Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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  • Reviewed October 2017
    Carlo b

    MWV - Cycling Puglia and Matera

    This was my 8th cycling trip and my first time in Puglia and it was a very enjoyable tour. The overnight towns were all very beautiful each with their own special charm. All the hotels were located in or within a 15-20 minute walk to the historic centre. Our group was lots of fun and got along well. The cycling was fairly relaxed overall but there were some short hills and one day was quite windy so it was more challenging than other days. Highly recommend this tour for the fabulous food, wine and sights.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many but here are a few: 1) view of Matera during breakfast and at night from Il Belvedere hotel 2) Matera at night 3) group dinner at "Soup Kitchen Ristorante" in Matera 4) Ostuni 5) the picnic lunches 6) so many great views of the sea 7) gelato 8) staying in a trulli home in Alberobello 9) coffee stops 9) last but not least: Italian caffe

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Emanuele was great. He was very organized with a calm and laid-back demeanour which made the trip a true vacation. He kept an eye on everyone and dealt gracefully with all requests for bike adjustments. Nothing fazed him. The coffee stops and restaurant suggestions were all wonderful with excellent Italian food and wine and great-tasting espressos. And Piero, who drove the support van, prepared very tasty picnic lunches with plenty of local Italian delicacies and even took special requests -straciatella!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I always tell people who want to do a bike tour that they will enjoy it a lot more if they are at least comfortable riding a bike - it's not the time to learn how to cycle. We were lucky because the weather was perfect for cycling every day but one day we missed a potential rainstorm so rain gear would be a good idea. Arrive in Matera a day early to explore the town and stay in Lecce an extra day to explore that town too.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I thoroughly enjoyed this guided bike tour. Puglia is a beautiful region of Italy and I am thankful I was finally able to see it - and cycling seemed the perfect way to explore it. My only suggestion is to make the trip longer so that one could stay 2 nights in a couple of places; I felt there was not enough time to wander the towns, especially Ostuni and Alberobello, but also Otranto and Gallipoli - they were all beautiful towns. Although I realize this would make the tour longer and it would end mid-week. I would do the tour again if this was offered - yes, it was that much fun!
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Judy Baulf

    Cycling in idyllic Puglia/Matera, ice cream, lechessi, vanilla pastries, swimming and sunshine everyday!

    A thoroughly enjoyable cycling holiday in a beautiful part of Italy with amazing scenery, food and comfortable hotels. The group were a friendly and fun bunch of people and we all got on extremely well. The cycling was just right with enough variation and climbs to challenge but not overwhelm.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Staying in a Trulli house in the beautiful town of Alberobello. I think cycling to the beach en route to Lecce and swimming in the Adriatic sea.......bliss. Fig and ricotta ice cream in Lecce and the cheese tasting lunch en route to Gallipoli.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Emanuele was an excellent guide and good company throughout the entire duration of the trip. His local knowledge of the general area, specific knowledge of the history of the towns and his recommendations of the local restaurants and wine were invaluable. He went to extraordinary lengths to cater to any of our specific requests to ensure we had the best experience possible and his enthusiasm for the region was obvious and infectious. He spoke excellent English and had a great sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book it.... you won't be disappointed with a single day.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Looking forward to my next trip with Exodus.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Alison MacDonald

    Excellent tour in Heel of Italy (Matera to Lecce)- a photographers mecca

    Emanuele was an excellent guide. He went above and beyond to create a truly memorable cycling trip for all the people on the tour. This trip is a photographers mecca, the towns we visited were so unique, beautiful scenery and visiting UNESCO world heritage sites. An excellent group of like minded people whose company we all enjoyed sharing a laugh over a beer at the end of the day.The roads we cycled were very beautiful, mostly very quiet and a couple of days were more challenging with the hills but quite manageable. The accommodations were truly memorable from Sassi to Trulli to a Convent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Riding the "Roller Coaster" and making it all the way up. A hot day, quiet road and when we turned the corner the Roller Coaster was waiting for us with Emanuele at the top to cheer us on and take our picture. Also the accommodations were very unique and they all looked after us very well.Loved staying in the Sassi and Trulli accommodations, that was amazing. Loved this group of people we rode with,chatted with and shared our stories over dinner and wine. The scenery was spectacular, from the lovely quiet Italian towns to breathtaking scenery along the coastline.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Emanuele was wonderful and worked so very hard, very attentive and knowledgeable guide who was always more than willing to answer all our questions and paid great attention to all our safety.He was a very experienced cyclist who took us to some excellent foodie restaurants and shared his love of history and his involvement in reviving the old historical routes and turn them into cycling routes. He clearly briefed us on the night before, describing the route, using riders as waymarkers for the route and designating a rider to sweep at the back. The van was always behind us and Piero worked very hard to refill all our water bottles, prepare picnics in the parks for our lunch.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a wonderful trip. Clearly a level 3 Moderate, all of it manageable. It would be a good idea to put the leaders cell phone into WhatsApp.Hills were a bit challenging especially on the hot couple of days but never more than we could manage and often short and sweet! The support van was always behind us with Piero filling our water and preparing our lunchtime picnics. There is only 1-2 seats in the van with limited room for extra bikes but it was never a problem. The group all rode together, Emanuele designated a rider to sweep at the back.We all had paniers. Only a couple of stops for swimming.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Wonderful trip, will recommend to all my friends in Canada. Emanuele was an excellent top notch guide. A rough profile guide in the brochure/trip notes of each days ride could be beneficial to show what is in store for the riders on each stage of the journey. This would be at the guides discretion to modify routes as conditions dictate.
  • Reviewed June 2017
    Gunnar Joakimsson

    Puglia and Matera cycling

    Excellent tour.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visting Masseria and also cycling along coasts.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Marinella did an excellent job - she did the job of two

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We had one morning of rain, be prepared for that.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Puglia is a great place to visit.
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Christine Nichol

    Cycling Puglis

    The sun shone,the bikes were sturdy to cope with the bumpy roads and the food was outstanding. After a long and undulating first day I thought I'd never keep up. But my legs did get used to the speed of the others and the hills became just a small challenge. A great holiday with lovely people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I cycled to the top of a coastal hill encouraged by our guide Marinella. I thought I would have to walk but No........

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Marinla worked so hard she made our holiday. Fixing bikes, sorting out the route and places to eat,making picnics giving encouragement.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Good sense of humour required!
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Shaun Roper

    Cycling in puglia and matera

    Beyond expectation in all ways, culture, food, architecture, and a guide that was simply perfect and a credit to the company

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the wonderful cities and the pleasurable cycling combined with a guide second to none

    What did you think of your group leader?

    It would not be possible to find a better guide. Marinella was attentive, had a great knowledge of history and culture and a great sense of humour

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Request Marinella and book today

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you to all the exodus team for your hard work behind the scenes
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Hilary Sayers

    Cycling Puglia and Matera

    Wonderful scenery, historic towns, lovely food food and wine and a great tour leader.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling along the Adriatic coast

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mariella was fantastic - very knowledgeable about the area, had a great sense of humour, and went out of her way to make the trip special for everyone. She even organised a toast for our anniversary. The guided tours were also a bonus.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Watch out for loose gravel and potholes

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The terrain is not too challenging and should be suitable for cyclists of most levels
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Brendan Watty

    Cycling Puglia and Matera

    It was with some trepidation that my wife and I joined this guided tour. Not only was it the first time we have participated in an organised group tour, it also involved some serious cycling. We need not have worried. Our tour guide, Marinella, was superb in ensuring that everyone had the best possible time throughout the week's tour. Puglia was a gorgeous region to tour, with many beaches and a variety of sights. The accommodation was very good with the highlight being the overnight stay at the renovated monastery near Avantrana. Our group was a mix of nationalities and a significant bonus was the opportunity to engage with these people and learn a little about them and their home countries. The cycling varied from 45 to 70+ km each day, which both my wife and I found manageable. We had both done a reasonable amount of preparation, which was extremely helpful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We encountered some heavy rain on day 2 of the tour. It really belted down during the last hour of the ride. When we arrived at our overnight stay I was having a bit of a grizzle about the wet weather to one of the other riders, Chris, from New Zealand. She said that when the rain was at its heaviest she was having a laugh! She was participating doing something she enjoyed, and yes, the conditions weren't ideal, but she had many friends back home who would be tucked up in front of the fire, but she was getting out and about. An inspirational moment for me!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Marinella fulfilled her group leader role with flying colours. She loves Puglia, knows it well, and was passionate about sharing her knowledge. She worked extremely hard at making everyone feel part of the group by suggesting places to eat at night, and also through organising our lunch each day. The group was a large one, and I felt that she should have had an extra support person who could have ridden with the group. We had a back up vehicle but it was not always possible for it to follow the group. If there was a mechanical issue, (and there were a few), Marinella would have to back track and attempt to remedy it.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do your preparation on the bike. The distances are not huge, but it's constant each day. Although the route is mainly flat there are some hilly sections.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    September was a very good time to do the tour. Overall the weather was very good. Hot enough to stop for a swim most days, but not too hot to ride.
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Petrina Rance

    Cycling Puglia and Matera

    This was a hugely enjoyable trip made by our delightful and knowledgeable guide, Marinella Bozzetti . The tour took us through beautiful countryside and fascinating historic towns and the distances and hills were reasonable for regular cyclists with a good level of fitness. I would rate the trip as excellent but felt our tour guide could have done with more back up - at the very least there should be a spare bike of equivalent standard so that bikes could easily be replaced if necessary.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We especially loved the farm house and beautiful rooms in the monastery. In better weather the luxurious pool would have been a highlight but despite the storm we enjoyed the comfort and wonderful setting. Swimming in the Ionian Sea one day and the Adriatic the next was also memorable as was the stunning coastal road between Gallipoli and Ortranto.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We all loved Marinella - she was a constant delight. Funny, charming and unfailingly good humoured despite the many " trrrragedies" of our trip ie thunder, lightening and torrential rain. We were all soaked to the skin but thanks to Marinella we came through smiling. She went well beyond her duties to provide informative guided tours at every stopping point and made sure that we were well looked after in a variety of traditional restaurants. She dealt diplomatically and with admirable patience with the one difficult member of the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you do have a reasonable level of fitness because 6 consecutive days in the saddle are quite demanding and this tour does include a number of longish hills. Heat or bad weather both increase the difficulty but the rewards are worth it. A number in our group were in our 60s and this tour was well within our capabilities but we were all reasonably experienced cyclists. A spare pair of shoes would have been welcome.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We enjoyed the variety of accommodation and also the mix of nationalities in our group. This holiday is about much more than just the cycling - this is a little known but fascinating and beautiful part of Italy but it was the bonding within the group and the personality of our leader that made it so special.
  • Reviewed June 2016
    Helene Vinet

    Cycling in Pugia

    We had 6 fabulous days of cycling through amazing sceneries and villages . Always changing , never the same always exciting to get to a new place discovering different foods, wines , gelatto flavours!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think of what stands out the most of this trip is how our tour guide Marinella embraced each and everyone of the group and we felt like a big family gathering and had a blast! All because of Marinella's attention to our well being.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The most professional guide ever.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you train for hills . Even if only few of them they are still hills!
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