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Italy: Puglia, Alberobello & Lecce

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Savor Puglia on this self-guided biking trip, riding from one stunning historic locale to the next and stopping to explore, swim, and savor gelato along the way.

Self-Guided Biking

  • Duration: 10 Days|
  • Daily Mileage: 15 - 32|
  • Biking: 2 - 5 hr
Activity Easy/Moderate
Easy / Moderate
E-Bikes Available
E-Bikes Available
Airplane
Air Package Available
Self-Guided Tour
Self-Guided Tour

Starting From

Self-Guided Air+

$3,395

Bike Vacation Only

$2,395

(per person, double occupancy)

Italy: Puglia, Alberobello & Lecce

Cycle Puglia the way Italians do during our Self-Guided Bicycle Vacation. As you ride the breathtaking, sea-kissed region of Italy’s heel, linger at waterfront cafés, pause at sweeping overlooks, and savor every timeless olive grove, swim-worthy cove, ancient watchtower, and dramatic chalk-white cliff. Your scenic routes along the Ionian and Adriatic Seas link stunning historic towns—the island-burg of Gallipoli, seaside Santa Maria di Leuca, Baroque Lecce. And you’ll sleep at former palaces, modern hotels, and a historic, restored dry-stone trullo house. Savor Puglia on your own timetable with VBT!

What to Expect

This tour offers a combination of easy terrain and moderate hills and is ideal for beginner and experienced cyclists. Rides are on relatively flat paved roads and bike lanes paralleling the sea coast. Expect more rolling Mediterranean landscapes inland and semi-urban riding into historic centers. Please verify your bike selection for this tour as it is not always possible to change bikes once you arrive on tour. Travel with your friends and family—we can accommodate multiple guests on this self-guided vacation. Our 24/7 support system is available if needed.

  • Duration: 10 Days|
  • Daily Mileage: 15 - 32|
  • Biking: 2 - 5 hr
Activity Easy/Moderate Easy / Moderate
Cycling
Bar Graph Beginner - Experienced
Cyclists
24/7 Support System 24/7 Support
System

Tour Highlights

  • Stay overnight in the dry-stone trulli dwellings of Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage site designated town and landscape
  • Cycle the Ionian and Adriatic coastlines at your own pace, stopping to explore as you wish
  • Stay in seaside Gallipoli, Santa Maria di Leuca, and Otranto, rich in ancient history and legend
  • Enjoy ample opportunities to swim at sandy beaches and Mediterranean coves tucked under limestone cliffs
  • Pedal through timeless quaint villages to the ancient fortified city of Acaya
  • Ride into Lecce, known as the “Florence of the South” for its exuberant Baroque architecture

Climate Information

Temperatures

Average High /
Low Temperature (°F):

Mar55º/46º

Apr60º/50º

May68º/55º

Jun75º/62º

Jul80º/68º

Aug80º/68º

Sep75º/64º

Oct68º/57º

Nov58º/42º

Average
Precipitation:

Mar3.0 in

Apr1.7 in

May1.0 in

Jun0.9 in

Jul0.3 in

Aug0.3 in

Sep2.5 in

Oct3.8 in

Nov2.6 in

What's Included

Self-Guided Air+

Bike Vacation Only

Roundtrip international airfare Check
Detailed information for your independent travel to/from arrival and departure airports Check
One night in Alberobello and one night in Lecce in conveniently located hotels with breakfasts included Check
6 nights in boutique hotels Check Check
7 meals: 6 breakfasts, 1 dinner Check Check

Tour Bikes

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Road Bicycle (Carbon frame)

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Step-Through (Mixte Hybrid) Comfort Bicycle

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Step-Over (Diamond) Comfort Bicycle

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Electric-Assisted Bicycle (E-bike)

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Self-Guided Biking Packages Include:

Custom VBT bike, helmet, and bike bag

Welcome orientation and bike fitting with local host

Luggage transfers

Ride with GPS and daily route notes

VBT Road Book with destination information

24/7 support system

Flat kit and multi-tool

Your choice of VBT branded gear for your adventure

Itinerary

Fri, Mar 27 to Sun, Apr 5 - 2020

Show Itinerary:

Depart home for Italy. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Upon arrival at the Bari Airport, make your own independent travel arrangements to Alberobello. Collect your bags and clear customs then choose from several transportation options that VBT recommends in your Road Book, or decide your own path.

Upon arrival in Alberobello, you just might feel as if you’ve stepped into a fairytale, thanks to the city’s many trulli. These white-washed, dry-stone round huts capped with conical limestone roofs were constructed without mortar to be quickly disassembled when word got around that the taxman was on his way. Their original purpose was to store agricultural tools; they later became dwellings. Today, they are a carefully preserved symbol of Puglia and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Many have been beautifully restored for modern living, including the ones clustered within the hotel village that welcomes you today. Make yourself at home in your very own charming trullo house, relax after your journey, and stroll among these 500-year-old dwellings, some of their roofs marked with chalk-white symbols meant to bless their inhabitants. Our Road Book points you to some of our favorite spots for your meals, or you could savor the cuisine at your hotel.

Hotel: Trulli & Puglia
Meals: None Included

If you have enabled your iPhone or Android smartphone for use in Italy and provided your phone number, your VBT local host will text you to reconfirm meeting details. After breakfast at Trulli & Puglia, meet your local host at 10:00 a.m. for your welcome orientation, along with any other VBT guests departing on the same day, in the lobby of the Trulli & Puglia. Please be dressed and ready for cycling. Your local host will be carrying a VBT sign.

The welcome orientation with your VBT local host includes:
• An overview of the itinerary
• Bike fitting and equipment familiarization
• Review of the Ride with GPS navigation app
• Important contact information in case you need to reach your VBT local host
• Safety briefing
• Local suggestions (restaurants, things to do, etc.)

Get to know your bicycle—and ease into the rhythm of biking in Italy—during today’s ride. From the center of Alberobello, you enter the rolling Itria Valley. Take your time on today’s first ride, stopping as you wish to savor the rustic landscapes of ancient olive trees, small vineyards, and vegetable gardens dotted with farmhouses and trulli. Your route delivers you to the hilltop village of Locorotondo, rated one of Italy’s “most beautiful villages.” As you approach, it emerges as a vision in white on its hilltop. Walk into its labyrinthine shaded alleys adorned with Baroque churches and finely sculpted architecture and find a spot for lunch in its historic center. Whether you stop in a café or shop for a picnic for the ride back in this strikingly picturesque town, return to Alberobello at your leisure.

Hotel: Trulli & Puglia
Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride:
Alberobello Warm-up: 24 km (15 miles)

What to Expect: A loop departing narrow town streets follows paved rural roads into ancient olive groves and past farmhouses before a gentle ascent to the village of Locorotondo (ideal for a late lunch stop). Lock your bike to explore the town on foot. Returning, there are some short ascents and descents, then the final gradual ascent back to Alberobello. See D1 Locorotondo walk for Locorotondo suggested walking route and services and points of interest.

After breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. a 90-minute van transfer takes you to the Salento Peninsula on the magnificent Ionian Coast, where sandy beaches and cobalt-blue waters of inviting inlets are sure to lure you in for a refreshing dip. Your initial destination is the seaside resort town of Porto Cesareo, overseen by its handsome 16th-century watchtower. From here, set out for a spectacular coastal ride, passing through villages that reveal the real Puglia. Get off the saddle as the spirit moves you, for photos, or to poke into a shop. You’ll find that conversations with locals come easily in this corner of Italy that sees few foreigners!

Later, you glide into the Old Town of Gallipoli, the “Gem of Salento,” a medieval fortified island city linked to the mainland by a 16th-century bridge. Gallipoli was a part of Magna Graecia, or Greater Greece, which comprised vast swathes of southern Italy and Sicily in ancient times. Once a center for olive oil, Gallipoli today is a lively city full of boutiques, cafés, and vestiges from its Greek and Roman days. Its fishing port still brings in the catch of the day. And its surrounding walls, once a defense against centuries of invasions, are the perfect place to join locals in their sunset passeggiata, or evening stroll, before a well-earned aperitivo overlooking Sant’ Andrea’s lighthouse. After settling in to your hotel, you have numerous fine restaurants from which to choose for a freshly prepared seafood dinner.

Hotel: Hotel 33 Baroni
Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride:
Porto Cesareo to Gallipoli: 32 km (20 miles)

What to Expect: Departing Porto Cesareo, your ride mainly stays along the coast on a mixture of road and dedicated bike lane through populated areas, farmland, and open field with the sea in the distance on your right. Rising just after 13 km (8 miles), the day’s steepest ascent is compensated by stunning sea views, veering inland for about 5 km (3 miles), then the route returns to the coast through some charming small ports and beaches before rolling into the center of Gallipoli and your hotel.

Relish another day cycling along the Ionian Sea, where each crystalline beach seems more inviting than the last. You might want to plan on a longer day so you can take as many swim breaks as you wish! There’ll also be opportunities to stop for true Italian coffee and to grab lunch at a sea-facing restaurant in Marina di Torre San Giovanni. And of course, an Italian cycling adventure cannot live up to its reputation if it doesn’t include at least a daily stop for gelato. As much as you’ll enjoy the culinary and swim breaks, it’s the vistas and picturesque marinas that are truly inspiring in this breathtaking corner of Puglia. By day’s end, you arrive in Santa Maria di Leuca—a beautiful destination perched on a low seaside promontory and steeped in ancient history and legend. This historic town was named for the white cliffs that have been adding a scenic backdrop to your ride (leukos is Greek for “white”).

This is where the Ionian meets the Adriatic, right at the southeasternmost tip of Italy’s heel on the Salento Peninsula. Pause at Punta Ristola for sweeping views of the lighthouse, Italy’s second most important, and the adjacent Basilica Sanctuary of Saint Mary—also known as De Finibus Terrae, or “The End of the Land,” named when it was the common belief that the earth was flat. The Basilica, built over a Roman temple dedicated to the goddess Minerva, marks where Saint Peter is said to have started his long walk to Rome after crossing the Mediterranean from Jerusalem. Today, the devout follow in his footsteps along the Via Francigena pilgrimage route.

After a rewarding day, settle in to your exclusive enclave and enjoy an included dinner at your hotel.

Hotel: Hotel Approdo
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride:
Gallipoli to Santa Maria di Leuca: 52 km (32 miles)

What to Expect: An easy ride stays almost entirely along the coast on a road or in shared-use bike lanes (in Italian, signs for percorso cicloturistico indicate a slower speed limit for cars). You pass many sandy beaches, marinas, and beach resorts with ample options for swimming, lunch, coffee and ice cream, as well as many scenic viewpoints and ancient watchtowers. Just as you round the tip of the peninsula, you ride past the Devil’s Cave, a natural limestone cave.

Today’s ride continues along the dramatic Adriatic Coast with the sea on your right the whole day, descending into enticing crystalline coves. Later, some invigorating climbs lead to high bluffs with breathtaking views. Exhilarating descents deliver you to quaint harbor villages. At today’s highest elevations, you’ll pass a series of ancient watchtowers where guards once kept an eye out for intruders approaching from the southern Mediterranean. As you ride, you’ll find plenty of options for lunch and snacks; perhaps you’ll sample freshly prepared seafood or provola e mortadella. One final long and steady downhill brings you into Otranto. Surrounded by great ramparts, it is one of coastal Italy’s most scenic towns, situated on the Strait of Otranto, which separates Italy from Albania by just 45 miles.

Situated at the tip of Italy’s heel, Otranto’s Old Town is a rich amalgam of past invaders: Greeks, Romans, and Turks among them. Exploring it all is a must. And stopping in its 11th-century cathedral is absolutely required. Behind the altar, the bones of 813 martyrs who fell in a 15th-century siege are encased in a glass cabinet. But its medieval mosaic floor, the largest in Europe, is the real draw: Created in 1163 by a resident monk, the “Tree of Life” spans 8,611 square feet. Back outside, you might find your own mosaics—and other crafts—among the bustling stalls that line the narrow lanes. Otranto’s 15th-century castle is also worth a visit for its history and its exhibit devoted to the now-closed Neolithic caves in Porto Badisco that you rode over earlier on your way into town.

At dinnertime, you might stroll to the city’s inviting waterfront with its wide terrace and lovely vistas.

Hotel: Hotel Albania
Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride:
Santa Maria di Leuca to Otranto: 52 km (32 miles)

What to Expect: You ride along the Adriatic Coast, with the week’s highest elevation gains and losses. The route is high above the sea on bluffs and also dips down to charming harbor villages with stops for swimming, food, and drinks. The second climb of the day takes you to Torre Nasparo, with its spectacular views east and north. On a clear day, after the last big climb to Torre Minervino, you can see Italy’s most easterly lighthouse of Punta Palascia, closest to Albania’s Acroceurani mountain range on the other side of the Adriatic Sea. A sustained descent brings you to Porto Badisco, Approdo di Enea then into Otranto.

Enjoy a Stay Put Day to do as you please. If you just can’t stay off the saddle, take a loop ride into the interior away from the sea, following quiet country roads. An initial slight ascent lifts you above Otranto and then flattens out as it winds through olive tree groves framed by stone walls. You may stop to ponder ancient dolmens and menhirs, the region’s mysterious prehistoric standing stones. Take your time on this scenic route, perhaps pausing to toast your good fortune at a local winery or stopping to observe a traditional local craft at a weaving workshop. Back at Otranto’s beach, reward yourself with a swim and a delicious seafood lunch along the port.

Alternately, you can join a boat excursion along the dramatic coastal cliffs and past spectacular grottos, stopping for swims along the way. Or browse Otranto’s inviting shops and the stalwart halls and grounds of its seaside castle.

Hotel: Hotel Albania
Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride:
Otranto to Uggiano la Chiesa: 30 km (18 miles)

What to Expect: A narrow road exits the center of Otranto. After an initial gradual ascent, the route flattens out on quiet country roads, rolling through olive groves and past stone walls, farms and hamlets. You may stop for a lunch and a tasting at a winery or for a visit to a weaving workshop along the way. Scattered throughout the landscape are prehistoric standing stones.

Leaving Otranto today, you enjoy your last ride along the dramatic Adriatic coast. Ride along the Strait of Otranto before turning into a countryside of enormous olive trees and oaks. This scenic route leads to the small Renaissance village of Acaya, one of Puglia’s last remaining fortified cities. Its notable 16th-century grid of streets divides the town into rectangular “islands.” After exploring, you join a bike path that leads into the center of Lecce. This beautiful city is constructed from the pink-tinged local stone called pietra dorata. It is so flush in Baroque-period architecture and adorned with so many chiseled cherubs, angels, saints, and saviors, that it has been called the “Florence of the South.” As you explore, your week of cycling will no doubt bring gelato cravings to a new sense of urgency; you’ll have plenty of options to satisfy them here!

A stunning 5-star hotel in the heart of the pedestrian Old City welcomes you to Lecce, a fine finale for your trip. Settle in, then it’s a short stroll to historic sites, including the Piazza Sant’Oronzo, the city’s main square with its centerpiece Roman amphitheater. Pick either of the narrow streets that fan out from the square to discover charming neighborhoods—and to duck into any number of rustic eateries serving the hearty peasant cuisine for which the city is known, such as pureed fava beans and broccolini and a robust primitivo wine. It’s the perfect way to celebrate your ride around Italy’s heel!

Hotel: Patria Palace Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride:
Otranto to Lecce: 50 km (31 miles)

What to Expect: After an initial ascent departing Otranto from sea level, the ride is mainly flat along the coast, then at around the 30 km (18 miles) you turn inland away from the sea after San Foca through olive groves and begin a slight sustained ascent to Acaya, a Renaissance fortified town, one of the best examples in Italy. From here, you join a bike path into the center of Lecce. Although Lecce is a bike-friendly city, please be aware that the urban riding will be very busy compared to the low-traffic riding of the week. Please exercise caution and, although not required, we recommend walking your bike for the last few kilometers to your hotel.

After breakfast, you have the day to explore the city of Lecce. Explore the Piazza Duomo, enclosed on three sides by the cathedral and other church buildings. Despite that it is one of Europe’s largest squares, its surrounding buildings and many cafés lend it an intimate feel. You can visit up to six of Lecce’s exuberant Baroque churches on one entry ticket.

Your VBT City Information provides useful recommendations for exploring on your own for the rest of the day. Dinner is on your own tonight.

Hotel: Patria Palace Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast* this morning, if traveling by public transportation, allow yourself a minimum of four hours’ transfer time prior to your flight from Brindisi airport. This timeframe includes approximately 1.5 hours travel and around 2 hours recommended pre-flight check-in time.

The train and bus stations are just under 1 km (.6 mile) from your hotel, a 12-minute walk.

Meals: Breakfast

Sun, Mar 29 to Sat, Apr 4 - 2020

Show Itinerary:

We suggest arriving in Italy at least one day prior to the tour start date as your tour begins at 10:00 a.m. Make your own way to Alberobello, where you begin your self-guided adventure. VBT provides several options for your travel to Alberobello in our Road Book, or you can decide your own path.

If you have enabled your iPhone or Android smartphone for use in Italy and provided your phone number, your VBT local host will text you to reconfirm meeting details and keep tabs on your progress.

Upon arrival in Alberobello, you just might feel as if you’ve stepped into a fairytale, thanks to its many trulli. These white-washed, dry-stone round huts capped with conical limestone roofs were constructed without mortar to be quickly disassembled when word got around that the taxman was on his way. Their original purpose was to store agricultural tools; they later became dwellings. Today, they are a carefully preserved symbol of Puglia and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Many have been beautifully restored for modern living, including the ones clustered within the hotel village that welcomes you today.

Meet your VBT local host at 10:00 a.m. for your welcome orientation, along with any other VBT guests departing on the same day, in the lobby of the Trulli & Puglia (Piazza Gabriele D’Annunzio 2, +39 080 4324376). Please be dressed and ready for cycling. Your local host will be carrying a VBT sign.

The welcome orientation with your VBT local host includes:
• An overview of the itinerary
• Bike fitting and equipment familiarization
• Review of the Ride with GPS navigation app
• Important contact information in case you need to reach your VBT local host
• Safety briefing
• Local suggestions (restaurants, things to do, etc.)

Get to know your bicycle—and ease into the rhythm of biking in Italy—during today’s ride. From the center of Alberobello, you enter the rolling Itria Valley. Take your time on today’s first ride, stopping as you wish to savor the rustic landscapes of ancient olive trees, small vineyards, and vegetable gardens dotted with farmhouses and trulli. Your route delivers you to the hilltop village of Locorotondo, rated one of Italy’s “most beautiful villages.” As you approach, it emerges as a vision in white on its hilltop. Walk into its labyrinthine shaded alleys adorned with Baroque churches and finely sculpted architecture and find a spot for lunch in its historic center. Whether you stop in a café or shop for a picnic for the ride back in this strikingly picturesque town, return to Alberobello at your leisure.

Hotel: Trulli & Puglia

Today’s Ride:
Alberobello Warm-up: 24 km (15 miles)

What to Expect: A loop departing narrow town streets follows paved rural roads into ancient olive groves and past farmhouses before a gentle ascent to the village of Locorotondo (ideal for a late lunch stop). Lock your bike to explore the town on foot. Returning, there are some short ascents and descents, then the final gradual ascent back to Alberobello. See D1 Locorotondo walk for Locorotondo suggested walking route and services and points of interest.

After breakfast, at 9:00 a.m. a 90-minute van transfer takes you to the Salento Peninsula on the magnificent Ionian Coast, where sandy beaches and cobalt-blue waters of inviting inlets are sure to lure you in for a refreshing dip. Your initial destination is the seaside resort town of Porto Cesareo, overseen by its handsome 16th-century watchtower. From here, set out for a spectacular coastal ride, passing through villages that reveal the real Puglia. Get off the saddle as the spirit moves you, for photos, or to poke into a shop. You’ll find that conversations with locals come easily in this corner of Italy that sees few foreigners!

Later, you glide into the Old Town of Gallipoli, the “Gem of Salento,” a medieval fortified island city linked to the mainland by a 16th-century bridge. Gallipoli was a part of Magna Graecia, or Greater Greece, which comprised vast swathes of southern Italy and Sicily in ancient times. Once a center for olive oil, Gallipoli today is a lively city full of boutiques, cafés, and vestiges from its Greek and Roman days. Its fishing port still brings in the catch of the day. And its surrounding walls, once a defense against centuries of invasions, are the perfect place to join locals in their sunset passeggiata, or evening stroll, before a well-earned aperitivo overlooking Sant’ Andrea’s lighthouse. After settling in to your hotel, you have numerous fine restaurants from which to choose for a freshly prepared seafood dinner.

Hotel: Hotel 33 Baroni
Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride:
Porto Cesareo to Gallipoli: 32 km (20 miles)

What to Expect: Departing Porto Cesareo, your ride mainly stays along the coast on a mixture of road and dedicated bike lane through populated areas, farmland, and open field with the sea in the distance on your right. Rising just after 13 km (8 miles), the day’s steepest ascent is compensated by stunning sea views, veering inland for about 5 km (3 miles), then the route returns to the coast through some charming small ports and beaches before rolling into the center of Gallipoli and your hotel.

Relish another day cycling along the Ionian Sea, where each crystalline beach seems more inviting than the last. You might want to plan on a longer day so you can take as many swim breaks as you wish! There’ll also be opportunities to stop for true Italian coffee and to grab lunch at a sea-facing restaurant in Marina di Torre San Giovanni. And of course, an Italian cycling adventure cannot live up to its reputation if it doesn’t include at least a daily stop for gelato. As much as you’ll enjoy the culinary and swim breaks, it’s the vistas and picturesque marinas that are truly inspiring in this breathtaking corner of Puglia. By day’s end, you arrive in Santa Maria di Leuca—a beautiful destination perched on a low seaside promontory and steeped in ancient history and legend. This historic town was named for the white cliffs that have been adding a scenic backdrop to your ride (leukos is Greek for “white”).

This is where the Ionian meets the Adriatic, right at the southeasternmost tip of Italy’s heel on the Salento Peninsula. Pause at Punta Ristola for sweeping views of the lighthouse, Italy’s second most important, and the adjacent Basilica Sanctuary of Saint Mary—also known as De Finibus Terrae, or “The End of the Land,” named when it was the common belief that the earth was flat. The Basilica, built over a Roman temple dedicated to the goddess Minerva, marks where Saint Peter is said to have started his long walk to Rome after crossing the Mediterranean from Jerusalem. Today, the devout follow in his footsteps along the Via Francigena pilgrimage route.

After a rewarding day, settle in to your exclusive enclave and enjoy an included dinner at your hotel.

Hotel: Hotel Approdo
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride:
Gallipoli to Santa Maria di Leuca: 52 km (32 miles)

What to Expect: An easy ride stays almost entirely along the coast on a road or in shared-use bike lanes (in Italian, signs for percorso cicloturistico indicate a slower speed limit for cars). You pass many sandy beaches, marinas, and beach resorts with ample options for swimming, lunch, coffee and ice cream, as well as many scenic viewpoints and ancient watchtowers. Just as you round the tip of the peninsula, you ride past the Devil’s Cave, a natural limestone cave.

Today’s ride continues along the dramatic Adriatic Coast with the sea on your right the whole day, descending into enticing crystalline coves. Later, some invigorating climbs lead to high bluffs with breathtaking views. Exhilarating descents deliver you to quaint harbor villages. At today’s highest elevations, you’ll pass a series of ancient watchtowers where guards once kept an eye out for intruders approaching from the southern Mediterranean. As you ride, you’ll find plenty of options for lunch and snacks; perhaps you’ll sample freshly prepared seafood or provola e mortadella. One final long and steady downhill brings you into Otranto. Surrounded by great ramparts, it is one of coastal Italy’s most scenic towns, situated on the Strait of Otranto, which separates Italy from Albania by just 45 miles.

Situated at the tip of Italy’s heel, Otranto’s Old Town is a rich amalgam of past invaders: Greeks, Romans, and Turks among them. Exploring it all is a must. And stopping in its 11th-century cathedral is absolutely required. Behind the altar, the bones of 813 martyrs who fell in a 15th-century siege are encased in a glass cabinet. But its medieval mosaic floor, the largest in Europe, is the real draw: Created in 1163 by a resident monk, the “Tree of Life” spans 8,611 square feet. Back outside, you might find your own mosaics—and other crafts—among the bustling stalls that line the narrow lanes. Otranto’s 15th-century castle is also worth a visit for its history and its exhibit devoted to the now-closed Neolithic caves in Porto Badisco that you rode over earlier on your way into town.

At dinnertime, you might stroll to the city’s inviting waterfront with its wide terrace and lovely vistas.

Hotel: Hotel Albania
Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride:
Santa Maria di Leuca to Otranto: 52 km (32 miles)

What to Expect: You ride along the Adriatic Coast, with the week’s highest elevation gains and losses. The route is high above the sea on bluffs and also dips down to charming harbor villages with stops for swimming, food, and drinks. The second climb of the day takes you to Torre Nasparo, with its spectacular views east and north. On a clear day, after the last big climb to Torre Minervino, you can see Italy’s most easterly lighthouse of Punta Palascia, closest to Albania’s Acroceurani mountain range on the other side of the Adriatic Sea. A sustained descent brings you to Porto Badisco, Approdo di Enea then into Otranto.

Enjoy a Stay Put Day to do as you please. If you just can’t stay off the saddle, take a loop ride into the interior away from the sea, following quiet country roads. An initial slight ascent lifts you above Otranto and then flattens out as it winds through olive tree groves framed by stone walls. You may stop to ponder ancient dolmens and menhirs, the region’s mysterious prehistoric standing stones. Take your time on this scenic route, perhaps pausing to toast your good fortune at a local winery or stopping to observe a traditional local craft at a weaving workshop. Back at Otranto’s beach, reward yourself with a swim and a delicious seafood lunch along the port.

Alternately, you can join a boat excursion along the dramatic coastal cliffs and past spectacular grottos, stopping for swims along the way. Or browse Otranto’s inviting shops and the stalwart halls and grounds of its seaside castle.

Hotel: Hotel Albania
Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride:
Otranto to Uggiano la Chiesa: 30 km (18 miles)

What to Expect: A narrow road exits the center of Otranto. After an initial gradual ascent, the route flattens out on quiet country roads, rolling through olive groves and past stone walls, farms and hamlets. You may stop for a lunch and a tasting at a winery or for a visit to a weaving workshop along the way. Scattered throughout the landscape are prehistoric standing stones.

Leaving Otranto today, you enjoy your last ride along the dramatic Adriatic coast. Ride along the Strait of Otranto before turning into a countryside of enormous olive trees and oaks. This scenic route leads to the small Renaissance village of Acaya, one of Puglia’s last remaining fortified cities. Its notable 16th-century grid of streets divides the town into rectangular “islands.” After exploring, you join a bike path that leads into the center of Lecce. This beautiful city is constructed from the pink-tinged local stone called pietra dorata. It is so flush in Baroque-period architecture and adorned with so many chiseled cherubs, angels, saints, and saviors, that it has been called the “Florence of the South.” As you explore, your week of cycling will no doubt bring gelato cravings to a new sense of urgency; you’ll have plenty of options to satisfy them here!

A stunning 5-star hotel in the heart of the pedestrian Old City welcomes you to Lecce, a fine finale for your trip. Settle in, then it’s a short stroll to historic sites, including the Piazza Sant’Oronzo, the city’s main square with its centerpiece Roman amphitheater. Pick either of the narrow streets that fan out from the square to discover charming neighborhoods—and to duck into any number of rustic eateries serving the hearty peasant cuisine for which the city is known, such as pureed fava beans and broccolini and a robust primitivo wine. It’s the perfect way to celebrate your ride around Italy’s heel!

Hotel: Patria Palace Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride:
Otranto to Lecce: 50 km (31 miles)

What to Expect: After an initial ascent departing Otranto from sea level, the ride is mainly flat along the coast, then at around the 30 km (18 miles) you turn inland away from the sea after San Foca through olive groves and begin a slight sustained ascent to Acaya, a Renaissance fortified town, one of the best examples in Italy. From here, you join a bike path into the center of Lecce. Although Lecce is a bike-friendly city, please be aware that the urban riding will be very busy compared to the low-traffic riding of the week. Please exercise caution and, although not required, we recommend walking your bike for the last few kilometers to your hotel.

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel in Lecce and depart on your own for your onward travels. Depending upon your destination, it may not be possible to depart for the U.S. on the last day of the tour. Please check airline schedules carefully. If you plan to schedule return flights immediately following the tour’s conclusion, please call your airline directly for specific check-in requirements.

Lecce has good train connections with all main train lines connecting to destinations throughout Italy (see Italy’s national rail site: trenitalia.com/tcom-en, e.g., Naples, five hours, Rome five and a half hours). The train and bus stations are just under 1 km (.6 mile) from your hotel, a 12-minute walk.

Meals: Breakfast

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Dates & Prices

Self-Guided Air+

10 days, includes round-trip international airfare and additional hotel nights with included breakfast.

Single Supplement: From $245
Solo Surcharge: From $1,645

Departing From New York, NY (JFK)

Bike Vacation Only

7 Days. Includes Self-Guided bike vacation only.

Single Supplement: From $195
Solo Surcharge: From $1,645

Fri, Mar 27 - Sun, Apr 5, 2020

From
$3,395

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Sun, Mar 29 - Sat, Apr 4, 2020

From
$2,395

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Fri, Apr 10 - Sun, Apr 19, 2020

From
$3,395

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Sun, Apr 12 - Sat, Apr 18, 2020

From
$2,395

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Fri, Apr 24 - Sun, May 3, 2020

From
$3,595

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Sun, Apr 26 - Sat, May 2, 2020

From
$2,595

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Fri, May 8 - Sun, May 17, 2020

From
$3,595

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Sun, May 10 - Sat, May 16, 2020

From
$2,595

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Fri, May 15 - Sun, May 24, 2020

From
$3,895

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Sun, May 17 - Sat, May 23, 2020

From
$2,595

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Fri, May 22 - Sun, May 31, 2020

From
$3,895

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Sun, May 24 - Sat, May 30, 2020

From
$2,595

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Fri, Jun 5 - Sun, Jun 14, 2020

From
$3,895

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Sun, Jun 7 - Sat, Jun 13, 2020

From
$2,595

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Fri, Jun 12 - Sun, Jun 21, 2020

From
$3,895

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Sun, Jun 14 - Sat, Jun 20, 2020

From
$2,595

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Limited Spaces Left

Fri, Sep 11 - Sun, Sep 20, 2020

From
$3,695

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Limited Spaces Left

Sun, Sep 13 - Sat, Sep 19, 2020

From
$2,595

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Fri, Sep 18 - Sun, Sep 27, 2020

From
$3,695

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Sun, Sep 20 - Sat, Sep 26, 2020

From
$2,595

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Fri, Sep 25 - Sun, Oct 4, 2020

From
$3,695

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Sun, Sep 27 - Sat, Oct 3, 2020

From
$2,595

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Fri, Oct 2 - Sun, Oct 11, 2020

From
$3,695

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Sun, Oct 4 - Sat, Oct 10, 2020

From
$2,595

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Fri, Oct 9 - Sun, Oct 18, 2020

From
$3,695

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Sun, Oct 11 - Sat, Oct 17, 2020

From
$2,595

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Fri, Oct 16 - Sun, Oct 25, 2020

From
$3,595

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Sun, Oct 18 - Sat, Oct 24, 2020

From
$2,595

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Fri, Oct 23 - Sun, Nov 1, 2020

From
$3,395

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Sun, Oct 25 - Sat, Oct 31, 2020

From
$2,395

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For more information, call: 800-245-3868

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