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Cycling Puglia & Matera

Cycle from the UNESCO town of Matera through Italy’s heel to Lecce



At a glance

* 6 nights comfortable hotels and 1 night ‘masseria’ (converted farmhouse)
* 8 days land only / flight inclusive
* 6 days cycling with partial vehicle support (limited seats)
* 99% tarmac and some short sections of gravel
* Quiet rural undulating roads 
* Local bike hire included
* E-bike hire available on request

Cycle from the UNESCO town of Matera through Italy’s heel to Lecce

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 stunning ‘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 stunning landscape
made of olive orchards, limestone cliffs, crystal waters and Baroque towns.

https://www.exodus.co.uk/sites/exod/files/node/itinerary/images/mwv.jpg?t=1DlqML

Type: Land Only

Flight prices available from NeenanCycling. Contact us for details

What’s included

* All breakfasts
* All accommodation 
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
* Local bike hire

Food:
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
travel.

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 food lovers’ paradise!

Start destination: Matera

End destination: Lecce

Cycling profile

Day 1

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.

Day 2

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).

Day 3

Today we cycle through the lush Valle d’Itria, one of the prettiest cultural
and natural landscapes of Southern Italy, on to the picturesque hilltop
village of Ostuni. The route is undulating throughout, but much shorter than
yesterday’s thus allowing 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 boasting charming historic
centres filled with whitewashed houses, narrow quaint streets, churches and
elegant piazzas. In the afternoon we reach the city of Ostuni, known as the
‘white city’ for the the dazzling effect of its white buildings. Overnight in
Ostuni. Cycle approx. 45km (ascent +341m; descent -547m).

Day 4

We continue pedalling through tranquil country lanes to the charming town of
Francavilla Fontana and on to Oria, a popular destination among Apulians,
famous for its 13th Century’s Castle and delightful historic centre
characterised by cobbled streets, whitewashed walls and beautiful
architecture. We continue through the idyllic 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 who runs the farm and accommodation.
Overnight in Avetrana. Cycle approx. 56km (ascent +170m; descent -314m).

Day 5

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 and offering fantastic views both from the north and the south. The
town itself has many churches, 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 crystal-clear
Ionian sea near the popular seaside resort of Porto Cesareo. Overnight in
Gallipoli. Cycle approx. 65km (ascent +213m; descent -270m).

Day 6

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 and its interesting architecture,
views, sea-front restaurants and white sandy beaches which make it one of
Puglia’s most picturesque towns. Cycle approx. Overnight in Otranto. 70km
(ascent +506m; descent -495m).

Day 7

Today we follow the shoreline through innumerable olive groves to Lecce, the
Baroque masterpiece of southern Italy located in the heart of Puglia.
Sometimes described as the ‘Florence of the South’, the city is a real
architectonic gem boasting sumptuous palazzi and churches. Today’s ride is
relatively short and easy thus 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, a real treat to end the week of
cycling. In Lecce there will be some free time to explore the charming
historic centre before an optional farewell dinner. Overnight in Lecce. Cycle
approx. 50km (ascent +234; descent -188m).

Day 8

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.
**

Prices & Dates

Date: 2019-04-072019-04-14

Trip code: MWV190407

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1525

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Date: 2019-04-142019-04-21

Trip code: MWV190414

Availability: Available

Price: €1525

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Date: 2019-04-282019-05-05

Trip code: MWV190428

Availability: Available

Price: €1495

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Date: 2019-05-052019-05-12

Trip code: MWV190505

Availability: Available

Price: €1525

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Date: 2019-05-122019-05-19

Trip code: MWV190512

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1525

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Date: 2019-05-192019-05-26

Trip code: MWV190519

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1525

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Date: 2019-06-092019-06-16

Trip code: MWV190609

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1525

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Date: 2019-06-162019-06-23

Trip code: MWV190616

Availability: Available

Price: €1525

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Date: 2019-06-232019-06-30

Trip code: MWV190623

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1525

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Date: 2019-06-302019-07-07

Trip code: MWV190630

Availability: Available

Price: €1525

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Date: 2019-09-012019-09-08

Trip code: MWV190901

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1525

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Date: 2019-09-082019-09-15

Trip code: MWV190908

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1585

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Date: 2019-09-152019-09-22

Trip code: MWV190915

Availability: Available

Price: €1525

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Date: 2019-09-222019-09-29

Trip code: MWV190922

Availability: Available

Price: €1525

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Date: 2019-09-292019-10-06

Trip code: MWV190929

Availability: Available

Price: €1525

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Date: 2019-10-132019-10-20

Trip code: MWV191013

Availability: Available

Price: €1455

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Date: 2019-10-202019-10-27

Trip code: MWV191020

Availability: Available

Price: €1455

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Customer Feedback

Fantastic trip

Summary:
Thoroughly enjoyed my first Exodus cycling adventure, which exceeded
expectations. The scenery was beautiful, a mixture of olive groves, coast
lines, varied villages and country lanes. Matera as a starting point was
stunning, but the dramatic weather as we set off was challenging, to say the
least. Cycling 43 miles in torrential rain and wind through floods, with
shower caps over our helmets, was a group bonding experience like no other!
Thankfully the rest of the week was perfect weather, if a little windy at
times.
All the places we stayed in were well chosen – I especially enjoyed the farm
house with its amazing rooms and lovely pool. The meals, eaten together, were
delicious and lots of fun, with a mixture of new food to try and copious
amounts of local wine to wash it down, all in the knowledge we would be
working off the calories the next day.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
The best moment was sweeping down a hill to the coast the first time.
Arriving at an empty white sandy beach as the sun shone and the waves lapped
was magical, particularly after our rainy start a couple of days earlier.
Then cycling through a market and fishing village was a great experience. I
also felt a great sense of achievement when I reached the top of the third
killer hill on day five without stopping, and realised my fitness levels had
improved as the week went on.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Antonio was a fab leader, very knowledgeable about the area, funny and
helpful. Appreciated his singing (!), and the special tour we had of his home
town of Bari due to our flight being later than usual. He wen above and
beyond the call of duty.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
I went on my own and was a little nervous but needn’t have been. It is very
much a group experience and you soon feel like you have known people for
ages. Even for a ‘moderate’ trip you need to be quite fit. The pace was
faster than I would go on my own, (12-18 mph on the flat depending on pot
holes and wind), but I managed to keep up, and speedier cyclists were happy
to wait for the slower ones as we puffed up the hills. The bikes were great
with good gears and comfortable saddles. Check the weather forecast and don’t
assume because it’s Southern Italy it will be warm. Evenings were sometimes
chilly and I was glad of the fleece I threw in at the last minute. I had
taken a warmish waterproof but some others hadn’t and suffered on our wet
day.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Thanks for a great holiday adventure. I will definitely be back, hopefully
doing the Prosseco hills next year, and potentially with some friends who
followed my Facebook posts and want to come too!

Read full review

Cycling in Puglia

Summary:
Thank you Exodus for an excellent first cycling holiday. I loved every
minute… even the ‘undulations’ !!! I had not cycled more than 15miles
in one go ever, but felt I was so strong by the end of the 6 days. A great
personal challenge! It was great being in a big group, and soon got to know
the people we had just met. Manuela was a tremendous guide & Pierrot was a
superb support guy… providing us with healthy snacks , fresh water &
delicious local food picnics. This trip is to be recommended. I will
definitely go back to the area. And definitely travel with exodus again. The
bicycles we hired were of a superb quality & very comfortable to ride.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
When I reached the top of some pretty long steep hills I felt elated! I
couldn’t believe how strong I had become by the end of the 6 days!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Manuela was a fantastic guide & he looked after us all so well. His
restaurant recommendations we fab, and his local knowledge was so
informative. I was amazed at how fluent in English he was & he even got our
sense of humour!

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Prepare well in advance.. some good quality padded cycling shorts & chamois
cream to be recommended!

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
We didn’t get much ‘down time’ at the end of the day, but I think that
was because we were a slowish group.

Read full review

Wonderful holiday

Summary:
Perfect combination of good cycling, great company, excellent accommodation
and fine food and drink.

The negatives? Be prepared for even more potholes than in the uk and many of
the roads are lined with garbage/rubbish which spoils the natural beauty

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Cycling from Otranto to Lecce

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Antonio was brilliant with endless patience, great sense of humour and fluent
English

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Take your own saddle and stick with standard hire bike.

Read full review

Exceeded my expectations; and they were pretty high!

Summary:
This was my third cycling holiday with Exodus and I can’t wait to book the
next one. Once again, I chose somewhere where I had no previous knowledge,
thus making it a bit of an ‘Adventure.

Inevitably slightly apprehensive about how well I would fit in to a group of
sixteen people that I had never met before. My worries were needless; we all
got on famously and just got on with enjoying the well organised trip. Great
hotels, food and wine. Distances not too challenging, although the heat was
at times.

All breaks, rest stops and overnights were entirely adequate. Important to
bear in mind that this is first and foremost a cycling holiday. There were
many occasions when, as a keen photographer, I would like to have stopped but
that wouldnt have been fair on the ‘Back Marker’.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Each day had its magic moments but the selection of fascinating hotels could
never be described as ordinary. Breakfast overlooking a ravine in Matera,
rooms in a former Palace and a night in a former farmhouse (Masseria)
surrounded by olive trees and vines.

So many great memories…

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Emanuel was excellent. He kenew his bikes and how to treat a group of
intrepid explorers, Top man!

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Be prepared for heat: it was up to 30C even in mid September. However, there
was always plenty of fresh cold water in the backup vehicle with Piero.

Read full review

Puglia

Summary:
great trip all round

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
new Masseria San martino,

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
great guide

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
book it now !

Read full review

Allora, Andiamo!

Summary:
This was my 2nd cycle trip (both with Exodus). And it did not disappoint.
Fabulous and challenging. This is a beautiful region in Italy. We enjoyed
great food and wine and lovely accommodations. The weather was hot and sunny,
although we did out-cycle a few potential storms! The group of 16 were
terrific and our leader, Emanuele, was wonderful ~ so well organized, and
tireless in his efforts to meet all the diverse needs.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Being from eastern Ontario, where the land is quite flat, I was really
challenged on our first day out by the length, pace, heat, and “undulating”
terrain. Our last day involved cycling against some pretty significant winds.
By the end of the week, apart from being very sad it was over, I really felt
good about my accomplishment and becoming a better cyclist as a result . I
had great encouragement from our whole group and from Emanuele.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Emanuele is just a wonderful person and excellent leader. He is kind and
organized and hard working. His goal is to make sure that everyone is
enjoying their experience. He really loves and is proud of the whole region.
And it showed in his great story-telling and history lessons. He was able to
answer all our questions, and to take us places and point out so many things
we would have missed otherwise.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Enjoy the challenge ~ there are definitely hills and there can be winds. Be
prepared. Although, my British buddies seemed to find them much less
surprising and challenging than I did!

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
I loved this region ~ the food and architecture, the people, the landscapes.
You definitely won’t be disappointed. Our group of 16 were a really fun and
generous crew. So many experiences and adventures to share over the days and
the evenings together.

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An Interesting Area of Italy

Summary:
A great week of cycling staying in fascinating old towns with narrow
picturesque streets.
Whilst the countryside is no match for Tuscany there are some nice sections
and some glorious coastlines.

Another star of the holiday is the food of the region, certainly some great
group meals enjoying excellent food and wine.

Rating: 4

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Staying in a Trullie House as well as the view from the hotel terrace in
Matera

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Excellent group leader with good local knowledge and always happy to help
resolve any issues that crop up along the way.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Whilst the mileages were ok and clearly stated in the trip notes, I do feel
that Exodus should state the average cycling pace expected throughout an
holiday such as this.
Personally whilst I cycle these mileages at home but I nevertheless found the
pace a tad quicker than we cycle at home.

Read full review

Fantastic holiday experience

Summary:
From the very start my wife and I were warmly welcomed by our guide Emanuele
and our other 12 cycling companions.

We had done a couple of other cycling holidays but this was our first with
Exodus and with a leader who cycled with us along the way.

Emanuele was fantastic – nothing was too much trouble for him, he has a great
sense of humour and knows when to use diffent options when things might not
go as expected.

His vast experence meant that we visited places we would never have found
ourselves – absolutely beautiful villages, landscapes and places to enjoy
Italys wonderful food and drink.

The cycling was on mainly good surfaces and well paced each day so that no
one felt left out.

Our group quickly became friends enjoying each others company and watching
out for those inevitable potholes!

We will definitely do another Exedous trip – we throughly reccommend it!

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
The beautiful scenery particularly the coast along the Adriatic Sea.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Emanuele is a very experienced guide who knows thlocale network of roads and
trails in the area very well.

But most importantly he made sure that everyone of us was ok whether it was
the set up of the bike or having trouble with translating the menu.

I would describe him as a real leader and gentleman who really made the trip
a success.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
We would definitely recommend this trip to potential travellers – it s a
beautiful area with great friendly and engaging local people and amazing food
and wine.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Thanks to all who cycled with us -we loved your company it was a memorable
holiday.

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Total harmony

Summary:
There is a cast of ancient towns, beautiful countryside, fantastic food,
tremendous wine and 16 highly sociable cyclists. Nevertheless, you need a
guide like Michele. “Why?” you ask, as would Michele himself. The answer is
because every orchestra needs a conductor and Michele is up there with the
Italian greatest, creating, with his never-ending good humour and meticulous
organisation, the happiest of harmony between the cyclists, the towns, the
countryside, the food and the wine. Overlook this trip to your eternal
regret!

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Every evening meal: we were such a close group that we all dined together
every evening but in different combinations: the conversation and laughs were
loud and inexhaustible.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
He made the trip.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
You spend a lot of time in the countryside. When we were there the fields and
orchards were a riot of wild flowers and blossom and I would guess that April
is the best time to go.

Read full review

Amazing Trip!

Summary:
The trip was really amazing. The itinerary was perfect, with long and short
rides, a variety of interesting places to see and to stay. The group was
very compatible, and we elected to eat all dinners together. As said at our
final meal, we really became a team over the week having fun together and
looking out for each other. Our leader, Michele, was terrific and kept us all
together with friendly and upbeat manner.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
There were several high points, including touring Matera and Lecce and
staying in a trulli and a farm house, as well as the views of the coasts.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Michele was the best! As a leader he kept us together in a friendly, gentle
way and was always upbeat and positive. He knew all of the cultural
attractions, and would stop to show them to us on the way or walking around
town after dinner. Michele also arranged some great dinners for us. He
really made it extra fun for all of us.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Good idea to spend an extra day in Matera and Lecce, lots to see there.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
I would re-examine two hotels we stayed at. Rooms were fine but very hot, as
they hadn’t turned on the air conditioning systems yet.

Read full review


Activity Levels


Activity Levels range from Leisurely to Tough, the grading takes into account the daily cycling distances and terrain, as well as any technical riding skill required. We also consider the number of cycling days as there can be a cumulative affect from tiredness on a longer trip and the type of accommodation used, as this can also influence your day to day recovery.

If you are in any doubt, please give us a call on +353-1-607 9900 or email us.


Activity level 1 - Leisurely Activity level 1: Leisurely

If you can ride a bike and enjoy gentle exercise, these are an ideal introduction to a cycling holiday. No routes are entirely flat, so expect some short climbs and descents. Maximum daily height gain is approximately 250 metres and daily distances rarely exceed 50kms (32 miles), any longer days are often optional.


Activity level 3 - Moderate Activity level 3: Moderate

Most people who enjoy a weekend riding at home will enjoy a Moderate trip. You need to be in good health and reasonably fit. Ideal for occasional cyclists, or as a more relaxed trip for fitter riders. Moderate off-road trips require no previous experience. Distances rarely exceed 70kms (43 miles) per day.


Activity level 5 - Challenging Activity level 5: Challenging

For any ride at this level, fitness is important. Challenging trips require confidence in your ability and physical condition. They are equivalent to an extended period of cycling at home. Previous mountain biking experience is essential for Challenging off road trips as they will involve some technical riding.


Activity level 7 - Tough Activity level 7: Tough

Previous experience of the cycling style or surface is a must as these routes have long cycling days and tougher terrain on both road and off road trips. You need complete confidence in your fitness and technical ability to cope with difficult or steep terrain, rough surfaces and longer distances. Ideal for those seeking a challenge!


Split grades

In order to provide more accuracy, where a trip falls between two grades we use an intermediate or ‘split’ grade, for example 2: Leisurely/Moderate.


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