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Cycling Puglia & Matera

8 days
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$2,355 AUD
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4.6 / 5 from 36 reviews >
Moderate
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Trip code: 
MWV
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Cycling
Group size:
6–16
Min age:
16

Cycle from the UNESCO town of Matera through Italy's heel to Lecce

In the deep south of Italy, nestled between the Adriatic and Ionian seas, lie the captivating regions of Puglia and Basilicata. This extensive itinerary explores the very best selection of all the cultural and natural treasures found here. Matera’s fascinating ‘Sassi’ houses and the UNESCO 'Trulli’ houses of Alberobello set the scene for the journey to come. After passing through idyllic countryside and the stunning 'white city' of Ostuni, the route veers towards Gallipoli and the dramatic Ionian coastline. While riding across the famous Salento Peninsula, we immerse ourselves in the charming laid-back Italian way of living and explore a stunning landscape made of olive orchards, limestone cliffs, crystal waters and Baroque towns.

Highlights

  • Ride from the stunning UNESCO town of Matera
  • Enjoy gentle cycling through olive groves and past white-coned trulli
  • Sample fine seafood and wine from the famous Salento coast
  • Stay in charming accommodation bursting with character

Key information

  • 6 nights comfortable hotels and 1 night 'masseria' (converted farmhouse)
  • 8 days land only / flight inclusive
  • 6 days cycling with partial vehicle support (limited seats)
  • 99% tarmac and some short sections of gravel
  • Quiet rural undulating roads 
  • Local bike hire included
  • E-bike hire available on request

What's included

  • All breakfasts
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Local bike hire

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Local city taxes (approx. €10)
Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

6

Days of Cycling
Pace:

Moderate: 13-16km/8-10miles an hour

Terrain:

Low altitude; 99% tarmac, 1% gravel path

Day by day breakdown
Day 270.0km/43.0miles
Day 345.0km/27.0miles
Day 456.0km/34.0miles
Day 565.0km/40.0miles
Day 670.0km/45.0miles
Day 750.0km/31.0miles

Responsible Travel

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

On this trip, we use locally staffed accommodations including a night in a typical Masseria (a traditional converted farmhouse). When meals are provided, ingredients are locally sourced wherever possible otherwise there are plenty of opportunities to try local specialties in local restaurants and cafes recommended by our local guides. 

Cycling trips have very little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as it is a quiet, low impact activity requiring comparatively little resources to support. By making donations and using businesses which surround the historical sites and attractions we visit, we are ensuring that the community benefits from our tourism.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Itinerary

Matera
to
Lecce
  • Day 1

    Start Matera.

    The trip starts in the town of Matera, a real jewel of Southern Italy. The hotel is located within walking distance to the historic centre. There is usually time in the afternoon to wander through the narrow alleys of the town’s famous UNESCO cave-dwelling district and enjoy the unique atmosphere of this enchanting city.

  • Day 2

    Ride past the historic 'Sassi' houses of Matera before heading to Alberobello.

    On leaving Matera we pedal through the area that makes this town so special. For millenia, inhabitants of this region have carved dwelling directly into ravines and gullies made of tuff (or tufa), a characteristic honey-colored soft stone. These houses are called 'Sassi' and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Matera is the only place in the world where people can boast to be still living in the same houses of their ancestors of 9,000 years ago. Today's ride is mostly hilly with gentle ascents to be expected throughout, as we cycle on quiet rural roads amongst the picturesque Apulian countryside towards Alberobello. En route we pass the lovely towns of Noci and Gioia del Colle as well as some famous fairy-tale trulli houses that have also made the historic centre of Alberobello a recognised UNESCO world heritage site. Overnight in Alberobello. Cycle approx. 70km (ascent +659m; descent -648m).

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Cycle through the lush Valle d'Itria, past the picturesque fairytale trulli houses to the hilltop-town of Ostuni.

    Today we cycle through the lush Valle d'Itria, one of the prettiest cultural and natural landscapes of Southern Italy, on to the picturesque hilltop village of Ostuni. The route is undulating throughout, but much shorter than yesterday's thus allowing to enjoy the views at a more leisurely pace with plenty of opportunities for rest stops. Along the way we pass the famous wine town of Locorotondo and Cisternino, both boasting charming historic centres filled with whitewashed houses, narrow quaint streets, churches and elegant piazzas. In the afternoon we reach the city of Ostuni, known as the 'white city' for the the dazzling effect of its white buildings. Overnight in Ostuni. Cycle approx. 45km (ascent +341m; descent -547m).

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Ride through quaint villages and country lanes to a typical Masseria - a renovated farmhouse - where we spend the night.

    We continue pedalling through tranquil country lanes to the charming town of Francavilla Fontana and on to Oria, a popular destination among Apulians, famous for its 13th Century's Castle and delightful historic centre characterised by cobbled streets, whitewashed walls and beautiful architecture. We continue through the idyllic countryside to a Masseria, a typical Apulian converted farmhouse and our accommodation for the night. The masseria is still a working farm and most of the produce grown here, from vegetables to olives and wheat, is used daily for the preparation of local dishes. Before dinner we will have the opportunity to taste some organic olive oil produced by the family who runs the farm and accommodation. Overnight in Avetrana. Cycle approx. 56km (ascent +170m; descent -314m).

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Cycle to the coast and swim in the crystal clear sea before continuing towards Gallipoli with its old town situated on a rocky island.

    From the Masseria we cycle towards the Ionian coast and the beautiful town of Gallipoli, known as the 'Ionian Pearl' with its old town situated on a rocky island and offering fantastic views both from the north and the south. The town itself has many churches, narrow alleys and was the largest exporter of lamp oil made from olives in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Weather permitting, today there are plenty of opportunities for swimming in the crystal-clear Ionian sea near the popular seaside resort of Porto Cesareo. Overnight in Gallipoli. Cycle approx. 65km (ascent +213m; descent -270m).

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Follow stunning stretch of coastline leading to the ancient town of Otranto.

    Our route continues along the south of the peninsula and the impressive stretch of coastline leading to the ancient Messapian town of Otranto, the easternmost point in Italy. Before dinner there will be time at leisure to explore the town’s mediaeval centre and its interesting architecture, views, sea-front restaurants and white sandy beaches which make it one of Puglia's most picturesque towns. Cycle approx. Overnight in Otranto. 70km (ascent +506m; descent -495m).

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Continue along the shoreline to the beautiful Baroque city of Lecce.

    Today we follow the shoreline through innumerable olive groves to Lecce, the Baroque masterpiece of southern Italy located in the heart of Puglia. Sometimes described as the 'Florence of the South', the city is a real architectonic gem boasting sumptuous palazzi and churches. Today's ride is relatively short and easy thus giving us time to stop en route for a last swim (seasonal) in Torre dell'Orso, a lovely bay surrounded by limestone cliffs with many ancient caves to discover, a real treat to end the week of cycling. In Lecce there will be some free time to explore the charming historic centre before an optional farewell dinner. Overnight in Lecce. Cycle approx. 50km (ascent +234; descent -188m).

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    End Lecce.

    The trip ends in the morning of day 8. We recommend spending an extra day in Lecce to soak up the atmosphere of this elegant Baroque city, home to outstanding architecture. Exodus can arrange post tour accommodation for you if needed; please contact our Sales or Operations team for a quote.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Vaccinations

Italy

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

7 breakfasts are included and usually consist of a continental-style buffet. A typical hotel breakfast consists of: toast/bread with jam, cereal, cheese and ham (occasionally), served with coffee, tea, milk, orange juice, fruit, cake and yoghurt. Lunches are normally arranged as picnics or taken in small cafes' along the route.  Vegetarians and people with special dietary requirements can be catered for but please inform us of your requests prior travel.

In Puglia you will find genuine regional cooking that has strong links to the land and the sea. Some of the types of food on offer in Puglia: bread from the Murge, durum wheat pasta, olives, the pasta delicacy Orecchiette served with a sauce of turnip-tops or fresh tomato and sheep's ricotta-cheese, Cavatelli with pulses, aubergine and parmesan bake, grilled fish and seafood, burrata (soft mozzarella and cream cheese), plus excellent wines. This region is a food lovers' paradise!

Weather

Puglia enjoys a wonderful Mediterranean climate with all year round sunshine and just enough rainfall to ensure that the green is never too far off. Although Puglia covers a large area it is long and narrow, never more than 30km across means that you're never far from the sea which has a moderating effect on the weather.

Is this trip for you?

This trip is classified Road, Activity Level: 3/Moderate.

6 days cycling, average 60 km/day (37 miles) Terrain and route: 99% tarmac, with a couple of very short sections of gravel.

Most of the cycling is along flat to hilly tarmac roads (mainly traffic-free), with a few steady ascents and descents along the way, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. Road conditions are generally good, but tarmac may be pot-holed in places. Please see the introductory pages of the cycling brochure or our website for more important information on classification and grading. If you have any queries about the difficulty of the trip please do not hesitate to call us.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

3 and 4-star hotels

We use a mix of comfortable 3 and 4-star hotels and renovated traditional buildings. Most hotels are high quality and have been selected for their location, comfort and character, some representing the characteristic Apullian architecture. We also spend one night in a typical Masseria (a traditional converted farmhouse ) surrounded by olive groves. All rooms are en suite and some hotels have a swimming pool.

Examples of hotels used:

Matera: Hotel Belvedere and Residence Casalnuovo. Please note that due to the limited capacity of hotels in Matera we are not able to confirm the definite start hotel for each departure far in advance, and the group may occasionally be split in different accommodation of similar standards. 

Alberobello: Trulli e Puglia

Ostuni: Relais Sant'Eligio or Masseria Tutuosa (approx. 10km from Ostuni)

Avetrana: Masseria Bosco

Gallipoli: Hotel 33 Baroni

Otranto: Hotel Albania

Lecce: Hotel Eos

Please contact our Customer Operations team two weeks prior departure if you wish to receive the up-to-date hotels list for your trip.

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed November 2018
    Beverly S

    A terrific trip through Puglia

    A fabulous, but not too difficult cycling trip through Puglia, stopping off in lovely hilltop towns and other places of interest. Sampling delicious local food. Varied accommodation. Great scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    No one moment, so many different ones. Loved the sampling of fresh mozzarella, followed by delicious al fresco lunch at the farm. The food & wine was superb each evening, eating local produce and delicacies. We cycled through small country lanes with lovely scenery en route. Stayed in variety of accommodation which also helped make the trip, especially enjoyed the converted convent in the olive farm (with the welcoming swimming pool). It was great to do a walking tour (optional though no one declined) each evening with the tour leader of the historic towns we stayed in.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Emmanuele was a fabulous leader, and went out of his way to ensure we got the most of out trip, in his local area. His knowledge was great not just on local history but on food & drink too. If group members had specific requests he tried to fit these in too, without any detriment to the others. Although there were those with different cycling abilities on the trip he ensured all got as much as possible out of the days riding and no one was ever left struggling behind.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a waterproof what ever the time of the year. Be prepared for a windy ride when you head north up on the west coast road on the last day.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Only downside was olive oil tasting in the evening at the farm, which was a little long and drawn out. Despite that it was very interesting but could have been shortened, as sitting at a table after a long hot day meant staying alert or even awake was difficult!
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Nikki Groarke

    Fantastic trip

    Thoroughly enjoyed my first Exodus cycling adventure, which exceeded expectations. The scenery was beautiful, a mixture of olive groves, coast lines, varied villages and country lanes. Matera as a starting point was stunning, but the dramatic weather as we set off was challenging, to say the least. Cycling 43 miles in torrential rain and wind through floods, with shower caps over our helmets, was a group bonding experience like no other! Thankfully the rest of the week was perfect weather, if a little windy at times. All the places we stayed in were well chosen - I especially enjoyed the farm house with its amazing rooms and lovely pool. The meals, eaten together, were delicious and lots of fun, with a mixture of new food to try and copious amounts of local wine to wash it down, all in the knowledge we would be working off the calories the next day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The best moment was sweeping down a hill to the coast the first time. Arriving at an empty white sandy beach as the sun shone and the waves lapped was magical, particularly after our rainy start a couple of days earlier. Then cycling through a market and fishing village was a great experience. I also felt a great sense of achievement when I reached the top of the third killer hill on day five without stopping, and realised my fitness levels had improved as the week went on.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Antonio was a fab leader, very knowledgeable about the area, funny and helpful. Appreciated his singing (!), and the special tour we had of his home town of Bari due to our flight being later than usual. He wen above and beyond the call of duty.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I went on my own and was a little nervous but needn't have been. It is very much a group experience and you soon feel like you have known people for ages. Even for a 'moderate' trip you need to be quite fit. The pace was faster than I would go on my own, (12-18 mph on the flat depending on pot holes and wind), but I managed to keep up, and speedier cyclists were happy to wait for the slower ones as we puffed up the hills. The bikes were great with good gears and comfortable saddles. Check the weather forecast and don't assume because it's Southern Italy it will be warm. Evenings were sometimes chilly and I was glad of the fleece I threw in at the last minute. I had taken a warmish waterproof but some others hadn't and suffered on our wet day.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thanks for a great holiday adventure. I will definitely be back, hopefully doing the Prosseco hills next year, and potentially with some friends who followed my Facebook posts and want to come too!
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Liz Kreibich

    Cycling in Puglia

    Thank you Exodus for an excellent first cycling holiday. I loved every minute... even the ‘undulations’ !!! I had not cycled more than 15miles in one go ever, but felt I was so strong by the end of the 6 days. A great personal challenge! It was great being in a big group, and soon got to know the people we had just met. Manuela was a tremendous guide & Pierrot was a superb support guy... providing us with healthy snacks , fresh water & delicious local food picnics. This trip is to be recommended. I will definitely go back to the area. And definitely travel with exodus again. The bicycles we hired were of a superb quality & very comfortable to ride.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    When I reached the top of some pretty long steep hills I felt elated! I couldn’t believe how strong I had become by the end of the 6 days!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Manuela was a fantastic guide & he looked after us all so well. His restaurant recommendations we fab, and his local knowledge was so informative. I was amazed at how fluent in English he was & he even got our sense of humour!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Prepare well in advance.. some good quality padded cycling shorts & chamois cream to be recommended!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We didn’t get much ‘down time’ at the end of the day, but I think that was because we were a slowish group.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Denis Kaye

    Wonderful holiday

    Perfect combination of good cycling, great company, excellent accommodation and fine food and drink. The negatives? Be prepared for even more potholes than in the uk and many of the roads are lined with garbage/rubbish which spoils the natural beauty

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling from Otranto to Lecce

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Antonio was brilliant with endless patience, great sense of humour and fluent English

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take your own saddle and stick with standard hire bike.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Mike Baker

    Exceeded my expectations; and they were pretty high!

    This was my third cycling holiday with Exodus and I can't wait to book the next one. Once again, I chose somewhere where I had no previous knowledge, thus making it a bit of an 'Adventure. Inevitably slightly apprehensive about how well I would fit in to a group of sixteen people that I had never met before. My worries were needless; we all got on famously and just got on with enjoying the well organised trip. Great hotels, food and wine. Distances not too challenging, although the heat was at times. All breaks, rest stops and overnights were entirely adequate. Important to bear in mind that this is first and foremost a cycling holiday. There were many occasions when, as a keen photographer, I would like to have stopped but that wouldnt have been fair on the 'Back Marker'.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Each day had its magic moments but the selection of fascinating hotels could never be described as ordinary. Breakfast overlooking a ravine in Matera, rooms in a former Palace and a night in a former farmhouse (Masseria) surrounded by olive trees and vines. So many great memories...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Emanuel was excellent. He kenew his bikes and how to treat a group of intrepid explorers, Top man!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for heat: it was up to 30C even in mid September. However, there was always plenty of fresh cold water in the backup vehicle with Piero.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    ALBIE BARR

    Puglia

    great trip all round

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    new Masseria San martino,

    What did you think of your group leader?

    great guide

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    book it now !
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Margie McKenzie

    Allora, Andiamo!

    This was my 2nd cycle trip (both with Exodus). And it did not disappoint. Fabulous and challenging. This is a beautiful region in Italy. We enjoyed great food and wine and lovely accommodations. The weather was hot and sunny, although we did out-cycle a few potential storms! The group of 16 were terrific and our leader, Emanuele, was wonderful ~ so well organized, and tireless in his efforts to meet all the diverse needs.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being from eastern Ontario, where the land is quite flat, I was really challenged on our first day out by the length, pace, heat, and "undulating" terrain. Our last day involved cycling against some pretty significant winds. By the end of the week, apart from being very sad it was over, I really felt good about my accomplishment and becoming a better cyclist as a result . I had great encouragement from our whole group and from Emanuele.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Emanuele is just a wonderful person and excellent leader. He is kind and organized and hard working. His goal is to make sure that everyone is enjoying their experience. He really loves and is proud of the whole region. And it showed in his great story-telling and history lessons. He was able to answer all our questions, and to take us places and point out so many things we would have missed otherwise.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy the challenge ~ there are definitely hills and there can be winds. Be prepared. Although, my British buddies seemed to find them much less surprising and challenging than I did!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I loved this region ~ the food and architecture, the people, the landscapes. You definitely won't be disappointed. Our group of 16 were a really fun and generous crew. So many experiences and adventures to share over the days and the evenings together.
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Graham Swift

    An Interesting Area of Italy

    A great week of cycling staying in fascinating old towns with narrow picturesque streets. Whilst the countryside is no match for Tuscany there are some nice sections and some glorious coastlines. Another star of the holiday is the food of the region, certainly some great group meals enjoying excellent food and wine.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Staying in a Trullie House as well as the view from the hotel terrace in Matera

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent group leader with good local knowledge and always happy to help resolve any issues that crop up along the way.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Whilst the mileages were ok and clearly stated in the trip notes, I do feel that Exodus should state the average cycling pace expected throughout an holiday such as this. Personally whilst I cycle these mileages at home but I nevertheless found the pace a tad quicker than we cycle at home.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    David Penny

    Fantastic holiday experience

    From the very start my wife and I were warmly welcomed by our guide Emanuele and our other 12 cycling companions. We had done a couple of other cycling holidays but this was our first with Exodus and with a leader who cycled with us along the way. Emanuele was fantastic - nothing was too much trouble for him, he has a great sense of humour and knows when to use diffent options when things might not go as expected. His vast experence meant that we visited places we would never have found ourselves - absolutely beautiful villages, landscapes and places to enjoy Italys wonderful food and drink. The cycling was on mainly good surfaces and well paced each day so that no one felt left out. Our group quickly became friends enjoying each others company and watching out for those inevitable potholes! We will definitely do another Exedous trip - we throughly reccommend it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The beautiful scenery particularly the coast along the Adriatic Sea.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Emanuele is a very experienced guide who knows thlocale network of roads and trails in the area very well. But most importantly he made sure that everyone of us was ok whether it was the set up of the bike or having trouble with translating the menu. I would describe him as a real leader and gentleman who really made the trip a success.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We would definitely recommend this trip to potential travellers - it s a beautiful area with great friendly and engaging local people and amazing food and wine.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thanks to all who cycled with us -we loved your company it was a memorable holiday.
  • Reviewed May 2018

    Total harmony

    There is a cast of ancient towns, beautiful countryside, fantastic food, tremendous wine and 16 highly sociable cyclists. Nevertheless, you need a guide like Michele. "Why?" you ask, as would Michele himself. The answer is because every orchestra needs a conductor and Michele is up there with the Italian greatest, creating, with his never-ending good humour and meticulous organisation, the happiest of harmony between the cyclists, the towns, the countryside, the food and the wine. Overlook this trip to your eternal regret!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every evening meal: we were such a close group that we all dined together every evening but in different combinations: the conversation and laughs were loud and inexhaustible.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He made the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You spend a lot of time in the countryside. When we were there the fields and orchards were a riot of wild flowers and blossom and I would guess that April is the best time to go.

Dates & Prices

Private Adventures 

Not found the date you’re looking for? We can organise this itinerary as a Private Adventure – just click on the tab above the list of dates and prices, let us know your preferred dates of travel and how many people are travelling, and we’ll do the rest!

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Call us on 1300 131 564