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 enjoy all year round
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.
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.
Overnight in Gallipoli.
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: there are various ticket offices in the kiosks near the port!
Overnight in the Finis Terrae of Puglia.
From Leuca to Vignacastrisi
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 lead through beautiful seaside towns such as Tricase and Castro. And in the meantime 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 the small and authentic village of Vignacastrisi where you will stay overnight.
From Vignacastrisi to Otranto
After a rich breakfast in Vignacastrisi you will reconnect with one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in Salento. This coast fascinates with its views of the sea, nature and the typical dry stone buildings of this area. Enjoy relaxing in the small rocky bays, go for a swim, stop at the fruit and vegetable vans, and savor the local specialties in the bars and restaurants you find along the way.
Stops at the Palascìa lighthouse and bauxite lake very recommended.
Overnight in Otranto, the city of the 800 Martyrs.
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.
Back to Lecce for the last overnight.
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 in shared double/twin room
- Welcome briefing and bike fitting
- Travel App (maps, tracks, route notes)
- Luggage transportation hotel to hotel
- Phone assistance 08:00-20:00
- Transfer IN and Transfer OUT
- Bike rental
- Other meals and drinks
- Entrance fees and tips
- Hotel tourist taxes
- Insurance and what's not listed as Included
Departures and prices
Supplements per person
Mostly flat with wavy lines.
This Salento cycling tour is suitable to anyone with a minimum of training to the bicycle. The daily mileage ranges from 30 to 55 kilometers per day, and you can stop at your leisure, or according to our advice, 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.
7 breakfasts included. All other meals are not included.
- 2 nights in Lecce (first and last)
- 1 night in Gallipoli
- 1 night in Leuca
- 1 night in Vignacastrisi
- 2 nights in Otranto
We will take care of your luggage while you are walking.
For the whole duration of your tour, you can contact our assistance numbers:
→ +39 0832 182 68 68 - from Monday to Friday 09:00 - 18:00 (call or whatsapp);
→ +39 351 836 86 86 - every day 08:00 - 20:00 (emergency calls only).
A few days before departure you will receive by email the Service List with instructions for using the Travel App.
During your Welcome briefing you will receive:
- updated Service List;
- luggage Labels;
- requested rental bikes.
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.