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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. Overnnight
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: 2017-09-242017-10-01

Trip code: MWV170924

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1375

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Date: 2017-10-012017-10-08

Trip code: MWV171001

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1375

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Date: 2017-10-222017-10-29

Trip code: MWV171022

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1395

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Date: 2018-04-082018-04-15

Trip code: MWV180408

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1435

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Date: 2018-04-292018-05-06

Trip code: MWV180429

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1455

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Date: 2018-05-132018-05-20

Trip code: MWV180513

Availability: Available

Price: €1495

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Date: 2018-05-202018-05-27

Trip code: MWV180520

Availability: Available

Price: €1495

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Date: 2018-05-272018-06-03

Trip code: MWV180527

Availability: Available

Price: €1495

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Date: 2018-06-102018-06-17

Trip code: MWV180610

Availability: Available

Price: €1495

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Date: 2018-06-172018-06-24

Trip code: MWV180617

Availability: Available

Price: €1525

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Date: 2018-09-022018-09-09

Trip code: MWV180902

Availability: Available

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

Price: €1495

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Date: 2018-10-072018-10-14

Trip code: MWV181007

Availability: Available

Price: €1455

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Date: 2018-10-212018-10-28

Trip code: MWV181021

Availability: Available

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

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Price: €1525

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Date: 2019-05-052019-05-12

Trip code: MWV190505

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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

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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

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Price: €1545

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Date: 2019-06-162019-06-23

Trip code: MWV190616

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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

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

Cycling in puglia and matera

Summary:
Beyond expectation in all ways, culture, food, architecture, and a guide that
was simply perfect and a credit to the company

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
Seeing the wonderful cities and the pleasurable cycling combined with a guide
second to none

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
It would not be possible to find a better guide. Marinella was attentive, had
a great knowledge of history and culture and a great sense of humour

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Request Marinella and book today

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

Answer:
Thank you to all the exodus team for your hard work behind the scenes

Read full review

Cycling Puglia and Matera

Summary:
Wonderful scenery, historic towns, lovely food food and wine and a great tour
leader.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
Cycling along the Adriatic coast

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Mariella was fantastic – very knowledgeable about the area, had a great sense
of humour, and went out of her way to make the trip special for everyone.
She even organised a toast for our anniversary. The guided tours were also a
bonus.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Watch out for loose gravel and potholes

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

Answer:
The terrain is not too challenging and should be suitable for cyclists of
most levels

Read full review

Cycling Puglia and Matera

Summary:
It was with some trepidation that my wife and I joined this guided tour. Not
only was it the first time we have participated in an organised group tour,
it also involved some serious cycling. We need not have worried. Our tour
guide, Marinella, was superb in ensuring that everyone had the best possible
time throughout the week’s tour. Puglia was a gorgeous region to tour, with
many beaches and a variety of sights. The accommodation was very good with
the highlight being the overnight stay at the renovated monastery near
Avantrana. Our group was a mix of nationalities and a significant bonus was
the opportunity to engage with these people and learn a little about them and
their home countries. The cycling varied from 45 to 70+ km each day, which
both my wife and I found manageable. We had both done a reasonable amount of
preparation, which was extremely helpful.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
We encountered some heavy rain on day 2 of the tour. It really belted down
during the last hour of the ride. When we arrived at our overnight stay I was
having a bit of a grizzle about the wet weather to one of the other riders,
Chris, from New Zealand. She said that when the rain was at its heaviest she
was having a laugh! She was participating doing something she enjoyed, and
yes, the conditions weren’t ideal, but she had many friends back home who
would be tucked up in front of the fire, but she was getting out and about.
An inspirational moment for me!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Marinella fulfilled her group leader role with flying colours. She loves
Puglia, knows it well, and was passionate about sharing her knowledge. She
worked extremely hard at making everyone feel part of the group by suggesting
places to eat at night, and also through organising our lunch each day. The
group was a large one, and I felt that she should have had an extra support
person who could have ridden with the group. We had a back up vehicle but it
was not always possible for it to follow the group. If there was a mechanical
issue, (and there were a few), Marinella would have to back track and attempt
to remedy it.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Do your preparation on the bike. The distances are not huge, but it’s
constant each day. Although the route is mainly flat there are some hilly
sections.

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

Answer:
September was a very good time to do the tour. Overall the weather was very
good. Hot enough to stop for a swim most days, but not too hot to ride.

Read full review

Cycling Puglia and Matera

Summary:
This was a hugely enjoyable trip made by our delightful and knowledgeable
guide, Marinella Bozzetti . The tour took us through beautiful countryside
and fascinating historic towns and the distances and hills were reasonable
for regular cyclists with a good level of fitness. I would rate the trip as
excellent but felt our tour guide could have done with more back up – at the
very least there should be a spare bike of equivalent standard so that bikes
could easily be replaced if necessary.

Rating: 4

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

Answer:
We especially loved the farm house and beautiful rooms in the monastery. In
better weather the luxurious pool would have been a highlight but despite the
storm we enjoyed the comfort and wonderful setting. Swimming in the Ionian
Sea one day and the Adriatic the next was also memorable as was the stunning
coastal road between Gallipoli and Ortranto.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
We all loved Marinella – she was a constant delight. Funny, charming and
unfailingly good humoured despite the many ” trrrragedies” of our trip ie
thunder, lightening and torrential rain. We were all soaked to the skin but
thanks to Marinella we came through smiling. She went well beyond her duties
to provide informative guided tours at every stopping point and made sure
that we were well looked after in a variety of traditional restaurants. She
dealt diplomatically and with admirable patience with the one difficult
member of the group.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Make sure you do have a reasonable level of fitness because 6 consecutive
days in the saddle are quite demanding and this tour does include a number of
longish hills. Heat or bad weather both increase the difficulty but the
rewards are worth it. A number in our group were in our 60s and this tour was
well within our capabilities but we were all reasonably experienced cyclists.
A spare pair of shoes would have been welcome.

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

Answer:
We enjoyed the variety of accommodation and also the mix of nationalities in
our group. This holiday is about much more than just the cycling – this is a
little known but fascinating and beautiful part of Italy but it was the
bonding within the group and the personality of our leader that made it so
special.

Read full review

Cycling in Pugia

Summary:
We had 6 fabulous days of cycling through amazing sceneries and villages .
Always changing , never the same always exciting to get to a new place
discovering different foods, wines , gelatto flavours!

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
I think of what stands out the most of this trip is how our tour guide
Marinella embraced each and everyone of the group and we felt like a big
family gathering and had a blast! All because of Marinella’s attention to our
well being.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
The most professional guide ever.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Make sure you train for hills . Even if only few of them they are still
hills!

Read full review

Welcome to the heel of Italy

Summary:
This was a great, relaxing cycle holiday to the heel of Italy, with a good
mix of people. We had quite a large group and exceptional weather of 35-40
degrees in September, which was a little higher than the expected temperature
for that time of year.

What a beautiful part of Italy to visit and cycling was a fantastic way to
explore it.

I loved having the time to indulge in the cafe/gelato culture at lunch or
after the day cycling and the freedom to chill before the optional group
dinner or doing something by yourself.

In some of towns, where we experienced an increase in traffic, it was still
relatively ‘cycle friendly’. There were many locals who cycle,
regardless of age and others self-touring – so it was a very positive cycling
experience.

Rating: 4

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

Answer:
The towns/villages that we stayed in were really beautiful, but I think the
Trulli house in Alberobello and the stay at the Masseria, made the trip a
little more special.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Our group leaders were Marinella and Emanuele and their individual skills
complemented the trip perfectly as Marinella was an excellent organizer, a
special mention has to be for the recommendations for dinner and the
arranging of lunches each day – no small task. Emanuele was our cycle
leader who negotiated the route and pace for us and sorted out any mechanical
issues that arose (very few) and was keen to invest time in a brief cultural
highlights tour after the cycling had finished for the day for those who were
interested.

I have always maintained that an Exodus trip can be made/broken by the
quality of the group leaders – I would say that both Marinella and Emanuele
enhanced my experience of this trip.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Puglia is considered to be the flattest part of Italy – but that means the
land is undulating rather than ‘alpine’ hilly. For anyone considering
this trip who may be a tiny bit worried about hill climbing – don’t be,
the pace ranged from 15-20 kph, a speed which suited our group well.

Whilst I didn’t do it myself, a day before the trip in Matera and after the
trip finishes in Lecce looks really worthwhile, I’ll just have to come back
at some point.

As with any cycle trip, if you have your own seat/pedals – do take them,
the bikes available on this trip were sturdy but basic.

For organizing the daily lunches, the leaders ask for 50 euro per person at
the beginning of the trip. This then allows them to organize a really good
lunch each day and any balance paid back at the end of the trip – this is a
good option and one less thing to worry about. Given the quality of the
lunches on offer, the money was well spent.

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

Answer:
Even though we had a couple of beach stops, it would be nice if one of the
days could finish at the beach and allow people to spend the afternoon there
(the water is so nice) although I appreciate that cost/accommodation
availability may be an issue.

Read full review

A great Italian cycling experience

Summary:
Whilst this trip was our first Exodus experience we were unsure of what to
expect in terms of cycling difficulty, organisation, hotels and group
dynamics. We need not have worried!! This guided trip was maybe very slightly
more challenging than we expected due to hotter weather than normal in
September, however the leadership dealt with these conditions well allowing
the whole group to complete a rewarding week. The over night stays allowed us
to experience a range of accommodation including a night in a Trulli house
and all were clean and tidy. For us, one of the highlights was the group we
met and spent time with. We got to know some great people along the way –
chatting on route and over evening meals (although this is not compulsory!)

Rating: 4

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

Answer:
Having experienced some fantastic places along the route, for us the finale
in Lecce with a group of people we’d got to know was very special and a
stunning end to a great week.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
We were fortunate enough to have two leaders and both did all they could to
make the trip a special week. They had the local knowledge, great
organisational skills and above all a great sense of humour!

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
If we were to help inform anyone considering this trip, we’d definately
recommend this for anyone wanting to see southern Italy and who has done some
cycling leading up to the week. We decided to add an extra day at the start
in Matera and at the end in Lecce which we’d reccommend to discover these
beautiful places. The bikes were good however we decided to take our own
saddle and pedals which we’d suggest if you want a little more “touch point”
familiarity.

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

Answer:
If it helps make your mind up….we are already looking into our next holiday
with Exodus!

Read full review

Published & Matera Cycling

Summary:
Sara was an outstanding guide who enhanced our trip.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
Cycling through the trellis.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Sara was capable, caring, warm, funny, and she made the extra effort to tell
us the history of various locations and sites.

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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