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 Itria 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.
WHY THIS TRIP?
- 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.
- The cultural capital of Puglia, whose baroque architecture and warm sandstone buildings appear golden in the afternoon sun.
- Matera has been the filming location for a number of well-known films, including James Bond and Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.
Requiring moderate fitness levels, these cover terrain with hills and valleys, and tend to include distances of 50-80km (30-50mi.)/day cycling, or 3-6 hours of walking per day. Most Freewheeling Adventures fall into this category, and are suitable for most ability levels.
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.
- DAY 1: Introductions
- DAY 2: ~70 km
- DAY 3: Up to ~85 km
- DAY 4: Up to ~90 km
- DAY 5: Up to ~90 km
- DAY 6: ~70 km
- DAY 7: ~50 km
- DAY 8: Farewells
(Click image to enlarge)
Start: Bari, B&B dei Meravigli, 15:00, day one.
Finish: Bari, 11:00, day eight.
Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.
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. D (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfasts)
Locanda di San Martino, Matera
San Giuliano Lake Loop; 70km
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 James Bond and Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. BL
Matera to Locrotondo; 85km
This is the fertile Valley of Itria, and is famous for its Trulli: ancient circular stone houses and barns with conical rooftops built of stacked limestone. The Trulli of Albarobello have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO; most have been adapted to beautiful homes, shops, and restaurants. Continue along quiet roads to Locorotondo, a small town recognized as one of Italy’s most beautiful villages, and your resting place for the next two nights. BLD
Ottolire Resort, Locorotondo
Loop Ride; 90km
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. As you ride back to your lodging on quiet roads, try keeping count of the trulli you pass! BLD
Locrotondo to Casalabate; 90kms
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
Casalabate to Otranto; 70km
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! BL
Otranto to Mario di Leuca; 50km
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 is 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
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
Guided: C 4895 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 8 days, 7 nights, 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners, guide and van support, maps, route instructions, luggage handling, taxes
Self-Guided: C 4295 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 8 days, 7 nights, 7 breakfasts, inn to inn luggage transfers, essential transfers as outlined in the itinerary, emergency on-call support, maps, route instructions, taxes
Single Occupancy: 1095
Aluminum Racing: 395
Carbon Racing: na
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
2022 Guided dates:
- May 8-15
- May 29-Jun 5
- Oct 9-16
2023 Guided dates:
- May 7-14
- Oct 1-8
Self-Guided available any dates, except for those listed above. New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.
Interested in custom or private departures?
Please see above for accurate pricing and inclusions, unless we have proposed a customized trip for you and those details are provided in your custom proposal.
1. Choose an advertised date to join a small group, or see our Join a Group page to see where groups are already forming.
2. Pick your own dates. We will confirm quickly, and are happy to talk with you as you make your choice. If you would like a private guided date, price remains the same as advertised if you have at least six. If you prefer self-guided, we usually only require two participants to initiate a new date at the advertised price, and can sometimes reduce prices for you if you have four or more.
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.