CYCLING IN SALENTO

Self-guided, group tour and self-guided food & wine tour

 

Salento is in the southeastern most region of Italy lying in the so-called "heel of the boot". Situated in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, this region is filled with memories of the different civilizations that inhabited it, from the Messapi, 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 the caves, Baroque cathedrals, secluded corners of the coast... are all but a few of the things you can see when visiting this area. Salento is also internationally renowned for its characteristic cuisine, which combines flavors from the sea and the earth and the fantastic rhythm of its folk music: most notably the Pizzica Pizzica.

 

 

 

A self-guided tour 

Day 1

Arrival at Lecce 

Briefing and bicycle delivery with GPS navigator in your B&B in Lecce.  

 

Day 2

From Lecce to Otranto (56 km/ 35 miles)

Today an easy flat route, with many interesting cultural and naturalistic sights. First, you visit Acaya, a fortified city with a huge castle. Then you plunge down to "Le Cesine", a WWF protected area for many species of migratory birds. You could make a stop a for a sea food- tasting lunch in San Foca. You continue for the coast, along the ruins of Roca Vecchia, an ancient Bronze age city, and passing the ‘Alimini’ Lakes. Some more kilometers to pedal and you reach Otranto. Here you have a lot the see: the San Peter church with its Byzantine frescoes and the cathedral with a very special mosaic pavement, a sort of figurative Middle Age encyclopedia. Overnight stay in Otranto.

 

Day 3

Otranto’s surroundings (35 km / 22 miles)

Today you will explore the surroundings of Otranto. Riding along the little river "Idro" ("water"), which gave the name to the city, you arrive in Casamassela, a peaceful oasis where old looms are still being used in the agricultural handmade center "le Costantine foundation" (guided tour). The route continue to Giurdignano. You cross a Bronze age megalithic park containing huge "dolmen" and "menhir" and come to "La Cutura", a botanic garden, where you can see an incredible plants collection. It is unique in Europe for its cactus species. You return to Otranto, where you can visit the historical center. Interesting to visit is the twelfth-century mosaic in the Romanesque cathedral. This mosaic is made by a monk called Pantaleone and shows religous scenes like Noah's ark, but there are also depictions of historical, mythical and even pagan figures, such as Alexander the Great and King Arthur. Overnight stay in Otranto

 

Day 4

Otranto – Leuca coast (52 km / 32 miles)

Today you cycle along a part of the wildest coastline of Salento. A beautiful landscape of cliffs will bring you to the ‘Palacìa’ lighthouse (extreme eastern tip of Italy) and a little red lake surfaced in a disused bauxite quarry. Then you carry on riding along the coast: nestled among the cliffs above the sea, this road is a huge balcony that looks onto Otranto Strait. With clear weather, you will able to see the mountains of Albania and Greece. It is worthwhile to visit ‘Zinzulusa’ cave, going down nearly 200 feet into the earth bowels. This cave is one of the most famous anchialine caves of Italy. Along the way, we admire a typical terraces and dry walls landscape, ingenious devices of peasants to get arable land in barren and impervious areas. After crossing the bridge over the "ciolo" (a small canyon with a rare flora) you reach Santa Maria di Leuca where you visit the sanctuary, in the footsteps of ancient pilgrim’s. Overnight stay in Leuca

 

Day 5

From Leuca to Gallipoli (61 km / 38 miles)

Today you discover Leuca Cape, the southern part of Apulia. You pass an astonishing defence tower situated in the centre of a small village, then it is time to visit an ancient mill, dug into the rock, and also the enigmatic funerary monument made by big stones (its name "centopietre", means "hundred stones") is particular. As a highlight you visit Leuca piccola ('little Leuca'), an important pilgrimage station which still maintains a vast underground area. Through olive groves and dry stone walls you come to Ugento, where you could visit the archaeological museum. In the afternoon you’ll reach again the ionic coast with St. Andrew’s island and the Punta Pizzo" natural park. In Gallipoli, called the Pearl of the Ionian, you can enjoy an aperitif on one of the many terraces overlooking the sea. The town is divided in a modern and old city, which is located on an island. This originally small fishing-village is striking by its bright light, its small alleys and its fish market. Overnight stay in Gallipoli

 

Day 6

Gallipoli’s surroundings (distance 30 km / 18,5 miles or 60 km / 37 miles)

Day dedicated to the surroundings of Gallipoli. First stop is in Sannicola where you can visit an underground olive oil mill. You continue to Tuglie with its amazing "rural culture museum". In Galatone a beautiful Baroque town and the Norman castle of Fulcignano is awaiting you. In the afternoon, you reach Galatina with the church of Santa Caterina, which is totally painted with frescoes in Giottesco style. This town has also a nice historical centre. You can choose to go back by bike or by train. Overnight stay in Gallipoli

On request, instead of the cycling, you can book for a cooking class ‘home-made pasta’

 

Day 7

Way back to Lecce (42 km / 26 miles)

The last day of your trip, you pass many 19th century fortified farmhouse and villas. There are also nice towns to visit: Nardò has a baroque style historical centre and Copertino an impressive Norman castle. Some km before Lecce a last stop at the Martina brothers, which skilful keepers of the producing of traditional pottery. Late afternoon arrival in Lecce and bikes drop off. Overnight stay in Lecce.

 

Day 8

Departure after breakfast 

 

 

There are two other versions of this tour (ask for more information):

B Program in short of the guided tour :

Day 1: arrive in Lecce and overnight

Day 2: From Lecce to Otranto (56 km)

Day 3: Otranto's surroundings (30 km)

Day 4: Otranto-Leuca coast (52 km)

Day 5: Treasures of Cape Leuca (22 km)

Day 6: Ionic coast and Gallipoli (65 km)

Day 7: Gallipoli's surroundings (48 km)

Day 8: Returning to Lecce (42 km)

Day 9: departure

 

C Program in short of the self guided Food & Wine Tour:

Day 1: arrive in Lecce and overnight 

Day 2: From Lecce to Otranto (56 km)

Day 3: Otranto's surroundings (35 km)

Day 4: Otranto-Leuca coast (52 km)

Day 5: From Leuca to Torre Suda (47 km)

Day 6: Ionic coast and Gallipoli (55 km)

Day 7: Gallipoli's surroundings (60 km)

Day 8: way back Lecce (42 km)

Day 9: departure after breakfast !

 

 

The self-guided tour includes:

  • 7 overnights stays in farmhouse, 3*** hotels or B&B.
  • 7 breakfast
  • 2 tastings with wine, cheese and/or local products
  • Luggage transportation
  • GPS with tracks included
  • Road book with cultural information and tips about the route.
  • Local assistance in English h24

 

The group tour includes:

  • 8 overnights stays in villas, resort or farmhouses.
  • 8 x breakfast
  • 8 dinners (drinks excluded)
  • 3 tastings with wine, cheese and/or local products
  • Cookery class
  • Sailing boat excursion
  • Bike rental (Hybrid 21 gears)
  • Support along the route
  • English speaking guide
  • Luggage transportation
  • Hotel taxes

 

The self-guided Food & Wine tour includes:

  • 8 overnights stays in villas, resort or farmhouses.
  • 8 x breakfast
  • 5 dinners (drinks excluded)
  • 5 tastings with wine, cheese and/or local products
  • Luggage transportation
  • GPS with tracks included
  • Road book with cultural information and tips about the route.
  • Local assistance in English h24.

 

 

Period 

Self guided tour: daily from March till September. Group tour: 22/04; 27/05; 24/06; 09/09; 14/10

Level 1/2

Salento is a region that is almost completely flat, making the ride a pleasant journey for any level of rider. The daily route are between 30 – 60 km (about 3-5 hours of leisurely cycling), mainly crossing secondary roads, with sea-breaks and places to visit. On day 3 there are some more differences in level. This tour is meant to fully enjoy the surrounding landscape and culture with all its different aspects. GPS maps will guide you through the most suggestive and less busy roads.

Participants

Self guided tour: minimum two persons Groups tour: minimum 8 persons

Price p.p. 2017 

A. Self guided 

In double room    € 600,00
In Single Room € 750,00
Bike rental: 75,00
Ebike rental: 170,00
Upgrade to 4 star hotels: € 150,00

B Group tour  

In double room      € 1.560,00
In single room € 1.820,00

Upgrade to ebike  € 110,00

C self guided Food & Wine Tour

In double room B&B  € 1.100,00

In single room   € 1.340,00

Bike rental  hybrid bike     € 75,00

Ebike   € 170,00

Transfer Brindisi airport - Lecce (min 2 persons)     € 30,00    

Transfer Bari airport -Lecce (min 2 persons) € 75,00

                                                

                

Please contact us if you want to receive more information