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Pedalling through Puglia

Salento, the heel of Italy
 
Leisurely routes on quiet roads, including spectacular coastal rides, is the essence of this self-guided cycling holiday, with luggage transported. Experience the region’s fascinating culture and cuisine, admire historic Lecce’s Baroque architecture and stay in traditional farmsteads.
Pedalling through Puglia. 8 nights
Pedalling through Puglia. 8 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A cycling holiday in southern Italy

The gently rolling plains of Salento form the heel of Italy, a bucolic landscape of ancient olive groves, drystone walls and traditional masserie – ancient villa estates that have survived the turmoil of centuries, and which still maintain the countryside in time-honoured fashion.

This land, sandwiched between the Adriatic and Ionian seas, was first settled by Greeks – indeed, in some areas, the ancient language ‘Grika’ is still spoken – then conquered by the Romans, and later still by the Normans.
All have left their mark across the plains and along the coast, where crumbling watchtowers stand in decaying splendour.
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on almost any day of the week, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 13 13 15 18 23 27 30 30 27 22 17 14
    mm 81 65 73 43 32 22 16 31 57 87 90 82
  • Arrival in Vernole
    Night 1: at Masseria Copertini (where you spend one night).
    As your first night's accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of cycling.
  • Vernole to Otranto: 54km
    Begin by following quiet lanes to the walled village of Acaya (whose castle is worth a visit), then cycle through Le Cesine, an important wetland habitat for birds, to reach the sea. Roca Vecchia provides a good opportunity to get off your bikes briefly for a wander along the low cliffs to admire caves and some spectacular seascapes. Passing abandoned watchtowers and freshwater lakes, you continue south along the jagged coastline to reach the historic port of Otranto, where you can stop for a wander and refreshments. Then, pedal along a panoramic road above the coast to reach the wonderfully secluded Masseria Panareo, where you stay for two nights.
    Otranto
  • Circular route from Otranto: 35km
    If you can tear yourself away from the pool, we recommend an easy and delightful circuit exploring a number of villages and sights of the interior, including the Baroque town of Poggiardo and the botanical gardens of La Cutura. You cycle mainly along quiet country lanes among the extensive olive groves and simple but colourful farming country that characterises this corner of Puglia.
  • Otranto to Gagliano del Capo: 42km
    Today you continue south along the wild coastline, which is honeycombed with caves, rock arches and grottoes. Stop off for morning coffee at the elegant spa town of Santa Cesarea Terme, characterised by Art Nouveau and Moorish style buildings, then take our recommended short detour to visit the spectacular Zinzulusa Cave, where there is also a panoramic restaurant for lunch. Later on, pause to admire Castro Marina, a harbour which still has a castle, a 12th-century cathedral and most of its 16th-century ramparts intact; and the small harbour and natural inlet at Tricase Porto, with its tiny beach. Continue along to the coast, eventually turning off to reach Masseria Alcorico, a short distance inland just outside Gagliano del Capo, with its palm-shaded pool.
    Santa Cesarea Terme on the route from Otranto to Gagliano del Capo
  • Circular route from Gagliano del Capo: 31km
    Today’s circuit is a varied and very enjoyable one. First you cross the bottom of Italy’s ‘heel’ along country lanes through olive groves via the interesting town of Patù (whose narrow streets you can explore in seeking out the fascinating Centopietre – a tomb of a ‘hundred stones’), en route to the beaches of Torre Vado on the Ionian coast. We recommend stopping for a delicious seafood lunch here, or perhaps delaying until you reach the port of Marina di Leuca close to De Finibus Terrae (Italy’s ‘Land’s End’). Here you can visit the iconic lighthouse and remarkable basilica, located on the very tip of Puglia where the Ionian and Adriatic seas meet. From here, it’s just a short ride – again inland across colourful agricultural land characterised by deep-red earth and dry-stone walls – back to your hotel.
    Torre Vado beach on the circular route around Gagliano del Capo
  • Gagliano del Capo to Gallipoli: 58km; shorter option: 19km 
    Although lengthy, today’s route around the coast to Gallipoli could scarcely be any simpler (or flatter), and makes for a very enjoyable ride. Pause at inviting beaches and interesting coastal towns before reaching the wide arc of Baia Verde (‘Green Bay’), where we recommend a dip in the sea from the extensive golden sands before continuing to Gallipoli for an overnight stay at Al Pescatore Hotel & Restaurant. Alternatively, you can start with a transfer, leaving you with just a short distance to cover to reach your destination. Whichever route you choose, it’s a joy to explore the Old Town (where your hotel is situated), connected to the mainland via an arched bridge and perched on a limestone islet. Known as Kallipolis (‘beautiful city’) in Greek, Gallipoli’s walls, ramparts and towers once defended the city from foreign raiders, and now shelter it from rough seas, as well as lending it a very special allure.
    Gallipoli
  • Gallipoli to Sternatia: 39km
    Today, you head north-east via the 'Grecia Salentina', a group of sleepy towns and villages where traces of the Greek-Byzantine civilisation linger on and Griko, the idiom or dialect that is close to modern Greek, still survives. Eventually you pass through the small town of Sternatia to reach the elegant and stylish Masseria Chicco Rizzo, located amid its own olive groves.
  • Explore Lecce
    You may wish to do no more than relax by the pool or pootle around locally on your bike. However, our suggestion is to take the train (Monday to Saturday only) to Lecce, the ‘Florence of the South’. It is the most complete Baroque town in southern Europe, whose sumptuous architecture, enhanced by the pale honey-coloured local stone and featuring elaborately sculpted gargoyles and animals, lends it great charm. We provide detailed notes for a city walk taking in the Roman amphitheatre, parts of the old walls, and several of its wonderful churches.
    Lecce
 

Accommodation

You stay in a delightful selection of traditional working masserie or agriturismi – as well as an elegant hotel in Gallipoli.
 

Extend your stay

 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter.
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  • 8 nights: 01 April - 30 June 2019 & 01 September - 31 October 2019

    Start any day except Sunday | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 24 April £1260 £200
    25 April - 23 May £1295 £210
    24 - 30 May £1355 £215
    31 May - 22 June £1395 £230
    1 - 13 September £1395 £230
    14 - 23 September £1355 £215
    24 September - 23 October £1295 £210
    3rd & 4th person discount -£105
    Single traveller supplement £195

    Includes accommodation, meals, bike hire, luggage transfers and any other services integral to the holiday as described, plus cycling notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Electric bikes available: add £90 per person

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Masseria Alcorico
    Sea view with terrace: 01 Apr - 30 Jun 2019 £5
    Sea view with terrace: 04 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £5

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Prices include an extra day’s hire of a standard bike and of an e-bike.
    Masseria Copertini (with dinner) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 30 Jun 2019 £124 £154
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £124 £154
    Masseria Panareo (with dinner) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 31 May 2019 £105 £135
    01 Jun - 30 Jun 2019 £120 £158
    01 Sep - 14 Sep 2019 £120 £158
    15 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £105 £135
    Masseria Alcorico (with dinner) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 30 Jun 2019 £108 £114
    04 Sep - 12 Sep 2019 £120 £126
    13 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £108 £120
    Al Pescatore Hotel & Restaurant (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 17 Apr 2019 £65 £80
    18 Apr - 31 May 2019 £72 £90
    01 Jun - 28 Jun 2019 £85 £100
    29 Jun - 30 Jun 2019 £108 £132
    01 Sep - 14 Sep 2019 £108 £132
    15 Sep - 12 Oct 2019 £85 £100
    13 Oct - 31 Oct 2019 £72 £90
    Masseria Chicco Rizzo (with dinner) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 14 Apr 2019 £114 £146
    15 Apr - 17 Apr 2019 £128 £160
    18 Apr - 30 Apr 2019 £114 £146
    01 May - 30 Jun 2019 £128 £160
    01 Sep - 29 Sep 2019 £128 £160
    30 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £114 £146
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Brindisi, Bari

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Rome.  To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Bari (via Frankfurt) Lufthansa 
    Glasgow - Bari (via Munich) Lufthansa 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Bari Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Bari British Airways,  easyJet 
    Gatwick - Brindisi easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Brindisi British Airways 
    Heathrow - Brindisi (via Milan Linate) Alitalia 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Bari Wizz Air 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Bari Ryanair 
    Stansted - Brindisi Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Bari easyJet 
    Manchester - Brindisi Ryanair 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Rome.  To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £30 per person for our flight booking service (£50 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

What is included
  • 8 nights
  • 7 dinners
    8 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • high-quality bicycle
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help.
  • Our cycle supplier will provide you with a hybrid bike with 27 gears; a waterproof map case on handlebars; panniers/saddlebags; pump; puncture repair kit; and a lock. Electric bikes are available as an upgrade (see price panel), subject to availability, and must be requested at the time of booking. The bike shop also has a limited number of tandems.
  • While we would always recommend that you take your own well-fitting helmet, they can be hired locally for a small fee. Please let us know at the time of booking if you would like to hire a helmet.
  • Yes, we will provide GPX tracks for this holiday prior to departure so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. (We also provide maps and our tried-and-tested route notes.)
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. On mornings when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation so that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.
  • You do need to make sure you’re covered, because it’s you who is responsible for any damage to or loss of the bike during the holiday. You should always lock it (preferably to an immovable object) and remove any easy-to-steal accessories when leaving it unattended. The travel insurance policy that we offer covers you for loss and damage (provided you’ve locked or stored it appropriately). If you are arranging your own insurance, but it doesn’t cover bikes, we can provide bike-only cover for £19 per person. More details >
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £30 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £50 per person. More information on flights >
  • Absolutely! We are experts in tailored rail travel. Making use of sleeper trains or stopovers in cities along the route, we can get you from London to virtually anywhere in mainland Europe. We can even make arrangements to Mallorca, Sicily and Norway with a combination of ferries and rail. Please contact Abi to discuss your plans.
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to Italy, but not a visa (if you are travelling after 31 October 2019, see the Brexit question below for more information). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found through the following NHS link: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/ You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance. EHICs may cease to be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • The principal official language is Italian, though some regions have a second official language, such as South Tyrol, where German is widely spoken. The currency is the Euro. Italian time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • Even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it’s been confirmed that flights will continue as normal and that you won’t need a visa to go on holiday (the limit on stays is 90 days). What you will need if there’s no deal is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your arrival (extra months added because you renewed your passport early do not count) and adequate travel insurance to cover you for accidents and illness in case reciprocal health deals are suspended. If you are driving while on holiday, you will probably need an International Driving Permit (plus a Green Card if you are taking your own car to Europe). More information >
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
Last fetch time is : 7/24/2019 7:26:24 AM