Salento by bikeSalento - PugliaDifficulty path:
Enjoy at first the beautiful town of Lecce, called the “Florence of the South”, and its surroundings. You will cycle through art, culture, traditional and tasty food, wide countrysides, breathtaking coastlines and a surprising nature, the only one able to survive in this extremely sunny and windy land.
The endless Coasts of Salento by bike
Traces of ancient Pilgrim routes
Craftsmen and places from the past
Local stories and legends
Castles, Abbeys and old Towers
A sea to live
Welcome in the elegant Lecce, the capital of the Salento Peninsula, Puglia.
Lecce was founded around 2,000 years old and by the 15th century had become one of the most important cities in southern Italy. Over this period Lecce was decorated with important Baroque monuments and under threat from an Ottoman invasion, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, rebuilt the defenses of the city along with a new castle. A well-preserved Roman Amphitheatre and a smaller Greek Theatre, important buildings, churches, craft shops will turn your peeks around into continuous and nice discoveries.
From tomorrow you will discover the amazing Salento by bike.
Once upon a time and still today
A bike tour in the countryside between Lecce and the closest coast to the town, where locals can enjoy the sea even when there is little free time. Frigole is not the most famous marine resort but the area around it deserves to be known for its hidden treasures. Cultivated fields and renewable energy plants coexist with old and new olive trees, ancient ruins and protected areas part of the Regional Natural Park "Bosco e Paludi del Rauccio". You will go back in time through the visit of Santa Maria in Cerrate, a Medieval settlement where monks lived, worked and prayed. It’s on the route of the old southern Via Francigena.
You can make a tasty stop in a surprising bakery located in an ancient Masseria, a large agricultural center during the Second World War, to buy baked goods and fruit and vegetables from the nearby fields.
To the sea: from Lecce to Gallipoli
You will leave the main city and cycle towards the sea along the Ionian coast.
You'll pass through vineyards, olive groves, crops and small villages. Copertino has a pretty small historic centre and a well-preserved Angevin castle: quick stop for a coffee with ice and almond milk in Lecce style! From here you will cross Nardò that deserves a look on its magnificent Baroque square, Piazza Salandra, enjoying a good glass of wine of local production sitting at one of the numerous bars. You will reach the sea at the edge of the Reserve of Porto Selvaggio, a real green lung defended and wanted by the population.
This coast is famous for its sunsets: once arrived to Gallipoli enjoy it from the small bay of Purità, down from its walls.
Ionian coast: from Gallipoli to Leuca
The “Beautiful City” of Gallipoli, so called by the Greeks, has been the most important Mediterranean olive oil trade centre in the past: the underground oil mill at Palazzo Granafei will tell you this piece of history.
From Gallipoli you will cycle along the road parallel to the coastline passing Torre San Giovanni, a small harbour between volcanic low cliffs. You can stop at one of the beautiful white sand beaches before arriving at Punta Ristola, the extreme edge of Salento peninsula, place of legends and numerous finds dating to the Neolithic age. From here a wonderful view of the harbour of Leuca and, even further, of Punta Melisso.
Now it would be perfect a boat trip to discover the numerous sea caves of Capo di Leuca ...
Up to the Adriatic sea: from Leuca to Otranto
Cycle up to the Sanctuary of Santa Maria di Leuca, white and blue are the colours all around.
You can breathe calm and spirituality looking at this infinitive horizon made of the various shades of blue from sky and sea. Prepare yourself to get surprised many times today along the path. A panoramic stretch of road overlooking the sea will take you until the end to the beautiful Otranto, but before hidden bays and caves, breathtaking cliffs and canyons, enchanting villages full of history will give you many chances to get a break for a WOW!
Among gentle ups and downs you will reach your final goal of the day, your "home" for the next two days.
Stories and tradition from inland
A day around Otranto, an important little town in Salento. It has always been, thanks to its position, a connection point for trades, cultural exchanges, invasions between the western and the eastern world. You will explore magical places such as the Megalithic Park near the village of Giurdignano, that preserves an evocative atmosphere of rituals and legends, myths and pagan cults related to the peoples who over the millennia have inhabited and traversed these lands. Then a farm in the middle of nature, that promotes social activities ranging from biodynamic agriculture to handicraft production of rare fabrics.
Before returning to Otranto, you can decide to visit La Cutura botanical garden, born from the love of a man for travels and… succulents!
Bye-bye sea! From Otranto to Lecce
One last greeting to Otranto, its castle, and its imposing Cathedral, an incredible but especially free museum. You can see the largest and most complex paved Mosaic in southern Italy, realised by a monk, Pantaleon, today considered a true encyclopedia of images of the time and culture of the Middle Ages. You will cycle close to the two Alimini lakes before riding again along the coast. Admire the wonders of the bay of Sant'Andrea and of the Cave of Poetry near the archaeological site of Roca Vecchia, maybe experiencing a jump in the sea.
A regenerate ride through the Natural WWF Park “Le Cesine”, along with the discovery of Acaya, a fortified town where time seems motionless, will make gradual your return to the modern civilization and the charming Lecce.
Last morning…it’s time for shopping!
Papier-mâché, coloured pottery, objects made of Lecce stone, textiles….among the many handicraft shops and the local food stores, you will probably need another suitcase to fill!!!
If you like a shorter break to cycle in Puglia, have a look at the Salento Bike Tour.
Tour programme variations
Due to organizational reasons, weather conditions or provisions issued by local authorities, the itinerary may be subject to some changes before and/or during the holiday.
Along the way you may find temporary deviations (for example road works) which cannot be foreseen; in this case each biker can decide autonomously how to deal with these stretches.
Our offer includes
- 7 nights with breakfast
- Welcome briefing and bike fitting
- Route directions with maps
- Luggage transportation hotel to hotel
- Phone assistance 08:00-21:00
- Transfer IN and Transfer OUT
- Bike rental
- Meals and drinks
- Entrance fees and tips
- Hotel tourist taxes (about € 14,00)
- Insurance and what's not listed as Included
Departures and prices
Supplements per person
Mostly flat with wavy lines.
This Puglia tour is suitable to anyone with a minimum of training to the bicycle. The daily mileage goes from 30 to 55 daily kilometers, with programmed pauses for visits and refreshments.
The bike will be a way to work off the good food and enjoy the many landscapes offered by this land. There will also be strictly cultural moments and the possibility of a refreshing swim in the clear sea of Puglia.
The Standard tour offers accommodation in simple B&B and selected 3* hotel.
The Superior tour offers accommodation in charming B&B and 4* hotel.
All rooms are ensuite.
2+1 nights in Lecce
1 night in Gallipoli
1 night in Leuca
2 nights in Otranto
7 breakfasts included. All other meals are not included.
The morning of the second day, after breakfast, you will have a Welcome meeting and Bike fitting.
We will take care of your luggage while you are cycling.
In case of need you can call our emergency number ON from 8:00 to 21:00. Anytime, our staff will be available to make your holiday quiet and serene.
A few days before departure you will receive the Service List.
During your Welcome you will receive:
- updated Service List;
- luggage Labels;
- detailed Route directions with maps.
Lecce is easily reachable by train, bus, car and by air.
BY AIR. The closest airports are Bari and Brindisi, both connected with the most important Italian and foreign cities.
The Salento airport of Brindisi is about 40 km from Lecce, and the airport of Bari-Palese is about 160 km from Lecce. From Bari and Brindisi there are several public transport solutions to reach Lecce. More info on the website Aeroporti di Puglia.
BY BUS. Lecce is also accessible by bus. Here some of the major operating companies: Marinobus, Baltour & Flixbus, Busmiccolis, Sais autolinee, Buscenter.
BY CAR. The main highways are the A14 Bologna-Taranto and the A16 Napoli-Canosa. We recommend you exit the motorway in Bari and continue along the highway to Brindisi, then take the SS613 towards Lecce. maps.google.com can help you with the directions.