Self guided week among nature, arts and traditional food and wine

One week by bike to explore the Salento area and taste its specialities in farmhouses, wine cellars and traditional restaurants.

Salento is the easternmost area of Italy lying in the so-called "heel of the boot". Located in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, this region is filled with memories of several populations, from the Messapii, to the Greeks, followed by the Romans and then the Normans.

Crossing Salento with a bicycle is like cycling through an open-air museum: prehistoric dolmen, Byzantine shrines hidden in caves, Baroque cathedrals, secluded corners of the coast.

Salento is also internationally renowned for its traditional cuisine, its wines and folk music, called Pizzica.

Salento is a region that is almost completely flat, therefore the ride is a pleasant journey for any level of riders.

You will be cycling between 30 and 50 km per day, mainly through secondary roads, with seaside or photo stops, guided tours and, especially, food and wine tastings.

Gps Maps will guide you through the most suggestive and less busy roads just as a real tour guide.

The overnight stay is in nice properties such as resorts, villas and farmhouses (masserie), while dinners take place in the best restaurants of the area.

  • Day 1: Arrival in Lecce
  • Day 2: From Lecce to Otranto
  • Day 3: Otranto surroundings
  • Day 4: From Otranto to Leuca
  • Day 5: From Leuca to Torre Suda
  • Day 6: From Torre Suda to Santa Caterina
  • Day 7: Gallipoli surroundings
  • Day 8: Back to Lecce
  • Day 9: Departure

Day 1: Arrival

Meeting point in Lecce for bikes and GPS navigator collection and briefing about the itinerary.

Day 2: From Lecce to Otranto (distance 56 km)

Flat route, with many interesting cultural and naturalistic sights.

First stop is Acaya, a fortified city with a huge castle, and then you move on to “Le Cesine”, a WWF protected area, crossing point for many species of migratory birds.

From there you head towards the coast, along the ruins of Roca Vecchia, an ancient Bronze age city, and the Alimini Lakes.

After a few more kilometres, you will reach Otranto, where narrow streets reveal wonders at every corner, such as St Peter church with its Byzantine frescoes, a walk along the ramparts overlooking the sea and finally the cathedral with its paved mosaic, a sort of figurative Middle Age encyclopedia.

Seafood dinner in one of the best restaurants in town.

Day 3: Otranto surroundings (distance 35 km)

Riding along the little river “Idro” (“water”), which gave the name to the city, you´ll get to Casamassela, where old looms are still being used in “Le Costantine Foundation".

You´ll move towards Giurdignano, crossing a Bronze age megalithic park containing huge stones called “dolmen” and “menhir”.

Moving on you can stop at “La Cutura”, a botanic garden with its incredible plants collection (unique in Europe for its cactus species).

Then, you´ll enjoy a wine and cheese tasting in a wine cellar.

Return to Otranto and free dinner in the old town.

Optional horse riding in the morning or in the afternoon.

Day 4: From Otranto to Leuca (distance 54 km)

This ride will take you along the wildest Salento coastal stretch.

You´ll see Punta Palascìa lighthouse (easternmost point of Italy) and a small red lake surfaced in a disused bauxite quarry.

You´ll keep cycling along the coast: nestled among the cliffs above the sea, this road is a huge balcony overlooking Otranto Strait. With a little bit of luck you will able to see the mountains of Albania and Greece.

You can stop at the marvellous ‘Zinzulusa’ seacave and then continue through terraces and dry walls to the Ciolo, a small canyon carved by the waters and rich in rare flora, and finally reaching the sanctuary of Santa Maria di Leuca (Shrine of Our Lady de Finibus Terrae).

Seafood dinner in one of the best restaurants in town.

Day 5: From Leuca to Torre Suda (distance 41 km)

You´ll explore Leuca Cape, the southernmost part of Apulia.

After an astonishing defense tower located in the centre of a small village, you´ll visit an ancient mill and an enigmatic funerary monument made by big stones (its name “centopietre”, means “hundred stones”).

Finally you´ll reach Leuca piccola (´little Leuca´), an important pilgrimage station which still maintains a vast undergound area.

Cycling across olive groves and dry stone walls you´ll reach a farmhouse, for a tasting of organic products.

Afterwards, you´ll move on to Ugento and visit its archaeological museum.

Overnight stay is at a masseria overlooking the sea. Dinner included.

Day 6: From Torre Suda to Santa Caterina (distance 38 km)

In the morning you´ll head towards the coast for a dip in the sea of ´St Andrew Island and Punta Pizzo´ Park.

Then, you´ll move on to Gallipoli, a fisherman village located on a peninsula, where you´ll enjoy a tasty aperitif on a terrace overlooking the sea.

Next stop is St Mauro church, which is one of the hidden treasures of this country, hosting an ancient Byzantine frescoes cycle.

While enjoying the sunset you´ll move on to Santa Caterina, a small village bordering Porto Selvaggio Nature Park.

In the afternoon optional kayaking in Porto Selvaggio Park.

Dinner served in a villa or in a nearby restaurant.

Day 7: Gallipoli surroundings (distance 60 km)

First stop is Sannicola where you´ll discover its undergound oil mill.

Then you´ll move to Tuglie and the amazing “rural culture museum”.

Once in Galatone, it´s worthy a visit its Baroque old town and the Norman castle of Fulcignano.

In the afternoon you´ll get to Galatina old town and Santa Caterina church, which is totally painted with frescoes in Giotto style.

Later you´ll enjoy a visit and tasting at a local winery, where you´ll learn about the process of oil and wine making.

Day 8: Back to Lecce (distance 42 km)

On your last day you´ll admire several 19th century fortified farmhouse and villas.

You´ll visit Nardò baroque old town and discover Copertino with its impressive Norman castle and its stories about St Joseph, ´the saint of fligths´.

Some km before Lecce, you´ll explore a traditional pottery workshop and finally reach Lecce where you´ll return your bikes.

Final dinner in one of the best restaurants in town.

Day 9: Departure

What´s included

  • 8 overnights stays in villas, resorts, farmhouse or B&B (per person sharing)
  • 8 breakfasts
  • 5 dinners
  • 5 tastings with wine, cheese and local products
  • Baggage transportation
  • GPS navigator with maps
  • Road book with cultural information and tips about the route
  • English Assistance h24 onsite
  • Bike rental with accessories

Self Guided Bike Holidays

 

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Electric bike supplement
€180.00 (10%) ( Per week )
Single Supplement
€250.00 (10%) ( Per week )
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