islands after which the area was nicknamed.  As you cycle, you might just fall in love with this rugged yet inviting coastline, its beautiful blue water contrasting the white limestone cliffs and sandy beaches. After arriving into Leuca early evening and settling in at the hotel, you’ll be able to explore the town at your leisure, with dinner is on your own tonight.

Distance: 55 km / 34 mi
Ascent: +316 m (1,037 ft)
Descent: -319 m (1,047 ft)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 7

Leuca - Otranto
Biking
After breakfast this morning, we'll pedal north alongside the Adriatic Sea to Otranto, one of Puglia’s historic fortified fishing villages, located at the very tip of Italy’s boot heel. If time and weather permits, we recommend a dip in the sea. Our route continues on the coast with chances to stop and enjoy the views of the rocky (sometimes sandy) beaches. We’ll also pass a number of defensive “towers” built in the 16th century to defend the coast from seafaring marauders. A town once bloodied and bruised by an infamous Turkish massacre in 1480, Otranto is now best known for its magnificent cathedral. For those interested in history, inside you’ll discover the bones of 813 martyrs on display in a glass case behind the altar. After arriving into Otranto early evening and settling in at the hotel, we’ll have dinner together in town. Afterwards, you’ll be able to explore the town at your leisure.

Distance: 52 km / 32 mi
Ascent: +619 m (2,030 ft)
Descent: -618 m (2,028 ft)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 8

Otranto - Lecce
Biking
Our final ride is a calm and scenic pedal into the charming city of Lecce, often nicknamed “Florence of the South” for its beautiful and historical baroque buildings.  A section of today's ride is through a car-free nature preserve.  We'll arrive into Lecce early afternoon and have some time to freely wander through the village. Later, we’ll enjoy a farewell dinner together in town with the remains of your evening at leisure to take in one last night of the region’s culture and atmosphere. 

Distance: 55 km / 34 mi
Ascent: +312 m (1,024 ft)
Descent: -264 m (866 ft)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 9

Lecce – Bari (or Brindisi)
Departure

The trip ends this morning in Lecce. Transfers can be arranged to the Bari or Brindisi airports or the train station, at an additional cost. If you prefer to fly out of Rome or Naples, which are bigger airports with more international departures, you can easily plan to take the train to either of these cities from Lecce. You might even want to continue to explore Italy from there. Either way, we know you’ll carry fond memories with you of your days riding through the south with us!

Meals: Breakfast

NOTE about Ascent/Descent numbers: 
The ascent/descent numbers are usually generated using Ride with GPS. The numbers are TOTAL ascent/descent for the day and these numbers do not suggest altitude. There are usually multiple small ascents and descents added up throughout the day to reach this total ascent/descent for the day. (While our numbers are generally consistent with Ride with GPS, depending on the mapping technology used, numbers may vary).

What's Included

TRIP INCLUSIONS:
Meals as indicated in itinerary (8 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 4 Dinners), all entrance fees, all internal transportation, all accommodation (twin shared), one group airport transfer at arrival and English-speaking guide.

TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE:
International airfare, airport taxes, airport transfers other than those noted in itinerary, gratuities, meals not indicated in itinerary and items of a personal nature.

MEALS:
8 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 4 Dinners

ACCOMMODATION:
Hotel: 8 Nights

Trip Facts

Weather in Italy

In the Puglia region of Italy, the best time to travel is during the summer and fall as May-October is the warmest and driest part of the year. July and August will see an average temperature of 24°C (74°F) and 10 hours of daily sunshine. However, even during the summers, a sweater is a good idea for cooler evening temperatures. The winter months can be very rainy and cold. November is the wettest month with 13 rainy days on average and January being the coldest at 9°C (48°C).

May to September: Summer. Warm, dry season. 

Travel Documents

Citizens of Canada and the US only require a valid passport to enter Italy. Please ensure that your passport is valid for six months beyond the date of arrival, or you may be refused entry. Always carry a photocopy of your passport in the unfortunate case of loss or theft; this precaution will speed up the reissue process. Visa requirements vary from country to country. Canadian citizens do not require a visa to enter Italy and can enter as a tourist for up to 30 days. Americans also not require a visa and can enter Portugal for up to 90 days as a tourist. Check with your airline in case you have connecting flights overseas as part of your journey to Italy as it is possible one of the countries you pass through en route to your destination may require a separate transit visa. 

Food and Water

Italy is well known for its cuisine, and the Puglia region doesn’t disappoint. You will find hearty baked meals and simple pasta dishes, primarily consisting of vegetables and meat, while seafood is enjoyed along the coast. Puglia is a region of farmers. Artichokes, tomatoes, eggplants, asparagus, mushrooms and olives are grown throughout, and 40% of Italy’s olive oil is produced in the region. It is home to the cow’s milk cheese Burrata and Altamura bread. Italy has an impressive wine culture, and the local grapes Negroamaro, Primitivo, and Bombino Nero make for delicious sipping. Water is chlorinated in Italy and locals drink tap water. However, for foreigners who have not built up immunity, bottled water is recommended, as some strains of bacteria may be still present in the tap water in some places. Fruit drinks, soft drinks, coffee and tea are all widely available and safe to drink. 

FAQ

How big are BikeHike's groups?

Our adventures are built for small groups, with a maximum of 12 travellers on each guided tour. Each group is diverse, comprised of men and women of many different nationalities and ages. By travelling in small groups we leave minimal ecological impact, cause less disruption to the native life and are able to gain a better appreciation for our surroundings. Small numbers also allow greater flexibility and spontaneity: a dinner in a local home, an impromptu village wedding invite and any such experiences that can become among the most memorable experiences of your BikeHike adventure.

How fit do I need to be to join this trip?

We understand that people come in many fitness levels, so we've graded our trips accordingly. There are four difficulty levels on our trips: Easy, Moderate, Challenging, and Strenuous. 

This is a “moderate” trip. These trips include 4-5 hours of physical activity throughout the day, with many breaks along the way. BikeHike Adventure’s biking trips are highly cardiovascular, but there are always support vehicles available on our BikeHike trips. During the biking, our travellers don’t have to carry anything on their backs as any packs can be carried in the support vehicle.  

 

Can you tell me about your typical BikeHike travellers on this trip?

Our travellers share a common love for outdoor adventure. Most are looking for a physical adventure in an unfamiliar destination. A typical trip is comprised of men and women in good physical condition, who exercise regularly and are invigorated by a personal challenge. The typical age range on a trip like this one is 40-60, although we occasionally get younger and older travellers as well.

The inaugural departure of this tour (September 28, 2019) will also be personally led by BikeHike's Founder, Trish Sare. 

Which airport do we fly in and out of for this trip?

This trip starts and ends in Bari, Italy. On arrival (day 1 of the trip), upon arriving in Bari, you will be met at either the train station or airport by a BikeHike Adventures representative. Please make sure to book a flight or train that arrives in time for the 1.30pm group transfer to your countryside hotel. Day 1 also includes activities in the afternoon. On departure day (day 9 of the trip) you can depart at anytime from Bari. 

Can I take this trip if...

I am a solo traveller? How does solo accommodation and costing work?

Many of our travellers (both men and women) join as singles. On average, BikeHike groups are 75% single travellers and 25% couples. Unlike many adventure travel companies, we don't charge single supplement fees to solo travellers. Instead, we pair you with another traveller of the same gender. If we can't find you a roommate, you get your own room at no additional charge. A single private room supplement fee is only required if you specifically request a confirmed private room for the duration of the trip. Learn more about solo travel with BikeHike

I have special dietary requirements?

We will do our best to accommodate special dietary requests (e.g. vegetarian, gluten free, etc.), but ask that you please discuss your request with us when signing up for a trip.

I am travelling with children? Is this trip children friendly?

This trip is not suitable for children or families unless the children in the family are older teenagers (17+). However, we do offer many Family Focused trips, some of which are able to accommodate children as young as six.

Accommodation

Most of our trips include mid-range accommodations, which provide a clean and comfortable experience in characterful surroundings. To build stronger connections with the communities and support the local economies, we avoid using large international chain brands on BikeHike trips.

Specifically, this trip includes the following types of accommodation:

HOTELS
Upon arrival in Italy, we’ll stay our first night in a countryside farmhouse hotel near Ruvo di Puglia. There’s we’ll savour the tastes of Puglia and its local specialties with a true home-cooked meal at the farmhouse before overnighting at this charming, typical Italian countryside accommodation.

In Alberobello, we’ll be experiencing a night’s stay in a hotel made up of a group of Trullie huts. The narrow, medieval streets of Alberobello are all lined with traditional Trullie. These are traditional Apulian dry stone huts with conical roofs, an architecture style dating back to the 16th century, something else unique to Puglia. This night’s accommodation will be truly unique and surely a trip highlight. 


Just a short distance outside of Ostuni (the “white city,” resembling Greece), we’ll settle into another cozy countryside hotel where we’ll also enjoy dinner together. 


In the other towns visited along this tour, we’ll be staying in small hotels within the town that showcase the character and local flair of the destination. In Italy, these small hotels are usually called Albergos. 

Price

(Land only, based on twin/shared room)
3399.00
USD
per person

*No single supplement fees
** Guaranteed departures on four travellers

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Add-Ons

  • It's easy to add days before and after your tour. Just ask! 
Day Destination Activity Distance Ascent / Descent Lodging Meals
1
Bari - Ruvo
Arrival & Biking
36 km
22 mi
+373 m (1,225 ft)
-373 m (1,225 ft)
Hotel
d
2
Ruvo - Matera
Biking
71 km
44 mi
+753 m (2,470 ft)
-679 m (2,228 ft)
Hotel
b,
l
3
Matera – Alberobello
Biking
74 km
46 mi
+503 m (1,650 ft)
-485 m (1,590 ft)
Hotel
b,
l
4
Alberobello – Ostuni
Biking
45 km
28 mi
+329 m (1,080 ft)
-708 m (2,323 ft) 
Hotel
b,
d
5
Ostuni - Gallipoli
Train transfer & Sightseeing
— / —
Hotel
b
6
Gallipoli - Leuca
Biking
55 km
34 mi
+316 m (1,037 ft)
-319 m (1,047 ft)
Hotel
b,
l
7
Leuca - Otranto
Biking
52 km
32 mi
+619 m (2,030 ft)
-618 m (2,028 ft)
Hotel
b,
l,
d
8
Otranto - Lecce
Biking
55 km
34 mi
+312 m (1,024 ft)
-264 m (866 ft)
Hotel
b,
l,
d
9
Lecce – Bari (or Brindisi)
Departure
— / —
b

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