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Cycling Puglia & Matera

from $2,179.00

Cycle from the UNESCO town of Matera through Italy’s heel to Lecce

  • Reviews 29 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Moderate
    5/8
  • Group Size Small Group
    6 - 16
All about the Cycling Puglia & Matera.

In the deep south of Italy, nestled between the Adriatic and Ionian seas, lie the captivating regions of Puglia and Basilicata. This extensive itinerary explores the very best selection of all the cultural and natural treasures found here. Matera’s fascinating ‘Sassi’ houses and the UNESCO ‘Trulli’ houses of Alberobello set the scene for the journey to come. After passing through idyllic countryside and the stunning ‘white city’ of Ostuni, the route veers towards Gallipoli and the dramatic Ionian coastline. While riding across the famous Salento Peninsula, we immerse ourselves in the charming laid-back Italian way of living and explore a stunning landscape made of olive orchards, limestone cliffs, crystal waters and Baroque towns.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts
* All accommodation
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Airport transfers (at designated times)
* Local bike rental

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • E-Bike (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Ride from the stunning UNESCO town of Matera
  • Enjoy gentle cycling through olive groves and past white-coned trulli
  • Sample fine seafood and wine from the famous Salento coast
  • Stay in charming accommodation bursting with character
  • 6 nights comfortable hotels and 1 night ‘masseria’ (converted farmhouse)
  • 6 days cycling with partial vehicle support (limited seats)
  • 99% tarmac and some short sections of gravel
  • Quiet rural undulating roads
  • Local bike rental included
  1. Day 1 Start Matera.

    The trip starts in the town of Matera, a real jewel of Southern Italy. The hotel is located within walking distance to the historic centre. There is usually time in the afternoon to wander through the narrow alleys of the town’s famous UNESCO cave-dwelling district and enjoy the unique atmosphere of this enchanting city.

  2. Day 2 Ride past the historic 'Sassi' houses of Matera before heading to Alberobello.

    On leaving Matera we pedal through the area that makes this town so special. For millenia, inhabitants of this region have carved dwelling directly into ravines and gullies made of tuff (or tufa), a characteristic honey-colored soft stone. These houses are called ’Sassi’ and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Matera is the only place in the world where people can boast to be still living in the same houses of their ancestors of 9,000 years ago. Today’s ride is mostly hilly with gentle ascents to be expected throughout, as we cycle on quiet rural roads amongst the picturesque Apulian countryside towards Alberobello. En route we pass the lovely towns of Noci and Gioia del Colle as well as some famous fairy-tale trulli houses that have also made the historic centre of Alberobello a recognised UNESCO world heritage site. Overnight in Alberobello. Cycle approx. 70km (ascent +659m; descent -648m).

  3. Day 3 Cycle through the lush Valle d'Itria, past the picturesque fairytale trulli houses to the hilltop-town of Ostuni.

    Today we cycle through the lush Valle d’Itria, one of the prettiest cultural and natural landscapes of Southern Italy, on to the picturesque hilltop village of Ostuni. The route is undulating throughout, but much shorter than yesterday’s thus allowing to enjoy the views at a more leisurely pace with plenty of opportunities for rest stops. Along the way we pass the famous wine town of Locorotondo and Cisternino, both boasting charming historic centres filled with whitewashed houses, narrow quaint streets, churches and elegant piazzas. In the afternoon we reach the city of Ostuni, known as the ’white city’ for the the dazzling effect of its white buildings. Overnight in Ostuni. Cycle approx. 45km (ascent +341m; descent -547m).

  4. Day 4 Ride through quaint villages and country lanes to a typical Masseria - a renovated farmhouse - where we spend the night.

    We continue pedalling through tranquil country lanes to the charming town of Francavilla Fontana and on to Oria, a popular destination among Apulians, famous for its 13th Century’s Castle and delightful historic centre characterised by cobbled streets, whitewashed walls and beautiful architecture. We continue through the idyllic countryside to a Masseria, a typical Apulian converted farmhouse and our accommodation for the night. The masseria is still a working farm and most of the produce grown here, from vegetables to olives and wheat, is used daily for the preparation of local dishes. Before dinner we will have the opportunity to taste some organic olive oil produced by the family who runs the farm and accommodation. Overnight in Avetrana. Cycle approx. 56km (ascent +170m; descent -314m).

  5. Day 5 Cycle to the coast and swim in the crystal clear sea before continuing towards Gallipoli with its old town situated on a rocky island.

    From the Masseria we cycle towards the Ionian coast and the beautiful town of Gallipoli, known as the ’Ionian Pearl’ with its old town situated on a rocky island and offering fantastic views both from the north and the south. The town itself has many churches, narrow alleys and was the largest exporter of lamp oil made from olives in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Weather permitting, today there are plenty of opportunities for swimming in the crystal-clear Ionian sea near the popular seaside resort of Porto Cesareo. Overnight in Gallipoli. Cycle approx. 65km (ascent +213m; descent -270m).

  6. Day 6 Follow stunning stretch of coastline leading to the ancient town of Otranto.

    Our route continues along the south of the peninsula and the impressive stretch of coastline leading to the ancient Messapian town of Otranto, the easternmost point in Italy. Before dinner there will be time at leisure to explore the town’s mediaeval centre and its interesting architecture, views, sea-front restaurants and white sandy beaches which make it one of Puglia’s most picturesque towns. Cycle approx. Overnight in Otranto. 70km (ascent +506m; descent -495m).

  7. Day 7 Continue along the shoreline to the beautiful Baroque city of Lecce.

    Today we follow the shoreline through innumerable olive groves to Lecce, the Baroque masterpiece of southern Italy located in the heart of Puglia. Sometimes described as the ’Florence of the South’, the city is a real architectonic gem boasting sumptuous palazzi and churches. Today’s ride is relatively short and easy thus giving us time to stop en route for a last swim (seasonal) in Torre dell’Orso, a lovely bay surrounded by limestone cliffs with many ancient caves to discover, a real treat to end the week of cycling. In Lecce there will be some free time to explore the charming historic centre before an optional farewell dinner. Overnight in Lecce. Cycle approx. 50km (ascent +234; descent -188m).

  8. Day 8 End Lecce.

    The trip ends in the morning of day 8. We recommend spending an extra day in Lecce to soak up the atmosphere of this elegant Baroque city, home to outstanding architecture. Exodus can arrange post tour accommodation for you if needed; please contact our Sales or Operations team for a quote.**

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Where you stay

3 and 4-star hotels

We use a mix of comfortable 3 and 4-star hotels and renovated traditional buildings. Most hotels are high quality and have been selected for their location, comfort and character, some representing the characteristic Apullian architecture. We also spend one night in a typical Masseria (a traditional converted farmhouse ) surrounded by olive groves. All rooms are en suite and some hotels have a swimming pool.

Examples of hotels used:

Matera: Hotel Belvedere and Residence Casalnuovo. Please note that due to the limited capacity of hotels in Matera we are not able to confirm the definite start hotel for each departure far in advance, and the group may occasionally be split in different accommodation of similar standards.

Alberobello: Trulli e Puglia

Ostuni: Relais Sant’Eligio

Avetrana: Masseria Bosco

Gallipoli: Hotel 33 Baroni

Otranto: Hotel Albania

Lecce: Hotel Eos

Please contact our Customer Operations team two weeks prior departure if you wish to receive the up-to-date hotels list for your trip.

Eating and Drinking

7 breakfasts are included and usually consist of a continental-style buffet. A typical hotel breakfast consists of: toast/bread with jam, cereal, cheese and ham (occasionally), served with coffee, tea, milk, orange juice, fruit, cake and yoghurt. Lunches are normally arranged as picnics or taken in small cafes’ along the route.  Vegetarians and people with special dietary requirements can be catered for but please inform us of your requests prior travel.

In Puglia you will find genuine regional cooking that has strong links to the land and the sea. Some of the types of food on offer in Puglia: bread from the Murge, durum wheat pasta, olives, the pasta delicacy Orecchiette served with a sauce of turnip-tops or fresh tomato and sheep’s ricotta-cheese, Cavatelli with pulses, aubergine and parmesan bake, grilled fish and seafood, burrata (soft mozzarella and cream cheese), plus excellent wines. This region is a food lovers’ paradise!

This trip is classified Road, Activity Level: 3/Moderate.

6 days cycling, average 60 km/day (37 miles) Terrain and route: 99% tarmac, with a couple of very short sections of gravel.

Most of the cycling is along flat to hilly tarmac roads (mainly traffic-free), with a few steady ascents and descents along the way, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. Road conditions are generally good, but tarmac may be pot-holed in places. Please see the introductory pages of the cycling brochure or our website for more important information on classification and grading. If you have any queries about the difficulty of the trip please do not hesitate to call us.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

CYCLING PUGLIA AND MATERA

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

MATERA TO PUGLIA RIDE

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views mainly...The lovely little towns we visited were great but the real delight was the contrast between the countryside and the coastal paths
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    we had an Italian guide Michele who was wonderful....very helpful (especially sorting out bills at the end of meals etc) and really organised to ensure we made the most of our trip
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    April/May was a wonderful time to visit....hardly any tourists.....I would just say Go before this region gets too busy
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    missed my little orange bike at the end of the trip.......

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

Welcome to the heel of Italy

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The towns/villages that we stayed in were really beautiful, but I think the Trulli house in Alberobello and the stay at the Masseria, made the trip a little more special.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leaders were Marinella and Emanuele and their individual skills complemented the trip perfectly as Marinella was an excellent organizer, a special mention has to be for the recommendations for dinner and the arranging of lunches each day – no small task. Emanuele was our cycle leader who negotiated the route and pace for us and sorted out any mechanical issues that arose (very few) and was keen to invest time in a brief cultural highlights tour after the cycling had finished for the day for those who were interested. I have always maintained that an Exodus trip can be made/broken by the quality of the group leaders – I would say that both Marinella and Emanuele enhanced my experience of this trip.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Puglia is considered to be the flattest part of Italy – but that means the land is undulating rather than ‘alpine’ hilly. For anyone considering this trip who may be a tiny bit worried about hill climbing – don’t be, the pace ranged from 15-20 kph, a speed which suited our group well. Whilst I didn’t do it myself, a day before the trip in Matera and after the trip finishes in Lecce looks really worthwhile, I’ll just have to come back at some point. As with any cycle trip, if you have your own seat/pedals – do take them, the bikes available on this trip were sturdy but basic. For organizing the daily lunches, the leaders ask for 50 euro per person at the beginning of the trip. This then allows them to organize a really good lunch each day and any balance paid back at the end of the trip – this is a good option and one less thing to worry about. Given the quality of the lunches on offer, the money was well spent.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Even though we had a couple of beach stops, it would be nice if one of the days could finish at the beach and allow people to spend the afternoon there (the water is so nice) although I appreciate that cost/accommodation availability may be an issue.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

A great Italian cycling experience

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having experienced some fantastic places along the route, for us the finale in Lecce with a group of people we'd got to know was very special and a stunning end to a great week.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    We were fortunate enough to have two leaders and both did all they could to make the trip a special week. They had the local knowledge, great organisational skills and above all a great sense of humour!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If we were to help inform anyone considering this trip, we'd definately recommend this for anyone wanting to see southern Italy and who has done some cycling leading up to the week. We decided to add an extra day at the start in Matera and at the end in Lecce which we'd reccommend to discover these beautiful places. The bikes were good however we decided to take our own saddle and pedals which we'd suggest if you want a little more "touch point" familiarity.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If it helps make your mind up....we are already looking into our next holiday with Exodus!

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

A heel of a trip!

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Would describe as highlights rather than inspirational:- Matera - quite stunning and well worth the additional day we added - good advice from Exodus Alberobello - touristy but photogenic and pretty and a great opportunity to stay in a trullo - wonderful! The Masseria was also a beautiful setting - lovely accommodation, great food and wine, lovely pool a great place to relax.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Not a natural guide but Sara was very keen to ensure we had a good trip and worked extremely hard to achieve that - with very little help from her colleagues. She did a good job.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take Exodus' advice and spend an extra day in Matera - well worth the visit This isn't a challenging ride so if you enjoy a relaxed cycle trip in a beautiful part of Italy with time to relax and explore each of the places you visit then this is a perfect holiday.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We knew very little about this part of Italy before our visit but it's a hidden gem. Would certainly recommend a trip there - and cycling through vineyards, olive groves, past the trulli houses, eating gelati and the freshest local fruit was delightful. Accommodation generally better than expected especially first 3 nights. Bikes awful - in this day and age am sure it's possible to provide better quality bikes - sadly similar to other parts of Italy I've visited.

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