Headwater - Puglia Self-Guided Cycling in the Heel of Italy Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays
Destinations:
Italy
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
LSI
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

0 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 14

Trip Overview

In the heart of the Mediterranean lies Puglia, a unique landscape sandwiched between the Adriatic and Ionian seas. We explore the very best of this captivating region and begin by cycling through two towns that both possess UNESCO world heritage sites. The region is mainly flat, which lends itself perfectly to the self-guided cycle ahead; filled with spectacular views; beautiful coastline and mouth-watering cuisine.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights comfortable hotels
  • 6 days cycling with luggage transfers
  • 99% asphalt, 1% unpaved roads
  • Gentle undulations throughout
  • Self-guided holiday. Min age 14 yrs
  • Countries visited: Italy

Trip Highlights

  • Cycle through UNESCO historic towns, olive groves and past white-coned trulli
  • Ride along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas
  • Enjoy fine seafood and wine

Is This Trip for You?

Cycling conditions
This is a self-guided cycling trip for those who like to cycle independently, but with back up to take out the hard work and planning. We arrange your accommodations, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next.
Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)
Please see the introductory pages of the cycling holidays brochure or our website for more important information on classification and grading.
Av. daily ride: 51km (32 miles).
No. of days cycling: 6.
Terrain & route: The suggested cycling is along quiet, tarmac roads (mainly traffic-free). There are a few ascents and descents along the way.
Vehicle Support: A representative will be there to meet you, make sure the bikes are all set up and will be on call throughout the trip should you need.


It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. Where possible we stick to cycle tracks and quiet roads to make the journeys as pleasant as possible, however, on occasion we have to use busier routes.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There maybe others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain an emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Families
Self-guided cycling holidays are a perfect option for families as they offer the freedom for you to take your holiday at your own pace. You can stop as and when you want and need, at the cafes and restaurants that suit your family and the sites that interest you. As a guide we have suggested that 14 years is the minimum age for this trip, but as it is self-guided and you will be leading your own family we will ultimately leave this decision up to you. The daily distances are all published in the trip notes along with a description of each days cycling so you have a good idea of what to expect. Please do be aware that on some occassions on this trip the cycling can be along busier roads so any children must be comfortable cycling alongside traffic. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact one of our experts. The principle idea is that these holidays can be as flexible as you like, with logistical support but no group or leader to dictate the daily activities.

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. Your luggage is transferred and route notes and maps are provided. The route notes contain an emergency assistance telephone number (operating between 0830 and 2000hrs). In emergency, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Adult min age:
14

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Matera
End City:
Lecce

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Matera. Make your own way from Bari or Brindisi to Matera by train or bus

    Make your own way from Bari or Brindisi airport to Matera by train (see joining info below).

  • Day 2

    Ride through the historic ‘Sassi’ houses of Matera before heading to the town of Alberobello

    On leaving Matera you will pass through what 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 as today 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. From one famous world heritage site to another, heading towards Alberobello, you will pass the famous fairy-tale trulli houses that have also made Alberobello a recognised world heritage site.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 70 km / 43 miles
  • Day 3

    Cycle through the lush Valle d'Itria, past the picturesque fairy-tale Trulli houses to hilltop-town of Ostuni

    Cycle through the lush Valle d'Itria and one of the prettiest cultural landscapes of the south past more trulli houses to Ostuni - offering breathtaking coastal views. Along the way we pass the famous wine town of Locorotondo, regarded as one of Italy's most beautiful villages. After sampling some of the local sparkling white wine, the route heads to the white city of Ostuni - famous for the dazzling effect of its whitewashed houses.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 45 km / 28 miles
  • Day 4

    Train to Lecce; cycle through the countryside to Gallipoli on the Ionian Coast with its old town situated on a rocky island.

    In the morning you will take a train transfer with your bike to the the fascinating baroque town of Lecce. From here we cycle deep into the Salentinian countryside before approaching the Ionian coast. Here you will reach beautiful Gallipolli, 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.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 50 km / 31 miles
  • Day 5

    Reach the most southerly point of Salento at Santa Maria di Leuca

    Today you cycle to the most southerly point of Salento at Santa Maria di Leuca, where the crystal waters of the Ionian and Adriatic seas merge. This village is home to one of the most important lighthouses in Italy and the architectural delights of numerous villas built at the turn of the century. Inhabitants of this area were quite eccentric people who loved the peace and quiet and wanted to enjoy the sea and the town.


    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 50 km / 31 miles
  • Day 6

    Follow the south coast of the Adriatic Sea to the ancient town of Otranto

    Our route continues along the south coast of the Adriatic sea through charming landscape to the ancient Messapian town of Otranto. The old town is surrounded by a mighty wall containing the impressive Hapsburger Castle. En route to Otranto there is the opportunity to visit the famous Grotta Zinzulusa, the only coastal grotto that is open to the public, and also the thermal baths of Santa Cesarea Terme.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 50 km / 31 miles
  • Day 7

    Continue along the shoreline through innumerable olive groves to the Baroque city of Lecce

    We follow the shoreline through innumerable olive groves to the Baroque metropolis of Lecce. A relaxing way to end the week is at the beach of Torre dell'Orso surrounded by limestone cliffs and with many ancient caves to discover. The final destination is Lecce, the capital of Salento, and as well as being home to over 30 churches and countless palaces, there is an ampitheatre and Roman theatre dating back to Emperor Augustus.


    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 55 km / 34 miles
  • Day 8

    End Lecce

    Finish your trip in Lecce and make your own way back to the airport for your flight home.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Hotels

You will spend 7 nights in comfortable en suite hotels, when available we use traditional traditional accommodation in Alberobello. Most of the towns are close to the seaside.

All prices are based on 2 persons sharing, so if there is an odd number of people travelling in your party or you are travelling alone, there will be a compulsory supplement for a single room for the tour duration.
For a solo traveller there is an adttional charge to cover transfer costs.

Additional Accommodation

We can book additional accommodation in Matera or Lecce (subject to availability). Please notify us at the time of booking and we will provide up-to-date prices.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from 418.00 CAD

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

7 breakfasts are included and consist of a continental-style buffet. However, please note that the typical Italian breakfast are generally light; usually a cup of coffee and a cream-filled or jam-filled croissant.

In Puglia you will find genuine regional cooking that has strong links to the land and the sea. To give you just a small list 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 and the abundance of delicious vegetables makes it a perfect destination for vegetarians! On this trip there will be many opportunities to taste the best local specialities.
Suggestions of what to do for lunch and dinner are given in the cycling route notes.

Transportation

Your luggage is transported from hotel to hotel for you.

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

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 - not more than 30km across. This means that you're never far from the sea which has a moderating effect on the weather. Please note that Puglia can be very hot, reaching high 30s in the summer.

Weather Information

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 - not more than 30km across. This means that you're never far from the sea which has a moderating effect on the weather. Please note that Puglia can be very hot, reaching high 30s in the summer.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling land only: 8 days starting in Matera and ending in Lecce

Your trip normally starts at our hotel in Matera on the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start hotel are given in the Final Joining Instructions. 

Full joining instructions including route notes, hotel list, map and local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Flights from London
We do not offer any package flights on this trip. We can recommend booking low cost airline Easyjet to Bari. British Airways also fly from London Gatwick to Bari (3 times a week), whilst Alitalia fly to both Bari and Brindisi (indirect).
Low cost airline Ryanair flies from London Stansted to Brindisi and Bari. This may be a convenient and good value option for some clients. 

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are not included on this trip.

There is a bus service running from Bari airport to Matera, called the Pugliairbus (transfer about 75 min. - ticket: €6 (http://www.aeroportidipuglia.it/en/bus-pugliairbus-).
Alternatively, you can take a train to the main railway station - journey time: 15 minutes; ticket price: €5. The latest timetable is available on the airport website: http://www.aeroportidipuglia.it/en/bari/servizi/treni . From the station take an onward train to Matera - journey time is 90 min, ticket price €5 (https://ferrovieappulolucane.it/en/). If you are already in Italy and would like to reach Bari by train, the journey from Rome takes about 5 hours and from Florence, it’s about 7 ½ hours. Trains timetable can be found on www.trenitalia.com

It may be possible for us to arrange a private arrival and departure transfer. This will need to be requested so prices can vary - please ask your sales consultant at the time of booking.

Location start:
Matera
Location end:
Lecce

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Local Self-Guided Bikes

All bikes are supplied with:
- 1 front bar bag with a plastic folder for your route notes and maps - 1 per 2 people (if you are travelling together)
- 1 set of rear panniers
- 1 bike lock per 2 people
- 1 repair kit per 2 people, which includes 1 spare inner tube and a pump, plus a lock
- Front and rear lights

Seat and handlebar heights will have been set up in advance from the heights you have given us on booking. However, when you receive your bike there will be the opportunity to test and adjust. Electronic bikes are available for this trip, please request one as early as possible as they are subject to availability. Helmets can be requested if you wish, but please be aware we can never guarantee the quality of these so we do recommend bringing your own. 

We recommend you bring the following items: 
Normal daily clothes 
Padded cycling shorts 
Cycling gloves 
Water bottles 
Breathable cycling top 
Cycling helmet (compulsory on this trip) 
A couple of warm layers
Sunglasses, sun cream and sunhat
Stiff-soled shoes suitable for cycling 
Waterproofs and long cycling trousers
For earlier departures you may need some warmer layers
Mobile phone with roaming capabilities

 

Bike Repairs
As you are riding unaccompanied, it is wise to know at least how to repair or change an inner tube before setting off on your bike!  Please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QSjw0iDs98&t=3s for a comprehensive guide on fixing a puncture.

The bikes are serviced before being rented out so there should be no problems - however, there are emergency numbers provided in the Route Notes for more complex problems.

Optional Equipment

Panniers are provided with the bikes. If you want to carry more with you during the day we recommend a large bum-bag or small close-fitting daysack.
We also recommend bringing suncream and swimming things.

Local Bike Details

A quality local hire bike is included in the overall price of our cycling holidays. At the time of booking we will take your height in order to reserve equipment. There may on occasions be insufficient bikes available in the correct size; we will endeavour to find suitable alternative equipment but this cannot be guaranteed. We will tell you before you book whether suitably sized bikes are available.

Conditions 

1. The equipment remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, hire out or part possession with the equipment.
2. You must not misuse the equipment and must return it in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear excepted). The supplier is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the equipment during the period of hire.
3. You must ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use. In the event of the equipment being lost or stolen, you may be liable for the replacement value of the equipment
4. You must not use the equipment whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and should immediately notify the Supplier in the event of breakdown or loss.

Bringing Your Own Bike

If you prefer the familiarity of your own bike, you may of course bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount off the price of the holiday, as specified above. You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to our Sales team for individual airline fees. Any clients bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. If Exodus is confident that we have taken all reasonable care to ensure the safety of your bike, in the rare event of loss, damage or theft you will need to claim under your own insurance policy.

Extra Bike Bits

You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it is your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle/pedals at the end of the trip. We cannot guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.

Exodus Policy on Cycling Helmets

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for anyone taking part in any guided Exodus cycling holiday. Group members must bring their own helmets, as they are not available for hire, even if they are hiring a bike from Exodus.

For self-guided cycling holidays wearing a helmet is highly recommended. Customers who choose to ignore our advice do so entirely at their own risk and on the understanding that it may affect the validity of their travel insurance. It should also be noted that in some countries we travel to wearing a helmet is already a legal requirement.

Cycling of all kinds has its dangers and accidents can happen from time to time. Please ensure that you are properly prepared for the riding you are going to undertake.

Recommended Cycling Clothing

Padded cycling shorts (with loose 'over-shorts' where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof/windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this we recommend a large bum-bag or small close-fitting daysack.

E-Bikes Available

Electric bikes offer all the thrills and healthy exercise of a regular bike, but with one crucial difference - power! A tiny electric motor (capped at 25mph) assists your pedalling, allowing you to make molehills out of mountains. Cycle further, see more, have more fun. They are just perfect if you want to try a trip with companions of differing fitness level - or a trip at a slightly harder grade - and want to know there’s a bit of motor power available if you need it.

Practical Information

Passport

Italy

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Italy

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

Italy

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

If you are a UK citizen and travelling in Europe you should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your Post Office. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance.

Local Time

Italy's Timezone:
Europe/Rome CEST (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

Italy's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins.

Money

Italy's Currency

The national currency of Italy is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.

 

ATM Availability

In every town you can withdraw the local currency from a Cash Machine (ATM) but we do recommend you obtain some of your spending money in Euros before you leave the UK. Credit cards are also accepted in most places you visit but cash is easier.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

The train ticket from Ostuni to Lecce is included in the package price and whilst the Puglian authorities currently don’t charge for carrying bikes on the train, this is subject to change, at which point a charge of 3.50€ per bike would be payable locally.
For lunches and dinners allow about €170 depending on the standard of restaurant chosen.
LOCAL TAXES: many Italian cities have recently introduced a tourist tax for non-residents. The local administration is in charge of the tax, which will be collected by the accommodation provider at check-in or check-out. This fee varies depending on the hotel category, the season and number of days of stay and during the season some variations may occur:
Matera: 3* hotel €2, 4* hotel €4;
Alberobello: 3* hotel €0.80;
Ostuni: 4* hotel €2;
Gallipoli: 3/4/5* hotel €1.50 - €2;
Santa Maria di Leuca: 4* hotel €1 - €2;
Otranto: 3* hotel €1.50 - €2.50, 4* hotel €2 - €3;
Lecce: 3/4* hotel €1 - €2

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.