- Easy going coastal cycling across Puglia, ‘The heel of Italy’
- Explore Salento’s coastal towns of Gallipoli, Leuca and Otranto
- Relax on the whites sands of Torre dell Orso
- Visit the extraordinary karstic cave of Grotto Zinzulusa
- Dine on freshly grilled swordfish and orecchiette pasta
Discover Puglia, the heel of Italy, on this relaxed cycling tour of the Salento coastline.
Beginning in the heart of southern Puglia, explore the town of Lecce and its wealth of baroque buildings, which flourished between the 16th and 18th centuries. From Lecce, cycle through a patchwork of olive groves to the charming ancient walled city of Gallipoli overlooking the Ionian sea. Pedal along the coast, hopping between sandy beaches to the southern tip of Puglia, where the Adriatic and Ionian seas meet.
Ride along the dramatic rock formations of the Adriatic coastline to the ancient Greek port of Otranto. North of Otranto, relax on the golden beaches of the Cesine Coastal Nature Reserve before returning to Lecce, where you may wish to enjoy one last dish of Puglia’s fresh orecchiette pasta!
Day 1 Arrive Lecce
The baroque buildings and churches of Lecce are within an hours bus journey of Brindisi airport or a 90 minute train journey to Bari.
Depending on your time of arrival you may wish to visit the amphitheatre and the Roman theatre, both built under Caesar Augustus. Explore cobbled alleys, lively piazzas and in the evening sample fresh seafood and pasta dishes.
Day 2 Cycle to Gallipoli
Leaving Lecce, cycle southwards deep into the Salento countryside. Ride quiet country lanes through olive groves towards one of Puglia’s hidden gems, Galatina. A chic little town with beautifully preserved baroque buildings. Pedal onwards to Gallipoli and enjoy wandering the picturesque old walled town, built on a small island which juts out into the Ionian sea.
Cycle: 61 km
Day 3 Cycle to Leuca
Today cycle to Puglia’s most southerly coastal town of Leuca, where the Ionian and Adriatic seas meet. Being a day of easy cycling leaves plenty of time to make an easy diversion to the beach or explore one of the many of the charming villages and towns you will pass through before arriving at Leuca.
Cycle: 55 km
Day 4 Cycle to Otranto
With a choice of two routes today you can choose between pedalling the rise and fall of the Ionian coastline or an easier, rolling route through a patchwork of olive groves and small villages.
The rocky Ionian coastline reveals the most spectacular panoramic photo opportunities. Just over halfway you can visit one of the most impressive karstic cave networks, the ‘Grotto Zinzulusa’. Alternatively the gentle rolling route weaves its way through farmland and peaceful countryside to the chic city of Otranto.
Cycle: 55 or 51 km
Day 5 Cycle to Lecce
The last day of cycling continues north towards the dunes, forests and flora of the Cesine Coastal Nature Reserve, rich in birdlife, flora and picturesque beaches. From here, pedal inland through the Greek communities of Salento as you ride to Lecce. ‘Florence of the South’, enjoy a dinner al fresco surrounded by the grandeur of the Lecce’s baroque architecture.
Cycle: 52 km
Day 6 Onward Travel
From Lecce onward travel to Bari or Brindisi is approximately 1hr 30 mins by train. Depending on your travel arrangements, you can always further extend your stay to explore Lecce, or relax at the hotel pool.
During this trip you will stay in a selection of 4* and3* hotels. We regularly use the following properties but we will accommodate you in a hotel of equal standard should any of the following hotels be unavailable. Each stay at the listed accommodation is based on a standard room.
5 breakfasts are included. Breakfasts usually consists of fresh pastries, breads, fruits, yogurts, cheeses, meats and granola. Italian breakfasts also include a number of freshly baked cakes. If you have special dietary requirements do let us know at the time of booking. Lunches and dinners are not included but you will find suggestions in your route notes of local places to dine.
Like the rest of Italy, Puglia’s cuisine, is fresh, simple and delicious! Signature dishes of the region include orecchiette pasta (pasta shapes resembling little pigs ears), burrata cheese (a creamy mozzarella cheese) and crunchy, dry Frisella bread.
If you're travelling with friends or family but prefer your own room, single rooms are subject to availability and a supplementary payment. This trip is also available to solo cyclists.
Grand Hotel di Lecce
This early 20th century property is nestled in the heart of Lecce. Close to all the sights, the hotel also has an outdoor pool if you’d prefer to soak up the sun and take a dip.
A 17th century property located in the historic centre of Gallipoli and only a few minutes walk from the beach and cathedral. The hotel also has an excellent restaurant serving fresh local seafood pasta dishes.
Complete with private beach, this seafront hotel makes for an easy roll into the sea for a relaxing afternoon of doing nothing! Later, dine in one of the nearby waterside restaurants.
Set between the beach and the ancient gateway into Otranto, the Hotel Albania has fresh, bright rooms and a rooftop terrace (on a clear day you can see across the water to Albania).
This trip is available to start on any day from March to Mid-July and
September to November. We suggest that you contact us as soon as
possible if you are considering a departure during the peak season of May-June and September.
Grade, Navigation, Route Notes & Maps
This cycling route is graded easy to moderate and follows a combination of quiet country roads and busier routes when approaching and departing towns and cities. Please always be mindful of other roads users at all times, especially when cycling on routes shared with traffic. The tried and tested detailed routes notes and maps are easy to follow during your self-guided adventure. We also supply GPX tracks via our easy to use Macs Adventure Navigation App.
Should you require assistance, local 24/7 telephone support will also be available throughout your trip.
21 speed touring bikes are available for hire. Rental bikes come equipped with a basic repair kit, pump and helmet (though we recommend using your own). Male and female frames are available. If you’d like to hire a bike, please let us know your height and frame size you currently ride.
EBikes are also available for hire if you would like a power assisted ride. For more information on EBikes please click here.
If you would prefer to bring your own bicycle please ensure it is thoroughly serviced and is an appropriate bike for this trip such as Scott Sub, Trek 7200 or similar.
If you do intend to bring your own bike, please do let us know at the time book as extra transfer arrangements may be required for any large bike cases/boxes.
If you’d like to hire a bike, please let us know your height and
frame size you currently ride, along with any other specific requests
you may have. We’re always happy to answer any questions regarding hire
If you would to bring your own road bike please ensure it is
thoroughly serviced and is an appropriate bike for this trip.
All bike tours are unescorted. The distances listed are approximations of the recommended routes.
Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, cycle clothing and personal medications etc.
It is a requirement of booking this tour
with Macs Bike that you have suitable Travel Insurance which covers you
for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.
Getting to / From Lecce
For general travel planning, we recommend the helpful site www.rome2rio.com
Lecce does not have an airport but is well connected with Bari and Brindisi. Both cities have airports with international services across Europe.
Bari: From Lecce Central train station change at Bari Central for services to the airport (total journey time approx 2hr 30min).
Please visit www.trenitalia.com for train times, prices and tickets.
Brindisi: A bus service connects Lecce directly with Brindisi airport. Journey time is just under an hour and services run throughout the day. Timetables and prices can be found at Puglia Air Bus
Private transfers to and Lecce can be arranged. Please enquire.
- 3 nights 4* hotels & 2 nights 3* hotel
- 5 Breakfasts
- Detailed route notes
- Macs Adventure Navigation App
- Baggage Transfer
- 24/7 local partner and UK telephone support
- Bike Hire
- Travel to / from Lecce
- Lunches & dinners
- Drinks and snacks
- Entrance fees
- Personal equipment and expenditure
- Travel insurance
- Bike Hire
- EBike Hire
- Extra Nights
- Arrival or Departure Transfers
- Single Room Supplement(s)
We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further queries.
How fit do I need to be?
This trip is graded easy to moderate with daily distances between 30 km—60km. Once you have left the towns and cities much of the cycling is on quiet country or coastal roads. You will encounter some stretches of shallow hills throughout the tour. On day 4, the ride from Leuca to Otranto does have the option to cycle a more challenging coastal ride. We can arrange the rental of Ebikes if you would like a power assisted ride.
It's a good idea to get out on your bike for a couple of consecutive days in the lead up to your trip so you get used to riding back to back days. However, it’s not all cycling. Each day there are plenty opportunities to visit historic sights and sample locally produced food and wine.
How far in advance do I need to book?
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as this region is extremely popular especially May to June and September.
Can I take my own bike?
Of course! We understand the relationship between rider and bike and know many cyclists would never consider riding another steed. If you are unsure, we are happy to discuss bike hire options with you.
When is the best time of year?
March, April and October into November are cooler months and are generally much quieter in the cities and towns. May and September you will find the days are beautifully long and warm. June into July, days are long and hot and therefore you may like to enjoy a long lunch or relax on the beach to avoid cycling in the midday heat.