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Heel of Italy – 2024/25


TYPE: Road Cycling
LEVEL: Regular
01 June – 09 June 2024
01 June – 09 June 2025
DURATION: 9 days / 8 nights (7 days cycling)

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    • 570 £
    • 90 £
    • 90 £

Heel of Italy – NEW for 2024!!

Imagine an area of mainland Europe with superb climate, outstanding cuisine,  relatively flat terrain,  quiet tourist-free roads and 500 miles of coastline with sandy beaches and warm azure seas.  Or why not go there and cycle!  Puglia, the southern region forming the heel of Italy’s “boot,” is known for its whitewashed hill towns, centuries-old olive groves and hundreds of kilometres of Mediterranean coastline.  It remains, however,  relatively undiscovered and offers one of the few remaining opportunities for superb cycling free from the tourist throngs.  It is also home to some stunning cities including Lecce (the Florence of the South)  and Gallipoli (reminiscent of Dubrovnik, but with only a fraction of the  tourist numbers).

With 7 days riding from Sunday to Saturday, this tour can be accommodated within a single week of annual leave and is suitable for cyclists of all abilities and experience.  Our average daily distance is around 55 miles, with just 2000 feet of climb and our route takes in as many as possible of the ‘must see’ locations.

If you would like to read other people’s comments on our holidays then check out the Customer Comments page.

Day 0 – Arrive in Bari

Bari, a vibrant port and university town,  is well-served with flights from the UK, including budget airlines.  We will meet you for the short transfer to a local hotel.

Day 1 – Bari to Matera  – 47 miles

For our first day we head south, away from the Adriatic coast, crossing the top of the heel.  We pass through enough towns to keep you fed and watered but are otherwise alone with just the sunshine and olive groves for company.

Day 2 – Matera to Leporano Marina – 59 Miles

Our longest day, though still very manageable.  We head southeast, joining the Ionian coast in Taranto, passing straight through the old town on its island in the mouth of the harbour.  We continue on for another 10 miles before stopping in the small marine town of Leporano Marina.

Day 3 – Leporano Marine to Gallipoli – 56 miles

For the next 3 days we closely follow the coast, first to Gallipoli.  This island-like fortress retains a southern Italian charm all of its own.  Gallipoli bears more than a passing resemblance to Dubrovnik, but retains a much simpler charm without the armies of tourists in every church and restaurant.

Day 4 – Gallipoli to Castro – 52 miles

Continuing along the coast we reach our most southerly point, in the pretty village of Santa Maria di Leuca, an excellent location for a leisurely Italian lunch before bearing north towards the Adriatic.  Our stop for the night is Castro – the ‘pearl of Salento’ .

Day 5 – Castro to Lecce – 43 miles

Our shortest day, designed to leave plenty of time to explore Lecce.  We continue to hug the coast for as long as possible before eventually turning west, inland to the baroque splendour of Lecce.  You just can’t dislike Lecce!

Day 6 – Lecce to Ostuni – 57 Miles

Today we take a very indirect route, avoiding several larger population centres.  Leaving Lecce we return briefly to the coast before taking an inland arc around Brindisi, skirting Mesagne and bypassing San Vito dei Normanni before arriving in Ostuni, a town popular with British ex-pats. 

Day 7 – Ostuni to Bari – 57 miles

For our last day we remain inland in order to pass through Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its ‘Trullo’ buildings.  There traditional dry stone huts with conical roofs  are unique to the region and Alberbello offers the best opportunity to see them.   We then slowly work our way back to the coast for our second night in Bari.

Day 8 – Depart Bari

We will transfer you back to Bari Airport.

The Tour: This is a Fully Supported Cycling Holiday with a leader/mechanic, and support vehicle to carry all the luggage and provide any necessary assistance. The holiday is designed to offer a riding challenge while at the same time taking you through the region’s rich physical and cultural landscape.  The round-trip distance is about 370 miles.

The average daily distance is a little under 55 miles with an average of 2000 feet of climb..

Accommodation & Food: This holiday uses a mix of hotels and smaller B&Bs.  . Accommodation will typically be graded 3*, offering clean and comfortable rooms.   Single people travelling alone will be booked into a twin bedded room with another person of the same sex – unless the additional single supplement has been paid. We book rooms with en-suite facilities where available, but this cannot always be guaranteed. Breakfast is provided at the accommodation and most hotels also have a restaurant attached for an evening meal, or there is at least one other restaurant nearby. Note that Italian breakfast is continental in style and may be limited to coffee, pastries, bread and conserves.

The holiday starts and ends in Bari and we will collect guests for the airport transfers.   Note: The cost flights is not included in the price of the holiday. You must book flights yourself (or make your own alternative arrangements).

Cycle Transport:  If required, and for an additional fee, we can also arrange for your cycle to be transported to the start at Bari and/or to return your bike from Bari to anywhere in the UK.

Documents: You require a passport to visit Italy. Nationals of some other countries also require a Visa. Non EU passport holders should check with the nearest Italian Embassy. You are also required to have travel insurance for the duration of the holiday and you will be required to provide evidence of a suitable travel insurance policy.

Bikes: All types of cycle are suitable for the trip. The most important thing is that the bike functions properly and that you are comfortable riding it. However you should make sure that your bike has suitable gears as parts of the route are hilly, with some quite long climbs. You should also make sure that you are able to carry some spare food and clothing with you on the bike.

Tour Price includes:

Hotel accommodation
Vehicle support
Services of leader/mechanic
Local transfers
Route information

Tour Price does not include:

Lunches or evening meals
Snacks or drinks required during the day
Travel to/from Bari
Cost of any optional excursions, entrance fees etc.

Get In Touch

If you have any questions about any of our trips, please call us on 0800 002 9559 or send us a message below.