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This self-guided bike tour offers a remarkable trip starting from Alberobello, the iconic city of Trulli, a unique emblem of Puglia. This cycling adventure takes you down the Italian heel, meandering throughout Salento. As you pedal at your own pace, you’ll be captivated by the white towns nestled in the Itria Valley, including the enchanting Ostuni and the picturesque Locorotondo.
The route then leads you through the birthplace of the renowned Primitivo di Manduria wine, adding a delightful taste to your experience. Your bike ride continues as you cycle through scenic coastal villages such as Gallipoli, Santa Maria di Leuca, and Otranto, each offering its own blend of beauty and charm. Finally, the tour culminates in the stunning city of Lecce. Known for its exquisite Baroque architecture, Lecce is a grand finale to this unforgettable Salento cycling adventure.
Every pedal of this Southern Italy bike tour brings a new discovery, from ancient towns’ historic allure to the Mediterranean coastline’s serene beauty. This self-guided tour is not just a cycling journey; it’s a deep dive into the heart of Salento, revealing its hidden gems and timeless treasures.
Whether you’re a cycling enthusiast or a lover of Italian culture, this tour promises an experience filled with awe-inspiring sights, mouth-watering flavors, and unforgettable memories.
Cycling through Puglia’s Salento | Self Guided Bike Tour
From Alberobello to Lecce
Self-Guided Bike Tour
A Self-Guided Bike Tour is a type of cycling adventure where you have the freedom to plan and navigate at your pace. Our dedicated tour guide and support team will handle hotel bookings, logistics, and baggage transport, ensuring you enjoy a hassle-free and carefree experience.
Stages up to 70 km per day with a maximum of 1300 meters of climbing. Those tours appeal to riders used to train a bit, with some “tasty” climb. Usually you are back at the hotel in the early afternoon.
For guests that want more riding, we can add extra loops to regular stages.
40 – 70km / day
Welcome to the city of Trulli
We will meet at your first hotel among the Trulli of Alberobello or welcome you at the airport if you have requested the transfer. Over a good glass of fresh Locorotondo DOC wine, we will present the tour details that await you. After a proper bike fitting, we will let you discover this unique village.
Alberobello is known worldwide for its Trulli, characteristic cone-shaped rural houses built without cement mortar with the tholos technique. This ancient method of building involves stacking stones in a circular, conical structure. They are then plastered with very white lime that maintains cool interiors in hot climates.
Born for practical and economic needs, today, they represent a symbol and a source of cultural and economic wealth for the region, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
You will be hosted for the night in one of those ancient Trulli.
The white villages of Puglia
Today a beautiful route awaits you among gentle slopes, vineyards, and fields, dotted with Trulli that rise towards the blue sky.
Once in Ostuni, we leave the Valle d’Itria and the Murge behind us, to enter the Salento plain, the southernmost area of Puglia. You will cross the villages of Locorotondo and Cisternino, ending the day in Ostuni. All three of these villages are known for their whitewashed houses, which make them glow blindingly in the sun.
Locorotondo is one of the jewels of the Itria Valley. Perched on a small hill, it can be seen from afar for its characteristic circular shape and the houses with typical pitched roofs covered in stone, called ‘cummerse’.
Here, you can taste a refined white wine, which holds one of the first DOCs of Puglia: the Locorotondo DOC. It’s characterized by freshness and liveliness, standing out in the panorama of Puglia’s wines, a region dominated by rustic red wines.
In Cisternino, you will not find the monumental churches of Ostuni, the perfect Trulli of Alberobello, or even the elegant ‘cummerse’ of Locorotondo. Yet it will seduce you for its simplicity of an authentic rural village, where you can get lost in the alleys and squares.
Ostuni is a wonderful village shining in pure white, perched on three hills dominating the valley. At the top of the town stands the Cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria dell’Assumption. This splendid example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture deserves a brief stop. Its majestic facade, characterized by three portals and surmounted by three rose windows, showcases the central one as a beautiful example of medieval symbolism.
In the realm of Primitivo di Manduria wine
Today, a beautiful route awaits you among gentle slopes, vineyards, and fields dotted with Trulli that rise towards the blue sky. Once in Ostuni, we leave the Valle d’Itria and the Murge behind us to enter the Salento plain, the southernmost area of Puglia.
Today’s stage ends in Manduria, among the vineyards of Primitivo Salentino, the older brother of the Californian Zinfandel. Here, you cannot fail to visit the ‘Produttori di Manduria’ cellar museum and taste a good glass of Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale DOCG.
Along the beautiful Ionian coast
Today, we head to the beautiful coastline of Salento. After leaving the Manduria vineyards, you head towards the coast of Porto Cesareo, which is home to long beaches and a Marine Protected Area of over 16,000 hectares (41,000 acres).
The coast has some cliffs, lagoons, and many beaches, among which the Lido degli Angeli stands out, characterized by a lush dune system. The stage continues along an easy, undemanding path until you reach the seaside village of Gallipoli, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in all of Salento.
Gallipoli is an ancient settlement of Greek origin (Kali Polis). It later became an important Roman military center and, subsequently, the central hub in the Mediterranean for the oil trade for lamps. Today, it’s a renowned tourist destination. Still, its historic center retains the fascinating urban layout of the Bourbon era, with high bastions overlooking the sea that enclose elegant palaces, narrow houses, and richly finished churches.
Here, you will find excellent restaurants where you can delight yourself with a dinner based on freshly caught fish.
Puglia’s Southernmost point
Leaving the sea-facing ramparts of Gallipoli, we continue further south along the Ionian coast of Salento, until reaching Punta Ristola in Santa Maria di Leuca, the southernmost point of the heel of the Italian boot.
From here, you can enjoy a wonderful view of the port of Santa Maria di Leuca and Punta Melisso, where the Sanctuary of S.M. de Finibus Terrae stands. The name ‘Finibus terrae’ was given to this place by the Romans precisely to symbolize the meaning of the last strip of land. It has long been considered a sacred place, once home to a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Minerva, who, according to legend, gave the olive tree to Salento.
Legend also has it that the apostle Peter, who landed on Leuca’s coasts, began preaching throughout the Western world from here. The apostle’s arrival is said to have shattered the pagan temple, where he then planted a cross. The sanctuary was later built on this site, undergoing various attacks and reconstructions over time. The last was that of the eighteenth century, which endowed it with defensive walls and the large square overlooking the sea that we see today.
However, Leuca is also, and perhaps foremost, a renowned seaside destination. Be sure to save part of the afternoon to slip into your bathing suit and dive into the crystal-clear waters of one of its stunning beaches.
Overnight: Santa Maria di Leuca
A wonderful coastal road overlooking the Balkans
Your route turns north from the far south, hugging a stunning stretch of road along the sinuous coast. This path takes us through evocative locations such as the Ciolo canyon, the hidden bay of Acquaviva, the village of Castro, and Santa Cesarea Terme, which is perfect for a lunch stop.
After leaving Santa Cesarea Terme, the road continues along the coast. Here, it enters its most picturesque stretch, gently undulating for about 30km. You will pass by the striking Palascìa lighthouse, the easternmost point of Italy, from where, on clear days, you can see as far as the Balkan mountains.
From here, only a few kilometers remain before you reach the beautiful Otranto, the ancient Greek Ydrous, which marks today’s stage end.
Otranto, a small seaside town, has historically been considered a bridge between the east and west of the Mediterranean. Its ancient village is encircled by defensive walls. Its geographical position has been both a boon and a bane, often making it the scene of invasions and clashes due to its strategic commercial importance.
Besides a stop at the promenade, we recommend a visit to the Norman Cathedral. It houses the largest and most complex paved mosaic in southern Italy, visually narrating the era’s expansive knowledge.
The way to the Salento capital
Leaving the easternmost city of Italy, the itinerary continues along the coast to the north. Just before the village of Roca Vecchia, you will find the underground caves called La Grotta del Poeta. Here, a beautiful natural swimming pool awaits, which we recommend visiting with a short detour.
Next, the itinerary leads to the WWF oasis ‘Le Cesine,’ the last remnant of the coastal marsh that once stretched across Brindisi. Once considered unhealthy and dangerous, today it is an area of high naturalistic value, where the complex biodiversity typical of the Mediterranean habitat develops.
Now, it’s time to reach Lecce, the capital of Baroque architecture, and we suggest setting aside at least a few hours for exploration. Leave your bike behind and immerse yourself in its historic center, which boasts a harmonious Baroque style.
Many of the most renowned stonecutters from the 1600s to 1700s came here to work their craft, decorating the facades of buildings and churches that remain intact today.
After breakfast, our services end. If you have booked a transfer with us, our driver will pick you up at your hotel. Depending on your departure time, we suggest you visit more of this beautiful town. The Archaeological Museum Faggiano is a really nice one.
Now it’s time to say goodbye. We really hope to host you again in one of Mediterras bike tour destinations!
You can bring your own bike or rent one from us, we offer great bikes from selected Italian and international brands: road bikes, leisure cycling, mountain bikes, e-bikes, all in perfect working conditions. You can book your rental bike at the end of the reservation process.