Puglia Bike Itinerary
Guided tour – 8 days
A guided bike itinerary to discover the most beautiful and unspoiled corners of Puglia.
You don’t have to take care of anything except pedal along the most beautiful bike routes of our region. Our guides will be looking after you at any time, thanks to their experience, professionalism and knowledge of the area. The tour starts in Matera, the famous UNESCO city of the “Sassi” (“Stones”, i.e. the old town full of cave dwellings) and future European Capital of Culture for 2019.
This 8-day/7-night cycling holiday is the perfect choice to become familiar with the beating heart of Puglia, the country of the trulli (the conic-roofed rural houses) and the masserie (local fortified farmhouses).
At the end of the journey, Puglia will have no secret for you anymore – or at least a few kept for your next tour!
DAY 1: MATERA
Arrival in Matera and check-in.
DAY 2: MATERA – GINOSA – LATERZA – SAN BASILIO
+/- 60 km
Your first ride is in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage site: Matera, the Town of The Sassi (literally: “stones”, i.e., the ancient cave dwellings of the old town). It is one of the most scenic and fascinating cities in the world and, at the same time, the perfect synthesis of its surrounding area. Once on your way out of Matera, you will deeply relish such an amazing landscape, entering Matera’s surroundings.
The first stage runs almost entirely in the “Parco Regionale delle Gravine” (Ravines Regional Park), in the middle of wheat fields and wide panoramas. You ride through other towns, whose atmospheres will remind you of the Town of The Sassi. But above all, you have the chance to visit the town of Laterza, famous for the tasty bread and the beautiful pottery. The accommodation is in San Basilio, a hamlet between the “Terra delle Gravine” (Ravines Land) and the Murgia of Trulli.
+/- 650 meters of climbing
DAY 3: SAN BASILIO – CASTELLANETA – PALAGIANELLO – ALBEROBELLO
+/- 55 km
The second stage could be a trip by itself, because it takes you into two very different landscapes on the same day. You still cycle the first kilometres in the “Terra delle Gravine”: the “Gravine” (ravines) are deep canyons carved by karst rivers over millions of years). You will even cross one of them by bike riding over a big stone bridge, where there’s now a scenic bicycle path in place of the old railway. Before crossing the bridge, your path passes through Castellaneta, the birthplace of the Hollywood legend Rodolfo Valentino. After pedalling through the ravines, you ride past the Murgia of Trulli, surrounded by more and more oaks, dry-stone low walls, masserie (local fortified farmhouses) – and trulli, of course, Puglia’s iconic rural houses with conic roof built with the dry-stone technique (i.e., without any cement or mortar!). To reach the UNESCO capital of the Trulli, the daily destination, you cycle in a beautiful countryside and through Noci, as well: this town is like a temple of good food – good to know in case you get hungry along the way!
+/- 600 meters of climbing
DAY 4: (LOOP) ALBEROBELLO – LOCOROTONDO – MARTINA FRANCA – ALBEROBELLO
+/- 50 km
Let’s play a game: are you able to cover even a single stretch of the daily scheduled kilometres without spotting a trullo? They are everywhere in the heart of Itria Valley – a unique landscape and worldwide famous destination for those who seek beauty and good living. You will even come across a trullo-shaped church cycling from Alberobello towards Locorotondo, one of the “borghi più belli d’Italia” (most beautiful villages of Italy). Leaving the town, you have the chance to pedal along the main Apulian cycling route: the “Ciclovia dell’Acquedotto” (Apulian Aqueduct cycling route), which runs on the service track of a more-than-a-century-old Aqueduct that is still the second biggest one in Europe. Before riding back to Alberobello, you get to the quaint town of Martina Franca, known for its baroque architecture.
+/- 550 meters of climbing
DAY 5: ALBEROBELLO – BARSENTO – POLIGNANO A MARE – MONOPOLI
+/- 45 km
Today, you will probably wonder if we set all Puglia highlights, one next to another on your way, just for you! You start in the UNESCO town of Alberobello and you head to Barsento, a naturalistic and archaeological site with a lovely 12C little abbey. Other beautiful churches are dotting your itinerary: San Biagio first, at the beginning of a nice tree-lined cycle path; then San Nicola di Genna, another 12C church at the crossroad between 7 “contrade” (country districts). You cycle along sleepy country roads close to Catellana Grotte, catching sight of the sea! You slowly ride down to the Adriatic coast and reach one of its most fascinating spots: the town of Polignano a Mare, perched on the side of a cliff (the incredible Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series take place here!). It is the hometown of the famous Italian singer Domenico Modugno, “Mister Volare”. Enter the old town by bike and pedal next to the terraces overlooking the sea; then stop to taste a delicious homemade “gelato” (ice-cream) or a panini filled with super-fresh fish! Riding further on the coast, you get to Monopoli, an increasingly popular tourist destination thanks to the interesting mix between its beautiful sea and its fascinating history. Your accommodation is in the old town, a few steps away from the harbour and the Castle.
+/- 350 meters of climbing
DAY 6: MONOPOLI – OSTUNI
+/- 45 km
Monopoli will say goodbye to you in an unforgettable way. After breakfast, you start pedalling through the alleys and then through an archway to reach the old harbour. Continue riding only inches away from the water past the Castle of Charles V (16C) and along the old Castle walls and discover the first cycle path just outside the old town. Are you sure you want to leave Monopoli?! We suggest you do make this effort if you don’t want to miss other enchanting places. Get to the “Abbazia di Santo Stefano” (St. Stephan Abbey) and enter an expanse of olive trees, a sort of outdoor museum full of century- and thousand-old olive trees, a wonderful landscape in perfect harmony between man and nature. Little by little, you will spot a white outline amid the hills: it is Ostuni, known as “the white town” because of its whitewashed houses and walls. To perfectly end the day, indulge a stroll in its old town, a sort of Mediterranean Kasbah of narrow lanes, full of cafes and nice shops.
+/- 350 meters of climbing
DAY 7: OSTUNI – CAROVIGNO – (TRAIN) – ACAYA – LECCE
+/- 15+35 km
This stage is divided into two stretches. The first one is the shorter one: starting from Ostuni and after visiting the imposing and elegant Castle of Carovigno, you reach the little Carovigno rail station, hidden among olive trees. Here you can take one of the many trains of “Ferrovie dello Stato” (Italian state Railway) to get to Lecce in less than one hour (in Puglia you can bring the bicycle with you on the train for free). Then, you pedal into the Salento capital, visiting one of the most beautiful Italian old towns. Riding away from Lecce, you directly head to Acaya, an enchanting little fortified town between Lecce and Otranto, once an ancient stronghold against Saracens’ attacks. You will then stop at the Acaya Golf Club just out of the town. Then you will continue riding a while, next to the imposing “pajare” – Salento typical “trulli” with a square base – and before coming back to Lecce and indulge with a night in the “Florence of the South” as a final treat to say goodbye to Puglia.
+/- 300 meters of climbing
DAY 8: LECCE
After breakfast, end of services.