Start your pedalling holiday through Puglia in style, with a magical stay under the conical roof of one of the unique trulli houses in Alberobello, a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site. Cycle through rolling vineyards and olive groves in the lush Valle d’Itria, en route to discover the lavishly Baroque treasures of Ostuni, ‘Città Bianca’, then let the train take the strain to Lecce, the ‘Florence of the South’. Back on two wheels, fortified settlements line your route near the Adriatic coast where flamingos grace the calm waters of ‘I Laghi Alimini’ just north of the Aragonese castle at Otranto. Before returning to Lecce, a pedal across Italy’s heel leads to fashionable Gallipoli by the Ionian Sea, brimful of more Baroque treats, beautiful beaches, bars and seafood restaurants.
is in Alberobello, Ostuni, Lecce (2 nights), Otranto and Gallipoli. Selected properties include three 4 star hotels, one 3 star hotel and one unique trullo house. We are pleased to discuss details on request.
Full of real local flavours, contrasting countryside, coastal and cultural treats, this tour within the heel of Italy, around the Itria Valley, the Adriatic coast and Gallipoli on the Ionean coast, certainly puts Puglia on the map as a great destination for a rewarding and gentle cycling adventure. The route echoes our IPuML9 tour, omitting the more challenging stretch from the rocky Basilicata province.
Day One - Arrive & explore
UNESCO World Heritage Site, Alberobello, nestles within the soft, green countryside of Puglia’s Valle d’Itria and is a settlement of over 1,500 single storey, white houses with grey conical roofs – the Trulli. Settle into your own cosy ‘trullo’ before wandering the ‘trulli’-lined streets to get the all- round experience one of Europe’s most unusual urban spectacles. A bizarre cross between a kiln, tepee or even an igloo to look at, you’ll find ‘trulli’ used as churches (Sant ‘Antonio) and shops, artist studios and dwellings, bars and restaurants. Look out across the shingle-tile or ‘chiancarelle’ roofs to spot strange painted symbols and ornate finials. Overnight in Alberobello in an authentic ‘trullo’ house.
Day Two – All kinds of architecture along the Valle d’Itria
Head for the Piazza Sacramento to take a look at Trullo Sovrano, the only multi-storied trullo house in Alberobello before setting off on your ride to Locorotondo. Otherwise known as the ‘balcony of the Valle d’Itria’, this well-rounded town offers some rather different architectural delights. In contrast to the curvaceous trulli, Locorotondo’s ‘cummerse’ are all pointed gables and straight lines and are more Baltic than Mediterranean in feel. The box houses seem strangely incongruous with the town’s curving hillscape and circular street plan which gave it the name ‘loco rotondo’. Ride on through the ‘balcony’s’ olive groves and vineyard vistas towards the towers or the charming, white-washed village of Cisternino. Your final stop is Ostuni, the ‘Città Bianca’ (white city) is mighty in comparison – and fascinating too with lavish Baroque and medieval architecture and many influences in evidence from the Greeks (who named it) to the Bourbons and Byzantines! Overnight in Ostuni.
Miles: 22 Kms: 36
Day Three – Train transfer to Lecce, the Florence of the South
Don’t miss the Baroque Palazzo Ducale with its 12th century castle ruins or the breath-taking view over the Rione Terra towards the Adriatic from the cathedral before you set off from Ostuni. Today you let the train take the strain as you travel to Lecce, aka the 'Florence of the South’. The university town is a masterpiece of the Baroque with opulent flourishes swirling about its many palazzi, churches and vibrant piazzas. Must-sees include the fantastic façade of Santa Croce Basilica in the Piazza Duomo or the history museum in the former Santa Chiara Monastery with its spectacular views of the town’s Roman amphitheatre. Overnight in Lecce.
Miles: 3 Kms: 5 (between hotels and stations)
Day Four – Coasting along the Adriatic: castles, coves & even flamingos
The coast might be calling, but don’t miss the impressive fortified village of Acaya with its medieval castle, ramparts and wide moat. It’s just a short pedal from Lecce en route for the Adriatic Sea. As you approach the coast, stretches of thick pine forests finally reveal wide bays and sheltered coves at Torre dell’ Orso, where the towering cliffs provide fortifications of a more natural kind. Continue south to reach the two interconnecting lakes known as ‘I Laghi Alimini’, home to white and grey herons and flocks of flamingos, then head on to Oranto, Italy’s most easterly city and a real melting pot of Greek, Turkish and Aragonese influences. Explore the ‘Castello Aragonese’ and nearby Norman cathedral amidst this massively fortified city of the edge of the Adriatic. Overnight in Otranto.
Miles: 34 Kms: 55
Day Five - Across Italy’s heel to the Ionian Sea
Steer inland for a day of Salento coast to coast cycling from Otranto to Gallipoli. Corigliano’s castle is an en-route must-see with its beautiful Baroque façade, but this is a day to enjoy the Puglian countryside as you wind your way through vineyards, olive and almond groves, perhaps stopping off for bowl of ‘orecchiette’, Puglia’s famous little ear-shaped pasta or even a hearty serving of ‘maccheroni al forno’, an interesting pasta-meatball concoction served up under a pie crust! If you have an appetite for seafood, then best save yourself for Gallipoli though where fishermen sell their catch from quayside stalls and there are superb fish restaurants to savour. Gallipoli is known for its fashionable bars and beautiful beaches and is a great place to take a ‘passeggiata’ (evening pre-dinner stroll) along impressive harbour ramparts or past the town’s noble palaces and churches. Overnight in Gallipoli.
Miles: 37 Kms: 60
Day Six - Gems of a golden age, en route to Lecce
Before you leave, you’ll want to get another glimpse of the island heart of Gallipoli town with its castle culture and baroque flourishes, the Palazzo Senape De Pace perhaps or just weave your way through its labyrinth of streets and alley ways. From Gallipoli it’s then time to head north along the coast before steering inland to Galatone, home to the exceptional Baroque church in the Piazza Santissimo Crocifisso. A little further on, Galatina is another of Puglia’s many hidden gems with its walls and gateways, the Cathedral of St Catherine’s 15th century frescoes and intricate doorways and balconies of the aristocratic ‘palazzi’. Enjoy the feast, but may be just as an appetiser perhaps in the knowledge that your final night will be in Lecce, ‘The Florence of the South’.
Miles: 35 Kms: 56
Day Seven - Depart after breakfast
Depart after breakfast, or take time for a last wander around the lavish town of Lecce.
Once you have decided on the ideal Cycle Break in England or Europe, please fill out your details on our booking formProceed to Book
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