Cycling vacations in Puglia
Puglia, or Apulia, is the heel of Italy's boot. It's one of the country’s driest and sunniest regions and the south – the Salento peninsula – is also pretty flat, which makes it very appealing for cyclists. Certain sections of the peninsula are as narrow as 50km. Perhaps, due to its out-of-the-way location, Puglia is not, as yet, on the mainstream tourist radar and you'll find roads, both inland and along the coast, much quieter than some of Italy's more popular places. Two coastlines – Ionian in the southwest and Adriatic in the east – offer plenty of opportunities for a dip and you’ll find small, locally-owned B&Bs in seaside towns such as Capitolo and Monopoli, Gallipoli and Lecce. Puglia will put you in mind of the UK's Cornish coast, although its olive groves, vineyards and orchards of almonds are always a dead giveaway that this is still, undeniably, Italy.
RECOMMENDED PUGLIA CYCLING HOLIDAY ROUTE
Pedalling in Puglia is always relaxed with gentle rolling hills leading through wine growing hamlets and endless olive groves before descending towards the coast. Our recommended cycling route is self-guided and takes you north, along the Adriatic, from the Baroque cathedral town of Monopoli to the precariously placed fishing village of Polignano a Marebefore before heading inland to the walled castle city of Conversano. Cycling south from Conversano you'll approach Alberobello, famed for its pointed Apulian dry stone huts (trulli). Quiet country lanes, bordered by almonds, olives and grapes, meander east from Alberobello to the village of Pezze di Greco and the Blue Flag beaches of Capitolo, from where optional rides to the whitewashed hilltop city of Ostuni offer an alternative to a rest day by the sea. A wonderfully flat coastal route back to Monopoli takes you past the seaside village of Savelletri (seafood lunches are a must) from where 4-star accommodation allows time to contemplate cycling achievements as well as access to the traditional tavernas found within Monopoli's old town district. This is an easy-going week of self-guided point to point cycling in Puglia – luggage transfers, route notes and emergency back-up included - perfect for pootling at your own pace on average daily distances of 40kms.
BEST TIME TO GO CYCLING IN PUGLIA
May and September are the best months to cycle in Puglia. Springtime is especially satisfying, with vast swathes of blood red poppies decorating the fields of the Valle d'Itria, contrasting dramatically with the whitewashed walls and conical trulli houses around. In autumn, the combination of wild walks along the sand dunes of the Adriatic and harvest time in the inland olive groves is really special.
The sea is toasty warm in September, and although October is starting to cool down it's still a great time to cycle on rural roads with hardly any traffic. November through to February can be a bit soggy, but fortune favours the brave, and if you don't mind packing waterproofs in panniers you might well be treated to some refreshing blue sky days as well as plenty of breezy blasts to help wet weather gear dry off. Summer is not the best time to cycle in Puglia as it’s just too hot but, if you don't mind setting off early and spending afternoons supping coffee in shaded piazzas or lolling beneath beach umbrellas, then why not?
TYPES OF CYCLING HOLIDAY IN PUGLIA
The easy going gradients and quiet coastal and country roads of Puglia are very straightforward to navigate under your own steam. A tailor made, self guided cycling tour bridges the gap between complete independence and expert guidance. You will have luggage transfers between specially chosen B&Bs, cycling route notes in English, and 24 hour assistance, if required. Not only does a self guided tour allow you to cycle at your own pace, it also enables you the freedom to explore throughout the year.
As this type of vacation is suitable for a minimum of two people, you won’t be impacting on the peace and tranquillity that can sometimes be associated with larger groups. You’ll also be able to seek out the secret spots for sustenance thanks to recommendations from accommodation hosts and from the trip notes that are compiled by local people. The best beaches, olive oil producers and most authentic local restaurants will all be at your disposal, and you’ll have the freedom to cycle – or not – at your leisure.
Our Italy cycling Vacations
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More about Italy cycling
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