In the deep south of Italy, nestled between the Adriatic and Ionian seas, lies the beautiful region of Puglia, one of Italy’s best-kept secrets when it comes to cycling. This self guided cycling itinerary explores the unique selection of cultural and natural treasures found here in four cycling days. We have selected the best accommodations en route so that you can enjoy your adventure in the most comfortable way.
- Lecce, the stunning Baroque city of southern Italy
- Charming and deluxe accommodation throughout the trip
- Wonderful landscapes of ancient olive groves, vineyards and jagged coastlines
- Authentic country towns and villages of Gallipoli and Otranto
- Friendly people and great traditional Puglian culinary specialities
- Beautiful sandy beaches and turquoise sea
Click to view map
Day 1: Arrive in Lecce
Arrive in the Baroque masterpiece of southern Italy: Lecce has a lovely historical centre (centro storico) where you can easily spend a day exploring its picturesque little lanes and discovering its treasures: the architecture and the Baroque churches. This lovely town will charm you with its attractive countryside, seashore and small towns close to it.
- Accommodation: 4-star hotel in Lecce (Grand Hotel di Lecce or similar)
Day 2: Lecce to Gallipoli | 50 km
Today you will pedal across the flat countryside, surrounded by olive trees, pine forests and dunes. The natural morphing of the scenery is spectacular, and the area is very sparsely inhabited, so you will be able to enjoy a beautiful quiet section. Pass ancient seaside watch towers as you approach the medieval fishing town of Gallipoli, bursting with life.
- Cycling for the day: 50 km, approx 5 hours, ↑200 m ↓140 m
- Accommodation: 4-star hotel in Gallipoli (Hotel 33 Baroni or similar)
Day 3: Gallipoli to Santa Maria di Leuca | 50 km
A coastal road takes you to the southernmost point of Puglia, which divides the Ionian and Adriatic Seas. But first, take a swim in the turquoise waters of paradise at the Torre del Pizzo beach and lie upon the fine white sands. Then continue south to Santa Maria di Leuca, a magnificent village of fantastic beaches and wacky, wild, colourful mansions.
- Cycling for the day: 50 km, approx 5 hours, ↑200 m ↓170 m
- Accommodation: 4-star hotel in Santa Maria di Leuca (Hotel La Terra or similar)
Day 4: Santa Maria di Leuca to Otranto | 52 km
Revel in the sea breezes as you ride along the high coastal route, winding your way along the gentle, undulating ridges of the cliffs. Stop for a glimpse of the spectacular cave, the Grotta Zinzulusa, and then continue to Otranto, a Greek-then-Roman port town, often frequented by merchants and thrill seekers in the past.
- Cycling for the day: 52 km, approx 5 hours, ↑520 m ↓530 m
- Accommodation: 4-star hotel in Otranto (Hotel San Giuseppe or similar)
Day 5: Otranto to Lecce | 53 km
Today you visit the Alimini Lakes, which run parallel to the sea. Cycle your way through the Greek Salento countryside, where traces of the former colonies are still present in the dialect, cuisine and bright style of architecture. The white cliffs shine against the turquoise blue of the sea. Returning to Lecce, you will have the rest of the day to enjoy the charming city and reflect on your cycling adventure.
- Cycling for the day: 53 km, approx 5 hours, ↑120 m ↓90 m
- Accommodation: 4-star hotel in Lecce (Grand Hotel di Lecce or similar)
Day 6: Departure
The trip and our services end after breakfast, unless you have booked extra nights in Lecce or a transfer to the airport.
What to Expect
Standard accommodation for this trip is in selected 4-star hotels. Some accommodations have a swimming pool. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us, and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.
Click to view default hotels
- Hotel La Terra 4* (Santa Maria di Leuca)
- Hotel 33 Baroni 4* (Gallipoli)
- Hotel San Giuseppe 4* (Otranto)
- Grand Hotel di Lecce 4* (Lecce)
*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is included each morning. When no restaurant is available on the route, lunches and snacks can either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. For the evening meals, dinner is available either from the restaurant in your hotel or the restaurants in the town where you stay overnight.
Difficulty & terrain
The rides go mostly on well-asphalted country lanes and secondary roads with little traffic, however, note that sometimes you will have to cycle on more highly-trafficked roads when approaching and riding in the larger towns. Average daily distances of 50 km, with daily elevation gain ranging from 120 m to 550 m. The trip is suitable for regular cyclists who have an active lifestyle (read more about difficulty grades). Once you arrive at your first hotel you will receive a detailed information package, including a destination manual, route notes, and maps. Prior to the start date, you will also be sent GPS tracks, which you can load on any Garmin device or smartphone application that you are used to working with.
When to go
The trip can start each Sunday between the beginning of April and mid-July and between the beginning of September and mid-October (please note that it can be scorching in July). For groups of and larger than 4 people, the trip can depart on any day of the week, subject to availability. The tour can also be arranged on other dates for less than 4 people against a supplement. Puglia enjoys a comfortable Mediterranean climate with hot sunny summers and mild winters. There is an average of 300 sunny days in Puglia. Spring is characterised by the quick return of warmer and sunnier weather. The average temperatures in April and May are 14°C going up to a comfortable 18°C by the beginning of June. Summer lasts from June through September and is hot and sunny with average temperatures of 21°C in September and 24°C in July and August. Days in October are still warm, with average temperatures of 17-21°C.
Click to view travel options
By train or bus
From Bari (BRI) or Brindisi (BDS) airports, you need to reach the relative city stations. Train connections to Lecce are available from there. On departure from Lecce you can take the direct train to reach both Bari or Brindisi train stations, where you find connections to their airports. For more information about trains visit the website www.trenitalia.it
- 5 nights in 4-star hotels
- 5 breakfasts
- Luggage transfer on all cycling days (1 piece per person)
- A detailed information pack, route notes and maps with tracks
- 24/7 phone support by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches and dinners, drinks and snacks
- Bike rental
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Local tourist tax & entry fees (payable on the spot)
- Personal expenses
- Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘Included’ in the programme
Options, extras & supplements
- Supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room / single use of a double room
- This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers
- Bike rental, including theft insurance. Extending the bike rental is not possible
- Airport transfers
- Extra nights in Lecce only
In case you would like to rent a bike from us, we can offer you a standard hybrid bike, trekking bike or E-bike. All our bikes are equipped with a map holder and small front bag, 1 rear side bag, 1 repair kit, odometer, 1 padlock.
Sample models: Longo Hybrid, FRW Trekking, Atala Bfree