Self-guided Bike Tour in Puglia and Basilicata - Best of Southern Italy
The regions of Puglia and Basilicata occupy the "heel" of Italy's boot, surrounded by the Adriatic and Ionian seas. Here, ancient Greek and Italian culture mingle in hillside vineyards, olive groves, and whitewashed villages nestled against the blue of the Mediterranean. Pedal through a magical landscape filled with unique conical shaped dwellings known as trulli and the ancient sassi dwellings dug out of hillside rock; enjoy meals prepared with Italian, Greek, and Middle Eastern influence; and discover the warmth and hospitality of Southern Italy's friendliest people. You will also explore the UNESCO world heritage sites of Alberobello and the lovely Alta Murgia countryside. This self-guided cycling tour begins in the quaint port town of Trani, using secondary paved roads with little traffic, over rolling hills and valleys, ending in the stunning whitewashed town of Ostuni.
For more information download the Tour Factsheet
Arrive in Trani. Fit bicycles
Highlights: Old town of Trani; Romanesque cathedral by the sea; Swabian Castle
After arriving in Trani and settling into your hotel, you will be met by our English-speaking local staff for a welcome briefing and bike fitting. We recommend any free time for visiting this historic and quaint fishing port town on the Adriatic coast. Trani is a peaceful town, great for walking and taking in the many wonderful views of the charming harbor. You will also want to visit the cathedral, Cattedrale di San Nicola Pellegrino, set on a dominant position on the edge of the water; the Swabian Castle (Castello Svevo) dating back to 1249, built by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II; and the 12th century Chiesa di Ognissanti church, built by the Templar Knights.
Ride to Castel del Monte
Highlights: The Alta Murgia countryside; olive groves and vineyards; Castle of Frederick II; night in a Masseria farm-stay
Your cycling tour begins crossing the gentle hills of the Alta Murgia countryside, a region that has been inhabited and sculpted by various Mediterranean civilizations. You’ll pedal past olive groves and vineyards, until arriving at the Castle of Frederick II. The Holy Roman Emperor left his imprint throughout Southern Italy, and this may be his most amazing architectural accomplishment; the unique and stunning building is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tonight’s lodging is at a nearby masseria – a charming countryside farm stay.
Distance: 46 km (29 miles).
Cycling backroads to Gravina di Puglia
Highlights: Cycling through rocky landscapes; underground city tunnel network; crypts of San Michele delle Grotte and the Madonna della Stella
Cycling over rolling hills, with occasional short climbs and very little vehicle traffic, today’s route seems to take you back in time. The town of Gravina di Puglia will be one of the highlights of your tour - also full of charm and mystery, this walled town dates to the 8th century BC. Its location made it an important settlement since Roman times, with previous influence from other cultures, and it’s famous for its many grava buildings, cut into the rock, as well as the unique network of underground tunnels, cellars, churches and more, all hidden underneath the old town center.
Distance: 42 km (26 miles).
Altamura and Matera UNESCO World Heritage Site
Highlights: Altamura’s old town and famous pane di Altamura bread; Matera’s sassi dwellings and UNESCO world-heritage site
You will enjoy gentle cycling through valleys to the town of Altamura, famous for the cathedral and old town, as well as the local pane de Altamura and focaccia breads made in wood ovens (great for a lunch stop). From there, beautiful countryside cycling takes you to Matera, the capital of the Basilicata region and home to the famous sassi rock dwellings, inhabited since prehistoric times. As with many other southern Italian cities, Matera has been influenced by the presence of various Mediterranean cultures and kingdoms. The ancient and primeval aspect of the old town has also made it a fabulous spot for films, like The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson. We recommend hiring a local guide for a visit of the town’s important sights and rich history. You will sleep the next two nights in a sassi hotel with a magnificent view of the old town.
Enjoy a rest day or explore on a loop ride
Highlights: Matera old town and surroundings
As Matera has so much to experience, you can use the entire day to explore the town at your leisure, or start your day with a loop-ride and continue your visit of Matera in the evening. Optional loop-ride: this ride will take you the Murgia Timone, which lies across the Sassi district gorge, up to an amazing panoramic view of the old town of Matera and its sassi. A small park atop protects an amazing collection of Neolithic cave dwellings and small churches carved out of rock. The visitor’s center provides interpretation and good spot for a picnic lunch.
Ride to Alberobello
Highlights: : towns of Gioia del Colle and Noci; the trulli of Alberobello
More easy riding with some gentle rolling hills and short climbs takes us closer to the “heel of the boot”. On the way, you’ll ride through two beautiful and easygoing towns, Gioia del Colle and Noci, where you can stop for lunch or coffee, stroll the town centers or simply watch local life and people. Today’s destination of Alberobello is another trip highlight – its amazing trulli dwellings are also protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Cycle to Ostuni
Highlights: Ostuni “the white”
Cycling over gentle backroads, rolling hills and some short climbs, you will reach Ostuni. This architectural jewel is commonly referred to as the “white town”, as the buildings of its old town are completely covered in whitewashed walls. Perched on a hill overlooking the Adriatic, the white buildings contrast against the blue sea, creating a magnificent sight. This is another great town for strolling its cobblestone streets, photographing the coastal scenery and picture-perfect white buildings, and lazing away over dinner.
Tour ends in Ostuni
Your bike tour ends in Ostuni today. Spend more time getting to know this city, or if your travel plans allow it, continue on to Bari or Lecce (the baroque Florence of southern Italy) to continue exploring the heel of Italy. If you are interested in more cycling, ask us about possibilities for additional days.
|Includes||7 nights lodging in 3-4 star hotels or equivalent, all breakfasts; use of a high quality 24-27 speed racing or hybrid bicycle; bike delivery and collection; bike fitting and briefing in English; use of GPS with preloaded tracks; detailed routes description; luggage transfers every day; map; dinner suggestions
|Begin/End||Trani / Ostuni|
|Arrive/Depart||Bari airport (BRI)|
|Total Distance||300 km (187 miles) with additional mileage options available|
|Daily Distance||32 to 69 km per day (20 to 43 miles) No mileage on rest days by choice|
|Notes||You can make this a 10 days tour. Ask for details.
This tour is part of our Self-Guided Collections program: operated by select local partners that we know and trust, the tour is similar in quality to those we operate directly in many ways. Please click here for more details.
|Terms||Terms & Conditions|
|Dates||Between January 20 and December 1 tour starts on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Other days available upon request. Not recommended in August
EXTRAs available upon request (please refer to factsheet for details):
Guided visit of Matera
Shuttles to/from Bari Airport.
Room upgrade options
City taxes not included.
|Prices||starting from €1130||Single Supplement||€235|
|Next Step||Request space on this Bicycle Tour »|
Outstanding communication with Sara pre-trip. Michele was awesome during our trip and we really appreciated his assistance with exchanging my bike for an e-bike on day 4. The luggage transfer was fantastic.. We had a great trip, thank you!
A remarkable, remote part of Italy. Not crowded, not touristy. Fascinating history and sites to visit.
It was fun. Sights were great. The things we saw had much variety. Hotels very good. The people we encountered in Puglia were very friendly. Pleased with the bike quality. There was something unique about every town. Was a fun experience. We were not disappointed by any aspect of the tour. Everything was wonderful!!
We had a wonderful trip. Wildflowers were outstanding. The temperature was perfect...loved the accommodations. The Masseria we stayed in the first night on the road was amazing. Highly recommended. Since there is no option to eat anywhere else, you might think about including dinner in the overall cost of the trip for that night. The hosts were lovely and the accommodation and dinner both outstanding.