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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: 2018-06-102018-06-17

Trip code: MWV180610

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1495

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Date: 2018-06-172018-06-24

Trip code: MWV180617

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1525

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Date: 2018-06-242018-07-01

Trip code: MWV180624

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1495

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Date: 2018-09-022018-09-09

Trip code: MWV180902

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1525

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Date: 2018-09-092018-09-16

Trip code: MWV180909

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1525

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Date: 2018-09-162018-09-23

Trip code: MWV180916

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1525

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Date: 2018-09-232018-09-30

Trip code: MWV180923

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1525

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Date: 2018-09-302018-10-07

Trip code: MWV180930

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1495

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Date: 2018-10-072018-10-14

Trip code: MWV181007

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1455

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Date: 2018-10-212018-10-28

Trip code: MWV181021

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1435

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Date: 2019-04-072019-04-14

Trip code: MWV190407

Availability: Available

Price: €1485

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Date: 2019-04-212019-04-28

Trip code: MWV190421

Availability: Available

Price: €1525

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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

Price: €1545

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Date: 2019-05-192019-05-26

Trip code: MWV190519

Availability: Available

Price: €1545

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Date: 2019-05-262019-06-02

Trip code: MWV190526

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Price: €1545

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Date: 2019-06-092019-06-16

Trip code: MWV190609

Availability: Available

Price: €1545

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Date: 2019-06-162019-06-23

Trip code: MWV190616

Availability: Available

Price: €1545

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Date: 2019-06-232019-06-30

Trip code: MWV190623

Availability: Available

Price: €1545

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Date: 2019-09-012019-09-08

Trip code: MWV190901

Availability: Available

Price: €1545

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Date: 2019-09-082019-09-15

Trip code: MWV190908

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Price: €1545

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Date: 2019-09-152019-09-22

Trip code: MWV190915

Availability: Available

Price: €1545

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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: €1525

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Date: 2019-10-202019-10-27

Trip code: MWV191020

Availability: Available

Price: €1485

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Customer Feedback

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.

Read full review

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.

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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.

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Cycling Puglia and Matera

Summary:
I have just returned from a fantastic week, exceptionally well organised and
led by Michele our superb guide. Through his infectious laugh, confident and
approachable manner he quickly developed an excellent group spirit. It was
great to cycle through such a rich and varied landscape, visiting many UNSECO
sites. He found amazing restaurants for us to eat at every night and
organised a fantastic array of dishes for us to try. He was well informed
about all the places we visited and for those that wanted to he would show us
around.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
The way the group of like minded individuals quickly gelled as a group and
shared many life experiences and loads of laughs!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Absolutely superb. This was my first trip of this kind. As a sole traveller
he instantly put me at my ease. He was always happy and cheerful, ensuring
everyone thoroughly enjoyed the holiday.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
With the spring flowers, lack of tourists and a great climate for cycling
April was a great time to go.
Invest in a good pair of bib cycling shorts – well worth it!! The cycling was
relaxed and you could cycle at your own pace.

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Cycling in Puglia

Summary:
A varied week of cycling terrains offering an insight into Puglia. The locals
were the friendliest yet and their food spectacular and inexpensive.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
Meeting other nationalities, discussing our differences, laughing about our
shortfalls, learning from each other and growing in strength as a group as
the week progresses.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
I have been on many adventure holidays with different companies and without
doubt Michele – our group leader was the best so far. He manages to lead in
such a way that makes you feel confident and secure in your abilities to
tackle any terraine. His humour ensures no one takes themselves too seriously
and therefore the group gels very quickly and is able to support and
encourage one another all the way.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Remember it’s a holiday and don’t take yourself too seriously – those who
laugh last and make lots of friends!

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MWV – Cycling Puglia and Matera

Summary:
This was my 8th cycling trip and my first time in Puglia and it was a very
enjoyable tour. The overnight towns were all very beautiful each with their
own special charm. All the hotels were located in or within a 15-20 minute
walk to the historic centre. Our group was lots of fun and got along well.
The cycling was fairly relaxed overall but there were some short hills and
one day was quite windy so it was more challenging than other days. Highly
recommend this tour for the fabulous food, wine and sights.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
There were so many but here are a few:
1) view of Matera during breakfast and at night from Il Belvedere hotel
2) Matera at night
3) group dinner at “Soup Kitchen Ristorante” in Matera
4) Ostuni
5) the picnic lunches
6) so many great views of the sea
7) gelato
8) staying in a trulli home in Alberobello
9) coffee stops
9) last but not least: Italian caffe

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Emanuele was great. He was very organized with a calm and laid-back demeanour
which made the trip a true vacation. He kept an eye on everyone and dealt
gracefully with all requests for bike adjustments. Nothing fazed him. The
coffee stops and restaurant suggestions were all wonderful with excellent
Italian food and wine and great-tasting espressos.
And Piero, who drove the support van, prepared very tasty picnic lunches with
plenty of local Italian delicacies and even took special requests
-straciatella!

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
I always tell people who want to do a bike tour that they will enjoy it a lot
more if they are at least comfortable riding a bike – it’s not the time to
learn how to cycle. We were lucky because the weather was perfect for cycling
every day but one day we missed a potential rainstorm so rain gear would be a
good idea. Arrive in Matera a day early to explore the town and stay in Lecce
an extra day to explore that town too.

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

Answer:
I thoroughly enjoyed this guided bike tour. Puglia is a beautiful region of
Italy and I am thankful I was finally able to see it – and cycling seemed the
perfect way to explore it. My only suggestion is to make the trip longer so
that one could stay 2 nights in a couple of places; I felt there was not
enough time to wander the towns, especially Ostuni and Alberobello, but also
Otranto and Gallipoli – they were all beautiful towns. Although I realize
this would make the tour longer and it would end mid-week. I would do the
tour again if this was offered – yes, it was that much fun!

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Cycling in idyllic Puglia/Matera, ice cream, lechessi, vanilla pastries, swimming and sunshine everyday!

Summary:
A thoroughly enjoyable cycling holiday in a beautiful part of Italy with
amazing scenery, food and comfortable hotels.
The group were a friendly and fun bunch of people and we all got on extremely
well.
The cycling was just right with enough variation and climbs to challenge but
not overwhelm.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
Staying in a Trulli house in the beautiful town of Alberobello.
I think cycling to the beach en route to Lecce and swimming in the Adriatic
sea…….bliss.
Fig and ricotta ice cream in Lecce and the cheese tasting lunch en route to
Gallipoli.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Emanuele was an excellent guide and good company throughout the entire
duration of the trip.
His local knowledge of the general area, specific knowledge of the history of
the towns and his recommendations of the local restaurants and wine were
invaluable.
He went to extraordinary lengths to cater to any of our specific requests to
ensure we had the best experience possible and his enthusiasm for the region
was obvious and infectious.
He spoke excellent English and had a great sense of humour.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Book it…. you won’t be disappointed with a single day.

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

Answer:
Looking forward to my next trip with Exodus.

Read full review

Excellent tour in Heel of Italy (Matera to Lecce)- a photographers mecca

Summary:
Emanuele was an excellent guide. He went above and beyond to create a truly
memorable cycling trip for all the people on the tour. This trip is a
photographers mecca, the towns we visited were so unique, beautiful scenery
and visiting UNESCO world heritage sites. An excellent group of like minded
people whose company we all enjoyed sharing a laugh over a beer at the end of
the day.The roads we cycled were very beautiful, mostly very quiet and a
couple of days were more challenging with the hills but quite manageable. The
accommodations were truly memorable from Sassi to Trulli to a Convent.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
Riding the “Roller Coaster” and making it all the way up. A hot day, quiet
road and when we turned the corner the Roller Coaster was waiting for us with
Emanuele at the top to cheer us on and take our picture. Also the
accommodations were very unique and they all looked after us very well.Loved
staying in the Sassi and Trulli accommodations, that was amazing. Loved this
group of people we rode with,chatted with and shared our stories over dinner
and wine. The scenery was spectacular, from the lovely quiet Italian towns to
breathtaking scenery along the coastline.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Emanuele was wonderful and worked so very hard, very attentive and
knowledgeable guide who was always more than willing to answer all our
questions and paid great attention to all our safety.He was a very
experienced cyclist who took us to some excellent foodie restaurants and
shared his love of history and his involvement in reviving the old historical
routes and turn them into cycling routes. He clearly briefed us on the night
before, describing the route, using riders as waymarkers for the route and
designating a rider to sweep at the back. The van was always behind us and
Piero worked very hard to refill all our water bottles, prepare picnics in
the parks for our lunch.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
This is a wonderful trip. Clearly a level 3 Moderate, all of it manageable.
It would be a good idea to put the leaders cell phone into WhatsApp.Hills
were a bit challenging especially on the hot couple of days but never more
than we could manage and often short and sweet! The support van was always
behind us with Piero filling our water and preparing our lunchtime picnics.
There is only 1-2 seats in the van with limited room for extra bikes but it
was never a problem. The group all rode together, Emanuele designated a rider
to sweep at the back.We all had paniers. Only a couple of stops for swimming.

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

Answer:
Wonderful trip, will recommend to all my friends in Canada. Emanuele was an
excellent top notch guide.
A rough profile guide in the brochure/trip notes of each days ride could be
beneficial to show what is in store for the riders on each stage of the
journey. This would be at the guides discretion to modify routes as
conditions dictate.

Read full review

Puglia and Matera cycling

Summary:
Excellent tour.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
Visting Masseria and also cycling along coasts.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Marinella did an excellent job – she did the job of two

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
We had one morning of rain, be prepared for that.

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

Answer:
Puglia is a great place to visit.

Read full review

Cycling Puglis

Summary:
The sun shone,the bikes were sturdy to cope with the bumpy roads and the food
was outstanding. After a long and undulating first day I thought I’d
never keep up. But my legs did get used to the speed of the others and the
hills became just a small challenge. A great holiday with lovely people.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
I cycled to the top of a coastal hill encouraged by our guide Marinella. I
thought I would have to walk but No……..

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Marinla worked so hard she made our holiday. Fixing bikes, sorting out the
route and places to eat,making picnics giving encouragement.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Good sense of humour required!

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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