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Puglia: Italy’s Undiscovered Coast

Experience la dolce vita at its most authentic during an invigorating ride through Puglia, draped with fertile farms, stone-sculpted seaside villages, traditional trulli huts, and dramatic shores.

  • Duration: 10 Days|
  • Daily Mileage: 15 - 35|
  • Biking: 2 - 4 hr|
  • Group Size: 22
4.9 out of 5 stars.
Activity Easy
Easy
E-Bikes Available
E-Bikes Available
Airplane
Air Package Available
People
Guided Group Tour

Starting From

Bike Vacation + Air Package

$4,445

Bike Vacation Only

$3,445

(per person, double occupancy)

Puglia: Italy’s Undiscovered Coast

with fertile farms, stone-sculpted seaside villages, traditional trulli huts, and dramatic shores. Join VBT in this seldom visited corner of Italy, where olive groves yield a golden elixir and Adriatic breezes send the spirit soaring. Charming old harbors, limestone cities, and Italian warmth greet you at every bend. And your discoveries continue into each evening at historic masserie, fortified farms where the bounty of the earth reveals the heart of this special and unique place.

What to Expect

This tour offers easy terrain throughout the trip and is ideal for beginning cyclists.

  • Duration: 10 Days|
  • Daily Mileage: 15 - 35|
  • Biking: 2 - 4 hr|
  • Group Size: 22
Activity Easy Easy
Cycling
Bar Graph Beginner - Experienced
Cyclists
Bus Vehicle
Support

Tour Highlights

  • Enjoy incomparable accommodations with 6 nights at luxurious masserie and countryside hotels
  • Discover the stone trulli dwellings of Alberobello on a guided walking tour
  • Ride along quiet country roads to coastal Egnatia, past olive groves 800 years old
  • Cycle to Monopoli, where you'll visit the lovely cathedral and admire the old harbor
  • Share a farm-fresh lunch and taste delicious olive oils with your masseria hosts
  • Bike from the ancient walled city of Acaya to the beautiful, rugged coast
  • Enjoy a ride along quiet country roads by the small and lovely Alimini Lakes
  • Pedal through timeless quaint villages on your way to the sea at Otranto
  • From your bicycle perch, savor rural pathways to the coastal town of Castro Marina
  • Take a refreshing swim, if you like, in the crystalline water in Otranto
  • Gather with your fellow travelers for a special masseria dinner featuring Puglia wines
  • Picnic with a local family at their organic farm near the sea

Climate Information

Temperatures

Average High /
Low Temperature (℉):

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

Bike Vacation + Air Package

Bike Vacation Only

Roundtrip international airfare Check
Transfers to and from international airport Check
One night in Alberobello and one night in Lecce in conveniently located hotels with breakfasts included Check
6 nights in 4- and 5-star countryside hotels and authentic masserie Check Check
12 meals: 6 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 4 dinners Check Check

Tour Bikes

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Step-Through Hybrid/Comfort Bicycle

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Step-Over Hybrid/Comfort Bicycle

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Road Bicycle

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Electric-Assisted Bicycle (E-bike)

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Biking Packages Include:

Custom VBT Bike and Helmet

Two Local, Bilingual Trip Leaders

Vehicle Support

Luggage Transfers

Ride with GPS and Daily Route Notes

Welcome Reception

Facilitated Cultural Experiences

Your Choice of VBT Branded Gear for Your Adventure

Itinerary

Sun, Apr 28 to Tue, May 7 - 2019

Show Itinerary:

Depart from home and travel to Italy. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Upon arrival at the airport in Bari, Italy, a VBT representative meets you and helps you transfer (approximately 1 hour) to your first night’s lodging.

If you are going to be delayed meeting the transfer for more than 15 minutes due to delayed or lost luggage, please let our driver know by calling or sending a text message to +39-330-96-49-27. The driver will be generally able to wait for up to 45 minutes from the time your flight lands, after which you would be responsible for your own transfer. You may also contact One Call travel assistance to advise of your delay, and they will contact the transfer company.

Upon arrival in Alberobello, meet your hosts and settle in the small resort and trullo dwelling (a traditional Puglian stone hut) that VBT has selected for your stay. You will be accommodated in original 500-year-old dwellings or small homes, completely remodeled and very comfortable. A trullo is a whitewashed, round house topped by a large cone of local stones—all assembled without mortar. It is believed that trulli originated as storage sheds built for agricultural implements. Much later, they became dwellings, with adjoining buildings added as families grew. Like your room, most trulli have been refurbished and are used as cozy homes today. Some of the roofs show mysterious chalk marks, possibly either to protect the inhabitants from evil or to bless the dwelling.

Please note: You have the option of attending a cooking class the following morning before check-in to your masseria. You must tell your Alberobello host this evening if you would like to attend.

Dinner is on your own tonight in Alberobello.

Hotel: Trulli & Puglia

VBT-Bicycle-Vacation-only guests: Meet your VBT Trip Leaders at 2:00 p.m. in the lobby of the first masseria in Fasano. To get to the masseria, you can take a taxi from the Bari railway station (the cost is approx. 130 Euros) or the Bari airport (approx. 140 Euros). Or you can contact our transfer company in advance (TAXI SERVICE, Anthony, [email protected], phone +39 330 964927) and book directly with them. TAXI SERVICE will provide a transfer from the Bari airport for up to two persons at a special rate of 120 Euros. A transfer for three to six persons will cost 160 Euros, split among participants. You can also travel to the masseria by train from Bari (the closest airport) or Rome. The closest railway station to the masseria is FASANO. If you take a train from Rome to Fasano, you may need to connect in Bari. Once in Fasano, call the masseria to arrange for a taxi or shuttle pickup (approximately a 10-minute drive). If your arrival at the masseria is scheduled later than 2:00 p.m. or if you are delayed, please contact the hotel, and the staff will pass your message along to your VBT Trip Leaders. Leaders will not start the safety talk until 3:00 p.m., so in case of delay, make sure you come dressed and ready for biking at 3:00 p.m. in the main lobby.

VBT highly recommends flying to Italy at least one day before the tour begins; this allows you to rest and recover from jet lag before you begin sightseeing and cycling.

For guests staying at Masseria Torre Coccaro or Masseria Torre Maizza you have the option of partaking in VBT Cooking School, organized for you by VBT and a big highlight for many Puglia travelers! In this cooking class you will learn how to prepare typical Apulian dishes before dining on the fruits of your labor. You will have to reserve by 7:00 p.m. the day before by contacting the masseria directly, for the session starting at 10:30 a.m. the next day. The price is €40 per person and includes lunch and drinks during the class.

For guests staying at Masseria Torre del Diamante, a cooking class of approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes with the masseria’s chef can be reserved by 7:00 p.m. the day before, by contacting the masseria directly. You will have fun while learning how to prepare typical Apulian dishes like taralli and focaccia. The workshop will extend through lunch and include your meal – again a typical informal Apulian lunch that will feature the fruits of your labor as well as refreshments. The price is €40 per person.

VBT Air Package and Pre-Extension guests: Enjoy your breakfast this morning. At 8:30 a.m., meet our local expert guide at your trullo reception, and stretch your legs on a guided walk through this unique city. Learn about trulli design and why this local style of architecture and the setting have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

A transfer at 10:00 a.m. takes you to your first masseria, where you will stay for the next three days. Explore the peaceful surroundings on a self-guided walk (our representative will give you the VBT route directions), enjoy the amenities of this country resort, or maybe join in an optional cooking class organized by the masseria. Check-in time is 2:00 p.m., but you can store luggage with the reception desk and use the hotel amenities this morning.

For guests staying at Masseria Torre Coccaro or Masseria Torre Maizza you will have to reserve the optional cooking class by 7:00 p.m. the day before with your Alberobello guide, while you are in Alberobello, for the session starting at 10:30 a.m. the next day. You will learn how to prepare typical Apulian dishes. The price is €40 per person and includes lunch and drinks during the lunch.

For guests staying at Masseria Torre del Diamante, a cooking class of approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes with the masseria’s chef is included in your package. You will learn how to prepare typical Apulian dishes like taralli and focaccia. The workshop will extend through lunch and include your meal – again a typical informal Apulian lunch that will include the fruits of your labor as well as refreshments. No reservations required.

ALL guests: Please be in the main lobby no later than 3:00 p.m., dressed and ready for biking. VBT Trip Leaders, who will be wearing VBT staff garments, will be in the main lobby starting from 2:00 p.m. to answer any questions or provide assistance Masseria is the local name for large farms, which were fortified around the 16th century to ward off attacks by pirates and brigands. Masserie feature high boundary walls, angular towers, drawbridges, and watchtowers. Inside the walls, families worked and lived alongside their own church, oil mill, and oven to bake bread. These farms would also house cisterns for water, storage rooms for tools and hay, stables, and everything else needed for day-to-day life. These days they are elegant country resorts, most of whom produce their own olive oil and produce from their grounds.

After meeting your VBT Trip Leaders early this afternoon, join them for a safety and bike-fitting session. Then take a short warm-up ride along quiet country roads, past 800-year-old olive groves, to the fishermen village of Savelletri.

Later, enjoy a welcome cocktail reception on the elegant hotel patio. Dinner is at the hotel restaurant and is prepared with local products and herbs produced on the farm.

Hotel: Masseria Torre Coccaro
Alternate Hotels: Masseria Torre Maizza or Masseria Torre del Diamante
Meals: Breakfast (included for Air Package guests only), Dinner
Daily Options: 7 miles (11 km)

This morning, you ride along the coast and inland to Masseria Il Frantoio, another award-winning country hotel famous for the quality of the food. The estate extends over 150 acres and includes a “secret garden” planted with orange and lemon trees, as well as a well-preserved underground oil mill. Your hosts Armando and his wife Rosalba have collected many interesting odds and ends over the years, from ancient dresses and hats to precious books and a gramophone. Each piece has its own story, as you will see.
Your lunch at Il Frantoio is prepared using produce grown on the farm and is truly an experience of the five senses. You’ll also have the opportunity to try a sampling of five different extra-virgin oils that Rosalba uses to flavor her focaccia, pickles, preserves, and delicious laganari pasta.

Afterward, opt to relax or continue cycling to the hotel. Later tonight, you shuttle to the near small city of Savelletri on the sea. Pick a restaurant for your dinner on your own tonight in the cozy pedestrian area.

Hotel: Masseria Torre Coccaro
Alternate Hotels: Masseria Torre Maizza or Masseria Torre del Diamante
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Daily Options: 17, 30 or 37 miles (28, 48 or 60 km)

After breakfast, you cycle along the coast and on quiet roads, completely surrounded by ancient olive trees. Puglia ranks first in Italy in the production of olive oil, wine, and hay, and second for almonds. You stop to explore the archeological site of Egnatia, an ancient Messapican (and later Roman) coastal town of great economic and military importance in the 10th century. The museum reveals precious finds such as sculptures, jewels, funeral equipment, and the particular pottery produced here, called gnathia.

Later continue to Monopoli, where you’ll have the chance to visit the beautiful cathedral and the old harbor. Spend free time here strolling and eating lunch on your own. Walk the maze of pedestrian streets in Monopoli’s old city center and see how they make the city so uniquely intimate.

Shuttle or ride back to your masseria and enjoy the amenities. Dinner is included at the Masseria restaurant.

Hotel: Masseria Torre Coccaro
Alternate Hotels: Masseria Torre Maizza or Masseria Torre del Diamante
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Daily Options: 17, 27, or 37 miles (26.6, 44.5, or 59.5 km)

Leave Savelletri and take a morning shuttle further south to discover another area of Puglia: Salento. Begin biking from the walled city of Acaya. Ride through the ancient city archway on country roads free from traffic and marked as bike paths. You reach the rugged coast and enjoy the spectacular view of Torre dell’Orso village, rising steeply from the sea and sandy bay. The village is a good spot to buy some lunch before hitting the road again, or enjoy a shuttle to the hotel. The afternoon offers more fun cycling on quiet country roads and along the small Alimini Lakes till your next hotel.

After settling in your romantic masseria, you may want to enjoy the hotel amenities or relax with a good book. Dinner is at a nearby cozy masseria tonight.

Hotel: Masseria Montelauro
Alternate Hotel: Masseria Muntibianchi
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Daily Options: 11 or 27 miles (18 or 44 km)

Bike from your hotel on country roads and cycle through sleeping villages, where a stop in a colorful local bar for an Italian coffee can be a great discovery. Your route is shaded by big olive trees and old oaks as you head toward the sea. By lunch time you get to an organic farm near the sea, where the friendly owners Antonio and Marina open their secret garden to host a picnic lunch prepared by your Trip Leaders.

Later continue to Otranto and discover this picturesque town on the Italian coast. Founded by the Greeks, Otranto is surrounded by great ramparts and walls. From late spring onward, its atmosphere is extremely lively with local craft studios selling clay whistles, baskets, hand-dyed fabric, and ceramics. The city’s highlight is certainly the huge, 8,611-square-foot floor mosaic representing the Tree of Life, created in 1163 by a monk in the Otranto Cathedral. In Otranto, you can also take time for a dip in the sea.

After your visit, cycle flat country roads, catching sight of menhirs and dolmens—ancient monoliths and tombs—before getting back to your hotel. This evening, you shuttle to Otranto for dinner on your own at one of the many outdoor cafés or restaurants. Or, if you prefer, enjoy dinner at the hotel.

Hotel: Masseria Montelauro
Alternate Hotel: Masseria Muntibianchi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Daily Options: 20, 24 or 30 miles (32, 39 or 48 km)

After breakfast, you set out on one of the best bike rides in all of Italy. Starting in the interior of Salento, you follow gentle rural pathways through little villages to the coastal town of Castro Marina.

Continue to Santa Cesarea, a quiet town set on the edge of the Adriatic Sea, where you can enjoy lunch on your own in one of the many cozy cafes on the sea. From here, you follow the cliffs to the town of Porto Badisco, famous for its azure waters and prehistoric Cervi Grottoes, before continuing to Cape Otranto, the easternmost tip of Italy. You cycle back to the hotel in time to freshen up before a special farewell dinner at your masseria restaurant to feast with Puglia wines and specialties.

Hotel: Masseria Montelauro
Alternate Hotel: Masseria Muntibianchi
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Daily Options: 15 or 24 miles (25 or 39 km)

VBT-Bicycle-Vacation-only guests: After breakfast, transfer to the Brindisi airport, arriving at approximately 11:30 a.m.

Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

Important: Flight departures from Brindisi prior to 1:30 p.m. are not recommended; those departing earlier must make transfer arrangements at their own expense from the last hotel in Otranto to Brindisi (approximately 1 hour). The cost of a taxi to the Brindisi airport is approximately 80 euros ($87 USD).

The motorcoach will first stop in Lecce to drop VBT Air Package guests off and then continue to the Brindisi airport. You are welcome to get off in Lecce if you prefer.

VBT Air Package and Post-Trip Extension guests: Transfer to the Hotel Patria Palace in Lecce, an elegant and centrally located 5-star hotel, arriving at about 10:30 a.m. Lecce is a beautiful Baroque city, called “the Florence of the South” thanks to the skill with which local builders and stonemasons worked the soft, pink-tinged local stone called pietra dorata.

Explore Piazza Sant’Oronzo, the city’s main square and the heart of local activities for centuries. The square’s centerpiece is the Roman amphitheater. From here, narrow streets fan out into the city’s charming quarters.

The gem of Lecce is Piazza Duomo, enclosed on three sides by the cathedral and two palaces belonging to the church. Though this is one of the largest squares in Europe, it has an intimate feel that invites people-watching from a local café or bakery. 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, transfer to the Brindisi airport for your flight to Rome or your flight back home. VBT recommends that you check the transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder” the night before your flight. The transfer is prearranged with the reception desk and is prepaid by VBT.

Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Meals: Breakfast

Tue, Apr 30 to Mon, May 6 - 2019

Show Itinerary:

VBT-Bicycle-Vacation-only guests: Meet your VBT Trip Leaders at 2:00 p.m. in the lobby of the first masseria in Fasano. To get to the masseria, you can take a taxi from the Bari railway station (the cost is approx. 130 Euros) or the Bari airport (approx. 140 Euros). Or you can contact our transfer company in advance (TAXI SERVICE, Anthony, [email protected], phone +39 330 964927) and book directly with them. TAXI SERVICE will provide a transfer from the Bari airport for up to two persons at a special rate of 120 Euros. A transfer for three to six persons will cost 160 Euros, split among participants. You can also travel to the masseria by train from Bari (the closest airport) or Rome. The closest railway station to the masseria is FASANO. If you take a train from Rome to Fasano, you may need to connect in Bari. Once in Fasano, call the masseria to arrange for a taxi or shuttle pickup (approximately a 10-minute drive). If your arrival at the masseria is scheduled later than 2:00 p.m. or if you are delayed, please contact the hotel, and the staff will pass your message along to your VBT Trip Leaders. Leaders will not start the safety talk until 3:00 p.m., so in case of delay, make sure you come dressed and ready for biking at 3:00 p.m. in the main lobby.

VBT highly recommends flying to Italy at least one day before the tour begins; this allows you to rest and recover from jet lag before you begin sightseeing and cycling.

For guests staying at Masseria Torre Coccaro or Masseria Torre Maizza you have the option of partaking in VBT Cooking School, organized for you by VBT and a big highlight for many Puglia travelers! In this cooking class you will learn how to prepare typical Apulian dishes before dining on the fruits of your labor. You will have to reserve by 7:00 p.m. the day before by contacting the masseria directly, for the session starting at 10:30 a.m. the next day. The price is €40 per person and includes lunch and drinks during the class.

For guests staying at Masseria Torre del Diamante, a cooking class of approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes with the masseria’s chef can be reserved by 7:00 p.m. the day before, by contacting the masseria directly. You will have fun while learning how to prepare typical Apulian dishes like taralli and focaccia. The workshop will extend through lunch and include your meal – again a typical informal Apulian lunch that will feature the fruits of your labor as well as refreshments. The price is €40 per person.

VBT Air Package and Pre-Extension guests: Enjoy your breakfast this morning. At 8:30 a.m., meet our local expert guide at your trullo reception, and stretch your legs on a guided walk through this unique city. Learn about trulli design and why this local style of architecture and the setting have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

A transfer at 10:00 a.m. takes you to your first masseria, where you will stay for the next three days. Explore the peaceful surroundings on a self-guided walk (our representative will give you the VBT route directions), enjoy the amenities of this country resort, or maybe join in an optional cooking class organized by the masseria. Check-in time is 2:00 p.m., but you can store luggage with the reception desk and use the hotel amenities this morning.

For guests staying at Masseria Torre Coccaro or Masseria Torre Maizza you will have to reserve the optional cooking class by 7:00 p.m. the day before with your Alberobello guide, while you are in Alberobello, for the session starting at 10:30 a.m. the next day. You will learn how to prepare typical Apulian dishes. The price is €40 per person and includes lunch and drinks during the lunch.

For guests staying at Masseria Torre del Diamante, a cooking class of approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes with the masseria’s chef is included in your package. You will learn how to prepare typical Apulian dishes like taralli and focaccia. The workshop will extend through lunch and include your meal – again a typical informal Apulian lunch that will include the fruits of your labor as well as refreshments. No reservations required.

ALL guests: Please be in the main lobby no later than 3:00 p.m., dressed and ready for biking. VBT Trip Leaders, who will be wearing VBT staff garments, will be in the main lobby starting from 2:00 p.m. to answer any questions or provide assistance Masseria is the local name for large farms, which were fortified around the 16th century to ward off attacks by pirates and brigands. Masserie feature high boundary walls, angular towers, drawbridges, and watchtowers. Inside the walls, families worked and lived alongside their own church, oil mill, and oven to bake bread. These farms would also house cisterns for water, storage rooms for tools and hay, stables, and everything else needed for day-to-day life. These days they are elegant country resorts, most of whom produce their own olive oil and produce from their grounds.

After meeting your VBT Trip Leaders early this afternoon, join them for a safety and bike-fitting session. Then take a short warm-up ride along quiet country roads, past 800-year-old olive groves, to the fishermen village of Savelletri.

Later, enjoy a welcome cocktail reception on the elegant hotel patio. Dinner is at the hotel restaurant and is prepared with local products and herbs produced on the farm.

Hotel: Masseria Torre Coccaro
Alternate Hotels: Masseria Torre Maizza or Masseria Torre del Diamante
Meals: Breakfast (included for Air Package guests only), Dinner
Daily Options: 7 miles (11 km)

This morning, you ride along the coast and inland to Masseria Il Frantoio, another award-winning country hotel famous for the quality of the food. The estate extends over 150 acres and includes a “secret garden” planted with orange and lemon trees, as well as a well-preserved underground oil mill. Your hosts Armando and his wife Rosalba have collected many interesting odds and ends over the years, from ancient dresses and hats to precious books and a gramophone. Each piece has its own story, as you will see.
Your lunch at Il Frantoio is prepared using produce grown on the farm and is truly an experience of the five senses. You’ll also have the opportunity to try a sampling of five different extra-virgin oils that Rosalba uses to flavor her focaccia, pickles, preserves, and delicious laganari pasta.

Afterward, opt to relax or continue cycling to the hotel. Later tonight, you shuttle to the near small city of Savelletri on the sea. Pick a restaurant for your dinner on your own tonight in the cozy pedestrian area.

Hotel: Masseria Torre Coccaro
Alternate Hotels: Masseria Torre Maizza or Masseria Torre del Diamante
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Daily Options: 17, 30 or 37 miles (28, 48 or 60 km)

After breakfast, you cycle along the coast and on quiet roads, completely surrounded by ancient olive trees. Puglia ranks first in Italy in the production of olive oil, wine, and hay, and second for almonds. You stop to explore the archeological site of Egnatia, an ancient Messapican (and later Roman) coastal town of great economic and military importance in the 10th century. The museum reveals precious finds such as sculptures, jewels, funeral equipment, and the particular pottery produced here, called gnathia.

Later continue to Monopoli, where you’ll have the chance to visit the beautiful cathedral and the old harbor. Spend free time here strolling and eating lunch on your own. Walk the maze of pedestrian streets in Monopoli’s old city center and see how they make the city so uniquely intimate.

Shuttle or ride back to your masseria and enjoy the amenities. Dinner is included at the Masseria restaurant.

Hotel: Masseria Torre Coccaro
Alternate Hotels: Masseria Torre Maizza or Masseria Torre del Diamante
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Daily Options: 17, 27, or 37 miles (26.6, 44.5, or 59.5 km)

Leave Savelletri and take a morning shuttle further south to discover another area of Puglia: Salento. Begin biking from the walled city of Acaya. Ride through the ancient city archway on country roads free from traffic and marked as bike paths. You reach the rugged coast and enjoy the spectacular view of Torre dell’Orso village, rising steeply from the sea and sandy bay. The village is a good spot to buy some lunch before hitting the road again, or enjoy a shuttle to the hotel. The afternoon offers more fun cycling on quiet country roads and along the small Alimini Lakes till your next hotel.

After settling in your romantic masseria, you may want to enjoy the hotel amenities or relax with a good book. Dinner is at a nearby cozy masseria tonight.

Hotel: Masseria Montelauro
Alternate Hotel: Masseria Muntibianchi
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Daily Options: 11 or 27 miles (18 or 44 km)

Bike from your hotel on country roads and cycle through sleeping villages, where a stop in a colorful local bar for an Italian coffee can be a great discovery. Your route is shaded by big olive trees and old oaks as you head toward the sea. By lunch time you get to an organic farm near the sea, where the friendly owners Antonio and Marina open their secret garden to host a picnic lunch prepared by your Trip Leaders.

Later continue to Otranto and discover this picturesque town on the Italian coast. Founded by the Greeks, Otranto is surrounded by great ramparts and walls. From late spring onward, its atmosphere is extremely lively with local craft studios selling clay whistles, baskets, hand-dyed fabric, and ceramics. The city’s highlight is certainly the huge, 8,611-square-foot floor mosaic representing the Tree of Life, created in 1163 by a monk in the Otranto Cathedral. In Otranto, you can also take time for a dip in the sea.

After your visit, cycle flat country roads, catching sight of menhirs and dolmens—ancient monoliths and tombs—before getting back to your hotel. This evening, you shuttle to Otranto for dinner on your own at one of the many outdoor cafés or restaurants. Or, if you prefer, enjoy dinner at the hotel.

Hotel: Masseria Montelauro
Alternate Hotel: Masseria Muntibianchi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Daily Options: 20, 24 or 30 miles (32, 39 or 48 km)

After breakfast, you set out on one of the best bike rides in all of Italy. Starting in the interior of Salento, you follow gentle rural pathways through little villages to the coastal town of Castro Marina.

Continue to Santa Cesarea, a quiet town set on the edge of the Adriatic Sea, where you can enjoy lunch on your own in one of the many cozy cafes on the sea. From here, you follow the cliffs to the town of Porto Badisco, famous for its azure waters and prehistoric Cervi Grottoes, before continuing to Cape Otranto, the easternmost tip of Italy. You cycle back to the hotel in time to freshen up before a special farewell dinner at your masseria restaurant to feast with Puglia wines and specialties.

Hotel: Masseria Montelauro
Alternate Hotel: Masseria Muntibianchi
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Daily Options: 15 or 24 miles (25 or 39 km)

VBT-Bicycle-Vacation-only guests: After breakfast, transfer to the Brindisi airport, arriving at approximately 11:30 a.m.

Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

Important: Flight departures from Brindisi prior to 1:30 p.m. are not recommended; those departing earlier must make transfer arrangements at their own expense from the last hotel in Otranto to Brindisi (approximately 1 hour). The cost of a taxi to the Brindisi airport is approximately 80 euros ($87 USD).

The motorcoach will first stop in Lecce to drop VBT Air Package guests off and then continue to the Brindisi airport. You are welcome to get off in Lecce if you prefer.

VBT Air Package and Post-Trip Extension guests: Transfer to the Hotel Patria Palace in Lecce, an elegant and centrally located 5-star hotel, arriving at about 10:30 a.m. Lecce is a beautiful Baroque city, called “the Florence of the South” thanks to the skill with which local builders and stonemasons worked the soft, pink-tinged local stone called pietra dorata.

Explore Piazza Sant’Oronzo, the city’s main square and the heart of local activities for centuries. The square’s centerpiece is the Roman amphitheater. From here, narrow streets fan out into the city’s charming quarters.

The gem of Lecce is Piazza Duomo, enclosed on three sides by the cathedral and two palaces belonging to the church. Though this is one of the largest squares in Europe, it has an intimate feel that invites people-watching from a local café or bakery. 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

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With Low-Cost Trip Extensions

Airplane

Air Package Only

Pre-Trip Extension - Matera

2 Nights From $395 per person, double occupancy

  • 2 nights at Relais La Casa di Lucio/Hotel Sant’Angelo
  • Daily breakfast
  • VBT City Information
  • Airport transfers

Depart from home and travel to Italy. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Upon arrival at the airport in Bari, Italy, claim your luggage and clear customs. A VBT representative will meet you and help you transfer (approximately 1 hour) to your centrally located Matera hotel. If you are going to be delayed meeting our transfer for more than 15 minutes due to delayed or lost luggage, please let our driver know by calling or sending a text message to +39-333-85-12-310. The driver will be generally able to wait for up to 45 minutes from the time your flight lands, after which you would be responsible for your own transfer. You may also contact our One Call travel assistance to advise of your delay, and they will contact our transfer company.

VBT provides you with City Information to help guide your independent exploration of this beautiful city. At the hotel, our local expert will be available at 6:00 p.m. to answer your questions and offer an optional, privately guided walk to help you make the most your time here. Dinner tonight is on your own.

Hotel: Relais La Casa di Lucio/Hotel Sant’Angelo

Follow your guide if you have booked the guided walking tour, or make your own discoveries in Matera, an ancient city of rock-hewn buildings often used as the set of historical-epic movies like “The Passion of the Christ” and the recent “Ben-Hur” remake. Matera has been elected the European Capital of Culture in 2019. Walk the historic streets to explore the more than 100 churches built into the rocky surface of the city. Admire the magnificent Greek and Byzantine frescoes painted inside these cavernous houses of worship. Visit the Sassi ancient quarters, or tour the Romanesque-Apulian Cathedral. And along the way, learn the fascinating history of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The town is 1,312 feet (400 meters) above sea level and clings to a hillside, half-open like an amphitheater, before extending over a wide plateau. It can be explored by climbing the steps and narrow roads that meander inside the ancient quarters, which cover two distinct valleys. From the uppermost streets, you can admire breathtaking views.

During the day, visit the Romanesque-Apulian Cathedral for amazing views from the highest point in the city; visit the Sassi, ancient cave dwellings that were inhabited as recently as the 1950s; and explore various crypts and underground churches.

It’s worth noting that your hotels (they are sister properties) are carved out of the tufa rocks. They are the result of a painstaking renovation of more than 15,690 square feet of the Sassi, including cave dwellings, pathways, stairways, and courtyards. In all, the property consists of 35 historical dwellings, including a shared restaurant, main reception area, and service structures. The property mirrors a typical Matera neighborhood: its rooms and courtyards are laid out on a steep slope and connected by stairways and landings.
Hotel: Relais La Casa di Lucio/Hotel Sant’Angelo
Meals: Breakfast

After a morning on your own exploring more of Matera—and perhaps following an optional self-guided walk of Sasso Barisano—transfer to your next night’s lodging in Alberobello. Your transfer is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. from the Matera hotel reception area.

Upon arrival in Alberobello, meet your hosts and settle in your trullo dwelling (traditional Puglian stone hut) that VBT has selected for your stay. You will be accommodated in new trulli with the old feeling or in origina l500-year-old dwellings or small homes, completely remodeled and very comfortable. A trullo is a whitewashed, round house topped by a large cone of local stones—all assembled without mortar. It is believed that trulli originated as storage sheds built for agricultural implements. Much later, they became dwellings, with adjoining buildings added as families grew. Like your room, most trulli have been refurbished and are used as cozy homes today. Some of the roofs show mysterious chalk marks, possibly either to protect the inhabitants from evil or to bless the dwelling.

Please note: You have the option of attending a cooking class the following morning before check-in to your masseria. You must tell your Alberobello host this evening if you would like to attend.

Dinner is on your own tonight in Alberobello.

VBT Air Package guests arrive throughout the day.

Hotel: Trulli & Puglia
Meals: Breakfast

Airplane

Air Package Only

Post-Trip Extension - Rome

3 Nights From $645 per person, double occupancy

  • 3 nights at Hotel dei Mellini
  • Daily breakfast
  • VBT City Information
  • Airfare to Rome
  • Airport transfers

Today you will transfer to the airport in Brindisi from Lecce. Upon arrival in the Rome airport, claim your luggage. VBT’s local representative meets you and helps you transfer by private car to your hotel. The representative will meet you outside the customs area in your arrival terminal and will be holding a VBT sign.

At the hotel, our local representative will be available to answer your questions and give you practical information on how to get around and what to do in Rome. He will also present some optional guided walks to help you get the most of the city. You have the rest of the day free to relax, or join our optional evening walking tour.

Hotel: Hotel dei Mellini
Meals: Breakfast

Today’s opportunities are endless. You might visit the Forum, the political and commercial center of ancient Rome when the empire was at its greatest power. Various emperors constructed the temples, monuments, and other buildings here over a period of nine centuries. Today you can still see the Curia, where the Roman Senate met. Take a walk up the Palatine Hill, where tradition says the first settlers of Rome built their huts under the direction of Romulus, later to be the home of Caligula, Nero, Tiberius, and Domitian.
Perhaps you’ll step out of Italy with a visit to the Vatican, an independent state. The Vatican museums are filled with an astounding amount of magnificent art, which are all too often dwarfed by such well-known pieces as Michelangelo’s “Pieta” and the Sistine Chapel ceiling. While we recommend that you purchase tickets to the Vatican prior to your arrival at https://biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/musei/tickets/do it is important to note that tickets to the Vatican cannot be purchased more than two months in advance.

Tour Rome’s famous Catacombs, located in tunnels carved out of rock along the Via Appia, the Appian Way. Or spend an idyllic afternoon in the gardens of the Villa Borghese, one of Europe’s most elegant parks. And by all means, do as the Romans do—sip espresso, savor Italian wine, and take time to enjoy la dolce vita. After a full day of independent exploration, retire to your hotel or perhaps enjoy one of Rome’s fine restaurants.

Please note: Italian museums are closed on Mondays. Museums in the Vatican State are closed on Sundays. If you would like more information or want to book one of our optional guided tours in advance, please refer to your VBT City Information.

Hotel: Hotel dei Mellini
Meals: Breakfast

You have another day to continue exploring Rome on your own.

Hotel: Hotel dei Mellini
Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast*, transfer to the airport for your flight home. VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your Transfer Reminder. The transfer is prearranged with the reception desk and is prepaid by VBT**.

*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

**Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Meals: Breakfast

Reviews

Guest Reviews 242 out of 247 (98%) of reviewers recommend this tour

4.9 out of 5 stars.

Dates & Prices

Bike Vacation + Air Package

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

Single Supplement: $595

Departing From New York, NY (JFK)

Bike Vacation Only

7 Days. Includes bike vacation only.

Single Supplement: $495

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For more information, call: 800-245-3868

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

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