• Dates: May 7 - 12 2018
  • Trip Length: 6 Days & 5 Nights
  • Activities: Biking
  • Guides: Allan & Giovanni
  • Cost: $2,750 per person
  • Optional Single Supplement: $750
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Other Info: Bike and GPS Rental is €25/day for 6 days

“Italy’s heel has it all, except tourists.” – USA Today

Puglia is the heel of the Italian boot, in the far south of the country. The breathtaking scenery and gorgeous coastlines make it a hotspot for Italians on holiday. We selected Puglia as a cycling location for two reasons: First, it has a network of small roads that are perfect for cycling, cutting through stunning rolling topography that includes Roman ruins, walled fortresses, olive farms, white-washed cities, rock-lined fields, and picture-perfect Adriatic coastline. Second, it has fantastic and abundant local food (and vino!) to fuel our daily rides!
The cycling on our tour is moderate because we start in the town of Conversano, which is on top of the “shelf” that rises up from the sea shore. There are small rolling hills our first few days with options for some steep climbs on the Long Routes. Then, we descend dramatically to the coast and spend the final days on an immense flat coastal plain. We offer routes for all ability levels, each of which is scenic and wondrous in its own right. What’s more, we have GPS units mounted on our bicycles that will allow you to more easily enjoy the biking without having to read route directions! See separate section below for more information.

The GPS units allowed us to bike at our own pace and feel confident that we were always on the right track, literally. They are so much easier to read than printed directions, especially with corrective vision issues. Thank you and thanks to whoever pre-populated those routes for us.  – Liz M.

About that fantastic food: Puglia is an agricultural powerhouse and we cycle past fields of tomatoes, eggplant, oranges, almonds, and artichokes. We also pass thousands of olive trees – huge trees, hundreds and sometimes a thousand years old, that form an impressive site and might be your lasting image from the region. In fact, there are reportedly 60 million olive trees in Puglia, one for each of Italy’s citizens. All these food products result in fresh, delicious meals, including a final night feast. Puglia is known for producing hearty, simple meals. In our opinion, the food in Puglia is actually better than in other regions of the country and the dinners we enjoy prove the point. In addition, we stop into a local olive oil mill for a tour and tasting (nothing like fresh olive oil with tomatoes on bread!), visit a sheep farm for a cheese tasting, and participate in a cooking class at a typical Italian restaurant run by three brothers (but overseen in all ways by their mamma).
Puglia is also a major wine region. Surprisingly, it produces more wine than any other region in Italy! Grapes include the Negro Amaro, which contributes to the excellent Salice Salentino wine, and Primitivo, which is equivalent to Zinfandel. However, it is often the plentiful vino della casa, in white or red, that seems to go best with our mid-day or evening meal.
While much of your sun-drenched days will be filled with cycling, food, and wine, you’ll also have time to stop in a number of unique and character-rich towns along our routes. We visit impressive Conversano, with its ancient castle; Alberobello, with its thousands of stone “trulli”; circular-shaped Locorotondo; the white-washed villages of Cisternino and Ostuni; and the seaside towns of Monopoli and Polignano a Mare.

GPS vs. ROUTE DIRECTIONS

Those of you who have already taken a biking (or skating) tour with us know that following written route directions is necessary for the freedom of enjoying the trip at your own pace — you certainly don’t want to have to keep pace with the fastest person in the group, nor do you want to wait all the time for the slowest person!  Because you armed with directions that tell you exactly where you need to go, you can stop to take photos or eat lunch whenever you want — this is your vacation, after all!  There are generally two camps when it comes to route directions:  some people love the challenge of deciphering the directions and consider it similar to figuring out a puzzle. Others prefer to leave the route-finding to somebody else and tag along with one of those in the aforementioned camp.

We are taking the route directions to a new level on this trip by adding a GPS unit to our bicycles, with the routes pre-loaded, so all you have to do is watch or listen for your next turn.  This will eliminate the need to track exactly where you are on a page and read as you ride — you’ll simply need to follow a line on a map, and not worry about getting lost or going off course!   This has revolutionized our biking tours and we are thrilled to be able to offer this new technology to you.


Daily Itinerary

DAY 1: Welcome to the “heel” of Italy’s “boot”! Our adventure starts at 1:00 PM, allowing you to arrive in Puglia this morning or the day before (which we highly recommend). We meet you in the town of Conversano near Bari, the main transit center of Puglia. You can choose to arrive the night before and stay in the same hotel where we’ll be the first night of the tour, take the train from Rome to Bari that morning, or take a connecting flight to Bari from your overseas flight. From Bari, you’ll need to arrange a quick and inexpensive transfer or train to Conversano. After introductions and an explanation of the week that lies ahead, we begin our ride past six small lakes and an abandoned masseria (farmhouse) in the countryside before…SEE FULL ITINERARY


Real People, Real Experiences – What To Expect On This Trip

As on all of our adventures, we want to ensure you have the best experience possible – which is why we like to set expectations appropriately for every trip. Check out What To Expect On This Trip .


 For More Information

  • See Frequently Asked Questions for this specific trip.
  • See our General FAQs page for general tour questions.
  • INTERESTED IN JOINING US? Call us at 888.758.8687 or email us to check availability, or to ask any questions you may have regarding this trip or any other travel ideas you may be considering.
  • TO BOOK YOUR ADVENTURE: You can book online or by calling us at 888.758.8687. Zephyr Adventures requires a 500 deposit (payable by check or credit card) at the time of booking. The remaining balance is payable by check or credit card no later than 60 days prior to the start of the trip.

  • WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? We will send you a confirmation email after we receive your booking, as well as a link to detailed printer-friendly pre-departure documents: arrival and departure information, suggestions for making travel arrangements, a packing list, an invoice, information about your trip location and guides. It will also include a link to an information form and liability waiver. We will also provide you with a link to information about travel insurance. We highly recommend you purchase travel insurance because it protects you if you have an unexpected change in travel plans. Please do not purchase airfare until you have received your pre-departure documents.

“With foodie travel on the rise, Puglia (‘Apulia’ to the English-speaking set) is going to become a household name. In the heel of Italy’s boot, the Mediterranean diet takes one of its purest and most delicious forms: food (think olive oil, artichokes, and salami) is locally sourced, restaurants are quaint yet high-quality, and you can sleep in a converted farmhouse… did we mention most of this happens beachside?” – Huffington Post, “15 Places to Go Before They Get Famous”

Want to make this trip even more memorable? Grab your friends and pick a date.

Make It Private

Photos

6 comments on “Italy: Puglia Bike & Food Adventure

  1. I felt I should respond as I was a reluctant “tour person”. I was eager to go on the Puglia Biking Adventure, but unsure how I’d do with a group, which I perceived as sheep being moved along, whether they wanted to go or not!
    I was completely wrong. From start to finish, everything–the food, the lodging, the bikes, the extra adventures (olive mill visit, etc) were fabulous. And of course the wine was swell, too. But the most wonderful were the tour guides–Allen, Erica and Giovanni. Always helpful, always professional and always lots of fun! In addition, our fellow bikers were terrific, and I looked forward to each day riding and spending time with them. And I never felt like a sheep!
    Will I go again on another Zephyr Adventure? Absolutely, and I’d recommend their tours to anyone.

  2. I loved this trip. I am a repeat customer and I can honestly state that this is one of my top 5 trips! The wonderful thing about Zephyr, besides the guides :-) is that they always offer side excursions to keep things exciting and different than just biking all week. A visit to the olive groves, or the cheese makers, but the best, cooking with the brothers, Luigi, Leonardo and Guido and of course their mom in their restaurant. I will treasure that experience for the rest of my life. I am not a serious athlete and never once have I felt hindered by that with any of my trips with Zephyr. Puglia was beautiful, the paths were challenging but not in a crazy way, the food was outstanding and each night we stayed in such quaint, adorable places. Each night seemed to top the previous one. Without question I would recommend a Zephyr trip!

  3. How does one choose a best time when you are biking with friends? The sun drenched olive groves? Your first view of the Adriatic? A yummy meal that we learned to cook ourselves? Biking thru the hills on a roller coaster trip to Cisternino and Vito’s neighborhood. It was all spectacular!

  4. Much to my surprise the cooking class and dinner with the three brothers, two cousins and Mama at La Giara restaurant was probably my favorite moment from the trip. I’m not much of a cook, but they were all so patient, friendly and helpful that the class was a lot of fun. I’m sure the free-flowing wine helped too! And the food we made was actually delicious!

  5. I loved this trip – the trip leaders did a fantastic job. I liked the variety of routes, the scenery and the sense of adventure I got from having to navigate myself (at least part of the time).

  6. Trip was great. It was an amazing experience and I will likely be back, but hopefully with my husband as well. I was very impressed with the organization on your end from the meeting before the rides and the detailed directions to the beautiful routes themselves. Great bikes too.

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Trip Highlights

>> Beautiful Mediterranean weather, typically with blue skies and temps averaging in the mid-to high-seventies

>> Routes on pleasant side roads that don't show up on any maps of the region – however, you’ll have a GPS unit mounted on your bike, so you can’t get lost!

>> Stunning rolling landscapes rich with history and culture: through the whitewashed villages of the Adriatic coastline, along olive groves and vineyards, past Roman ruins and unique Trulli architecture

>> Divine local cuisine, deluxe evening meals (with the opportunity to sample local wines), visits to local agricultural producers, and a cooking class led by three Italian brothers

Trip Accommodations

Night 1 >> Hotel Corte Altavilla / Conversano

This four-star hotel located in an 11th century building in the center of Conversano is the perfect coupling of modern comfort and historic charm. We'll meet you here on our first day.

Night 2 >> Il Palmento / Locorotondo

A luxury four-star establishment that is made from 30 conical-shaped Trulli, most of which are the original hundreds-year-old structures. If that doesn’t do it for you, the two outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, or bocce set will!

Nights 3 & 4 >> Masseria San Martino / Pezze di Greco

A "masseria" is an old farmhouse, usually built on an olive tree farm (this one has 2600 trees), and now often updated to serve as upscale lodging. The Masseria San Martino is our home for two nights and we enjoy the large pool, a home cooked meal, a presentation of the farm's products, and the excellent hospitality of our host Concetta.

Night 5 >> B & B Malu / Polignano a Mare

This gem of Polignano a Mare, is set in one of the most beautiful points of the Apulian coastline, overlooking the medieval village and sea. Their elegant and modern hotel rooms provide an interesting contrast to the surrounding area.


Travel Details

We recommended you fly into and out of Bari (airport code BRI). The extra leg from Rome is usually not expensive. If you prefer, you can fly into Rome (airport code FCO) and take a train to and from Bari. We will provide more specific travel information upon your booking.

Zephyr guides meet you in the town of Conversano (close to Puglia’s main transit hub of Bari) after lunch on the first day of the trip. On the last day of our adventure, we will get you to the train station in Polignano a Mare, where you can catch the train to Bari to continue your travels or return home. You will be able to fly from Bari to Rome (and onward), or continue traveling by train. We highly recommend arriving at least a day early and also extending your vacation in Italy if possible!

What's Included

>> Our local guide joins at least one other Zephyr guide, with a third guide added if necessary.

>> Double occupancy lodging is included. If you are traveling solo, we will match you with another traveler of the same gender. However, you may pay a single supplement to have your own room.

>> All of your dinners and breakfasts are included. Gratuity for these meals is also included. We leave lunches open so that you have time to explore and enjoy the local flavors en route.

>> All your transportation is included once you meet your guides on the first day.

>> Some group activities (such as a cooking class and farm visits/tastings) are included.

>> NOT INCLUDED Bicycle rental, beverages, desserts, lunches, gratuities to your guides, personal expenses and travel to and from the destination.