Along the coast in Salento, Puglia, Italy. Flickr:©Mike Photo Art

Great olive oils in Italy.
5/5 (4 ratings)

Puglia - Heel of Italy Bike Tour

Italy Bike Tours

A food, wine, and bike tour in Southern Italy through sun drenched Apulia

  • You are in for a treat on this bike tour in Salento, the "heel" of Italy, known for its ancient farmlands crisscrossed with stonewalls, small authentic villages, and hundreds of kilometers of coastline.

    This is Apulia, the crossroads of civilizations and culture, the bridge between East and West, and a haven for those who love the sea. Tucked between the sparkling, azure waters of the Ionian and the Adriatic, this "sub-peninsula" showcases a varied coastline etched with glittering limestone precipices, outcroppings, and miles of first-class beaches, carved inland with lovely salt-water lagoons.

    The fine harbors and fertile plains made this region particularly vulnerable to attack and many conquering invaders penetrated its barriers. Today, Puglia maintains its own distinct and authentic identity, an eclectic mix of cultures.

    In a land where the cuisine is all-important, Puglia's cucina povera (peasant cooking) is legendary, featuring olive oil, grapes, tomatoes, eggplants, artichokes, peppers, mushrooms, olives, cheese, fresh seafood...and the wine is world renowned.

    Highlights:

    • The seafront jewels of Gallipoli and Otranto
    • Baroque and sophisticated Lecce
    • Luxurious Leuca
    • Apulian landscape and seascape
    • Simple but diverse cuisine and world-famous wines
    • Local wine and product tastings
    • True immersion in local arts, crafts, and family
    • Optional cooking class at local agriturismo

    Enjoy your 'slow travel' immersion in this sun-kissed land!

    If you are interested in biking Matera and Alberobello, take a look at our 8-day tour. If 8 days is too long, ask us for suggestions.

    Check out all our bike tours in Italy.

  • 2020

    Self-guided:
    Twin/double: $ 1909 £ 994 $ 1,731 1158 $ 1987 kr 12390 $ 1,306 Single supplement: $ 399 £ 208 $ 362 242 $ 415 kr 2589 $ 273 There is no solo traveler supplement if the starting day is Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
    Guided: 
    Twin/double:  $ 2324 £ 1211 $ 2,108 1410 $ 2419 kr 15087 $ 1,590 Single supplement: $ 381 £ 198 $ 345 231 $ 396 kr 2472 $ 260

    extra options

    Electric bike:
    Price $ 181 £ 94 $ 164 110 $ 189 kr 1177 $ 124 Extra night in Lecce 
    Twin/double: $ 109 £ 57 $ 99 66 $ 113 kr 706 $ 74 Single room: $ 163 £ 85 $ 148 99 $ 170 kr 1059 $ 112 Extra night in Bari
    Twin/double: $ 82 £ 43 $ 75 50 $ 86 kr 535 $ 56 Single room: please ask
    Cooking class with lunch included: $ 137 £ 71 $ 124 83 $ 142 kr 888 $ 94 Airport transfers, one way, based on two people:
    Brindisi Airport to Lecce Hotel: $ 63 £ 33 $ 57 38 $ 65 kr 407 $ 43 Bari Airport to Lecce Hotel: $ 135 £ 70 $ 123 82 $ 141 kr 877 $ 92  

    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

    One major airport close to your tour start in Lecce is Brindisi - Salento Airport (BDS), 51 km from the center of Lecce. Another option is Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (BRI) at 166 km distance.

    Local Travel

    Brindisi Airport
    You have a couple of options for arrival to the first hotel.

    • From the Brindisi Airport, air shuttle to Lecce. Upon arrival, you can take a taxi to your first hotel. Cost is about €10
    • Bus from the airport to Brindisi train station and then train to Lecce. Total travel time about 1 h 30 m to 2 h. hour. Cost, €8. Your first hotel is within walking distance of the train station.
    • Private transfer is available. See pricing.

    Bari Airport

    • Direct train from Bari airport to Bari Central station and then train to Lecce. Total travel time is 2 h 30 m to 4 h total, depending on the time of travel and train type (there are high-speed train options.) Once you arrive at Lecce train station, you can walk to first hotel.
    • Private transfer is available. See pricing.

    Rome Airport

    • For those who would like to do some sightseeing in Rome before their tour, there is a direct train from Rome to Lecce that takes about 5 h 30 m and costs from €30 - €70. Your first hotel is within walking distance of the train station.

    Climate

    The region of Puglia experiences a Mediterranean climate. Spring comes early here is with temps around 68 ° F (20 ° C) by the end of April. Summer arrives in May and lasts through to the end of September. July and August are the hottest months with temperatures reaching 86° F. October and November are lovely and temperatures in the 70s remain. Winter in Puglia is mild and therefore, still conducive for cycling. We advise checking local conditions before your arrival. A good website to use to research regional weather including average high/low temperatures, average rainfall is weatherbase.com.

    Documents

    Before you travel, please check your country's passport and visa requirements and the passport and visa requirements of the country/countries you plan to visit. For US citizens, the US Department of State website is a good source of information. The Country Information tab in the International Travel section provides details about passport validity, blank passport pages required, etc. For our other international clients, please be sure that you research your own country's travel requirements. It is each traveler's responsibility to ensure proper documentation.

    *Important note: Beginning July 1, 2021, additional documentation from the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will be required to visit any of the 26 Schengen-member countries for tourism, business, medical, or transit. This is an additional check on security rather than a visa.


Tour Dates

2020

Self-guided: 
Departures every Friday and Saturday from March 21 to July 4 and August 29 to October 31, 2020
Special tour dates can be requested for a supplement of €75.
Guided: 
May 16, June 13, September 12, and October 17, 2020
(minimum of 6 to confirm a completely guided departure. If you have less than 6, we may propose a partially guided tour and/or incur a supplement. Do contact us with any inquiries, regardless of number in your group)

Skill Level

This is a tour that focuses on "slow travel", a mindset that encourages you to soak in your environment giving yourself permission to truly experience new things. This tour is rated easy to moderate with the average daily distance of 34 mi. (55 km). Please see the day to day itinerary for daily mileage and note that you do have some longer days. You will cycle on a varied terrain ranging from coastal flatlands to some hills inland. Traffic is almost nonexistent in Apulia except during the high holiday season. Entering and exiting towns will entail more traffic. The route includes very beautiful stretches on the coast.
Total vertical up: average 250 m daily
Terrain: 95% tarmac, 5% unpaved

Where You’ll Stay

You will be accommodated in mainly 4 star villas, resorts, farmhouses, or B & B’s

What’s Included

  • Self-guided
  • 7 overnight stays in villas, resorts, farmhouses, or B & B
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 5 dinners
  • 5 tastings with wine, cheese, and local products
  • Luggage transfer
  • GPS with preloaded tracks
  • Roadbook with cultural information and tips about the route
  • 24-hour assistance
  • Bike rental with accessories, including helmet
  • Local hotel taxes
  • Guided
  • 7 overnights in villas, resorts or farmhouses
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 7 dinners or lunches with wine
  • 3 tasting with wine, cheese, and local products
  • 1 homemade pasta cooking class
  • Bike rental (21 speed) with accessories
  • Bike mechanic
  • Luggage transfer
  • 6 days van support
  • Cycling guide
  • Local hotel taxes

What’s Not Included

  • Meals not mentioned as included
  • Beverages with dinners
  • Van support and cycling guide (self-guided)
  • Gratuities (guided tour)
  • Airport transfers
  • Bicycle Protection
  • Travel Insurance

Extra Stay

If you are interested in biking Matera and Alberobello, take a look at our Matera to Lecce, 8-day tour. If this is too long, just ask. We may be able to come up with other options for you.

TourBike
TypeBoth
SkillEasy–Moderate
Length8 days
From1158 Rates
Tour Reviews

Share This Tour

Day-To-Day Itinerary

Puglia - Heel of Italy Map

Day 1: Arrival in Lecce
Day 2: Lecce -  Otranto, 35 mi. (56 km)
Day 3: Otranto and surroundings, 19 mi. (30 km)
Day 4: Otranto – Leuca coast, 32 mi. (52 km)
Day 5: The Iconic Coast to Gallipoli,  38 mi. (61 km) 
Day 6: Gallipoli’s surroundings, 19/37 mi. (30/60 km)
Day 7: Gallipoli - Lecce, 26 mi. (42 km)
Day 8: Onward travel  

All distances are approximate. Due to circumstances beyond control, weather conditions or provisions issued by local authorities, the itinerary may be subject to some changes before and/or during your holiday. For example, along the way you may find temporary deviations/detours caused by roadwork, In this case please follow the directions posted on site.

Day 1: Arrival in Lecce
If you have booked an airport transfer you will be met by our local representative. If not, please refer to our travel detail section for details on how to arrive to Lecce. 

Day 2: Lecce -  Otranto, 35 mi. (56 km)
A relatively flat route stretches before you today with many interesting cultural sights. First on the agenda is Acaya, a fortified city with a huge castle. The route descends then to “Le Cesine”, a World Wildlife Federation area, and a crossing point for many species of migratory birds. From here, you head towards the coast, along the ruins of Roca Vecchia, an archaeological site located on the Adriatic coast from which excavations have uncovered some of the best-preserved monumental architecture of the Bronze Age (2nd millennium BC) and the largest set of Mycenaean pottery ever recovered west of mainland Greece.  As well, you cycle to Alimini Lakes with its stunning white sand beach. This area is also a stopping point for various migrating birds such as white storks, flamingos, cranes, greylag geese, swans, and many others. Final destination is Otranto, a once-thriving Roman port.  Highlights include the small domed church, San Pietro, with its Byzantine frescoes, the 15th century Aragonese Castle, and the 11th century Otranto Cathedral, with an ornate mosaic flooring. Stroll the ramparts overlooking the sea, meander the old walled historic center, with its intricate web of alleyways and whitewashed homes, and simply enjoy!

Day 3: Otranto and surroundings,  19 mi. (30 km)
Riding along the little River “Idro”, the route leads to Casamassela, to “Le Costantine” foundation, an agriculture education center. This peaceful oasis is enclosed by olive tree groves and Mediterranean scrub. The weaving studio here creates textile products with ancient wooden looms.  After a guided tour, you continue to Giurdignano, a beautiful town with ancient origins. Here you can find the remains of an imperial age necropolis from the II - III century as well as one of the most important sites where Megalithic findings were discovered. You will visit La Cutura botanical garden. The variety of plants, trees, and herbs will astound you, including the agaves, cacti, roses, myrtle, and much, much more. One of the highlights of the day will be a stop to have a product tasting of typical bread cheese prepared in a traditional stone oven.  

Day 4: Otranto – Leuca coast, 32 mi. (52 km)
Your route today leads along the wildest Salento coastal stretch. You visit the Palacia lighthouse, located at the easternmost point in Italy and the narrowest point of Strait of Otranto at the mouth of Adriatic Sea. The lighthouse was built in 1867 and abandoned in the 1970s, however, was reopened in 2008. Your route continues following the coast, weaving amidst the cliffs above the sea, overlooking the Strait of Otranto. On a clear day, you can actually see the mountains of Albania and Greece. There is an opportunity to visit the Zinzulusa cave, a dramatic seafront cave system with colorful rock formations and teeming with marine wildlife. As you continue to cycle to Leuca, the day's destination, you will pedal through a typical landscape littered with boulders, Mediterranean scrub, lavender bushes, and laced with the high dry-stone walls and terraces typical of this area. As well, you can observe the ingenious devices of peasants to get arable land into barren and impervious areas. After crossing the bridge over the “ciolo”, a canyon, carved by the waters, you reach Santa Maria di Leuca, where the Ionian and the Adriatic Sea meet. The name of the village comes from the Greek "leucos", meaning light or luminous. Once a sleepy fishing village, it showcases a fascinating seascape and incredible panoramas. It became the summer residence of many aristocratic Pugliesi who built splendid villas, decorating the seafront with their varying styles. 

Day 5: Leuca - Gallipoli, 38 mi. (61 km) 
Today you discover Leuca Cape, the southern part of Apulia. In the 16th century, Emperor Charles V ordered the construction of a system of watchtowers along the entire length of the Puglian coast to protect citizens from constant invasions. The towers were built in strategic positions along the coast, close enough that each tower could communicate with the towers on either side of it. You will make a stop at one of the defense towers situated in the center of a small village. Next is Patù and the megalithic monument called Centopietre (100 stones), created from massive blocks of stone taken from Vereto. Next on the agenda is  Leuca Piccola (Little Leuca), an important pilgrimage station which still maintains a vast underground area.  Through olive groves lined by stone walls, the route leads to Ugento, where it is possible to visit its archaeological museum. In the afternoon, following the ionic coast once again, until  St. Andrew’s Island and Punta Pizzo natural park. Final day's destination is Gallipoli, a beautiful seaside town, a mixture of old and new. The center of its ancient village is perched on an island, and connected to the mainland and the new city by a twentieth-century arched bridge.

Day 6: Gallipoli’s surroundings, 30 mi. (48 km)
This is a day dedicated to Gallipoli's surroundings. The first stop is in Sannicola to discover its underground oil mill, then Tuglie with its amazing “rural culture museum”. Then you ride through Neviano, to visit the ruins of Macugno abbey, and then Cutrofiano, where you can step in the “fossil park. Organic lunch at “Piccapane” a little farmhouse, where Giuseppe will cook the vegetables you will have picked yourself! In the afternoon it is off to Galatina where you can contemplate the church of Santa Caterina, totally painted with frescoes, in Giottesco style, and then visit the beautiful old town. Later, you stop in the winery “Santi Dimitri”, to discover the secrets of oil and winemaking…followed by a wine and cheese tasting, of course! Guided cyclists will enjoy a farewell dinner.

Day 7: Gallipoli - Lecce, 26 mi. (42 km)  
You will not want your bike tour to come to an end but alas, today is your last cycling day in this beautiful land. You will pass many 19th century fortified farmhouses and villas on your way back to Lecce. You stop in Nardò to visit its baroque style historical center and then Copertino to discover its impressive Norman castle. Some km before Lecce, you can make a stop at a local establishment, a traditional pottery workshop, the Martina brothers, skillful keepers of this ancient art.

Late afternoon arrival in Lecce and in the evening, farewell dinner in one of the best restaurants in town.

Day 8: End of tour
You will be offered a guided walking tour of Lecce.

 

Looking for more?  View all our featured bicycle tours, specials, and news or look at our full list of bike tours in Europe.

Email or Call 800-951-4384 +1 570-965-2064

Share This Tour


Tour Reviews

  • Marisa C. 5 hours ago     Verified Reviewer

    We were really astonished about all the scenery we found along the way. The sea views were spectacular, the trails were peaceful and picturesque and the Italians in this part of the country were so kind, relaxed and helpful that they made us feel very comfortable and safe. The organization of this tour was excellent. We didn't encounter any type of issue. The hotels were great. No complaints at all. This was our second bike tour with Tripsite and we will definitely go for many more. We highly recommend this tour. We would do it again!

  • Deborah L. 1 month ago     Verified Reviewer

    It was all amazing. The food, the wine, the hotels, the route. we all had a lot of fun.

  • Richard r. 2 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    This tour was not my first choice, but I am happy I did it. The ride was along the beautiful Adriatic coast, the accommodations were great, the food was terrific. To make the package complete the guide, who is a part owner of the tour company, was outstanding. One of the best tours I have done.

  • Joni M. 2 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    We really enjoyed the trip despite the fact that a cyclist in another self guided trip was killed in a motor vehicle accident on the day prior to the start of our self guided bike tour. We were very cautious at all intersections as a result of the accident. It would be a good idea to include in the instructions that you provide to the cyclists that they should exercise caution at all intersections. The GPS was easy to follow although on at least 10 occasions it directed us to go the wrong way on a one way street. I was not comfortable riding the wrong way on one way streets and this should be corrected. On the whole the trip was great and I would highly recommend it and I plan to book another cycling trip with trip site again.

Biked This Tour? Post Your Feedback

Read reviews for all bike tours

PWPC