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Italy: Puglia’s Undiscovered Coast

Favorite

Cycle along ancient walled cities, explore charming seaside villages, and enjoy farm fresh food prepared by local hosts with VBT’s Puglia bike tour.

Guided Biking

  • Daily Mileage: 5 - 43|
  • Biking: 0:45 - 5:15 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

10-day Bike Vacation + Air Package

$4,645

7-day Bike Vacation Only

$3,545

Per person, double occupancy

Italy: Puglia’s Undiscovered Coast

Turquoise seas, olive groves, and medieval architecture surround you in the wine country of Puglia. Explore remote trails along stone-sculpted seaside villages and traditional trulli huts. This exquisite region is surrounded by three majestic bodies of water, giving you unparalleled, 360-degree coastal views and cool Adriatic breezes along your journey. With VBT’s Puglia bike tour, you’ll travel back in time as you cycle along the ancient walled city of Acaya and refresh yourself with a dip in the crystalline waters of Otranto, Italy’s easternmost tip. Your trip includes dining with locals on farm fresh cuisine, topped with an olive oil tasting in Ostuni.

What to Expect

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

  • Daily Mileage: 5 - 43|
  • Biking: 0:45 - 5:15 hr|
  • Group Size: 22
Activity Easy Easy
Cycling
Bar Graph Beginner - Experienced
Cyclists
Vehicle Support Vehicle
Support

Tour Highlights

  • Enjoy incomparable accommodations with 6 nights at luxurious masserie and countryside hotels
  • Ride along quiet country roads past 800-year-old olive groves to the ancient coastal site of Egnatia
  • 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 unhurried pedaling along rural pathways heading to the coastal town of Castro Marina
  • Refresh yourself with a swim in Otranto’s crystalline waters
  • Picnic with a local family at their organic farm near the sea

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

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 ‘trulli’ dwellings and 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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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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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 25 to Tue, May 4 - 2021

Show Itinerary:

Depart home for 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 one hour) to your centrally located Matera hotel. 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. Please type VBT Guest at the beginning of your text. The driver will generally be able to wait up to 45 minutes from the time your flight lands, after which you would be responsible for your own transfer. You may also contact Allianz Global Assistance to advise them of your delay, and they will contact the transfer company.

Upon arrival in Alberobello, meet your hosts and settle in the trullo dwelling (a traditional Puglian stone hut) that VBT has selected for your stay. Your comfortable accommodations are part of a group of 500-year-old dwellings which have been completely remodeled. 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 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.

Accommodation: Trulli & Puglia, Alberobello

After breakfast, you will meet our local expert guide at your trullo reception at 8:30 a.m., and stretch your legs on a guided walk through this unique city. Learn about trulli design and why this local style of architecture has helped this setting be 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 you have the option of partaking in VBT Cooking School, which is a big highlight for many Puglia travelers. This class will teach you how to prepare typical Apulian dishes before dining on the fruits of your labor. You will have to reserve your spot by contacting the masseria directly before 7:00 p.m. the day before the 10:30 a.m. session. The price is €50 per person and includes lunch and drinks.

For guests staying at Masseria Calderisi, an optional cooking class of approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes with the masseria’s chef can be reserved by contacting the masseria directly before 7:00 p.m. the day before the 10:30 a.m. session. You will have fun while learning how to prepare typical Apulian dishes. The workshop will extend through lunch and include your meal – a typical informal Apulian lunch that will feature the fruits of your labor as well as refreshments. The price is €50 per person and includes lunch and drinks.

Please be in the main lobby at 3:00 p.m., dressed and ready for biking for introductions and a safety meeting. Readily identifiable VBT trip leaders will be in the main lobby beginning at 2:00 p.m. to answer any questions, provide assistance and collect pedals you may have brought from home.

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. Families worked and lived inside these walls with their own church, oil mill, and oven for baking bread. These farms also housed 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 which grow produce and bottle their own olive oil.

Meet your VBT trip leaders early this afternoon 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 fishing 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.

Accommodation: Masseria Torre Coccaro, Savelletri
Alternate Hotels: Masseria Calderisi
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 14.5 km (9 miles)
Afternoon
Savelletri Warm-up: 14.5 km (9 miles)

What to Expect: A loop in the countryside on a totally flat and paved terrain through the fishing village of Savelletri.

This morning, you will ride inland to Masseria Il Frantoio, another award-winning country hotel famous for the quality of their 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 olive oil mill. Your hosts, Armando and 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.

Your lunch at Il Frantoio is prepared using produce grown on the farm and is truly an experience for all of your 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.

Later, you can opt to relax or continue cycling to the hotel along the ancient Traian road. An additional moderate ride option takes you up to the whitewashed city of Ostuni. End your day with a shuttle to the nearby small city of Savelletri on the sea. You are free to traverse the cozy pedestrian area to choose a restaurant for your dinner.

Accommodation: Masseria Torre Coccaro, Savelletri
Alternate Hotels: Masseria Calderisi
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 20 – 67 km (12 – 41 miles)
Morning
Hotel to Il Frantoio: 28 km (17 miles)
Afternoon
Il Frantoio to Hotel: 20 km (12 miles)
Il Frantoio to Hotel Plus (moderate): 19 km (12 miles)

What to Expect: An inland bike ride in a rural setting passing through charming, small villages. An optional moderate ride will take you up to the hill of Ostuni and down toward the ocean before joining the Traian road back to the hotel. The regular afternoon ride avoids the hill and takes you through the countryside on the quiet, historical Traian road to the hotel.

After breakfast, you’ll cycle along the coast 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’ll stop on the way 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 on the grounds includes precious finds such as sculptures, jewels, funeral equipment, and gnathia which is the distinctive local pottery which usually features figurative painting on the upper half and ornamental designs on the lower portion. Later, continue to Monopoli, where you’ll have the chance to visit the beautiful cathedral and old harbor. You’ll have free time to stroll and eat lunch on your own. Walk the maze of pedestrian streets in Monopoli’s old city center and see how they make the city so intimate.

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

Accommodation: Masseria Torre Coccaro, Savelletri
Alternate Hotels: Masseria Calderisi
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 16 – 66 km (11 – 40 miles)
Morning
Hotel to Monopoli: 27 km (16 miles)
Afternoon
Monopoli to Hotel: 18 km (11 miles)
Monopoli to Hotel Plus (moderate): 23 km (14 miles)

What to Expect: The coastal terrain is flat and there is an optional stop at the end of the ride at our masseria’s private beach, with a short shuttle back to hotel. An additional ride option provides a moderate trek inland from Monopoli on a beautiful, long and gradual uphill, followed by a rolling, hilly road and a very scenic downhill to our masseria.

Leave Savelletri and take a morning shuttle further south to embark on another day of your stunning Puglia bike ride towards Salento. You’ll begin at the walled city of Acaya and ride through the ancient city’s archway on country roads which are free from traffic and marked as bike paths. You’ll finish your morning ride at the rugged coast where you will 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 either hitting the road again or taking a shuttle to the hotel. The afternoon offers more fun cycling on quiet country roads and along the small Alimini Lakes as you head to your next masseria.

After settling into your cozy accommodations, enjoy the hotel amenities or simply relax with a good book. Dinner is at a nearby masseria tonight.

Accommodation: Masseria Montelauro, Otranto
Alternate Hotels: Masseria Muntibianchi

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 18 – 44 km (11 – 27 miles)
Morning
Acaya to Torre dell’Orso: 18 km (11 miles)
Afternoon
Torre dell’Orso to Hotel: 26 km (16 miles)

What to Expect: A beautiful bike ride in the countryside mostly on marked bike roads to Torre dell’Orso on the sea where we’ll break for lunch. In the afternoon you’ll have a choice of a shuttle to the hotel or cycling more lovely country roads with some easy rolling hills by the Alimini Lakes, followed by a final flat stretch to our masseria.

Bike from your hotel on country roads through sleepy villages, where a stop in a colorful local bar for an Italian coffee can be a wonderful diversion. Your route is shaded by big olive trees and towering oaks as you head toward the coast. By lunch, you’ll reach an organic farm near the sea, where the friendly owners, Antonio and Marina, will open their private garden to host a picnic lunch prepared by your trip leaders.

After lunch, discover Otranto, a picturesque town on the Italian coast. Founded by the Greeks, Otranto is surrounded by great ramparts and walls. Starting in late spring, its atmosphere is enlivened by local craft studios selling clay whistles, baskets, hand-dyed fabric, and ceramics. The city’s highlight is Otranto Cathedral’s enormous, 8,611-square-foot floor mosaic representing the Tree of Life which was created by a monk in 1163. A visit to Otranto is also your opportunity to switch sports and take a dip in the sea.

Today’s ride ends on flat country roads, where you’ll catch sight of menhirs and dolmens—ancient monoliths and tombs—before returning to your hotel. This evening, you can dine on your own at the hotel or shuttle to Otranto for dinner at one of the many outdoor cafés or restaurants.

Accommodation: Masseria Montelauro, Otranto
Alternate Hotels: Masseria Muntibianchi
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 7 – 49 km (4 – 30.5 miles)
Morning
Hotel to Agriturismo Fontanelle: 33 km (20.5 miles)
Afternoon
Agriturismo Fontanelle to Otranto: 7 km (4 miles)
Otranto to Hotel: 9 km (6 miles)

What to Expect: Most of today’s riding is the morning to give you time in the afternoon to explore the historical capital of Salento, the city of Otranto and possibly go for a swim. The ride takes us inland from our masseria on paved country roads free from car traffic. The afternoon ride is a short and flat route through olive groves to our your next masseria. An optional additional ride is an easy to moderate loop with undulating terrain starting from Otranto.

After breakfast, you’ll set out on one of the best rides in all of Italy. Starting in the interior of Salento, you’ll follow gentle, rural pathways through little villages to the coastal town of Castro Marina. From there, you’ll 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. Fortified, you’ll 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’ll cycle back to the hotel in time to freshen up before an extraordinary farewell dinner with Puglia wines and specialties at your masseria restaurant.

Accommodation: Masseria Montelauro, Otranto
Alternate Hotels: Masseria Muntibianchi
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 14 – 57 km (9 – 35 miles)
Morning
Hotel to Santa Cesarea Terme: 25 km (15 miles)
Afternoon
Hotel to Santa Cesarea Terme: 14 km (9 miles)
Santa Cesarea Terme to Hotel Plus (moderate): 18 km (11 miles)

What to Expect: This mostly coastal ride is probably the most panoramic bike ride of the week. There is one major uphill after lunch, which can be skipped with a short support vehicle shuttle. The longer afternoon ride has more costal riding along a road with a bit more traffic and is rated as moderate.

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 focal point 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 practically 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 including options for independent dining.

Accommodation: Patria Palace Hotel, Lecce
Included Meals: Breakfast

Fly home or continue your journey with an optional post-trip extension in Rome.

Find detailed itineraries at vbt.com.

After breakfast, transfer to the Brindisi airport for your flight to Rome or 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: If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Tue, Apr 27 to Mon, May 3 - 2021

Show Itinerary:

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). You can also contact our transfer company in advance (TAXI SERVICE, Anthony, [email protected], phone +39 330 964 927) and book directly with them. They provide transfers from the Bari airport at a special rate of 120 Euros. 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 start the safety talk at 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 will allow you to rest and recover from jet lag before you begin sightseeing and cycling.

For guests staying at Masseria Torre Coccaro you have the option of partaking in VBT Cooking School, which is a big highlight for many Puglia travelers. This class will teach you how to prepare typical Apulian dishes before dining on the fruits of your labor. You will have to reserve your spot by contacting the masseria directly before 7:00 p.m. the day before the 10:30 a.m. session. The price is €50 per person and includes lunch and drinks.

For guests staying at Masseria Calderisi, an optional cooking class of approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes with the masseria’s chef can be reserved by contacting the masseria directly before 7:00 p.m. the day before the 10:30 a.m. session. You will have fun while learning how to prepare typical Apulian dishes. The workshop will extend through lunch and include your meal – a typical informal Apulian lunch that will feature the fruits of your labor as well as refreshments. The price is €50 per person and includes lunch and drinks.

Please be in the main lobby at 3:00 p.m., dressed and ready for biking for introductions and a safety meeting. Readily identifiable VBT trip leaders will be in the main lobby beginning at 2:00 p.m. to answer any questions, provide assistance and collect pedals you may have brought from home.

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. Families worked and lived inside these walls with their own church, oil mill, and oven for baking bread. These farms also housed 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 which grow produce and bottle their own olive oil.

Meet your VBT trip leaders early this afternoon 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 fishing 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.

Accommodation: Masseria Torre Coccaro, Savelletri
Alternate Hotels: Masseria Calderisi
Included Meals: Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 14.5 km (9 miles)
Afternoon
Savelletri Warm-up: 14.5 km (9 miles)

What to Expect: A loop in the countryside on a totally flat and paved terrain through the fishing village of Savelletri.

This morning, you will ride inland to Masseria Il Frantoio, another award-winning country hotel famous for the quality of their 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 olive oil mill. Your hosts, Armando and 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.

Your lunch at Il Frantoio is prepared using produce grown on the farm and is truly an experience for all of your 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.

Later, you can opt to relax or continue cycling to the hotel along the ancient Traian road. An additional moderate ride option takes you up to the whitewashed city of Ostuni. End your day with a shuttle to the nearby small city of Savelletri on the sea. You are free to traverse the cozy pedestrian area to choose a restaurant for your dinner.

Accommodation: Masseria Torre Coccaro, Savelletri
Alternate Hotels: Masseria Calderisi
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 20 – 67 km (12 – 41 miles)
Morning
Hotel to Il Frantoio: 28 km (17 miles)
Afternoon
Il Frantoio to Hotel: 20 km (12 miles)
Il Frantoio to Hotel Plus (moderate): 19 km (12 miles)

What to Expect: An inland bike ride in a rural setting passing through charming, small villages. An optional moderate ride will take you up to the hill of Ostuni and down toward the ocean before joining the Traian road back to the hotel. The regular afternoon ride avoids the hill and takes you through the countryside on the quiet, historical Traian road to the hotel.

After breakfast, you’ll cycle along the coast 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’ll stop on the way 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 on the grounds includes precious finds such as sculptures, jewels, funeral equipment, and gnathia which is the distinctive local pottery which usually features figurative painting on the upper half and ornamental designs on the lower portion. Later, continue to Monopoli, where you’ll have the chance to visit the beautiful cathedral and old harbor. You’ll have free time to stroll and eat lunch on your own. Walk the maze of pedestrian streets in Monopoli’s old city center and see how they make the city so intimate.

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

Accommodation: Masseria Torre Coccaro, Savelletri
Alternate Hotels: Masseria Calderisi
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 16 – 66 km (11 – 40 miles)
Morning
Hotel to Monopoli: 27 km (16 miles)
Afternoon
Monopoli to Hotel: 18 km (11 miles)
Monopoli to Hotel Plus (moderate): 23 km (14 miles)

What to Expect: The coastal terrain is flat and there is an optional stop at the end of the ride at our masseria’s private beach, with a short shuttle back to hotel. An additional ride option provides a moderate trek inland from Monopoli on a beautiful, long and gradual uphill, followed by a rolling, hilly road and a very scenic downhill to our masseria.

Leave Savelletri and take a morning shuttle further south to embark on another day of your stunning Puglia bike ride towards Salento. You’ll begin at the walled city of Acaya and ride through the ancient city’s archway on country roads which are free from traffic and marked as bike paths. You’ll finish your morning ride at the rugged coast where you will 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 either hitting the road again or taking a shuttle to the hotel. The afternoon offers more fun cycling on quiet country roads and along the small Alimini Lakes as you head to your next masseria.

After settling into your cozy accommodations, enjoy the hotel amenities or simply relax with a good book. Dinner is at a nearby masseria tonight.

Accommodation: Masseria Montelauro, Otranto
Alternate Hotels: Masseria Muntibianchi

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 18 – 44 km (11 – 27 miles)
Morning
Acaya to Torre dell’Orso: 18 km (11 miles)
Afternoon
Torre dell’Orso to Hotel: 26 km (16 miles)

What to Expect: A beautiful bike ride in the countryside mostly on marked bike roads to Torre dell’Orso on the sea where we’ll break for lunch. In the afternoon you’ll have a choice of a shuttle to the hotel or cycling more lovely country roads with some easy rolling hills by the Alimini Lakes, followed by a final flat stretch to our masseria.

Bike from your hotel on country roads through sleepy villages, where a stop in a colorful local bar for an Italian coffee can be a wonderful diversion. Your route is shaded by big olive trees and towering oaks as you head toward the coast. By lunch, you’ll reach an organic farm near the sea, where the friendly owners, Antonio and Marina, will open their private garden to host a picnic lunch prepared by your trip leaders.

After lunch, discover Otranto, a picturesque town on the Italian coast. Founded by the Greeks, Otranto is surrounded by great ramparts and walls. Starting in late spring, its atmosphere is enlivened by local craft studios selling clay whistles, baskets, hand-dyed fabric, and ceramics. The city’s highlight is Otranto Cathedral’s enormous, 8,611-square-foot floor mosaic representing the Tree of Life which was created by a monk in 1163. A visit to Otranto is also your opportunity to switch sports and take a dip in the sea.

Today’s ride ends on flat country roads, where you’ll catch sight of menhirs and dolmens—ancient monoliths and tombs—before returning to your hotel. This evening, you can dine on your own at the hotel or shuttle to Otranto for dinner at one of the many outdoor cafés or restaurants.

Accommodation: Masseria Montelauro, Otranto
Alternate Hotels: Masseria Muntibianchi
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 7 – 49 km (4 – 30.5 miles)
Morning
Hotel to Agriturismo Fontanelle: 33 km (20.5 miles)
Afternoon
Agriturismo Fontanelle to Otranto: 7 km (4 miles)
Otranto to Hotel: 9 km (6 miles)

What to Expect: Most of today’s riding is the morning to give you time in the afternoon to explore the historical capital of Salento, the city of Otranto and possibly go for a swim. The ride takes us inland from our masseria on paved country roads free from car traffic. The afternoon ride is a short and flat route through olive groves to our your next masseria. An optional additional ride is an easy to moderate loop with undulating terrain starting from Otranto.

After breakfast, you’ll set out on one of the best rides in all of Italy. Starting in the interior of Salento, you’ll follow gentle, rural pathways through little villages to the coastal town of Castro Marina. From there, you’ll 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. Fortified, you’ll 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’ll cycle back to the hotel in time to freshen up before an extraordinary farewell dinner with Puglia wines and specialties at your masseria restaurant.

Accommodation: Masseria Montelauro, Otranto
Alternate Hotels: Masseria Muntibianchi
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 14 – 57 km (9 – 35 miles)
Morning
Hotel to Santa Cesarea Terme: 25 km (15 miles)
Afternoon
Hotel to Santa Cesarea Terme: 14 km (9 miles)
Santa Cesarea Terme to Hotel Plus (moderate): 18 km (11 miles)

What to Expect: This mostly coastal ride is probably the most panoramic bike ride of the week. There is one major uphill after lunch, which can be skipped with a short support vehicle shuttle. The longer afternoon ride has more costal riding along a road with a bit more traffic and is rated as moderate.

After breakfast, transfer to the Brindisi airport, arriving at approximately 11:30 a.m.

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 and then continue to the Brindisi airport. You are welcome to get off in Lecce if you prefer.

Accommodation: Patria Palace Hotel, Lecce
Included Meals: Breakfast

Fly home or continue your journey with an optional post-trip extension in Rome.

Find detailed itineraries at vbt.com.

After breakfast, transfer to the Brindisi airport for your flight to Rome or 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: If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With Low-Cost Trip Extensions

Airplane

Air Package Only

2021

2021 Pre-Trip Extension - Matera

2 Nights From $295 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $195

  • 2 nights at Relais La Casa di Lucio/Hotel Sant’Angelo
  • Daily breakfast
  • VBT City Information
  • Hospitality desk
  • Airport transfers
  • Matera is an ancient city of rock-hewn buildings carved into a canyon and often used for the set of historical-epic movies like “The Passion of the Christ.”
  • More than 100 churches built into the rocky surface of the city.
  • UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993.

Depart home for 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 one hour) to your centrally located Matera hotel. If you are going to be delayed meeting our transfer by 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. Please type VBT Guest at the beginning of your text. The driver will generally be 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 Allianz Global Assistance to advise them 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. You are free to dine on your own at any of the local establishments.

Accommodation: La Casa di Lucio/Hotel Sant’Angelo, Matera

Follow your guide if you have booked the VBT guided walking tour, or make your own discoveries in Matera, an ancient city of rock-hewn buildings. Designated by the EU as the European Capital of Culture in 2019, Matera, is often used as the set for historical, epic movies like “The Passion of the Christ” and the recent “Ben-Hur” remake. Walk the historic streets to explore the more than 100 churches built into the rocky surface of the city and 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. 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. You can explore 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. Other attractions not to be missed include the Sassi, ancient cave dwellings that were inhabited as recently as the 1950s, with crypts and underground churches.

It’s worth noting that your hotels (they are sister properties) are carved out of 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. The property is comprised 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.

Accommodation: La Casa di Lucio/Hotel Sant’Angelo, Matera
Included Meals: Breakfast

After a morning of exploring Matera on your own —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 the trullo dwelling (a traditional Puglian stone hut) that VBT has selected for your stay. Your comfortable accommodations are part of a group of 500-year-old dwellings which have been completely remodeled. 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 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.
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Accommodation: Trulli & Puglia, Alberobello
Included Meals: Breakfast

Airplane

Air Package Only

2021

2021 Post-Trip Extension - Rome

3 Nights From $495 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $295

  • 3 nights at Hotel dei Mellini
  • Daily breakfast
  • VBT City Information & Hospitality desk
  • Airfare to Rome
  • Airport transfers
  • The Vatican, where St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel await.
  • Ancient Roman architecture including the Forum, the Coliseum, and recent discoveries now open to the public
  • When in Rome, la dolce vita—enjoy the good life.

Today you will transfer to the airport in Brindisi from Lecce. After you claim your luggage, VBT’s local representative, recognizable by a VBT sign, will greet you outside the customs area and help you transfer by private car to your hotel.

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. The representative will also present some optional guided walks to help you get the most out of the city. You will have the rest of the day to relax or join our optional evening walking tour.

Accommodation: Hotel dei Mellini, Rome
Included Meals: Breakfast

Today’s opportunities are endless. You might visit the Forum which was 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 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 astonishing array of magnificent art, going well beyond the better-known pieces like Michelangelo’s “Pieta” and the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

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.

Accommodation: Hotel dei Mellini, Rome
Included Meals: Breakfast

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

Accommodation: Hotel dei Mellini, Rome
Included 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.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Reviews

Guest Reviews 253 out of 258 (98%) of reviewers recommend this tour

4.9 out of 5 stars.

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