Self guided cycling from Basilicata to Puglia

From the Sassi of Matera to Baroque Lecce

  • 8 days/ 7 nights
  • Basilicata
  • Salento
  • Matera - Lecce

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Trip Overview

Self guided cycling from Basilicata to Puglia
This is a beautiful Southern Visions self-guided cycling trip through the region of Puglia, Italy, which lies in the heel of the boot, along the sun-drenched Adriatic Sea. Puglia offers access to the freshest seafood, crowd-free open spaces, irresistible desserts and pastries, distinct wines, and the 50 million olive trees that make Puglia the world’s leading producer of olive oil. Come to Puglia and hear the voices of the past call out over the trulli houses…we promise, once you discover it, Puglia will leave a lasting impression.

Highlights

  • Exceptional cycling routes that pass through fishing villages, country lanes, ancient olive groves and vineyards, hidden coves, golden beaches, and the unparalleled Itria Valley
  • A trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Matera & Alberobello
  • Insider look at the region’s hidden treasures

Day 1Arrival & Bike fit

At the beginning of your trip, a Southern Visions team member will meet your flight arriving at Bari Airport and shuttle you to Matera. After you to check into your hotel, we will have a briefing, custom fit you to your bikes, and provide you with proprietary, exceptional maps and route notes to help you navigate your way along the countryside and find special hidden gems to stop, explore, and dine.  

Day 2Cycling: Matera to Alberobello 70km/43mi

Your ride today takes in stark terrain, with wide open spaces and lots of farm land. After approx. 15km you will leave the region of Basilicata and enter Puglia. The route takes you through Gioia del Colle where we can visit the impressive Norman Castle which dates back to the 9th century. Alternatively we can bike to a prestigious winery. From there we head towards Noci, a well-heeled town known for its mushroom festival. As you head deeper into the area known as the Itria Valley you will arrive at the Trulli Capital, Alberobello.

Day 3Cycling: Alberobello-Locorotondo loop 34km/21mi

Spend today roaming around the historic centre, navigating your way through narrow streets, browsing in kitsch souvenir shops, and tasting local products or maybe visit the museo del territorio to discover the history of this unique UNESCO World Heritage Site. We also suggest riding a circular route (49km/31mi) deep into the Itria Valley to visit stunning Locorotondo - nicknamed “città del vino” for its excellent dry white spumante (sparkling) wine made from local Verdeca grapes. Here in Locorotondo, you will meet our chef at the countryside trullo of the Cardone wine-making family for an outstanding, hands-on immersion into Pugliese cooking. The chef will share the secrets for preparing traditional dishes. After the course, sit down together to enjoy the gorgeous meal you’ve created paired with the Cardone family wines. After lunch, enjoy the leisurely ride back to Alberobello.

Day 4Cycling: Alberobello – Cisternino – Ostuni 39km/24mi

Today, we will leave the lovely town of Alberobello and cycle to Cisternino and Ostuni. Cisternino is one of the most lovely and chic hilltop towns in Puglia. Here you will soak in sweeping views of the Itria Valley below. Famous for its excellent butcher shops which sell simply cooked dishes, we recommend stopping here for lunch in order to experience the unique “fornello pronto” experience. Then you will continue past olive groves and rock-strewn fields to the stunning “città bianca” or “white city” of Ostuni, a remarkable citadel perched on the hill with stunning views of the plains and the Adriatic sea. 

Day 5Cycling: Squinzano to Otranto 68km/42mi

Today you will catch the train to Squinzano and then cycle along the beautiful Salento coast to Otranto. Along the way you can have a lovely local lunch in the picturesque castle town of Acaya. From there, you will ride through numerous olive groves and nearly empty roads to reach the coast before pedaling into one of the best jewels of all Puglia: Otranto. Thanks to its unique location, you will enjoy a panoramic view of all Otranto, including the sea with its pristine beach, the old town centre, architectural beauties such as the Martyrs’ Cathedral and the Byzantine Church of Saint Peter, and much more. There are numerous options for a lovely dinner as well as one of Puglia’s best pizza joints right in the 

Day 6Cycling: Otranto-Santa Maria de Leuca loop (optional) 55 or 110km/34 or 68mi

We have saved the best ride for last! You will pedal along the coast south and west of Otranto where you will see the easternmost and southernmost points of Puglia both on the same day. You can also visit the Castel di Salve winery on your way to the city of Santa Maria di Leuca, which appears gleaming white as you approach from the sea and is known for its position as De Finibus Terrae (“the end of the earth”). You can make today as relaxing or as challenging as you like, as your route notes cover a loop of 110 km but also make it easy for you to turn around and head back at any time. Or you can cycle to Santa Maria di Leuca and then catch a shuttle back (must be pre-arranged). And, of course, whatever option you choose, it will be easy to find places to stop for food and sightseeing along the way!

Day 7Cycling: Otranto to Lecce 37km/23mi

Today, you will head down to the wonderful town of Lecce, choosing to be shuttled by Southern Visions staff or, if you still have energy, take one final ride on your bike. If you opt to cycle to Lecce, known as the Florence of the South, you will find the terrain is mostly flat, passing among endless olive orchards. Your ride will lead you through the small enchanting villages of Borgagne, Melendugno, Castri’ di Lecce e Lizzanello... all villages in which time seems to have stopped. So, be sure to stop and smell the olives . Your final hotel destination is Lecce. This city has some amazing Baroque masterpieces.

Day 8Departure

You will depart for your flight home or next destination. The Southern Visions team will shuttle you back to Bari or Brindisi. We are sure that your time in this region will have changed your life for the better, as it has all of ours 

Puglia

image destination

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