Pedalling Puglia - Tastes of the South
This delightful itinerary sees you enjoy the stunning scenery of Puglia from countryside to coast. There are plenty of places of interest along the way including a UNESCO world heritage site, anaqueduct and ancient ruins. Of course this is all rounded off with an abundance of local food and wine.
Need To Know
Arrive in Matera where there will be a full tour briefing, along with explanation of your bikes and GPS device.
Day 2 - Matera to Goia del Colle: 40km / 25 miles (50km /31 miles)
Today you will explore the surroundings of Matera AND you actually choose between two different itineraries.
- A shorter ride among Matera area of Murgia, a hilly section that surrounds the city where you can visit the ‘gravine’; an area full of caves inhabited since prehistoric times and used in the Middle Ages by monks as a place of worship.
- A cycle up to Miglionico, a village 20 km from Matera along with a detour to visit Lake San Giuliano, the WWF nature reserve and crossing point for many migratory birds. After a visit to the impressive Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, you will return to Matera for the night.
Day 3 - Matera to Alberobello (75 km)
Pedalling towards Alberobello, the first town is Gioia del Colle, known for its mozzarella and its burrata (very similar to mozzarella cheese) and so definitely worth a stop to sample them. Moving on from Gioia del Colle, you enter the Valle d’Itria, characterized by the unique architecture of the trulli, the peculiar stone buildings with conical roofs. Next stop is Noci, where – through the narrow streets of the old town – you can bask in the light of the sun reflected off its lime-white roofs. In the afternoon, you’ll arrive in Alberobello, the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, thanks to its 1,500 trulli.
Day 4 - The surroundings of Alberobello (45 km)
A day spent discovering the Valle d’Itria. Leaving Alberobello the first stop is Martina Franca. Less touristy than Alberobello, it has retained its own particular charm. The old town is surrounded by stone walls with baroque gateways, leading to the main square. You can visit the Ducal Palace or taste the famous capocollo of Martina Franca, a Slow Food Presidium.
Leaving behind Martina Franca you will find yourself back in the gently undulating countryside, heading towards the ‘Pomona’ botanical conservatory: a real biodiversity sanctuary where they have hundreds of fruit trees from all over the Mediterranean (including an amazing collection of more than 400 varieties of figs). Next stop is Locorotondo, which has been nominated one of the 'most beautiful villages in Italy', charming for its architecture and famous for its wine, white and slightly sparkling. Walking through the picturesque old town you can admire the architecture of the ‘cummerse’: the rectangular buildings with sloping roofs made of chiancarelle. Moving from Locorotondo, crossing vineyards dotted with trulli, you will find yourself back in Alberobello.
Day 5 - From Alberobello to Avetrana (80 km)
The longest section of the trip will take you up to Avetrana, crossing the border between the Valle d’Itria and Salento: you will notice the change in the landscape around you during the day. Passing by Martina Franca, you’ll travel along a short section of the ‘Aqueduct Cycleway’, a path along the aqueduct of Puglia (which brings water from Campania all the way down to Salento). Then you’ll go on to Ceglie Messapica, a city known for its bread, that you can try in one of the oldest bakeries in the city, located in the old town. In Francavilla Fontana you can visit the Basilica Minore of the Holy Rosary and Argentina Palace. Next stop is Oria, ‘city of witches’. Leaving Oria, and passing by Erchie, you’ll have your overnight stay at a farm in the countryside of Avetrana (or in a B&B).
Day 6 - The surroundings of Avetrana (55 km)
The journey to discover the surroundings of Avetrana will take you towards the sea, the long seaside bordered by the dunes of Torre Colimena, where you will have the chance to visit the Salina dei Monaci and also, if you like, do some birdwatching. Cycling along the coast heading north, you will reach San Pietro in Bevagna, where a crystalline sandy beach – totally deserted in the spring and autumn – will allow you to sunbathe and swim in the emerald waters of the Ionian Sea. From San Pietro in Bevagna you’ll head to Manduria where you can visit an ancient archaeological site of the Messapica era and the Primitivo Museum (primitivo is a high-alcohol red wine). You’ll return to Avetrana in the afternoon.
Day 7 - From Avetrana to Lecce (60 km)
On this, the final day, you’ll head towards the ‘Florence of the South’: the city of Lecce. Along the way, you pass through the fascinating ghost town of Monteruga, founded in the 1920s and completely abandoned in the 1980s. This is the area of ‘Salice Salentino’, whose vineyards produce a DOCG wine very popular around the world. You’ll go through a few small villages where, all year round, you’ll find the squares filled with elderly residents, hats pulled down against the sun, discussing politics and agriculture, and it seems that time has stood still. Later in the afternoon you’ll reach your destination, the City of Lecce.
Day 8 - Departure from Lecce
Hybrid bikes are provided and included in the cost of this tour, as they are ideal for the nature of the route and the terrain involved, as well as offering a reasonable level of comfort over the daily distances shown.
As for all of our tours, electric ‘E-Bikes’ are available with an additional supplement.
Bikes are provided fully equipped with helmets, pump and puncture repair kit, pannier bags, bike lock and bike computer, all included.
This is a SELF-GUIDED cycle tour, while comprehensive maps and route notes are provided. It is available from around mid-March to mid-October, while the months of July and August are of course the busier times and the weather can be very warm to cycle, however this does not mean it would not be enjoyable! We ask for 48 hours to confirm our tours, yet this may be slightly longer in the aforementioned peak July and August period.
The hotels and accommodations provided here are of an excellent standard, they are traditional Italian hotels and authentic 'agriturismo' farmhouses, offering a warm welcome. They are specifically selected as being ideal places to relax after a hard day's cycling while offering a taste of the local culture.
Of course, single rooms are available at a supplement on the main tour cost, while this can again vary dependent on the overall package, whilst not forgetting that extra nights are always available too.
This airport is approximately 70km / 43 miles from the centre of Bari. If you're looking for international or domestic flights to BRI, airlines that fly there include BA, Ryanair and Easyjet. There is a bus that connects from Bari Airport to Matera, taking around 1 hour and 15 minutes. It is also possible to arrange a private transfer with our local suppliers and costs can be confirmed at the time of booking.
The closest other airport to Matera is Brindisi Airport (BDS) and is approximately 160km / 100 miles from the centre of Matera. If you're looking for international or domestic flights from BDS, airlines that fly there include BA, Ryanair and Easyjet.
There is a bus that connects from Brindisi Airport to Matera, taking around 3 hours.
The closest major airport to Lecce, Italy, where the tour ends, is Brindisi Airport (BDS). This airport is approximately 50km / 30 miles from the centre of Lecce. If you're looking for international or domestic flights from BDS, airlines that fly there include BA, Ryanair and Easyjet. Therefore, return flights to and from Brindisi Airport (BDS) may be more straightforward, although means a slightly longer arrival journey.
There is a bus that connects from Lecce to Brindisi Airport, taking around 45 minutes. However, the service can be sporadic and therefore direct transfers are available, from only £30 one way (minimum 2 persons). Please just ask for further details.
Most of our tours are available from early April until the end of October to enable you to make the most of the weather and scenery with some available year round. There is no ‘best’ time to go, this is really down to personal preference and your requirements however, peak summer months like July and August can be warm in southern Europe and busier so we would recommend these to sun worshippers. We would suggest that around May, June and September are the preferable months for comfortable and optimum cycling experience.
What clothing and kit should I bring?
Each individual tour provides slight variations in kit provided so we would always recommend checking your individual booking. In all cases bicycles are provided along with full puncture repair kit. In the majority of cases helmets will be provided and you will be given this information as part of the booking process. Where these are not provided there is the option to add this on or bring your own. Clothing is not provided but we would recommend suitable, comfortable clothing to cover all eventualities! Lycra and padded short are not mandatory but we would recommend these for your comfort. Breathable fabrics and light layers with a shower proof jacket will enhance your experience and we would also recommend comfortable footwear.
How do I carry this clothing and kit from A to B?
You don’t! Whilst we would recommend taking a small backpack or loading your panniers with daily essentials such as a light cycle jacket, water, snacks and your phone and camera the great news is your main luggage will be transported by ourselves between your accommodations allowing you to enjoy you day baggage free. We usually ask you to leave this the morning of the day you depart the particular hotel and should arrive by late afternoon at your next destination but we always aim to have this there before you.
How fit do I need to be to do the tours?
Every tour description gives an indication of the level of suitability along with details on the distances and terrains covered. However, the majority of our tours on Pedal & Break are open and suitable for all with a reasonable level of fitness and all age groups. As we say Lycra is optional and we actively encourage and truly welcome those on a first time cycling holiday. You also do not all need to be the same level to enjoy our holidays as a group. A basic level of cycling is a must in order to be confident on the roads and routes and we would recommend a good base level of fitness. Our routes are designed to enjoy the scenery at a leisurely pace with sightseeing and refreshment stops factored in, after all this is your holiday! The days should not be viewed as a leg of the Tour de France and don’t require you to cycle flat out from dawn till dusk. The e-bike is also an excellent option for those needing a ‘boost’. As a husband and wife partnership on our first holiday this worked perfectly for us and enabled us to enjoy our holiday together stress free.
What is an e-bike?
An e-bike is an electric bike and does not require a license and nor should it be confused with a moped or scooter! An e-bike will be available on most of our tours and is the perfect option for the slightly more apprehensive cyclist, simply as these bikes provide the ideal boost when the legs feel a little tired or when facing a hilly section. You are still required to pedal as the bike is a modified standard bicycle and the e-bike merely gives you a helping hand. The electric element can be turned on and off as you like but from personal experience having this at a low level throughout with an extra boost added for setting off at junctions and up hills enabled my wife to enjoy her first cycling tour alongside me throughout and gave her the confidence she needed.