Bike Tour of Puglia Italy
Self-guided – 8 days
All the Puglia highlights combined with under-the-radar places, connected by an unspoilt itinerary just for you! From the Trulli area to the Ionian Coast dominated by Gallipoli, “the beautiful town” (in ancient Greek). One night in the baroque town of Lecce to top off your cycling holidays.
DAY 1: LOCOROTONDO
Arrival in Locorotondo and check-in.
DAY 2: (LOOP) LOCOROTONDO – MARTINA FRANCA – ALBEROBELLO – LOCOROTONDO
+/- 50 km
Let’s play a game to start the cycling tour: are you able to cover even a single stretch of the daily scheduled kilometres without spotting a trullo? The trulli are Puglia’s iconic
rural houses with conic roof built with the dry-stone technique (i.e., without any cement or mortar!): 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 start spotting them from the promenade of Locorotondo, one of the “borghi più belli d’Italia” (most beautiful villages of Italy). Leaving the town, you head to the quaint town of Martina Franca, known for its baroque architecture. After a rolling ride in the countryside, you reach Alberobello, the Capital of the Trulli and UNESCO SITE. Have a stroll in this fairy-tale town before getting back to Locorotondo.
+/- 600 meters of climbing
DAY 3: LOCOROTONDO – CISTERNINO – GROTTAGLIE
+/- 52 km
The day-2 stage again starts form Locorotondo. It will be a full immersion in the most authentic but varied landscape of this corner of Puglia – maybe the very heart and soul of the region. Gentle wooded hills, dry-stone low walls, imposing “masserie”, whitewashed medieval old towns, oak woods, the contrasts between the blue, the green and the red deeply colouring such an enchanting setting. Itria Valley is a triangle whose vertices are Locorotondo, Martina Franca and Cisternino – towns belonging to three different provinces, which cross in the Valley. You’ll already have visited the first two and now it’s Cisternino’s turn! You will discover another outstanding mixture between spontaneous architecture and the elegance of big churches and palaces. You will also ride a stretch of the main Apulian cycle route: the “Ciclovia dell’Acquedotto” (Apulian Aqueduct cycle route) running on the maintenance track of a more than a century-old Aqueduct and still the second biggest one in Europe. In the last daily kilometres the trulli start to thin out, but you will still be surrounded by a lush countryside while cycling down to Grottaglie, the famous Apulian town of the ceramics, which is your daily destination.
DAY 4: GROTTAGLIE – MANDURIA
+/- 55 km
During this route you’ll explore the plateau of the Murge Tarantine, in the east side of the province of Taranto: you will cross little villages like Monteparano, Roccaforzata (on the top of Serra Sant’Elia, the highest hill of the area) and Faggiano (at the foot of the hill): enjoy the view and smell the scents of the Mediterranean scrub! You will be surrounded by lots of vineyards that announce your imminent arrival to Manduria, the town of the Primitivo DOC wine, where you will stay for the night.
DAY 5: MANDURIA LOOP
+/- 50 KM km
This loop itinerary takes you to the breath-taking Ionian Coast, dotted with beautiful beaches, like Punta Prosciutto, and coastal watchtowers, like Torre Colimena and Torre Lapillo, built by the Holy Roman Emperor and king of Spain Charles V during the 16th century to defend the Salento from the attacks of the Saracens. Treat yourself to some stops by the sea before heading back to the Primitivo wine town.
DAY 6: MANDURIA - (TRAIN) GUAGNANO – GALLIPOLI
+/- 50 KM km
From the Primitivo to the Negroamaro wine! You start your day taking a regional train to get from Manduria to Guagnano in about 45 minutes (in Puglia you can bring your bicycle on the train for free). You start cycling in one of the most famous wine production areas of our region: stop for a glass in Guagnano or Salice Salentino, where Leone De Castris has been producing the first Italian Rosé wine, the Five Roses, since 1943. Continue pedalling in the Salento inland and then enjoy the last kilometres along the Ionian Coast towards Gallipoli, the “beautiful town” (which is the meaning of the name in the Salento-greek dialect). You stay here for the night.
DAY 7: GALLIPOLI – GALATINA – STERNATIA – LECCE
+/- 55 KM km
The last stage is a farewell to the sea and to Puglia through the authentic Salento hinterland: fields and groves, small towns and villages with ancient origins, bright colours, and strong flavours will make up the multisensory postcard you will take home. Have a stop in Galatina to admire the frescos of the Romanesque Basilica dedicated to Santa Caterina d’Alessandria, and then in Sternatìa, one of the towns of the “Grecìa Salentina”, an area of Salento where a dialect having its origins in Medieval Greek is still spoken. From Sternatìa, past olive groves and small villages, you cycle all the way to Lecce. The elegant Baroque town, also known as “the Florence of the South”, will be waiting for you!