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Discover the 'heel' of Italy on a mix of leisurely and moderate grade cycle rides through the sun-drenched region of Puglia. Along the way we sample the superb Pugliese cuisine with cheeses from a local 'caseificio', a visit to a family-run bakery and wine tasting.
Explore Tour Leader
7 nights comfortable hotel
Leisurely and Moderate
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our trip starts in Altamura - a small town located on the Murge plateau, renowned for its cartwheel size bread, Gothic Cathedral and for the nearly intact skeleton of the Altamura Man that was found here dating back 400,000 years.
Our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Bari International Airport - Karol Wojtyla (BRI), which is around 50 minute drive from the Altamura. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to Explore the old town and maybe try the local PDO-protected bread - perfect for a bruschetta!
Hotel Fuori Le Mura (or similar)
Before leaving Altamura this morning, we pay a visit to a bakery for a guided visit to learn all about the local art of bread making and to taste their various products. Afterwards we head south into the wide-open countryside on remote roads, crossing grassy meadows and wheat fields as we ride to Matera. Along the way, we will enjoy marvellous panoramas of endless fields and immense blue skies dotted with small white clouds above. The remote back roads lead us to a natural balcony with commanding views before this grand emptiness subsides and literally, the first forms of civilization reappear as we approach Matera. The ancient town of the 'sassi' (stone dwellings) originates from a prehistoric troglodyte settlement, thought to be one of the first human settlements in Italy. Roaming through its maze of narrow allies, up and down the stone stairs you will find yourself transported to a distant past. Many of the houses you encounter are caves, and the streets in some parts of the 'sassi' are often located on the rooftops of other houses.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 30 kilometres and the route is graded as leisurely (total ascent 330 metres and descent 450 metres).
Hotel Sassi (or similar)
This day is free to spend at your leisure exploring the magnificent sites of Matera. Until the late 1980s, this was considered an area of poverty, since these houses were, and in most areas still are, mostly uninhabitable. Current local administration has become more tourism-orientated and has promoted regeneration with the aid of the European Union, the government, UNESCO and Hollywood with several films made here including Mel Gibson's Last Temptation of Christ. Sit down on the terrace of one of the bars for a cappuccino and soak up this magical atmosphere.
Your Tour Leader will organise a guided optional ride in the morning for anyone interested and will dicuss the two options. The shorter one is a loop ride to the Torre Spagnole Belvedere with a view over the Sassi district. The longer alternative ride heads out into the countryside surrounding Matera to the San Giuliano Lake.
Our total optional cycling distance today is approximately 30-40 kilometres and these routes are graded as moderate (total 300-600 metres of ascent and descent).
This morning your tour leader can arrange a tour of the Sassi with a licensed guide for those interested. In the late morning we'll drive to the Putignano Agriturismo where we visit a local 'caseificio' (cheese maker) for a demonstration. We will learn about cheese in its various shapes and sizes such as mozzarella, ricotta, provolone and scamorza. Afterwards we enjoy a light lunch and can eat some of the cheese.
In the afternoon, we cycle to our next destination - Alberobello. On tiny hidden back roads bordered by stone walls we cycle through the quiet countryside passing 'masserie' (fortified farmsteads), grain fields, olive groves, and encounter many 'trulli' as we near Alberobello. These curious dry stone huts with their cone shaped roofs scattered throughout the countryside seem to belong to the world of elves. In Alberobello there are many fine examples of these picturesque dwellings. Our hotel at the edge of town is the perfect place to unwind and explore the town's sites.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 35 kilometres and the route is graded as leisurely (total ascent 300 metres and 130 metres descent).
Grand Hotel Olimpo (or similar)
This morning we head out by bike once more along quiet back roads that wind through rolling hills dotted by endless olive groves. In the town of Cisternino we take a break to visit the historic centre, before riding in the support vehicle or cycling an optional further 5 km (10 km return) to visit a traditional olive mill to taste some of their 'green gold'. Back on our bikes and nearing the town of Locorotondo, vineyards start to dominate the countryside as this is an area where sublime white wines (both still and sparkling) are produced. The name Locorotondo means 'round place' and this is exactly what the shape of the old town is like. It is listed as one of the most beautiful hamlets in Italy and its heritage includes several beautiful churches and a labyrinth of whitewashed alleys. It is a delight to explore on foot. Finally we continue by bike into the countryside again, following quiet stone wall-lined roads past dozens of 'trulli' buildings scattered in the fields. Finally we make one last stop enjoy a wine tasting at a local masseria (farmhouse), before returning the last 10 km to Alberobello by bus. Today's ride is accompanied by a support vehicle so it is possible to opt out of any of the sections of the ride.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 44 kilometres and the route is graded as moderate (total ascent 590 metres and descent 590 metres).
There is free time this morning to explore Alberobello, before we set off on our ride to the Adriatic coast. Our route leads us once more through beautiful scenery of ochre-coloured fields dotted with gnarly olive trees and trulli of all kinds and sizes. We cycle along a panoramic coastal road that is a natural balcony overlooking the beautiful blue waters of the Adriatic. We descend on winding roads, feeling the sea air to arrive at the town of Conversano. The coastal planes are cultivated with a variety of crops and dotted with elegant 'masserie' farmsteads. We cycle on to reach Monopoli - a bustling fishing town, with splendid white-washed houses, narrow alleyways and our charming accommodation positioned in the heart of the old town.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 35 kilometres and the route is graded as leisurely (total ascent 290 metres and descent 705 metres).
Hotel Monopoli Albergo Diffuso (or similar)
From Monopoli we ride south along the rugged Adriatic coastline and are rewarded with magnificent views of the intensely green vegetation lining the rocky beaches and the deep blue sea waters. It's an easy and pleasant ride to Savelletri and before the quaint little hamlet there is the option to visit the archaeological site of Egnazia, and its museum where finds from the Bronze Age are on display. You can choose to spend some time at the beach or continue this easy ride through the opulent farmland until the lighthouse at Torre Canne. Back at the hotel we enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure before we celebrate the final night of our trip.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 45 kilometres and the route is graded as leisurely (Total ascent 50 metres and descent 50 metres).
The trip ends in Monopoli this morning after breakfast.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Bari International Airport - Karol Wojtyla (BRI), which is an hour drive from the hotel.
Total distance : 138 miles
April/May and October/November are pleasantly warm. June/September are the hottest months. Showers are common in Autumn.
2 Pin Round
Matera: Guided tour with local guide 15 Euros per person (minimum 6 participants) that includes entrance to Rockhouse Museum and one of the stone churches Egnazia Bronze Age site and museum - 6 Euros
When cycling: quick drying cycle tops, padded cycle shorts, lightweight wind and water proof jacket and warmer breathable layers where local conditions require. General: Pack essentially for mild or hot weather depending on the time of the year.
If you are not bringing cycle shoes then try to bring stiff-soled shoes as these are better for cycling - transmitting your energy into the pedals more efficiently. This becomes more relevant and recommended the more demanding the grade and distances to cover. SPD cycle shoes are not well suited to trip that combine sightseeing with cycling. Comfortable shoes, trainers, sandals or flip flops are useful when not on the bike.
We recommend you bring a daypack and one main piece of luggage (total allowance: 44lb/20kg) which will be transported between hotels while you cycle. Check the bike details section to see if a pannier or handlebar bag is provided on the bike.
On all Explore cycle holidays we strongly recommend you bring along and wear your cycle helmet. In case of an accident resulting in personal injury, certain insurance policies are invalidated in cases where a helmet was not being worn. Cycle glasses to protect against dust, pollen and the sun, padded cycle gloves and a water bottle or water delivery system (e.g. camelback or platypus) are also useful. You may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. If a handle bar bag or pannier is not provided (check bike details) then you may like to bring a small rucksack to wear while cycling. Other items to consider bringing are a sunhat and sun cream, torch, earplugs and insect repellent. Please carry some or all of your cycling equipment e.g. helmet as part of your hand luggage.
Comfortable - Our mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en-suite facilities.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Italy: Visas are not required by UK, EU nationals, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
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Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
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You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing required. Tetanus recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.