In the deep south of Italy, nestled between the Adriatic and Ionian seas, lie the captivating regions of Puglia and Basilicata. This extensive itinerary explores the very best selection of all the cultural and natural treasures found here. Matera’s fascinating ‘Sassi’ houses and the UNESCO 'Trulli’ houses of Alberobello set the scene for the journey to come. After passing through idyllic countryside and the 'white city' of Ostuni, the route veers towards Gallipoli and the dramatic Ionian coastline. While riding across the famous Salento Peninsula, we immerse ourselves in the charming laid-back Italian way of living and explore a landscape made of olive orchards, limestone cliffs, crystal waters and Baroque towns.
Ride from the stunning UNESCO town of Matera
Sample fine seafood and wine from the famous Salento coast
Stay in charming accommodation bursting with character
Enjoy gentle cycling through olive groves and past white-coned trulli
The trip starts in the town of Matera, a real jewel of Southern Italy. The
hotel is located within walking distance to the historic centre. There is
usually time in the afternoon to wander through the narrow alleys of the
town’s famous UNESCO cave-dwelling district and enjoy the unique atmosphere
of this enchanting city.
Ride Past The Historic 'Sassi' Houses Of Matera Before Heading To Alberobello.
On leaving Matera we pedal through the area that 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 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.
Today's ride is mostly hilly with gentle ascents to be expected throughout,
as we cycle on quiet rural roads amongst the picturesque Apulian countryside
towards Alberobello. En route we pass the lovely towns of Noci and Gioia del
Colle as well as some famous fairy-tale trulli houses that have also made the
historic centre of Alberobello a recognised UNESCO world heritage site.
Overnight in Alberobello. Cycle approx. 70km (ascent +659m; descent -648m).
Cycle Through The Lush Valle D'itria, Past The Picturesque Fairytale Trulli Houses To The Hilltop Town Of Ostuni.
Valle d'Itria, Locorotondo, Ostuni
Today we cycle through the lush Valle d'Itria, one of the prettiest cultural
and natural landscapes of southern Italy, to the hilltop village of Ostuni.
The route is undulating throughout but much shorter than yesterday's ride.
This allows us to enjoy the views at a more leisurely pace with plenty of
opportunities for rest stops. Along the way we pass the famous wine town of
Locorotondo and Cisternino, both known for their historic centres filled with
whitewashed houses, narrow streets, churches and elegant piazzas. In the
afternoon we reach the city of Ostuni, known as the 'white city' thanks to
the dazzling effect of its white buildings.
Overnight in Ostuni.
Ride Through Villages And Country Lanes To A Typical Masseria - A Renovated Farmhouse - Where We Spend The Night.
Masseria Muzza, Avetrana
We continue pedalling through tranquil country lanes to the town of
Francavilla Fontana and on to Oria. A popular destination among Apulians,
Oria is famous for its 13th century castle and delightful historic centre of
cobbled streets, whitewashed walls and beautiful architecture. We continue
through the countryside to a masseria, a typical Apulian converted farmhouse
and our accommodation for the night. The masseria is still a working farm
and most of the produce grown here, from vegetables to olives and wheat, is
used daily for the preparation of local dishes. Before dinner we will have
the opportunity to taste some organic olive oil produced by the family that
runs the farm and accommodation.
Overnight in Avetrana.
Cycle To The Coast And Swim In The Crystal Clear Sea Before Continuing Towards Gallipoli With Its Old Town Situated On A Rocky Island.
From the masseria we cycle towards the Ionian Coast and the beautiful town of
Gallipoli, known as the 'Ionian Pearl' with its old town situated on a rocky
island offering fantastic views both to the north and the south. The town
itself has many churches and narrow alleys and was the largest exporter of
lamp oil made from olives in the 17th and 18th centuries. Weather permitting,
today there are plenty of opportunities for swimming in the Ionian sea near
the popular seaside resort of Porto Cesareo.
Overnight in Gallipoli.
Follow The Glorious Stretch Of Coastline Leading To The Ancient Town Of Otranto.
Our route continues along the south of the peninsula and the impressive
stretch of coastline leading to the ancient Messapian town of Otranto, the
easternmost point in Italy. Before dinner there will be time at leisure to
explore the town’s mediaeval centre. Here the interesting architecture,
views, sea-front restaurants and white sandy beaches make it one of Puglia's
most picturesque towns.
Overnight in Otranto.
Continue Along The Shoreline To The Baroque City Of Lecce.
Today we follow the shoreline through innumerable olive groves to Lecce, the
Baroque masterpiece of southern Italy, in the heart of Puglia. Sometimes
described as the 'Florence of the South', the city is an architectural gem,
boasting sumptuous palazzi and churches. Today's ride is relatively short and
easy, giving us time to stop en route for a last swim (seasonal) in Torre
dell'Orso, a lovely bay surrounded by limestone cliffs with many ancient
caves to discover. In Lecce there will be some free time to explore the
historic centre before an optional farewell dinner.
Overnight in Lecce.
The trip ends in the morning of day 8. We recommend spending an extra day in
Lecce to soak up the atmosphere of this elegant Baroque city, home to
outstanding architecture. Exodus can arrange post tour accommodation for you
if needed; please contact our Sales or Operations team for a quote.
7 breakfasts are included and usually consist of a continental-style
buffet. A typical hotel breakfast consists of: toast/bread with jam, cereal,
cheese and ham (occasionally), served with coffee, tea, milk, orange juice,
fruit, cake and yoghurt. Lunches are normally arranged as picnics or taken in
small cafes' along the route. Vegetarians and people with special dietary
requirements can be catered for but please inform us of your requests prior
In Puglia you will find genuine regional cooking that has strong links to the
land and the sea. Some 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 paradise for food lovers!
Throughout this town-to-town cycling trip, we use three- and four-star hotels and renovated traditional buildings, which have been selected for their location, comfort and character.
Below are the hotels we typically use.
Matera: Hotel Belvedere, Residence Casalnuovo, Matera in Vacanza, or Hotel San Domenico al Piano (night 1)
Alberobello: Traditional trulli houses, Grand Hotel Olimpo or Colle del Sole (night 2)
Ostuni: Relais Sant’Eligio (night 3)
Avetrana: Masseria Bosco (night 4)
Gallipoli: Hotel 33 Baroni (night 5)
Otranto: Hotel Albània or Vittoria Resort (night 6)
Lecce: Hotel Eos or Hotel delle Palme (night 7)
For many, our standout stay is Masseria Bosco (above), a bucolic farm estate with original stone buildings. Our groups often head straight for the swimming pool (perhaps picking up a wine or beer en route), where there’s an inviting set of sun loungers. Alternatively, you may want to wander around the working farm, enjoying a peaceful moment among the olive groves. Dinner is held where the animals were once kept. It’s a celebration of Pulian produce with much of the ingredients grown on the farm – make sure to sample their delicious range of olive oils and homemade wines.
Due to the limited capacity of hotels in Matera we are not able to confirm the definite start hotel for each departure far in advance, and the group may occasionally be split across different accommodations of similar standards.
You can contact your sales representative two weeks before departure if you wish to receive the up-to-date hotels list for your trip.