Puglia & Basilicata Bike Tour
Seven nights; six days of southern Italian bicycle touring on easy terrain with variable distance choices, beginning in the cave town of Matera and descending through the Istria Valley to the Adriatic coast.
“I just wanted to thank you for the absolutely wonderful trip… You have me hooked; I would really love to do one of your trips again maybe even with the kids…”
– Anna P.
Start: Bari, B&B dei Meravigli, 15:00, day one. Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.
Finish: Bari, 11:00, day eight.
You will be collected in Bari and transferred about 60 minutes to Matera where you’ll spend the following two nights in the UNESCO recognized Sassi district; one of the oldest inhabited human settlements in the world. Your guide will meet you at 18:00 for a welcome briefing before dinner. D (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfasts)
L’Hotel in Pietra, Matera
Today you will ride along the wonderful deserted road around San Giuliano Lake, a peaceful natural oasis and the destination of many African migratory birds. If you take some time for bird watching, you’ll spot grey herons, cormorants, storks and fish hawks. Continue back to Matera to spend some time exploring the unique Sassi district. Matera has been the filming location for a number of well-known films, including Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. BLD
65km or 95km
Ride to Pezze di Greco, through Gioia del Colle, Noci, and Albarobello. This is the fertile valley of Itria, and is famous for its 1500 Trulli – pretty circular stone houses and barns originally used as field shelters but now adapted to beautiful houses, shops, restaurants, and lodging! BLD
Masseria il Brigantino, or
Masseria Monte Napoleone; Pezze di Greco
65km or 95km
A day filled with delights! Your first destination is the sunny seaside town of Polignano a Mare, where you will immediately understand why it has been inhabited since early Greek fishermen pulled their boats ashore in tiny coves between the limestone cliffs. From there, you will ride to the caves at Castellana Grotte, Putignano, and Albarobello. Try keeping count of the trulli you pass! The day’s short option requires a 15-minute train ride, with your bike. BLD
33km or 75km or 100km
Today you will ride south, stopping to enjoy the view from the ancient white town of Ostuni to the azure Adriatic Sea it overlooks. Today’s shorter options include a train ride. You will finish near Lecce, the cultural capital of Puglia, whose baroque architecture and warm sandstone buildings appear golden in the afternoon sun. BLD
Masseria Giampaolo, Lecce
Ride through San Foca to Otranto on the Adriatic coast, whose castle was the setting for a book by Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto. It is considered the first gothic novel, and inspired Shelley’s more famous Frankenstein. Today’s fishermen and surfers create a much more pleasant setting for your next two nights’ stay! BLD
Masseria Panareo, Otranto
50km or 100km
Ride the fantastic coast between Otranto and Marina di Leuca, overlooking the Adriatic Sea. This remote promontory is where the Adriatic and Ionian Seas meet – the true heel of Italy’s boot, where serpentine clifftop roads lead to pretty seaports and astounding views. The destination is Santa Maria di Leuca, an archeological treasure, and Italy’s most important lighthouse at its port, Marina di Leuca. There are a profusion of options for lunch before riding or transferring back to Otranto. BLD
Following your breakfast, you’ll be transferred to the train station, Lecce, or the Bari airport. B
Note about the route:
The route is almost entirely paved. The terrain is relatively easy, with a few rolling hills, but distances are high unless you choose shorter options. On two days, this involves short train rides.
This quiet and peaceful region remains seemingly untouched by mass tourism, and is an insight into ways of life that have been maintained in Southern Italy for centuries. The terrain is bicycle-friendly, and the climate is perfect for spring and autumn visits. The inns are welcoming, and the dining divine! The adventure takes you first to Matera where you’ll have the opportunity to explore the Sassi – century old caves, carved from rock cliffs and lived in up until the 1950’s. From there you will ride into the lush Val d’Itria to stay among olive groves at a converted farm, then to Otranto, whose castle inspired the first Gothic novel. The last ride is along a gorgeous coast road overlooking the Adriatic Sea. As you ride your bike through this calm and mysterious region, and sample its exquisite cuisine, you will often feel as if you are traveling back in time, experiencing an Italy that is very different from the well developed and busier tourist routes found in the northern parts of the country.
Maps & Elevations
Link this tour with one of our bicycling trips further north.
Join Tuscany (hilly) or Venice to Florence (flat).
If you need a break from the bike, spend another week walking Amalfi.
The cusine of Puglia and Basilicata may inspire you to join a cooking class or two; Stile Mediterraneo in Lecce is exceptionally well reviewed.
Bari, B&B dei Meravigli, 15:00, day one. Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.
Bari, 11:00, day eight.
US 3555 C 4195(per person, includes 8 days, 7 nights, 7 breakfasts, 6 light picnic lunches, 7 dinners, guide and van support, maps and route notes, luggage handling, transfers on Days 1 and 8, taxes)
US 3045 C 3595(per person, includes 8 days, 7 nights, 7 breakfasts, transfer from Bari airport to Matera, essential transfers, welcome briefing, emergency support, luggage transfers, detailed maps and route notes, taxes)
US 585 C 695
US 225 C 265
US 335 C 395
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
Custom or Private Tours
Want to go but on different dates?
Want to make a change to the itinerary?
We can adapt for you!
Here are some terms:
Bring your friends. We will run most of these trips for you whenever you want, at the advertised price for a group of four or more on a guided trip, or two if it's self-guided! We reserve the right to make changes if the original inns, etc. are already booked.
If you cannot find others, let us advertise the trip for you! Give us a commitment as far in advance as you can. As long as we have the minimum number of guests at the start, the price will be as advertised. The catch is that if it is just two of you and you want a guided trip, you must be willing to pay a 20% premium in the event that others do not join you. The bright side is that, once reserved, you can count on the trip, whether it remains private or becomes a larger group.
Ask for changes to the itinerary.
We are very flexible, and given enough time, can create a new itinerary to match your desires.