Enjoy old Italian towns and villages of the region
Visit one of the many distinct and beautiful sights of this lovely region

Cycling Puglia & Matera

8 days
Site savings
$2,235 USD

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.

  • Category
    Cultural & Historical
  • Type
    Fully Guided
  • Duration
    8 days
  • Culture Level
  • Skill Level
    2 - Novice
  • Activity Level
    3 - Active
  • Elevation
    2 - Moderate
  • Terrain
  • Distance
    221.2 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    36.7 miles
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from 29 reviews
Overall Rating:

A terrific trip through Puglia

Beverly S
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

A fabulous, but not too difficult cycling trip through Puglia, stopping off in lovely hilltop towns and other places of interest. Sampling delicious local food. Varied accommodation. Great scenery.
Loved the sampling of fresh mozzarella, followed by delicious al fresco lunch at the farm. The food & wine was superb each evening, eating local produce and delicacies. We cycled through small country lanes with lovely scenery en route. Stayed in variety of accommodation which also helped make the trip, especially enjoyed the converted convent in the olive farm (with the welcoming swimming pool). It was great to do a walking tour (optional though no one declined) each evening with the tour leader of the historic towns we stayed in.
Emmanuele was a fabulous leader, and went out of his way to ensure we got the most of out trip, in his local area. His knowledge was great not just on local history but on food & drink too. If group members had specific requests he tried to fit these in too, without any detriment to the others. Although there were those with different cycling abilities on the trip he ensured all got as much as possible out of the days riding and no one was ever left struggling behind.
Take a waterproof what ever the time of the year. Be prepared for a windy ride when you head north up on the west coast road on the last day.
Only downside was olive oil tasting in the evening at the farm, which was a little long and drawn out. Despite that it was very interesting but could have been shortened, as sitting at a table after a long hot day meant staying alert or even awake was difficult!

Overall Rating:

Fantastic trip

Nikki Groarke
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

Thoroughly enjoyed my first cycling adventure, which exceeded expectations. The scenery was beautiful, a mixture of olive groves, coast lines, varied villages and country lanes. Matera as a starting point was stunning, but the dramatic weather as we set off was challenging, to say the least. Cycling 43 miles in torrential rain and wind through floods, with shower caps over our helmets, was a group bonding experience like no other! Thankfully the rest of the week was perfect weather, if a little windy at times. All the places we stayed in were well chosen - I especially enjoyed the farm house with its amazing rooms and lovely pool. The meals, eaten together, were delicious and lots of fun, with a mixture of new food to try and copious amounts of local wine to wash it down, all in the knowledge we would be working off the calories the next day.

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The best moment was sweeping down a hill to the coast the first time. Arriving at an empty white sandy beach as the sun shone and the waves lapped was magical, particularly after our rainy start a couple of days earlier. Then cycling through a market and fishing village was a great experience. I also felt a great sense of achievement when I reached the top of the third killer hill on day five without stopping, and realised my fitness levels had improved as the week went on.
Antonio was a fab leader, very knowledgeable about the area, funny and helpful. Appreciated his singing (!), and the special tour we had of his home town of Bari due to our flight being later than usual. He went above and beyond the call of duty.
I went on my own and was a little nervous but needn't have been. It is very much a group experience and you soon feel like you have known people for ages. Even for a 'moderate' trip you need to be quite fit. The pace was faster than I would go on my own, (12-18 mph on the flat depending on pot holes and wind), but I managed to keep up, and speedier cyclists were happy to wait for the slower ones as we puffed up the hills. The bikes were great with good gears and comfortable saddles. Check the weather forecast and don't assume because it's Southern Italy it will be warm. Evenings were sometimes chilly and I was glad of the fleece I threw in at the last minute. I had taken a warmish waterproof but some others hadn't and suffered on our wet day.
Thanks for a great holiday adventure. I will definitely be back, hopefully doing the Prosseco hills next year, and potentially with some friends who followed my Facebook posts and want to come too!

Overall Rating:

Cycling in Puglia

Liz Kreibich
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

Thank you for an excellent first cycling holiday. I loved every minute... even the ‘undulations’ !!! I had not cycled more than 15miles in one go ever, but felt I was so strong by the end of the 6 days. A great personal challenge! It was great being in a big group, and soon got to know the people we had just met. Manuela was a tremendous guide & Pierrot was a superb support guy... providing us with healthy snacks , fresh water & delicious local food picnics. This trip is to be recommended. I will definitely go back to the area. The bicycles we hired were of a superb quality & very comfortable to ride.
When I reached the top of some pretty long steep hills I felt elated! I couldn’t believe how strong I had become by the end of the 6 days!
Manuela was a fantastic guide & he looked after us all so well. His restaurant recommendations we fab, and his local knowledge was so informative. I was amazed at how fluent in English he was & he even got our sense of humour!
Prepare well in advance.. some good quality padded cycling shorts & chamois cream to be recommended!
We didn’t get much ‘down time’ at the end of the day, but I think that was because we were a slowish group.

Overall Rating:

Wonderful holiday

Denis Kaye
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

Perfect combination of good cycling, great company, excellent accommodation and fine food and drink. The negatives? Be prepared for even more potholes than in the uk and many of the roads are lined with garbage/rubbish which spoils the natural beauty. Antonio was brilliant with endless patience, great sense of humour and fluent English

Overall Rating:

Exceeded my expectations; and they were pretty high!

Mike Baker
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

This was my third cycling holiday with [the tour operator] and I can't wait to book the next one. Once again, I chose somewhere where I had no previous knowledge, thus making it a bit of an 'Adventure. Inevitably slightly apprehensive about how well I would fit in to a group of sixteen people that I had never met before. My worries were needless; we all got on famously and just got on with enjoying the well organised trip. Great hotels, food and wine. Distances not too challenging, although the heat was at times. All breaks, rest stops and overnights were entirely adequate. Important to bear in mind that this is first and foremost a cycling holiday. There were many occasions when, as a keen photographer, I would like to have stopped but that wouldnt have been fair on the 'Back Marker'.
Each day had its magic moments but the selection of fascinating hotels could never be described as ordinary. Breakfast overlooking a ravine in Matera, rooms in a former Palace and a night in a former farmhouse (Masseria) surrounded by olive trees and vines. So many great memories...
Emanuel was excellent. He kenew his bikes and how to treat a group of intrepid explorers, Top man!
Be prepared for heat: it was up to 30C even in mid September. However, there was always plenty of fresh cold water in the backup vehicle with Piero.

Overall Rating:


(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

Great trip all round.

Overall Rating:

Allora, Andiamo!

Margie McKenzie
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

This was my 2nd cycle trip (both with the tour operator). And it did not disappoint. Fabulous and challenging. This is a beautiful region in Italy. We enjoyed great food and wine and lovely accommodations. The weather was hot and sunny, although we did out-cycle a few potential storms! The group of 16 were terrific and our leader, Emanuele, was wonderful ~ so well organised, and tireless in his efforts to meet all the diverse needs.
Being from eastern Ontario, where the land is quite flat, I was really challenged on our first day out by the length, pace, heat, and "undulating" terrain. Our last day involved cycling against some pretty significant winds. By the end of the week, apart from being very sad it was over, I really felt good about my accomplishment and becoming a better cyclist as a result . I had great encouragement from our whole group and from Emanuele.
Emanuele is just a wonderful person and excellent leader. He is kind and organised and hard working. His goal is to make sure that everyone is enjoying their experience. He really loves and is proud of the whole region. And it showed in his great story-telling and history lessons. He was able to answer all our questions, and to take us places and point out so many things we would have missed otherwise.
Enjoy the challenge ~ there are definitely hills and there can be winds. Be prepared. Although, my British buddies seemed to find them much less surprising and challenging than I did!
I loved this region ~ the food and architecture, the people, the landscapes. You definitely won't be disappointed. Our group of 16 were a really fun and generous crew. So many experiences and adventures to share over the days and the evenings together.

Overall Rating:

An Interesting Area of Italy

Graham Swift
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

A great week of cycling staying in fascinating old towns with narrow picturesque streets. Whilst the countryside is no match for Tuscany there are some nice sections and some glorious coastlines. Another star of the holiday is the food of the region, certainly some great group meals enjoying excellent food and wine.
Excellent group leader with good local knowledge and always happy to help resolve any issues that crop up along the way.
Whilst the mileages were ok and clearly stated in the trip notes, I do feel that [the tour operator] should state the average cycling pace expected throughout an holiday such as this. Personally whilst I cycle these mileages at home but I nevertheless found the pace a tad quicker than we cycle at home.

Overall Rating:

Fantastic holiday experience

David Penny
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

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 [the tour operator] 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 trip - we throughly reccommend it!
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.
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.
Thanks to all who cycled with us -we loved your company it was a memorable holiday.

Overall Rating:

Total harmony

John Mitchell
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

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!
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.
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.

Overall Rating:

Amazing Trip!

Ted Cornell
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

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.
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.
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.
Good idea to spend an extra day in Matera and Lecce, lots to see there.
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.

Overall Rating:

Cycling Puglia and Matera

(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

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

Overall Rating:

Cycling in Puglia

Suzanne Potts
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

A varied week of cycling terrains offering an insight into Puglia. The locals were the friendliest yet and their food spectacular and inexpensive.
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.
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.
Remember it's a holiday and don't take yourself too seriously - those who laugh last and make lots of friends!

Overall Rating:

MWV - Cycling Puglia and Matera

Carlo b
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

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.
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
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
Emanuele was great. He was very organised 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!
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.
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 realise 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!

Overall Rating:

Judy Baulf
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

Cycling in idyllic Puglia/Matera, ice cream, lechessi, vanilla pastries, swimming and sunshine everyday!
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.
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.
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.
Book it.... you won't be disappointed with a single day.

Overall Rating:

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

Alison MacDonald
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Overall Rating:

Puglia and Matera cycling

Gunnar Joakimsson
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

Excellent tour.
Marinella did an excellent job - she did the job of two
We had one morning of rain, be prepared for that.
Puglia is a great place to visit.

Overall Rating:

Cycling Puglis

Christine Nichol
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

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.
I cycled to the top of a coastal hill encouraged by our guide Marinella. I thought I would have to walk but No........
Marinla worked so hard she made our holiday. Fixing bikes, sorting out the route and places to eat,making picnics giving encouragement.
Good sense of humour required!

Overall Rating:

Cycling in puglia and matera

Shaun Roper
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

Beyond expectation in all ways, culture, food, architecture, and a guide that was simply perfect and a credit to the company
Seeing the wonderful cities and the pleasurable cycling combined with a guide second to none
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
Request Marinella and book today

Overall Rating:

Cycling Puglia and Matera

Hilary Sayers
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

Wonderful scenery, historic towns, lovely food and wine and a great tour leader.
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Cycling along the Adriatic coast
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.
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Watch out for loose gravel and potholes
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The terrain is not too challenging and should be suitable for cyclists of most levels

Overall Rating:

Cycling Puglia and Matera

Brendan Watty
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

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.
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!
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.
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.
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.

Overall Rating:

Cycling Puglia and Matera

Petrina Rance
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Overall Rating:

Cycling in Puglia

Helene Vinet
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

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!
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.
The most professional guide ever.
Make sure you train for hills . Even if only few of them they are still hills!

Overall Rating:

Welcome to the heel of Italy

Gail Steers
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

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.
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.
Our group leaders were Marinella and Emanuele and their individual skills complemented the trip perfectly as Marinella was an excellent organiser, 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.
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 organising the daily lunches, the leaders ask for 50 euro per person at the beginning of the trip. This then allows them to organise 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.
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

Overall Rating:

A great Italian cycling experience

Kathryn Booth
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

Whilst this trip was our first [tour operator] 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!)
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.
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!
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.
If it helps make your mind up....we are already looking into our next holiday with [the tour operator]!

Overall Rating:

Published & Matera Cycling

Jereldine Wade
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

Sara was an outstanding guide who enhanced our trip.
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Cycling through the trellis.
What did you think of your group leader?
Sara was capable, caring, warm, funny, and she made the extra effort to tell us the history of various locations and sites.

Overall Rating:

A heel of a trip!

Gail Hopper
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

Lovely part of Italy, attractive towns and villages, relatively easy cycling and wonderful food and wine - what's not to like?
Would describe as highlights rather than inspirational:- Matera - quite stunning and well worth the additional day we added - good advice from [tour operator]. Alberobello - touristy but photogenic and pretty and a great opportunity to stay in a trullo - wonderful! The Masseria was also a beautiful setting - lovely accommodation, great food and wine, lovely pool a great place to relax.
Not a natural guide but Sara was very keen to ensure we had a good trip and worked extremely hard to achieve that - with very little help from her colleagues. She did a good job.
Take [the tour operator's] advice and spend an extra day in Matera - well worth the visit This isn't a challenging ride so if you enjoy a relaxed cycle trip in a beautiful part of Italy with time to relax and explore each of the places you visit then this is a perfect holiday.
We knew very little about this part of Italy before our visit but it's a hidden gem. Would certainly recommend a trip there - and cycling through vineyards, olive groves, past the trulli houses, eating gelati and the freshest local fruit was delightful. Accommodation generally better than expected especially first 3 nights. Bikes awful - in this day and age am sure it's possible to provide better quality bikes - sadly similar to other parts of Italy I've visited.

Overall Rating:

Get away from it all and enjoy the ride....

(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

Great trip. Great places to visit. Great group leader. A different taste of Italy.
We went a day early to see Matera properly. This is an extraordinary and attractive place that has been transformed from being Italy's national disgrace in the 1960s to be named as the European City of Culture for 2019 while we were on the trip. Not to be missed.
Our group leader was Michaele. He was professional, knowledgable, organised, hard working and personable while also being great fun and spontaneous at the same time. He made sure that everyone had a fantastic holiday. It's hard to imagine anyone doing the job as well as him.
The trip was a combination of interesting medieval towns and villages, great climate and a taste of of Italy far away from the usual tourist sites. The cycling was through countryside and by the coast, but not always beautiful - we understand that the route is to be 'tuned' in the near future. Some days were quite tiring but really shouldn't be a problem for anyone who has prepared for the holiday. The opportunity for a dip in the turquoise sea during October is not to be missed.
We are smitten. This was our first cycling holiday and we are keen to try another next year. Especially if Michaele is the leader.

Overall Rating:

Cycling Puglia and Matera

Denise Robinson
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

As a novice to cycling the group could not have been more supportive and helpful in getting me to learn the joy of gears. Thank you one and all. Matera and the Puglia region are fabulous if you get the chance to visit SE Italy do. Matera and Leece are candidates for European Capital of Culture 2019 and both would be worthy winners. Leece would pip it for me because of the architectural ruins. The Adriatic coast is beautiful and the smell of liquorice on the wind is amazing.
Not sure I can pinpoint "the most" inspirational moment the whole trip was fab even the going slightly off course and getting up all those hills character building.
Being a group leader is not an easy task and I have the utmost respect for anyone who gives up their time and energy to do so. For me a bit more information at the start of the day in regard to the route we were taking would have been helpful.
Keep the group leaders mobile number on your person just in case you do go a bit off course so the leader can find you.
Take a leap of faith and try something new.