Enchanting Matera, a UNESCO Site, in region Basilicata, Italy. Flickr:Francesca Cappa

Harbor in Santa Maria di Leuca, Puglia, Italy. Wikimedia Commons
4.3/5 (7 ratings)

Heel of Italy Bike Tour

Italy Bike Tours

Bike Italy in breathtaking Apulia!

  • This bike tour in Apulia is the best way to see this land full of history and tradition with natural and architectural wonders, friendly hospitality, a magical atmosphere complete with a warm sun, blue sky, clear blue seas and a dreamlike coast. The region is also characterized by endless olive groves, long fields of grain, and vineyards.

    You start cycling in Matera, UNESCO world heritage site with its "sassi" and European capital of culture 2019, and arrive in Lecce, also known as "Florence of the South" because of its magnificent baroque architecture. This region still retains testimony of its great and ancient culture.

    Check out all our bike tours in Italy.

  • 2019 Prices
    8 day tour
    Season 1: £ 586 $ 1,300 690 $ 1040 NOK 6498 kr 5998 $ 780 Season 2: £ 671 $ 1,488 790 $ 1190 NOK 7439 kr 6867 $ 893 Season 3: £ 722 $ 1,601 850 $ 1281 NOK 8004 kr 7388 $ 961 Single supplement: £ 170 $ 377 200 $ 301 NOK 1883 kr 1738 $ 226 6 Day Tour
    Season 1: £ 480 $ 1,064 565 $ 851 NOK 5320 kr 4911 $ 638 Season 2: £ 548 $ 1,215 645 $ 972 NOK 6074 kr 5607 $ 729 Season 3:  £ 590 $ 1,309 695 $ 1047 NOK 6545 kr 6041 $ 785 Single supplement: £ 127 $ 283 150 $ 226 NOK 1413 kr 1304 $ 170

    8 Day Tour
    Season 1: March 23 and October 19, 2019
    Season 2: March 24 to April 28 and September 29 to October 18, 2019
    Season 3: April 29 and June 15 and August 24 to September 28, 2019
    6 Day Tour
    Season 1: March 25 and October 21, 2019
    Season 2: March 26 to April 29 and October 1 to October 20, 2019
    Season 3: April 30 and June 17 and August 26 to September 30, 2019

    extra options

    Bike helmet: £ 13 $ 28 15 $ 23 NOK 141 kr 130 $ 17 Electric bike 8-Day Tour: £ 95 $ 211 112 $ 169 NOK 1055 kr 974 $ 127 Electric bike 6-Day Tour: £ 81 $ 179 95 $ 143 NOK 895 kr 826 $ 107 Discounts
    3rd person in triple room (8 day tour): £ 85 $ 188 100 $ 151 NOK 942 kr 869 $ 113 3rd person in triple room (6 day tour): £ 59 $ 132 70 $ 105 NOK 659 kr 608 $ 79 Extra Nights
    Matera (per person/night): £ 64 $ 141 75 $ 113 NOK 706 kr 652 $ 85 Single room: £ 89 $ 198 105 $ 158 NOK 989 kr 913 $ 119 Lecce (per person/night): £ 51 $ 113 60 $ 90 NOK 565 kr 522 $ 68 Single room: £ 76 $ 170 90 $ 136 NOK 848 kr 782 $ 102 Transfers (minimum of 2 people required):
    Bari to Matera (min. 2 persons): £ 38 $ 85 45 $ 68 NOK 424 kr 391 $ 51 Brindisi to Matera, Lecce to Bari, Lecce to Brindisi: on request

    please note

    Rates are per person based on double occupancy.

    Information to read before you book.

    We recommend purchasing bike trip insurance.

    Please see our FAQ.

  • Travel

    Fly to Bari, and train to Matera takes about 1½ hr. Train travel in Italy is very economical.

    Local Travel

    A short taxi ride from the Matera train station to your hotel.


    The average high/low temperatures in °F for the area are: March, 58º/44º; April, 63º/48º; May,71º/58º; June, 78º/62º; July, 83º/67º; August, 82º/66º; September, 77º/61º ; and October, 70º/55º

Tour Dates


8 Day Tour
Saturdays, August 24 to October 19, 2019
Fridays, September 6 to September 27, 2019
Season 1: March 23 and October 19, 2019
Season 2: September 29 to October 18, 2019
Season 3: August 24 to September 28, 2019
*Special departure dates can be arranged for groups of at least 5
6 Day Tour
Monday, October 21, 2019
Season 1: October 21, 2019
Season 2: October 1 to October 20, 2019
Season 3: August 26 to September 30, 2019
*Special departure dates can be arranged for groups of at least 5


Note: this specific itinerary is not being offered in 2020. We are excited to offer this alternative: Puglia - Heel of Italy Check it out!

Skill Level

This Puglia bike tour in Italy is considered easy to moderate. Cycling is mostly on flat terrain in the lowlands, but sometimes the path is hilly. The itinerary is almost always on asphalt roads and bike paths. Traffic is almost non-existent in Apulia except during the high holiday season. The route includes very beautiful stretches along the coast, and a train transfer from Ostuni to Lecce. Total vertical distance is 450 m.

Where You’ll Stay

Great 3 star to 4 star hotels, B&B’s, and in a typical trullo or residence in Alberobello, mostly within city centers. Very comfortable rooms with private facilities, and mostly in city centers. In the trullo accommodations there is no air conditioning.

What’s Included

  • Accommodations for 5 or 7 nights
  • Breakfast buffets
  • Luggage transfer
  • Welcome briefing in English
  • Route descriptions & maps (one set per booked room)
  • 27-speed hybrid bicycle
  • 7 day service hotline

What’s Not Included

  • Local hotel taxes, approximately €10 - €15 per person (for the entire tour)
  • Remaining meals
  • Train transfer Ostuni - Lecce, ± €10/person
  • Bicycle Protection
  • Travel Insurance

Extra Stay

Extra nights in Matera and Lecce available by request.

TypeSelf Guided
Length6–8 days
From565 Rates
Tour Reviews

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Day-To-Day Itinerary

Heel of Italy Map

Day 1: Arrival in Matera
Day 2: Matera – Alberobello, 44 mi. (70 km)
Day 3: Alberobello – Ostuni, 34 mi. (55 km)
Day 4: Ostuni – transfer to Lecce - Gallipoli, 31 mi. (50 km) (+ 44mi./70km train transfer)
Day 5: Gallipoli - Santa Maria di Leuca, 31 mi. (50 km)
Day 6: Santa Maria di Leuca - Otranto, 35 mi. (50 km)
Day 7: Otranto – Lecce, 34 mi. (55 km)
Day 8: Departure from Lecce.

DAY 1: Arrival in Matera.
Arrival in Matera. Visiting Matera is a unique experience. For millennia, inhabitants of this region have carved dwellings directly into ravines and gullies made of tuff (or tufa), a characteristic honey-colored soft stone. Most of the houses are excavated on two ravines and are called "Sassi", which is a World Heritage Site. The rock-hewn churches are very ancient, often Byzantine.

DAY 2: Matera – Alberobello, 44 mi. (70 km)
We cycle to the famous trulli of Alberobello and Locorotondo. Trulli were generally constructed as dwellings or storehouses. Alberobello is situated upon two hills, once separated by a riverbed. On the eastern hill is the new town, with modern architectural features. On the western hill, the trulli are lined up in an urban conglomeration, subdivided into two districts: Monti and Aia Piccola, both National Monuments from 1930, and today World Heritage Sites.

DAY 3: Alberobello – Ostuni, 35 mi. (55 km)
We cycle through the countryside to Ostuni, which is a reputed architectural gem, and is commonly referred to as the “White City” due to its white walls and its typically white-painted architecture. Today’s stretch is through hilly terrain.

DAY 4: Ostuni – transfer to Lecce - Gallipoli, 31 mi. (50 km) (+ 44mi./70km train transfer)
A train transfer (not included) will bring you to Lecce.  The ride is about 1 hour, costing approximately €10 per person.  After a few kilometers through this amazing baroque town, you go deep into "Salentinian countryside" before approaching the Ionian coast and your destination, Gallipoli.

DAY 5: Gallipoli - Santa Maria di Leuca, 31 mi. (50 km)
Cycling Apulia further along the Ionian coast, you will reach Santa Maria di Leuca. The name Santa Maria di Leuca was given by the ancient Greek sailors who came from the East. They saw this place lightened by the sun and therefore called it "leukos", meaning white. The small town is a famous seaside resort and fishing area located on a part of the coast alternated by cliffs and small sandy coves.

DAY 6: Santa Maria di Leuca – Otranto, 35 mi. (50 km)
Today you will cycle northwards along the Adriatic coast to Otranto, the most eastern point of Italy where you can visit the beautiful Cathedral and the great Aragonese Castle.

DAY 7: Otranto – Lecce, 34 mi. (55 km)
Today you will cover the coastal region of the Adriatic, riding along the Alimini Lakes and their unique Mediterranean bush. At the end of the day, you'll enter into Lecce. Thanks to its Baroque style, it has deserved the nickname of Florence of the South. You'll come to appreciate the rich sculpted motives done in the 17th-century with the tender stone from Lecce. The old town enclosed by what is left of the ancient walls bears the impression of that exuberant period. In Lecce, the presence of several religious orders gave rise to a procession of churches of which the façades are magnificent, like open-air altars, real windows into the society of that period.

DAY 8: Departure from Lecce.
Your Puglia bike tour will end following breakfast. Lecce is well connected by train with the airports in Bari and Brindisi.

Shorter 6 day version possible, round tour from Lecce. 

Day 1: Arrival in Lecce 
Day 2: Lecce - Gallipoli, 31 mi. (50 km) 
Day 3: Gallipoli - Santa Maria di Leuca, 31 mi. (50 km)
Day 4: Santa Maria di Leuca - Otranto, 31 mi. (50 km)
Day 5: Otranto - Lecce, 34 mi. (55 km)
Day 6: Departure from Lecce

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Tour Reviews

  • Dara W. 4 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    The guide book and route map for the heel of Italy tour were very detailed and informative. Each day there were highlights picked out and sites to see and additional loops to cycle that added interest
    The routes picked were along lovely rural roads as much as possible yet brought us through lovely towns and villages and we started in Materea the European city of culture this year
    Overall a very enjoyable holiday that was well organized by Tripsite and I would highly recommend these holidays

  • Ida A. 2 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    Ostuni was a lively, great city- a major contrast to the rest of the region which is apparently deserted until summer is in full swing. I also really appreciated having my bike replaced, but I obviously wish the standard bike I got in the first place were more appropriate for long distance rides.

  • Shelia P. 2 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    Scenery on the day from Santa Maria di Leuca to Otranto was spectacular. Overall excellent trip. Would not hesitate to recommend.

  • Jan H. 2 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    Fabulous Trip. Well signposted for being a self guided tour. Hotels great in good locations. Beautiful scenery.

  • Monika M. 2 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    Matera, the town where the bike tour started was an unexpectedly positive surprise and experience: breathtakingly beautiful!!

  • Jacqueline A. 3 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    Scenic Coastal ride. The most memorable part was visiting and staying overnight in unique and incredible towns and sites.

  • J Murphy 4 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    The maps and route details were hard to follow at points, but the trip was very good: the ride, hotels and fellow cyclists.

  • Ruyter Aquino 5 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    Gostaria de salientar o quanto foi positivo nosso passeio, desde a bike, hospedagem, transporte de bagagem e roteiro. A Tripsite e a Girolibero estão de parabéns pela parceria. Ano que vem acredito ter mais viagem pela Tripsite. Obrigado

  • Caroline Thompson 8 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    This was a very interesting tour. Two cities have UNESCO World Heritage sites, and one day, riding along the coast, had one of the most stunning rides we have ever been on. (This was our 16th bike trip.)

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