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Welcome to Puglia, Italy’s best kept secret. Forget about the tourist-swarmed Rome or Milan, the heel of Italy is the place to be—come with us on an 8-day bike tour through sun-soaked landscapes, coastline gems, and cartoon-like villages. Once governed by the Greeks, Romans, and Spaniards, each leaving their own mark, Puglia is steeped in history and rich in mouth-watering food. We’ll tour Lecce, a Baroque marvel known as the Florence of the South, we’ll swim in both the Adriatic and Ionian Sea, feel the breeze in Polignano a Mare, a town perched high up on limestone cliffs, and walk the streets of Alberobello, a town made up of trulli (white drystone houses with cone-shaped roofs). This tour will have you questioning how come this jewel has been kept under wraps for so long—you’ll feel it’s become your secret too, and you’ll be hesitant to share it on.

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  • Taste Apulian specialties

    Orecchiette pasta, burrata cheese, focaccias, pasticciotto dessert… You’ll be thinking about this food long after this trip

  • See all sides of Puglia

    Pedal along olive grove lined roads, pastoral countryside, historical towns, but also head to the coast and go for a swim

  • Feel the way locals do

    A feast for all the senses—invigorating sea breeze, olive and lemon scents in the air, the sound of crashing waves…

Itinerary

Welcome to Puglia, a region so beautiful that we’re lucky it’s not overrun by tourists yet. This is an 8-day guided Puglia bike tour that will allow us to discover the heel of Italy in all its glory. Starting from the Baroque gem of Lecce, we’ll head through the countryside, cycle along the coastline and swim in the Adriatic and Ionian Sea, and visit many other lovely villages and towns along the way. We’ll visit the whitewashed Ostuni, the coastal Gallipoli, the Smurfs-like Alberobello, and the spectacular Polignano a Mare. Three and four-star hotels are included, most melas, luggage transfers, as well as a local professional who will be your guide on this journey.

  • We’ll meet together at the airport and get transferred to our accommodation in Lecce. After a welcome meeting and bike fitting, there will be time to explore the historical center of Lecce. Dubbed as the Florence of the South, Lecce is a city that’s bursting with culture. We’ll take in the city’s wonderful palaces and churches, as we meander through its historic old town. Lecce is a vibrant city, packed with bars and cafes; the perfect place to enjoy a welcome aperitivo or coffee.

    *For the September 8, 2024 departure, group transfers will be from Bari Airport.
    *For the September 28, 2024 departure, group transfers will be from Brindisi Airport.

    Accommodation: Three or four-star hotel

    Ruins of Roman theater in Lecce
  • We’ll leave Lecce and head for the coast! We’ll cycle through the countryside of Greek Salento, where we’ll find traces of former colonies still present in the dialect, cuisine, and architecture. Our first stop will be the historic fortified village of Acaya, famed for its astonishing castle. Then we’ll move towards the Cesine Natural Reserve, passing through forests, all the way to the coast.

    As we head south, the turquoise Adriatic will be on our left, and we’ll stop off at the famous Poetry Caves and S. Andrea bay to admire tuff columns (I Faraglioni). After an undulating ride between the Alimini Lakes, our final destination will be Otranto, a Greek-Roman port frequented by merchants and thrill seekers. As we enter the old town, we’ll notice the wall surrounding the Aragonese Castle. In your spare time, we recommend visiting the Cathedral with its beautiful rose-window, the UNESCO world heritage mosaic floor, and the columned crypt.

    Meals: Breakfast and lunch
    Cycling: 34 miles / 55 km
    Elevation gain: 985 ft / 300 m
    Accommodation: Three or four-star hotel

    Stacks near Otranto in Italy
  • Today will be our most challenging day, as we’ll cycle along the high coastal route and wind our way along the cliff tops. We’ll be riding past rocky coves, heading to the furthest tip of the heel of Italy! We’ll have the chance to stop at the lighthouse of Punta Palascia and we’ll stop for a coffee at the lovely Porto Badisco bay.

    Following this, we’ll stop to admire Santa Cesarea Terme and enjoy its eclectic villas and the Moorish Palazzo Sticchi. We’ll then head on to unique sea-caves, known as Grotta Zinzulusa. After lunch, we’ll reach Gagliano del Capo. From here we can take in the magnificent views from its world-famous bridge, as we enjoy a well-earned break. Arriving in Santa Maria di Leuca, a small village with colorful mansions and a beautiful lighthouse, there will be time to dip into the crystal clear sea, where the Adriatic Sea meets the Ionaian.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Cycling: 35 miles / 60 km
    Elevation gain: 2,460 ft / 750 m
    Accommodation: Three or four-star hotel

    Grotta Zinzulusa in Italy
  • Today we’ll leave the Adriatic and start riding north along the coastline of the Ionian sea, past long sandy beaches dotted with beach clubs and little coves. If time allows, we’ll stop at one of the more famous beaches, Maldive del Salento. Continuing north, we’ll soon find ourselves at a quiet lunch spot just by the beach, where we’ll have the opportunity for a dip in the warm Ionian Sea.

    Gallipoli is our destination for the evening, also known as the Ionian Pearl. Throughout history, Gallipoli has been an important fishing and trading port. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you wish! You may want to visit one of the ancient underground olive-mills still preserved and open to the public, or take a stroll near the harbor. Or you could meander through the narrow alleys and explore the many little churches, or perhaps just relax in one of the town squares, before taking in the breathtaking sunset.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Cycling: 33 miles / 55 km
    Elevation gain: 985 ft / 300 m
    Accommodation: Three or four-star hotel

    Gallipoli, Puglia in Italy
  • Today we’ll leave the Ionian coast and start cycling inland, through sparsely-populated flat countryside, overflown with olive trees and pine forests. We’ll soon understand why Gallipoli was renowned for exporting lamp oil made from olive oil from the rich harvest of this region. We’ll stop off in Nardò, where we can enjoy a cup of coffee in the pretty Baroque town square.

    Once we reach Lecce, we’ll board the train to Ostuni (or jump in the support van, depending on the size of the group). From here, we’ll go on a short uphill ride to the town center and our accommodation. Ostuni, known as the White City, has a rich history and is a beautiful base for the evening. You can spend the evening exploring Ostuni’s narrow streets within its walls, stopping to admire the 15th-century Gothic cathedral.

    Meals: Breakfast and lunch
    Cycling: 33 miles / 50 km
    Elevation gain: 985 ft / 300 m
    Accommodation: Three or four-star hotel

    White facades of Ostuni in Puglia
  • Today we’ll see the landscape change as we ride through the historical Valle d‘Itria. Our route follows a roller coaster country lane, as we ride amongst olive groves, vineyards and traditional stone, masserie (typical farmhouses of Puglia) and trulli (traditional dry stone huts). If time allows, we may get the opportunity to stop off at a local olive oil making factory to sample some oil!

    We’ll pass through the medieval towns of Locorotondo, famous for its white wine, and move on to Cisternino, which boasts a charming historic center and will likely be where we stop for lunch.
    Jumping back on our bikes, we’ll make our way towards Alberobello, passing the famous fairy-tale trulli houses which awarded Alberobello its UNESCO World Heritage site status. A thousand trulli houses, many of which are still lived in, will transport us to an entirely different time, and we’ll grab the opportunity to explore these houses and charming streets around Alberobello after our cycling.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Cycling: 26 miles / 45 km
    Elevation gain: 2,135 ft / 650 m
    Accommodation: Three or four-star hotel

    Cute trulli of Alberobello
  • Leaving Alberobello, our route will take us through the distinctive Apulian landscape, via Putignano and Castellana, where we’ll have the option to visit an impressive underground cave system (known as Murgia dei Trulli). More olive groves and trulli houses follow us as we make our way out of the Valle d‘Itria region.

    An awe-inspiring descent will lead us to the coast, as we make our way to Monopoli, offering a charming mix of Norman, Venetian-Byzantine and Arabic architecture. Then we’ll cycle to Polignano a Mare, a vibrant fishing village, surrounded by clear blue waters. Polignano a Mare is perched on beautiful limestone cliffs, offering panoramic views of the Adriatic coastline. With a charming old town, Polignano a Mare is the ideal location to celebrate our last evening in Puglia.

    Meals: Breakfast and lunch
    Cycling: 30 miles / 50 km
    Elevation gain: 1,315 ft / 400 m
    Accommodation: Three or four-star hotel

    Polignano a Mare on cliffs in Italy
  • Arrivederci Puglia! Time to head to the airport for flights home (approximately 45 minutes to Bari and 1hr to Brindisi). If you don’t want to leave yet, totally understandable! You might want to spend your day in Matera, famous for its historical center, and where inhabitants carved dwellings directly into the ravines made of tuff. These dwellings are called Sassi, and are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just ask us for recommendations on how to spend the rest of the day or stay for a few more days!

    Meals: Breakfast

    Aerial view of Polignano a Mare
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Meet your guide

Saddle Skedaddle
5.00
Saddle Skedaddle
Saddle Skedaddle was founded by a couple of MTB pros (Paul and Andrew) while trapped in a snowstorm during their year-long biking adventure in Chile. They believe travel should move you and that there’s no better way to see a place properly—its people, culture, and natural wonders—than by bike. Saddle Skedaddle currently runs tours in 36 destinations, offering adventure junkies incredible places to tour on two wheels.
5.00 (6 reviews)
Laurel (source: Guide’s website)

Service excellent as always. All the hotels were of a very high standard – spotlessly clean with very comfortable beds and all necessary toiletries provided. The electric bike provided was brilliant with plenty of power for the hills.

Marylou (source: Guide’s website)

Service was exceptional. The guides went far beyond the call of duty ensuring that everyone had the best possible experience… We got to experience the many wonderful flavours of Puglia and to learn something of its history through fascinating explanations of buildings and customs. All of this was done with an infectious joy and an encyclopaedic knowledge of Puglia. The booking was also excellently supported! The energy, enthusiasm and attention to detail was exemplary.

Tom (source: Guide’s website)

It was hard to pick out a favourite day or place as everywhere had something to offer, but the countryside after leaving Gallipoli was just how I imagine Italy and I have never seen anywhere quite like Alberobello – the Trulli town is truly amazing! I would also like to compliment our local guides – not just for keeping us together, keeping us safe and keeping us fed and watered throughout, but for their good humour, knowledge and evident love of their region that shone through and helped make it a very enjoyable week.

Lorna (source: Guide’s website)

Fabulous trip, the guides were knowledgeable, well organised and made sure we got the most out of each day. Lovely cycling at the level (in terms of distance and difficulty) expected. We loved the effort and consideration the guides made in offering us a combination of the best local ingredients on the picnics and the opportunity to sample some very special meals. They ensured we had an excellent selection at reasonable costs. Some of the best food we have ever had on holiday. Their commitment to providing a first class service reminded us why we love Skedaddle holidays

Ray (source: Guide’s website)

Arborobello was as good as it gets. Well organised in a lovely part of Italy, The restaurant selection was superb – excellent food at reasonable prices, all the hotels were of a good standard.

Sophie (source: Guide’s website)

I had a really great time, and I’d definitely recommend (in fact already have!) the tour to others. Alastair was fantastic, so helpful and enthusiastic, and very good at managing the different requirements of the group. Everything felt very well organised, which was great for someone like me, who had never done a cycling holiday before, and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Things like your pre-tour phone call checking to see if I had any questions (even though I didn’t!) were much appreciated too.

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced, local cycling guide with extensive knowledge of the area (and at least one leader qualified in first aid)
      • 8-day guided Puglia bike tour
      • Accommodation for 7 nights in 3 and 4-star hotels (in shared twin or double ensuite rooms)
      • Meals as listed in the itinerary
      • GPX files available on request
      • Support vehicle and luggage transfers
      • Round-trip airport transfers to/from Bari Airport (BRI) or Brindisi Airport (BDS) on designated arrival and departure day
        • Transfers will be coordinated with the group flight schedule, exact shuttle departure times will be provided as soon as flight timetables become available
        • For the September 8 departure, please fly into and return from Bari Airport
        • For the September 28 departure, please fly into and return from Brindisi Airport

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to Italy
      • Bikes (rental available at an additional cost)
      • Single supplement (available at an additional cost)
      • Meals not listed in the itinerary
      • Personal clothing and equipment
      • Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities, etc.)
      • Entrance fees to museums and other attractions enroute
      • Possible city tax that needs to be paid in person
      • Guide gratuities — optional
      • Travel and medical insurance — optional
  • Fitness and experience
    This Puglia bike tour is beginner-friendly! If you can cover daily distances between 15-30 miles (24-48 km), you’re good to go. More day-by-day information is found in the itinerary. In general, there will be no high altitude ascents or steep climbs. If you’re a semi-regular rider (maybe commuting to work or doing some leisure rides on the weekends), look no further.

    Terrain and roads

      • You’ll ride on a mixture of flat and rolling countryside, mainly on quiet country roads. Some roads will have local traffic leading into the towns, but generally the roads in Puglia are quiet. Please be aware that some roads in this area are not in a great condition.
      • While the majority of the route is gentle, Day 2 sees some short, steep climbs, and Day 3 will be the toughest, with the longest distance and some cheeky climbs. This might be challenging, but still very doable for semi-regular riders!
      • Hybrid bikes are recommended for this tour. Road, gravel, and e-bikes are also suitable. E-bikes will make the cheeky climbs a bit more manageable! It’s also a good option when it comes to the warm summer months. E-bikes also come in handy if you want to spend more time exploring the towns and villages along the way.
      • September 8, 2024 is an e-bike only departure!
  • Here’s what you’ll need:

      • Bike — available to rent
      • Helmet — available to rent
      • Comfortable, season-appropriate riding or athletic clothing, preferably moisture wicking or synthetic material
      • Padded shorts
      • Peaked helmet
      • Sneakers or sport shoes
      • Breathable outside layer or jacket
      • Sunglasses
      • Plenty of water, water bottle or hydration bladder
      • Daypack with snacks
      • Biking gloves are optional but recommended
      • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)

    Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

  • Indeed you can! If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to skip the hassle of bringing your own bike to Italy for this Puglia bike tour, your guiding company offers bike rental. Rental bikes come with a pannier rack and one bag. Your guides will be carrying everything else you’ll need, including all necessary spares. Helmets can also be provided upon request.

    Hybrid bikes are recommended for this Puglia bike tour (and these will typically be Specialized Crosstrail Sport hybrid bikes or equivalent), though e-bikes (typically Atala B Tour E-Bikes or equivalent), gravel bikes, or road bikes are also suitable. E-bikes will come in hand for some cheekier climbs or long stretches.

    Keep in mind that September 8, 2024 is an e-bike only departure. If you opt for an e-bike on a standard departure, the pace of the day’s riding will be set by the hybrid riders.

    You can add bike rentals to your booking upon checkout.

  • Group sizes and pricing

      • For this Puglia bike tour, the maximum group size is generally set to 15 participants.
      • It takes a minimum of 6 people for this guided tour to operate.

    Puglia bike tours can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Children as young as 10 are able to go on trips with a legal guardian. They may be able to participate on a case-by-case basis.

    If your group has riders under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to the Puglia region of Italy, you’ll either fly into Bari Airport (BRI) or Brindisi Airport (BDS). Group airport transfers are included in the cost of your tour.

    For the September 8 departure, please fly into and return from Bari Airport.
    For the September 28 departure, please fly into and return from Brindisi Airport.

    Please check with your guides prior to making any travel arrangements to ensure that a minimum number of participants has been reached. That’s when you can also make flight arrangements to fit with the scheduled airport transfers. Please note that if you make travel arrangements outside the scheduled transfer windows, there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.

  • We highly recommend that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance.

    With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more. Travel insurance covers canceled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans.

    We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to. If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

  • A non-refundable $250 deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 2 months (60 days) prior to departure. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies.

      • If the Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to sixty (60) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, the Client will forfeit the deposit.
      • For cancellations thirty (30) to sixty (60) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the trip price.
      • If you cancel your booking less than thirty (30) calendar days prior to the departure date, Client is not entitled to any refund.

    If you need to cancel the trip, please contact us in writing. If you wish to transfer a booking to another person, please write to us at least seven (7) days before your trip. Administration charges may arise.

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