Grande Puglia Cycling Tour: 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


Your name

Your email

Choose the tour of your interest


Your message

Characteristics: 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 head for 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

Head for the town of 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, which is just a few kilometres away.
Arrival in the old part of the town called the “Sassi” and accommodation in a hotel in the historical centre.
Don’t miss a visit to the rock churches and city’s museums.
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 leisurely walk will enable you to visit: museums, rock churches. (entrance fees not included).
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. To reach the crypt, a natural cavern that falls sheer to the “Gravina di Picciano”, cross the silent path of Pietrapenta, through cornfields and vineyards. 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). Payment on entry (8 euros per person) and subject to booking.
Return to Matera back up the hill.
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. Return to Matera and overnight stay.
Distance: about 58 km with a short climb at the end. (that can be reduced to 40 km with a variation)
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

  • Castel del Monte: payment on entrance

Visitor opening hours: from 9 am to 6.30 pm open all day; for information and bookings tel. 0883-569997
Cost of ticket: € 3.00.
€ 1.50 reduced for people aged 18-25
free entrance for children and people over 65

More info

  • Gravina di Puglia – “Underground Gravina” Routes

Various tours ranging from 15 mins to approximately 2 hours with a chance to sample the different wines in cellars.
Ticket price: prices range from 2.5 euros to 10 euros per person

  • Matera: Guided tour of the Sassi (max 3 hr)

an unusual tour of the Sassi, a UNESCO world heritage site, to discover the hidden city. Set off from Piazza Vittorio Veneto to visit the city’s two treasures of Romanesque art: S. Giovanni Battista (1233) with its classical, figured capitals, and the Romanesque cathedral (1270), with its impressive façade embellished with a splendid rosette. The road down to the Sasso Caveoso begins at the top of the Cività, the ancient, medieval citadel surrounded by tall defensive ramparts and noble buildings, along a scenic route that unwinds through squares, steps and alleyways, which often run over the roofs of houses. This takes you to the rock church of Santa Lucia alle Malve (11th century), a splendid example of negative architecture: niches, apses, domes and capitals…created by digging a space out of solid rock. Next we come to a typically furnished cave-dwelling that was inhabited until 1956, which dates back to 1700, and a craft shop dug out of a cave. Also the seventeenth-century cellars, some of which are up to 100 metres deep, are hypogeums. Finally, stop off in a bar, in the Sassi for refreshments after the walk and to get an idea of how the cave dwellings have been renovated and rearranged today.
Individual Fee € 13.00 (min. 4 participants)
Time max 3 hours, excluding entrance fees.

  • Matera MuSMA – Museum of Contemporary Art and the Crypt of Original Sin

Opening times and prices
The Crypt of Original Sin can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday, prior to booking.
The usual visits are:
at 10 am, at 12 pm, at 4 pm and at 6 pm, from spring to autumn; at 10 am and 12 pm in the winter.
Prices are per person, with a guided tour and are VAT-FREE
usual visits: 10 am – 12 pm – 4 pm – 6 pm
ticket price € 8.00 per person
MUSMA is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 2 pm and from 4 pm to 8 pm.
From November until the end of March it is only open in the morning: from 10 am to 2 pm.
ticket price € 5.00 per person

Coming Soon

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
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”.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email