Grande Puglia Cycling Tour: 13 days full immersion!

13 days full immersion!

Grande Puglia is a 13 days cycling tour starting from the hills of the Alta Murgia and ending in Otranto, the most eastern town of Italy. You will slowly learn the history, cross the wild nature and taste the great food, feeling in love with this area of the “boot” nice to discover day by day.
GRADE: easy to moderate

Tour features

The tour unwinds largely on secondary roads with little traffic. Mainly on asphalt that is suitable for road bikes. The area is predominantly hilly with short, easy climbs near some of the towns. .

Tour highlights

  • Trani: the historical centre and Romanesque Cathedral
  • The Alta Murgia National Park
  • The Castle of Frederick II: Castel del Monte
  • Gravina: the historical centre
  • Altamura: the Cathedral and bakeries in the historical centre
  • Matera: the old quarters “ I Sassi”; the Rock Church Park
  • San Giuliano Lake and the Crypt of Original Sin
  • Montescaglioso: the historical centre and S.Michele Abbey
  • Gioia del Colle: the historical centre and Castle
  • Alberobello: the historical centre and trulli in the country
  • Ostuni: the whitewashed historical centre
  • Gallipoli: the city centre
  • Leuca: the Heel of the Italy’s Boot
  • Otranto: the castle, the mosaic in the Cathedral and the Adriatic coast
  • Lecce: the Baroque art

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11 days on a bicycle, on average/easy hilly terrain
Total distance: about 550 km
Daily distance from 40 to 69 km to be covered in 4 – 8 hours
Route: scenic and hilly
Climate: pleasant in autumn, ideal in spring. Not recommended mid-summer

Hotels: 3* hotels and farm holidays.
Nearest arrival airport: Bari (50 km.)
Nearest departure airport: Brindisi (40 km.)

Day 1
Trani – Independent arrival in Trani and get settled in at your hotel. Trani is an old town facing the Adriatic Sea. There is a lovely historical centre, Romanesque Cathedral, castle, gardens and old port where we suggest you to have lunch, choosing from the fish menu at one of the small restaurants. Dinner on your own and overnight stay.

Day 2 – Castel del Monte
The route passes through the olive fields and stops in Castel del Monte, a UNESCO site and example of medieval architecture as built by the emperor Frederick II. After visiting the castle, which offers a wonderful view of the “Alta Murgia”, you get settled in at a nice hotel in the country. Dinner on your own and overnight stay.
Distance: Approx. 45 km
Grade: Easy

Day 3 – Gravina di Puglia
Leave the marvellous meadowlands in the park and cycle through the valley until you come to the town of Gravina di Puglia, along semi-deserted roads where time seems to stand still. The town, which dates back to the 8th century B.C., unfolds over the centuries with amazing evidence of the various civilizations. Don’t miss a visit to the underground town and historical centre. Dinner on your own and overnight stay.
Distance: about 57 km
Grade: Easy hilly route with short climbs

Day 4 – Altamura and Matera
Today first stop is Altamura, which is famous for its splendid cathedral and bread. Don’t miss a ride through the streets in the historical centre, beneath the cathedral bell-tower and taste some fresh focaccia baked in an old wood-burning oven. Set off again for the countryside towards the built-up town of Matera.
Arrival in the old part of the town called the “Sassi” and accommodation in a hotel in the historical centre. Dinner on  your own and overnight stay.
Distance: 46 km
Grade: Easy hilly route with short climbs

Day 5: Day of rest
Enjoy a relaxing day visiting the city of Matera. A guided walk will enable you to visit museums, caves, rock churches. (book your private tour with www.ferulaviaggi.it).
Alternatively, you have the choice of two routes that give you the chance to explore the surrounding area

Day 5: LOOP 1
San Giuliano Lake, the Matera hills and the Crypt of Original Sin
Follow the beautiful, deserted road around the San Giuliano Lake, a peaceful wildlife reserve for  migratory species from Africa. Stop to watch the herons, cormorants, storks and ospreys. A stop-off at the lake is recommended for a picnic. Don’t miss a visit to the Crypt of Original Sin. This fascinating rock oratory represents one of the oldest examples of rock art in the South of Italy. Its extraordinary cycle of frescoes painted five hundred years before Giotto, highlights the typical features of Benedictine Beneventan art (8th -9th centuries). Book your visit with www.ferulaviaggi.it.
Back to the hill of Matera and overnight stay.
Distance: about 40 km
Grade: moderate with a climb at the end.

Day 5: LOOP 2
Matera, the Bradano Valley and Montescaglioso
Cycle along the valley of the Rock Church Park, stopping off for a picnic break and a dip in the pool of a tourist farm along the way (subject to booking). If you still have enough energy, a 5 km climb will take you to the centre of Montescaglioso, which is dominated by the impressive 11th century Benedictine Abbey. Back to Matera and overnight stay.
Distance: about 40 km with a short climb at the end.
Grade: moderate with good climbs for cycling (Matera and Montescaglioso)

Day 6  from Matera to Alberobello
Breakfast and departure for Alberobello. Go through the towns of Gioia del Colle and Noci until you reach Alberobello. Accommodation in a Trulli complex dating back to 1600, in the historical centre of Alberobello, which is included among UNESCO’s world heritage sites. Visit the old quarters. Dinner on your own and overnight stay.
Distance: about Km. 69.
Grade: Easy, mainly rolling hills with short climbs

Day 7 – Ostuni “the White “
Cycling through the Selva (forest) near Fasano, you follow the Adriatic coast and reach Ostuni, which is reputed an architectural jewel, and is commonly referred to as “the White Town” for its white walls and its typically white-painted architecture. Get situated at your Hotel. Dinner on your own and overnight stay.
Distance: about 45 km
Grade: easy, rolling hills

Day 8 – Castles and farmhouses
Cycling south through the quiet country lanes to the charming town of Francavilla Fontana and on to Oria, famous for its 13th Century’s Castle and delightful historic centre. We continue through the countryside to a Masseria, a typical Apulian converted farmhouse and our accommodation for the night.
Distance: about 55 km
Grade: easy.

Day 9: Gallipoli and the Ionian Coast
Today your route will pass through Porto Selvaggio and skirt the Ionian coast to reach Gallipoli, derived from the Greek word kalépolis meaning “beautiful city.” Get situated at your Hotel near the seaside. Dinner on your own and overnight stay.
Distance: about 60 km
Grade: easy.

Day 10 – Leuca: the Heel of the Boot
Reach the Heel of the Boot cycling near sandy beaches facing the Ionian Sea. Santa Maria di Leuca was called in Latin the “Finibus Terrae”, the end of the land.
Distance: about 45 km
Grade: easy.

Day 11: Far East
Cycling to Otranto, the route will take you to the wildest and eastern rocky coast of Southern Italy. The sun and the atmosphere is unique in a place where Turkish and Greeks landed centuries ago. Otranto has a wonderful centre with walls and a castle. A masterpiece is the mysterious mosaic, in the Romanesque Cathedral. Dinner on your own. Back to your hotel and overnight stay.
Distance: about 45 km
Grade: easy with some climbs at the end of the day.

Day 12: Lecce, the Baroque gem
Last stage will take you to Lecce, the Baroque town with wonderful façade of buildings and churches. Taste a puccia (local bread filled with salami or vegetables) or a pasticciotto (delicious pastry), and enjoy shopping and walking in the city centre. Get situated at your Hotel. Dinner on your own and overnight stay.
Distance: about 45 km
Grade: easy.

Day 13

Breakfast and end of services.

Prices (per person on a base of 2 participants)

In a double room: € 1.360.00
Single supplement: € 280.00

Hybrid Bike Hire with 24/27 gear speed (Shimano Alivio/Deore) with aluminium frame and side bags: € 140.00

E-Bike and Road Bike Hire: € 250,00
Full Carbon Road Bike Hire: € 300,00

Transfer from Bari APT to Trani: € 40.00 p.p. (2 participants min.)

Transfer from Lecce to Bari APT:        € 90.00 p.p. (2 participants min.)

What’s included

  • 12 nights in a double room with breakfast
  • Luggage transfer
  • Briefing and delivery of bicycles.
  • Emergency and Technical Assistance
  • Detailed map and road book in English

What’s excluded
Luggage/medical insurance, drinks, city taxes, lunches and dinners, transfer from/to Bari airport, entrance fees, tips, personal extras, everything not included in the heading “what’s included”.

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